Sunday, August 23, 2015

Brownsville Community Festival Spotlights "Frozen"

Elsa and Anna in "Frozen"

    The beloved sisters, Elsa and Anna, from the award-winning Disney musical fantasy "Frozen" will appear on stage for the first time in Fayette County at the Sept. 11-12 Brownsville Community Festival. Other featured attractions are a 9/11 memorial service, Patriots' Day Parade, Ducky Race and fireworks
     Making the animated Disney princesses come to life will be Kate Kratzenberg and Brady Collins, two voice majors from Duquesne University who will portray the mysterious Queen Elsa of the Kingdom of Arendelle and the fearless optimist Anna, respectively. The show is produced by 13th Hour Entertainment of Zelienople, Pa.
    The free "Elsa and Anna" show will feature such hit tunes as "Let It Go" and "For the First Time in Forever" from the 3D computer-animated film. A two-hour "meet and greet" with free photo opportunities for parents and children will follow the performance, slated for 2 p.m. Sept. 12
     "This is just one of the many family activities we have planned for this year's festival, which celebrates the 200th year of our borough's incorporation," says Jack Lawver, a Brownsville councilman and president of the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.
    The festival opens Sept. 11 with a memorial service at 4:30 p.m. in downtown's Snowdon Square. The speakers are PA Rep. Pam Snyder (D-50th District) and Ron Barrie, assistant chief of South Brownsville Volunteer Fire Co. 1
     Immediately prior to the service, first responders will scale crossed ladders of two fire trucks to raise the American flag in a poignant prelude to the ceremony. The 9/11 service will conclude with a dance tribute by the Amber Terretta Dance Co. and a medley of patriotic songs by the Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir.
    Sharing the spotlight with Elsa and Anna on the second day of the festival will be the Patriots' Day Parade at 10:30 a.m. Following the parade will be a brief firefighters' memorial service, parade awards and the presentation of a plaque from the PA State Association of Boroughs to mark the borough's 200th year of its incorporation.

The Classics

    The Sept. 12 highlights also include the Ducky Race, a fundraiser for Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp.; a two-hour concert by The --more-- Add 1 – Brownsville Community Festival Classics, a popular classic rock band; and a grand finale of fireworks, sponsored by the Greater Brownsville Area Chamber of Commerce.
    Other attractions throughout the day will be performances by students from Dee Dee's Studio of Dance and Amber Terretta's Dance Co.; Stars on Stage competitors from the annual talent show of Brownsville Rotary; a concert by Blended Reality, a group of local high school students rising fast on the music circuit; and a children's activity area with the Rotary's bounce house, face painting, puppetry and sand art, sponsored by Market Street Academy & Performing Arts Center.
    The festival is expected to draw at least 45 food and arts 'n crafts vendors plus an assortment of flea market/community yard sale tables. The festival ends at 7 p.m. both days. The Charles Street Bridge will be closed Sept. 12 between Seneca and Bank streets for the flea market.

Brownsville Community Festival Schedule
Sept. 11-12

Sept. 11
4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. – 9/11 memorial service
5:45 p.m. - 6 p.m. – Amber Terretta's Dance Co.
6:15 p.m. - 7 p.m. – Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir

Sept. 12
7 a.m. – Flea market/community yard sale
10 a.m. – Booths open
10:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. – Parade
11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Firefighters' memorial service, parade awards, 200th year
                                              plaque presentation by the PA State Association of Boroughs
11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. – Dee Dee's Studio of Dance, Amber Terretta's Dance Co.
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. – Stars on Stage (high school competitors from the Brownsville Rotary's annual
     talent show
2 p.m. - 3 p.m. – Elsa and Anna, 13th Hour Entertainment, sponsored by PA Rep. Pam Snyder
3 p.m. - 5 p.m. – Elsa and Anna "meet and greet" beside the Brownsville Free Public Library
3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. – Blended Realit
4:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. – Ducky Race, Brownsville Riverside Wharf, sponsored by Brownsville Area
 Revitalization Corp.
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. – The Classics, sponsored by Phil Giannetti Motors Inc.
Dusk – Fireworks, sponsored by the Greater Brownsville Area Chamber of Commerce

* The festival closes at 7 p.m. both days.
* Charles Street Bridge will be closed Sept. 12 for the flea market/community yard sale.
* Parade route: Start in 500 block of Water Street, proceed up Water Street, right onto Bank

   Street, left onto Market Street, right onto Brownsville Avenue. Disband at the festival site.

