KST Blog

  1. Liberty in East Liberty: Exploring Edisa Weeks’ 3 RITES: Liberty

    by Tara Fay Coleman

    This is an editorial response written by a member of the inaugural cohort of the KST HomeMakers Program. HomeMakers is a committee of Pittsburgh Artists and community members that work with KST Staff to advocate for and support Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s programs and supported artists.

    I have always considered performance one of the strongest mediums for exploring the layers of identity and societal constructs. Black performance art has historically served as a vital tool for resistance and cultural expression, dating back from spirituals sung by enslaved Africans, to contemporary performers making works to challenge stereotypes and assert their humanity and agency. Edisa Weeks and DELIRIOUS Dances 3 RITES: Liberty is a study of American identity and the politics of racism. The optics of 3 RITES, which include Weeks seated on a platform wearing red polka dot balloons, yellow kitchen gloves, and a red patterned smock reminiscent of Jim Crow era ‘mammy’ caricatures, immediately called to mind the work of Camille Billops and James Hatch, and their 1994 film The KKK Boutique ain’t Just Rednecks, where the audience is ‘toured’ through the contemporary landscape of racism that includes staging of similar visuals. Edisa’s performance functions as a call-back to this, as well as many other earlier works that seek to challenge, and both are a means to reflect on histories and traumas of the past, while urging the audience to reckon with the systemic racism that is still very much prevalent today.

    Weeks’ exploration of Liberty is not just an abstract concept, but a deeply personal and embodied experience. “Liberty” is a character that she uses to navigate the landscape of racism while implicating the audience as collaborators. 3 RITES highlights the complexity of racial identity, and asks viewers to confront their own biases and assumptions, which, expectedly, can bring up a number of complicated emotions. I left this performance unable to fully process what I had experienced due to a lot of anger I was feeling. The irony of this piece being performed in East Liberty, where vulnerable Black residents have been either forcibly removed or priced out, is not lost on me, and the juxtaposition of Weeks’ piece against the backdrop of gentrification underscores the tension between displacement and belonging, while the setting of the performance, the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater, lends an added layer of complexity to Weeks’ work. In this context, the performance becomes not only a work of art, but also a powerful act of resistance and reclamation of space in a city burdened by the weight of inequality and discrimination. 

    Central to Weeks’ performance is an exploration of the Black female experience. It is especially poignant to see it performed in Pittsburgh, ranked as one of the worst cities in the country for Black women in every indicator of livability. Through her embodiment of a Black woman artist connected like a puppet to objects symbolizing the Black experience, she navigates the complexities of race, gender, and agency while highlighting the ways in which Black women have been manipulated and controlled throughout history. Her connection to these specific objects represents facets of Black identity, but also stereotypes, and thus can be interpreted through multiple lenses. Liberty is a puppeteer manipulating the strings, and Weeks becomes intertwined with these objects; I interpreted the bible as spirituality and resilience, reflecting the enduring faith that has sustained Black communities through centuries of adversity. It serves as a reminder of the profound role religion has played in shaping the Black experience in America, but could also symbolize how Christianity has been used as a tool to oppress. A black dick represents the dehumanizing legacy of slavery and objectification, and symbolizes the exploitation and commodification of Black bodies, challenging perceptions of sexuality and agency within the context of racial oppression. The blonde wig, a symbol of Eurocentric beauty standards, represents the relationship between race, beauty, and self-image. It prompts reflection of the societal pressures to conform to a whitewashed ideal and the impacts of internalized racism on Black identity. The gun evokes the specter of violence and systemic injustice that has plagued Black communities throughout history, and serves as a reminder of the pervasive threat of police brutality and gun violence faced by Black Americans. In contrast, for me the lightbulb symbolizes illumination, but also calls to mind the legacy of figures like Benjamin Franklin, a founding father who contributed to discovering uses for electricity, but who owned slaves and benefited greatly from their labor prior to embracing abolitionist practices. The sneakers for me represent urban street styles popularized by Black youth, but also, the myth of shoe tossing as it relates to gang and drug activity, and what it symbolizes in the context of communities that are considered ‘unsafe’ – another important parallel when considering the history of Black residents in East Liberty, and what remains. Finally, the watermelon, with its layers of stereotypes and stigma, represents the legacy of racial troupes, but also endurance. For the closing of the performance, Weeks cut the watermelon and shared the story of how, following emancipation in 1865, African Americans earned financial independence from its growth and sale, turning the fruit into a symbol of their economic self-sufficiency and entrepreneurial spirit. She then invited the audience to share the watermelon, another gesture that reads as reclaiming and redefining cultural symbols. It confronts and transforms the historical stereotypes associated with African Americans and watermelon, turning it into a gesture of community. 

    Another central theme in this piece is the usage of Blackface and whiteface. During the post-performance audience talk-back with Dr. Kevin Jarbo, a guest shared their discomfort with Weeks usage of Blackface while telling a story about ‘buck breaking’, which is the act of publicly punishing a male slave, typically by first flogging him, and subsequently sexually assaulting or raping him in front of other slaves, in order to humiliate him. The use of Blackface historically perpetuated harmful stereotypes and reinforced systems of oppression, serving as a tool for dehumanization and caricature. Conversely, the adoption of white face challenges conventional notions of race and privilege. I believe that by embodying both Black and white personas, Weeks is actually highlighting the performative nature of race, and the ways in which it is constructed and manipulated within society. By shifting between Black face and white face, Edisa blurs boundaries of race and questions the inherent hierarchies and inequalities that exist within our society using humor to provide moments of levity amongst the weighty subject matter. 

    Immediately after the 3 RITES: Liberty performance, Dr. Kevin Jarbo guided a town hall-style conversation to provide a moment of communal digestion, and to discuss what was resonating with people after experiencing the Liberty rite.

    Ultimately, 3 RITES: Liberty challenges viewers to confront the foundational myths of liberty and freedom in the United States, exposing the contradictions and inequalities that have long plagued society at large. This piece is a fearless exploration of race, identity, and power that invites us to imagine a more just and equitable future, and the importance of it being performed in a city where racism has been declared a public health crisis, and where rapid gentrification threatens to erase the cultural heritage and livelihoods of its Black residents cannot be understated. Edisa’s storytelling is deeply important, transcends traditional boundaries, and embodies the contradictions and complexities of Black identity in America. 

