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.

Courtesy of Bob Rumba

If the phrase “puppetry for adults” sounds either oxymoronic or potentially salacious, the Puppetry Guild of Pittsburgh has a show to prove otherwise.

The group’s third annual Puppet Slam and picnic is the local manifestation of a national subculture of puppetry that’s not just for kids, says Cheryl Capezutti, perhaps Pittsburgh’s best-known puppet artist and an organizer of the Slam.

Photo by Jeff Zoet / Courtesy of Day Bracey

To tell how the nation’s first black beer festival came to be held in Pittsburgh, you might start with a beer. 

Getty Images

Editor's note on Aug. 8, 2018: This piece has been substantially updated from a version published in 2014.

A solemn little boy with a bowl haircut is telling Mr. Rogers that his pet got hit by a car. More precisely, he's confiding this to Daniel Striped Tiger, the hand puppet that, Rogers' wife, Joanne, says, "pretty much was Fred."

Penn State Linebacker Wants To Be A Crime-Stopper

Aug 8, 2018
Jay LaPrete / AP

Koa Farmer's taste in television steers in a very clear direction.

"I liked 'Law and Order.' I liked 'CSI.' I liked 'Bones.' 'Criminal Minds' was a good one," the Penn State linebacker said. "And continuing to college following, 'How to Get Away with Murder,' 'Breaking Bad.' I'm just really into that kind of stuff. Into the competitive field of getting criminals. The whole critical thinking part of how agents handle certain situations or conflicts."

Courtesy of Idia'Dega

If you’re trying to save the planet from home, you’re more likely to look at your thermostat than your wardrobe. But Tereneh Idia says the latter counts, too.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Giddy crowds of kids from a local summer camp recently gathered in the lobby of the Duquesne Incline’s upper station on Mount Washington. 

True T PGH

The term "ballroom" might conjure images of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire moving gracefully around a dance floor, but to some it has an additional meaning. 

 

 


Gabrianna Dacko

Zoje Stage isn’t a parent. But the Pittsburgh-based author’s debut novel describes a deeply disturbing mother-daughter relationship rooted largely in the mind of a sociopathic 7-year-old girl.

Ohio State Closes Ranks As Meyer Probe Adds New Scandal

Aug 2, 2018
Annie Rice / AP

Ohio State closed ranks around the rollout of its football season as the university investigates whether coach Urban Meyer failed to report domestic abuse allegations, a scandal hitting a school already accused of not facing up to sexual misconduct allegations against a sports doctor.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh VegFest

This Saturday, fans of vegan food and animal advocacy can taste the latest meat-free cuisine, purchase organic health products and hang out with shelter cats at the fourth annual Pittsburgh VegFest.

Courtesy of the Office of Public Art

A new public artwork in Larimer draws directly on the stories of longtime residents of the Pittsburgh neighborhood.

Larimer Stories follows a two-year collaboration between local artists and the community’s senior citizens. The work is a large aluminum frame, like a billboard, with racks for movable metal letters that spell out short statements from the participants about life in Larimer over the past century.

Photo by Tom Altany

American Samoa sits in the South Pacific, a group of small islands six hours’ flight from Hawai’i. Yet it’s a place that even football fans who aren’t versed in geography know well: A disproportionate number of college and pro stars trace their origins to this culturally unique U.S. territory, including retired Pittsburgh Steelers star Troy Polamalu.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Thousands of crystals dangle above the heads of Pittsburgh theater patrons, reflecting light onto the walls and ceilings of the elegant halls. The glass giants help create a distinct aesthetic for the cultural institutions, exuding charm and sophistication.

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

In August, a group of six young people from a Pittsburgh kinship care program will travel to Haiti for a cross-cultural trip through the charitable arm of a Homewood non-profit called A Second Chance, Inc.

Carnegie Museum of Art, © Conner Family Trust

The Carnegie Museum of Art is revising its take on contemporary art.

Allegra Battle / 90.5 WESA

In October the Carnegie Museum of Art with unveil its world-renowned Carnegie International Exhibit, but a much smaller, unknown art show will take place at the same time, just steps from the museum entrance.

West African dance is bringing rhythm to Pittsburgh’s East End. Kadiatou Conte-Forte is the founder and artistic director of Balafon West African Dance Ensemble

Carnegie Library Archivist, Bookseller Charged In $8M Rare Book Theft Scheme

Jul 20, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

A library archivist and an antique bookseller are charged with stealing millions of dollars' worth of rare books, illustrations, maps and photographs from a Pittsburgh library over a 20-year period.

Courtesy of the Mattress Factory

It was the first time Ricardo Iamuuri Robinson had visited South Africa, but the coastal city of Cape Town looked strangely familiar.

Renee Rosensteel / WYEP

There’s a new plan to improve Pittsburgh’s music scene.

The Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Study was released Thursday. The 86-page report, 10 months in the making, suggests that Pittsburgh’s scene needs more leadership, career development for musicians, regulatory changes and more.

Courtesy of Germaine Williams

Germaine Williams, CEO of the financially troubled Pittsburgh Filmmakers / Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, resigned Wednesday after 18 months on the job.

Board president Yasmeen Ariff-Sayedshe wrote a letter to "Friends of PF/PCA" Wednesday morning thanking Williams, who came to the group from the Pittsburgh Foundation, for his passion and service.

He gave no reason for stepping down, Ariff-Sayed said, but added that she and fellow board members had been expecting his resignation. She declined to comment further.

Michael Wyke / AP

Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell and the defending AFC North champions failed to reach an agreement on a new contract by Monday's deadline, meaning he will play under the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise tag for a second straight year and hit the open market next spring.

Jim Cunningham Photography / National Aviary

A familiar room in Pittsburgh’s National Aviary looks like new.

Art by Rachel Masilamani / Courtesy of the artist

In a scene in Rachel Masilamani’s short comic titled “Who Does He Favor?,” a married couple discusses both the 2016 presidential campaign and the couple’s pregnancy, but the lines blur between the two topics. 

Nam Y. Huh / AP

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance with the league on Tuesday challenging its national anthem policy.

The union says that the new policy, which the league imposed without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on players' rights. The filing met a statute of limitations deadline and will be heard by an independent arbitrator, an NFLPA spokesman said.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


While drivers won't find a poltergeist hanging out on the 100-foot long abandoned on-ramp that sneaks up on drivers heading east on Bigelow Boulevard, they might spot trees and shrubs sprouting through concrete in spite of heavy barriers.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Would repainting a longstanding work of street art encourage vandalism?

Jim Judkis / Focus Features via AP

Tom Hanks is slated to play Fred Rogers in the film "You Are My Friend," which will begin filming in Pittsburgh this fall. 

Astronaut From New Castle Heads To Space Station In 2019

Jul 6, 2018
James Blair/NASA via AP

Lt. Col. Andrew Morgan always dreamed about going to space. In July 2019, his dream becomes reality.

Morgan, who has always called New Castle home due to deep family ties in the community despite never having lived there, will be living and working on the International Space Station, orbiting 245 miles above the Earth's surface, as part of a seven-month mission.

He was selected by NASA to become an astronaut in 2013, with the expectation of going to space after spending close to a decade training. Morgan achieved a space mission in six years.

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

A new art exhibit exploring sacred space in a secular world has opened at Regent Square’s Concept Art Gallery. It’s the work of Carnegie Mellon University architecture professor Doug Cooper and his wife, fellow architecture professor Stefani Danes.

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