Arts, Entertainment, Living

Joe Negri's Italian Roots Onstage

Monday, 26 September 2011 08:25 AM Written by

In my Sunday PG article on Joe Negri, I mentioned his roots in Italian music, which he grew up with as a kid in Mt Washington.  His grandparents and parents appreciated opera, Neapolitan music and singers like Carlo Buti.  I also said he's been known to insert Italian medleys into jazz presentations.

Join the conversation:

Resident Evil 4 HD - review

Monday, 26 September 2011 12:59 AM Written by

Resident Evil 4 has been around since 2005.  It started as an exclusive title for the Nintendo GameCube, and was then ported to the PS2 later that year.  In 2007 another port came to PC plus a motion-controlled version for the Wii.  Now it’s available for the Xbox 360 and PS3 in glorious high definition 

If you never played it you can’t say it’s because it never came out for a console you play.  I’m not a fan of seeing one game get rereleased and ported to numerous consoles over the years, but RE4 is an exception.  This game is so good that it deserves to be experienced by as many gamers as possible.

Join the conversation:

'Luther' returns to BBC America

Monday, 26 September 2011 12:00 AM Written by

luther-01-01-33mb-largeBBC America’s “Luther” (10 p.m. Wednesday) returns for a second season of four one-hour episodes this week, and how fans feel about it may depend to some degree on what they liked best about the crime drama in season one.

The horrific, often grotesque and sadistic crimes are back with one story for the first two episodes (a masked killer who dances on CCTV) and a second crime plot for episodes three and four (the messenger bag killer).

Detective John Luther (Idris Elba, “The Wire”) investigates, as usual, bringing his keen insight of human behavior to the crimes. But this season he receives significantly less assistance from his first-season helper, serial killer Alice (Ruth Wilson).

Read more after the jump. ...

Join the conversation:

It's Liz Week

Monday, 26 September 2011 12:00 AM Written by

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of Liz Claiborne at jcpenny stores, jcpenny and Liz Claiborne were gracious enough to let me shop the new fall collection and then review my look with my lovely readers.

The Liz Claiborne line is exclusively carried at jcpenny stores and offers women classic sportswear pieces and accessories.  Most of the pieces are casual, offering versatility in how you can wear them. You can keep them casual, or dress them up with fancier pieces in your closet.

With my $100 gift card, I purchased the following:

Shirt: Liz Claiborne Long Sleeve Button Front Shirt in Fling Blue: My first denim shirt! I have been after a denim shirt for a few years now, but being tall hasn’t made it possible to find the perfect one. Typically, my arms are too long for regular button down shirts. With this Liz shirt, the sleeves are rolled up, which I LOVE, and it is a super lightweight material which is comfortable all day long.  Though I wore it casual in the photo, I am going to dress it up with a black pencil skirt and heels.

Pants: Liz Claiborne Snap Detail Pant in Brown. I was a bit discouraged trying to find a bottom that fit my tall frame. There were limited skirt options (I think just one or two) and these pants in two colors. I tried the pants on just to see if they fit, and I fell in love. They are SUPER comfortable and look very cute cuffed to the ankle.  I recommend buying a size smaller because they do stretch out throughout the day.

Jewelry: Two Liz Claiborne glass bead necklaces. I am a huge fan of layering jewelry and for this outfit, I chose something a bit more glamorous that the top and bottoms.  I really like mixing casual and evening looks together, and I think the necklaces really dressed up the outfit. I would definitely add a few more necklaces, of varying lengths, the next time I wear this look 

Belt and shoes are my own personal items, not from jcpenny or Liz Claiborne.

Liz Week continues until October 1 with all Liz items on sale.  You can see more Liz outfits online here.

SPECIAL EVENT: Liz Claiborne will be holding a special event on October 20, 2011, at the jcpenny in Monroeville Mall, with a fashion show at 6 pm. Be sure to check back for more details on this!

Disclosure: I was given a $100 gift card on behalf of Liz Claiborne to purchase an outfit. The receipt of the gift card does not reflect my opinion of the clothing mentioned above.

Photos courtesy of Tirzah Griffin.

Join the conversation:

Blues thoughts from Wynton Marsalis.

Saturday, 24 September 2011 03:22 PM Written by

A few posts ago I wrote about the new CD from Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton, a set of old blues tunes arranged by Marsalis. I liked it a lot.

