Happy 50th Mr. Rogers from fellow Pittsburghers at arts•meme 4

 Click the arrow above for the sweet sound of Fred Rogers inviting you to be his neighbor. “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” debuted fifty years ago, on February 19, 1968, produced by WQED-Pittsburgh. We’re global now. But arts•meme‘s editorial and technology team has roots in the friendly, neighborly city of Pittsburgh. Proud that Mr. Rogers drew ...

In Pittsburgh, with Andy Warhol

Visual arts
It was a great joy to exit my United Airlines flight last weekend — yes, the pleasure of getting off the damned airplane was augmented by an exhibition of Andy Warhol art work right there at Pittsburgh International Airport. Capturing my eye in particular was a display case of photos illustrating Warhol’s rather impressive transition ...

Gene from Pittsburgh 1

I’ve  been spending a lot of time with Gene Kelly for the past week. It’s a good feeling. We’re from the same home town. Kelly was a huge movie star. The only other dancer to reach that level was Fred — not from Pittsburgh. Read my story on The Huffington Post.

Jack Cole danced in Pittsburgh 1

Dance · Music · Theater
Rummaging around the Internet, I found this priceless image of a program dating from the Nixon Theatre in my home town of Pittsburgh. [click image for detail] The Nixon Theatre was the top game in town — the place where circa 1971 I saw naked hippies writhe on stage in “Hair.” Not surprisingly, the hard-working ...

Choreographer Kyle Abraham, Pittsburgh homeboy, BESSIE awardee

Gifted dance artist Kyle Abraham, whose “The Radio Show” just won a Bessie Award, and who I immensely enjoyed meeting at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in August, is my homeboy from Pittsburgh. Never mind that I’m a good twenty years older than Kyle — a full generation. He and I share a few Pittsbuggian, er ...

Say a dance prayer for Gene Kelly in Pittsburgh 2

Dance · Film
Come on, home town! What’s this I hear about twenty years of fruitless effort to erect a statue of dancer Gene Kelly  — in a city where bridges, steel mills, skyscrapers, and sports stadia get built with ease? In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, retired entertainment columnist Barbara Cloud gripes that she’s grown despondent waiting ...

Nijinsky danced in Pittsburgh 7

Santonio Holmes’s game-winning Super Bowl pass reception for the Pittsburgh Steelers reminds me of ballet! It’s a very dancerly moment. He’s reaching up with all his might to catch the football. He’s reaching down with all his might to keep his toes in-bound. Santonio’s outstanding litheness is unsurprising in view of my recent discovery that brilliant Ballets Russes dancer-choreographer, ...

Hollywood Heritage’s Halloween hangout with ‘glamour ghoul’ Vampira 2

Dance · Film
She was born Maila Nurmi, which seems ghoulish enough. But she went by the mononym, Vampira. For those of us who did not grow up in Los Angeles watching this strange, mysterious lady host horror movies on late-night television (I grew up in Pittsburgh, where our Vampira was not nearly as sexy: “Chilly Billie” Cardille, ...

What a dump! Kidhood drive-in movie theater exposed by day

Pittsburgh’s South Park Drive-In, 1970 Really? That mound of dirt on the uphill side of a crud Western Pennsylvania road? That was it? The pleasure dome we entered, exalted, five of us in a red Chevy station wagon? The car’s “back-back” piled with pillows and blankets? My father, captain of the ship, adroitly steering to ...

Drift away! at the movies, with ‘Floating Cinema’

rolling, rolling down a river You know how your attention drifts away when you’re at the movies? And you find yourself thinking about how bad the film is, or how much you rather be sitting at a lunch counter eating a hamburger? Well … now your entire body can drift away — cuz … you’re ...