Arts, Entertainment, Living

TV Q&A: 'Chicago Fire,' 'The Americans' and 'The Affair'

Friday, 19 December 2014 11:59 PM Written by


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TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by clicking here.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “Chicago Fire,” “The Americans” and “The Affair.” As always, thanks for reading and keep the questions coming.

- Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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  colbert finale

                                                                                         (Scott Gries/AP)

The Colbert Report ended last night and its host concluded with a sing-along version of the venerable ballad "We'll Meet Again" with Jon Stewart, Randy Newman, and a cast that included Willie Nelson, Bryan Cranston, Alan Alda, Toby Keith, Sesame Street Characters, Cyndi Lauper, Tom Brokaw, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Doris Kearns Goodwin and a slew of other political, media and showbiz luminaries.

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Top 10 new TV shows of 2014

Thursday, 18 December 2014 08:45 AM Written by


So here is this TV critic’s dirty little secret about making Top 10 lists: I hate it.

First, there’s the problem that I watch so much TV, I remember little of it from months ago. Reaching back in my memory is always a challenge. I knew I wanted “Fargo” to be my top series in May but beyond that the assemblage of a Top 10 list is as random as can be.

Want to argue with what I included and what I left out? Have at it. I might even agree with you because it’s such a subjective process. Several shows on the Honorable Mention list in Weeked Mag today could just as easily have been in the Top 10. And there are shows that did make the Top 10 that I could easily argue off the list and onto the Honorable Mention consolation prize.

Then online site Hitfix asked me for a Top 10 list of new shows, which begat another headache. Again, I could argue with this list, too, but it was a little easier to put together because there were more parameters, most notably, it had to be a series that was first broadcast in 2014. That shrinks the universe of potential series and made it easier to brainstorm.

Read what I came up with after the jump. …

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The Mavericks' 'Mono' due February 17

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 06:56 AM Written by


Mavericks Mono cover

A year after making a genuine comeback with their stunning album In Time, the Mavericks are back with a new album: Mono, to be released by The Valory Music Company on February 17.

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PBS prepares 'The Manners of Downton Abbey'

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:00 AM Written by

Downton Christmas

In advance of the Jan. 4 premiere of the fifth season of "Downton Abbey," PBS will make season four available on PBS station websites and at for one week beginning Dec. 29. Episodes have already been re-airing on WQED Sunday nights.

The fifth season premiere will be followed by a new special, "The Manners of Downton Abbey" (10:15 p.m. Jan. 4, WQED-TV), hosted by the series' historical adviser, Alastair Bruce.

Watch a preview of the new special after the jump. ...

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Up late, up early: Studio AM

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 04:16 PM Written by

My name is Sean Beauford, I'm the curator for the creative agency, Studio AM. People often ask what we do, and the best answer I can give is: everything. Studio AM is a team of creatives who work to change Pittsburgh for the better. We work out of Homestead in a building that is part art studio, part office, and part showroom. We host parties, art shows, intimate concerts, and most recently, Sunday brunches. We work with other companies, providing a range of services from marketing to interior design to conceptualizing events and providing entertainment.

Studio AM is a team of young men, all in our twenties, and maybe the most important thing we do is mentor youth, and connect with them through art.

What I've discovered in this past year is that art is a tool more than anything else. It's a tool to speak without words; it's a tool to connect people of different backgrounds; and it's a tool to teach. Art has given me an opportunity to directly influence the lives of young children in a positive way. Art has made it possible for me to be a role model, which is something I take seriously.

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Greensburg Salem teachers, Dave Vuick and Jeremy Lenzi brought a few students to Studio AM for us to speak with them. Read Mr. Lenzi's recap here.

Working with children is something we're very passionate about at Studio AM, directly partnering with several Pittsburgh area schools as mentors and collaborators on short and long term projects. In the past few months, we've painted and spoken with a couple hundred kids. The nature of our interactions vary depending on the age of the student, but whether it's giving painting lessons, or giving them advice on how to make a living in art and business, each interaction is meaningful and is often more about life than art. I love collaborating with young artists because their passion and ambition is always pure. It's our job as adults, as working artists, to encourage children, and make them aware of possibilities. Children are the future, and it's up to adults to be patient and guide them in the right direction.

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Baron Batch and I at the Dream Center in Lubbock, TX, where Baron gave painting lessons.

In October, artist Baron Batch and I visited the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, where the art teacher, Alice Mentzer, has been educating students about Baron and his style of art (pop-x). As we were walking to the classroom, we saw in the hallway, artwork from each student, in the same style as Baron's. It turns out that upon being introduced to Baron's artwork, they discovered his painting of a Lion (also their school mascot) entitled "Silence Roars", and in that piece, they found inspiration. To learn that was moving to say the least. It's knowing that art can have that kind of impact on the lives of people that makes me want to never stop working.


Baron, Ms. Mentzer and I with the 8th grade art class at Western PA School for the Deaf.




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 Some would note that along with Joan Jett, Lou Reed, Bill Withers, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Green Day, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today.  Many who aren't aware of their work might think them a mere 60's addendum.  And they would be wrong.

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More gift ideas for the TV nut on your list

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 11:50 AM Written by

Discovery Kids Interchangeable Kinetic Space Lab

In today's Post-Gazette Shop Holiday feature, I offer up some gift ideas for the TV fan on your list. But there were more items than space allowed so here are a few others.

Let's start with a kids product that's vaguely connected to TV -- both Discovery Kids and Animal Planet have product lines tied to their brands rather than specific shows -- and move on to some books.

TMNT Subway Train Set BoxFor children ages 8 and up, Discovery Kids offers an Interchangeable Kinetic Space Lab ($19.99, available at TJMaxx and reminiscent of a children's museum exhibit where kids build tracks for balls to run in (pictured above).

The popular Power City Trains line introduces a train set themed to Nickelodeon's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" ($29.99, available at Toys R Us and K-Mart).

For adults, the worst-timed biography ever may be out this holiday season. Read more after the jump. ...

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