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 Sounds Playlist: Prince

    For the Spring 2020 season, KST Presents invited musician, composer, and music director Dwayne Fulton to curate a series of concerts between March – May 2020. All of the concerts have been postponed for the future, but we are pleased to bring you playlists featuring the artists curated by Fulton for the series.

    The final playlist in our series we present as a tribute to the life and musical genius of the legendary artist Prince.

     

     

  2. Checking In, Artists Around the World featuring Bekezela Mguni

    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. For Thursday, May 7th stream, Ben checks in with queer Trinidadian artist, librarian, and educator, Bekezela Mguni. Check out more on Bekezela Mguni here: https://www.bekezelamguni.com 

    Bekezela Mguni (Guest – Thursday, May 7) is a queer Trinidadian artist, librarian, and educator. She has over 15 years of community organizing experience in the Reproductive Justice movement and holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh. Bekezela participated in the first Librarians and Archivists with Palestine delegation in June of 2013. She completed her first micro-residency at the Pittsburgh creative hub Boom Concepts and was featured in the 2015 Open Engagement Conference. She was a 2015-2016 member of the Penn Ave Creative Accelerator Program with the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and launched the Black Unicorn Library and Archive Project. The Black Unicorn Project is a Black feminist community library and archive. She also served as the 2016 Sophia Smith Archive Activist-in-Residence at Smith College. Bekezela was selected as an Emerging Artist in the 2016 Three Rivers Arts Festival and won the Juror’s Choice award for her visual artwork. She was a featured artist of the 2017 Activist Print Project, a partnership between, Artist Image Resource, BOOM concepts, and the Andy Warhol Museum. Bekezela is a Boom Concepts studio member, a community space and gallery dedicated to the development of artists and creative entrepreneurs. She is currently an artist in residence at Artist Image Resource and the Librarian in residence at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Bekezela also serves as the Education Program Director at Dreams of Hope which affirms the voices and leadership of LGBTQ youth through the arts.

  3. Down with ODD: featuring Chef Kevin Watson

    Every Wednesday at 2:00pm, KST Deputy Director Orlana Darkins Drewery takes to Instagram Live for conversations with the KST community in Pittsburgh, and across the USA. Join us to see how folks are managing the impact of COVID-19. On Wednesday, May 6, Darkins Drewery was joined by Chef Kevin Watson. For more information on Kiya Tomlin and her clothing line go to: https://chefstablepgh.com/story/chef-… 

    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.

  4. 19 Minutes with Joseph Hall: Featuring Tara Aisha Willis

     

    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. On Tuesday, May 5, Hall was joined by dancer, a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at New York University, and Associate Curator in Performance & Public Practice at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Tara Aisha Willis. For more information about Alejandra Duque Cifuentes and Dance/NYC go to: https://www.mcachicago.org & https://tisch.nyu.edu/performance-stu…

    Tara Aisha Willis (Guest – Tuesday, May 5) is a dancer and a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at New York University. She is Associate Curator in Performance & Public Practice at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and recently held a Jerome Robbins Dance Division Research Fellowship in the Dance Theater Workshop archives. Willis has held editorial positions for Women & Performance and TDR/The Drama Review, and co-edited with Thomas F. DeFrantz a special issue of The Black Scholar. Other writings appear in Movement Research Performance Journal, the Brooklyn Rail, Magazin im August, Voices from the Bush, Dancing Platform Praying Grounds: Blackness, Churches, and Downtown Dance, Performance Research, and Performa Magazine. Willis performed in a collaboration between Will Rawls and Claudia Rankine, and recently in works by Kim Brandt, Megan Byrne, and Yanira Castro. She danced in the 2016 “Bessie” award-winning performance by The Skeleton Architecture. 

     

  5. KST Sounds Playlist: The Brydge!

    For the Spring 2020 season, KST Presents invited musician, composer, and music director Dwayne Fulton to curate a series of concerts between March – May 2020. All of the concerts have been postponed for the future, but we are pleased to bring you playlists featuring the artists curated by Fulton for the series.

    The second playlist in our series comes from Pittsburgh band The Brydge! The Brydge’s musical references flow from soul, pop, R&B, hip hop, gospel, rock, urban and neo soul, and jazz. With lead songwriters, producers, and arrangers Claude Flowers, J.R. Jones, and Dwayne Fulton, the band has a true passion for “Lyfe.”