    Photo Credit: Delaney Greenberg


    Tara Fay (she/her) is a mother, conceptual artist, curator, writer, and arts worker from Buffalo, NY. She currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA. Fay’s work consists of a multidisciplinary praxis that is an exploration of identity, motherhood, Black womanhood, and taking up space. Through her practice, she mines her own lived experiences for subject matter, with a goal to intertwine her life with her work. Fay’s work has been exhibited at Carnegie Museum of Art, SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, and here Gallery.

  2. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: KST Presents Suite Life, A Theatrical Jazz Benefit Concert Celebrating Icons Billy Strayhorn and Gene Kelly

    Suite Life Concert Project Image, with Pianist Sitting in front of a piano

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, October 18, 2023 — Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) invites you to celebrate our namesakes with the music of composer Billy Strayhorn and the imagery of performer Gene Kelly at our unforgettable theatrical jazz benefit concert Suite Life on Saturday, November 25, 2023, at 7:30pm at Kelly Strayhorn Theater (5941 Penn Ave.). Starting two hours before Suite Life, we hold our VIP Reception at our generous sponsor Duolingo’s East Liberty Headquarters (5900 Penn Ave.) at 5:30pm. The reception features specially crafted cocktails, sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, and meaningful opportunities to connect with Pittsburgh’s leading jazz enthusiasts. 

    We warmly welcome music director and pianist Dr. Alton Merrell, as well as band members: Dwayne Dolphin (bass), James Johnson III (drums), and Colter Harper (guitar). The concert features jazz singer and Billy Strayhorn aficionado Joshua Banbury, along with Suite Life veterans kelsey jumper and Treasure Treasure. KST reunites our friends, media artist Scott Andrew, and lighting designer Madeleine Steineck for a dazzling visual experience. 

    “Strayhorn has inspired me to bring theatrics into jazz,” classically trained jazz singer and opera librettist Joshua Banbury explains, “in recent years, I have attempted to get very close to Strayhorn and his work. Being near his work, his story has greatly impacted my own. I’ve also fallen in love with his music because his ballads in particular are so akin to arias and art songs. To be able to sing his music in a theater dedicated to him is so special to me”. 

    This year’s event marks KST’s 16th annual celebration of Gene Kelly’s energetic and athletic dance style and Billy Strayhorn’s longing and artful tones. Billy Strayhorn, born in 1915, lived in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh while Gene Kelly, born in 1912, grew up in East Liberty. 

    “While there is no written record showing the two ever met, it is documented that they both attended shows at Pittsburgh venues like the Stanley Theatre, where Strayhorn met Duke Ellington in 1938. Through the mixing of music and visuals, Suite Life imagines how their lives might have crossed paths right here, at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, back when it was the Regent Theatre,” according to Joseph Hall, KST’s Executive Director. We commemorate the duo’s artistic and social legacies while cheering the communal and creative spirit embedded in our locality.

    Suite Life travels back in time and delivers an immersive visual and sonic experience with dance, live music, monologue, and storytelling. This will be my third year performing in Suite Life, and I’ve loved witnessing the shift from pure concert format to a dramaturgically grounded production,” said vocalist and dancer kelsey jumper. The theater lighting and multimedia projection create a lush atmosphere. As media artist Scott Andrew comments, “This event is a fun chance to generate live visuals that complement the work of the musicians, offering a vibrant backdrop to the performance.” 

    Let’s dress for jazz and “sing in the rain,” immersing ourselves in the shower of rich and lush harmonies. 

    Download the .pdf. 


    ABOUT THE ARTISTS

    Scott Andrew (media artist) is a queer multimedia video, installation, performance artist, media designer, educator, and curator. His works have been exhibited at Ballroom Marfa (Marfa, TX), The Hammer Museum (LA), The J. Paul Getty Museum (LA), Whitechapel (London, UK), among others. Media Design and VFX projects include ‘Show Queen’, a collaboration with Jesse Factor, ‘Suite Life’ and ‘House Party’ (KST), and the documentary ‘Workhorse Queen’ by Angela Washko.  Scott is a Visiting Lecturer in Studio Arts at the University of Pittsburgh, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, and co-curates TQ Live! (CMoA). www.scottnandrew.com/

     

    Joshua Banbury (vocalist) is a classically trained jazz Joshua Banbury Headshotsinger and opera librettist with Texas roots. At twenty-eight, his collaborations include solo performances with many of the most respected musical organizations in the country, including The Apollo Theatre, The Phillips Collection, The New York Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz at The Ballroom, National Sawdust, and The National Black Theatre. In 2022, Joshua also served as Librettist in Residence with the American Lyric Theatre, considered to be one of the country’s premier mentorship initiatives for promising operatic writers. His work has been commissioned and presented by The Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, and Fort Worth Opera. Joshua is a graduate of The New School and The Austin School for Performing and Visual Arts. 

     

    Dwayne Dolphin (bass) is a Pittsburgh-born bassist, bandleader, and educator who has been an essential member of the jazz scene and a major artistic force for many years. He is a world-class acoustic and electric bassist, and in the late 1990s Dwayne began playing the electric piccolo bass. His piccolo band played strictly in an R&B funk setting for years, and now Off Minor features Dwayne playing his electric piccolo bass in a straight ahead, acoustic jazz setting. Something he’s never done before! Repertoire includes music from the jazz and American songbook catalog, and a few surprises.  

     

    Colter Harper (guitar) is a guitarist and Guitarist Colter Harper ethnomusicologist whose creative and scholarly work explores jazz, American nightlife, and the music of West Africa. Harper served as a Fulbright Scholar in the University of Ghana from 2018 to 2020 and has performed as a guitarist, including with the rock band Rusted Root. His forthcoming book Jazz in the Hill: Nightlife and Narratives of a Pittsburgh Neighborhood (University Press of Mississippi, 2024) delves into the intersections of jazz, entrepreneurialism, placemaking, labor organizing, and critical listening in Pittsburgh’s Hill District from 1920 to 1970. 

