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.

Expanded Arts and Culture reporting in western Pennsylvania is generously supported by the Jack Buncher Foundation.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

When Philadelphian Cyndie Carioli was a new mother in the 1970s, she was like most first time parents: nervous. 

Bill Haberthur / Bethel Park Historical Society

On a Thursday night, volunteers were gathered at the old Bethel Grade School building getting their hands dirty. Some sawed wood to use for new baseboards on the first floor; others, on the second floor, pulled down old ceilings. 

A similar scene has played out three nights a week since 2016, when the Bethel Park Historical Society decided to renovate and re-purpose the building.

It wasn't anything spectacular at the time. When the show first aired on Feb. 19, 1968, it seemed to be a typical children's educational program. On a black-and-white screen, a tall, dark-haired man nearing 40 years of age wandered into a staged living room, softly singing a song as he changed from a blazer into a much softer, cozy cardigan.

That man, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, quickly rose into recognition and a half-century later is still an American icon.

David Bachman Photography

Pittsburgh Opera’s new world-premiere performance, Douglas J. Cuomo’s Ashes & Snow, might be an edgy, contemporary work, but it was inspired by a classic piece of music: Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, meaning "winter journey."

Schubert wrote this song cycle in the 1820s, as a musical setting for a series of 24 poems by German poet Wilhelm Muller. The poems tell the story of a jilted lover wandering a rural landscape in winter.

“I am finished with all my dreams. Why should I linger among the sleepers?” runs one line of the English translation.

Chad Pizzello / Invision via AP

Black Panther opens Friday, and it’s expected to be a blockbuster, but for many people, the film is more than just another superhero flick.

This Marvel Comics character, created in the 1960s, is often credited as the first mainstream black superhero. The new film adaptation takes place in Wakanda, a fictional high-tech nation that's never been colonized and is led by T’Challa, who doubles as the Black Panther. It boasts an African-American director, Ryan Coogler, and a nearly all-black cast, led by Chadwick Boseman. 

Graphic via Sarah Kovash | Photos via AP and NCTC Archives Museum

In honor of Valentine's Day (or Galentine's Day, if you prefer), we've put together a list of inspiring quotes about love -- and life -- from some famous Pittsburghers. 

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‘LOVE’ Returns: Philly Park Gets Its Sculpture Back

Feb 14, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

"LOVE" returned to Philadelphia on Tuesday, just in time for Valentine's Day.

The famous 1976 Robert Indiana sculpture was brought back to its namesake downtown park on a flatbed truck after making a number of stops at parks and statues along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before the reinstallation.

School children cheered and those gathered spontaneously sang the fight song for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles as a forklift placed the sculpture atop a pedestal.

Wally Fong / AP

Marty Allen, the baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows and talk shows for decades, died Monday night. He was 95.

Allen died in Las Vegas of complications from pneumonia with his wife and performing partner of the last three decades Karon Kate Blackwell by his side, Allen's spokeswoman Candi Cazau told The Associated Press.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

"Carnegie’s Maid" tells the fictional story of an immigrant housekeeper who moves to Pittsburgh and accidentally ends up serving one of the city’s most famous families: the Carnegies.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Venezuelan authorities say police have rescued the mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz three days after she was kidnapped.

Center for Biological Diversity / AP

An environmental group wants couples to think of wild animals before acting like them this Valentine's Day.

The Center for Biological Diversity is handing out endangered species condoms at the Carnegie Science Center's adults-only Valentine's event Friday in Pittsburgh.

The wrappers feature colorful artwork and slogans like "Before it gets any hotter...remember the sea otter," and "Can't refrain? Think of the whooping crane."

The group hopes to show how human population growth negatively affects wildlife.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council is considering a change to a zoning code dating back to the 1950s that determines where drag artists can perform.

Mark Tenally / AP

Pirates president Frank Coonelly says the team is working with authorities to secure the safe return of the mother of catcher Elias Diaz.

Team officials did not specify the circumstances, but Venezuelan media reported Thursday that the 24-year-old player's mother was kidnapped in San Francisco, a city about 430 miles west of Caracas.

Coonelly says in a statement that the team is "shocked and deeply concerned for Elias' mother, as well as for Elias and his entire family."

Diaz played 64 games for Pittsburgh in 2017, hitting .223 with 19 RBIs and 18 runs.

"Teenie" Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art Heinz Family Fund

Cities like Harlem and Chicago are often associated with “The Great Black Renaissance,” but for a brief  time in the 20th century, Pittsburgh was an epicenter for black art, sports, business and political influence.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED

Cars rumble overhead as historian John Schalcosky trudges through crunching snow beneath the 40th Street Bridge in Lawrenceville. Gesturing toward the Allegheny River bank, he flicks on his iPhone flashlight.