Fun at the Ducky Race

BASRC's Seventh Annual Ducky Race on the Monongahela River at the Brownsville Riverside Wharf Park WILL BE HELD ON SEPT 12TH. As part of the Brownsville festival that will be held on Sept 11th and 12th
WHERE: Brownsville Riverside Wharf off of Water Street –near Fiddles
HOW: BARC has 1000 (From 000 to 999 numbered tickets available.  Each numbered ticket is $5.00 and it will register a small yellow plastic duck that has the corresponding number on the bottom of it.  Each sold duck will be placed in a barrel. At 4:15PM, all numbered ducks that are sold will be dumped into the Mon River from the intercounty bridge and as they float north to the wharf, the first five ducks that arrive will be awarded the following prizes:
1st: Overnight, breakfast and dinner at Nemacolin Woodlands w/ $50.00 gift card
2nd Overnight at the Cottages at Fayette Springs w/bottle of wine
3rd A hayride tour of the Christian Klay Winery including a wine tasting party for 10 at the winery
4th $100 gift card for Wallmart
5th gift cards packet
Additionally, businesses are asked to adopt a large Corporate Duck that will be dressed in a neckerchief and decorative hat to distinguish which business has sponsored the duck.  Spectators may take chances on the corporate ducks. The winning Corporate Duck wins half the value of the tickets purchased for that particular duck to win. 
WHY: This is one of BARC’ four fund raising events.  BARC also sponsors the Taste of Italy on October 24, 2015, a membership drive annually in June, and a Lotto Calendar in November each year. All proceeds are used to renovate historic properties owned by BARC.  Once the building is renovated, BARC encourages businesses and/or residents to come to our town and increase the economic growth of the town toward self-sustainability.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

L. A. Cetto 2010 Petite Sirah Private Reserve - Award-Winning Deliciousness

2010 L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah Private Reserve Credit Bill Rockwell
    Recently, I wrote on my blog about two great wines from Mexico - to be more exact from Baja, California’s Valle de Guadalupe. The L.A. Cetto 2011 Private Reserve Chardonnay and the 2009 Private Reserve Nebbiolo got high marks from me as delicious eye-openers underscoring the fact that quality wine can be made in Mexico given the right conditions.
Last month, I discovered that five L.A. Cetto wines won medals at the prestigious 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition, including a double gold for its 2010 Petite Sirah Private Reserve.
The San Francisco International Wine Competition has been a highly reputable competition since their 1980 debut. It has been called the "largest and most influential wine competition in America" and has been setting standards for professional wine judging for the last 35 years. The judges themselves are chosen from the most experienced wine experts around the world.
    Since 1996, L.A. Cetto has received more than 225 International Awards and are poured everywhere from the trendiest New York City and Los Angeles eateries to Presidential Dinners at the White House.
    The L.A. Cetto Winery has proven to be a creative force in the industry by producing award-winning quality wines at affordable prices. Camillo Margoni, L.A. Cetto’s chief oenologist, has been nurturing the vines, overseeing the grapes’ development and creating masterful wines for 40 years.
    The ideal weather conditions for growing the grapes come from its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the mountains ranges of the Valle de Guadalupe. The major winegrowing sub regions – the Guadalupe, Calafia, San Vincente, and Santo Tom├ís Valleys – produce nearly 90 percent of all Mexican wines and benefit from the cooling ocean breezes and mists. Hot days and cool nights is a classic wine growing combination throughout the world, allowing grapes to develop their sugars without a corresponding drop in acidity.
    Able to sample a bottle of L.A. Cetto’s 2010 award winning Private Reserve Petite Sirah, I found the wine very full-bodied with a great structure. Visually, the wine in the glass is a dark ruby red; aromatically, it has a spicy nose bolstered by plum and blackberry notes.
    The wine has a long, lingering finish that accentuates is berry-laden qualities.  Made from 100 percent Petite Sirah grapes, the wine is aged in oak barrels 12 months and comes with 13.8% alcohol. The price ranges from $17 to $20. Enjoyable on its own as a sipping wine, it can also be served with gilled red meats, strong cheeses and dark chocolate desserts.
    Note: The 2012 L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah also took home a gold from the Concourse Mondiale in Brussels, Belgium in 2014.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Different Kind of Flea Mart

