Event | Program Notes: Arts Blog |


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Iconic poetry work to be celebrated on Saturday at White Whale Bookstore

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Muriel Rukeyser was a political activist and important American poet, and one of her most notable works was The Book of the Dead. The 1938 poetry sequence was written in response to the Hawk's Nest Tunnel disaster in West Virginia, in which hundreds of miners died of silicosis.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

YouTube celeb Tyler Oakley brings his PJs to Town

Posted By on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Online sensation and queer advocate Tyler Oakley has quite the range of laughs, his best sounding somewhere between hysteria and a case of light hiccups.

It’s pretty amazing, and his almost six million subscribers would probably tell you so, too.

  • Rae Marshall

Starting in 2007, the 25-year-old from Jackson, Mich., and queenie of the web has made a career out of talking about his life. He’s interviewed FLOTUS and produced a slew of celebrity-speckled, sometimes edging-toward-inappropriate vlogs. Openly gay, he raised more $500,000 last year for The Trevor Project, an organization working to prevent suicide among LGBT youth.

This fall, Oakley has taken his living room on the road for a sold-out variety show called “Tyler’s Slumber Party.” Back for more (and promising to upgrade 20 tickets to VIP passes), he hits Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead on Saturday, ready to put locals on “blast,” opening his hour-and-a-half show by reading embarrassing headlines from our past.

He chatted with CP recently by phone.

Why slumber parties?

I’ve been doing the live stream in my living room in my pajamas, so I was like, "Why not take that on the road?" And, plus, who doesn't love a onesie? It was so fun because I was like, "Is anyone going to come in a onesie?" and then the first set of shows, everybody was in their pajamas, I mean, even the parents.

What do you think of the perception of you as everyone’s queen, everyone’s gay BFF?

It’s really bizarre! Obviously that was never the goal or anything, but to have people say that, I mean, you don't get used to it. It’s definitely flattering and endearing, and when my viewers say that or things like that, it comes from the best intentions from possible. So I’m like, "I’ll take it. Thank you. I love you back."

How do you balance that audience of occasionally very young girls while still being your mature self and reflecting your personality?

I just always assume that, you know what, if it’s something people shouldn't be watching in their house, if that’s not something that a parent allows or something, then the parents will definitely be in charge of making sure the kids don't.

What’s down the road for you? Are you going to go from slumber party to Pampered Chef party?

Oh my god. If I did, my mom would love it. I don’t know! Who knows!

So, then, where do you see yourself at age 70?

Seventy. Oh my god. Hopefully, I’ll have grandkids and maybe they will continue the blogging legacy. I don’t know where I’ll be. Maybe when I’m 70 I’ll have had a talk show and I’ll have had multiple [best]-selling books, and I’ll still be doing my podcasts and still be talking into a camera if cameras are still around for that.
Maybe we’ll be sending vlogs via brain waves or something. I don't know where I will be in the future, but I'll still be doing something.

Show info:

Tyler Oakley performs at Carnegie Music Hall on Sat., Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m.

The venue is located at 510 E. 10th Ave., in Munhall. Tickets are $39.75.

Go here for tickets and more information.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Weekend of Free Admission at Heinz History Center and Fort Pitt Museum

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Guests of all ages can get in for free this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Sen. John Heinz History Center and Fort Pitt.

Courtesy of the Senator John Heinz History Center
  • Courtesy of the Senator John Heinz History Center
Just as exciting: Friday is National Pickle Day, and the Heinz History Center will celebrate accordingly on Saturday.

As part of the history center exhibit Pittsburgh Lost Steamboat: Treasures of the Arabia, and in addition to other classic pickle memorabilia, 160-year old preserved pickles in their original glass jars (pictured) will be on display. While you won’t be able to take a bite of the historic, brined cucumbers, Pittsburgh Pickle Company will be on hand with tastings.

The pickle party also includes a scavenger hunt, an appearance by an H.J. Heinz re-enactor and guided tours of the center’s new Heinz exhibit (highlighting 145 years of the Pittsburgh staple) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Here's CP's review of the Lost Steamboat exhibit, by the way.

The Fort Pitt Museum focuses on Western Pennsylvania’s role in the French & Indian War, the American Revolution and the founding of Pittsburgh.

The free admission is courtesy of the Jack Buncher Foundation.

Heinz History Center is located at 1212 Smallman St., Downtown.

Fort Pitt Museum, part of the Heinz History Center, is located at 601 Commonwealth Pl., Downtown (in Point State Park).

