Events

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Light Up Night 2016 schedule announced, pedestrian improvements and green-energy installation among changes

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 1:08 PM

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Anyone familiar with Light Up Night knows that it’s one of the most vibrant, crowded nights that Downtown Pittsburgh experiences each year. Pedestrians cram on the sidewalks and streets to watch buildings and Christmas trees get illuminated, listen to live music and watch fireworks erupt over the the city's three rivers.

To accommodate all the foot traffic, sections of Ft. Duquesne Boulevard will be closed to cars and will act as a pedestrian promenade during the holiday festival held on Nov. 18. The promenade will include two large music stages, as well as many food vendors and interactive attractions. It will also provide great views of the fireworks, said Jeremy Waldrup of nonprofit coalition Pittsburgh Downtown Partners at a Nov. 3 press conference. Also new this year: cable and internet giant Comcast agreed to a multiyear naming-rights deal, so the festival will be referred to as Comcast Light Up Night

Waldrup joked that it might be a difficult sell Pittsburghers on the name change, given how many locals still call PPG Paints Arena the Civic Arena, even though they were never the same structure.

“I know Pittsburghers can be a little resistant to change, but we need your help to make Comcast Light Up Night a household name,” said Waldrup.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald recognized Pittsburghers' stubborn ways, but believes things are changing, considering Downtown's renewed vitality.

“We may be a bit resistant to change, but things are changing,” said Fitzgerald. “People are living Downtown, and we are embracing the changes.”

Comcast is also bringing changes to the night. Christine Whitaker of Comcast said there will be 30 “street team” members in light-up jackets roaming Downtown and handing out Santa hats. She also said there will be a virtual-reality booth where users can experience a NASCAR simulation and WiFi access on Ft. Duquesne boulevard.

Another big change to this year’s festival is the installation of a wind-powered, LED-light display on the Rachel Carson Bridge. Similar to the popular light display on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the vertical suspension bars on the Rachel Carson Bridge will light up in artistic patterns.

“We are celebrating what we are: a city of bridges,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto at the press conference. “And we are celebrating one of our great leaders, Rachel Carson.”

Carson, a Springdale native, was a pioneer in the the U.S.’s environmental movement, and authored influential books, such as Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us. The project is sponsored by German-based material-science company Covestro and will use wind turbines manufactured by Pittsburgh-based manufacturer WindStax to power the lights.

This year, the main music stages will be placed on Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, and top musical acts for the festival include rock band O.A.R. and local pop singer Daya, as well as other artists.

Comcast Light Up Night will be held Fri., Nov. 18. The tree lighting is at 11:15 a.m.; activities run throughout the day, with the fireworks begining at 7 p.m.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pittsburgh’s Inaugural Homewood-Brushton Self-Guided Arts and Culture Tour this Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:42 AM

homewood-art-tour.jpg

Cultural treasures past and present are the focus of this free neighborhood tour, which takes place in conjunction with this year’s Harambee Black Arts Festival.

After picking up your tour map at the festival’s registration table (located on Kelly Street between North Lang and North Homewood avenues), head out to see sites associated with pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn, photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris, pioneering black supermodel Naomi Sims, jazz musician Erroll Garner and more. All these luminaries lived, worked or played in Homewood.

Architectural landmarks include Mystery Manor, home to the National Negro Opera Company (the nation’s first African-American opera troupe), and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh — Homewood.

The tour is presented by Operation Better Block, Inc., and the Homewood-Brushton Business Association and Homewood Artist Residency. Organizers include historian and author John Brewer, Jr., Operation Better Block’s Demi Kolke, art historian Kilolo Luckett, and the HBBA’s Diane Turner.

Free transportation is available for seniors and those with physical disabilities. For more information, see here.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pittsburgh's SouthSide Works Exposed festival returns tomorrow

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 11:09 AM

SouthSide Works Exposed is back for its 12th year, partnering with I Made It! crafts marketplace to bring nearly 70 local artisans to South 27th Street for a packed three-day weekend. Handmade crafts in all sorts of media will be available for purchase each day. 

The crowd at an earlier SouthSide Works Exposed
  • The crowd at an earlier SouthSide Works Exposed
Live bands will perform throughout the weekend. Friday will feature Tres Lads and Bastard Bearded Irishmen, while Saturday showcases Shelley Duff, The Delaney’s, Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution, Kierra Darshell & Drag Performers and closer No Bad JuJu.

