Pittsburgh's Steinway Piano Gallery to close

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

In case you missed it: The Steinway Piano Gallery, the area's sole Steinway dealer, is closing up shop. Head to the West End this weekend for good deals (?!) on some of the world's best pianos.

The Steinway Piano Gallery opened in the West End in 2012. It is part of a long lineage of Steinway dealers in Western Pennsylvania.The Steinway Piano Gallery opened in the West End in 2012. It is part of a long lineage of Steinway dealers in Western Pennsylvania. (John Heller/Post-Gazette)

Here are a few bits of information that I wasn't able to squeeze into today's story:

The Past

Stephen Karlinchak, the Post-Gazette's indispensable librarian, tracked down some of the earliest instances of Steinways in Pittsburgh.

What he found is that for almost as long as there have been Steinway pianos, there have been Steinways in Pittsburgh.

The piano builder was founded in 1853, Steinway's New York shop advertised in Pittsburgh newspapers as early as 1855, and H. Kleber & Bro. was selling them locally by 1857.

Henry Kleber had a major impact on music in Western Pennsylvania as a singer, member of the Pittsburgh Philharmonic Society, teacher and friend of/collaborator with Stephen Foster. He opened up the store "Sign of the Golden Harp" on Third Street in 1846, and his shop was the first to import pianos via canal over the Allegheny Mountains, according to the website Pittsburgh Music History.

Around the turn of the century, Steinways were sold by other shops, including Frederich's on Smithfield Street and C.C. Mellor on Wood Street, which advertised the pianos up until 1942. Mellor's, the first music store in Pittsburgh, was founded in 1831 as Smith, Peters & Company. Horne's department store in Downtown started selling Steinways by 1948, and Trombino's Piano Gallerie became the local dealer in 1986. 

So, some of the years are fuzzy, and we may be missing a store or two in there, but more or less, the timeline of local Steinway dealers is: H. Kleber & Bro. (1857-late 19th century), Frederich's (turn of the 20th century), C.C. Mellor (1910 or so), Horne's (starting around 1948-1985 or 1986), Trombino's (1986-2011), and the Steinway Piano Gallery (2012-present). 

Newspaper archives were a critical source of information on this arcane subject. How times have changed: The West End gallery advertised this weekend's liquidation via direct mail and social media.

steinway 3Steinway industry consultant Tony Thomas is running the Steinway Piano Gallery's liquidation sale Thursday-Sunday. (John Heller/Post-Gazette)

The Recent Past/The Future

Steinway & Sons has undergone significant change in recent years. It closed the iconic Beaux Arts building on West 57th Street in New York City, and a new, more technology-prone Steinway Hall on Sixth Avenue is under construction. In 2013, hedge fund manager John Paulson purchased the company. He has said that he plans to "preserve" the brand's craftsmanship and commitment to quality, while expanding into markets such as Brazil and China. 

While the U.S. remains the largest market for Steinways, China is Steinway's fastest-growing market and will "probably pass the American market" at some point, according to Anthony Gilroy, director of marketing and communications for Steinway & Sons — Americas. The company has been selling in China for about a decade, and Chinese immigrants have even provided a boon to U.S. sales, he said.

Closer to home: It seems pretty clear that there will be a factory-run showroom in Pittsburgh. Mr. Gilroy said it's possible that Steinway would find a local gallery owner, "but there's no plans that I know of to go that route at the moment."

He was optimistic about the success of a gallery in the Pittsburgh market because of the city's Cultural District and high concentration of doctors (among the company's most reliable clients). It's unclear whether the Pittsburgh store will have retail hours or be by appointment only. One important fact: "Events tend to sell more pianos than walk-ins," Mr. Gilroy said. For example, recitals are more effective than typical retail hours at bringing piano-lovers into the store — and familiarizing them with the Steinway products. That may be a clue about the direction the company will take here.

The Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania has collaborated with the West End gallery on its young artists programs in the past, and Mr. Gilroy said the new showroom would maintain that relationship.

OK, there's always more to tell, but I think that's enough for now!


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TCM to honor Maureen O'Hara with 24-hour marathon Nov. 20