     

    James Johnson III (drums) adapts Drummer James Johnson III Headshotcomfortably to various genres, excelling in Jazz. He began his musical journey playing drums at five years old. His father, Dr. James Johnson Jr., a nationally known pianist and educator sparked his passion for music. Prior to his worldwide career, he attended Pittsburgh’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), where he was mentored by jazz great Roger Humphries. This laid the foundation for a stellar career that has included performing as a regular member with legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal. His musical adventures have led him to play in prestigious venues and with respected artists worldwide. 

     

    kelsey jumper (vocalist, dancer) is a Brooklyn-born, rustbelt-reared performance artist. She’s joined celebrated PGH theater companies including The Public, Quantum, Pittsburgh CLO and Carnegie Mellon Drama in musical storytelling, as well as local bands Afro Yaqui Music Collective, Bindley Hardware Co. and Ames Harding & the Mirage. She’s been honored to perform at favorite local venues as well as internationally acclaimed stages including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Studio Museum of Harlem, MoMA and The Shed. Her duo with Treasure Treasure, The Cookie Table, is currently in residency at The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and is honored to return for another year of Suite Life.

     

    Dr. Alton Merrell (musical director, piano) is a world-class pianist, Hammond B-3 organist, composer, author and educator. He has performed and taught throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and parts of the Caribbean. Merrell’s musical artistry is a unique blend of lyrical melodies, rich harmonies, and fluid technique that spans multiple music genres including jazz, gospel, classical, pop, and rhythm and blues. Merrell’s musical interpretations take listeners on spirit-filled excursions that deeply touch the soul. Currently the Professor of Jazz Piano at West Virginia University, Merrell has taught students all over the world and continues to train musicians worldwide through his online school Minstrel School of Music. www.altonmerrell.com / www.minstrelschool.com 

     

    Treasure Treasure (vocalist, dancer) (she/her) is a performing artist, comic, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. She recently starred as the title role in Hamlet with Quantum Theatre. Other appearances: Broadway, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, Atlantic Theater Company, PCLO, PICT, Hangar Theater, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Squonk Opera. Treasure’s original score for The Tempest made its premiere with Southwest Shakespeare Company and her debut EP, Hypnerotomachia, is available on all platforms. Instagram: @beingtreasure

     

    Madeleine Steineck (lighting designer) has been working Lighting Designer Madeleine Steineck as a lighting designer and master electrician in western Pennsylvania since 2011. Companies she has designed for include: Mercyhurst University’s MIAC and Theatre Programs, MCG Jazz, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, off the WALL Productions, the New Hazlett’s CSA Program, Texture Contemporary Ballet, fireWALL dance theatre, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, and various local schools. She also works as a stagehand for IATSE Local 3. Her design for PPTCO’s production of Miss Julie, Clarissa, and John was seen at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017. She has also toured with Philadelphia artist and choreographer, Raphael Xavier.


    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER

    Named after 20th century entertainment legends Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn, both natives of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) is reflective of the passion that its namesakes had for the arts. Today, KST carries their legacy by fostering bold and innovative artistry with a global perspective. KST celebrates diversity in voice, thought, and expression, and upholds a firm commitment to inclusion. 

    KST has a dynamic footprint in Pittsburgh, with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of Friendship, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district of East Liberty. More than 20 years after the founding of the theater, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community.

    PC: Heidi Wiren Bartlett, Courtesy of the Artists

     

  3. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Welcome to Pumpkin Palooza, An East Liberty Halloween Adventure at Kelly Strayhorn Theater on Saturday, October 28, 2023

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, September 27, 2023 — Kelly Strayhorn Theater cordially invites all local community members to one of our most beloved annual family programs, Pumpkin Palooza! This year, we are thrilled to offer candy, crafts, and performances from our fantastic community partners. From 1:00pm – 4:00pm, The Alloy School, Assemble, Phase 4 Learning Center, Youth Enrichment Services, Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, and Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation offer family friendly activities in the KST lobby. From 2:00pm – 3:00pm, DS Kinsel hosts performances on the KST mainstage from K-Theatre Dance Complex, Alumni Theater Company, The Obama Marching Band, and Afro-American Music Institute’s Jazz Lab. Celebrate a fun, spooky, and costume-filled Halloween with KST on Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 1:00pm – 4:00pm. Join us in your favorite costume, or come as you are!

    We have celebrated Halloween with our East Liberty community for over a decade. Compared to previous iterations, “this year, we’ve renamed KST’s annual Halloween event from ‘Halloween Mayhem’ to ‘Pumpkin Palooza’ to make sure folks know it’s fun for the whole family,” said Programming Manager Sarah Gilmer.

    On the date of the event, our cause-driven community partners come together to provide an array of Halloween-themed activities for children and caretakers of all ages. These include candy distribution, pumpkin decorating, face painting, and even a DIY station for trick-or-treat bags.

    Everyone can immerse themselves in the Halloween spirit by participating in the costume contest. Come and capture memorable moments in front of an interactive green screen, and vote for your favorite costumes. There are plenty of boo-tiful opportunities for children to create, interact, and discover. 

    During the performances, Afro-American Music Institute’s Jazz Lab introduces a rising six-piece student bands while Alumni Theater Company captivates the audience with a blend of dance and original writings. K-Theatre Dance Complex creates a Ghostbusters-themed dance for this special occasion, transforming the stage into a mysterious alleyway. We are delighted to have The Obama Marching Band conclude the day with boisterous celebratory energy. 

    Our Development and Communications Director, Liz Rudnick, fondly recalled her memories from last year: “The lobby was full of tables with unique activities. The children moved in excited groups, hurrying from one table to another with high energy — Taking photos with friends and showing off their costumes, everyone had a great time!”

    We can’t wait to see little spidermen, unicorns, and pumpkins gather in the theater for a spooktacular trick-or-treat!

    Download the .pdf HERE.


