Down with ODD
Conversations with Community
Wednesday, June 10 at 2:00pm
@KSTheater on Instagram Live!
KST Deputy Director Orlana Darkins Drewery takes to Instagram Live for conversations with the KST community members. On Wednesday June 10, KST Deputy Director Orlana Darkins Drewery is joined by Executive Director of The Legacy Arts Project, Erin Perry. Listen in as they talk about the organization and their participation with six local organizations to present Hotline Ring! A Virtual Fundraiser on Thursday, July 16 from 5:00pm – Midnight.
Down with ODD is a part of KST Global Stream, KST’s COVID-19 responsive online programming initiative.
From June through August, 2020, Down with ODD will move to a monthly rotation with other KST Global Stream programming. Check back soon for more details on Down with ODD‘s summer guests!
ABOUT THE GUESTS
Influenced by a wide range of vocalists from soul artists including Lauryn Hill and Sam Cooke, and compared to the sweet country singing of Taylor Swift, LoRen (Guest – Wednesday, April 8) has a sound that is unlike any other. LoRen has been writing her own music since the age of 8 and is trained in both classical and Broadway music. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, LoRen has participated and won numerous talent shows, and has performed in front of thousands. In 2016 LoRen was featured in a Maybelline New York campaign as an artist and model that “Makes it Happen.” LoRen later collaborated with a house music producer in the Netherlands, for an international house music project. In 2018, LoRen was selected to be a panelist for the Advancing Black Arts Pittsburgh grants program. LoRen is currently studying Music production at Full Sail University.
Hallie Donner (Guest – Wednesday, April 15) graduated from Bucknell University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a teaching certificate. Hallie started her career as a third grade teacher at Featherbed Lane Elementary School in Baltimore, MD. Each of her four years at Featherbed, she volunteered to direct a school musical. Realizing that producing theater with young performers was her true passion, Hallie moved to Pittsburgh to obtain a Master’s degree in Arts Management at Carnegie Mellon University in 2000. Upon receiving her Master’s degree in 2000, Hallie began teaching at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School a K-5 public charter school in East Liberty. From 2000 – 2016, Hallie founded and developed an innovative drama program at the charter school that integrates theater education with classroom studies and values education where young people explore and develop their creative capacity and personal character. In 2008, Hallie founded the Alumni Theater Company (ATC) to provide more intense learning and performance for youth in grades 6-12. ATC began as a group of exceptionally talented alumni from the charter school, and in 2012 became an independent 501(c)(3) organization.
Chuck Sanders (Guest – Wednesday, April 22) is CEO of Blackburgh Corporation, an investment company that any person can access. A former Pittsburgh Steeler, in 2009, he was the Founder/CEO of Urban Lending Solutions, recognized as the nation’s largest minority owned settlement services company. Urban Lending Solutions was ranked by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the top 25 minority owned corporations in America with over 200 employees. Urban Lending Solutions has also been recognized by Inc. 500 as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States. In addition, Chuck and his wife Elisa founded Chuck Sanders Charities to help fund and support existing Christian charities, churches and programs. They also promoted educational and physical fitness programs for Pittsburgh’s youth and young adults. In 2011, he opened Savoy Restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, which still provides quality food and dining for its patrons. And in 2015, realizing the potential of medical cannabis he acted on it with investment in medical marijuana dispensaries across the Pittsburgh area. After selling Urban Lending Solutions, he founded Blackburgh Corporation. Chuck prides himself in the ability to see trends and profit from them. Currently, he believes this is the time to invest and created Blackburgh Corporation to provide an opportunity to individuals who qualify to invest and create generational wealth in their families.
Custom designer, Kiya Tomlin, (Guest – Wednesday, April 29)launched her collection of re-imagined sweatsuits in Fall of 2014. Inspired by the energy and aspirations of today’s modern woman, the namesake line was designed for women, like herself, with a purpose and passion for life. Uniting cover girl glamor with the comfort and ease of a favorite sweatshirt, her designs embody femininity, versatility, and the constant pursuit of the place where style, function and luxurious comfort intersect. “My background in custom design inspires me to design for a variety of figures. My experience as a woman of many roles drives the direction and functionality of my designs. By combining these inspirations, I can create comfortable clothes that inspire confidence. That confidence is what makes a woman truly beautiful” -Kiya Tomlin
Chef Kevin Watson (Guest – Wednesday, May 6) is an Erie, Pennsylvania native who now calls Pittsburgh home. Watson graduated from the former Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in 1994 and went on to teach at Le Cordon Bleu Institute for 11 years. His work experience includes the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island and more locally at the Top of the Triangle and Sunnyledge Hotel. He has served as Executive Chef at both at Savoy and The Cafe at the Frick, and established and executed kitchen operations for Pittsburgh Premier Catering, a catering company he founded in 2008. Chef Kevin Watson has had the privilege of providing chef services to notable clients including President George W. Bush and has served as personal chef to Pittsburgh Steelers players who include Jerome Bettis, Alan Faneca and more. The Chef’s Table “Buy a Meal, Give a Meal” program is not the beginning of his commitment to the community. His past work in the community includes assisting Allegheny Youth Development (AYD) with their after-school program for inner-city middle and high-school students. His certifications include Certified Executive Chef (C.E.C), Personal Certified Chef (P.C.C.), Certified Dietary Manager (C.M.D.), Certified Food Protection Professional (C.F.P.P.) and Certified Healthcare Coach (C.H.C.) Chef Watson is passionate about providing healthy, fresh and affordable food to the Pittsburgh community at Chef’s Table.