    Horror Realm’s popular annual Horror Fan Flea Market returns to The Hollywood Theater in Dormont on August 22 from 10 2 p.m. The flea market allows fans to clear out their old horror VHS movies, DVDs, figures, posters, t-shirts and other merchandise to find a loving home with other horror fans.  Sci-fi, fantasy and Halloween themed items are also welcome.
  Space is limited. Fees are $20 for the lobby, $15 for the theater and $10 for the basement (no elevator). Nonprofessional vendors interested in purchasing a space may contact Horror Realm at
  There will also be a bake sale and the concession stand will be open. All vendor table fees and food sales benefit the Hollywood, a non-profit community theater. Admission is free.
  For more information, contact Horror Realm at
  The Hollywood Theater is located at 1449 Potomac Avenue in Dormont, Pa. There is ample parking on street and in metered lots.  The theater is less than two blocks from the Potomac Avenue light rail transit station.  For more information, please call 412-563-0368 or visit the theater’s web site at
 About Horror Realm:
Horror Realm, serving the horror community since 2009, produces an annual horror convention in Pittsburgh.  In addition to the conventions, Horror Realm also produces horror-themed entertainment and charity events in the area, including film screenings, author signings and art shows.
Charities supported by Horror Realm have included Scares That Care, Fix The Chapel, Friends of the Hollywood Theater, The Bradley Center, Animal Rescue League, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, Community Human Services, Myasthenia Gravis Association, Mainstay Life Services. Shepherd Wellness Community. Wounded Warriors Project and The Proper Pit Bull.;;;

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

City of Asylum Offers Free Jazz Concerts

City of Asylum’s r next Jazz Wednesday is tonight, August 12 from 7-9 p.m. in the Alphabet City Tent!

Future Dates: August  19, & 26 / September 2 & 16
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Alphabet City Tent, 318 Sampsonia Way Pittsburgh’s North Side
Reservations recommended, space is limited!

The concerts are FREE and go from 7 pm to 9 pm. The tent will be set up like a club for the concerts, and you are welcome to BYOB. Reservations are recommended; space is limited.

Reserve your spot now by contacting Karen Simpson at 412-323-0278 or

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

City of Asylum Stages Annual Garden Poetry Walking Tour

Tameka Cage Conley will speak at Garden Poetry Walking Tour
City of Asylum's annual walking-tour is now in its 9th year. In past years, it took place the same day as Jazz Poetry Concert. But now it's being given a day of its own: August 15 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Writers in the Gardens is staged in four different gardens in the Mexican War Street area, near Sampsonia Way. Small groups are led from garden to garden. In each garden, a different writer does a short reading. For a grand finale, we will are rejoin for a fifth reading, together, in the Alphabet City Tent (318 Sampsonia Way), where two visiting writers, Birgul Oguz and Armen Ohanyan --from Turkey and Armenia-- will do a short reading. Peter Trachtenberg will also be doing a short reading in the tent. A book signing follows the final reading.

This year's event is curated by Peter Trachtenberg. and he has chosen an interesting mix of poets and prose writers, established and up-and-coming—Geeta Kothari, William Lychack, Jenny Johnson and Tameka Cage Conley. Each writer has also been commissioned by City of Asylum to write a special text for the garden in which he or she will be reading. 

Free but limited to 72 people. Reserve your spot with the button above or call Karen Simpson at 412-323-0278.

Geeta Kothari is the editor of ‘Did My Mama Like to Dance?’ and Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters (Avon).  She is the recipient of a fellowship in literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2003, 2005), and her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Superstition Review, Fourth Genre, and Best American Essays. She is the nonfiction editor at the The Kenyon Review and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.

Tameka Cage Conley, PhD, is a literary artist who writes poetry, fiction, and plays. She received the doctoral degree in English in 2006 from Louisiana State University, where she was a recipient of the Huel Perkins Doctoral Fellowship.  In 2010, she received the August Wilson Center Fellowship in literary arts. Her first play, Testimony, was produced at the Center in May 2011. An excerpt of the play is published in the anthology 24 Gun Control Plays and has been performed in Los Angeles and the Darlinghurst Theatre Company in Sydney, Australia.  Her poems are published in Callaloo, The Portable Boog Reader, African American Review, Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature, and a special online feature of the Southeast Review in response to the Ferguson protests that spread across the nation. An excerpt of her novel-in-progress, This Far, By Grace, is also published in Huizache.  She has received writing fellowships from Cave Canem, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Squaw Valley Writers Conference and Workshops.  In October 2013, she received the Eben Demarest Trust grant, awarded annually to an artist or archaeologist, to support the completion of her novel-in-progress. Last month, her poem "Losing" was chosen by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book as one of four featured poems for the Public Poetry Project in 2015.