    ABOUT THE PERFORMERS

    Founded by Dr. James Johnson and Mrs. Pamela Johnso in 1982, the Afro-American Music Institute (AAMI) provides music programs of excellence under the guidance and tutelage of its committed, professional staff and board members. Under the supervision of Howie Alexander III, the ensemble provides performance opportunities for youth who have studied instruction in composition, improvisation, basic theory, chart reading and ear training. With a foundation of jazz, the Jazz Lab explores Gospel, R&B and Pop and the way in which jazz traditions contribute to modern musicality. afroamericanmusic.org

    Alumni Theater Company (ATC) is a year-round program providing talented Black youth in grades 6-12 with high quality performing arts training and a platform to express their ideas. ATC is currently in its 15th season of creating bold theatrical work that gives fresh voice to the experience of young Black artists and highlights their rich contribution to our community. alumnitheatercompany.org 

    DS Kinsel (Host) is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and cultural agitator who expresses his creativity through various mediums, including painting, printmaking, curating, and public art. D.S. is a former AmeriCorps Public Ally member and Awardee of the Pittsburgh Courier Fab 40. D.S. is also the co-founder of BOOM Concepts, a Pittsburgh-based creative hub dedicated to advancing black and brown artists. Since its establishment in 2014, BOOM Concepts has curated 50 on-site exhibitions, paid over $150k in artist fees, and produced 200+ events across the country. BOOM Concepts is recognized as a Pittsburgh Cultural Treasure through The Heinz Endowments and The Ford Foundation. boomuniverse.co

    K-Theatre Dance Complex (KTDC), is a dance academy that provides quality dance instruction in several major areas of dance, which include Ballet, Contemporary, Modern and Hip Hop. Led by Artistic Director Kontara Morphis, and Arts Education Director Rickia Davenport, KTDC curriculum incorporates dance theory, terminology and dance theater. KTDC has largely impacted the physical, academic, creative, and personal development of its students. facebook.com/ktheatredancecomplex 

    The Obama Marching Band (OMB) was first established in 2011. The band is comprised of interested music students in grades 7 through 12. Student musicians represent the high-achievement and excellence modeled by our school Pittsburgh Obama Academy. In 2023, OMB represented the City of Pittsburgh as ambassadors in the 2023 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, DC. We collaborated with Pittsburgh Allderdice HS, Pittsburgh Brashear HS, and Pittsburgh Obama Academy to form Pittsburgh’s “One Band One Sound” All-City Marching Band. The marching band performs at parades, pep rallies, football games, and other community-wide events. Visit our website to learn more: pghobamaband.com


    ABOUT THE COMMUNITY PARTNERS

    Youth Enrichment Services (YES), based in East Liberty, provides socially and economically at risk youth the opportunity to achieve success through participation in mentorship, education, and enrichment programs. Through mentoring partnerships, peer assisted tutoring programs, and — when needed — monitoring and mentoring programs for juvenile offenders, YES invests its talent, energy, time, and resources in empowering and enriching the lives of children and teens. YES provides responsive, innovative, and youth-designed programs that offer young people unique academic, enrichment, and employment experiences. Youthenrichmentservices.org 

    Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation raises health with LGBTQ+ and HIV communities in and around Western Pennsylvania. Our team offers a variety of resources and supports including youth and family services, school based programming, Hugh’s Kitchen pantry program, civil legal aid, wellness programming and all ages special events, as well as training and consultation for organizations to improve their skills and capacity to serve LGBTQ+ clients and staff. Some of our most popular programs for youth and families include our youth AFFIRM series, parent mentoring & support groups, Big Sibs mentoring, student LGBTQ+ groups, online QChats and Discord server, social activities, and so much more. hughlane.org 

    Assemble envisions a world where learning and creating are transformative experiences and where all people are equipped with the tools to make a difference, together. At Assemble, we use learning as a tool to create a more equitable future for youth and learners in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. We build confidence through making; connect learners, makers, technologists, and artists; and nurture agency in learners. We offer free afterschool, Saturday programs, camps, and more for kids as well as adult programs. Visit us at Assemble 4824 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224. assemblepgh.org  

    Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse is a non-profit that inspires creativity, conservation, and community engagement through reuse: We operate a non-traditional art supply shop located at the intersection of Wilkinsburg, Homewood, and Point Breeze, where people can donate used art and craft supplies, as well as shop for these unique items all in the same location. We also facilitate hands-on creative programming that educates the public about the benefits of reuse for the environment, community, and self. We see reuse as a vehicle for boosting self-confidence, learning new skills, and creating opportunity for all. For more information, visit our website at pccr.org.

    Phase 4 Learning Center offers a safe and caring learning environment for historically underserved students in grades 6 – 12 to earn a high school diploma and gain work experience. Phase 4 focuses on four phases of development: academic, social, behavioral, and future employment. Although based in Pittsburgh, Phase 4 operates at six locations in Allegheny and Beaver County including The Best Buy Teen Tech Center (BBTTC) located at 5850 Centre Ave. The BBTTC is a member of The International Clubhouse Network and winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Mentoring. To learn more about Phase 4 visit their website at phase4learningcenter.org.


    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER

    Named after 20th century entertainment legends Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn, both natives of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) is reflective of the passion that its namesakes had for the arts. Today, KST carries their legacy by fostering bold and innovative artistry with a global perspective. KST celebrates diversity in voice, thought, and expression, and upholds a firm commitment to inclusion. 

    KST has a dynamic footprint in Pittsburgh, with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of Friendship, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district of East Liberty. More than 20 years after the founding of the theater, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community.

    PC: Liz Rudnick

  4. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kelly Strayhorn Theater Announces Suite Life, A Night of Music Celebrating Pittsburgh Legends Billy Strayhorn & Gene Kelly

     

    EAST LIBERTY, PA (October 21, 2022) Suite Life is Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s annual celebration of its two namesakes and Pittsburgh legends, jazz composer Billy Strayhorn and polymath performer Gene Kelly. The highly anticipated staple of KST’s Fall season, Suite Life offers KST patrons a night of illuminating performances during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the tradition, and Suite Life 2022 promises to live up to its name with concept by Con Alma’s John Shannon and a VIP reception hosted by Duolingo.

