Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture
1:28 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Romeo and Juliet Meet In Pittsburgh Parks

Romeo or Juliet: which would you choose?

One Pittsburgh theater group is adding a new spin to arguably the most famous love story of all time by asking the audience pick a side.

Jennifer Tober, founder and artistic director of Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks, said their production this year puts a twist on "Romeo and Juliet."

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Museums
3:30 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Lawmakers Propose Dedicated State Funding for Museums

Two Pennsylvania senators, one Democrat and one Republican, are trying to dig up some new funding for local museums across the commonwealth.

Over the last eight years, state aid to the museums has dropped from $29 million to $2 million for fiscal year 2013-14.

Senators Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) have authored legislation to dedicate 3 percent of the state’s Realty Transfer Tax, about $8 million to $9 million.   

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:24 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Driving a Banger from the Big Apple to the Big Easy

Shauna Yorty and Eli Mailey with their Uber Banger car
Credit Slyorty

From the Big Apple to the Big Easy, known by the acronym BABE, decorated “bangers” or junk cars, drive  from New York to New Orleans. The concept originated from similar rallies driven by junkie cars in Europe.

Shauna Yorty and Eli Mailey's banger is a 1982 VW Quantum that runs on vegetable oil. The Harrisburg couple can recall goofy stories and quirks about the rally over the past four years. Mailey converted his diesel car to run on vegetable oil with the help of a home conversion kit.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Sun August 18, 2013

Public Art Program To Liven Up Market Square

One Pittsburgh group is trying to bring a little more life to the downtown area during the winter months.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, in conjunction with the city of Pittsburgh, will begin a three-year project to bring temporary public art to the city’s Market Square.

Artists are being asked to submit proposals for existing works of art to be displayed in the public plaza, or submit their qualifications to create new works.

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Weekend Watch
12:03 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 8/17 & 8/18

Fancy yourself to be a wizard with words? The Pittsburgh Crossword Puzzle Tournament this Saturday might be the place to prove yourself. Competitors will be provided three puzzles of increasing difficulty to be solved in a timed fashion, and points will be awarded for accuracy and speed of solving. If you feel like you might need a hand, you can sign up for the Pairs Tournament with a friend or loved one. All proceeds will benefit the Western PA Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphona Society.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:39 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Late Summer Fairs and Festivals with Local Goodness

Garlic lovers rejoice! Several upcoming food festivals showcase hundreds of varieties of the popular vegetable
Credit Rhonda Schuldt / Local Goodness

Summer is beginning to draw to a close, and for most there are only a few chances left to get out there and enjoy all of its offerings -- especially the area’s lovely fresh produce.

According to Rhonda Schuldt of Local Goodness, there are a dearth of food festivals and fairs that are sure to satisfy anyone still eager to explore the local food scene. Chief among these events are the amazing array of food festivals, including the Laurel Highlands Garlic Festival this weekend, which she calls “a nice day trip away from Pittsburgh.” the festival boasts hundreds of varieties of garlic which will intrigue any foodie with an affinity for the pungent plant.

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Arts & Culture
3:30 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Public Art Pedal Along Pittsburgh's North Side to Coincide with BikeFest

To coincide with Bike Pittsburgh’s BikeFest, the Office of Public Art is hosting the Public Art Pedal along the North Side.

This 10-mile roundtrip bicycle outing will go from Pittsburgh’s North Shore to Millvale along the Allegheny Riverfront Trail.

Renee Piechocki, director of the Office of Public Art, said the scenery adds to the artistic experience of the tour.

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Community
2:43 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Now Open to the Public, Knit the Bridge Attracts Admirers

Pedestrians examine the handiwork of scores of artists Monday as the walk along the Andy Warhol Bridge, currently the site of the massive Knit the Bridge yarn bomb project.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

Dennis and Marilyn Funtal inched their way along the Andy Warhol Bridge Monday morning, stopping with every step to admire the 580 hand-stitched afghan panels that currently envelop the structure.

“Quite unusual,” Dennis Funtal said, “just like the City of Pittsburgh’s always been — unusual.”

The retired Brookline couple made a point to venture downtown Monday to see what's been called the largest “yarn bomb” in the United States. “Yarn bombing” is a form of street art, which unlike graffiti can be easily removed and doesn’t damage public property.

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HEArt
3:30 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Online Journal Gets to the 'HEArt' of Social Reform

Poems, visual art, stories and music are much more than forms of entertainment to two Pittsburghers, they are ways to promote social reform.

