DAVID DIETZ – Actor, Filmmaker

‘Burgh Vivant spent Halloween with actor and horror filmmaker David Dietz. What evils lurk in the darkness of DVD – find out here! And how it all gets done! AND – would you believe that this episode of ‘Burgh Vivant isn’t the scariest thing that’s been filmed at The Smiling Moose? Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete interview in audio podcast to hear talk of favorite superheroes, Godzilla vs. Gamera, and Gamera vs… Pittsburgh? Continue reading “DAVID DIETZ – Actor, Filmmaker”

DAVID DIETZ - Actor, Filmmaker

‘Burgh Vivants spoof classic movie posters for 29th Annual Reel Q Film Festival

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PITTSBURGH, PA – October 10th, 2014.  The Graduate‘s Mrs. Robinson with an unshaven, tattooed leg.  A drag interpretation of Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction.  The ads have been appearing all around Pittsburgh – in local papers, at T-stations, and in social media.  The 29th Annual Reel Q Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival opens this weekend, preceded by its clever marketing campaign, giving a nod to classic movie posters.

“We were inspired by the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz and thought it would be fun to reenact it with people who go to our festival,” said Mitch Leib, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society.  “We started expanding our idea and picturing other classic movies.”

The slogan for this year’s festival is “See Yourself in the Movies” – a statement that Leib says carries a double meaning.  “First, it is seeing our LGBT stories in our films – stories that reflect our lives and our sensibilities.  Second, it is quite literally seeing some members of the Pittsburgh LGBT community in our posters.”

According to Leib, the idea for the ad concept came from festival organizers T.J. Murphy, Jamie Tracktenberg, and Tama Bentley (all whom appear in the poster campaign), as well as several board members.  Photographs for the posters were taken by Mara Rago, with poster design by Drue Miller.

Festival organizers cast several members of Pittsburgh’s LGBT community in a total of eight parodies of iconic film posters, ranging from The Breakfast Club to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and each with a unique twist reflecting LGBT culture. Among the models who “saw themselves in the movies” were ‘Burgh Vivant host and Executive Producer Brian Edward, and Contributor Mike Buzzelli.

“It was great fun,” commented Edward, who appears in a parody poster of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz spoof.  “Classic films are a passion of mine, and I was thrilled to support the Reel Q Festival.  Though if I’d have known further in advance that I’d be mimicking Audrey Hepburn, I might have dropped a few pounds.”

Bear-ing all in the Wizard of Oz poster, was Mike Buzzelli, who, for lack of a lion costume, went au naturel plus underwear.  His appearance in The Godfather poster presents a more thoroughly clad composite, complete with cotton balls stuffed in the cheeks, a la Brando.

Poster models also included Roberta Hinde, Jamie Tracktenberg, Kevin Lovelace, Lish Danielle Hutchins, Sarah Fina, Todd Kinavey, Erica Pasquali, MaVe Sami, Betty Nikia, T.J. Murphy, Tama Bentley, and Janet Granite.

The Reel Q LGBT Film Festival opens Friday October 10th and runs through Saturday, October 18th, with a complete schedule available at www.plgfs.org.  All screenings are at the Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Avenue, Downtown.  Individual tickets and festival passes may be purchased at the theater or via the Festival website.

Mike "Buzz" Buzzelli.
Mike “Buzz” Buzzelli.


Brian Edward.
Brian Edward.
Tama Bentley, Brian Edward, T.J. Murphy, and Mike "Buzz" Buzzelli.
Tama Bentley, Brian Edward, T.J. Murphy, and Mike “Buzz” Buzzelli.
Betty Nikia.
Betty Nikia.
Janet Granite.
Janet Granite.
Jamie Tracktenberg and Erica Pasquali.
Jamie Tracktenberg and Erica Pasquali.