    Suite Life 2022 will be under the stage direction of Monteze Freeland (Co-Artistic Director of City Theater) and musical direction of Akron-based Theron Brown. Lead vocalists Anita Levels and Billy Mason (Both Pittsburgh favorites) will have the audience swooning through an unmissable evening of sultry flare, as media design by artist Scott Andrew and lighting design by Jonathan Bucci Productions suffuse the East End tradition with sizzling atmosphere.

    Director Monteze Freeland is a multidisciplinary artist from Baltimore, MD whose talents include acting, directing, writing, producing, and teaching. Monteze is the current Co- Artistic Director of City Theatre Company and was named City Paper’s Person of the Year for Theatre in 2021, in addition to being named the Performer of the Year in 2017 by the Post-Gazette. 

    Musical Director and pianist Theron Brown currently resides in Akron, Ohio, where he is the founder of the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival, which takes place in the city’s downtown historic district. A glimpse of gospel, jazz, and soul from the great legends is what inspires Theron’s sound. The artist is immensely involved in promoting the music scene and the arts, and takes pride in teaching musicians and volunteering his musical talent at community activities. 

    This year, Duolingo will host the VIP Reception at their East End headquarters. Taking place in the hour and a half leading up to the Suite Life concert, the intimate affair will boast curated cocktails, elevated hors d’oeuvres, and an opportunity to mix and mingle with Pittsburgh’s foremost Jazz enthusiasts. 

    KST presents Suite Life on Saturday, November 26 at 8:00pm at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave. VIP Reception at Duolingo, from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. More info at www.kellystrayhorn.org 

    ABOUT THE ARTISTS

    Theron Brown (musical director, piano) is a musician whose sound is inspired by glimpses of gospel, jazz, and soul from the great legends. But the reason he plays is to encourage and influence people through his talents. Originally from Zanesville, Ohio, Theron currently resides in Akron, Ohio, where he is Professor of Practice at The University of Akron teaching jazz piano, and the program coordinator for Curated Storefront’s Artist Residency Program at the ‘I Promise School’. Theron also serves as an educator for the interactive piano learning app, Playground Sessions. Theron is heavily involved in the music community as the founder and artistic director of the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival, which takes place annually in Akron, Ohio’s downtown historic district. Theron performs and tours regularly with his trio that includes Zaire Darden on drums and Jordan McBride on bass. Theron received an amazing opportunity as he auditioned for and was cast as young Herbie Hancock in the 2016 film, Miles Ahead, directed by and starring Don Cheadle. In 2019, Theron released his debut album, No Concepts. Theron is currently working on his second album titled Spirit Fruit, which reflects on essential and fundamental characteristics that bring positive vibes to peoples lives. This was inspired by Galatians 5:22-23.

    Monteze Freeland (director) is a multidisciplinary artist from Baltimore, MD whose talents include acting, directing, writing, producing, and teaching. Monteze is the current Co- Artistic Director of City Theatre Company and was named City Paper’s Person of the Year for Theatre in 2021, in addition to being named the Performer of the Year in 2017 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Select directing credits include: The Santaland Diaries, The Young Playwrights Festival ’17 & ’21, Claws Out: A Holiday Drag Musical, The Garbologists and Clyde’s (City Theatre); King Hedley II and Fences (Co-Director with Mark Clayton Southers), Savior Samuel, Miss Julie, Clarissa and John, Christmas Star, In The Heat of the Night and Poe’s Last Night (Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company); I know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Prime Stage Theater); Hairspray, Shrek, The Addams Family, and Freaky Friday (CLO Summer Academy); readings of Trouble in Mind and The Coffin Maker (Pittsburgh Public Theater) and Flyin’ West (DEMASKUS). Many thanks to the incredible KST staff and creative team.

    Scott Andrew (media design) is a multimedia queer-oriented video, installation,  and performance artist. He creates speculative fantasies that peer into otherworldly portals and voids. He has exhibited at MoMA (NYC), Ballroom Marfa (Marfa, TX), the Hammer Museum (LA), and the J. Paul Getty Museum (LA), among others. Scott is an educator, advising and teaching animation, video, concept, and performance courses as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, a Visiting Lecturer in the Studio Arts program at the University of Pittsburgh, and with the CMU Pre-college program. Scott has taught at Youngstown State University, Seaton Hill University, The Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, and has conducted workshops at the Andy Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory, and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Scott co-curates TQ Live! a yearly LGBTQ+ variety series that has been presented at the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Along with Angela Washko and Jesse Stiles, Scott organizes a National Endowment for the Arts funded performance series called Fail-Safe, which seeks to provide a supportive space for the presentation and potential failure of performative works-in-progress. Other previous curatorial projects include the drift and the Institute for New Feeling’s Felt Book.

    Jonathan Robert Bucci (lighting design) is the founder and chief creative technologist of Jonathan Bucci Productions, LLC. Along with his team, Jonathan produces live, hybrid, streaming, and video production content with a theatrical flair. As an alum of Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts, Jonathan is especially at home working in music, dance, and theatre. In recognition of all of the mentorship he has received, Jonathan enjoys spending time paying it forward to young people entering the fields of lighting, audio, video, and management; especially to those who are walking non-traditional paths.

    James Johnson III (drums) is described as a chameleon with a wide range of musical talents and began his musical journey playing drums at five years old. His father, Dr. James Johnson Jr., a nationally known pianist and educator sparked his passion for music. Soon Precursory to his worldwide career, he attended Pittsburgh’s high school for the creative and performing arts (CAPA) where he was under the tutelage of jazz great Roger Humphries and Greg Humphries. This laid the foundation for a stellar career that has included performing as a regular member with legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal.  His musical adventures have led him to play prestigious venues around the world such as North America, Europe, Africa and Japan. As a part of his portfolio he has performed with  jazz masters Monty Alexander, George Coleman, James Moody, Geri Allen, Bob James, Kenny Garrett, Benny Golson, Mulgrew Miller, and Kenny Werner. James currently serves as a faculty member at University of  Pittsburgh School of Music, Chatham University and Afro American Music Institute—a Pittsburgh institution that preserves the heritage of African American music.  As a versatile percussionist, songwriter, composer and producer, James maintains a diverse freelance career.  Currently, he has two solo projects:  Between and Full Circle.

