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.

Tyler Polk / 90.5 WESA

When Averill “Ace” Pippens received a call about becoming a head coach and general manager of a semi-professional basketball team, he had no hesitation.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Pippens.

Pippens, a coach of local basketball teams for 14 years, said the call came from a former player, about a new team called the Steel City Yellow Jackets.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Friday marks the start of Pittsburgh's Christmas season as thousands flock Downtown for Light Up Night, the city's annual Yuletide celebration marked by lights left on in buildings, plus entertainment, shopping and shows.

Chris Ayers / 90.5 WESA

With a chill in the air and the holidays fast approaching, many people make plans to visit downtown Pittsburgh for Light up Night and other holiday festivities.

One of the highlights of the season is the traditional lighting of the official city Christmas tree outside the City County Building on Grant Street, downtown. But selecting the perfect tree is a long process that begins months earlier, during the warm days of summer.

T. Charles Erickson / PigPen Theatre Company/City Theatre

Each night, an old man that lives on a cliff fills up the moon with liquid light. He and his wife have been doing the same routine for so long, they’ve forgotten who they are and why they started filling up the moon in the first place.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Downtown Pittsburgh’s holiday traditions have changed over the years. But starting Saturday, a new exhibit at the Heinz History Center takes visitors back in time.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Holiday traditions from around the globe converge at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning inside its Nationality Rooms, a collection of 30 classrooms representing the cultures of various groups that settled in Allegheny County. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

NFL veterans Drew Brees, Joe Thomas, Von Miller and Luke Kuechly are among the 32 nominees announced Tuesday for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Alongside Route 51 by a Denny’s and a Huntington Bank in West Mifflin, there are two round, rust-colored sculptures. There’s no informational plaque, and there are no signs posted.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA News

When visitors enter the second-floor gallery space of the Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh's North Side, they’re met with cartoon cowboys in red bandanas, saloon brawls and underwater painters that shimmer right off the wall. But there's more than meets the eye in Go West, the first solo show in the U.S. for popular Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri.

Louis Stein / Arcade Comedy Theater

A growing non-profit theater in downtown Pittsburgh has a new home.

Arcade Comedy Theater is moving from its original storefront space on Liberty Avenue, where it’s been since 2013, to a fully renovated building right down the street. The new space more than doubles its capacity to nearly 200 seats between two stages.

Arcade offers about 10 weekly shows, including sketch comedy, stand-up and improv. It’s also enrolled hundreds of students in its comedy classes.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On the corner of Penn Avenue and Seventh Street in downtown Pittsburgh, there’s a blue and gold plaque that reads “The Pittsburgh Agreement.”

Goob / Will Simmons/Pittsburgh Orbit

Pittsburgh flies the Jolly Roger and banners bearing the Steelmark logo year-round and is a city known for taking its colors seriously. Whether on the ice or the field, black and gold flags are ubiquitous. The city’s official flag, however, is rarely seen.

Quigley Photograph Archives / Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington D.C.

Silent film director Lois Weber made more than 200 films between 1908 and 1934, including "The Blot" and "Where Are My Children?" She developed some techniques still used in filmmaking today.

But the Pittsburgh native’s legacy has received little recognition. Now, a new documentary looks at Weber’s life. The film “Yours Sincerely, Lois Weber” was produced by Benjamin Alfonsi, a University of Pittsburgh alum who is bringing the movie to the August Wilson Center on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 3:30 p.m. 

Matt Rourke / AP

A dog whose keen snout sniffed out accelerants at hundreds of fire scenes over a storied career with the Philadelphia Fire Department was sent off into retirement Thursday with a bone and a chew toy.

Don Wright / AP

Police say a man has returned a bike belonging to Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, telling investigators he bought it from someone for $200 on the street.

Teenie Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh: Heinz Family Fund

The year 1954 was a significant one in Pittsburgh: Jonas Salk administered the first polio vaccine to students in Lawrenceville, Roberto Clemente was drafted by the Pirates and Hill District resident Paul Jones became the first black man to sit on Pittsburgh City Council.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On a mild Tuesday evening in October, a 12-and-under soccer team from Elliott breaks from the huddle before a match. Tonight, they’re playing on a grass field at Beechview’s Alton Park.