Here's a brief but interesting interview with Marsalis on the musical project involving live concerts that resulted in the album.

One of the thoughts in the interview that rang true was Marsalis on the history of the music:

“Most of the musicians I’ve worked with, we come from the same kind of music, which is the blues...."

Join the conversation:

Pittsburghers and Television and the new Pittsburgh Innovative Media Incubator: 

As you may have read in the Post-Gazette on Thursday, "Two and a Half Men" director and Squirrel Hill native Jamie Widdoes is coming back to Pittsburgh in December to produce a new talk show through the new Steeltown/WQED Pittsburgh Innovative Media Incubator.   This is truly exciting and gratifying since Jamie was part of the initial "Steeltown Entertainment Summit" at WQED in 2003 which brought back entertainment expatriates like Jamie, "Chicago" director Rob Marshall, and "Lizzie Maguire" creator Terri Minsky to the Fred Rogers Studios where Jamie and others expressed their desire to come back and use their talents in their hometown.  We are grateful to Jamie and the pull of his Pittsburgh roots (which include his wonderful mother Babs who was the founding director of the Three Rivers Arts Festival)  that he is making time for this show given that he is not only directing "Two and a Half Men" (whose Monday premiere broke ratings records) and has had another show starring Rob Schneider picked up for mid-season.  It is truly fitting to have this be the first show which will film in the Fred Rogers Studio as part of this new incubator model.   (Jamie's producing partner Peter Isacksen was an actor in "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.")   

"Guardian" writer/producer David Hollander, who has often used Pittsburgh as his muse, also has an exciting show we are hoping to do through the Incubator this Spring which would build on the legacy of Fred Rogers who of course came back from working at NBC in New York to pioneer public television here.  

And we hope this innovative new model, funded by the R.K. Mellon Foundation, will continue to lead more stellar talent with Pittsburgh roots coming back to their hometown and working with the remarkable resources and talent which are here.  

See and for more on the incubator.  

Watching the Emmy Awards this past Sunday, I was reminded again of some of the great talent this town has produced. 

There was Pitcairn native Don Roy King accepting another Emmy Award for directing "Saturday Night Live."   I had the privilege of meeting Don during a New York City screening of "My Tale of Two Cities" where he brought his daughter Cameron who he mentioned foremost in his Emmy acceptance speech. (Having moved back to Pittsburgh from L.A. to raise my own daughter Campbell, we had that in common.)  But I had actually heard about Don before that from David Salzman, an industry heavyweight who has been a longtime producing partner with Quincy Jones, who had known Don when he was directing the Mike Douglas show and David was the General Manager of KDKA in the 1970s.  David had said how talented Don was and how he could tell he was going places.

David Salzman and David Hollander were both part of the "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" sing-a-long with over 300 folks in L.A. across from the Beverly Hills Hotel.   (See    Some of those folks included:

-- WQED alum "Seinfield' and "Desperate Housewife" director Tom Cherones

-- Mt. Lebanon native Joe Manganiello who stars in "True Blood" and was just inducted into the Mt. Lebo Hall of Fame, among many others

--Lee Miller who has producer the Oscars and the Tonys among many others

-- Emmy-winning writer and stand-up Ed Driscoll (The Dennis Miller Show) 

-- "Nanny" and "Hannah Montana" producer Sally Lapiduss (whose sister Maxine who wrote for "Roseanne" and "Ellen" was a founding force for Steeltown.) 

-- "Chappelle Show" and "Wanda Sykes" director Rusty Cundieff who grew up on the North Side.

-- comedian/actress Patti Deutch 

-- actor/producer Frank Nicotero ("Street Smarts" host)

-- WQED alum Charlie Hauck who produced shows like "Fraiser" and "Home Improvement"

-- production designer John Schaffner ("Two and a Half Men", "Big Bang Theory")

For a full view of all the Pittsburgh and Hollywood folks who showed up at the sing-a-long, look at:

(And there are also all these Pittsburghers on Broadway many of whom have also worked in TV:

But the list of Pittsburghers working in TV goes on and on, including:

-- McCandless native Greg Nicotero who is producing "Walking Dead"  who got his start with George Romero movies and who helped drive the R.L. Stine Haunting Hour movie here in 2006 before the film tax credits.   See

-- Swissvale native Billy Gardell who stars on "Mike & Molly"

-- Squirrel Hill native Jonathan Green who writes for "The Cleveland Show," the spin-off of "Family Guy."