    Anita Levels (vocalist) is a vocal artist, voice influencer, songwriter and producer who began singing at the age of 3 years old in Frankfurt, West Germany. Texas-born, being a preacher’s kid, and a member of a musical family from New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A, singing and performance are in her blood. Anita’s powerhouse, soulful, but lark-like vocals have graced national and international audiences. She has performed in London, England, has toured the country of Holland with world renowned ethnomusicologist, Dr. Portia Maultsby,  was featured in the NFL’s Super Bowl 50 commemorative commercial, has appeared in the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, and has performed in many, many other private, public and virtual events. Ms. Levels has a plethora of original music on all streaming music platforms and enjoys sharing the history and influence of Black American music on world and American culture. Anita Levels, MS, has a Masters Degree in Training and Development from Carlow University (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) and believes that instrumentation and the voice have the innate ability to vibrate truth, healing and thought.  Anita’s more recent venture is, Corn and Potatoes Are Good For You, a podcast exploring the soul’s journey through all things spiritual and sensual. She will always be the Mother of two magical daughters, put clorox in her water, powder her sheets, season her vittles, sing, laugh and cultivate spaces for communication and thought.

    Billy Mason (vocalist), a multi-hyphenated artist, director and producer, and Pittsburgh Hometown favorite, is thrilled to make Pittsburgh his home once again. After spending nearly a decade traveling the country as front man and soloist to a 36 piece orchestra, Billy has returned to his Musical Theater roots and cabaret roots. Locally, you may have seen him in productions at Pittsburgh CLO, the Strand theater, Quantum Theater and a host of others, gracing the stages of the Byham theater, the Greer cabaret, the Benedum Center and many more. Splitting his time between Pittsburgh and NYC, Billy has changed the focus of his career from performing to producing and directing, creating opportunity and safe spaces for artists both in Pittsburgh and beyond. Billy is also the owner and operator of PennyJar Media, LLC, A digital arts and media company that will, after delays caused by the pandemic, debut in 2023. Peace and blessings.

    Jordan McBride (bass) picked up the bass at age 12 and began to develop a sound influenced by the Philadelphia Jazz scene. There he joined a group of young jazz performers and began performing in and around Philadelphia. Jordan has studied with jazz greats such as bassist Andy McCloud, Mike Boon, Peter Dominquez and Gerald Cannon. As an artist, Jordan has performed with musicians across many genres. Jordan has shared the stage with the Sean Jones, Kenny Werner, The Theron Brown Trio, Dan Wilson, Jimmy Health, James Carter, Justin Faulkner, Jerome Jennings, Jamey Haddad, Paul Samuels, Jay Ashby, Chris Coles, Javon Jackson, The Admirables, Nathan Davis, and Tommy Lehman’s Squadtet. Jordan McBride holds an Artist Degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Jordan is a creative arranger and composer, as well, based in Akron, Ohio.

    Kelsey Robinson (dancer) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh and Brooklyn. She’s grateful to have worked with well-celebrated Pittsburgh theater companies including Quantum Theater, Bricolage Production Company, Carnegie Mellon University Drama and Pittsburgh CLO. She’s also played world-renowned venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, MoMA, The Studio Museum of Harlem and The Shed. Kelsey was granted the opportunity to bring the words of MacArthur Fellow, Claudia Rankine, to life under their direction in the newly released White Card. Kelsey’s own project Talking with Ghosts About Freedom, which traverses the nation by bicycle in search of regional Black history, has been produced in residence with Kelly Strayhorn Theater and received the support of The Opportunity Fund, Advancing Black Arts, Cultural Trust and #notwhitecollective. Kelsey choreographed Point Park University Conservatory production Everybody at her alma mater where she studied Musical Theater. She’s a proud recipient of the SCALE Fellowship and was recently commissioned by The Carnegie Museum of Art to reinterpret songs for the opening of Working Thought. Kelsey has spent the last year touring North America with Squonk Opera and is thrilled to be home celebrating a new year’s Suite Life!

    John Shannon (concept, guitar) is a guitarist and songwriter born in Pittsburgh, PA who grew up studying with local luminaries Dwayne Dolphin, Eric Kloss, and Mike Ross before attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. After college John moved to New York City, where he lived for over a decade, playing locally and touring the globe as a freelance guitarist for many prominent artists across many genres. John performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the MIDEM Festival in Cannes, France, as well as internationally releasing three critically acclaimed albums of his own music under his name with French/NYC record label ObliqSound. After accepting an offer to run the music for a modern circus show in Australia for two years, John returned to Pittsburgh to tour relentlessly with his rock’n’roll band theSHIFT, whose song “Dreams” became a Number 1 hit in South America. While back in Pittsburgh and reconnecting to the jazz scene where he spent many formative years, John was part of the creation of Con Alma Restaurant and Jazz Bar. Born through the concept of giving the Pittsburgh jazz scene a new home, Con Alma celebrates its legacy in a space of great atmosphere, cuisine and cocktails. In the summer of 2021 Con Alma was named in Esquire Magazine’s “Best Bars in America of 2021” and is the only jazz bar to ever have been named on the prestigious list.

    Treasure Treasure (dancer) is an artist and multi-instrumentalist working in music, comedy, film, and visual art. Theatre credits include Cabaret (Emcee, Hangar Theatre,) This Ain’t No Disco (Atlantic Theater Company,) Agnus Teaches Acting (The Duplex,) Fiddler on the Roof (CLO). She made her Broadway debut in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun. She holds a BFA from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Her debut EP, Hypnerotomachia, is available on all platforms. IG: @manifestingtreasure

    Reggie Watkins (trombone) Pittsburgher, trombonist, pianist, arranger and composer has released three recordings as leader and has been featured on many others. From 1999 to 2006 he served as trombonist and musical director  for trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and with singer-songwriter Jason Mraz from 2008 to 2013. In 2003 Watkins was chosen as a semi-finalist in the “Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.” Watkins has performed and recorded with many great artists from various genres including  Aretha Franklin, Dave Matthews, Dianne Shuur, Warren Haynes, Beverley Knight, Jose Feliciano, Willie Nelson, The Backstreet Boys, Engelbert Humperdinck, Ariana Grande, Dumpstaphunk, Arturo Sandoval, Trombone Shorty, The Temptations and The O’Jays. Currently, in addition to leading the Reggie Watkins Trio, he is also a member of the Grammy nominated Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band, The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, Scott Bradley’s Postmodern Jukebox and a founding member of The Keystone Jazz Collective and Steeltown Horns. Reggie plays a Michael Rath trombone and David Monette mouthpieces.