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

Press release from TCM about remembering actress Maureen O'Hara with a 24-hour tribute Nov. 20. No "Miracle on 34th Street" (a holiday staple) but "The Quiet Man," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and plenty of other movies. 
Obit Maureen OHara.JPEG-04cTurner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of Hollywood icon Maureen O’Hara with a 24-hour film tribute on Friday, Nov. 20. O’Hara, who passed away Oct. 24 at the age of 95, enthralled audiences with her memborable performances in so many great Hollywood films, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), How Green Was My Valley (1941), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Rio Grande (1950), The Quiet Man (1952), Our Man in Havana (1959) and The Parent Trap (1961).
The following is the complete schedule for TCM’s tribute to Maureen O’Hara on Nov. 20 with all times Eastern:
6 a.m. Jamaica Inn (1939) – A young woman on the British coast stumbles onto a ring of bloodthirsty scavengers.
7:45 a.m. The Deadly Companions (1961) – To make amends for killing a man, a Civil War veteran accompanies his corpse through dangerous territory.
9:30 a.m. Spencer’s Mountain (1963) – A Wyoming farmer fights to build a better life for his oldest son.
11:30 a.m. McLintock! (1963) – A cattle baron fights to tame the West and his estranged wife.
1:45 p.m. The Battle of the Villa Fiorita (1965) – The children of an upper-class married woman and an Italian musician attempt to break off the affair.
3:45 p.m. Big Jake (1971) – A rancher leads the posse out to recover his kidnapped grandson.
5:45 p.m. The Wings of Eagles (1957) – Biography of Frank “Spig” Wead, the pioneer aviator who turned to writing after being grounded by an accident.
8 p.m. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) – A deformed bell ringer rescues a gypsy girl falsely accused of witchcraft and murder.
10:15 p.m. The Quiet Man (1952) – An Irish ex-boxer retires to Ireland and searches for the proper wife.
12:30 a.m. At Sword’s Point (1951) – The children of the Three Musketeers swing into action against a traitor.
2 a.m. Sinbad the Sailor (1947) – The Arabian Nights hero sets off to find the lost treasure of Alexander the Great.
4 a.m. The Spanish Main (1945) – Dutch rebels in the Caribbean turn pirate and kidnap the corrupt Spanish governor’s bride-to-be.
 1960 photo shows movie actress Maureen O’Hara photographed in her front yard in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Harold Filan,File)

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Ricky Gervais to host 2016 Globes

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .


Ricky Gervais will host the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced. 
This will be his fourth time handling the duties. NBC will air the 73rd Golden Globes on Jan. 10 from 8 to 11 p.m.
Reaction in the past has ranged from positive and mixed to negative and a little too mean-spirited for the room and event. Nominations will be announced at 8 a.m. on Dec. 10. 
Here is the official press release:
Provocative Globes Host Brings His Sharp Wit Back to the Beverly Hilton
as NBC Kicks Off Awards Season With Jan. 10 Telecast
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (Oct. 26, 2015) — Returning to the same stage where he brought his acerbic sense of humor to Hollywood, Ricky Gervais has been named host of the “73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards,” set for Jan. 10, 2016 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The three-hour ceremony serves as the official kick-off to awards season and will be aired live coast to coast from 8-11 p.m. ET on NBC.
“We’re excited to have Ricky Gervais back to host the most enjoyable awards show of the season in his own inimitable way,” said NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt. ”Disarming and surprising, Ricky is ready to honor — and send up — the best work of the year in film and television. Fasten your seats belts.” 
“Ricky Gervais left us with a lasting impression and we are thrilled to have him back in our show as we honor the best in film and television,” said Lorenzo Soria, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “His off-the-cuff wit and quirky charm will surely have the room and audiences around the world at the edge of their seats.”
“What will he say? What will he do? We can’t wait to find out, and we are so happy that he’s back!,” said Barry Adelman, EVP, Television for dick clark productions and executive producer of the “73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards.”
Gervais hosted the Globes for three consecutive years (2010-12) when the network registered ratings gains from the previous two telecasts. Over that 2010-12 span, the Golden Globes averaged a 5.2 rating in the 18-49 demo and 17 million viewers overall, which was a 6% increase from the 2009 telecast in the demo and 14% or 2.1 million persons in total viewers (17.0 million vs. 14.9 million).
A winner of seven BAFTA Awards, three Golden Globes and two Emmys, Gervais remains one of the most talented and respected comedian-actors working today. He created and currently stars in the Netflix series “Derek,” for which he has been Emmy nominated for two consecutive years.
Gervais first introduced himself to global audiences with his 2001 British TV hit “The Office,” in which he starred as his tragic creation, David Brent. “The Office” would soon become a wildly successful global format, including an Emmy-winning nine-season run on NBC. Gervais is about to continue “The Office” saga by directing his fourth Hollywood movie, “David Brent: Life on the Road. “ 
Following “The Office,” Gervais starred and created a string of HBO projects: “Extras,” “Life’s Too Short” and “The Ricky Gervais Show,” which was based on his record-breaking podcast that has been downloaded more than 500 million times. He has also guest-starred on many popular TV series, including “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Louie,” “Sesame Street,” “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.”
On the film side, Gervais has co-starred in several features, including the “Night at the Museum” franchise, “Muppets Most Wanted,” “Ghost Town” and “The Invention of Lying,” and is currently putting final touches to “Special Correspondents,” which he wrote and co-directed.
As a stand-up comedian, Gervais has sold over 2 million tickets in arenas around the world. He is also the author of the popular children’s book series “Flanimals.”
Nominations for the Golden Globes will be announced Thursday, Dec. 10. Winners in 25 categories — 14 in film and 11 in television — are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Produced by dick clark productions in association with the HFPA, the Golden Globe Awards are viewed in more than 210 countries worldwide and are one of the few awards ceremonies to include both motion picture and television achievements.
Last week, the producers of the Oscar telecast announced Chris Rock will host that show.


