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.

For most of the history of Pittsburgh, elected officials have been white men. But in 1956, then-Mayor David L. Lawrence did something unheard of: he appointed a woman to City Council.

That woman was Irma D’Ascenzo, an Italian-American Hazelwood resident who was working as secretary and chief examiner for the city's Civil Service Commission. Throughout World War II, and in the years following, she’d been volunteering and was active in her community.

D’Ascenzo’s great-granddaughter, Jeanne Persuit, said Lawrence recognized that rising to council was a natural step for her.

Heiko DeWees

Andrew Carnegie had a personal bagpipe player on his payroll and the university that bears his name shows its Scottish roots through its signature green and red tartan plaid and mascot, Scotty

Those are not the only ways Carnegie Mellon University upholds its Scottish heritage. Tucked deep in the halls of CMU’s University Center is a small room packed with bagpipes and drums. It’s where Andrew Carlisle has had his office for the last seven years.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

George Romero, whose classic "Night of the Living Dead" and other horror films turned zombie movies into social commentaries and who saw his flesh-devouring undead spawn countless imitators, remakes and homages, has died. He was 77.

Pittsburgh Grand Prix / Facebook

Drivers will take to the streets of Pittsburgh this weekend for the city’s 35th annual vintage grand prix races, which will start on Saturday in Schenley Park. The 10-day event includes car shows, parades and the main event, vintage car races through the park.

Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

Take a walk through downtown or  the North Shore and it seems everything, from Pirates caps to government buildings to Heinz Field, radiates black and gold. The colors are synonymous with Pittsburgh sports and culture.

Hilary Harp & Suzie Silver / Courtesy of the Artists

A chandelier full of high heels and beads hangs above a cheetah print rug and gold wallpaper, which now adorn the window of Future Tenant on Penn Avenue. Throughout the gallery hang various mirrored balls and pictures. It’s all part of an exhibition opening examining the influence of disco on modern culture.

New York-based curator and Hampton Township native Emily Colucci said disco is generally seen as superficial, but she contends there is value to exploring disco’s aesthetic and cultural impact.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

It’s easy to keep track of time from most streets downtown: the Allegheny County Courthouse chimes play every 15 minutes, as well as strike the hour; twice a day they sing.

“Noon and five,” said Jim Reardon, the county’s director of facilities management. “It counts off whatever hour it has to be ... and then we play a particular song, whichever song is picked for that day.”

Oscar Winner Rylance Co-Writing Battle Of Homestead Play

Jul 5, 2017
Matty Sayles/Invision / AP

As an Oscar- and Tony Award-winner and one of the leading Shakespearean actors of his day, Mark Rylance knows a great story when he hears one.

He's captivated these days by the story of the historic 1892 Homestead Strike, when thousands of steel workers and townspeople clashed with Pinkerton guards hired by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and industrialist Henry Clay Frick to end a labor dispute that turned deadly.

Daveynin / Flickr

Penn State University is suing former assistant football coach Bob Shoop for breach of contract, alleging he owes the university nearly $900,000.

According to the lawsuit filed in June, Shoop was required by contract to pay the university half his base salary for any remaining term if he decided to leave early. He was contracted through February 2018, but Shoop resigned in January 2016 to become defensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee.

Penn State is seeking $891,000 with additional interest and court costs.

Emma Lee / WHYY

"Wild," the first solo exhibition of photography by Michael "Nick" Nichols features photographs of gorillas, tigers, lions and elephants in their natural habitat - serenity, ferocity, and curiosity.

For decades, Nichols has been on the run as a National Geographic photographer, traveling to remote parts of the world hauling robots, infrared gear, computer monitors, drones - whatever it took to get as close as possible to an animal on its own turf.

Michael Virtanen / AP

Law enforcement responded to a fire this weekend at one of West Virginia’s most recognizable landmarks.

Officials said guests at the Seneca Rocks area of the Monongahela National Forest set off fireworks that sparked a blaze around the Lower Slabs climbing area at around 10 p.m. Saturday. The fire and its plume were still visible through the wee hours Monday morning.

Massive and intimidating, the craggy, knife-edge landscape of Seneca Rocks draws serious rock climbers from southwestern Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, to its fiercely vertical routes.

James Benney III / General Photograph Collection, Detre Library & Archives Heinz History Center

Even before Pittsburgh was topping “most livable” listicles and getting attention as the “next Brooklyn,” it attracted travelers from around the country.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Jane Lynch is, perhaps, best known for her role as the mouthy coach Sue Sylvester on the television show Glee. Now she is going live - performing a new show that, so far, has only been heard once. 

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Long before cell phones held all of our photos and stored calendars for meetings, there was a primitive, but equally as personal object: the carved powder horn. 

Ally Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

For the 12th year, furries have descended on Pittsburgh for the annual Anthrocon at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

This year’s theme is: “Take me out to the Ballgame” and runs through Sunday.

