KST Blog

Welcome to 1839!

1839 is inspired by the life, work, and legacy of Pittsburgh native, playwright August Wilson. The magazine serves as a nexus for the Greater Pittsburgh area’s writers and artists, providing a space to create, collaborate, cultivate and publish our thoughts, opinions, histories, and work.

  1. KST Global Stream: Down with ODD featuring Jasiri X

    KST Deputy Director Orlana Darkins Drewery takes to Instagram Live for conversations with the KST community members. On Wednesday, July 8, Darkins Drewery is joined by Jasiri X, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of 1Hood Media. Join us to see how folks are managing the impact of COVID-19.

    Down with ODD  is a part of KST Global Stream, KST’s COVID-19 responsive online programming initiative.

    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”, 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 organization he founded, 1Hood Media, which teaches youth of color how to analyze and create media for themselves. 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, University of Chicago, NYU, Yale, and 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 2017 he received the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship to start the 1Hood Artivist Academy. Jasiri is also a recipient of the USA Cummings Fellowship in Music, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellowship, and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

  2. Billy Porter, KST Playlist

    Broadway theater performer, singer, actor, and Pittsburgh Native Billy Porter is the focus of this week’s playlist.

  3. KST Global Stream: 19 Minutes with Joseph Hall featuring Jessica Lynne

    Every Tuesday at 12:30pm, KST Executive Director Joseph Hall takes to Instagram Live for conversations with arts leaders in Pittsburgh, across the USA, and internationally. Tune in, get to know Joseph, and find out how he and fellow arts leaders around the world are adapting to the challenges brought on by COVID-19.

    19 Minutes with Joseph Hall is a part of KST Global Stream, KST’s COVID-19 responsive online programming initiative.

    On Tuesday, June 30. Hall was joined by writer and art critic Jessica Lynne.

    Jessica Lynne (Guest – Tuesday, June 30) is a writer and art critic. She is a founding editor of ARTS.BLACK, an online journal of art criticism from Black perspectives. Her writing has been featured in publications such as Art in America, The Believer, BOMB Magazine, The Nation and elsewhere. She is currently at work on a collection of essays about love, faith, and the American South. Jessica lives and works in coastal Virginia. Find her online at @lynne_bias.

  4. Gene Kelly, KST Playlist

    Actor, dancer, stage, and television, singer, choreographer, and KST Namesake Gene Kelly is the focus of this week’s playlist.

  5. Billy Strayhorn, KST Playlist

    KST Namesake and Pittsburgh jazz icon Billy Strayhorn is the focus of This week’s playlist.

  6. KST Global Stream: Checking In, Artists Around the World featuring Jumatatu m. Poe

    Every Thursday at 2:00pm, KST Senior Producer Ben Pryor takes to Instagram Live for conversations with artists in Pittsburgh, throughout the US and around the world. They will connect on the impact of COVID-19 and adapting to working in the arts through a pandemic.

    On Thursday, June 18, Pryor was joined by choreographer and performer Jumatatu Poe.

    “I am a choreographer and performer based between Philadelphia and New York City who grew up dancing around the living room and at parties with my siblings and cousins. My early exposure to concert dance was through African dance and capoeira performances on California college campuses where my Pan-Africanist parents studied and worked, but I did not start “formal” dance training until college with Umfundalai, Kariamu Welsh’s contemporary African dance technique. My work continues to be influenced by various sources, including my foundations in those living rooms and parties, my early technical training in contemporary African dance, my continued study of contemporary dance and performance, my movement trainings with dancer and anatomist Irene Dowd around anatomy and proprioception, my sociological research of and technical training in J-sette performance with Donte Beacham. Through my artistic work, I strive to engage in and further dialogues with Black queer folks, create lovingly agitating performance work that recognizes History as only one option for the contextualization of the present, and continue to imagine options for artists’ economic and emotional sustainability.

    I produce dance and performance work independently, as well as in collaboration with idiosynCrazy productions, a company I founded in 2008 and now co-direct with Shannon Murphy. Most recently, the company serves as a resource to produce public dialogues around the integrations of art into society, and the social responsibility of the artist. Collaboration is often essential for my work, and for the past several years I have worked collaboratively with J-Sette artist Jermone Donte Beacham on a series of visual and performance works called Let ‘im Move You.   Previously, I have danced with Marianela Boán, Silvana Cardell, devynn emory, Emmanuelle Hunyh, Tania Isaac, Kun- Yang Lin, C. Kemal Nance, Marissa Perel, Leah Stein, Keith Thompson, Kate Watson-Wallace, Reggie Wilson, Jesse Zaritt, and Kariamu Welsh (as a member of Kariamu & Company). As a performer, I also collaborate with Merián Soto. From 2009-2018, I was an Assistant Professor of Dance at Swarthmore College.

    I have performed my work in various cities around the US and in Europe, and I have received various awards including: a 2010-2011 Live Arts Brewery Fellowship (Philadelphia), 2010-2012 and 2017 annual Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Performance Grants, a 2011-2013 Community Education Center Residency Fellowship (Philadelphia), a 2012 Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship (Philadelphia), a 2013 NRW Tanzrecherche Fellowship (Germany), a 2013 New York Live Arts Studio Series residency with Jesse Zaritt (NYC), a 2016 Independence Fellowship (Philadelphia), a 2016 18th Street Arts Center creative residency (Santa Monica), a 2017 Rocky Dance Award (Philadelphia), a 2017 Sacatar Residency Fellowship(Bahia, Brazil), a 2017 MAP Fund award with Jermone Donte Beacham, a 2017 NEFA National Dance Project Production Grant with Jermone Donte Beacham, a 2018 MANCC residency, three Swarthmore College Cooper Foundation grants for presenting other artists (Swarthmore, PA).” –Jumatatu Poe (Guest Thursday, June 18)

  7. Mary Lou Williams, KST Playlist

    Jazz vocalist and Pittsburgh icon, Mary Lou Williams is the focus of this week’s playlist.

     

  8. KST Global Stream: Down with ODD featuring Erin Perry

    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.

    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.

  9. George Benson

    A Pittsburgh Native and a Jazz Legend, George Benson is the focus of this week’s playlist.

  10. Roger Humphries, KST Playlist

     

    A Pittsburgh Native, a Jazz Legend, and KST Artist, Roger Humphries is the focus of this week’s Playlist. Enjoy this curated list of toe tapping, finger snapping tunes that showcase The RH Factor and Humphries’ incredible drumming.