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PSO + Iran

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

In case you missed it: the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the American Middle East Institute is looking into the possibility of going on a concert tour to Iran. The PSO played there in 1964. one of the last American orchestras to do so. Here is the story: http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music/2014/01/17/Pittsburgh-Symphony-Orchestra-exploring-possibility-of-returning-to-Iran/stories/201401170124

What do you think of the idea? 

Correction (posted Jan. 24): This post no longer states that the PSO was the last American orchestra to perform in Iran. The Los Angeles Philharmonic performed there in October 1967 on the occasion of the coronation of the shah.

 

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Cooper, Cumberbatch and Renner will present at SAG Awards

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tina Fey, John Goodman, Josh Holloway, Pauley Perrette, and
Jeremy Renner to Present at the 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards

 

sagAmy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tina Fey, John Goodman, Josh Holloway, Pauley Perrette, and Jeremy Renner are confirmed to present at the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, executive producer/director Jeff Margolis and executive producer Kathy Connell announced today. 

They join a growing list of actors who will honor their colleagues, including Ben Affleck, Sasha Alexander, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Garner, Clark Gregg, Tom Hanks, SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard and Mindy Kaling.

Also expected are Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Leto, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Marsden, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Julia Roberts, Elisabeth Rohm, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Kerry Washington, Forest Whitaker, and Oprah Winfrey.

The show, honoring performances in five film and eight TV categories, will be shown live on TNT and TBS on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m. If you miss it, it will repeat at 10 p.m. on TNT only. 

 

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Sutter still seeking regular linemates - 01-17-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

When the Penguins parted ways with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy this past summer, it was guaranteed Brandon Sutter would be breaking in new linemates on the third line this season.

Three and a half months into the 2013-14 campaign, Sutter is still breaking them in.

Primarily due to injuries, Sutter has been flanked at various times by the likes of Matt D'Agostini, Chris Conner, Tanner Glass, Craig Adams, Jussi Jokinen, Beau Bennett, Andrew Ebbett, Jayson Megna, Chuck Kobasew, Taylor Pyatt, Joe Vitale, Brian Gibbons, Dustin Jeffrey and Harry Zolnierczyk.

As Dan Bylsma recently said, “There has been zero consistency with the players on the third line right from the start of the season. There hasn’t been continuity. You can’t look to say, ‘That was the third line.’ It hasn’t been there. To get chemistry, to get consistency, to get even an identity to the third line has really been… it’s not been able to do it. Whether that’s been a checking line, a speed line, a physical line, the parts change too often to get that.”

(In Wednesday's 4-3 win against the Capitals, even more injuries forced Sutter to vacate the third line and take up residence on the first line as a right winger.)

Earlier this week. Sutter talked about the revolving door of wingers he's played with this season.

Has it been difficult going through so many linemates?

"A little bit. It can be switching a lot. We all have the same defensive zone concepts and plays that have a lot of structure. I think it’s more affected more in the offensive zone. You’ve got to kind of build chemistry with guys to create a lot offense. I think sometimes it’s been somewhat of a struggle doing that. Guys I’ve played with are good defensively and at least we’ve been playing the right way and playing a good structural game. Unfortunately we haven’t a ton of time or as much time as we’d like in the offensive zone."

You've played with quite a few players such as Pyatt who is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. Others such as Conner (5-foot-8, 190 pounds) are much smaller. How different have the styles or physical abilities of each player been?

"It’s been a lot of different styles and everything. That’s for sure. Definitely. You get a guy like Chris Conner who is quick and really moves. He’s quick down low and stuff. Then you get a guy like Taylor Pyatt who is maybe not as quick but he’s so big and strong down low. He holds on to pucks and protects pucks down there. There is a lot of variation between guys. Again, it’s just different styles for every player. The main thing is all these guys can play in the defensive zone and are smart about coming back to our end. We’ve got to make sure we’re not giving up chances against more important than scoring goals. As the year goes on, you want to find ways to create offense and I think for our team going into the stretch here, you want to have three or four lines that can contribute almost every night. That’s kind of our goal and I want to try building something with a couple guys here."

What's key when you are the steadiest component of a line?

"I think it’s just communicating a lot. That’s the biggest thing with new guys, communicating on and off the ice about different things. I think you can try to get some concepts down always reminding guys of certain things. Whether it’s make sure you have high forward or making you’re coming back to our zone and stop. Things like that. Little details that really help when you’re playing with new guys. There’s a bit of an adjustment every game when you’ve got a new guy."

Many of the linemates you've had on the third line have spent time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in this system.

That helps. Definitely. Especially like I said about the [defensive] zone. Coming back to your zone and playing defense, everyone’s got the same structure to them. I think offensively we have structure too but there’s more creativity involved in it. More chemistry that you see. Look our top lines. [Sidney] Crosby-[Chris] Kunitz or [Evgeni] Malkin and [James] Neal. That’s chemistry that develops. But if we all have similar defensive zone concepts, that can [help].

Maybe playing on Brandon Sutter's line is a curse.

"I guess. I don’t know what it is. It seems like every guy I’ve played with has been injured. Or they played with me and went up to the second line and got injured there."

When you were with the Hurricanes, did you ever go through this many linemates?

