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.

Photo by Jorge Santiago / Courtesy of Pantheon

“For me, it began with the mouse poop,” writes Sarah Menkedick. She was pregnant, living in an Ohio cabin that had mice. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Lawrenceville is one of Pittsburgh’s oldest and largest neighborhoods. Founded in 1814, it was named for Captain James Lawrence, who served in the War of 1812 (of “Don’t Give Up The Ship!” fame). 

 

 

Erin Keane Scott / 90.5 WESA

90.5 WESA sent out a questionnaire March 20 asking how people were feeling about coronavirus. Over 10 days, 271 people responded. Here's what they had to say:

Editor's note: some of the answers have been lightly edited for grammar, spelling and clarity. 

How afraid are you of coronavirus?

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

From Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh, the Koppers Building somewhat blends in with the city’s looming skyscrapers. But when it was first constructed, the 475-foot limestone and granite tower was one of the most distinctive buildings in Pittsburgh. 

Carly Lough / Heinz History Center

Homemade art, videos and social media posts about the coronavirus’ impact in Pittsburgh are being sought by the Heinz History Center. People are asked to submit any digital or physical example of how the city is experiencing and responding to this unprecedented historic event.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic – and stay-home orders from government officials – many people are not leaving their houses, let alone booking hotel rooms. Still, the drop in occupancy rates for hotels in the Pittsburgh region has been swift and staggering.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Independent bookstores have been an unexpected comeback story of the past decade. Since the 2008 recession, their numbers have grown nationally by about 50 percent, according to industry statistics – something most observers wouldn’t have predicted in the age of Amazon. Pittsburgh alone now has a dozen or more such bookshops.

Mike Canton

On WYEP’s 40th anniversary in 2014, hosts and DJs from the station’s history came on air to play setlists and reminisce. Among them was Stephen Chatman, 14-year host and co-founder of The Soul Show, calling in from his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He described one of his favorite radio moments: meeting a man in his new home city who used to listen to his show in Pittsburgh.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It's been more than week since Gov. Tom Wolf ordered Allegheny County residents to stay home and many people have been hunkered down and/or working from home for longer than that. (Here at Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting, we've been working remotely for approximately 19 days, 2 hours and 30 minutes, but who's counting?!) 

With social distancing and #quarentinelife becoming the new normal, here's a look at Pittsburgh life as we all ride the coronavirus wave of uncertainty. 

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.

Pages