Arts & Culture

Arts and culture reporting from 90.5 WESA.

Leigh Kelsey / Flickr

Congratulations, you just made it through the biggest eating holiday of the year!

With the fridge full of leftovers, the last thing you probably want to talk about is food, right? Well, travel contributor Elaine Labalme, is here to talk about some food destinations in the region worth visiting.

What to do with yourself after a full day of binge eating and all-around excess? We suggest three more days of exactly the same thing. Let the Hunger Games begin!

Meanwhile, we begin a three-week-long harangue urging you to shop local this holiday season. A few options to get you started this weekend:

I Made It! Holiday Market

Sample the Market

The Annual People's Gas Holiday Market Returns to Market Square

Nov 24, 2014
John Altdorfer

Vendors from around the world have returned for the 3rd People's Gas Holiday Market in Market Square. 

What draws them to the Steel City? We'll pose that question to Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Vice President of Marketing and Communications Leigh White and holiday market vendor, Louise Larkin Manager of the Kathe Wohlfahrt Shop.

Dan Dion

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, 90.5 WESA is trying out a new cooking show, "America's Test Kitchen" from PBS. However it isn't a radio version of the TV show. Host Chris Kimball joins us to explain what's different.

And we'll talk with Ophira Eisenberg, host of the game show "Ask Me Another" which debuts Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Ms. Eisenberg was selected as one of New York Magazine's "Top ten comics that funny people find funny."

Ben McLeod / Flickr

This Sunday night at 7 p.m., 90.5 WESA welcomes a new show to the weekend lineup, an hour of storytelling called "Snap Judgment."

The program is hosted by Glynn Washington, whom the Atlantic referred to in a 2013 article as the fastest rising public radio star in memory.

Rachel may be at death's door, but it will take more than debilitating illness to stop the Social Club.

Light Up Night

CMNH After Dark

Piebird

Heinz Endowments

As revilers traipse around downtown looking at holiday lights Friday night and through the rest of the holiday season, the Breathe Project hopes they will take a few moments to learn a little bit about the region’s air quality.

The work titled Particle Falls is being projected on the façade of the Benedum Center on Penn Avenue. Its cascading lights give viewers a real-time look at how much pollution is in the air above their heads. To be more specific, it measures the fine particulate mater in the air.

Isabella Rossellini Performs "Green Porno" in Pittsburgh

Nov 20, 2014
Warhol Museum

Iconic actress, performer and model Isabella Rossellini comes to Pittsburgh Friday for a special presentation of her one-woman show, "Green Porno."

Adapted from the Sundance Channel series of the same name, Rossellini has created a unique performance-lecture focusing on the mating rituals of a variety of species.

She joins us to discuss her interest in animals and biodiversity and how it led to this show at Carnegie Music Hall, presented in conjunction with The Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art & Natural History.

Rossellini says that her interest in animals began when she was just a girl, and later in life -- after many years as a model and actress -- she went back to school to study animal behavior.

When she started writing “Green Porno,” Rossellini explains that she worked hard to take dry scientific information and inject humor, create bold costumes and stage visually compelling scenarios to get accurate scientific information across in an entertaining way.

Mark Schultz / http://www.markschultz.com/

Olympic gold medal wrestler Mark Schultz joins us to discuss his book "Foxcatcher: The True Story of my Brother's Murder, John du Pont's Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold."

In it, he tells the story of the 1996 murder of his brother, fellow Olympic gold medalist Dave Schultz, at the hands of John E. du Pont at the Foxcatcher Farms estate in Pennsylvania.

A movie based on the events, also titled "Foxcatcher" has been released this month. He joins us today to talk about his career in wrestling, his thoughts about the film and his reaction to his brother's murder.

City Sidewalks Dressed in Holiday Style

Nov 20, 2014
Vlasta Juricek / Flickr

The holiday season is here. To help you get in the spirit, travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some destinations, within driving distance, where you can see city sidewalks dressed in holiday style.

Traveling in winter time requires some extra preparation when it comes to packing and planning for the weather, Labalme explains, but it’s well worth the effort.

As the cold wind sweeps down the streets of Downtown the finishing touches are being made to a Pittsburgh tradition, kicking off the holiday season—the 54th annual Light Up Night November 21, 2014.

With large crowds expected , the event will feature family fun with carriage rides, musical and dance performances, ice sculptures, and Santa Clause himself.

Courtesy image

With help from artists, geologists, lawyers and others, the Living Waters of Larimer initiative encourages people and government agencies to think of rainwater not as something to be disposed of but as a community asset with aesthetic and economic benefits.

It began in 2013 when environmental artist Betsy Damon had an exhibit at The Mattress Factory Art Museum on Pittsburgh’s North Side. While here she became aware of the work of community activists in the city’s Larimer neighborhood.

New Musical 'Smart Blonde' Follows the Life of Judy Holliday

Nov 19, 2014
John Irving / Flickr

Actress Judy Holliday played the dumb blonde in many films but in real life she had a genius IQ and outsmarted Senators engaged in a communist witch hunt. We'll talk with playwright Willy Holtzman and artistic director Tracy Brigden about creating the musical "Smart Blonde" based on the life of Judy Holliday and the world premiere production at the City Theatre.

Most Wanted Fine Art

Mozelle Thompson just might be the greatest Pittsburgh artist you’ve never heard of. 

The Garfield raised native designed album covers, clothing, window displays and more. A retrospective of his album covers is currently on display, through the end of the month, at Most Wanted Art.

Joining us to discuss the life and work of Mozelle Thompson is Most Wanted Art Resident Artist J. Malls, who curated the exhibit.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

The last time author Jonathan Auxier stopped by the program, he had summer reading recommendations for children. He recently stopped by our studio and spoke with WESA’s man of letters, Morning Edition host, Josh Raulerson to offer up some book suggestions for young readers.

