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.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

To get some sense of how hard the coronavirus shutdown has hit service-industry workers in Pittsburgh, visit the Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar. The initiative to help patrons funnel funds to unemployed and underemployed workers was launched March 16. As of this past Friday, less than two weeks later, it had about 7,000 names.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Efforts to reign in coronavirus have made home the one place most people are supposed to be. Home has also become the office, school, a place of worship, and, for an increasing number people, the gym.  

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

The furnaces at Pittsburgh Glass Center have gone cold. It’s a small but poignant metaphor for an arts scene in almost complete shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated March 25, 3:11 p.m. ET.

The National Recording Registry was founded in 2000 by the Library of Congress to showcase the breadth and depth of American sound. Every year, 25 recordings are picked to be preserved for posterity.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Photo by Cheryl DeBono Michaelangelos / Courtesy of Flatiron Books

Eliese Goldbach didn’t start out with “steel-mill worker” as a life-goal.

Growing up in Cleveland, in the 1990s, she wanted to be a nun.

Matt Rourke / AP

Taking care of yourself and your family can be difficult during an outbreak. But if you find that you have the energy and ability to pitch in, here are some ways you can help the Pittsburgh community fight against COVID-19.

Food Banks

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Going a little stir crazy? Pittsburgh residents can take a break from idle time and work-from-home routines and get to know the city’s history while taking a stroll. Here’s a guide to one of a number of upcoming tours WESA is compiling for history lovers throughout the region.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

You’ve scrolled through countless of videos of puppies, you’ve binged your shows, and you haven’t changed out of your pajamas since yesterday. (Or was it the day before?)

If you’re self-isolating and need to shake up your routine, here are some virtual offerings in the region to help you battle the doldrums.

Get Moving

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Four days after the Braddock Carnegie Library temporarily closed because of the coronavirus, executive director Vicki Vargo, who was working from home, stopped by to pick up the mail and a few other things. Outside the landmark building’s front door stood a library regular.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Governor Wolf’s order to suspend for two weeks all dine-in service at bars and restaurants in the state to slow the spread of the new coronavirus is already taking its toll on service workers. Local restaurateurs report decreased hours and layoffs because of the rule, which limits restaurants to take-out service.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

One of the first arts groups in Pittsburgh to cancel events because of the COVID-19 pandemic was Bricolage Production Company. About 2 p.m. Thursday, the theater troupe announced it had canceled this weekend’s installment of its long-running storytelling series WordPlay.

Photo by Kitoko Chargois / Courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

“SKIN + Saltwater” is Staycee Pearl’s contribution to the new show by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. It’s a world premiere for the veteran choreographer, and also another significant first: Pearl is the first African-American woman to create a dance for the 51-year-old troupe.

The 18-minute work is part of PBT’s “Here + Now” program, which opens March 20, at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. That’s a bit more than a year since Pearl was offered the opportunity, in a phone call from PBT executive director Harris Ferris.

Chad Hunt

Dr. Azra Raza has many stories to tell about cancer and its treatment.

Don Wright / AP

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys will play in the Hall of Fame Game to honor their former coaches, Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson, who will be inducted this summer.

Courtesy of "Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations"

On today's program: A new film looks at the rise of antisemitism; a proposal could drastically change long-standing protections for birds; City Council is starting over on a trust fund to support parks; and the PSO’s new Pops conductor imagines his first fall season. 

Image courtesy of Scott Andrew

Joan Crawford was one of Hollywood’s top stars for decades. 

Andrea Pekelnicky / Courtesy of Carnegie Science Center

 

On today's program: The Carnegie Science Center names one of its own as permanent director; the broadband industry is in no hurry to fix PA’s rural internet problem; one advisor counsels patience after a shaky week for U.S. markets; and how Super Tuesday shapes the way Pittsburghers get to vote. 

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Glass Center

Glassmaking has certainly changed since humans started doing it, about four millennia ago. But while making art from glass is still a fairly artisanal process, that’s changing, too, as seen in a new exhibit at Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Heinz Memorial Chapel

Poet Emily Dickinson, American Red Cross founder Clara Barton and warrior Joan of Arc are among the women depicted in colorful stained glass windows at the Heinz Memorial Chapel in Oakland. An upcoming tour highlights the accomplishments of these and 54 other historic women, whose legacies are preserved in the 82-year-old neo-Gothic building.

Courtesy of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet has grown a lot since Maria Caruso founded it two decades ago. In recent years, Caruso has increased focus on her solo work.

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

In the West, it’s called “microtonal music.” Elsewhere in the world, it’s just called “music.”

Pittsburgh Black Film Network

Citing a lack of diversity in the local film industry, a new group called the Pittsburgh Black Film Network connects directors, actors and crew to resources throughout the city. On Thursday evening, the organization will host a festival of short films made by African-American directors and producers.

Cover art y Mequitta Ahuja / Courtesy of Deesha Philyaw

“The world is not tender with Black women,” write Deesha Philyaw and Vanessa German. “And we are not always tender with ourselves, or with each other. Pittsburgh, in particular, is not known for tenderness where we are concerned.”

David Bachman Photography for Pittsburgh Opera

Just like the news these days, the new opera “The Last American Hammer” is more than a little absurd, and more than a little tragic.

Courtesy of the artist

The impacts of climate change – what many environmentalists now call “the climate crisis” – are so vast they can be hard to grasp. Australia ablaze, coastlines disappearing beneath the sea, and climate refugees fleeing drought, famine and flood are just the start of a process that’s already reshaping human civilization.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Big increases in attendance and full-time jobs marked the past five years on Pittsburgh’s arts scene. But the arts community needs to become more equitable and inclusive.

Siavash Naghshbandi (Tehran) / Tom Little (Pittsburgh)

A painstaking recreation of an Iranian artist's apartment in Tehran is on display at the Mattress Factory Museum through July. "The Other Apartment" is a joint project of Carnegie Mellon University art professor Jon Rubin and artist Sohrab Kashani, who have been friends for more than a decade.

Courtesy of City of Asylum

A longtime cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s literary scene, City of Asylum runs a range of programs - from supporting exiled writers to managing a bookstore. This year, the nonprofit will expand even further with the launch of two new initiatives: a “Poem of the Week” series created by Allegheny County residents; and a poet laureate program titled “All Pittsburghers are Poets," which received a RADical ImPact Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District last September.

Allentown Art Museum / AP

Thanks to modern technology and some expert detective work, a nearly 400-year-old painting that had long been attributed to an unknown artist in Rembrandt’s workshop has now been judged to have been a work of the Dutch master himself.

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