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.

Brad Bower/Matt Rourke / AP

Penn State's former president and two other ex-administrators were sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to report a child sexual abuse allegation against Jerry Sandusky a decade before his arrest engulfed the university in scandal and brought down football coach Joe Paterno.

Douglas Bovitt / AP

Granite from a Philadelphia park that was a skateboarding mecca, though for a long stretch an illegal one, is being put to new use at a skate park being built nearly 4,000 miles away.

Slabs from the city's famed LOVE Park, named for Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture, are being shipped to the city of Malmo, Sweden.

Malmo's skateboarding coordinator told KYW-TV that the granite will be used for a project he says will "rock the skateboarding world."

Derek Zanetti believes in the power of punk so much that he's re-created the "Ironic" video shot-for-shot. Okay, maybe the logic doesn't make much sense, but neither does Alanis Morissette's use of irony.

Philadelphia's Music Legacy Is Vast But Hard To Find

May 30, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Detroit has the Motown Museum. Mississippi has a blues trail. Memphis has Graceland, Sun Studio and the Stax Museum of American Soul.

But in Philadelphia — birthplace of the lush acoustic style known as The Sound of Philadelphia and the hometown of "American Bandstand" and Chubby Checker's "Twist" — there's no major place of pilgrimage for music fans.

"Tourists come here expecting and hoping to experience our music legacy, and we leave them wanting," said Patty Wilson Aden, president of The African American Museum.

A diverse musical legacy

Modern-Day Revolution Celebrated In Philadelphia Street Art

May 30, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Seeking to appeal to visitors more familiar with the words of "Game of Thrones" heroine Daenarys Targaryen than the writings of James Wilson, Philadelphia museums and historic sites are thinking differently, using creative art exhibitions and adding online components to their offerings.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Walking down Fourth Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh, it might feel like you’re being watched. And you are.

There are about a dozen pairs of eyes glaring down at the street. They’re made of gray and brown stone, some with intricate carved manes. Lions are a common sight on this stretch of downtown, and they have a very important job: to guard.

YouTube

A Pennsylvania man is in the money after setting a record on "The Price is Right."

Ryan Belz, of Millerton, was wildly enthusiastic just to get called on stage in the episode that aired Thursday. His unbridled excitement only grew from there.

In the end, the Penn State graduate set a record by winning $31,500 in one of the TV show's most popular games, Plinko.

Paul A. Selvaggio / Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Pygmy hippopotamuses, giant anteaters and a zipline are all part of the newest attraction at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Jungle Odyssey.

The exhibit is the second of the zoo’s four-phase “Top of the World” project, with The Islands opening in 2016. Dr. Barbara Baker, President and CEO of the zoo, said the latest area will educate visitors about some of the world’s most vulnerable animals.

Craig Sjodin / ABC

Three years ago, Samm Hodges would've laughed if you'd suggested he take up voice acting.

"I had a stutter in high school that was really extreme," he said.

Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr

Mother's Day may seem like a fairly innocuous holiday for most people, but not for its creator, Anna Jarvis. Although the holiday was meant as a tribute to the women who commonly lost children and persevered through the difficult days of the Civil War, it became a woeful reminder of commercialism—and ultimately led her to become institutionalized

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

For the first time, shoppers at farmers markets around the region can grab some whiskey with their watermelon. Due to a 2016 change in state laws, distilleries, breweries and meaderies are able to sell their products in Pennsylvania farmers markets and food expos.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

On a Friday afternoon in April, David Lyttle pieced together his drum kit on a patch of grass in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

90.5 WESA’s sister station WYEP held a competition for the worst song ever this week.

Listeners submitted their least favorite tunes, which the station pared down to 20 finalist.  90.5 WESA’s Sarah Kovash talked to WYEP’s Director of Content and Programming, Mike Sauter, about what makes a bad song and the five most hated tunes.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

SARAH KOVASH: Now, were you surprised by some of these submissions?

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Finish line logistics captain Brian Schmidt is in the thick of it now.

All last month he categorized and readied a behemoth assortment of race-day paraphernalia across two floors of a Strip District U-Haul facility. Today, he’s a walking ledger for pallets of road cones, fruit cups, Vaseline and mylar spread over 14 neighborhoods in dozens of tarp-covered, plywood boxes.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Caretakers at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s International Conservation Center in Somerset County are preparing for a new calf. 