Spanier Seeks To Have Sandusky-Related Conviction Overturned

Feb 7, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

A lawyer for Graham Spanier argued to a Pennsylvania appeals court Wednesday that too much time had passed for the former Penn State president to be charged with endangering the welfare of children over his handling of a complaint about Jerry Sandusky.

A three-judge Superior Court panel heard oral argument about whether to vacate or uphold the misdemeanor guilty verdict issued last year against the 69-year-old Spanier.

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that it will release a Forever Stamp featuring America's favorite neighbor, television icon Mister Rogers.

The title character of the half-hour children's educational television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred Rogers "was known as a beloved television neighbor to generations of children," a statement from USPS said. The stamp is scheduled to be unveiled March 23, 50 years after the original episode of the series aired in the U.S. in 1968.

Eagles Get Hero's Welcome After Winning First Ever Super Bowl Title

Feb 5, 2018
Julia Cortez / AP

Fresh off their first Super Bowl title, the Philadelphia Eagles arrived home to a hero's welcome Monday afternoon, hours after overjoyed fans mobbed the streets in a sometimes unruly victory celebration nearly 60 years in the making.

Keith Srakocic / AP

There are sports rivalries, and then there are teams that Pittsburgh fans love to hate.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog foresees no early end to winter.

Punxsutawney Phil's handlers announced Friday the weather prognosticator saw his shadow.

Legend has it if the furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, expect six more weeks of winter-like weather.

Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside of Punxsutawney. That's about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Spectators bundled up and bopped to music amid the camp and kitsch with the temperature around 11 degrees.

Updated at 7:30 a.m. ET

We're in for six more weeks of winter, at least if you take your meteorological cues from a woodchuck.

According to his handlers, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow.

Phil, the world's most famous groundhog, lives a pretty charmed life. He and his groundhog wife, Phyllis, reside in their own zoo at the town library in Punsxutawney, Pa., where visitors can peer at them through an outside window. The groundhogs dine on hand-chopped produce and nap on a bed of soft hay.

Keith Srakocic / AP

 Injured Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is going home.

Shazier was released from the hospital on Thursday, nearly two months after suffering a spinal injury in a victory over Cincinnati. The Pro Bowler underwent spine stabilization on Dec. 6 and while he was able to travel a bit, including visiting team practices and making appearances at Heinz Field for games, he returned to the hospital each evening.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says Shazier will transition to an outpatient therapy program.

Won't You Be His Neighbor? Tom Hanks To Play Mr. Rogers

Jan 30, 2018
Grant Pollard / AP

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood for Tom Hanks, who'll star as Mister Rogers in the upcoming biopic "You Are My Friend."

TriStar Pictures announced Monday it has acquired worldwide rights to the film, to be directed by "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" filmmaker Marielle Heller.

The film will focus on the friendship between the host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and journalist Tom Junod. Junod reluctantly agreed to profile Fred Rogers only to find "his perspective on life transformed."

Production will begin in September, with a 2019 release expected.

Pennsylvania Treasury Department / AP

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department is taking the occasion of the Philadelphia Eagles' appearance this week in the Super Bowl to remind people the state is holding unclaimed property that includes an array of Eagles' memorabilia.

The agency said Monday that anyone can search online to see if anything belongs to them, and while they're looking they can make a wider search for any abandoned property in their name.

Winslow Townson / AP

Pennsylvania's governor plans to travel to Minneapolis this weekend to watch the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday he'll be paying for his own transportation, tickets and lodging to attend the Sunday night game.

The Eagles' most recent Super Bowl appearance was 13 years ago, a 24-21 loss to the Patriots.

Keith Srakocic / AP

A memorial wall that includes 22,000 pills — each engraved with the face of someone who died of an opioid overdose — has arrived at the University of Pittsburgh.

The National Safety Council will host an unveiling of the memorial during a private event Monday at the William Pitt Student Union. It will be open to public on Tuesday.

The memorial was initially launched in Chicago in November. It's also due to make stops in Atlanta, Ohio and Washington D.C. later this year.

Cleveland Indians Dropping Chief Wahoo Logo From Uniforms

Jan 29, 2018
Tony Dejak / AP

The Cleveland Indians announced Monday they are dropping the Chief Wahoo logo from their uniforms next year, bowing to decades of complaints that the grinning, red-faced caricature used since 1947 is racist.

Keith Srakocic / AP

*Updated on Monday, Jan. 29 at 3:30 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra picked up two Grammys at Sunday night's awards ceremony. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh loves its sports heroes, and they often love the city back. 

NCAA Inquiry At Michigan State Reminds Some Of Penn State

Jan 25, 2018
Carlos Osorio / AP

Lack of institutional control. A failure to protect its athletes from harm. The NCAA's so-called death penalty.

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