Bill O'Driscoll

Arts & Culture Reporter

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Most recently, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

In 2009, Nick Nolte came to Pittsburgh to shoot Warrior, a drama set in the world of mixed martial arts. It wasn’t the Hollywood star’s first time here; he’d visited a few years earlier for his role in The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. But Nolte and Warrior director Gavin O’Connor agreed that Nolte, an inveterate partier, could use a minder.

Courtesy of Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village

It’s said that among the major American sports, baseball has changed the least.

Courtesy of Bob Rumba

If the phrase “puppetry for adults” sounds either oxymoronic or potentially salacious, the Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh has a show to prove otherwise.

The group’s third annual Puppet Slam and picnic is the local manifestation of a national subculture of puppetry that’s not just for kids, says Cheryl Capezutti, perhaps Pittsburgh’s best-known puppet artist and an organizer of the Slam.

Photo by Jeff Zoet / Courtesy of Day Bracey

To tell how the nation’s first black beer festival came to be held in Pittsburgh, you might start with a beer. 

Courtesy of Idia'Dega

If you’re trying to save the planet from home, you’re more likely to look at your thermostat than your wardrobe. But Tereneh Idia says the latter counts, too.

Gabrianna Dacko

Zoje Stage isn’t a parent. But the Pittsburgh-based author’s debut novel describes a deeply disturbing mother-daughter relationship rooted largely in the mind of a sociopathic 7-year-old girl.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh VegFest

This Saturday, fans of vegan food and animal advocacy can taste the latest meat-free cuisine, purchase organic health products and hang out with shelter cats at the fourth annual Pittsburgh VegFest.

Courtesy of the Office of Public Art

A new public artwork in Larimer draws directly on the stories of longtime residents of the Pittsburgh neighborhood.

Larimer Stories follows a two-year collaboration between local artists and the community’s senior citizens. The work is a large aluminum frame, like a billboard, with racks for movable metal letters that spell out short statements from the participants about life in Larimer over the past century.

Photo by Tom Altany

American Samoa sits in the South Pacific, a group of small islands six hours’ flight from Hawai’i. Yet it’s a place that even football fans who aren’t versed in geography know well: A disproportionate number of college and pro stars trace their origins to this culturally unique U.S. territory, including retired Pittsburgh Steelers star Troy Polamalu.

Carnegie Museum of Art, © Conner Family Trust

The Carnegie Museum of Art is revising its take on contemporary art.

Courtesy of the Mattress Factory

It was the first time Ricardo Iamuuri Robinson had visited South Africa, but the coastal city of Cape Town looked strangely familiar.

Renee Rosensteel / WYEP

There’s a new plan to improve Pittsburgh’s music scene.

The Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Study was released Thursday. The 86-page report, 10 months in the making, suggests that Pittsburgh’s scene needs more leadership, career development for musicians, regulatory changes and more.

Courtesy of Germaine Williams

Germaine Williams, CEO of the financially troubled Pittsburgh Filmmakers / Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, resigned Wednesday after 18 months on the job.

Board president Yasmeen Ariff-Sayedshe wrote a letter to "Friends of PF/PCA" Wednesday morning thanking Williams, who came to the group from the Pittsburgh Foundation, for his passion and service.

He gave no reason for stepping down, Ariff-Sayed said, but added that she and fellow board members had been expecting his resignation. She declined to comment further.

Jim Cunningham Photography / National Aviary

A familiar room in Pittsburgh’s National Aviary looks like new.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

The ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Alliance for Police Accountability are among 15 civic groups demanding charges be dropped against a Wilkinsburg woman who was arrested during a confrontation with a North Versailles police officer.

Art by Rachel Masilamani / Courtesy of the artist

In a scene in Rachel Masilamani’s short comic titled “Who Does He Favor?,” a married couple discusses both the 2016 presidential campaign and the couple’s pregnancy, but the lines blur between the two topics. 

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Marchers blocked traffic on Route 30 in East Pittsburgh and North Versailles Sunday, protesting the shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Would repainting a longstanding work of street art encourage vandalism?

Photo by Briony Campbell / Courtesy of Wood Street Galleries

Many artworks deal with mortality. Relatively few ask us to contemplate the fear of death in such a personal and visceral way as “Waterborne.”

Courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s city parks might be popular, but they’ve got a lot of spaces that could be livelier – think of that blank concrete pedestrian underpass in Schenley Park, or the featureless reservoir jetty in Highland Park.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The former site of the Stephen Foster statue in Oakland is still generating controversy.

Photo by Victor Dryer / Courtesy of Creative.Life.Support

“Do you want my real name or my studio name?”

Asaun Brown, an aspiring rapper, hasn’t actually spent much time in recording studios, but he’s not fooling around. He’s 20 years old and goes by the name Sonny the Kid – a play on both his given name and his feeling that he’s a kid at heart, and prone to disregard authority figures.

And he wants to be a professional recording artist.

“I have some big goals for music,” he says. “I plan on changing the world with all this stuff.”

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

After years of financial turmoil, Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts continues its latest effort to reorganize.

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Pittsburgh’s annual commemoration of slavery’s end has outgrown Downtown’s Market Square. The weekend-long Juneteenth Celebration & Black Music Fest is headed a few blocks west, to Point State Park.

Photo by Jared Alan Smith

Recovery memoirs have become a big part of our culture, both literary and televisual. 

Photo by Ryam Cardoso

A visit from a pioneer for women in punk rock is among the highlights of the fifth annual Ladyfest.

The three-day grassroots music festival welcomes Alice Bag, whose group The Bags helped create the 1970s Los Angeles punk scene along with legendary groups like The Germs and X.

Image courtesy of the August Wilson Center

The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival is back this year, but don’t look for it on Penn Avenue. Instead, you’ll have to walk one block south to Liberty.

Photo courtesy of City Theatre

Most theater companies have an artistic director – the guiding force behind what goes on stage. But Pittsburgh’s City Theatre did without one for about a year following the resignation of Tracy Brigden, who’d held the post for 16 years.

Instead, the troupe, one of Pittsburgh’s largest and most venerable theater companies, made it through the 2017-18 season led by a team of three top administrators.

John Beale / Focus Features

Morgan Neville never met Fred Rogers. Growing up, he had the same relationship with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as did many people his age: Neville, now 50, watched the show, then more or less forgot about it. 

Photo by Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA News

Street photography is its own artistic discipline -- one in which 13 local high school kids got a crash course recently with a world-renowned shooter. Some of the results are on display this week at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

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