DEB DOCHERTY – President, The Docherty Agency

What’s it take to run Pittsburgh’s premier talent and modeling agency? Deb Docherty knows – and she’s dishing over cocktails tonight on ‘Burgh Vivant! Get the inside scoop on what it takes to impress a talent scout, and the do’s and don’t s of auditioning. Plus – a plug for Butcher and the Rye! Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete interview in audio podcast to hear what Pittsburgh “type” is in highest demand, and how the talent/agent relationship is like romance. “Let’s review”: www.dochertyagency.com Continue reading “DEB DOCHERTY – President, The Docherty Agency”

DEB DOCHERTY - President, The Docherty Agency

KAHMEELA ADAMS – Producer, 48 Hour Film Project, Pittsburgh

Live from the Hollywood Theater in beautiful downtown Dormont, it’s Kahmeela Adams! Learn about this unique Pittsburgh event, some insider tips from the Producer, and where you can see this year’s mini-movies! Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete, unedited interview in audio podcast, to hear more on Kahmeela’s artistic contributions to the city, Brian inevitably pontificating on classic film, where in the world is Jake Gyllenhaal, and the improvised launch of the 48 SECOND Film Project. Continue reading “KAHMEELA ADAMS – Producer, 48 Hour Film Project, Pittsburgh”

KAHMEELA ADAMS - Producer, 48 Hour Film Project, Pittsburgh

KATI AND BLAKE LIGHTHOLDER – Producers, Jack & Emma web series

JACK & EMMA is an original Pittsburgh web series, and this week, ‘Burgh Vivant attends cocktail hour with Jack and Emma themselves – producers Kati and Blake Lightholder, PLUS: guest appearances abound as host Brian Edward chats with characters from the show, Krish (Krish Mohan), Kirsten (Klase Danko), and Maddy (Julie Beroes). Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete, unedited interview in audio podcast to hear more on what brought JACK & EMMA to the Steel City and what’s next for the dynamic duo! Watch JACK & EMMA at www.jackandemmaseries.com  Continue reading “KATI AND BLAKE LIGHTHOLDER – Producers, Jack & Emma web series”

KATI AND BLAKE LIGHTHOLDER - Producers, Jack & Emma web series

JUDY KNAIZ – Actress, “Hello, Dolly!” (1969)

‘Burgh Vivant host Brian Edward sits down for cocktails in front of a live audience at Point Park University’s George R. White Theatre with stage and screen actress Judy Knaiz. Attendees were treated to a lively conversation with the delightful Ms. Knaiz, followed by a screening of the film she is perhaps best known for, HELLO, DOLLY! (1969), starring Barbara Streisand, Walter Matthau, and of course, Judy as Gussie Granger. Between the laughter, Judy talks about her journey from Pittsburgh to New York to Hollywood, working with Gene Kelly, and more! Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete, unedited interview in audio podcast to hear Judy answer questions from the audience and internet fans, and her unique insight on Pittsburgh’s film history. Continue reading “JUDY KNAIZ – Actress, “Hello, Dolly!” (1969)”

JUDY KNAIZ - Actress, "Hello, Dolly!" (1969)

Point Park University-produced movie ‘The Umbrella Man’ to premiere at Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival


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PITTSBURGH – The Point Park University-produced feature film, “The Umbrella Man,” will premiere next month at the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival.

Directed by Michael Grasso, “The Umbrella Man” will be screened at 1:45 p.m., Sunday, June 22, in the Baverso Theater at the Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks.

 “The Umbrella Man” is the story of a father who becomes engrossed with Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories after the death of his 8-year-old son. Set in Pittsburgh, the film deals with one couple’s love, loss, and the survival of their relationship. The film stars Carter Roy and Rachael Carpani as the married couple, as well as Abbie Cobb, Rich Williams, John Amplas and Kevin Crowley.

Point Park University was the driving force in developing the original material written by Michael and Joseph Grasso. The REP, Point Park University’s professional theatre company, mounted a staged production of “The Umbrella Man” in 2011 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Directed by Robert A. Miller, who also is a producer on the movie, the stage play introduced audiences to the deep human drama in an unprecedented stage experience.