Sunday is Kids Day, with live animals, a magic show, kids' Zumba and a set from Kelsey Friday and the Rest of the Week Band. 

Additionally, about 10 food trucks, with menu items ranging from Japanese cuisine to gourmet meatballs to the timeless pierogie, will be available through the festival.

SouthSide Works Exposed takes place 5-10 p.m. tomorrow; noon-10 p.m. on Sat., July 9; and noon-5 p.m., on Sun., July 10. Admission is free. For more information, including a full schedule, see here

The festival is centered at the corner of Sidney and South 27th streets, on the South Side.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Author of book on housing and segregation in Pittsburgh tomorrow

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 5:06 PM

Chicago-based journalist Natalie Moore visits the Barnes & Noble at the Waterfront, in West Homestead, with her new book The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation (St. Martin’s Press).

Natalie Moore
  • Natalie Moore
The books explores government policies that have kept Chicago segregated by race. Moore argues that race (rather than class) is the defining factor in inequality and a pervasive feature of life there.

The critically acclaimed book should have resonance nationally, and perhaps especially in Pittsburgh, where segregation is rife and where many say an influx of new development (hello, East Liberty!) has left many longtime residents, in particular African Americans, without affordable housing.

“While mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel have touted Chicago as a ‘world-class city,’ it remains one of the most segregated cities in America,” according to press materials for The South Side. “And while it would be easy to think of a city with a billion-dollar park, Michelin-rated restaurants, waterfront views, world-class shopping, and a thriving theater scene as a model for other metropolitan areas, underneath the shiny façade lurks the horrible reality of deeply-rooted and destructive racial segregation.”

Moore grew up in Chicago’s South Side and is the South Side bureau reporter for WBEZ-FM, Chicago’s NPR station. In the past, she’s worked for Detroit News, St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Associated Press in Jerusalem. Her journalism has also been published in national outlets including Essence and In These Times.

Moore will be at Barnes & Noble for an informal discussion from 7-9 p.m. tomorrow. The event is free.

The store is located at 100 West Bridge St.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Author of new book 'Frackopoly' speaks in Pittsburgh tonight

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 10:35 AM

wenonah-hauter-frackopoly.jpg

Wenonah Hauter has been entrenched in policy for a long time. As the founder and current director of  the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, she helped organize to ban fracking in New York. Since 1989, she served in the upper echelons of three environmental-advocacy organizations, and now she's debuting her second book on regulations that create industry monopolies. In Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment, Hauter walks readers through the history of policies governing the industry and introduces various players that created fracking's ubiquity today. (Her first book was titled Foodopoly and looked at big industry and food policy.)

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the practice of injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure to release oil or gas trapped in rock formations there.

City Paper caught up with Hauter by phone before she speaks in Pittsburgh tonight in a free event at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Why did you decide to write this book?
I've worked on energy issues for a long time and have been interested in how we ended up with the energy system that we have today, so I decided to write a book that both looks at the history of the oil and gas industry and the politics that have led us here today. I especially highlighted the grassroots movement that’s emerged to ban fracking.

In Western Pennsylvania, people often talk about fracking in the Marcellus Shale because we live right on top of it. But you went around the world and the country and looked at fracking in other places. Can you talk about that?
Fracking was developed in the U.S. and was transported to other places in the world, even through our State Department, which promoted fracking. First [fracking] was for energy independence here in the U.S., and then when the price of oil and gas fell, it was about working with allies around the world to stabilize prices.

But one of the things I learned when writing Frackopoly was that from the very earliest days of the oil and gas industry to the monopoly that John D. Rockefeller had, the oil and gas industry has had constant booms and busts. Overproduction is just the story. ... In our view, this was just irresponsible to frack at such a rapid rate. It’s a number of technologies that come together that make it possible to go deep underground or deep under the ocean to loosen up oil or gas. One of the misconceptions is [that] fracking is mostly for natural gas, but over the last several years fracking has been used 80 percent [of the time] for oil.

You mentioned that fracking was developed here and then exported all over the world. This has actually come up in the presidential campaign. Did you get into how presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was involved in advocating for fracking in other countries as Secretary of State?
Yes, I do mention it in the global section, [but the book] was finalized earlier this year, so I haven’t talked a lot about the presidential election. But I did talk about the secretary’s term as Secretary of State, and she definitely sent representatives and, in some cases visited herself, to places like Bulgaria and Romania. Bulgaria’s congress banned fracking, and the State Department was very anxious to see that policy undone. We often see this with a number of industries where the State Department is actually used as an instrument to benefit U.S. corporations. 