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Free admission tomorrow to Children’s Museum

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Head toward the light in the distance tomorrow, and you might end up at a day of free admission to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

The Lantern Building
  • Photo courtesy of Albert Vecerka/Esto
  • The Lantern Building
The Children’s Museum is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its expansion, and the development of its Lantern Building, with a “The Light Within Us All Free Day."

The Lantern Building, an illuminated structure of light and glass that connects the Old Post Office building and the neighboring Buhl Planetarium, was part of a 2004 expansion.

In addition to free admission, the celebration will have lantern-making activities, a family-resource fair, and youth performances to “provide opportunities and experiences for families that spotlight the light within us all,” says Bill Schlageter, the Children’s Museum’s Director of Marketing.

Joe Jarski will begin the day with a performance on the guitar, banjo and harmonica at 11 a.m. Following him is violinist Andrew Johnson from the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra; the Dilworth Youth Drumming Group; 1Hood Youth Performers; and the Hill Dance Academy Theatre.

The event takes place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The museum is located at 10 Children's Way, Allegheny Square in North Side.

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Wicked Author Visits the Carnegie on Sunday

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Gregory Maguire, who wrote the novel behind the bewitchingly famous Broadway hit, visits Carnegie Library Lecture Hall this Sunday for a talk and a book signing, courtesy of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures' series for kids and teens.

Maguire has just released a new historical fantasy for a younger audience called Egg & Spoon.The book, set in turn-of-the-century Tsarist Russia, follows an impoverished child named Elena Rudina as well as a noble family visiting the Tsar and Russian folklore’s most infamous villain, Baba Yaga.

The New York Times called it a “series of dreamy, expertly painted vignettes.”

Egg & Spoon revisits Russian fairy tales that inspired a book 30 years earlier in Maguire's career, The Dream Stealer. Macguire’s other children's titles include Matchless (a remake of Hans Christian Andersen’s "The Little Match Girl,") and Making Mischief (a tribute to the author of Where the Wild Things Are). Additionally, in 1987, he founded a non-profit educational charity, Children's Literature New England, Inc.

The event takes place at 2:30 p.m. this Sunday. The venue is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. in Oakland.

For tickets, see here, and use the code BABAYAGA to save $2 off every ticket. Children three and under come free.

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Mobile Sculpture Workshop Unveiling Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 8:24 AM

The Industrial Arts Co-op’s summer-long initiative to teach metalworking and sculpture to area youths wraps with the presentation of the completed sculpture.

Here’s CP’s article on the program.

The bird sculpture will be permanently installed in Hazelwood, where much of the work was done.

The unveiling and community celebration is set for 1-4 p.m. this Saturday at Propel Hazelwood, at 5401 Glenwood Ave. The event is free. More details are here.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

CP Cartoonist Gives Talk on Ill-Fated Public Artwork on Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Eric Lidji is more than the cartoonist who contribute the often poignantly deadpan "Public Notices" to City Paper each week. He's also an archival consultant in the Heinz History Center's Detre Library & Archives for the Rauh Jewish Archives and an arts-and-culture writer for Pittsburgh Magazine.

H. Douglas Pickerings Clarion Call circa 1985
  • Photo courtesy of Eric Lidji
  • H. Douglas Pickering's "Clarion Call" circa 1985
AndLidji is writing a book about "Clarion Call" — a sculpture by H. Douglas Pickering that was completed in 1985 and then stolen before it could be permanently installed. The work had taken Pickering, a Carnegie Mellon University art professor, nine years to complete. At 10 feet tall and weighing 800 pounds, it was meant as a symbol of hope for a city ravaged by the collapse of its heavy industry. (It's pictured here at Gateway Center.)

On Saturday at the Center Lidji gives a talk titled "'Clarion Call': The Life & Death of a Work of Art." The lecture is "an exploration of how communities value, present, and preserve public art. ... The story of Clarion Call offers a glimpse into the life and work of an underappreciated Pittsburgh artist and provides insight into the history and controversies of public art in Pittsburgh during the 20th century."

The talk, part of the museum's Saturday Speaker Series, is free with museum admission and runs from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Come early for coffee and danish.)

Admission to the museum is $6-15. RSVP for the talk to Sandra Baker at slbaker@heinzhistorycenter.org or 412-454-6412.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Circus hits town Wednesday; equestrian ringmaster talks circus life

Posted By on Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Andre McClain is the ringmaster for The Greatest Show on Earth, a lesson in the importance of race representation and, overall, one heck of a company man.

