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.

Mitch Pa / flickr

Pittsburgh's Derek Davies is embarking on a journey to Tanzania, Africa to climb Mt.Kilimanjaro. Part of his mission is to raise awareness and money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Derek Davies joins us to discuss his adventure along with Pat Joseph, Executive Director of the Western PA Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

University of Virginia Swimming and Diving / Facebook

A Pittsburgh native is traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to compete in this summer’s Olympic games. Leah Smith was a standout swimmer at Oakland Catholic High School, and has become a four-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia.  

Megan Fair / 90.5 WESA

For the first time, roller derby will be included in the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games. Four junior derby athletes who skate locally for the Pittsburgh Derby Brats will participate in this historic inclusion.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is making Market Square more engaging through super-sized games. All ages gather to play with the giant Jenga, Connect Four, ping pong, and corn hole sets. PDP CEO Jeremy Waldrup says incorporating games and other activities, such as yoga and farmer’s markets, are all part of the partnership’s goal of making downtown a fun place to visit.

    I scream, you scream, Pittsburghers scream for ice cream. Summer is prime time for everybody’s favorite treat. WESA’s Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel have taken on the daunting task of exploring, researching and taste-testing Pittsburgh’s favorite ice cream joints for your eating needs. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Andrea Koerner

Know a fictional language? Here’s your chance to show off your skills.

Pittsburgh's Office of Public Art took to Craigslist and Facebook this week seeking translators proficient in Klingon, Elvish and Dothraki to translate a specialty art tour to coincide with the Wizard World conference visiting in November.

Director Renee Piechocki said the office is always looking to broaden its engagement with regional public art by offering an experience passionate fans will find exciting. It’s important to consider different perspectives, she said.

The Pittsburgh Kid Could Have Been A Contender

Jul 1, 2016
BillyConn.net

Known as “The Pittsburgh Kid,” heavyweight boxer Billy Conn fought Joe Louis 75 years ago almost beating the heavyweight champion. However, after 13 rounds of boxing and a swift change of speed by Louis, who outweighed Conn by 30 pounds, Conn was knocked out.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Just in time for the July 4th holiday the Toonseum is honoring a true American hero. We spoke with Stu Neft, curator of the current exhibit Captain America: 75 Years of the Sentinel of Liberty.

  Happy Fourth of July weekend! Time to celebrate all things red, white and blue. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on your holiday weekend plans. Hint, hint, they involve fireworks.

The Tamburitzans

Friday is a monumental day for one of Pittsburgh's longest running coed dance and music ensembles as Duquesne University's Tamburitzans officially split from the school to become their own nonprofit organization.  

Executive Director and former “Tammie” Robert Vukic said the move will secure the group’s financial future and preserve the Tamburitzan legacy as both an educational and cultural institution.

It was an economic choice, Vukic said, adding, “We’re the first 80-year-old start-up.”

Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh comedian Annie Claffey is searching for America’s favorite adjective. She’ll be driving a green-and-blue car decked out with Mad Libs logos across the country over the next six weeks.

Don Schuetze / flickr

Weeds are often viewed as pests to be met with weed whackers and herbicides, but certified herbalist Lindsey Praksti of Compass Rose Herbals has other suggestions. While weeds may be a pest to a garden or yard, some have nutritious qualities and are worthy of joining your salad or stir fry.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Bright bursts of color splattered concrete floors, canvas-covered walls and the gray sweatpants of former Pittsburgh Steeler Baron Batch at his Point Breeze art studio on Monday.

Library of Congress Archives

The Democratic National Convention is set to take place next month in Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton is the presumptive democratic presidential nominee. However she won’t be the first woman to receive a nomination at a major political presidential convention. Pop culture contributor Joe Wos will tell us about the Pittsburgher who earned this honor.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Children have encountered a curious pair of miniature doors in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Birds for decades.