What are the examples of public policies across the nation that paved the way for fracking's popularity?
There are a lot of ways that environmental regulations have been manipulated to help the oil and gas industry over the last several decades. But I also wanted to talk about some of the other policies that aren’t on those people’s radars. The price of natural gas was deregulated beginning in 1978. For decades before that, the price of gas was determined by the Federal Power Commission, [which] also determined if a new pipeline needed to be built, and [producers] were regulated on cost of production and transporting the gas. [Former President] Jimmy Carter create[d] the Department of Energy and then as an agency inside of [it], the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. So you can see this is really technical stuff. This was followed up by the deregulation of electricity markets. …

And then there were other major things, the Energy Policy Act of 2005. We often hear about the Halliburton Loophole, which exempted fracking chemicals from disclosure or regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. What we don’t often hear about is FERC’s power being expanded so they could condemn land and force people to allow pipelines or transmission lines to be built. And then one very important other thing that happened [in 2005], the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 was repealed. That was legislation directed at making electric and gas utilities behave responsibly because a big reason for the 1929 crash was terrible irresponsible speculation, the kind of speculation that we’ve recently seen in 2008 and 2009 that crashed our economy. When that was repealed, it allowed electric utilities to become giant.

It sounds like you walk readers through a trail of legislation that led us to today.
What I do in Frackopoly, I go through the personalities because this is wonky stuff. I talk about who they were, who made this happen. I talk about some of the recent personalities, people like the late [Chesapeake Energy executive] Aubrey McClendon, who just died very mysteriously, and a number of other people. And I was journalistic in doing it. Obviously I have a political agenda. I don’t pretend that I don’t.

Are you a journalist by training?
No I’m an anthropologist, but I’ve been writing for years. I like the facts to speak for themselves. Especially on this issue, you don’t need a lot of rhetoric. Just look at the facts. I really meticulously footnoted this book because I expect it will be controversial.

Hauter speaks at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Ave., in East Liberty. Admission is free. Find more info here.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Afro-Pop, Reggae Concert on Saturday Benefits Pittsburgh-Based Medical Nonprofit

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 3:02 PM

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater hosts a concert by Zambian-born musician Mathew Tembo and the Afro Routes Band to benefit Surgicorps, which provides free medical care in developing countries.

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Saturday’s benefit is specifically to support Surgicorps’ annual trip to Zambia.

Zambians who have benefited from Surgicorp’s five previous trips include Ruth, a 5-year-old girl whose scalp and one hand were disfigured in a fire when she was an infant. According to a press release, Surgicorps continues to help Ruth and others who otherwise would be “forced to live with painful injuries and deformities for the rest of their lives, with little access to medical care and little means to afford any care that is available in these impoverished countries.”

Tembo, a former Pittsburgher, is an award-winning, world-touring musician.

The benefit concert takes place at 8 p.m. Sat. June 18. Admission, per the Kelly-Strayhorn’s policy, is pay-what-makes-you-happy. VIP tickets are $100, and a VIP reception with wine, beer and hors d-oeuvres, begins at 6 p.m.

Both general-admission and VIP tickets are available here.

The Kelly-Strayhorn is located at 5941 Penn Ave., in East Liberty. 

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

SPACE hosts Pittsburgh's third annual Performance Art Festival tomorrow and Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 3:14 PM

After drawing more than 500 visitors last year, the Performance Art Festival (PAF) is back, featuring performances by 22 artists from all over the globe, and now as part of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.

PAF performer Hannah Thompson, of Pittsburgh - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Photo courtesy of the artist
  • PAF performer Hannah Thompson, of Pittsburgh
Founded by Bunker Projects, a gallery and artist residency based in Friendship, the festival plans to showcase 16 combined hours of performance. Cutting-edge pieces will include public interventions as well as site-specific performances centering on themes that connect across cultural and political boundaries.

The performers in the third annual festival, curated by Abagail Beddall, hail from as far away as Norway, Italy, South Korea, Spain and Mexico, and from Washington D.C., Chicago, New York City and, of course, Pittsburgh. 

Bunker Projects chose to expand the festival from its home base, which has a gallery area of about 500 square feet along with apartments and studios for resident artists.

