Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Positively Pittsburgh Live News 2-6-12

Pittsburgh Named in “Best of the World”

First National Geographic Traveler named Pittsburgh one of the 20 "Best of the World" places to visit in 2012. Then last week a university study of most-literate U.S. cities found Pittsburgh to be in the Top 10.

Now U.S. News & World Report has ranked Pittsburgh as the Number One place for cheap, last-minute getaways. The newspaper says the region is an “up-and-coming” tourism hot-spot that boasts a thriving arts scene. Citing information from discount travel site Hotwire.com, those who planned a spontaneous Pittsburgh getaway saved “a whopping 59 percent” on hotel rates, finding rooms for as low as $90 a night. The magazine notes that clothing and food are exempt from sales and use tax, too.

The timing couldn’t be better. More than a few of the old G-20 Partnership partners are getting together this year to make the most of the “Best of the World” designation. We’ll be focusing attention on such upcoming conferences as the National Society of Black Engineers in March, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May, and the One Young World Summit in October. We’re also working with Delta Airlines’ Sky magazine as we did in 2009 to produce a special supplement focused on our region, especially the growing international recognition we’re getting for thought leadership when it comes to sustainability and quality of life. Meantime, if you’re flying Delta in May, watch for the in-flight video we’re producing in partnership with the Allegheny County Airport Authority and VisitPittsburgh.

By the way, the science fair’s organizers are looking for 1,000 judges with a minimum of six years of professional experience in science, engineering and the like, or hold a Ph.D., M.D. or similar degree. Please RSVP to ISEF@pitt.edu if you will commit to recruit science fair judge volunteers within your organization.

More information about ISEF 2012 is available here, including this video and registration links for those interested in serving as general volunteers and foreign language interpreters (Mandarin, Spanish and Russian especially are needed). Pittsburgh is one of just three places in the United States that will be hosting this event over a 10-year period. Los Angeles and Phoenix are the other two. The science fair will bring close to 2,000 high school students to our region from 65 countries. Something like one-fifth of them already have patents!

If you’d like to stay current on these and other positive developments in our region, check out www.ImaginePittsburghNow.com, the blog of the Allegheny Conference and its affiliates. You can sign up for daily updates via RSS feed to your email account, or follow us at Twitter.com/ImaginePgh orFacebook.com/PittsburghRegion.
Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company (UK) in the Pittsburgh premiere of The Way Back Home
February 26-March 4, 2012 Six performance locations throughout Pittsburgh

The Way Back Home
Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater, a division of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, presents Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company (UK) in the Pittsburgh premiere of The Way Back Home. Performance locations include: City: Byham Theater, February 26 at 2:00 p.m. & Student Matinee: February 27 at 10:15 a.m.; East: Gateway High School, February 29 at 7:00 p.m.; North: Marshall Middle School, March 1 at 5:30 & 7:30 p.m.; West: Robert Morris University Moon Campus, Colonial Theatre at Massey Hall, March 2 at 7:00 p.m.; South: Mt. Lebanon High School, March 3 at 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.; and Butler: Seneca Valley Senior High School, March 4 at 2:00 p.m. Citizens Bank is the season sponsor of Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater.

Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company (UK) strives to entertain and inform young people, drawing from different cultures and traditions to present entertaining and educational work. The company has presented original book adaptations for stage productions throughout the United Kingdom and United States. The Stage comments, “It’s a small-scale production…makes imaginative use of single hinged flats for scene changes and has some good songs – is a fine piece of theatre.”

Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company’s musical production of The Way Back Home, adapted from the award-winning story by author Oliver Jeffers, brings to the stage a tale about a small boy who finds a plane in his cupboard. After flying the plane higher and higher and then running out of gas, our hero lands on the moon, totally alone. Just as he begins to feel lost and frightened, he finds – to his surprise – that he is not the only visitor! Brought face to face with a Martian who also has landed on the moon, the boy and the alien begin a heartwarming companionship. “Well paced and full of the variety a very young audience needs.” - The Stage “The young audience loved every moment. I strongly recommend this play to any family.” - Halifax Courier

This 60-minute play features original music, colorful costumes and sets. The production was adapted for the stage by Adam Bampton-Smith, with music by Shock Productions, lyrics by Guy Picot and Lighting by Will Evans. Recommended for ages 3-10. Oliver Jeffers received the Somerset Fiction Award (2009) for his children’s book The Way Back Home.

Individual tickets ($11 at the door; $9.50 in advance) can be ordered online at www.trustarts.org/kids, by calling (412) 456-6666, or in person at the Box Office at Theater Square,655 Penn Avenue. Group tickets can be ordered by calling (412) 471-6930.


Jersey Boys Returns to the Pittsburgh Stage

Jersey Boys
 Dates have been announced for the Pittsburgh return engagement of the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical JERSEY BOYS, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The musical will make its much-anticipated return to the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, September 4, through Sunday, September 23, 2012. Read the entire release here.


Soiree Voyage d’Amour with the Sean Jones Quintet

Cabaret at Theater Square - February 14, 2012

Sean Jones
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s JazzLive presents Soiree Voyage d’Amour with the Sean Jones Quintet, a special BNY Mellon JazzLive exclusive just in time for Valentine’s Day. On February 14th, Jones, will perform songs depicting different scenes from a night between 2 lovers at the Cabaret at Theater Square, a musical travelogue or sorts. Jones says, “ Whether it be the excitement of a couple's first date or the thrill of spending an evening with a long-time lover, the journey of an evening's romance heightens the senses and fills the heart with a myriad of emotions.” The world-renowned jazz star will take the listener through a sonic depiction of an evening's journey to love. From dinner to the morning after, varying senses and emotions will be expressed with compositions created to do just that.