“People were constantly turning those doorknobs,” said Becca Shreckengast, the museum’s director of exhibition experience. “They are very attractive doors. They are small, hobbit-sized doors, child-sized doors, so there was already this built-in mystery, like, ‘Why is there this little door?’”

Eddie Palmieri

Pittsburgh Jazz Live International, the city’s annual summer jazz festival begins this Friday with international artists scheduled to perform. For members of the region's fast growing Hispanic community, the chance to see their musical culture represented can be a powerful experience.

Ron Alvarado, chairman of the Pittsburgh Metro Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said, “it galvanizes us as a community.”

    It is officially summertime and in case you forgot, the weather is here to remind you. Luckily for you, WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on the weekend’s summery events.  

Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers / Album Art by Kathy Borland

Long before the rise of the radio and the advent of the record player, the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania rang with the music of fiddle and fife, with old melodies first brought to the New World by immigrants from Britain, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Many of the players couldn’t read music, so the tradition spread aurally from one generation to the next. Thriving communities of fiddlers fueled the local dance halls in places like Derry in Westmoreland County and Dunbar in Fayette County, and fifers played traditional marches in holiday parades.

Pittsburgh-Area Trumpeter Recalls 'Pinch-Me' Moments Touring With Prince

Jun 18, 2016

The meeting happened nearly 30 years ago, but Matthew Blistan remembers nearly every detail.

Charlie Riedel / AP

Heavy rains put a damper on the first day of the U.S. Open Thursday. Golfers now have to make up for the delayed play.

Players in the U.S. Open golf 72 holes – four rounds of play usually spread evenly over four days.

But several inches of heavy rain caused three stoppages on day one of golf’s biggest championship.

The United State Golf Association's Director of Public Relations Janeen Driscoll said it takes a lot to suspend play.

    Happy Father's Day weekend to all the dads out there. We know you get "those manly urges and you gotta...fix things and, uh, cook outdoors," so WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on Pittsburgh's "manly" weekend activities. 

Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

During Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Pine-Richland graduate Mike Van Sickle received a call telling him he had qualified for his first U.S. Open. The Kennedy resident described the feeling as relief.

Michael Righl / Flickr

The Stanley Cup might pass right under their windows, but for most big Downtown businesses it will be business as usual, with a chance to catch the Penguins championship parade.

David Brossard / flickr

Monroeville author David Finoli has been writing about Pittsburgh sports for about 15 years, but he says that his latest book, “Pirates By the Numbers: A Complete Team History of the Bucs by Uniform Number,” is one of the most interesting he’s worked on. The book chronicles Pirates players and the numbers they wore throughout the franchise history.

Pittsburgh Penguins Bring Home 4th Stanley Cup

Jun 12, 2016
Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

A turnaround season for the Pittsburgh Penguins ended with Sidney Crosby once again holding the Stanley Cup.

   It is a busy weekend here in Pittsburgh. Luckily, WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on your weekend plans.

Credit Flickr users Pablo Fernicola and Discovery Times

The Penguins are back in Pittsburgh tonight for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals against the San Jose Sharks.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Film crews are turning back the clock to reflect the Steel City of 1957.

The old cars and vintage clothing come courtesy of the film adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning "Fences," starring the play's Broadway duo, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.

Though based on events that occurred in the Hill District, the Paramount film has been on location in neighborhoods across the city, including Pittsburgh's West End early Friday.

   The arts festival this weekend has us channeling our inner Bob Ross. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on what you will be up to this weekend, with a little help from some famous Bob Ross quotes.

'Zodiac Heads' To Loom Over CMOA Visitors This Summer

May 31, 2016
Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

A dozen monolithic sculptures by the acclaimed Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei are on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art this summer.

Visitors to the museum's Hall of Architecture can stand in the shadows of the larger-than-life statues of "Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads," which officially opened on Saturday. Each of the 12 bronze statues weighs between 1,500 and 2,500 pounds, and each depicts the head of an animal of the Chinese Zodiac.

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