How Arts & Lectures Sets A Mood With Its Annual Author Series

Aug 30, 2019

On today's program: What it takes to find balance for Pittsburgh's reading and listening pleasure; how the Allegheny County Jail educates the minors in its charge; impeachment talks are dividing the activists who helped propel Conor Lamb to victory; a look at the opioid epidemic tracks with previous substance use plagues; and a starter list of Pittsburgh must-sees.

Arts & Lectures kicks off a new season with "Ten Evenings"
(00:00 — 12:30) 

Since 1991, Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures has been connecting celebrated authors with the Pittsburgh community, hosting conversational readings and talks often written exclusively for the Steel City. Executive director Stephanie Flom says its 2019 programming won't disappoint. 

"We try to mix it up and to make sure there is a nice balance of topics and styles," she says, "as well as the personalities of the authors, their backgrounds and the issues that they’re addressing.” 

The next author, Jeff Gordinier, appears 7 p.m. Thursday at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall. The new “Ten Evenings” season begins September 23. Find the full program schedule here.

How the back-to-school rush hits students behind bars
(13:11 
— 17:27)

All across the country, students are returning to school, and in Pittsburgh, that includes youth housed at the Allegheny County Jail. The jail runs a full high school for juveniles charged as adults. WESA’s An-Li Herring reports that students say it gives them hope, even behind bars.

Lamb draws criticism for his moderate take on Trump
(17:28 
— 21:46)

A majority of House Democrats support beginning an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, but Democrats from moderate districts have been cautious, including U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb. 90.5 WESA's Lucy Perkins reports that, because of the political makeup of his district, Lamb’s impeachment approach has drawn national attention, and divided the activists who helped elect him.

How people respond to today's drug epidemic will inform how we see users in the future
(21:49 
— 26:50)

The opioid epidemic isn't the first drug epidemic in the U.S., nor likely the last. Historian David Herzberg, of the State University of New York at Buffalo, tells WESA health reporter Sarah Boden that society is still paying for poorly treated crack cocaine users in the 1980s and 1990s, which especially affected black and Latin-x communities. 

By contrast, opioid use has inspired a collective, sympathetic understanding of the people who use them—inspiring non-users to "think about them as people who belong to us," he says, deserving of both protection and treatment. Herzberg says he wonders how the next wave will land.

"How do we translate the things we've been saying about these suburban white kids using opioids? How do we translate that so that it applies to everyone who uses drugs?"

New edition explores "100 Things to Do in Pittsburgh Before You Die"
(26:52 
— 38:38)

Author and journalist Rossilynne Culgan says anytime is the best time to be a tourist in your own backyard. In her new book, the Southwestern Pennsylvania native rediscovered her home with insider guides to the best Pittsburgh has to offer. Find more on the book here.

90.5 WESA's Julia Zenkevich, Julia Maruca and Hannah Gaskill contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.