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.

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.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra ended their strike Wednesday.

After months of tense negotiations, musicians and management agreed to a new five-year contract, which calls for a 10.5 percent salary cut in the first year. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

 

Southwestern Pennsylvania's two major ski resorts are making snow and planning to open for the season on Friday.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Resort both plan to open Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and remain open for the weekend.

Seven Springs says on its website that "a blast of cold temperatures allowed our time to aggressively make snow."

The resorts are located several miles apart, both about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

The yellow brick road has taken a turn into Downtown Pittsburgh.

Last December, a live television adaptation of The Wiz was viewed by more than 11 million people. One element of the production’s success was the strikingly colorful costumes, which are now on display at the August Wilson Center. 

“I love Eveline, and this was the costume that was worn by Mary J. Blige,” said Demeatria Boccella, co-founder of Pittsburgh’s FashionAFRICANA, which works to expand society’s standards of beauty.

Satya Murthy / Flickr

It's Thursday. Mom's been chopping, whipping, beating ingredients for days, but you aren't technically allowed to eat any of it. You're hungry. Dad is hungry. You're splayed on the couch with your younger brother, who yawns into your shoulder over the cacophony from Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The dog hasn't budged from his hours-long, not-so-silent protest in front of the oven. He knows there's food up there. He's not wrong. Fido is never wrong.

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