Arts, Sports & Culture

We seek to cover our region's vibrant art and culture scene, as well as our iconic teams and the fans that follow them.

Ringling Bros. Circus To Close After 146 Years

Jan 14, 2017
AP

After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on "The Greatest Show on Earth." The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May.

The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors, company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Jury selection has begun for a former Pittsburgh Steelers doctor charged with illegally trafficking in human growth hormones and steroids since shortly after the team cut him from their medical staff in 2007 after more than two decades.

Sixty-six-year-old Richard Rydze is also charged with illegally distributing painkillers since 2005, but none of his alleged crimes have been linked to his service with the team. State records show his medical license expired in 2012, a couple months after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh.

Suzette Plonsky / Franklin Regional High School

Next week, members of the Franklin Regional High School Panther marching band will head to Washington D.C. to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Gene Puskar / AP

When the Steelers take on the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field on Sunday, it’ll be a familiar scene.

Sunday will mark just the fourth time the two teams have faced each other in the playoffs – 1972, 1979 and 1984. At each meeting, split 2-1 Miami, the victor went on to play in the Super Bowl.

NASA

Humans have had a greater impact on the Earth than any other species in history.

“I mean, you can see it from space,” said Steve Tonsor, director of science and research at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. “If you see images from space at night, you see all the lights of human activities. That is really a sign of our consuming fossil fuels and turning them into light energy. If you see the images from space during the day, you see the vast acreages of land that humans have manipulated.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Teresa Martuccio, 36, has worked with adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities for more than a decade. For the last several years, she taught art at Community Living and Support Services, also known as CLASS, in Regent Square.

Nutcracker Collecting A Lifelong Hobby For Pottsville Boy

Dec 31, 2016
Czarek Sokolowski / AP

 

Perhaps Brandon Woollam was "born" to collect nutcrackers. Having a December birthday, the Pottsville 12-year-old shares some commonalities with the 157 nutcrackers he keeps in his collection. They reflect precious memories with relatives, bonds with friends and a kaleidoscope of entertaining possibilities.

"I like how they're made, the different styles they have on them, and mostly, their mouth opening. I enjoy that," he said, while demonstrating the chomping motion via a lever on one of the character's backs.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Sure, everyone in the family bundles up, squishes into the family car and drives to the one street with the good Christmas lights each year. 

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve year this, a phenomenon some are dubbing Chrismukkah. In 2013, the second night of Hanukkah was on Thanksgiving and was dubbed Thanksgivukkah.

But why do the dates of Hanukkah vary so widely from year to year?

“The basic thing to know about the Hebrew calendar is that it’s a lunar calendar and not a solar calendar,” said Adam Shear, director of the Jewish Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Michael Conroy / AP

Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown is donating $100,000 to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

The hospital's president and chief development officer, Greg Barrett, says there were "little rumblings" that Brown might be planning a donation. The mystery was put to rest when Brown posted a picture of the check on Snapchat Thursday night.

Brown says this is his first big charitable donation, but he's hoping to do more in the future. Brown says it's "a wonderful time of the year to give back."

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Imagine pouring over images in a prized family photo album. But it's not just your family; it's every family to live in Pittsburgh for 12 decades.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

 

During his final year in college, Steelers cornerback Artie Burns’ mother Dana Smith had a sudden heart attack and died. With his father in prison, the 20-year-old had to worry about his two younger brothers, aged 15 and 12 at the time.

TheUglySweaterShop / Flickr

We know you’re itching to get a few more miles out of your favorite ugly holiday sweater and squeeze in some last-minute holiday shopping. That’s why 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel Carlson and Josh Raulerson of the PA Environmental Council have you covered.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

  The Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania is opening 365 miles of snowmobile trails on Friday.

Forest Supervisor Sherry Tune says recent snows made it possible to open the trails. Registration with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is required.

Tune said the only trail that won't open Friday is the Snowmobile Trail Connector No. 12, which is flooded.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

A lot has changed over its 35 year history, but the Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour has always started on Beech Avenue at Calvary United Methodist Church.

Jon Batiste has two big gigs –- he's the band director for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and he's an artistic director at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. And now, he also has his very own holiday album: Christmas With Jon Batiste.

