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.

Joanne Rogers, Widow Of TV's Famed Mister Rogers, Dies At 92

5 hours ago
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Joanne Rogers, an an accomplished concert pianist who celebrated and protected the legacy of her husband, the beloved children's TV host Mister Rogers, has died in Pittsburgh. She was 92.

Zhao Chuang, PNSO

Many people know that birds descend from dinosaurs.

But a unique new fossil discovery that involved researchers from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History shows that some dinosaurs had a lot more in common with birds than many of us realize.

Courtesy of the Mendelssohn Choir

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, it became clear that indoor choral singing was among the riskiest behaviors one could engage in. So the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, like so many group artistic endeavors, hasn’t had any in-person activities for some 10 months.

Boston Red Sox / Twitter

Pittsburgh-area native Bianca Smith says it’s still “surreal” that she’s about to become the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball. The Boston Red Sox recently announced that they’d hired the 29-year-old as a Minor League coach. 

New Stimulus Gives Philly's Struggling Music Scene Its Own Shot In The Arm

Dec 30, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

On Sunday night, Sean Salm could see the stage at Voltage Lounge lighting up again, with guitarists, singers and even professional wrestlers performing in front of a live audience after months of silence.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

This past spring, the EQT Children’s Theater Festival went virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now the pandemic has birthed a first-ever holiday-season edition of the festival.

Pittsburgh’s newest Christmas-themed show is a sequel of sorts.

Frank Franklin II / AP

Pope Francis on Friday appointed the Rev. Monsignor Larry Kulick as the sixth bishop of the Greensburg Diocese, which is home to more than 128,000 Roman Catholics.

The 54-year-old has served as administrator since his predecessor, Bishop Edward Malesic, became the bishop of Cleveland in September, the diocese said.

"Western Pennsylvania has always been my home. I feel honored to be able to serve as bishop in the diocese where I was born, raised, educated, ordained and have served my entire life,” Kulick said in a statement.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was August Wilson’s first play to hit Broadway. Now it’s his second to become a feature film. The Pittsburgh-born playwright’s namesake August Wilson Center for African American Culture marks the occasion with a virtual panel discussion featuring some of the new film’s distinguished creative team.

Paul g. Wiegman / Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Garden

Operating during a pandemic was a challenge for Pittsburgh’s museums. Not operating is harder still.

For the second time this year, museums and similar attractions have been ordered closed by Gov. Tom Wolf in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In Pittsburgh, that includes venues from the Carnegie Museum of Art and Heinz History Center to Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and the National Aviary. The shutdown is scheduled to last three weeks, until Jan. 4.

Kathy Slencak

Funeral services are a rite of passage that provide mourners a place to express the many feelings that accompany the loss of a loved one. But the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent restrictions on large gatherings have changed — and in some cases prevented — these rituals.

 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The University of Pittsburgh’s 31 nationality rooms are decorated for their respective holidays and just a click away.

Ralph Wilson / AP

A day before many high school winter sports competitions were set to begin in Pennsylvania, the state called time out. All high school sports activities have been prohibited as part of a three-week order also restricting indoor dining and most gatherings.

Courtesy of Interational Puppet Festival

Puppetry is the epitome of a hands-on art form. Nonetheless, thanks to the pandemic, Pittsburgh’s newest puppet showcase is virtual, which is a big reason it's able to include performers from around the world.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

At the intersection of Franklin and South Trenton avenues in Regent Square, an unassuming blue marker commemorates the spot where President George Washington once camped.

Washington Ends Pittsburgh's Perfect Season 23-17

Dec 8, 2020
Barry Reeger / AP

The Pittsburgh Steelers spent three months shaking off whatever 2020 threw at them. Schedule changes. Injuries to a handful of impact players. The ever-present threat of COVID-19.

www.earldotter.jpg

On New Year’s Eve 1969, the murder of Jock Yablonski closed out a decade already bloody with assassinations. The crusading labor leader and his wife, Margaret, and daughter, Charlotte, were gunned down in their beds at home in Clarksville, Pa., a small Mon Valley town an hour south of Pittsburgh.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As Pittsburgh gears up for winter following the first snow of the season, many are looking for safe ways to enjoy the outdoors while coronavirus cases increase in the region.

Tyson Johnston, land stewardship coordinator for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy says Pittsburghers should prepare in advance for outdoor experiences.

“It’s always a good idea to take a look at the place you’re going before you get there,” Tyson says. “I’d suggest preparing with some extra warm clothes, bring some extra water and snacks with you, and let someone know where you plan on going.”

Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse

At a time when theater artists are looking for new ways to create, Dave Solomon thought the off-Broadway musical “Ordinary Days” provided the perfect opportunity.

Short-Handed Ravens Put Up Fight, Fall Short In Pittsburgh

Dec 3, 2020
Don Wright / AP

The Baltimore Ravens didn't practice for more than a week while COVID-19 raced through the locker room and forced the NFL to postpone their trip to Pittsburgh three separate times. They ran onto Heinz Field on Wednesday afternoon with 11 practice squad players added to the roster and star quarterback Lamar Jackson and starting running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins back in Baltimore.

A traditional gallery show featuring work by 100 Pittsburgh artists would be noteworthy (not to mention crowded). This week’s online auction showcasing that many locally based artists is likely a first.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

The pandemic-related financial struggles of Allegheny County’s parks, libraries and arts groups aren’t over yet, but at least one major funder seems on the path to recovery.

Courtesy of Bridge and Tunnel Books

Slam poetry began in the 1980s, in Chicago, as an alternative to more staid academic-poetry readings. With its combination of plain talk, impassioned performance, and live judging, it was an exciting new scene for fans and spoken-word performers alike, and it spread nationally.

Mark Simpson / Alumni Theater Company

Acclaimed young-adult novelist Sharon G. Flake has adapted her very first novel into her very first play.

Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP

The Thanksgiving night game between the Ravens and Steelers has been switched to Sunday because of coronavirus issues with Baltimore.

The NFL announced the move Wednesday, but did not specify a time of game nor which network would televise it. Previously, it was scheduled for NBC's prime-time telecast.

Baltimore placed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee on the reserve/COVID-19, joining running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins and defensive tackle Brandon Williams. The Ravens also have been doing team work virtually.

For artists in theater, music and dance, there are few honors higher than a gig at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Wes Carrasquillo / Courtesy of Liveright Press

Puerto Ricans have been immigrating to the U.S. for generations. Yet many mainlanders know little about this Caribbean island. For example, in 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, some Americans seemed surprised to learn that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh announced it’s most recent Sister Cities partnership with Glasgow, Scotland during a virtual signing ceremony on Nov. 12. 

Courtesy of the artist

The business of crafting items we use everyday isn’t always seen as art.

That’s at least a bit unfair, given that well-designed pieces of clothing, furniture and more can be artworks with practical as well as aesthetic value.

The Carnegie Museum of Art – which has long highlighted furniture and other products of industrial design amidst its traditional fine art – is giving a stage to local artisans who make art you can use.

Photo by Nicolette Kalafatis / Courtesy of 412 Food Rescue

Leah Lizarondo calls the Yinz Citizen concert “the Pittsburgh mix-tape”: The benefit event for her group 412 Food Rescue brings together local musical talent from across generations.

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