Much of the movie was filmed in the Pittsburgh area last year, providing dozens of Point Park University students a unique opportunity for on-the-job training.

“Michael and I are thrilled that ‘The Umbrella Man’ has been included in the 2014 Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival.  It was an amazing project with incredible performances and a super talented Pittsburgh crew. We are also proud to have teamed with Point Park University in order to provide their students, recent grads and alumni a chance to work on the production of ‘The Umbrella Man’ and gain valuable real-world experience on a feature film. It was a true Pittsburgh project, and we had a fantastic experience shooting this film in and around Pittsburgh,” said Joe Grasso, co-writer, co-producer and cinematographer.

The screening of “The Umbrella Man” in Pittsburgh follows the announcement last month that another Point Park University-produced film venture, the 10-episode documentary series, “The Chair,” will air this fall on STARZ as the channel’s first original unscripted series. The 10-episode series, filmed in Pittsburgh this year, follows two up-and-coming directors as they compete to make two separate feature films from the same script. More than 100 Point Park students and alumni supported the TV series and two feature films as interns, employees, and through class projects. Additionally, production offices were located on Point Park University’s campus in downtown Pittsburgh.

Point Park University’s involvement in these projects helps to expand its cinema and digital arts offerings to a wider array of students who have the desire to forge a career in the entertainment industry.

You can visit the film’s IMDB page at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2413958/


HARISH SALUJA – Executive Director, Silk Screen Film Festival & Arts Organization

An in-depth cultural exploration of Pittsburgh with Silk Screen Executive Director and co-host of WDUQ-FM’s Music From India, Harish Saluja.  In addition to being a dynamic artist, filmmaker, and entrepreneur, Harish considers himself a storyteller in all that he does – as host Brian Edward quickly discovers!  Get to know Silk Screen through this year’s film festival April 25th – May 4th, and listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete interview in audio podcast to hear more on the cultural impact of the Silk Screen Arts Organization in Pittsburgh, and the REAL reason Pittsburgh has had such a long winter!  It’s an interview not to be missed! Continue reading “HARISH SALUJA – Executive Director, Silk Screen Film Festival & Arts Organization”

HARISH SALUJA - Executive Director, Silk Screen Film Festival & Arts Organization

The Silk Screen Film Festival Set to Kick Off Its Ninth Year

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The ninth annual Silk Screen Film Festival 2014 will begin on Saturday, April 26th, and runs through Sunday, May 4th. The 2014 Festival features 25 feature length films from all over Asia and the Middle East, as well as two shorts.

There will be 47 screenings at 4 locations in the city: the Regent Square Theater, the Melwood Screening Room, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Earth Theater, and the new location this year is the Waterworks Cinemas, which will host one screening of “Jadoo” on Thursday, May 1st at 7:00 p.m.

To kick off the festival, Silk Screen will host a star-studded Gala of lively entertainment and ethnic cuisine on Friday, April 25th, 6:30 p.m. at the Rivers Club in Oxford Center. The Late Night Gala, new this year for the younger crowd, will begin at 9:30 p.m. with Pittsburgh’s hottest D.J, Pandemic Pete.

The Opening Film “Omar” is one of the 2014’s Academy Award Nominated Films for Best Foreign Film directed by Hany Abu-Assad. It is the first time Silk Screen presents a film from Palestine, a region of endless warfare hoping for peace. On Sunday May 4th, the Film Festival will end with “Morning Recipe”, a touching film delivering family love and motive for life. Documentaries, animation, and remake of a previous Best Picture winner are all on the slate for the 2014 Silk Screen Festival, offering those interested in experiencing international cinema an even greater opportunity than ever before.

The Opening Film ticket is $20 and the Closing Film is $15 and included an invitation to the closing reception at D’s Six Pax & Dogz. A 4-flim pass for $30 and an 8-film pass for $60 (not valid for Opening or Closing Night Films) are now available at: http://www.showclix.com/event/SilkScreenFilmFestival2014 . Single tickets are $10 each and $5 for students with valid I.D. Scheduled to be shown:

• “A Respectable Family” (Iran) – April 29, 7:00 p.m. & May 2, 7:00 p.m., both at Regent Square Theater : Directed by Massoud Bahkshi, a story about a man’s returning to Iran after twenty-two years in exile, the clash between past and present leaves him with a hazy choice between loyalty and morality.