Streaking Steelers Revel In December Football

Dec 12, 2016
Bill Wippert / AP

The path back to the playoff hunt hasn't exactly been daunting for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

For the 40th year, 90.5 WESA’s Kevin Gavin is hosting an all-request holiday music program on Friday, December 23rd from 9am-1pm, broadcast live on 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP.

Listeners are invited to call the station at (412) 697-2955 to make requests or year-end donations. You can also make a request via Twitter using #PCBCHoliday.

Eneko Muino / Flickr

We may not be ready for the snow yet, but WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Josh Raulerson of the PA Environmental Council and Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh have you covered for a snow-inspired weekend.

You can kick off the weekend at the Carnegie Science Center’s 21+ Night holiday party on Friday. In addition to music, drinks and the usual, you can even make fake snow (or is it artificial snow? We digress …) You can also learn about Christmas light circuits – pesky burned out bulbs no more!

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

 

When Larry Nugent retired from his job as a sheet metal worker, he thought he would spend his days boating, fishing and hunting. In reality, all he did was set down his paying job for a volunteer effort that keeps him busy each week.

In 1991, his church, Bethlehem Lutheran in Shaler, began picking up unwanted furniture and delivering it to those in need.

“I joined in, probably around 2001, because I had a pickup truck,” Nugent said. “It has just grown.”

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Dressed in all black, Tamara Tunie stands on the stage of the City Theatre, which has been transformed into a supper club, complete with tables and candlelit lamps. She’s singing “Papa Loves Mambo.”

Most people know Tunie as Dr. Melinda Warner from “Law & Order: SVU,” but she wasn’t always solving TV crimes.

“A lot of people don’t know I have a degree in musical theater from Carnegie Mellon,” she says.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Albert and Jen Wolf love the sound of their daughters practicing their instruments at home, but that wasn’t always the case.

“When they first begin, it’s a lot of very unusual sounds and you’re not sure what’s coming out of that instrument,” Jen Wolf said. 

Every month, we ask 10 public-radio music curators to share the songs they're loving right now. This early-winter mix doesn't disappoint: You might get to spend the rest of 2016 with some new favorite tracks. Listen at the audio link to hear picks from WVPB's Joni Deutsch, KUTX's Jack Anderson and WNKU's Liz Felix, and read on to see picks from the rest of the panel.

The new film Jackie, opening in theaters across the country this weekend, begins with a blank, black screen, underscored by melting strings. It's our first indication that music will play a central role here, at times even more so than the title character.

Benjamin Tice Smith

Author Michael Chabon’s literary career began here in Pittsburgh. It’s the place where he spent part of his childhood and college years, and it was the setting for his first two novels, "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" and "Wonder Boys."

Now, Chabon returns to the city Dec. 9 to discuss his new novel "Moonglow" at an event hosted by the University of Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

Moonglow’s narrator shares a name with the book’s author, and he has a comparable life story.

Markus Spiske / Flickr

We’re back from the holiday! WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh and Josh Raulerson of the PA Environmental Council took a two-week hiatus to stuff their faces, find the best pizza costumes and relax. So now, we’ve got all the local happenings to get you ready for the holidays … or holidaze, as Rachel puts it.

PA Game Commission via YouTube

The Pennsylvania Game Commission expects about 550,000 hunters to take to the woods as the state's 12-day deer rifle season opens.

The game commission has previously estimated that about 750,000 hunters — or roughly 75 percent of those with licenses — hunt on the opening day of rifle season.

But commission spokesman Travis Lau says that estimate is dropping because more hunters are taking deer during archery season.

The game commission says archery license sales have increased every year since 2007.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Though more than 400 people gathered at Bud Harris Cycling Oval in Highland Park on Saturday morning, one person’s conspicuous absence loomed large.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

    

Danny Chew loves numbers, and one of his most important numbers is 1 million. That’s how many miles he plans to ride his bicycle in his lifetime.

“I’ve kept track of my miles going all way back to 1978, in high school,” he said. “I have a book for every year. That’s almost 40 years’ worth of books now.”

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Doug Terranova's two droopy-eyed, tan bloodhounds love to bumble into the kitchen, slap their paws on the table and eat off other people's plates.

They've had lots of practice.

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