PAF performer Lara Salmon, of Los Angeles - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Photo courtesy of the artist
  • PAF performer Lara Salmon, of Los Angeles
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust offered Downtown's SPACE Gallery as part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

PAF 2016 will take place 4-10 p.m. both tomorrow and Saturday. Admission is free. To learn more, visit www.bunkerprojects.org.

SPACE Gallery is at 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

The Three Rivers Arts Festival opening weekend brings art and music to Downtown Pittsburgh

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 2:42 PM

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival opened this weekend, bringing 10 days of free performing and visual arts to Downtown Pittsburgh. We captured the scene on Sunday night, with local reggae group The Freedom Band, who we profiled earlier this year, taking the main stage at Point State Park at 6 p.m.

Headliners Ibeyi, an experimental and soulful French-Cuban duo, closed out the night with an electrifying stage presence, with music sung in both English and the Nigerian language, Yoruba.

Slideshow
Three Rivers Arts Festival
Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival Three Rivers Arts Festival

Three Rivers Arts Festival

Click to View 50 slides


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Friday, May 20, 2016

On tour in Berlin, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra streams live back to Heinz Hall

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2016 at 2:52 PM

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra - PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SAHAIDA
  • Photo courtesy of Michael Sahaida
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

On Sunday, in the midst of a 14-date European tour, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will capitalize on today's advances in digital infrastructure with a live-streamed performance from Berlin, and their first ever public simulcast at Heinz Hall and online at pittsburghsymphony.org.

“[The Berlin Philharmonic has] an incredible technical set-up there which is equivalent to the Met broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera,” says Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra President Melia Tourangeau. “So what we’re doing is basically taking advantage of that system and doing a live feed of the concert back to Heinz Hall in real time. It will be as if you’re sitting in Berlin watching the Pittsburgh Symphony.”

The concept for the Digital Music Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic’s in-house online concert streaming wing, started about 10 years ago. As music consumption shifted away from television, radio and CDs to the internet, the Berlin Philharmonic needed a new way to reach new audiences, even if the technology wasn’t quite there yet.

“At the beginning, HD streaming on the Internet was a tough challenge,” Tobias Möller, Director of Marketing and Communications at Berlin Phil Media, wrote in an email to City Paper. “But we are very happy that nowadays it has become very usual to enjoy audiovisual content online. However, you need to invest continuosly [sic] in all kinds of platforms because customers expect you to present your content on all media, from mobile devices to streaming devices and SmartTV.”

Digital streaming has become an integral tool for orchestras worldwide to reach new audiences as attendance and budgets have continued to shrink. The Detroit Symphony notably introduced their digital streaming capabilities in 2011, the first in the U.S. to do so. While the PSO hasn’t yet released their own digital streaming service — Berlin’s Digital Music Hall is a hired producer. Sunday’s performance will not stream on their channel — Sunday’s performance marks their first foray into live digital streaming from abroad.

Under Music Director Manfred Honeck, PSO’s Berlin performance will include pieces by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, with Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov. Back in Pittsburgh, the simulcast at Heinz Hall will be emceed by WQED’s Jim Cunningham.

“When I first came here, there were a lot of questions in the community of ‘what’s the value of international touring for this orchestra and what does it mean and why do we do it?’ And that type of thing. It’s an expensive venture,” says Tourangeau. “The purpose of this broadcast back to Heinz Hall is to say, ‘come and see what the world is actually seeing while we’re out and about.’”

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Pittsburgh Children's Theater Festival continues in Downtown Pittsburgh this weekend

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 10:41 PM

The 30th annual EQT Children's Theater Festival kicked off this Thursday, bringing food trucks, balloon art and young theater-goers to the Cultural District in Downtown Pittsburgh. The international festival, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, features eight productions from six countries suitable for children of all ages, as well as lots of outdoor activities.

The event encompasses four venues (Byham Theater, August Wilson Center, Trust Arts Education Center and Bricolage Productions) and the outdoor live installation "The Sheep (Les Moutons)," at Seventh Street and Penn Ave.

Check out our photo slideshow below for scenes from the festival's first two days. The festival continues through Sunday. For a full schedule of events, visit pghkids.trustarts.org.

Slideshow
Children's Theater Fest
Children's Theater Fest Children's Theater Fest Children's Theater Fest Children's Theater Fest Children's Theater Fest Children's Theater Fest Children's Theater Fest Children's Theater Fest

Children's Theater Fest

Photos by Luke Thor Travis

Click to View 40 slides


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