Jenny Johnson’s poems appear in The Best American Poetry, Troubling the Line: Trans & Genderqueer Poetry & Poetics, New England Review, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, and elsewhere. She was the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers Award. She has also received awards and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Currently, she is a Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh where she teaches writing.

William Lychack is the author of a novel, The Wasp Eater, and a collection of stories, The Architect of Flowers, as well as two children’s books and a nonfiction book about the history of cement. His work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and on public radio’s This American Life. He is currently an assistant professor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Photo by Tony Eprile.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Pick of the Week - "I Won't be in on Monday" at Off the Wall Theater ( See Alert Below)

    Writer/actor Anne Stockton and director Austin Pendleton return to Off the WALL Theater with a World Premiere!  After a successful run in 2012 of Ms. Stockton’s play"The Speed Queen," Off the WALL Productions opens its 2015-16 season with her new play,"I Won’t Be in on Monday."
    The plot centers on Nikki who’s met the man of her life, and she’s looking forward to a fabulous adventure with him – that is, until a police detective enters the picture.  He suspects that she has stolen two very expensive rings from coworkers in order to pay for this fabulous adventure.
Nikki struggles to maintain her equilibrium in circumstances that would derail a much more stable person than she.  Most of the time she succeeds, by a hair, but she DOES succeed – with wit, honesty, vulnerability, and a persistence that is nothing less than heroic.
  "I Won’t be in on Monday" is part of Off the WALL’s repertory series and is scheduled to return to Carnegie Stage in February of 2016 before its New York City premiere.
Four performances only: August 13, 14, and 15 @ 8:00 PM.  Matinee: August 16 @ 3pm
 Tickets:  $ 5.00 to $ 40.00 at  / Phone: 724-873-3576.
See blog entry below to read about director Austin Pendleton.

ALERT: This just came in -
Off the WALL Productions at Carnegie Stage regretfully must postpone the World Premiere of Anne Stockton’s I WON’T BE IN ON MONDAY, due to illness in Ms. Stockton’s family. Performances originally slated for this week (Aug. 13-16) are in the process of being rescheduled for February of 2016.  All ticket holders will be contacted individually regarding this change.

Ann Stockton in "I Won't Be in on Monday"

     There’s a lot more happening at Off the WALL!  As of July of 2015, Hans and Virginia Wall Gruenert, co-founders of off the WALL Performing Arts Center, have donated the building at 25 W. Main St., Carnegie, to the Off the WALL Charitable Trust. The not-for-profit venue will be renamed Carnegie Stage, as their nod to a supportive community.  The anchor tenants will continue to be Off the WALL Productions, whose main theater season is October to May, fireWALL dance theater with two new works annually and the Pittsburgh New Works Festival.
  Season nine of "alternative theater for grownups" includes great plays, bold choices, and talented artists.  Off the WALL Productions is excited to announce its 2015-16 season, featuring two World premieres and one Pittsburgh premiere in the Acting Company’s four-play program, including repertory theater. Not only will you see many established ensemble members on stage, but also several exciting artists new to Off the WALL.
I Won’t Be In On Monday by Anne Stockton                                  
World Premiere  (See above)                                                                                          
Runs Aug. 13-16, 2015 and Feb. 25-28, 2016.

Tunnel Vision by Andrea Lepcio                                                              
World Premiere                                                                
Off the WALL celebrates the return of playwright Andrea Lepcio (Looking For The Pony), whose play Tunnel Vision is a multi-layered celebration of the Feminine.  Lepcio examines many of the daily challenges women face as well as those issues that are, typically, solely female:  the struggle to balance motherhood with the desire to have a career, the stigma that comes with not choosing the traditional path assigned our gender, the hypercritical judgment we place on ourselves in comparison to our female peers, the difficulty we find in truly loving ourselves, and the fear that sometimes comes in loving each other.  Directed by Melissa Maxwell.  Runs Oct. 16-31, 2015.