Coach Alex Foulds paces on the sideline as the game progresses, constantly communicating instructions to players on the field. "Clear it out!" he shouts to his team. "Help him out!"

Associated Press

Pittsburgh sports fans are familiar with local celebrities like “Mean” Joe Greene, Roberto Clemente and Mario Lemieux, but what about Harry Greb, Billy Conn, and Fritzie Zivic? Although it’s not as popular as football, hockey and baseball, Pittsburgh has a storied boxing history. 

pens-at-wh
Susan Walsh / AP

The Penguins will visit the White House on Tuesday to commemorate last season's Stanley Cup Championship win, becoming the first professional sports team to attend a White House ceremony since President Donald Trump criticized NFL players last month.

Trump said first at a political rally in Alabama, and later via Twitter, that professional athletes who protest police violence by kneeling during the national anthem should be fired. 

90.5 WESA

Jimmy Beaumont, then an 18 year old from Pittsburgh’s Knoxville neighborhood, took some lyrics written by his friend Joe Rock, and set them to music in 1958. He had no idea that what he was creating would become to many music historians the iconic ballad of that era. 

"I really hadn’t gone through any heartbreak at that time, but it was Joe’s lyrics that brought it out," Beaumont told 90.5 WESA's Essential Pittsburgh in 2016.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Cathy Schlott’s fingers are covered in blood, but she doesn’t seem concerned or put off by it. She’s feeding Anne, a 4-pound adult barred owl, which are common in Pennsylvania.

“She gets lots of treats for this,” said Schlott, curator of animal behavioral management at the aviary, while holding Anne, who’s perched on her arm.

She’s feeding her “meeces pieces,” or chunks of raw meat.

Keith Srakocic / AP

After threats of its cancellation, the annual Bloomfield Halloween Parade is back on for its 49th consecutive year.

Three's Company: Pens Eye 1st NHL Three-Peat In 35 Years

Oct 3, 2017
Mark Humphrey / AP

The parade celebrating the Pittsburgh Penguins' second straight Stanley Cup was still raging on that hot afternoon in mid-June when Mike Sullivan decided it was time to up the ante.

Sure, becoming the first back-to-back Cup winners in nearly two decades is historic. Still, it's just two. Three straight? Well, that's something else entirely. And the man whose arrival in December 2015 coincided with Pittsburgh's ascendance back to the top of the NHL knew it.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Most players stood for the national anthem before early Games of Week 4. Last week more than 200 players knelt in response to several tweets by President Donald Trump. 

Goodell Met With Owners And Players On Anthem On This Week

Oct 1, 2017
Kiichiro Sato / AP

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a round-table meeting with roughly 25 owners, league executives and players on Tuesday night to discuss the national anthem demonstrations.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A park celebrating the legacies of Pittsburgh's greatest Negro League baseball players will soon come alive in the city.

Pittsburgh's Station Square will be the site of the new Josh Gibson Heritage Park. The Josh Gibson Foundation held a groundbreaking on Wednesday.

Exhibit Brings The Hard Lessons Of The Petrochemical Industry Home

Sep 28, 2017
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

What do Louisiana and western Pennsylvania have in common? For one, an industry that for better or for worse inspires art.

Petrochemical America: From Cancer Alley to Toxic Valley is a new exhibit at SPACE gallery in Pittsburgh that takes a closer look at the petrochemical industry, which turns natural gas into the building blocks of plastic.

 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The famous, or perhaps infamous, Pittsburgh accent is as central to the Steel City’s identity as Terrible Towels and yellow bridges.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's arts and culture community spends nearly double what most other similarly sized cities do to encourage a robust artistic community around the Steel City, according to a report released this week by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

The group's research estimated local organizations and audiences spent more than $1 billion fueling an annual economic impact of almost $2.4 billion, more than 32,000 full-time jobs and as much as $641 million toward those employees' household incomes. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says he's skipping the Pittsburgh Penguins' Oct. 10 White House visit because of recent tweets by President Donald Trump.

The Democratic mayor accompanied the NHL team when they met with President Barack Obama following last year's Stanley Cup championship.

But Peduto says he's not going this year because of Trump's tweets criticizing NFL players for kneeling or otherwise protesting during the national anthem.

Peduto says the visit could bring negative attention to the city so he'll "take a knee on this one and stay home."

Pages