"Not quite that many, no. I think for the most part, I always had one or two guys that were pretty much consistent with all the time. Unfortunately, with injuries, there’s not much you can do about it this year. Not quite the situation I’ve been in before but we’ve got to keep going and try to find chemistry with someone."

When the team parted ways with Cooke and Kennedy, you probably expected to be breaking in some new linemates, but...

"Not quite like this. I think it started at the start year at practice with Jokinen and D’Agostini through camp. Then I played with Malkin and Neal. Then I was with Beau for a while and then he got hurt. Then D’Agostini got hurt in training camp. It’s been all over the place. It’s not how you envision it but it’s one of those things you can’t do much about."

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Who should be the first inductee of the Pittsburgh Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame?

Written by Scott Mervis on .

 

porkyRich Engler and Porky Chedwick www.richengler.comRich Engler is a great guy and one of the true legends of Pittsburgh rock ’n’ roll.

Our music scene, our music life, our memories would not be the same without the concert promoter, who took a lot of chances and brought thousands of great shows to our city over the span of 30 years.

There is absolutely no question that he should go into the Pittsburgh Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Just not first.

On Jan. 23, he will be initial inductee into this symbolic hall created by the Hard Rock Cafe and the Cancer Caring Center. Inductees will be honored each year with a plaque mounted at the Hard Rock.

Engler, who in addition to being a promoter was the drummer for ‘60s band the Grains of Sand, will be celebrated with an all-star show featuring Donnie Iris, B.E. Taylor, Joe Grushecky, Scott Blasey and more.

On hand will be the actual president and CEO of the national Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Joel Peresman. It’s a testament to DiCesare-Engler Productions that Mt. Lebanon native Peresman got his start there as an go-fer.

The chairs of the Pittsburgh rock hall are Mary Ann Miller and Theresa Kaufmann, who both work in the public relations business. They conceived of the hall as a way to honor Pittsburgh music legends while raising money for the Cancer Caring Center, clearly a noble cause.

They are working on “a blue ribbon committee” to make decisions for the hall in the future.

Miller says that for now Engler was chosen because he is “where music came from in our lives — his name was on everybody’s list.”

As longtime Pittsburghers know, it didn’t start here with Rich Engler.

A legit Pittsburgh Rock ’N’ Roll of Fame should begin with Porky Chedwick, who started playing “race” records here in 1948, even before Alan Freed, who is credited with popularizing the phrase “rock ‘n’ roll.” It was the Daddio of the Raddio who launched rock ’n’ roll in Pittsburgh, played the forbidden black artists, broke records nationally and literally drove our teenagers wild in the streets (Stanley Theater 1953).

He’s still very much alive at 95, god bless him ...

jimmybJimmy BeaumontFrom there, you have to go Jimmy Beaumont. And Joe Rock. Beaumont was and is the golden-voiced lead singer of the Skyliners, who went to No. 12 on the charts in 1959 with “Since I Don’t Have You.” It was the first major Pittsburgh hit of the rock era. (You have heard the Guns N Roses version).

It was written by late Skyliners manager and producer Joe Rock, who also managed the Jaggerz (No. 2 in 1970 with “The Rapper”) and the Granati Brothers. He would have been the logical co-inductee with Beaumont.

There were other brilliant choices from the doo-wop era, including the Marcels (“Blue Moon”) and Del-Vikings (“Come and Go With Me”).

patdPat DiCesareBusiness-wise, the first inductee candidate is a no-brainer. It was, after all, called DiCesare-Engler, the DiCesare being the man who brought the Beatles to Pittsburgh in 1964. I would say that Pat was the Bill Graham of Pittsburgh, but he predated Bill Graham. A songwriter for doo-wop acts, he started booking concerts in 1962, mentored by his friend Tim Tormey, who was more of a Sinatra guy. DiCesare became the dominant promoter in town during the ’60s and when Engler came along as the new kid on the block in 1969, Pat didn’t try to squash him — he made him a partner!

So, your first class of Pittsburgh Rock N Roll Hall of Famers: Porky Chedwick, Joe Rock, Jimmy Beaumont and Pat DiCesare.

You can’t blame Engler for graciously accepting this honor. You can bet, though, that he will have a hand in making sense of this operation in the future.

 

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Mark Cuban raves about Pittsburgh-based Simple Sugars on 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno'

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Looks like 2014 is already off to a great start for Fox Chapel entrepreneur Lani Lazzari and her all-natural line of handmade sugar scrubs called Simple Sugars.

On Wednesday, the product was featured on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" when Mark Cuban, another Pittsburgh native, raved about the products to host Jay Leno and actress Vanessa Hudgens, another guest on the show.

Mr. Cuban, an investor on the ABC reality TV show "Shark Tank," invested in Ms. Lazzari's sugar scrubs when she appeared on the television show in 2013. Since her appearance on the show, her sales have skyrocketed. By the end of last year, she had $1 million in the bank, Mr. Cuban said.

Hear Mr. Cuban talk about Ms. Lazzari's success in the video clip above (at about four minutes into the segment). Learn more about Ms. Lazzari and the company she started when she was 11 years old at post-gazette.com, or buy some scrubs for yourself at simplesugars.com.

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