    Scared of Sarah by Laura Brienza                                                                  
Pittsburgh Premiere                                                      
    Lily and Sam are in crisis mode. Lily’s pregnant, and Sam’s in a panic that rings entirely true: They’re in huge debt – how will they support a baby?  Then they begin to face an even graver possibility: what if their unborn child turns out to be like Lily’s older sister, Sarah?
    Sarah is autistic—she’s able to care for herself, but still very difficult to handle and know, processing the universe in such an unfathomable way.  Sarah’s employed, lives independently, and by all means looks "normal," but she’s not quite normal. She’s the kind of person that one might interact with every day, not realizing her brain is a little different.  Lily’s fears also ring true:  What, she wonders, if our baby can’t stand to be held or touched, the way Sarah was?  What if I don’t love my own child?
Directed by Ingrid Sonnichsen.  Runs Dec. 4-19, 2015.

The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)  by Eric  Rockwell and Joanne Bogart
In this hilarious satire of musical theatre, one story becomes five delightful musicals, each written in the distinctive style of a different master of the form: Rodgers and Hammerstein (complete with dream ballet), Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kander & Ebb.
The basic plot: June is an ingenue who can’t pay the rent and is threatened by her evil landlord. Will the handsome leading man come to the rescue?  This comic valentine to musical theatre was the longest running show in the York Theatre Company’s 35-year history before moving to Off-Broadway.  Directed by Robyne Parrish.  Runs May 6-21, 2016.

Distinguished Director Comes to Off the Wall Theater

Austin Pendleton to Direct at Off the Wall Theater

Austin Pendleton (Director) is an American film, television, and stage actor, playwright, theatre director and instructor. His Off the WALL directorial debut was 2012’s THE SPEED QUEEN. This week his directorial work will be evident at Off the Wall Theater in Carnegie with the staging of “I Won’t Be in on Monday, a world premiere starring Anne Stockton. (See previous blog).

Four performances only: August 13, 14, and 15 @ 8:00 PM.  Matinee: August 16 @ 3pm
 Tickets:  $ 5.00 to $ 40.00 at  / Phone: 724-873-3576.
Mr. Pendleton’s career highlights include - 
Film: Wall Street 2; Piccadilly Jim; Dirty Work; A Beautiful Mind; Searching for Bobby Fischer; Guarding Tess; Finding Nemo (voice of Gurgle); Queenie in Love; Manna from Heaven; Mr. and Mrs. Bridge; What's Up Doc?; Joe the King; The Associate; Trial and Error; Amistad; Sue; The Muppet Movie, My Cousin Vinny; Christmas with the Kranks.

Theatre: Actor, Broadway: The Diary of Anne Frank; Grand Hotel; Doubles; An American Millionaire; The Little Foxes (original cast – role of Leo Hubbard); Hail Strawdyke!; Fiddler on the Roof (original cast – role of Motel).

 Actor, Off-Broadway: Straight White Men; Ivanov, Mother Courage and Her Children (with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline); The Sunset Limited; Richard II; Hamlet; Richard III; Uncle Vanya; Master Class; The Last Sweet Days of Isaac; Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad.  Actor, Regional: King Lear, Waiting for Godot (New Repertory Theatre); The Black Monk (Samuel Beckett Theatre); Love Drunk (Abingdon Theatre).

 Director, Broadway: The Spoils of War; The Little Foxes (with Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton – Tony nominee, Best Director); John Gabriel Borkman; The Runner Stumbles; Shelter.

Director, Off-Broadway: Hamlet (with Peter Sarsgaard); Between Riverside and Crazy (Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominations for Best Director); Ivanov (with Ethan Hawke); Detroit; The Little Foxes; Spoils of War; Three Sisters (OBIE Award, Best Director); The Runner Stumbles; Fifty Words; Uncle Vanya; Vieux Carre; Golden Age; Bus Stop.  Frequent directing at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and at Steppenwolf, where he is an Ensemble member.  Director, Chicago: A Minister's Wife (Writers' Theater – Joseph Jefferson Award); Playwright and Actor: Orson's Shadow (Chicago Center for the Performing Arts and Barrow Street Theatre); Booth (Writers' Theater). 