Co-founders Leslie Anne Mcilroy and Daniel Morrow will launch Human Equity through Art (HEArt) Online on Aug. 15.

The online journal will publish various forms of art submitted to them that challenge the status quo and fight discrimination.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:52 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

As Knit the Bridge Gets Underway, A Community Effort Is Revealed

The Knit the Bridge project got underway at the Andy Warhol Bridge Saturday morning.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

After participating in the successful yarn bombing of an area downtown, Amanda Gross had the idea to do something larger. As a result, Gross and the Fiber Arts Guild of Pittsburgh are graduating from trees and telephone poles to knitting the Andy Warhol bridge this weekend.

“It was just a really positive experience,” observes Gross. “So I thought, why not do a bridge?”

Yarn bombing is part of the guerilla art movement, and the process amounts to a temporary, impermanent form of graffiti.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:51 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

The Uncanny Corpse Flower

A rare, interesting specimen, the corpse flower will only bloom and share its unique scent for approximately 48 hours before decaying.
Credit US Botanic Garden / Wikipedia

Phipps Conservatory will be getting a rare, rancid treat in the coming weeks. The corpse flower, a flower from the jungles of Indonesia, is best known for its distinctive smell of rotting flesh. Ben Dunigan, Curator of Horticulture at Phipps, says that the corpse flower models itself after the scent of a decaying corpse to convince flies to come and lay their eggs.

“You really do have to smell it to believe it,” Dunigan says.

Phipps’s flower—affectionately named “Romero” after Night of the Living Dead director and Pittsburgh native George A. Romero—will only spend 48 hours in full bloom, with 12 peak hours during which the flower will be at its most putrid.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:49 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Sci-Fi Marathons, Indie Films and Classic Flicks Coming in the Next Week

Credit Pop City Media

Pittsburgh theaters offer a wide range of films in a number of unique theaters. Dormont’s Hollywood Theater houses niche film festivals, indie movie one-night previews and classic flicks while other theaters around the city will show big screen blockbusters and new documentaries. Pittsburgh City Paper film critic Al Hoff helps parse out the good from the bad.

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Weekend Watch
1:16 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 8/10 & 8/11

Lawrenceville is set to take a heavy dose of rock and roll with the second annual Rock All Night Tour. Dubbed R.A.N.T., this expansive music festival is taking over 20 indoor and outdoor venues while presenting a wide assortment of musical stylings. Featuring everything from classic American bluegrass to modern heavy metal, 50 bands and 20 solo artists will play throughout the day on Saturday and pushing into the early hours on Sunday. The event begins with the Morning Breakfast Tour from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Arts & Culture
12:01 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Vibrant Pittsburgh Launches Diversity Fest

The first Global Diversity Festival begins in Pittsburgh Friday night.

The festival looks to celebrate the “vibrancy” and diversity of the Pittsburgh region through music, food and entertainment.

About 30 community organizations, including Latino and LGBT groups, will be represented at the celebration to hand out information, crafts and food.

The festival was organized by the group Vibrant Pittsburgh, which looks to ensure the city’s growth by attracting a “diversity of talent” to promote the region.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:00 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

The New Girl Takes on Water Parks

The Typhoon Lagoon in Disney World
Credit Auntie Rain / Flickr

With the dog days of summer upon us, and the thermostat rising, travel contributor Elaine Labalme has a family friendly suggestion for beating the heat and getting out of town all in one go: water parks. It’s not just the classic lazy river amusement anymore, either. More complex water park rides are now as fast paced and exciting as those in traditional theme parks. As Lebalme puts it, “If you’re a roller coaster person, you’re gonna have a blast in one of these water parks.”

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Arts & Culture
4:22 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Why Will Phipps Smell Like Death This Month? Blame the Corpse Flower

The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will soon smell like something crawled up inside of it and died. 

Some time in late August a rare corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum), that Curator of Horticulture Ben Dunigan has been pampering since 2009, is expected to bloom. When it does, the 6-foot-tall flower will emit an “intense” scent resembling rotting flesh.

“And when I say intense, you can imagine that these have evolved to attract pollinators from miles away,” Dunigan said. “So in our Palm Court, which is quite a big room, it's sure to smell the entire room up.”

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Arts & Culture
2:35 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Webcam to Broadcast from Andy Warhol's Grave

The Andy Warhol Museum is launching a live feed from the artist's gravesite in Pittsburgh to honor his upcoming birthday.