Robyn Greer (Guest – Wednesday, May 13) is a Hair Artist & Entrepreneur who has been in the industry for more than 25 years. She recently launched “Bloom All Natural and Organic Hair & Skin Care Products.” The Bloom Brand was created by Greer in 2017 and has grown into a healing business that heals from the inside out. The Bloom Line also provides homemade and handcrafted tea. Robyn believes that you definitely are what you eat. “What you put in your body comes out in your skin and hair. If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin or in your hair.”
For 20 years, Yvette Royal (Guest, Wednesday, May 20) represented such brands as Clinique, MAC, and Sephora receiving top sales honors. Yvette then packaged her expertise in the makeup and skin care industry and in 2016 founded Anastasia’s Crown Esthetic services a boutique spa and salon. While thee are a plethora of services, the signature service is FDA approved endermologie for body contouring and full body waxing. She is the first African American to have an Endermologie business in the state of Pennsylvania. Yvette Royal also serves Beauty professionals and cosmotology students, conducting waxing certification classes at the salon.
Laura Varner Norman (Guest, Wednesday, May 27) is a Marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in digital, radio, event and television integrated marketing; as well as campaign development for corporate partnerships. Developed programmatic multi-market campaigns for clients through a diverse range of company assets to drive clients business goals resulting in corporate revenue increases. Experienced marketing partner with national and local agencies to ensure the success of Fortune 500 companies marketing campaigns. Ensure cohesive and organic cause-marketing and branding initiatives to increase clients’ consumer awareness within local markets and throughout the U.S. with trackable results and transparent data. Provide corporate Multi-cultural and LGBT Initiatives and cultivate new partnerships with diverse consumers.
Since 2011, Erin Perry (Guest Wednesday, June 10) has been the executive director of the Legacy Arts Project. As a graduate of the Katz Graduate School of Business, she applies her academic training within a community setting, utilizing arts as a tool for transformation both individually as well as collectively. Miss Perry has been an active member of Legacy since 2005, participating as a member of the dance ensemble through present day. With an extensive background in teaching, Miss Perry has impacted children and adults from Wilkinsburg to Taiwan, teaching classes in English, Math, Photography, and Movement. As a mother of two growing boys, her focus continues to be grounded in the upliftment of humanity through knowledge of self.
Jasiri X (Guest Wednesday, July, 8)is the first independent hip-hop artist to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate, which he received from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2016. This recognition grew out of the spiritual/political urgency and artistic vision he shared on songs like “Justice For Trayvon” and “Strange Fruit (Class of 2013),” which documented the unjust police killings of young Blacks in the Millennial Generation. Likewise, he has been deeply involved with the national Movement for Black Lives, working with organizations like The Gathering for Justice, Blackout for Human Rights, Justice or Else, BYP100 and Sankofa. Still, he remains rooted in the Pittsburgh based organizations he co-founded, the anti-violence group One Hood as well as the New Media Academy, which teaches African-American boys how to analyze and create media for themselves. Jasiri emerged on the national scene in 2007 with the powerful hit song “Free The Jena 6” and the groundbreaking Internet video series This Week With Jasiri X, a program that reached millions of Internet views. More recently, his critically acclaimed album Black Liberation Theology (2015) has been recognized as a soundtrack for today’s civil rights movement. He has performed his music from the Smithsonian to the Apollo Theater and has discussed his views on hip-hop, race and politics at leading institutions across the nation, including Harvard University, the University of Chicago, NYU, Stanford, among others. Beyond his work nationally, Jasiri’s focus on social change has also touched the global arena. In 2016, he was commissioned by The Open Society Foundation to travel to Columbia to create a film (War on Us with Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist Rhymefest) that highlights the international effects of US drug policy in South America. One of the most important political voices of his generation, in 2015 he received the USA Cummings Fellowship in Music, a BMe Fellowship and a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellowship. Jasiri X lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Celeste and their three children.