-- Gary Randall, who is the executive producer of "Majors & Minors", a new show on the Hasbro Discovery Hub network run by CEO Margaret Loesch who produced the R.L Stine's "Haunting Hour' show in Pittsburgh, and whose father was from Meadville.

-- And many of the Pittsburghers who have been involved in the Steeltown Film Factory who include

-- "Ghost Whisperer" executive producer Kim Moses, "Ghost Whisperer" co-star David Conrad,

-- MTV "Made" producer Bob Kusbit

-- "My Wife and Kids" producer Eric Gold (who also manages Ellen DeGeneres with partner Jimmy Miller

-- "Sesame Street" director Jim Martin

-- 'Conan" casting director Janine Michaels

-- "X-Men" and "Batman" animation writer Steve Cuden (who has moved back to teach at Point Park)

-- "Crank Yankers" producer Megan Fales

-- and Film Factory producer Lisa Smith who has produced many TV shows including "The People Speak" documentary with Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman which aired on The History Channel."  

For a list of all the Film Factory judges, please go to

And then there is director Chris Preksta whose "Mercury Men" web series was produced here and picked up by the Sy-Fy Channel (see

And I'm not even counting those great music videos done on Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa for Rostrum Records which were made by talented young Pittsburghers like Ian Rawson, Bill Palidino and Kevin Kaufman.  

And I'm sure I'm forgetting many (and not sure where to place the "Dance Moms" in all this.)  

Again, I am left asking "how can one town produce so much talent?"  And how can Pittsburgh better connect and invest in that talent it has in one way or the other helped nurture.  

If you know people we have missed who are from Pittsburgh working in TV, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.








Join the conversation:

Weekly Menu for the Week of Sept. 26

Friday, 23 September 2011 07:35 PM Written by
Welcome to my weekly menu!

Some favorites are on the menu this week - Broiled Tilapia Parmesan is a huge fan favorite!!! My kiddos give a huge thumbs up to Cheeseburger Meatloaf and the meatloaf sliders we serve up later in the week. Chicken Marsala is a favorite of mine and many others. And to finish the week we are serving up Black Bean Corn Chili in the crock-pot! What could be an easier way to kick off the weekend. It is the perfect meal before football on Friday and leftovers will be great during the college games on Saturday and the Steelers on Sunday!!!

If you would like to receive an email notification when the menu has been published please follow the link below and sign-up!

You can also follow the menu on Facebook and Twitter!!! Go to Kristen Kill Reisinger's Menus That Save on Facebook and click like!!! You will receive updates and pics throughout the week. Also follow the menu on Twitter - @menusthatsave.

ALWAYS check your coupons!!! Not only the ones we receive in our newspapers and mid-week mailers but also online! Check out

Follow the plan so you can save time, money, and a few calories! Remember – cooking our own food is healthier than ordering in and eating out any day!!! Your family, wallet and waistline will thank you!

I hope you all enjoy your week, the recipes and the savings!


Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
Roasted Asparagus

Broiled Tilapia – adapted from

½ cup of parmesan cheese
¼ cup of butter softened
3 T. mayo
Juice of one lemon
¼ t. of basil
¼ t. pepper
1/8 t. onion powder
1/8 t. celery salt
Old Bay Seasoning
2 lbs. of tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven's broiler. Line pan with aluminum foil = Easy Cleanup! And spray the foil with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

Season both sides of each fillet with Old Bay Seasoning. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook the fish.


Cheeseburger Meat Loaf
Mashed Potatoes

Cheeseburger Meatloaf - adapted from Southern Living

2 lbs. of ground beef
2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups of uncooked regular oatmeal
1 cup of milk
½ cup of finely chopped onion
2 eggs
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. of salt
1 t. dry mustard
½ t, of garlic powder
½ t. pepper
1 cup of chili sauce

Preheat oven to 350˚. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT chili sauce until well blended. Put meat mixture in a loafpan – 8x4 inch.

Bake at 350˚ for 40 minutes. Pour chili sauce on top of the loaf and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink in the middle. Let stand for 10 minutes, drain, and slice.