The museum says in a release that the partnership with EarthCam will go live Monday at midnight. The project is titled "Figment" because of a Warhol quote in which he said he'd like his own tombstone to be blank, or just say the word figment.

The Warhol museum says hundreds of people visit the artist's grave every year, often leaving pop culture items such as Campbell's Soup cans or Coca-Cola bottles.

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Weekend Watch
11:48 am
Fri August 2, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 8/3 & 8/4

Enjoy a little Sunday diversion while supporting local artisans and businesses at the Rivers of Steel Heritage Market. The market is open to the public and offers a chance to explore the historic Pump House. Live music and entertainment will be offered alongside food trucks and locally made crafts. Vendors include Oh My Grill, Missy Steele Pottery and Satorious Designs. The Rivers of Steel Heritage Market opens this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:51 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Say Nice Things About Detroit

There's still plenty of things happening in Detroit, including both great art and plenty of sports teams.
Credit Flickr

It might be troubled, but the Motor City still has a sort of beauty all its own, reports travel contributor Elaine Labalme. Citing the amazing parks, sports teams and art galleries, Labalme tells us that the Big D has some serious offerings for Pittsburghers interested in taking a short trip.

While the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park is “an absolutely fantastic facility” to see a game, one of the most impressive locations in the city, says Labalme, is “The Joe,” or the Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings currently play. It’s a historic arena with stories in every wall and seat. And if you’re looking to grab a bite after the game, try Cliff Bells, where, according to Labalme, “You’re always made to feel welcome.”

Essential Pittsburgh
3:32 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Local Jazz Pioneer is Living Legacy

Saxophonist and educator established, in 1969, one of only a few curriculum-based jazz studies programs at a major university.
Credit University of Pittsburgh School of Music

Multi-instrumental jazz musician Dr. Nathan Davis is the founder of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert.  He recently announced his retirement from Pitt and reflected back on his career in the United States and in Europe, and his legacy in the world of jazz.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:19 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Speaking Volumes on Essential Pittsburgh: Leah Samuel

Investigative reporter Leah Samuel says journalists would do well to emulate the curiosity of children.
Credit PublicSource

Freelance reporter Leah Samuel writes about social and environmental issues for PublicSource and others. As a journalist, and as a reader, she finds the lessons of history are best learned from the margins.

Arts & Culture
5:12 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Exhibit Highlights the Role of Food in American Slavery

Two Pittsburgh institutions are teaming up to show the importance of food in African American slavery.

The Heinz History Center, along with Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, is hosting “Beyond the Big House Kitchen: A Culinary History of American Slavery,” a demonstration showcasing how African American slaves were able to cook and eat on the run.

Sarah Rooney, community programs manager for the Heinz History Center, said the exhibit will show the everyday struggles of freedom seekers.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:51 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Fruitvale Station and Typical Conjurings

Bringing the good and the bad news from the film reel, City Paper Film Critic Al Hoff presents her opinions on several upcoming movies and documentaries coming to a theater near you.

With a release date that could not be more timely, Fruitvale Station documents the final days of Oscar Grant, an African American man from San Francisco who was shot and killed by police while unarmed at a subway station. The film comes after the controversial George Zimmerman verdict  in which many believe race played a crucial role.

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Weekend Watch
12:28 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

90.5 WESA Weekend Watch 7/27 & 7/28

This Sunday, the aptly-named weekly concert series Weather Permitting presents a day of music and fun. Featuring a wide range of styles and genres, this family friendly event will include food trucks, poetry, hula hooping, squirt guns, and, of course, live music. Featured performers include Moldies and Monsters, Vertigo Go, and Arlo Aldo. Round 8 of Weather Permitting will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday night at Shadyside Nursery.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:06 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

The New Girl Goes to the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks, N.C.
Credit James Willamor / Flickr

For travel contributor Elaine Lebalme, a trip to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, is a nearly perfect summer getaway. It’s the land of windswept beaches, wild horses, lighthouses and quaint seaside towns.

If this sounds like something out of a romantic novel, that’s because it is. The region’s become famous thanks to Nicholas Sparks’ novels, and according to Lebalme the reputation it’s gotten is well deserved. Plus, there are plenty of beach homes to rent throughout the summer, so “you’re bound to find a house either on the beach or close to the beach,” Lebalme says.

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