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.

David Bachman / Pittsburgh Opera

There is no fancy set, no elaborate costumes. Just a small three-level stage, a string quartet and two opera singers — who both happen to be playing the same person.

“My character is Hannah Before; Hannah before she transitions to female,” said Brian Vu, a resident artist with the Pittsburgh Opera.

Fellow resident artist Taylor Raven is Hannah After.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A former West Mifflin Area High School football player who suffered a concussion in 2009 is suing the school district, the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Lawyers for Shane Skillpa, 23, said his helmet and the helmet of another student broke during a drill that required the boys to run headlong into each other. The incident occurred during a summer practice between Skillpa's freshman and sophomore years.

Rachel Carlson / Yelp Pittsburgh

It may be the middle of winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find anything fun to do! WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Josh Raulerson and Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh have you covered for a weekend full of fashionable – and tropical outings.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Last July, the Pittsburgh Zoo sent five sand tiger sharks to a Florida marine park to mate. When they left, a northern elephant seal named Coolio was brought to Pittsburgh to take their place.

This happens with zoos all the time—they trade and loan animals depending on their population’s needs. The person who oversees and coordinates the movements of animals is Ken Kaemmerer, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s curator of mammals.  

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Two part-time workers stood on either side of a T-shaped conveyer belt as 61-year-old Joe Spaniol moved down its twin trunks, trading full boxes with empty ones when its contents started to overflow.

East End Brewing / Instagram

This week, 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Josh Raulerson of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh travel to East End Brewing’s new tap room in the Strip District.

While sipping on some brews, owner Scott Smith talks about all the work that goes into his carefully crafted beers and the delights of being in the Strip District (hello Gaucho takeout!)

Kara Holsopple / 90.5 WESA

Kelley Steadman is on the ice most weekday mornings during the season with the Colonials, the women’s hockey team at Robert Morris University. She’s the team’s director of operations and stands along the side of the rink and gives players direction during drills.

But on the weekends, she’s in the middle of the action as a forward in the National Women’s Hockey League, the NWHL.

Melanya_Velazquez / Flickr

Singer-rapper Lauryn Hill has apologized for making fans wait more than three hours for her show to start in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Hill says on Facebook that "factors out of our control" caused her to take the stage at 11:20 p.m. for a Heinz Hall show advertised as starting at 8 p.m.

She says snow in New York caused some band and crew members to be stuck at LaGuardia Airport and arrive late in Pittsburgh. In hindsight, she says, the performance should have been canceled and rescheduled.

David J. Phillip / AP

Though the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't make it to this year's Super Bowl, Heinz is offering its employees a dollop of joy to look forward to this weekend. It's giving workers a day off on the Monday following the Super Bowl. 

 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Men and women from six countries met at the Hotel Monaco in downtown Pittsburgh this week charged with making one very big decision, one that will affect millions of consumers – how they think and how they shop. They gathered to pick PPG Paints' color of the year.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

A lone Pittsburgh Tribune-Review vending machine, on the corner of Broad Street and Highland Avenue in East Liberty, is one of the few remnants of Pittsburgh's once-thriving print newspaper industry.

“We’re trying to get them all picked up but there may be a few out there we’ll have to get later,” said Alan Bowlby, distribution manager for Trib Total Media.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

It’s another weekend full of beer, wine and … Miami Vice? WESA’s Sarah Kovash, Rachel Carlson of Yelp Pittsburgh and Josh Raulerson of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council fill you in on what’s happening in the ‘Burgh this weekend.

Start your Friday with some maple beer at Wigle Whiskey’s Strip District distillery. The local whiskey makers paired up with Latrobe’s Four Seasons Brewery to create Old Sap. Wigle says, “we distilled Old Sap from malt and maple syrup before aging the spirit for over two years.” Mmmmm.

Transformazium

Three artists involved in public art in New York City were looking for a change when a friend of theirs suggested they come to Pittsburgh to rehabilitate property through a program to help communities address blight.

The Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program introduced them to a neighborhood and an opportunity to use local resources and artistic creativity to transform ideas into real social and economic benefits.

Courtesy of Julia Metelsky

While millions marched in protest of President Donald Trump, several Pittsburgh clothing designers took their resistance to the runway.

The event last week in Lawrenceville highlighted the intersection of fashion and politics through new collections.

Winslow Townson / AP

A Boston man described by his lawyer as a "die-hard Patriots fan" has pleaded not guilty to pulling a fire alarm that roused the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers from their hotel beds ahead of their playoff game against New England.

Dennis Harrison was released on personal recognizance at his arraignment Monday on charges including disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

Police say the 25-year-old East Boston resident pulled the alarm at the Logan Airport Hilton at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday. Authorities quickly determined it was a false alarm.

Alessandro M. / Flickr

This weekend's gonna be weird. WESA's Sarah Kovash, Josh Raulerson of the PA Environmental Council and Yelp Pittsburgh's Rachel Carlson are back with the interesting ... things happening about town this weekend. 

If you just can’t wait for Groundhog Day next month, head to Penn Brewery Friday night! The *real* Punxsutawney Phil will be there, as well his namesake beer, Punxsutawney Philsner (yay puns!) While you’re there, try some of their dang good pierories.   

Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

By 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, the ballroom at the 1863 Inn in Gettysburg was standing-room only. More than 300 people crowded in, paper numbers in hand, hoping to take home their own slice of history.

"With lot number one, we’re going to get the auction started here," Darren Dickensheets called the room to order before rolling on with his auctioneer's call. "President George Washington,  life-size wax figure, name plaque, six foot two [inches] tall."

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.

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