Janis Burley Wilson, VP and Director of Jazz Programs at the Trust, says, “The Trust has established a creative partnership with Sean Jones and we always look forward to what he will create next. Love is such a complex emotion, and every year, we present something fresh and new that resonates with audiences. It has become a tradition to spend Valentine’s Day with the Trust and Sean Jones at JazzLive in the Cabaret.”

Jones has established a reputation as one of the finest jazz trumpet players in the world, touring with his own band, as lead trumpeter with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, with the Marcus Miller band, and numerous other groups, all over the world. He is artistic director of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at the August Wilson Center and artist in residence for the Trust’s Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival. He is considered by his fellow musicians, and critics, to be the “heir apparent” to the jazz legacy left by greats like Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard. Sean Jones quintet is Obed Calvaire on drums, Sullivan Fortner on piano, Luques Curtis on bass, and Brian Hogans on saxophone. The band is made up of a group of young superstars in their own right. Luques Curtis plays with Latin jazz legend, Eddie Palmieri, and just released his first album as a leader of the Curtis Brothers. Brian Hogans plays with Russell Gun, Soul Cycle, and has played with Sean Jones 5 years. A multi-instrumentalist, Hogans plays sax, drums, and piano.

For tickets to Soiree Voyage d’Amour featuring the Sean Jones Quintet, contact the Theater Square Box Office at 412 456-6666 or online at pgharts.org.

Balanced Heart Healing Center Fundraiser

LET'S DANCE! On Saturday, Feb. 11, Balanced Heart Healing Center will host a Valentine's fundraiser at Absolute Ballroom, 6617 Hamilton Ave. in Pittsburgh from 7-11pm. This is an event where everyone wins! You have fun and get fit while we raise funds to launch our clinic. From 7-8pm eat yummy munchies from Erin's Fine Foods, meet some of Balanced Heart Healing Center's friends and supporters, and purchase my book. Check out the video here. Book signatures are free at the event (and there's no shipping charge). From 8-9pm, we'll all have a Latin Dance class, and then dance the night away from 9-11pm. What a great party! Register online here.  If you are not able to be with us in person, we understand. You can still participate in spirit by making a donation online at www.balancedheart.org.
· $100 pays for a month of classes for an uninsured person on their way to good health,
· $50 funds one treatment session for a neighbor in need, and
· $20 offers a copy of my book "A Balanced Heart: 10 Weeks to Breakthrough" to a veteran returning from war and re-integrating into our community. Did you know that the New Jersey Women Veterans' Supportive Housing Program has adopted the Balanced Heart book and coaching program as a core piece of their support curriculum?
· Of course, we welcome your donation in whatever other amount is comfortable for you.

Tara Darazio Joins PPL Staff
Tara Darazio has joined the PPL staff as a good news reporter, helping to post the weekly PPL blogs including show recaps and news.

Tara is an independent copywriter, blogger, article writer, and social media strategist. She left the corporate world six months ago to pursue freelance full-time, in order to be home with her nine month old son.

“I’m excited to be a part of such a positive enterprise as PPL Magazine,” said Tara. “I’m a native Pittsburgher and love all our City has to offer. I thought I knew a lot about what was going on, but in working with PPL I’m constantly introduced to new events, people, and opportunities; it’s wonderful.”

Roving Pittsburgher Report

Billy Elliott at the Benedum
Shows until the 12th

This show had an excellent molding of tap, ballet and music with coal miners in the background. Superb casting, really loads of fun and quite spirit lifting. It made me want to stand up and dance, seeing ordinary looking people tap dancing, singing and having a grand time. Nothing is more exciting than a senior or a big man tap dancing away. Granny was amazingly down to earth and funny, as was Lea Hocking as Mrs. Wilkinson. She played the stereotypical lower class, cigarette smoking English woman with lots of heart, down to earth wisdom and extreme passion for what she believes in. The part was played extremely well as a cross between a fallen angel and a patron saint.

Meat and Potatoes
What a place for a carnivore who just likes simple, cholesterol laden food. No austerity menu here but what taste and service and portions and culinary style. My companion discovered Meat and Potatoes for two,38 oz ribeye, mushrooms, marrow butter bone and thankfully no bread and French fried tavern quarters soaked in wine sauce. Four ounces of red meat a couple of times a month is my limit so I ate the amazing tavern fries and mushrooms, my four ounces and some amazing broccoli rob. I went home and dreamt about the time when I didn’t worry about eating a thick juicy steak. That was right after savoring half of my amazing chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream on the side. If you are a carnivore and not restricting your cholesterol intake this is a must visit. If you are watching cholesterol then go anyway and take someone with you who has pristine arteries, it’s worth the trip. Meat and Potatoes is located at 649 Penn Avenue, 412-325-7007. Visit their website here.

Andora Restaurant in the South Hills is very elegant, reminiscent of the old Colony Restaurant. I had pork chops with pomegranate spinach, gorganzole cheese and smashed potatoes, and my friend Meenakshi had Andora chicken,fire-roasted tomatoes, artichokes, capers, banana peppers, seven pepper risotto and asparagus. They had the most amazing white cake with mascarpone and raspberries. Truly excellent service. Andora is located at 1928 Cochran Road, 412-561-5492. Visit their website here.


This was reported as a reproduction of PositvelyPittsburghLive news done by Joanne Quinn-Smith. (c) Joanne Quinn-Smith and PositivelyPittsburghLive(TM) 2012 All rights reserved.
Listen to the show here.

Tara Darazio is a Positively Pittsburgh Live reporter, an independent copywriter, blogger, article writer, and social media strategist. If you are in need of writing assistance, or need help with your social media efforts connect with Tara on LinkedIn here.

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