  6. Down with ODD: featuring, Kiya Tomlin

    Every Wednesday at 2:00pm, KST Deputy Director Orlana Darkins Drewery takes to Instagram Live for conversations with the KST community in Pittsburgh, and across the USA. Join us to see how folks are managing the impact of COVID-19. On Wednesday, April 29, Darkins Drewery was joined by Custom Designer, Kiya Tomlin. For more information on Kiya Tomlin and her clothing line go to: https://www.kiyatomlin.us 

    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

  7. 19 minutes with Joseph Hall: Featuring, Alejandra Duque Cifuentes

    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. On Tuesday, April 28, Hall was joined by immigrant activist, artist, producer, educator, and Executive Director of Dance/NYC, Alejandra Duque Cifuentes. For more information about Alejandra Duque Cifuentes and Dance/NYC go to: https://www.dance.nyc 

    Alejandra Duque Cifuentes (Guest – April, April 28) is an immigrant activist, artist, producer, and educator. With more than 10 years of production and stage management experience in theatre and dance, she has toured nationally and internationally with Zaccho Dance Theatre, Bandaloop, Dancing in The Streets, The Foundry Theatre, and Columbia University School of the Arts, among others. As a teaching artist, Ms. Duque Cifuentes taught children and adults of all ages how to express themselves through theatre and movement practice in over 100 New York City public schools and through community theatre programs. In 2011 she founded Theatre That Transcends, which taught local, underserved communities how to express themselves and address community issues through the art of theatre. As an activist, she plays an integral part in advancing a more equitable arts and cultural ecology by working on measures to increase access, justice, equity, and inclusion within dance for disabled artists, immigrant artists, and artists of color in the five boroughs of New York City. Ms. Duque Cifuentes is a member of the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, Women of Color in the Arts, the Children Museum of Manhattan’s Dance Portal Advisory Board, and Eva Yaa Asantewaa’s Curatorial Advisory Team at Gibney, and she is an advisor for the Latinx Artists Retreat, an annual convening for Latinx cultural producers across all artistic disciplines and fields. She was born in Medellín, Colombia and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from Columbia University School of General Studies. 

     

  8. KST Sounds: Anita Levels Playlist!

    For the Spring 2020 season, KST Presents invited musician, composer, and music director Dwayne Fulton to curate a series of concerts between March – May 2020. All of the concerts have been postponed for the future, but we are pleased to bring you playlists featuring the artists curated by Fulton for the series.

    First up is Anita Levels!

    Anita Levels is a self-taught vocalist, songwriter, and producer who has released multiple recordings, was a finalist in the syndicated talent reality show, Gospel Dream, and toured internationally as the director and founder of the then Carlow College Gospel choir, Blessed. Levels’ jazzy sound is one of power, intention, passion, and soul. Join us for an evening of music that evokes the spirit of love and healing.

    Enjoy the playlist and look out for more coming from The Brydge and Prince!

  9. Checking In: Artists Around the World featuring, Perel

    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.

    For this Thursday, April 23rd stream, Ben checks in with interdisciplinary artist Perel. Check out more on Perel here: https://perelstudio.xyz/  Perel (Guest – Thursday, April 23) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is centered on disability and queerness as they relate to care, consent, sexuality, and personal and historic trauma. Utilizing choreography to examine power exchange between the artist and audience, “Perel is a master at timing, of tension, relief, and intimacy while creating a space of learning and unlearning.” (Victoria DeJaco, Spike Magazine). Their recent work, Life (Un)Worthy of Life: A Queer, Dis/Crip Talkshow premiered at No Limits, a disability centered festival in Berlin, DE. The artist‘s previous work, Pain Threshold, was presented at the American Realness Festival in New York in 2019, and has toured to Sophiensaele Theater, Berlin, and the Leopold Museum, Vienna as part of Impulstanz. Perel has received numerous residencies, commissions, and awards, most recently the Beth Silverman-Yam Award for Social Justice at Gibney Dance, and the first International Artist in Residence for Disabled Dance Artists at Sophiensaele. Perel was a selected disabled choreographer for Choreo-Lab, a pilot program of the integrated dance company, AXIS Dance. They are a Dance In Process Artist in Residence at Gibney Dance, and a Mertz-Gilmore Artist in Residence at Movement Research, NYC. Notable previous commissions have been presented at Abrons Art Center for American Realness 2018, The Chocolate Factory Theater, co-presented with the New York International Queer Performance Festival, Movement Research at the Judson Church, at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts NYC, and for the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

     

  10. Down with ODD featuring Chuck Sanders

    Every Wednesday at 2:00pm, KST Deputy Director Orlana Darkins Drewery takes to Instagram Live for conversations with the KST community in Pittsburgh, and across the USA. Join us to see how folks are managing the impact of COVID-19.

    For this Wednesday, April 22nd stream, Orlana chats it up with CEO of Blackburgh Corporation and former Pittsburgh Steeler, Chuck Sanders.

    Check out Blackburgh Corporation here:
    https://www.blackburghcorp.com

    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.

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