A 23-year-old African elephant named Seeni is getting close to her due date, estimated for this summer. Seeni is somewhat new to the area though, so caregivers are trying to ensure they bond with her so she can bond with the calf.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Members of Pittsburgh’s art world want to connect with community and encourage them participate in causes they care about.

That idea of community engagement was a main focus for local artists, advocates, attorneys and funders taking part in the Future Tense conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Tuesday. The conference was organized by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

What Happens When You Mix An NFL Draft With Watercolors?

Apr 28, 2017
Emma Lee / WHYY

Art is having a hard time competing with football.

The NFL draft has taken over most of the Parkway, as well as the famous Rocky steps that lead to Philadelphia Museum of Art, completely blocking its front entrance.

The museum will remain open during its regular hours throughout the draft, via it West side entrance, at the rear of the building near the Schuylkill River.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The “Soul of Kennywood” is how some refer to the band organ that sits in the center of the park’s carousel.

It’s a century old and each year before the park opens for the summer, it gets serviced. For the last two years, Joe Hilferty has been the man tuning and fixing the organ, which consists of a series of wooden pipes encased behind a pane.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

It’s been a good news, bad news year for the arts when it comes to the state budget debate. 

The budgets proposed by both Gov. Tom Wolf and the House Republican Caucus keep funding for the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts at $9.6 million, as well as $2 million for museums.

However, both budget proposals move the funding out of the general budget where it has traditionally resided.

The governor’s plan funds the arts and other line items through the issuance of bonds. But the Republican Caucus rejected that proposal.

David Bachman Photography

When Sean Gibson was first approached by a musician wanting to write an opera about his great-grandfather, he was a little skeptical.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

When Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy CEO Meg Cheever looks out of the “living room” of Frick Parks' environmental center, she marvels at what she sees. 

When I look out the windows, I see a wonderful park," she said. "I see lots of green trees and nature, sometimes a red-tailed hawk sometimes people enjoying the park and walking their dogs and taking their kids by the hand."

Fred Vuich / AP

Last week, Major League Baseball suspended Pirates center fielder Starling Marte for 80 games for using performance enhancing drugs.

That suspension means Marte, who has four more years left on a $31 million contract, won’t be eligible to play in the post-season, even if the Bucs make the playoffs this season because of a rule change agreed upon in the most recent round of collective bargaining.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pittsburghers have long been fascinated with the mysterious, underground “fourth river.” As much as they gush about the three visible rivers, they’re often eager to tell you about the secret waterway beneath the Golden Triangle.

Kassia Janesch / National Aviary

Ever wonder what it’s like to experience flying the way a bird does?

It’s possible – sort of – with the National Aviary’s new virtual reality exhibit. It lets visitors get a feel for what it would be like to flap their wings through the sky.

While lying on a moveable platform, the user stretches out their arms across a mechanical wingspan, which they can flap during virtual flight. After an Aviary employee secures the headset and headphones, you’re off and soaring over New York City. 

Nam Y. Huh / AP

The NCAA will host more prestigious college tournaments in the Pittsburgh region over the next four years than any other, Visit Pittsburgh officials announced Wednesday.

The Steel City will welcome 22 events, from Division III men’s and women cross country regionals in 2020 to the 2021 Division I men’s hockey championship, dubbed the Frozen Four.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Flowers from Easter services still adorned the altar at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland Tuesday, as nearly 2,000 mourners gathered to remember late Steelers chairman Dan Rooney.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Former President Barack Obama will be among the mourners attending the funeral of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney.

Tuesday's Mass will be celebrated at St. Paul Cathedral in the city's Oakland section.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The funeral arrangements are set for Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, and they include a public viewing at Heinz Field.

Team spokesman Burt Lauten says that will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the PNC Champions Club at the stadium.

Rooney's funeral Mass will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul Cathedral in the city's Oakland section.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday ordered the Commonwealth flag to be flown at half-staff across Pennsylvania to honor Rooney, who died Thursday at 84.

AP, file

Former U.S. ambassador to Ireland and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney has died at the age of 84.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Births in Allegheny County are expected to rise for the third consecutive year in 2017, but state Department of Health officials are hesitant to pin it on any one reason – especially a hockey game.

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