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.

Speaking Volumes: Aaron Bisno

Dec 3, 2012

Rabbi Aaron Bisno of Rodef Shalom Congregation values narrative for its power "to convince someone of the meaning of an argument because of its direct implications on someone with whom they have a relationship, who they care about."

Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts

Mayor's "Award For Public Art" Presented To Bridgeville Artist

Nov 30, 2012

At the Greater Pittsburgh Art Council’s annual meeting today, Toby Fraley of Bridgeville was honored with the 2012 Mayor’s Award for Public Art.  Established by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in 2007, the award acknowledges the power of public art in the community and celebrates those who are committed to supporting art in the city.

Fraley said his award-winning piece entitled “Robot Repair” was highly influenced by the memories he has of his father from when he young.  

From fiction to food, from history to science fiction, from sports to poetry, from biographies to artwork, the Heinz History Center this weekend will host the 11th annual “Books in the Burgh” holiday book fair.  Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to meet and greet local authors.

Carnegie Trees Back Again For The Holidays

Nov 28, 2012

A long standing holiday tradition in Pittsburgh returns as the Carnegie Trees at Carnegie Museum of Art kicks off its 51st year.

Seven grand, 20-foot trees, flank the museum’s perennial favorite, the Neapolitan presepio, a beautiful 18th century Nativity in the Hall of Architecture.

Each tree is stylishly decorated in an international theme celebrating Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939, now on view in the Heinz Galleries at Carnegie Museum of Art.

"Conscientious" Consumerism During Holiday Season

Nov 26, 2012

If a product is considered to be “green,” the production of the item made little impact on the environment.  Similarly, if a product is “fair trade certified,” then the workers, who made it, received reasonable wages and the vendors sell the product at a fair price.

Speaking Volumes: Zach Simons

Nov 26, 2012

Zach Simons is a Pittsburgh-based standup comic and podcaster, and a lifelong Saturday Night Live fan. Lately he's been reading:

Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller, Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live

Laser Scan of Frank Lloyd Wright Synagogue Will Lead to Virtual Tours

Nov 25, 2012

Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Beth Sholom synagogue outside Philadelphia just had a laser treatment.

This laser won't do anything for your wrinkles. It's a valuable tool for buildings to create three-dimensional maps for historic documentation and preservation.

Three backpack-sized scanners mounted on heavy-duty tripods went to work inside and outside the landmark Elkins Park temple for several days this month.

Roethlisberger and Wife Welcome Son

Nov 23, 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his wife Ashley are giving thanks for their new bundle of joy.

Benjamin Roethlisberger Jr. arrived Wednesday at 10:06 p.m., according to the athlete's website. The couple's first child weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and was just over 19 inches long.

The quarterback posted Thursday that mother and baby boy were doing well.

"We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, it really means a lot to us. God is so good!" he wrote.

Spielberg Marks Gettysburg Address Anniversary

Nov 19, 2012

One of the world’s best-known directors helped mark the anniversary today of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  The crowd of hundreds laughed in the morning cold as the event’s keynote speaker, director Steven Spielberg, called them fellow “Lincoln obsessives.” The Oscar-winner says over the course of creating his latest film, “Lincoln,” he has come to think of the nation’s 16th president as an old friend.

Speaking Volumes: Ruth Drescher

Nov 19, 2012

Ruth Drescher from Squirrel Hill will be the first to admit that Paul Auster's new memoir -- written entirely in the second person -- may not be for everyone. But she found Winter Journal unexpectedly compelling.

Paul Auster, Winter Journal

This memoir from the author of The Invention of Solitude details his mother's life and death, as well as the effects of time and aging on one's body and memory.

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh kicked off its 13th annual Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive today, hoping to “warm up the winter for a family in need.”  The iconic Fred Rogers began each television show by putting on a pair of sneakers and a cardigan sweater.  One of his sweaters is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History.

Marketing Director Bill Schlageter said the Children's Museum is proud of how many people have participated through the years.

Get Ready to Light Up Friday

Nov 15, 2012

The holiday season will officially hit Downtown Pittsburgh tomorrow as Christmas trees are lit, bands begin to play, and the city celebrates the 52nd annual Light Up Night.

This year’s Light Up Night begins at noon Friday as Mayor Luke Ravenstahl lights the City's official Christmas tree at the City-County Building and the U.S. Steel Plaza dedicates its crèche simultaneously.  The county lights its tree later that afternoon.

Speaking Volumes: Staycee Pearl

Nov 12, 2012

Staycee Pearl is a Pittsburgh-based choreographer who stages dance performances based on, or inspired by, works of literature. She offers a few favorite books and talks about their role in her work at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater.

Octavia Butler, Wild Seed

Braddock Hospital had been in the community for more than 100 years when it closed in 2010. It had been bought by UPMC in 1996, but declining admissions and the resulting revenue loss took its toll. Braddock independent filmmaker Tony Buba was at the closing announcement and said he got consumed in the effort to save the hospital, during which he shot a lot of footage. He put together a film about the saga, but said it’s about much more.