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The Martian lands back at No. 1, Last Witch Hunter in fourth place

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

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“The Martian” ricocheted back into the top spot at the box office, while the made-in-Pittsburgh “The Last Witch Hunter” starring Vin Diesel landed in fourth with nearly $11 million. 
Here are the early estimates courtesy of Rentrak: 
1. “The Martian” — $15,900,000, bringing its North American gross to $166,355,148.
2. “Goosebumps” — $15,500,000, for $43,712,142 to date. 
3. “Bridge of Spies” — $11,365,000, or $32,581,197 so far. 
4. “The Last Witch Hunter” — $10,825,000.
5. “Hotel Transylvania 2” — $9,000,000, bumping its total to $148,292,541.
6. “Paranormal Activity:  The Ghost Dimension” — $8,200,000.
7. “Steve Jobs” — $7,267,095, or $9,979,903 to date. 
8. “Crimson Peak” — $5,563,260, for $22,454,035.
9. “The Intern” — $3,855,000, or $64,702,882 since release. 
10. “Woodlawn” — $3,100,000, for $8,474,648.
“The Last Witch Hunter” has generally received negative or mixed (at best) reviews while two other newcomers — “Rock the Kasbah” starring Bill Murray and “Jem and the Holograms” — have been savaged by critics. 
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Rentrak, reports “The Last Witch Hunter” also made its international debut this weekend, grossing an estimated $13.4 million from 53 markets. The film ranked No. 1 in 23 markets across the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, Central America, and Eastern Europe. 
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In North America, he said, “An incredibly crowded marketplace makes for a tough weekend for newcomers and expanding films this weekend.
“Fox’s acclaimed ‘The Martian’ returns to the top spot with $15.9 million in its fourth weekend. Another very modest weekend over weekend drop of just 25 percent brings its total to date to an impressive $166.355 million.  Great word-of-mouth and awards season buzz continues to propel the Ridley Scott directed film starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain,” Dergarabedian reports.
“Sony’s ‘Goosebumps’ starring Jack Black, takes second place in its second weekend as it adds another $15.5 million for a total to date of $43.712 million. The film based on the series of children’s horror novels by R.L. Stine, is set up nicely to take advantage of the upcoming Halloween festivities.”
Opening on Friday:  “Our Brand Is Crisis” with Sandra Bullock, “Burnt” starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” and “Truth” with Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford as former CBS producer Mary Mapes and anchor Dan Rather
Pictured above: Top shows Matt Damon in “The Martian,” by Giles Keyte, 20th Century Fox, and bottom photo by Scott Garfield,  Kaulder (Vin Diesel) and Chloe (Rose Leslie) in “The Last Witch Hunter.” 

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Winter temps chased scene with Will Smith and Alec Baldwin inside

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

300concussionDirector Peter Landesman told Entertainment Weekly and those at EW Fest that the most challenging scene he filmed for “Concussion” had to be moved inside due to Pittsburgh’s brutal winter temps. reports that Landesman singled out a scene where Dr. Bennet Omalu – played by Will Smith – presents Dr. Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin) with some of his findings. The director said he wanted to shoot the scene in a car outside Heinz Field (on full display in the movie’s trailer) but temperatures dropped to 10 below zero. He moved it to a restaurant.   

On its website, EW quotes Landesman:  “If we were outside with warmers and blankets, we would’ve died,” he said, adding that the improved conditions allowed Smith to deliver a career performance.

The Post-Gazette, of course, hopes to talk to Landesman – or anyone connected to the movie – before its Christmas Day release. No one was made available during filming.

The real Dr. Omalu was the first pathologist in the world to detect a long-developing brain injury called chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE in a former football player.

The year was 2002 and the player was retired Steelers center Mike Webster who died at age 50 of a heart attack. His brain, however, was filled with tangles of a protein called tau, attributed to the countless head collisions he experienced as a player.

A native of Nigeria, Dr. Omalu worked for Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, who is portrayed in the movie by Albert Brooks. He has a great line in the trailer: “You’re going to war with a corporation that owns a day of the week.”

Landesman was part of an EW panel that also included the directors of “Spotlight,” “Room” and “The 33” about trapped Chilean miners. Read more here:

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