 “A Time in Quchi” (Taiwan) – April 27, 1:00 p.m. at Melwood & April 30, 2:00 p.m. at Carnegie: a tale about a young boy from Taipei, who is sent to stay with his grandfather in rural Taiwan. In this touching family drama, he learns life lessons and experiences his coming of age.

• “Ankhon Dekhi” (India): 4/27, 1:30 p.m. & 5/3, 4:30 p.m. both at Regent Square Theater:  Fresh off last year’s opening film “Midnight’s Children,” Director Rajat Kapoor returns to Silk Screen Film Festival with this daring tale of the spiritual and ontological awakening of an ordinary man.

 “Apur Panchali” (India) – 4/29, 9:00 p.m. & Sun 5/4, 2:00 p.m. both at Regent Square: a real life story inspired by Subir Banerjee, the little child actor who played the iconic role of Apu in Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece Pather Panchali, which even today remains one of the 100 greatest films of all-time.

• “Beyond All Boundaries” (India) – Each screening is paired with the short film Kush, 4/27, 4:30 p.m. & 5/2, 7:00 p.m. both at Melwood : a documentary uses the 2011 Cricket World Cup as a backdrop to thoughtfully contrast the struggles of India with the hardships faced by individuals.

 “Bonta” (China/USA) – 4/27, 2:00 p.m. & 5/1, 6:00 p.m. both at Carnegie: an animated sci-fi adventure film pulls together all the best elements of fantasy storytelling in an adventure that is a joy to watch for audiences of all ages.

• “ Cheong”(South Korea): 4/26, 7:00 p.m. & 4/28, 9:00 p.m. both at Melwood , 5/1, 1:30 PM at Carnegie: Cheong tastefully explores the inner world of a little girl who tries to experience his blind father’s realities.

• “Confession of Murder” (South Korea) – : 4/30, 8 :00 p.m., 5/2, 9:30 p.m. both at Melwood: A handsome young man emerges from nowhere and publishes a revealing biography in which he admits to killing ten women in an infamous series of murders. A detective refuses to believe it and tries to reveal the truth.

• “Garden of Words” (Japan) – Each screening is paired with the short film Cheong. 4/26, 7:00 p.m. & 4/28, 9:00 p.m. both at Melwood : a study in visual poetry and an ode to human connection and discovery.

 “Hank and Asha” (USA) – 4/26, 4:30 p.m.& 5/3, 7:30 p.m. both at Melwood: directed by James E. Duff, a romantic story between Hank and Asha begins with sharing their video diaries despite thousands of miles distance.

• “Hide and Seek” (South Korea)  – 4/27, 7:00 p.m. & 5/1, 9:00 p.m. both at Melwood: The film spins the tale of Baek Sung-soo, whose stable life as a successful businessman gets upended when he begins having strange and inexplicable visions.

• “Jadoo” (UK/India) – 4/26,2:00 p.m. at Carnegie & 5/1, 7:00 p.m. at Waterworks : Oscar-nominated cinematographer Amit Gupta presents this lighthearted comedy about food, family and romance.

• “Kush” (India) – 4/27, 4:00 p.m. & 5/2, 6:30 p.m. both at Melwood: A school field trip rapidly goes awry in this short film based on the shocking death of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 and the large-scale ethnic violence tragedy that followed .

• “Liar’s Dice” (India) – 4/27, 4:00 p.m. & 4/30, 7:00 p.m. both at Regent Square” : depicts a story of a dedicated wife from a rural village facing the horrible realization that her husband is missing and no one will help her find him.

• “Mourning Recipe” Closing Film  (Japan) – 5/4, 5:00 p.m.: What starts out as a simple family melodrama develops into a meditation on family, connection, grief, and ultimately- healing.