TV: Homicide: Life on the Street (NBC); Oz (HBO); The Fourth Floor (HBO); Liberty (PBS).  Awards: 2015 Off-Broadway Alliance Legend of Off Broadway Award (for sustained achievement in the world of Off-Broadway); 2007 Drama Desk Special Award (“Renaissance Man of the American Theater”); Lucille Lortel nomination and L.A. Drama Critics Award for Best Writing (Orson's Shadow); Clarence Derwent Award (Hail Strawdyke!); OBIE Award, Distinguished Performance (The Last Sweet Days of Isaac).

Friday, August 7, 2015

G. Washington 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – Rich, Dark and Deeply Intense

2013 G. Washington Cabernet Sauvignon

    It seemed almost a shame to open the 2013 vintage of G. Washington Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Alexander Valley. This excellent full-bodied Cab has years to go in the bottle before it peaks.
    That said, even a premature tasting  is a glorious experience starting with a deep ruby red color in the glass that exudes an aroma redolent with blueberries, black cherries, cassis and a touch of black pepper. The 13.5% alcohol is barely discernible as it’s masked by luscious fruit flavors – mostly black raspberry and blackberry,  The smooth finish lingers with lasting hints of chocolate, cinnamon, cedar and juniper. A keeper that will get better with age, this Cab cries out for a grilled beef steak a rack of lamb, grilled veggies even a chocolate mousse.
Why a winery from Northern California would decide to name itself G. Washington remains  rather cryptic, but a statement on the back label provides a possible clue. “Wooden teeth, powdered wigs, revolutionary taste   . . . . not to mention legendary honesty,” it reads. Perhaps the winemaker is hinting at novel methodology and authenticity of flavor. The front label includes a visual identifier - a blooming cherry tree with an ax embedded in the trunk.It comes with an encouraging aphorism - Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Brownsville's Kennywood Day is Boon for Town's Museums

Nemacolin Castle in Brownsville Photo Credit Shauna Benz-Patterson

 Former Brownsville mayor, Norma Ryan, said the weekend after Brownsville Day at Kennywood is the time of year when most former residents return to their roots to join in the outing to the amusement park in Homestead. At Kennywood, both current residents and "ex-pats" take advantage of the event to renew old acquaintances and catch up with the latest news. The camaraderie doesn't end on August 6 (Kennywood Day this year), but will extend through the weekend.
 "This time of year when we gather for Brownsville Day  we also  have more class reunions than any other time," Ryan said. To keep everyone amused and entertained, the town's three historic museums will remain open for longer hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 7, 8 and 9. To make things even better, admission will be free of charge in two of the museums, although donations will be accepted. Nemacolin Castle will charge $8 for a guided tour..

A Room Inside the Castle Photo Credit Shauna Benz-Patterson
    Nemacolin Castle, located at 136 Front Street will be open from 12 noon to 5 p.m. all three days. The castle was built on the town's original trading post which was constructed  shortly after the Revolutionary War  Presently, the rambling crenulated  building has many rooms which are open to the public with guided tours. For more information, phone 724-785-6882.

    The Flatiron Heritage and adjacent Frank L. Melega Art Museum, located at 69 Market Street will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all three days. The museum has exhibits of artifacts about the town's heydays and displays of its coke and coal heritage, its role in Westward expansion of the early nation, as a hub for steamboat and barge production and a center of river and rail transportation.
Flatiron Heritage Center Photo Credit Shauna Benz Patterson

    The adjacent Frank L. Melega Art Museum collects, preserves, interprets, and exhibits the artworks of Frank L. Melega. A changing exhibition of contemporary artists promotes their talent and offers the public, through variety in style, medium, and subject matter, an open ended definition of art. 

    The Monongahela River, Railroad and Transportation Museum, located at 412 Church Street, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m al l3 days. The museum provides glimpse of the rich history of transportation in Brownsville. See various artifacts from the rail, river and local history. View many photographs and documents from this glorious transportation era in the development of our country. The museum proudly displays small model trains and various items from the boating industry, including tools and photos. It also houses a video viewing area to watch DVDs and VHS tapes about the railroad and sunken ships in the area.

