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.

Renee Rosensteel

Jimmy Cvetic, a singular Pittsburgh character, has died.

Courtesy of Jeff Goldblum / Decca Records

West Homestead native Jeff Goldblum has a knack for booking roles in lucrative Hollywood franchises like Jurassic Park and the Marvel universe, but he's nurtured another love, albeit quietly, for most of his life: jazz.

AP

The publisher of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette paid a “bizarre” visit to the newsroom at around 10 p.m. Saturday, according to newsroom employees who witnessed the events.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

For 32 of its 48 years, arts group Contemporary Craft has been headquartered in the Strip District, in a big space capping the eastern end of the landmark Produce Terminal. There it’s hosted more than 200 exhibitions featuring work by an international array of artists doing cutting-edge versions of traditional disciplines like ceramics, fabric art and metalwork.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Iconic religious paintings, early helicopter renderings and a room of mirrors are among the items at the Carnegie Science Center’s new Leonardo da Vinci exhibit.

Allyson Ruggieri / WESA

Pittsburgh is known for its historically ethnic neighborhoods – such as the Italians of Bloomfield, or the Polish of Polish Hill, but one area of downtown has an ethnic history that is less apparent.

Photo courtesy of the August Wilson Cultural Center.

In its third year, the Black Bottom Film Festival is broadening its footprint. The festival, which starts Friday and continues through Feb. 25, features films spotlighting the African-American experience. It’s run by the August Wilson Cultural Center, located Downtown, which hosts the screenings along with a new venue for the festival, Row House Cinema, in Lawrenceville.

Matt Rourke / AP

Bill Cosby says he "will never have remorse" for the sexual encounter that sent him to prison because he considers his conviction the work of "a low-life district attorney and a corrupt judge."

Cosby's stance could leave him to serve the high end of a three- to 10-year prison term since sex offenders often must show remorse to win parole.

Spokesman Andrew Wyatt says Cosby is prepared to stay in prison rather than apologize for a 2004 encounter he considers consensual.

Photo courtesy of Edda L. Fields-Black

Critics say the history of slavery in the U.S. is poorly understood. Even less well known is the complex story of the rice plantations of South Carolina and Georgia.

Those “low-country” plantations were a big source of wealth in early America. And according to Edda L. Fields-Black, a history professor at Carnegie Mellon University, the farming technology that grew the crops was largely developed in West Africa -- and then imported to the American South by captive Africans.

Courtesy of the August Wilson Cultural Center

The August Wilson Cultural Center, long financially troubled, is now on solid footing and planning more growth. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

A legislative fight may be looming on an issue near and dear to many rural Pennsylvanians’ hearts: hunting on Sundays.

A bill that could allow Sunday hunting has passed through the Senate’s Game and Fisheries Committee and is awaiting consideration before the full chamber.

The hunting restriction is one two so-called “blue laws” that remain on the books in Pennsylvania—measures rooted in religious tradition that ban certain Sunday activities.

The other prohibits buying and selling cars.

Eileen Angulo / gfx

Starting Friday, a library card will give people access to a catalogue of local music from local artists. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is launching STACKS, an online platform developed by tech company Rabble.

Suzanne Clary / Courtesy of the author

Pittsburgh author Jonah Winter wants to make the founding fathers, the Voting Rights Act, and the Supreme Court accessible to kids.

 

Kathleen J. Davis / WESA

Celebrations with dumplings—symbols of good fortune and connection—and lucky red envelopes begin in earnest today to mark the Lunar New Year, followed by 15 days of banquets, ceremonies and performances in honor of 2019's "Year of the Golden Earth Pig."

John Altdorfer / Point Park University

A fresh take on an American classic is premiering at Point Park University’s new Pittsburgh Playhouse.

AP Photo

Bob Friend, who pitched more innings than anyone in Pittsburgh Pirates history, died Sunday. He was 88.

The Pirates said Friend died at his home in Pittsburgh.

Friend holds the Pirates record for innings (3,480 1/3), starts (477) and strikeouts (1,682). The right-hander was an All-Star in three different seasons — in 1960, he made the NL roster for both All-Star games played that summer, and was the starter and winner in the first one.

Stage magicians are familiar faces on TV, and not unknown on local stages. But this week, Pittsburgh gets its first theater focusing solely on magic.

Liberty Magic, an intimate venue focusing on close-up, sleight-of-hand magic, opens Wednesday. The Downtown space, run by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, will feature performers doing multi-week residencies, with six shows weekly.

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.

Mark Clayton Southers owes much of the inspiration for his theater career to an unimpeachable source: August Wilson. It was listening to the Pittsburgh-born Pulitzer Prize winner lecture in South Africa in 1998 that led Southers – then a thirtysomething steel-mill worker and stage actor – to try his hand at writing.

Matt Rourke / AP

A Pittsburgh TV news producer who was fired for writing a graphic calling New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a "known cheater" says he was just trying to have a little fun.

Michael Telek tweeted Wednesday that he got fired from KDKA-TV for putting the phrase underneath Brady's name in the Monday news segment.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

The fourth annual Pittsburgh Humanities Festival will feature artists, academics, and influencers this spring.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Since the summer of 2017, Pittsburghers stuck in traffic at the intersection of Bigelow Boulevard and Herron Avenue could be greeted by a billboard with the same smiling face, positive message and personal phone number. Its message belonged to poet Rachel Ann Bovier. 

Katie Blackley / Courtesy Senator John Heinz History Center

In 1893, Bertha Lamme became the country’s first female engineer when she took a job at Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

Hayley Haldeman will serve as the interim executive director of the Mattress Factory, beginning February 12. Haldeman currently sits on the museum’s Board of Directors, and will relinquish her position on the board, according to a press release.

Seth Farrington / Courtesy of Krish Mohan

Racism, sexism and immigration can be difficult to talk about, especially when engaging people across the political aisle. Pittsburgh stand-up comedian Krish Mohan says he's up to the task and finds that comedy is an effective vehicle to bring folks together. 

Photo by Alyson Derrick / Simon & Schuster

Siobhan Vivian and Rachael Lippincott started as teacher and student, one shepherding two courses of "Writing Youth Literature," and the other still on track to one day practice medicine. When they met, Lippincott says her world began to change. 

Anastasia Higginbotham is making a career out of creating children’s books that explore tough topics. Her acclaimed series “Ordinary Terrible Things” includes titles like “Divorce Is The Worst.” “Death Is Stupid” and “Tell Me About Sex, Grandma.” Her latest might be the most ambitious yet.

Eileen Angulo / gfx

The local music collective gfx is hosting a series of workshops for those interested in DJing and mixing music. The free monthly sessions provide audio equipment and industry expert demonstrations through a partnership with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and others.

Photo by Tyler Ross

It started with TV animal shows. Watching them left comedian Shane Mauss with a lot of questions. So he started emailing scientists.

Google Earth

The opportunities for playing – and hearing – live music Downtown are expanding.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation announced Wednesday that nine venues will add music or expand existing offerings.

Sarah Bader / Courtesy of Kamara Townes

Kamara Townes, who goes professionally by Wavy Wednesday, is an emerging artist who uses satire in her work to explore pop culture and racism. She uses bright colors and draws on cultural symbols like Barbie to confront social justice through her work. 

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