  5. KST Presents Visual Art Exhibition BOOM Capsule: Marking this Moment in Time

    EAST LIBERTY, PA — Opening Saturday, September 17 at 6:00pm, KST Presents Marking this Moment in Time: BOOM Capsule, a visual art exhibition featuring work by J. Thomas AgnewDS Kinsel, and J.L. Mallis. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Heinz Endowments created Marking this Moment: Pittsburgh Artists in 2020, an initiative to put money in the hands of artists and document their impressions of the rapidly changing reality facing us all. Through the initiative, BOOM Concepts supported the work of artists J. Thomas Agnew, D.S. Kinsel, and J.L. Mallis. These artists use agitprop, surveys, and mixtape as mediums to document and share images, music, sounds, and writing from artists in the Pittsburgh community. The works can be experienced in the Kelly Strayhorn Theater lobby through December 2022.

    To better understand the effects of the pandemic on the music industry in Pittsburgh, J. Thomas Agnew and Jourdan Hicks created the survey A Moment In TIme: Musicians Working In Covid. The survey was administered and monitored by Agnew and Hicks to document what life thorough COVID looked like for artists and creative entrepreneurs. The work provided insight into artists’ awareness of funding opportunities, whether they had felt supported or overlooked by the arts and finance entities in the city, and how they felt the Pittsburgh creative and funding landscapes could better respond to the needs of the community going forward. 

    DS Kinsel’s contribution to the exhibition, Sign O The Times: 2020 Protest Sign and Archive Reproduction identifies and reproduces protest signs from #blacklivesmatter protest and civil actions that happened across the country during 2020. The artist recreated a protest sign for each day of the year 2020. 

    Marking This Moment In TIme: In Pursuit of Visual Engagement, An anthology organized by intermedia artist J.L. Mallis documents the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on local creatives. The artists and artist collectives reflected in the anthology have demonstrated new ways of utilizing visuals, video, and visual imagery to tell their stories. The anthology highlights the renewed focus on visual media within a larger audio-visual landscape, exacerbated by COVID-19, and how the pandemic affected our experiences of interaction, engagement, communication, and the intake of media. 

    ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

    J. Thomas Agnew is a consultant based in Pittsburgh, PA. Agnew is Co-Founder of BOOM Concepts Gallery, a co-working and community arts space in Pittsburgh, and EIC of JENESIS Magazine, a media outlet focusing on youth culture lifestyle and young creative entrepreneurs. Through JENESIS Magazine and BOOM Concepts’ national networks, Agnew has produced numerous arts and culture events, in collaboration with high level partners such as the Carnegie Museum Of Art, The Pittsburgh Cultural TrustAugust Wilson African American Cultural Center, Thrival Festival, Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Project, and Love PGH Music and more. “My passion is to create forums of expression to represent and build up underrepresented voices in media, entrepreneurship, and art businesses.” Agnew is known for his track record of early start-up mentoring, design and marketing, operations management, and content creation/management targeted to young adult audiences.

    DS Kinsel is a Black creative entrepreneur and arts administrator based in Pittsburgh, PA. He expresses his creativity through the mediums of painting, window display, installation, curating, action-painting, non-traditional performance and social media. While Kinsel’s primary practice is painting, he believes that experimenting in other disciplines will ultimately further his development as a painter. Kinsel’s work puts focus on themes of escapism, space keeping, urban tradition, pop culture, hip-hop, informalism and cultural appropriation.

    J.L. Mallis is an intermedia artist and community leader based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are the Executive Director at Repair The World Pittsburgh, a Jewish social justice organization connecting communities in meaningful service-learning programs. In 2020, Mallis was honored with a 40 Under 40 award by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP. Over the past 13 years in Pittsburgh, Mallis has been organizing creative endeavors and community programs. They perform live as a VJ and DJ and use digital media, paint, installation, performance, sound and audience interaction to create unique creative and enriching experiences. Their artistic production focuses on building community, audio-visual experiences and speaking truth. They utilize playfulness, maximalism, and imagined environments as critical elements in their work.



    For full season details, KST COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

  6. Green Mountain Energy Presents: PennAve-BOO-looza, Saturday, October 16!

    Green Mountain Energy Presents
    PennAve-BOO-looza

    Saturday, October 16
    12:00pm – 6:00pm

    Mathilda to Negley on Penn Ave
    Green Mountain Energy Stage located at Winebiddle and Dearborn.

    Celebrate small businesses on Penn Ave with a day of fall-tastic fun! See live art with performances by local youth, music, and dance artists, make crafts with Assemble, join the costume parade, play games and win prizes! Local businesses will be open with happenings as well! Stop by 5472 Penn Ave to see Glowing Glass with the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s Hot Wheels! Hot Wheels is an outreach vehicle that allows furnace-fired fun and glassblowing demonstrations to travel far beyond the walls of our Penn Avenue building. Fun for all ages as artists make glass art right in front of you!

    Schedule of Winebiddle Stage Events:
    12:00pm: BOOM CONCEPTS Presents Music by Shade Cobain
    1:00pm: Local Business Performances including Los Sabrosos
    2:00pm: School Supply Giveaway with Games
    2:30pm: Demonstration by KST’s The Alloy School
    3:00pm – 6:00pm: BOOM CONCEPTS Presents Music from Local Youth organized by “From INEZ With Love LLC” featuring Mani Bahia, Anomaly The DJ and Cornell Collins

    This event is sponsored by Boom Concepts, Green Mountain Energy, ZeroFossil Fuels, Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, URA, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Explore BGL, Assemble, and Pittsburgh Glass Center.