The Monongahela River, Rail and Transportation Museum

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dee Dee Bridgewater Releases New Orleans Jazz Album on Tenth Anniversary of Katrina

Dee Dee Bridgewater on Cover of Feathers Album

    Dee Dee’s Feathers, a journey through the history of New Orleans as told through song and the collaboration of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Irvin Mayfield & The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), is set for release August 7th, 2015, via OKeh/Sony Music/DDB Records. Recorded at New Orleans’ Esplanade Studios, a studio in a reconverted historical church in the heart of the city that was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the release of Dee Dee’s Feathers will be accompanied by tour dates worldwide including stops at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, the Barbican in London and New York City’s famed Apollo Theatre on Halloween.  
     “It was at the groundbreaking ceremony of the future site of the Jazz Market where I had the idea of a collaborative recording,” said Bridgewater.  “I thought that Irvin Mayfield, NOJO, and I needed a musical 'calling card' so to speak, a product that epitomized the joys of our accumulative collaborations. When I shared the idea with Irvin, the seed was planted. After several emails, Irvin's song suggestions, song keys picked out over the phone, we found ourselves at Esplanade Studio exactly one month later. Under Irvin Mayfield's skillful leadership, band members had done the arrangements, and over the course of three days we recorded, filmed, bonded, and laughed our way through the most extraordinary recording experience I've had. The music turned out so good, with my dear friend Dr. John blessing us on a day's notice, Bill Summers’ magical percussive layers, and a host of well- known NOLA characters.   I knew Irvin and his band mates had bathed me, immersed me, baptized me in the waters of the Mississippi, and exposed me to the roots of New Orleans.  For me this album is a celebration of life itself.
    Added Mayfield, “This album is a testament to the continued relevance of New Orleans not only as a thriving city but also as a muse for communicating truth, love and beauty. Dee Dee Bridgewater leads us through a new artistic moment while answering a mandate created over a century ago by Jazz geniuses like Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong.  She proves through her art that New Orleans is not just a city but more importantly an idea that can make your heart and soul feel better.”
    Although steeped in history, Dee Dee’s Feathers is at the same time a modern exploration of the music and culture that makes New Orleans a city and place unlike any other.   Traditional songs such as “Big Chief” (featuring guest artist Dr. John), “Saint James Infirmary” and “What A Wonderful World” – all songs indicative to and steeped in the culture of the Big Easy – co-mingle with new compositions such as “Congo Square” and “C’est Ici Que Je T’aime,” transporting the listener on a sensory voyage through the city, whether dancing in a Second Line or frequenting a storied bordello in the heart of the city’s French Quarter.      

    The launch of the album and tour will also be tied-into the opening of NOJO’s New Orleans Jazz Market later in 2015.  The first solely-dedicated space for Jazz and Education in New Orleans, Bridgewater will serve on the Board of Directors for the facility and has made a commitment to furthering music and education in the city in tandem with the facility.  

    Also being released in tandem with Dee Dee’s Feathers is Mayfield’s new book, New Orleans Jazz Playhouse, a 304-page coffee table book that includes seven CDs of live music recorded at his Bourbon Street Jazz club, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse. The book reflects on Irvin’s unique experiences as a New Orleans native, a Jazz musician, and the many influences in his life including countless musicians, artists, photographers, chefs, teachers, and other mentors.
    Unifying and grounding the various stories, poems, and essays are two central concepts that permeate the book: jazz & love. Illustrating Mayfield’s  well-crafted words is a collection of some of the most culturally significant photography and artwork by master craftspeople such as John Scott, Gordon Parks, George Rodrigue, Herman Leonard, Greg Miles, and Erika Goldring, and the book features an introduction by biographer Walter Isaacson, a foreword by novelist Ernest Gaines, and an afterword by trumpeter and jazz-master Wynton Marsalis.

    “It is the underlying story of triumph that makes me most proud of this work.  The waters of Katrina took so much from so many in New Orleans…We can only see this project as a tangible example of rebirth and healing and love, through the art of Jazz.  Love is the greatest story ever told, and this collaboration proves there’s much to be had in New Orleans, and shared with everyone, everywhere.”  - Soledad O’Brien, CNN Anchor/Journalist

Track Listing:
1.One Fine Thing
2.What A Wonderful World
3.Big Chief
4.St. James Infirmary
5.Dee Dee’s Feathers
6.New Orleans
7.Treme Song/Do Whatcha Wanna
8.Come Sunday
9.Congo Square
10.C’est Ici Que Je T’Aime
11.Do You Know What It Means

12.Whoopin’ Blues