Jonathan Auxier Suggests 

David Gilkey / NPR

Public radio listeners are familiar with David Greene as the host of Morning Edition. Prior to his role on the popular morning program, Greene covered politics and events for NPR. He spent two years as a foreign correspondent based in Moscow. The Pittsburgh native joins us for a conversation about his new book "Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia."

Fair warning: our normal ratio of dumb-jokes-to-thoughtful-content is slightly off this week.

As our friends at Wigle Whiskey get ready to celebrate Beer Week, we present an uncharacteristically informative discussion on everything from Pittsburgh history to the business of craft distilling to tasty seasonal cocktails.

"Ghosts of Amistad: In the Footsteps of the Rebels" is a documentary by Tony Buba, based on Marcus Rediker's book "The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom." It chronicles a trip to Sierra Leone in 2013 to visit the home villages of the people who seized the slave schooner Amistad in 1839. The film premieres Saturday at The Three Rivers Film Festival. We'll talk with both Tony Buba and Marcus Rediker.

Take a Hike

Nov 13, 2014
Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr

If you’ve ever been told to “take a hike,” that might not be a bad idea. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme, who tweets about food and travel under the twitter handle New Girl in Town, suggests some great places for hiking -- some close, some farther away.

Ryan Loew / WESA

George Takei, who originated the character of Hikaru Sulu on “Star Trek,” joins us in studio. This weekend, Takei will host the PNC Pops "Sci-Fi Spectacular” at Heinz Hall. Takei talks about that event, his acting career, his history of activism and the upcoming Broadway musical "Allegiance," in which he has a starring role.

Heinz History Center / Heinz History Center

Lost treasures, war artifacts, and pickles…yes pickles are just a few of the attractions the Heinz History Center and Fort Pitt Museum are offering during their free admissions weekend, celebrating National Pickle Day from Nov. 15-16.  

Both the Heinz Center and the Fort Pitt Museum will open their doors to all visitors including adults, children, and seniors, courtesy of a grant from the Jack Buncher Foundation.

David Conrad Returns to Pittsburgh to Direct "Goldstar, OH"

Nov 11, 2014

Actor David Conrad has appeared in theater, film and television. You may know him from his roles in the films, “Ghost Whisperer” or “ Men of Honor.” But this time he is behind the scenes, in a different medium. The Pittsburgh native’s latest project has returned him to his alma mater, the Kiski School as a director for the school’s production of the play "Goldstar, OH."

The play involves themes of loss, war, and military tragedy. In this segment, David Conrad joins us in Studio A with a preview of the play, his experience directing , and his thoughts on the high schoolers he works with and how it relates to his high school experience.

Mobile BBC Experiment Stops by the Steel City

Nov 7, 2014
Marcus Charleston / WESA

The BBC's first mobile bureau is currently in the middle of its six-month experimental project and they’re stopping here in Pittsburgh.

Joining us in Studio A to tell us more about this latest British invasion are BBC journalists Benjamin Zand and Matthew Danzico.

For those of you who haven’t fully recovered from the post-Halloween sugar crash, 90.5 WESA’s Josh and Yelp’s Rachel have a great set of events to get you back on your feet. Listen in for why, “I honestly thought for a minute there that there might be one weekend in Pittsburgh where there wasn’t a beer event. But … no.” 

Light Up Night To Go Big With Multiple Fireworks Shows

Nov 5, 2014
Flickr user Brock Fleeger

Continuing a more than five-decade tradition, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) will fill the streets of the Golden Triangle with carriage rides, musical and dance performances, and Santa Clause himself for Light Up Night on Nov. 21.

“We are excited to present these incredible talents and launch new family friendly activities planned for the season, as we launch an entire month of programming ushered in by Light Up Night,” said Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the PDP.  

Life in a Walk / Facebook

Yogi Roth has turned a trip with his ailing father into a documentary called "Life in a Walk." Roth, who played football at the University of Pittsburgh from 2001-2003, is now an analyst with the Pac-12 Network.

When his Dad developed prostate cancer, the two of them decided to take a three-week walk through Portugal and Spain. Yogi joins us to discuss the trip and his documentary.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

The bank holding the delinquent mortgage on the debt-ridden August Wilson Center for African American Culture is now in control of the property following a sheriff's sale.

Dollar Bank, which has a $7.96 million mortgage judgment on the center, paid a little over $1,900 in taxes and costs associated with Monday's sale in Pittsburgh.

A consortium of charities was unable to complete an $8.85 million acquisition of the center by a Friday deadline due to an appeal filed by a security firm owed money by the center.

The city of Pittsburgh is hoping to team up with some local artists to land a share of $1 million being offered by Bloomberg Philanthropies to enhance the public art offerings in larger cities.

Morton Brown, the public art manager for Pittsburgh says the city has long been searching for a way to join the community and local artists in one collective project, and the Bloomberg grant presents the perfect opportunity.

Jennifer Schatten

Before Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her bestselling memoir "Eat Pray Love," she was known for critically acclaimed novels about travel, adventure and characters who defy convention. 

Gilbert comes to town for the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures’ Monday Night Speakers Series at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. But first she joins us in studio to talk about her latest book, “The Signature of All Things” and her return to novels.

Where Does Halloween Come From?

Oct 31, 2014
Matt Niemi / flickr

Halloween is the second biggest consumer holiday after Christmas. But what are its origins? Pop culture contributor Joe Wos joins us to provide a history of All Hallow’s Eve and how it’s been celebrated in the Steel City.

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