This is a thick meatloaf – we like it like that. You could divide the recipe in half and place in two loaf pans and reduce the cooking time by 10-15 minutes. Also, if you do that, you will need to increase the amount chili sauce to 2 cups – 1 cup for each loaf.

Another thing – I typically use a meatloaf mix. BUT, the beef is on special this week and I am opting to use that instead.

*** Healthy Note*** – I love that this recipe uses oats instead of breadcrumbs!!! Also – this is a great recipe to sneak in something healthy for your kids. Maybe you could puree spinach and add it to the mix prior to baking.


Chicken Marsala
Angel Hair Pasta
Steamed Broccoli

Chicken Marsala

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin and cut into cutlets
2 T. of flour
3 T. of butter
1 – 8 oz. pkg. of fresh mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup of Marsala wine
¼ cup of water
1 T. of dried parsley or 2 T. if using fresh
¼ t. of Rosemary

Melt butter in a large skillet and sauté the mushrooms over medium-high heat until browned – about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside. Dredge both sides of the chicken in the flour and add to the skillet. Cook thoroughly, about 4 minutes on each side – this will depend on how thin the chicken is. Remove chicken and set aside. Return the mushrooms to the skillet and stir in the Marsala, water, parsley and Rosemary - stirring to pick up the browned pieces at the bottom of the skillet. Return the chicken to the skillet until covered with the sauce and heated through.

Meanwhile, cook Angel Hair pasta according to the directions. Toss the cooked pasta with melted butter and 2 T. of parmesan cheese.


Meatloaf Sandwiches

Meatloaf Sandwiches

My kids LOVE meatloaf sandwiches! We definitely warm them up – some people can eat the meatloaf cold ... I am not one of them! We use regular hamburger buns or slider rolls! The smaller the sandwich the more apt my kids are to eat it! We add pickles, ketchup and a few will add mustard too! Serve with chips and grapes and dinner is served!!!


Black Bean and Corn Chili
Chips and Salsa

Black Bean and Corn Chili

2 cans of black beans (15 oz.)
1 can of crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (14.5 oz.)
1 can of chicken broth (14.5 oz.)
2 cans diced green chilies (4 oz.)
1 box of frozen corn
4 green onions, sliced
3 T. chili powder
2 t. cumin
1 t. minced garlic

Place everything in a crock-pot and cook on low for 8 hours. What could be easier to end the week!

Serve on top of rice.

Toppings: Cheddar cheese, sour cream or crushed tortilla chips

This is a great meal before Friday night football games and leftovers are great all weekend!!!

And now for the shopping list. As always, double check your pantry, fridge and freezer to see if you already have any of the items listed below. This will reduce your spending and create less waste! And NEVER shop without a plan!

Most of the items listed below are on special at Giant Eagle as well as many other supermarkets. Please check your local grocery for its weekly specials. Also, many of the items can be purchased at Costco or Sam's Club at great prices!

Potatoes – for mashed potatoes
Fresh mushrooms – small package
Green onions

Parmesan cheese
Slider rolls or buns for meatloaf sandwiches

Onion powder
Celery salt
Old Bay seasoning
Worcestershire Sauce
Dry mustard
Garlic powder
Chili sauce
Marsala cooking wine
Chili powder

Canned Goods/Ethnic Foods/Dry Goods
Angel hair pasta
2 (15 oz.) cans of black beans
(14.5 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
(14.5 oz.) can of tomatoes with green chilies
(14.5 oz.) can of chicken broth
2 small cans of diced green chilies

Seafood/Meat Case/Butcher
2 lbs. of Tilapia filets
2 lbs. ground beef or meatloaf mix
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Frozen Foods
Box of frozen corn

Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream for chili


Potato Chips
Tortilla Chips

Join the conversation:

CD Review: Jake Owen - 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night'

Friday, 23 September 2011 03:36 PM Written by

Jake Owen's 2009 album Easy Does It reflected the sort of lowest-common-denominator fare even Nashville insiders will admit (off the record, of course), gives the place a bad name.  Easy Does It reached # 2 on Billboard's Top Country Albums charts. Barefoot Blue Jean Night spent a week at # 1 until George Strait's new album nudged it out. Owen's title song spent a week at # 1 on the singles chart until Rodney Atkins' "Take A Back Road" knocked it off. The question: does such success indicate this new release is even more cliché-ridden and formulaic than his previous effort?

Join the conversation: