Friday, March 27, 2020

Join in Tonight for a Virtual Concert from Duquesne University

At this time when we all find ourselves at home and seeking inspiration, a little joy, and, perhaps, something with melody, Duquesne offers you a trip (of sorts) to the carnival that's sure to provide all of the above— while comfortably at home.

This Friday evening kicks off a wonderful series of great past performances hosted by the Mary E. Pappert School of Music, A Little Friday Night Music, featuring world-class musicians, in the comfort of your home, absolutely free.

The first performance is a stunning rendition of Camille Saint-Saëns's "Carnival of the Animals" that features Duquesne President, Ken Gormley, as the narrator, along with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and a cast of other internationally known musicians.

The watch party begins at 7:30 p.m. at

The series will continue through early May, every Friday at 7:30.
Join in for this very special first performance and may it bring the joy of music to wherever you may be.

Introducing City Theatre Online!

City Theatre's stages may be dark, but that won't stop them from bringing you art via the internet. Over the next few months, they'll be rolling out digital content on social media as well as a weekly email digest to keep the creative juices flowing. 

While the past few weeks have been incredibly challenging, they've also been overwhelmed by messages of support from artists and patrons alike. 

The theater kicked off its digital shorts series featuring previous City artists with Benjamin Scheuer, star and creator of The Lion (2016), sharing a song to help us all 'weather this storm'. 

CLICK HERE to See Video

In addition to the digital shorts, City Theatre will also be going live every Friday! Get a CT update, enjoy interviews with artists, and more! 

The first stream will feature Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director James McNeel. They'll share their digital plans, discuss how COVID-19 is affecting the theater community, and answer questions from viewers. Tune in LIVE (Today!) Friday, March 27th at 1 pm on City Theatre's  Facebook page.

This week on CitySpeaks: A New Play Podcast they speak with
Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation Pittsburgh.

Bring the theater to your living room!
The theater's performance of Cry It Out by Molly Smith Metzler
is available to watch now.

Here's how it works:
1. Buy your tickets online HERE
2. A confirmation email will be sent to you with the video link.
    Please note: the link will be sent to the email address on file for your account and       you will receive the link within an hour of purchase.
3. Open the link on your device.
4. Enjoy

The virtual performance is available to watch NOW UNTIL APRIL 5TH. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Popular Recipe from Branson, Missouri

Silver Dollar City’s Famous Ozark Mountain Succotash Credit: Silver Dollar City

Here's a word from the team at Mindy Bianca Public Relations!

They’re a virtual agency, so the group mastered the concepts of working from home and being separated from each other a long time ago. (They work in multiple states, countries and time zones.)

It’s hard to know when the time is right to share news from its client destinations, resorts and attractions. And honestly, there’s not a lot to say right now. In a nutshell: They’re closed for the time being and they encourage you to continue taking good care of yourself. We all look forward to better, healthier times ahead.

The team at MBPR loves a good food story, and in these strange days – when you’re rummaging through the depths of your freezer as you try to plan for dinner – they thought you might appreciate a down-home, comfort-food recipe. This one comes from Silver Dollar City, an award-winning theme park in Branson, Missouri, that knows a thing or two about cuisine. Fun fact: They’re the only theme park in the United States with its own culinary school!

What follows is a recipe for the park’s succotash, which is Silver Dollar City’s most iconic and popular food item. The recipe was introduced nearly 30 years ago by park host Shirley Tolar, who grew up making this meal with her large family and who still works at Silver Dollar City after all these years.

In the Ozarks, some people call this dish “Family Feud.” Mindy's agency would like to suggest, however, that it could be just what you need to help your family come together – at safe distance, of course – during these challenging times.

At Silver Dollar City, they use corn, squash, fried okra, peppers, onions and chicken in their succotash. If you’re missing one of those ingredients in your pantry, fridge or freezer, don’t worry ... improvise! (Silver Dollar City serves more than 30,000 pounds of breaded okra each year, which is more than anyone else in the entire country. But in case you don’t have a bag in your freezer, substitute something else that sounds delicious to you.)

Over the years the culinary team at Silver Dollar City has invented a whole list of incredible “skillet meals.” For their 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee, which will kick off when the park opens this year, they’re bringing back a fan favorite, the “Harvest Skillet” that combines Ozark ingredients for a sensational flavor combination.

By the way, the iron skillets they use at the park are HUGE; they measure six feet in diameter. They were crafted by the park’s on-site blacksmith shop. Because, yes, this theme park is also the Home of American Craftsmanship, welcoming 100 demonstrating craftsmen in-season.

Don’t worry, though ... you don’t need a six-foot skillet. The park serves 125,000 pounds of its succotash each year, but years ago they modified their “serves hundreds” recipe to share with guests because they get so many requests for it. What follows makes just four servings.

Enjoy this meal in good health!

Silver Dollar City’s Famous Ozark Mountain Succotash

¼ cup                                                            olive oil, divided                  
½ cup                                                              white onion (julienne sliced)
1 cup                                                                green bell pepper (julienne sliced)
1 cup                                                                whole kernel corn (Fresh or Frozen)
1 cup                                                                sliced yellow squash
½ pound                                                         chicken breast (cut fajita-style)
1 – 16-ounce package                                     frozen breaded okra
1 teaspoon                                                      garlic powder
1 teaspoon                                                      salt
1 teaspoon                                                      pepper          

In a large skillet sauté onions and peppers in 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Remove from skillet.
Add corn and squash to skillet, cooking until soft. Remove from skillet into a separate bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon oil and chicken to skillet. Cook on medium heat until browned and cooked through. Remove from skillet and reserve until later.
Add remaining oil to pan with okra. Fry until golden brown, then add the salt, pepper and garlic.
When okra is finished cooking, return all other vegetables and chicken to skillet, heating everything through.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Japan Offers Virtual Experiences For Home-Bound Travelers Around the World

Click Here to See Video

From a live feed of Tokyo's Shibuya Crossing to a virtual reality tour of the country's beloved sites, people around the world can still experience the magic of Japan during the COVID-19 quarantine.
While travelers worldwide are self-isolating, the Japan National Tourism Organization is encouraging people to satisfy their wanderlust remotely by providing virtual experiences showcasing the best of Japan. 

The Japan National Tourism Organization made a 360-degree virtual reality movie experience featuring scenes throughout the country. Appropriately titled "where tradition meets future," the movie transports visitors to such spectacular, wanderlust-inducing locations and experiences as the sculptures of Naoshima, breathtaking bamboo forests, Geisha performances, sumo wrestling and sushi making.

Snow monkeys bathe in the hot springs at Jigokudani Park (© JNTO)

Other experiences include a live feed of Tokyo's world-famous Shibuya Crossing, a popular Neko (cat) Café in Kyoto and Jigokudani, a park in Nagano known for its feisty snow monkeys. Animal lovers should check out the famous Nihondaira Zoo via live stream as well, where celebrity polar bears (named Rossy and Vanilla) reside (note the "visiting hours" are 7 pm and 4 am EST).

 In Hokkaido, the snow bunny paradise of Niseko Village has a live webcam, allowing people to experience the fresh powder-covered slopes from their couches. Currently, at Hyogo Park in Toyooka City, people can watch the Park's Oriental white storks during hatching season, which lasts until April. Recently, two eggs hatched and viewers can watch as the chicks grow into fledglings. For more sights of Shizuoka Prefecture, Explore Shizuoka has created a virtual experience for anyone to explore the port town of Mochimune.

And of course, no "visit" to Japan would be complete without hanami, the ancient and widely celebrated tradition of admiring flower blossoms -  which can be done remotely, too. There are a number of 360-degree virtual reality videos available, featuring the cherry blossoms in full bloom in locations such as Ueno Park in Tokyo, Miharu Falls in Fukushima which features a waterfall cherry tree, and Hirosaki Park featuring a full view of the castle as well. 

As the official tourism board of Japan, JNTO is involved in a wide range of promotional activities to encourage international travelers to visit Japan. Through a variety of campaigns and initiatives, JNTO is inspiring more American travelers to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond.

For more information about travel to Japan, visit JNTO on its Website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To contact the New York office of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) directly, please e-mail

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Review of "I Am Not Okay With This"

As a Netflix subscriber, I get all sorts of email previews and announcements of available films. One recent email for "I Am Not Okay With This" caught my attention when I watched the preview and saw several landmarks in both Brownsville and East Pittsburgh. Excited to see more, I watched the first episode of Season 1 and lo and behold, there was Brownsville and the George Westinghouse Bridge in East Pittsburgh. A friend who drove through Brownsville last summer told me he saw a film crew in town and it must have been the one for this film. After all, how many films are shot in Brownsville in the same year?

Just after I met film guru and cinema cognoscenti, Rachel Nicholson, a bright and talented student at Charleroi High School, I asked her if she'd like to review it.  Here are her thoughts and insights into the film. And here's the link to the trailer:

I Am Not Okay With This ​ is a sensitive, powerful, and surprisingly fresh look at the often over saturated market of teenage targeted programming. Directed in part by the brilliant Jonathan Entwistle, co director of the disturbingly hilarious​ The End of the F***ing World, Entwistle once again dives into creepy, and imaginative slice of life stories wrapped up in pseudo horror stories. His style however, would be in vain, if not for the dark, gritty, and often spellbounding work of the masterful co director ​Christy Hall. ​Tackling issues every modern teenager deals with like boys, loss, friends, peer pressure, and sexuality, as well as other less common issues like telekinesis.This show is one of the most charismatic and clever programs on Netflix. 

This show has the magic bullet of cinema. Combining first-rate writing, acting, and a phenomenal cast and crew, this film creates a world you can seamlessly step in and out of. The casting choices chosen for this program were definitely a foundation for the show, however it was not used as a crutch. The always talented Sophia Lillis, plunged into the spotlight with her role in the ​IT ​ franchise, plays our main character, and her awkwardly delightful demeanor really shines here. Another actress who brings her talents to the table in a stunning way is Sofia Bryant, who plays Dina. The way she pivots from being cold one moment and bubbly the next is really what comes through in her style of acting, and it is absolutely dazzling. 

The story of this program revolves around an oddball, almost picaresque character, Syd. After the death of her father, she deals with the hurdles of teenage life including friendship turbulence, sexuality, and... telekinesis. After discovering her bizarre and paranormal ability to move things, uncontrollably with her mind. Syd meets Stan, a geeky kid who is determined to help her cope with her newfound ability. Along with her on and off best friend Dina, as well as a crew of other eccentric supporting characters, Syd’s antics, and her paranormal abilities escalate in a delightful mix of horror and mystery. 

One thing about the technical aspect of this show I found especially engrossing was its clever use of camera angles and depth of field. Almost every angle in this program is shot at eye level. This use of angle truly draws in the audience, captivating them completely, making every shot feel personal and engaging. This fly on the wall feeling is enhanced further by every subject becoming the true and only focal point of their shot, framed like a portrait, often zoomed in and expressive in front of muted backgrounds. 

The color scheme chosen for this show was another absolutely phenomenal, yet bold, choice. The color pallet of this program is evocative of the warm-toned and muted style of seventies and early eighties cinema. The reds, yellows and oranges are boldly and artistically overpowering of the cool blues, purples, and greens. This choice creates a piece of cinema in which every single shot is visually stimulating and gorgeous. You can almost feel the warmth that radiates from this program, not a comforting and cozy warmth, but a sticky, humid and sweaty warmth, almost a suffocating feeling, but absolutely stunning nonetheless. 

Darkly hilarious, and creepy, original and atmospheric, I cannot recommend ​I Am Not Okay With This ​ enough. The thing I admire and praise most about this show is that it doesn’t shy away from topics very relevant today, such as LGBT identity and sexuality in the modern age. I commend this show for bringing representation to cinema in a time when it is few and far between, and hope to see the trend of LGBT representation continue. If you are looking for a show with heart, framed by a dynamic cast of characters, especially if you yourself are teen, definitely give this one a try. Tackling hard to swallow and often difficult subjects in an amusing and light hearted way is exactly what a teenage crowd needs in these confusing transitional times of the modern world. I for one, am looking forward to season two and am expecting great things from this program looking forward. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Pennsylvania Is the State with 2020’s 7th Most Medicaid Coverage – WalletHub Study

An Elk County Scene Credit: Bill Rockwell
With the Trump administration unveiling an overhaul of Medicaid, healthcare playing a big role in the 2020 election and coronavirus testing being covered by Medicaid, the personal finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2020’s States with the Most & Least Medicaid Coverage (along with accompanying videos).

In order to identify which states rely most and least on Medicaid, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 12 metrics, ranging from total Medicaid spending per low-income population to adult care quality and children Medicaid eligibility level.

Medicaid Coverage in Pennsylvania (1=Most, 25=Avg.):
10th – Total Medicaid Spending Per Low-income Population
14th – Adult Care Quality
29th – Children Medicaid Eligibility Level
16th – Total Medicaid Enrollment per Low-income Population
For the full report, please visit:

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Lana's Tea Shop - Save 15% on Entire Order

Lana The Little House <>

Lana's Tea Shop
Use Code: Spring2020
valid through March 25, 2020 11:59 p.m. EST

We are open and shipping daily
Shop and Save 15%