It’s considered one of the largest furry conventions in the world and organizers estimated that about 8,000 people are taking part this year. 

All weekend, Pittsburghers can expect to see colorful anthropomorphic suits adorning its sidewalks, as well as locals posing for pictures and photographs.

MLB Umpire Tumpane Rescues Woman On Clemente Bridge

Jun 29, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

John Tumpane can't explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.

So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On a weekday afternoon in Pittsburgh’s South Hills, a few dozen adults are standing within taped yellow boundaries, sneakers scuffing a gym floor, lobbing what looks like a bright green wiffleball back and forth over a short net with soft, square paddles.

Juror: 2 Holdouts In Cosby's Trial Refused To Convict

Jun 22, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

After 52 hours of tense deliberations, two holdouts in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial refused to convict the 79-year-old comedian, a juror told ABC News.

The juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 10 of the 12 jurors agreed that Cosby was guilty on the first and third felony counts. And only one of the jurors thought he was guilty on the second count.

The two holdouts were "not moving, no matter what," the juror told the network.

Jurors initially voted overwhelmingly to acquit Cosby on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault, the juror said.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County has thousands of employees, but one of them has a rather unusual title. 

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

The judge in the sexual assault case of comedian Bill Cosby has declared a mistrial. After several days of deliberations, the jury could not come to a unanimous agreement on whether Cosby drugged and molested Andrea Constand, a former employee of Temple University, at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

But this does not mean an end to the high-profile case: Prosecutors immediately said they will retry the case.

5th Day Of Deliberations Begins At Cosby's Sex Assault Trial

Jun 16, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Bill Cosby is thanking his fans and supporters as a jury considers sexual assault charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Cosby tweeted the message on Friday shortly after jurors asked to review his lurid testimony about giving quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with. 

Jurors considering the fate of Cosby at his sexual assault trial returned for a fifth day of deliberations on Friday, a day after telling the judge they were deadlocked on all charges.

Desiree Williams / Flickr

An immersive theater production will take visitors to places normally off-limits at the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. 

Tensions Rise As Bill Cosby Jury Struggles To Reach Verdict

Jun 15, 2017
Matt Slocum / AP

As deliberations in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial continue into a fourth day Thursday, nerves are frayed, patience is shot and no one is certain when it will all end.

Some jurors appeared angry, the judge sounded exasperated and accuser Andrea Constand's mother broke down in tears Wednesday.

The sequestered jury has been at it for more than 27 hours since getting the case Monday, pausing a half-dozen times to revisit key evidence, including Cosby's decade-old admissions that he fondled Constand after giving her pills.

Cosby Jury Reviews Accuser's Testimony Amid Deliberations

Jun 14, 2017
Matt Slocum / AP

Jurors in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial reviewed portions of his accuser's testimony Wednesday as they deliberated for a third day over whether the 79-year-old star drugged and molested her at his suburban Philadelphia estate.

Jurors made the request to have portions of Andrea Constand's testimony read back to them after deliberating about 21 hours without reaching a verdict in a case that has already helped demolish Cosby's nice-guy reputation.

Constand, 44, who spent seven hours on the stand last week, was in the gallery as the jury scrutinized her story.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Pittsburgh Penguins' Stanley Cup victory parade and rally drew an estimated 650,000 people downtown. Not bad for a city that, officially, has only 305,000 residents.

Brian Bruner/Bruner Photo / Farm Aid Flickr

Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp will headline Farm Aid 2017 at KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown in September, along with Dave Matthews, who became a board member in 2001.

The annual multi-artist concert to support and raise awareness about family farms and agriculture has been going since 1985. At that time, its goal was to keep small farms alive. The goal today has evolved, but organizers say the spirit remains.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The city is preparing for hundreds of thousands of people to flock to downtown Pittsburgh to celebrate the Penguins’ Stanley Cup win.

Road closures will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, with the parade starting at 11 a.m. It'll kick off on Grant Street and continue down the Boulevard of the Allies, ending with a rally at Point State Park.

The Charges Against Bill Cosby And The Sentences They Carry

Jun 13, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

The fate of entertainer Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges is in the hands of a jury near Philadelphia, which began deliberations Monday.

A look at the charges, and the punishment he could face if convicted:

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WHAT IS COSBY ACCUSED OF?

Cosby Lawyer Tells Jury Comedian And Accuser Were Lovers

Jun 12, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Bill Cosby's trial raced toward a close Monday, with his lawyer telling the jury that the comedian and the woman who accuses him of drugging and molesting her were lovers who had enjoyed secret "romantic interludes."

Declining to take the stand in his own defense, the 79-year-old TV star left it to his attorney to argue that Cosby's 2004 sexual encounter with Andrea Constand was consensual. Lawyer Brian McMonagle said in his closing argument that while Cosby had been unfaithful to his wife, he didn't commit a crime.

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