Arts & Culture

Arts and culture reporting from 90.5 WESA.

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Canonsburg, PA, is the home of singer Perry Como, and more recently, Wiz Khalifa. And the town is proud of its connection to American popular music. The borough is now capitalizing on its musical heritage with the establishment of America's Pop Music Hall of Fame. We'll talk with borough manager Terry Hazlett about plans for the museum and the first inductees.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

There’s so much to do and see in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Region you may run out of time before you run out of things to do. The area has been immortalized on canvas by artist N.C. Wyeth and  is home to museums, public gardens and more. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme ventures to this area just below Philadelphia.

Find out more about some of the places mentioned in this segment:

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

For the first time in nearly 50 years, Cubans no longer need a special permit to travel outside the country. With the new potential for travel freedom, how does one's view of the world change? Because of the relaxed restrictions, Cuban writer and photographer, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo is now visiting Pittsburgh and the United States for the first time. He joins us to talk about his work for City of Asylum's Sampsonia Way Magazine, publishing Voces, Cuba's first independent e-zine,  and what it took to travel to the U.S.

Mark Nootbar / 90.5 WESA

When the NCAA brings a National championship event to town it tries to make a splash, and the Frozen Four is no exception.

“It’s cool event. I’ve been to five of them and it’s unlike any sporting event I’ve ever seen,” said Robert Morris University Associate Athletic Director Marty Galosi, whose school put in the bid to bring the event to CONSOL Energy Center.

The Frozen Four is hockey’s version of basketball’s Final Four, and just like that annual event, the athletic contests themselves are just the beginning of what fans travel hundreds of miles to see.

Rachel Grozanick / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Office of Public Art has been publishing guides to public art in downtown and Oakland for several years.

Last year, interest in guided art walks increased, and now those are being offered as well. This Saturday, a free, hour-long walk will focus on the South Side.

Wikipedia

The public radio program This American Life has been entertaining audiences for two decades. The program was recently awarded its fourth Peabody Award. Host Ira Glass talks with us about the program, reinventing radio and his status as a celebrity. He comes to the Hillman Center for performing arts this weekend.

Copyright Sarah Lucas; courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

More than 100 years ago, Andrew Carnegie launched an art museum by charging the curator of the first Carnegie International to find the “old masters of tomorrow.” 

Last week the three curators of the 2013 Carnegie International released the names of 35 artists and groups of artists from 19 countries they think live up to that challenge.

Wikipedia

  We all scream for ice cream, especially when it’s a banana split. You may not know it but the fruity ice cream concoction known as the banana split has a tie to the Pittsburgh region. And it's being recognized by the state. Latrobe City Manager Alex Graziani tells us what it's all about.

Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Our sports guy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to talk about the dismissals and controversy surrounding Rutgers men's basketball, the recent defections of prominent Pitt athletes, and a couple of national championships coming to Pittsburgh.

Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

As a civil engineer, and as a reader of fiction, Katie Bates is interested in "why people act the way they do."

Anne Applebaum, The Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956

Westmoreland Cultural Trust

  Officials in McKees Rocks hope restoration of the Roxian Theatre will have the economic impact the Palace Theatre has had on Greensburg. We’ll discuss the importance of these theaters to their communities with Taris Vrcek, executive director of the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation and Michael Langer, president of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust.

CMU International Film Festival

  Oscar-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy joins us to talk about his latest feature length documentary Fame High which screens Saturday at the CMU International Film Festival. The film looks at the in-class and at-home drama involving students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. We'll talk about the pressures of being a talented young performer in a school full of talented young performers. Dennis Childers, a digital media instructor at CAPA High School in Pittsburgh joins us to talk about the benefits and pressures of attending an arts school.

See a trailer for the documentary Fame High

John Mueller / Wikipedia

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme paraphrases the title of a Philip Roth novella and says, "Hello, Columbus." Just a short drive away, she'll tell us what the intrepid traveler can discover in Columbus, Ohio, the capital city of the Buckeye State.

Find out more about the places Elaine has visited in Columbus:

La Roche College

Graphic design students at La Roche College have taken the immigrant experience and turned it into a hands-on exhibition.

“Their intent was that their colleagues, students, peers would experience this simulation and have an experience similar to what someone would have who was coming from the southern border country,” said Sister Michele Bisbey, professor of religious studies at La Roche.

Boy Choir Reborn in Pittsburgh

Apr 3, 2013

Pittsburgh will soon have a new choral group.

The Pittsburgh Boy Choir will be the first multi-genre boy choir for the city since at least 1998. Artistic director Todd Alexander said the group will perform many types of music.

“Most of the choral music that has been composed is in the tradition of the church," he said. "But there are many secular pieces and many popular pieces that have been written more recently, and we will be touching on all of those genres."

As the weather begins to warm up and snow starts to melt in Western Pennsylvania, anglers from around the state are beginning their yearly trek to fly-fish in the Laurel Highlands.

With the second most cold-water streams in the nation, behind Alaska, the Commonwealth is home to the most trout anglers in the U.S., besides California.

Monty Murty, president of the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a cold-water conservation organization, said people can fly-fish year round in Pennsylvania, but most start in the early spring and go through June.  

Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

North Sider Betsy O'Neill admits: "In a previous life, I probably lived in the 19th century." In her present incarnation, she spent the summer of 2012 immersed in Melvilliana.

Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Our weekly sports contributor Bob Dvorchak joins us from the Pirates' Season Opener. We'll talk about the upcoming season, the Penguins' push for the Stanley Cup, and even though March is over, the madness continues with the final four.  And looking forward to Pittsburgh hosting the college hockey Frozen Four.

Noah Bendix-Balgley Website

  Monday is opening day of the Pittsburgh Pirates' 2013 season and before you hear the cry of, “Play ball,” there are some other traditions observe, one being the performance of the national anthem. Noah Bendix-Balgley, violinist and concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra talks about performing the national anthem for the Pirates' season opener.

Pittsburgh Opera

This year, the Pittsburgh Opera will celebrate its 75th season. 90.5 WESA Senior News Editor Mark Nootbaar, talks with Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn about the upcoming season and their Diamond Jubilee.

Charles & Hudson / Flickr

From buildings to household products we're finding more and more ways to be environmentally conscious. So why not extend our sustainable lifestyles to our vacations?  Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us how we can apply eco-friendly awareness to our travels. 

Take a look at some green travel options:

The Book of Mormon

Mar 27, 2013
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Everywhere it goes, the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon is sold out. Pittsburgh is no exception. We sit down with Mark Evans, one of the stars of the touring show to talk about the themes of this controversial play and getting into character.

The inaugural Pittsburgh Bicycle Film Festival will take place Thursday evening, with doors at the Regent Square Theater on South Braddock Avenue opening at 6 p.m. 

Twenty five percent of ticket sales will go to Bike Pittsburgh to support their mission to make the city and the region safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

According to Seth Gernot of Events Unlimited, there will be two unusual bikes in the lobby: one that makes popcorn by pedaling and one that makes smoothies.  

Bob Kosturko

As the popular British drama "Call the Midwife" returns for a second season on PBS, Morgantown-based author and certified nurse-midwife Patricia Harman offers recommendations for readers with an interest in the practice.

Jennifer Worth, The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch

Mar 23, 2013

Saturday, March 30:

First, the downtown gallery “Space” is hosting a reading entitled “Mean Girls” tonight at 7:00. The readings are meant to raise awareness and increase discussion of the problem of bullying among teenage girls, and the literature works in tandem with an ongoing art exhibit of the same name.  Tonight’s readings begin at 7:00 at the “Space” gallery on Liberty Avenue downtown.

What About Bob?

Mar 22, 2013
Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

  Our sports guy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sportswriter Emeritus Bob Dvorchak joins us to preview Cinderella Robert Morris University's second round game in the NIT, discuss Pitt's early exit from the NCAA tourney and the Penguins' winning streak.

Soldiers and Sailors Unveils Medal of Honor Exhibit

Mar 22, 2013

If you’ve ever wondered what a Congressional Medal of Honor looks like but have never had a close up look, now’s your chance.

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland opens an exhibit Sunday that displays its five Medals of Honor.

The Medal of Honor is the United States’ highest military award and is presented for "personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty."  Since the beginning of the Civil War there have been 3,460 Medal of Honor recipients.

Hearst Corporation

  Michael Clinton is the president of marketing and publishing for Hearst magazines. The Pittsburgh native is a seasoned world traveler. He'll talk to our travel contributor Elaine Labalme about his latest book The Globetrotter Diaries: Tales, Tips and Tactics for Traveling the 7 Continents and how you can be a better traveler.

Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

It's been said, "He travels fastest, who travels alone" as long as you know all of the good spots to visit.  This week our travel contributor Elaine Labalme discusses the joys of going solo when it comes to traveling.

Helen Wigger / WESA

Tuesday night, in an unlikely National Invitational Tournament first round game, tiny Robert Morris University upset the defending NCAA champion, the Kentucky Wildcats. Robert Morris University Coach Andy Toole joins us to talk about the victory.

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