  7. Hotline Ring 2021 Spotlight: PearlArts

    Check out this spotlight video from Hotline Ring 2021 partner: PearlArts

    A Collective Virtual Fundraiser

    PearlArts is a dance-focused arts organization that also provides music and media arts programming. We offer artistic experiences through creative residencies, innovative collaborations, and a broad range of dance and sound education and outreach opportunities. PearlArts is the creative parent organization for STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos and Tuff Sound Recording.

    We are thrilled to announce the return of Hotline Ring, a collective virtual fundraiser led by Kelly Strayhorn Theater in collaboration with 1Hood Media, BOOM Concepts, Braddock Carnegie Library Association, Dreams of Hope, The Legacy Arts Project, and PearlArts. Join us for the live streaming program as Hotline Ring brings together our aligned missions and our supporters to create a spectacular event as an opportunity for giving that will have an enormous impact on our region.

    Thursday, July 15, 6:00pm – 10:00pm  

    DONATE TODAY!

  8. KST in the news: Juneteenth celebrated as a day of service, song and remembrance

    “When we say we’ve come this far, Black people, and we’re able to have our art in a beautiful building like this — that really says something” -Women of Visions president Christina Bathea
    We were so honored to partner with Women of Visions for MAGNIFICENT MOTOWN! Art Inspired by the Music. The opening reception, coupled with the ORIGINS Marketplace, was a success, as we welcomed the community to our first in-person event of the summer with music, art, and celebration!
    Read the Post Gazette’s write-up below:
  9. Hotline Ring 2021 Spotlight: Erin Perry from the Legacy Arts Project

    Check out this spotlight video from Erin Perry highlighting The Legacy Arts Project and the impact of Hotline Ring!

    A Collective Virtual Fundraiser

    We are thrilled to announce the return of Hotline Ring, a collective virtual fundraiser led by Kelly Strayhorn Theater in collaboration with 1Hood Media, BOOM Concepts, Braddock Carnegie Library Association, Dreams of Hope, The Legacy Arts Project, and PearlArts. Join us for the live streaming program as Hotline Ring brings together our aligned missions and our supporters to create a spectacular event as an opportunity for giving that will have an enormous impact on our region.

    Thursday, July 15, 6:00pm – 10:00pm  

    DONATE TODAY!

  10. Gia Fagnelli & Jordan Harris Showcase A Different Way to Meditate & Find Balance

    The benefits of meditation cannot be ignored, but not everyone finds it easy to sit in one spot and in total silence. This is why another type of meditation, called movement meditation, can be so beneficial. Movement meditation is not your usual meditation where you sit still and focus on your breath. Instead, you are moving through various positions with a mindful and slow pace.

    Gia Fagnelli, a third-generation yinzer, the current reigning Mx. Innovative at the Portland Erotic City Awards, and a writer, speaker, death doula, video producer, actor, performer and extraterrestrial gender experiment who combines the arts of drag, pole, prose, video, sound, installation and movement and transmits the amalgam to screens and stages across the galaxy, and Jordan Harris, an experimental movement artist, aerialist, choreographer, dance instructor, and drag artist currently working in both Pittsburgh, PA and Austin, TX will present their interpretation of movement meditation with the assistance of various movement artists during Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Freshworks Residency Showing: Moving Meditations – Kinaesthetics on Friday, May 7 at 7:00pm on Zoom!



    Being quarantined during the pandemic was the inspiration for this 30-minute meditation tool for community members in the world of drag and sex work. “I noticed two things,” Gia said. “One, we definitely need to recognize that we need a work/life balance and that television is programmed to make us nervous, panicked and tense. I wanted to create something therapeutic that focused on healing through movement with different artists from the drag world to sex workers. The piece will show how we can use our bodies as movement meditative art.

    ”

However, the piece is open to a variety of folks as Jordan explains, “Although we focus specifically and identify with sex workers and queer bodies of color, our piece is open to anyone who consumes the meditative medium.”

Gia agreed stating, “A lot of folks will be able to engage and recognize their own energy and representation in the piece. It’s not literal. It’s very abstract. I believe that we are all a cluster of quivering cells and will be able to identify with something or someone in the piece.

    ”

The main objective is for the viewing audience to notice their current state and notice if their breathing is more relaxed and their heartbeat is at a steady rate. “I don’t think people realize when they fall asleep with the television on their subconscious is soaking in the panic, noise and explosions,” Gia said. “We are recording and internalizing this stress and it’s living in our bodies. This piece will provide a rinse cycle for the mind, spirit and be visually stimulating.

    ”

The soundscore for Moving Meditations – Kinaesthetic was created by dynamic Pittsburgh music and dance duo slowdanger who collaborated on the experience with Fagnelli and Harris. 

To experience Moving Meditations – Kinaesthetic yourself, visit Kelly-Strayhorn.org to purchase your tickets and join us on Friday, May 7 at 7:00pm.


    Moving Meditations – Kinaesthetic
s
    Gia Fagnelli & Jordan Harris
    Freshworks Residency Showing

    Friday, May 7, 7:00pm
    Join us on Zoom

    Pay What Makes You Happy!

    Buy Tickets Now!

    Gia Fagnelli is a third-generation yinzer, the current reigning Mx. Innovative at the Portland Erotic City Awards, and a writer, speaker, death doula, video producer, actor, performer and extraterrestrial gender experiment who combines the arts of drag, pole, prose, video, sound, installation and movement and transmits the amalgam to screens and stages across the galaxy. Jordan Harris is an experimental movement artist, aerialist, choreographer, dance instructor, and drag artist currently working in both Pittsburgh, PA and Austin, TX. The artists collaboration proposes a meditation tool for community members in the worlds of drag, art, and sex work, exploring queer creative alchemy, gender identity, and the intimacy and isolation of performing digitally. Moving Meditations – Kinaesthetic features movements and a healing soundscape by Pittsburgh’s slowdanger.