PA's First Lady Tours Pittsburgh School

Nov 6, 2012

Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett has been stopping at various schools across the state as a part of her “Opening Doors” initiative that aims to increase high school graduation rates by targeting middle school students.

Speaking Volumes: Paige McKenzie

Nov 5, 2012

Paige McKenzie, from Penn Hills, is a fan of travel writing and memoirs.

“We accept the love we think we deserve," is perhaps the most famous line from the recently released movie, “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”.  The film was the inspiration for Pittsburgh’s first “Wallflowers and Wildflowers: An Alternative Homecoming”.  The event welcomes local high school students who find it difficult or intimidating to attend their own school dances and will be held at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Saturday, November 10.

With Halloween passed, for those of us not trick-or-treating, people are looking to move on the the next holiday. The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership will kick off the Christmas season with the 52nd annual Light Up Night.

With the CAPA (Creative And Performing Arts) high school choir performing, organizers and officials met in PPG Place’s Wintergarden to announce this year’s events.

Speaking Volumes: Lori Jakiela

Oct 29, 2012 VOLUMES_Lori Jakiela_0.mp3

Lori Jakiela is a poet, a memoirist, and a devotee of sparse, unsentimental prose. A few of the books you might encounter in her writing class at Chatham or Pitt-Greensburg:

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Bruce Springsteen will take the stage in Pittsburgh Saturday night, but it will not be just another concert. The music icon has partnered with Rainbow Kitchen Community Services to help benefit its food pantry. The organization will be collecting monetary donations and non-perishable food items during the show at the Consol Energy Center.

The Homestead based charity offers several anti-hunger programs and support services for local families focused primarily on helping low-income people to achieve and maintain an improved quality of life and self-sufficiency.

A night of music, bocce, and food awaits attendees of One Young World as they leave the David L. Lawrence Convention Center tonight.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) is organizing the One Young World Welcome Exchange.

“We have a beautiful downtown. I was lucky enough to get to go to the welcome ceremony,” said PDP President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup. “What they were saying was ‘What’s your initial reaction?’ ‘Everyone in Pittsburgh is super-friendly; your city’s beautiful and very clean.’ And those are incredible first impressions to have.”

In a city known for its love of food, international delegates taking part in the One Young World Summit this weekend will attend “home dinners” throughout Pittsburgh. The dinners will provide the young adults with a taste of authentic American cuisine and hospitality.  Some of the dinners will be at private homes, others at institutions such as Phipps Conservatory and the University of Pittsburgh.

Bringing Creativity Back To Pittsburgh

Oct 15, 2012

A local non-profit group is hoping to get a handle on just how creative one city neighborhood is and then look for ways to encourage more creativity.  CityLAB has launched the Garfield Creative census, which will calculate the percentage of creative workers in Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood.

Speaking Volumes: R. Stanton Wettick

Oct 15, 2012 VOLUMES_R Stanton Wettick.mp3

When he's not eyeball-deep in legal briefs, Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Stanton Wettick likes to reads fiction and nonfiction imbued with a sense of place. He recommends:

Richard Ford, Canada

Art of the World’s Fair Comes to Pittsburgh

Oct 12, 2012

 The Carnegie Museum of Art is opening a new exhibition this weekend highlighting the art of design that has been part of the World’s Fairs over the years.

Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fair, 1851-1939 includes more than 200 objects representing the advances in artistry exhibited during 88 years of the fair’s history.

Jason Busch, Chief Curator at the museum, said they want people to feel like their stepping back in time.

Speaking Volumes: Pledge Drive Edition

Oct 8, 2012

In recognition of the fall membership campaign, book picks from 90.5 WESA and WYEP pledge room volunteers:

Kate Howe, Beaver Falls

VictorHugo, Les Miserables

Grant Street Is A "Great" Street

Oct 3, 2012

Pittsburgh’s Grant Street has been recognized as one of the greatest streets in America.

The American Planning Association (APA) designated Grant Street as one of 10 great streets for 2012 under the organization’s Great Places in America program. The program looks for architecture and infrastructure that exemplifies exceptional character while also highlighting the role planning and planners play in communities.

Speaking Volumes: Bruce Boni on Banned Books

Oct 1, 2012 VOLUMES_Bruce Bonni.mp3

In recognition of Banned Books Week (9/30-10/6), we talk literary censorship with Bruce Boni of the American Civil Liberties Union of PA.

The following titles are just a few of the hundreds challenged or removed from U.S. schools and libraries in 2011, but you can still find them at your local CLP branch:


This Week is Banned Books Week

Sep 25, 2012

Short films about banned books, a theater performance of The Wizard of Oz, and notable Pittsburghers reading from censored works will highlight Pittsburgh’s 17th Banned Books Week.

The ACLU of Greater Pittsburgh, in conjunction with the Carnegie Library and WYEP, is hosting “FREADom” on Thursday  to celebrate free expression in art and literature.  

Speaking Volumes: Chuck Kinder

Sep 17, 2012 VOLUMES_Chuck Kinder.mp3