  • Feld Entertainment

His first-ever visit to a circus was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's 132th tour, in 2002, when he was researching the use of stilts for his one-man rodeo act. After he got backstage, chatting with some clowns, his animal-training expertise reached the rights ears, and McClain was offered and accepted a job working with Ringling's exotic-animal staff.

“I started from the bottom, and I really I didn’t expect to be get far,” McClain said in a recent phone interview. “To me, it’s an honor, and its still an honor. There have been more presidents than ringmasters in the past hundred years.”

A baritone-bass, McClain sings from atop his high horse during the show. He visits the CONSOL Energy Center next week with the 143rd Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Built To Amaze! tour, which is a construction-themed show with a community-minded message.

“It's a battle of the sexes,” McClain says. “We prove at the end of the show that it really takes everyone to accomplish something.”

Before life under the big top, McClain grew up on a ranch in Kansas City, and he acquired his equestrian skills from his family’s long African-American cowboy heritage. He got in the saddle for the first time at age 5, and his father founded America’s first all-black touring rodeo, the Bill Pickett Rodeo, in 1984.

Once he left the rodeo for the circus, McClain began to move up Ringling’s ranks, finding an idol who looked like him along the way.

“The ringmaster idea wasn’t in my head until I first got that first [exotic-animal] gig, and I saw Johnathan Lee Iverson,” McClain says.

Iverson was Ringling Brother’s first African-American ringmaster, and McClain says his mindset changed once he saw someone who didn’t look like all the previous ringmasters.

“I wanted to be that guy,” McClain says.

After a different job offer, McClain forgot about that goal for a bit, and settled into life as the host of the circus’s pre-show.

“I loved it, didn’t want to give up,” McClain says. “Until two years ago when they came with the contract. They handed my folder, and they said they want [me] to be the ringmaster."

At first, McClain thought the joke was on him.

“I was like, 'Get out of here,' and I just started laughing,” McClain says.

The punchline never came, and McClain realized he had gotten what he wanted all those years ago.

“I was so excited. I didn’t even read all of the contract! I just signed the paper,” McClain says.

McClain sits at the top seat today with his wife, Daniele, a Ringlette (singer and dancer), beside him, and hopes to inspire audiences just like Iverson inspired him.

“I like to show to all kids and adults that no matter what you look like, how you feel, you too can make your dreams come true,” McClain says. “No matter how high you want to be in life, you can do it, no matter what you want to do.”

The circus starts at 7 p.m. Wed. Nov 5, and performances continue through Nov. 9.

CONSOL is located at 1001 Fifth Ave., in Uptown. Tickets are $10-115 and are available at 412-804-7904 or www.ringling.com

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sing-Off Competition seeks student vocalists

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Pittsburgh’s youngest songbirds should start warming up their vocal cords.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust seeks student singers for its fifth annual Sing-Off Competition. The winner will perform live at the Benedum Center during Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2015, an all ages, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration highlighting the city’s arts. The winner will also receive two $500 cash prizes for themselves and their school’s music department.

The competition welcomes individual students and student groups of 20 members or fewer from grades 6 through 12. The students must be affiliated with a middle or high school in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Last year’s winner was Savannah Wiggins, from Penn Hills High School.

Contestants should submit a video performance of two songs, one of which must be a Motown classic to coincide with Motown the Musical 's tour stop here, Dec. 30 to Jan. 4. The students should upload the performance videos, which must be less than 10 minutes long, on YouTube, then submit it on the Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2015 website.

An internal panel will review the performances, and narrow things down to five contestants, from among whom a guest judge will select a winner.

The video and application deadline is midnight on Fri., Nov. 21.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monthly discussion series Speakeasy Science begins tonight

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Come here often? How much wind do you need to make one mega-watt? Can you run a country on windpower?

  • Tony Favarula

These are some questions that Stephen Rose might face tonight as Carnegie Mellon University launches its free monthly discussion series with scientists at bars or cafes.

This month’s event, “Gone with the Windmill," begins at 7 p.m. at Biddle's Escape coffeehouse, on 401 Biddle Ave., in Wilkinsburg. Rose will lead a casual conversation on wind power and energy in America.

Rose began his career as a windmill engineer before obtaining a Ph.D in engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. There, Rose studied hurricanes as possible threats to offshore windmills, and stayed on as a post-doctoral researcher analyzing wind patterns in historical weather records.

The Science & Engineering Ambassadors, a Pittsburgh-based program of the National Academies, and CMU’s student-run Public Communication for Researchers collaborate to host the Speakeasy Science series.

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