Arts

Kicking Off a Collaboration

More than 400 guests filled the August Wilson Center Thursday for the Private Performance and Premiere Party kicking off Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem’s two-​week collaboration celebrating the diversity of talent and styles in American ballet.

Reflections on “1984” in 2017

Critics have argued that we cannot evade Shakespeare’s influence on our conception of human nature, nor Freud’s influence on our understanding of psychology, and I would suggest, as a corollary, that we cannot escape George Orwell’s influence on our notion of the political. The Orwellian ethos, manifested in works such…

Assisted Living

“Every simile’s an insurrection” (unknown) Her phone is like a cordless baby. Her children are a blur of programmed digits. Each week she learns new rituals to survive, from toothbrush to spoon. Her softball glove, her Raleigh 3-​speed are not even memory. Her new sports are dress, food, hygiene. A…

CMU Brings Vivid Life to Marlowe’s Great Work

Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama manages to combine some of the strongest and rarest elements of great theatre in their production of Christopher Marlowe’s “Edward II”: rawness, mystery, risk and precision. This is the kind of performance of a classic play that eschews the pitfalls of tired masterpieces, and…

Local Artists: Struggling, But Not Starving

Most Pittsburgh artists are getting by financially but find it difficult to make a living off of their art alone. And African American artists are much less likely than their white counterparts to rely on their art as their sole means of support, according to recent survey.

Serious Threads

First the Frick announced a new programming initiative in fashion and brought “Killer Heels” to Pittsburgh. The impossibly impractical yet stunningly gorgeous shoes might have made more sense at the Warhol where Andy’s advertising and shoe portrait drawings would have cheekily made the connection between costume, eroticism, design, and identity…

Josh Gibson on Deck

Pittsburgh’s greatest but still relatively unknown sports hero is about to get a curtain call of a different kind. This spring, Pittsburgh Opera unveils “The Summer King,” the world premiere of Daniel Sonenberg’s tale of the remarkable, short life of baseball legend Josh Gibson.

Painting? Have Some Fun!

I spent three decades at a job that wasn’t a job, one at which few have actually earned a living. But cartoons disappear when the newspapers are bundled up for recycling. Heck, newspapers disappear.

Hath Not a Jew

Of Shakespeare’s major comedies, The Merchant of Venice is my least favorite because it’s the least funny. In a post-​Holocaust world it’s difficult to stage the play’s anti-​semitic jokes, and directors often make the understandable choice to shift the tone contour of the play toward the political and tragic.

The Art of Lazar Ran

From origins at the Vitebsk Fine Arts School in Belarus (founded by Mark Chagall in 1918), to safe-​keeping in an Ohio home for decades, the art of Lazar Ran and his contemporaries has taken a circuitous path to appear on the walls of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh. The collection…

Seeing the World Through Music

Nietzsche famously castigated Euripides for killing the tradition of the chorus in Greek tragedy, because the audience no longer had music to inform its comprehension. He even felt that Euripides caused the death of tragedy itself by trying to make it too Socratic, too rational.

Exploring the Work of Damianos and Mulcahy at the Westmoreland

To paraphrase a new friend, director general of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts Jamal Shah: in celebrating life, art follows the inquisitive human mind in its desire to delve deeper as it challenges the established reality and surprises us with new realities. It challenges us to deepen our…

Quantum’s Surreal “The River” Transfixes

In Richard Brautigan’s classic surrealist novel, Trout Fishing In America, the narrator visits a store selling trout streams by the foot. They are stacked in piles like pieces of lumber, each length corresponding to a different price.

A Long Romance

At first, the performance was delayed because ballerina Carlotta Grisi was recovering from an injury. Then the conductor was battling a tumor. And then safety concerns slowed the set construction. But finally, on June 28, 1841 — a Monday night — “Giselle” premiered at the Paris Opéra.

Hidden from History

The life of Esther Phillips (190283) would have languished in obscurity, at most a footnote in history, were it not for the dedication of a few friends and supporters. Her story, which intersects with ideas about women, class and mental health in the 20th century, is all too familiar.…
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