 “Norte, The End of History” (Philippines) – 5/3, 2:00 p.m. at Melwood: When a brutal murder shatters a small Filipino town, the police wrongfully arrest impoverished family man Joaquin. What follows is a harrowing tale of suffering and brutality, as well as a philosophical consideration of crime and its far-reaching consequences.

“Omar” Opening Film (Palestine/Belgium) – 4/26, 7:00 p.m. at Regent Square : In Palestine’s first Oscar nominated film; all is fair in love and war. No film in recent memory unpacks this cynical, familiar sentiment with as much gusto and truth as Omar.

• “Red Obsession” (Australia) – 5/1, 6:30 p.m. & Sun 5/4, 2:00 p.m. both at Melwood: Narrated by Russell Crowe, this documentary is a fascinating study about the world of fine wine and a cautionary lesson in global markets.

• “Sake-Bomb” (USA/Japan) – 5/1, 9:30 p.m., 5/3, 9:30 p.m. both at Regent Square: Sake-Bomb uses the road movie tradition as a vehicle to examine the dynamic relationship between two very different individuals who find that they may share much more than is immediately apparent.

 “The Haumana” (USA) – 4/29, 6:00 p.m. at Melwood,  5/4, 3:00 p.m. at Carnegie: depicts not only a beautiful tropical paradise we typically associate with the Hawaiian Islands of our imagination but explores local values as embodied in the hula tradition.

• “Things Left Behind” (USA/Japan/Canada) – 5/2, 2:00 p.m. & 5/3, 2:00 p.m. both at Carnegie: This unique documentary is a collaboration between photographer Miyako Ishiuchi and filmmaker Linda Hoaglund stands as their mutual commitment to shattering the imagery of the Japanese as victims of a holocaust.

 “Touch of the Light” (Taiwan)  – 4/28, 7:00 p.m. at Melwood, 5/1, 1:30p.m. at Carnegie-The short film Cheong will be shown as part of this screening: based on a remarkable true story, born visually impaired, Siang is a talented real-life pianist who has been accepted by a prestigious art college is experiencing the journey towards dream

• “Trap Street” (China)  – 4/29, 8:30p.m. at Melwood, 5/3, 7:00 p.m. at Regent Square: What begins as a simple story of boy-meets-girl, Trap Street takes us into a rabbit hole. more sinister implications begin to arise as the boy becomes unwittingly tangled in the web of lies and deceit.

 “Unforgiven” (Japan)  – 4/26, 9:30p.m. & 4/28 7:30p.m. at Regent Square:  Jubei Kamata (Ken Watanabe) brings swords to a gunfight in this highly anticipated Japanese adaptation of Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Best Picture Winner Unforgiven.

• “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” (Japan) – 5/2, 9:30 p.m. at Regent Square, 5/3, 9:30 p.m. at Melwood : The ambitious, yet wildly untalented, amateur film-making crew discover they may be able to shoot a gang war between rival Yakuza factions that’s been brewing for a decade.

 “With You, Without You” (Sri Lanka) – 4/26, 4:30 p.m. , 4/30, 9:15 p.m. both at Regent Square : A chance encounter between a lonely pawnbroker and his beautiful but shy patron in post-war Sri Lanka quickly leads to romance, but as the two spend time together it becomes increasingly clear that issues from their varied pasts create a struggle to coexist in the present.

• “Zinda Bhaag” (Pakistan) – 5/1, 7:00 p.m. & 5/3, 2:00 p.m. at Regent Square: a drama of three friends Khaldi, Chitta and Tambi literally beg, borrow, and steal to get by in their everyday lives while they look westward for something more than mere existence.

‘Burgh Vivant presents an Evening with Judy Knaiz

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Pittsburgh, PA  – On Sunday, March 16th, ’Burgh Vivant will host a live, on-stage interview with actress and Pittsburgh native Judy Knaiz, who is perhaps best known for her role as Gussie Granger (aka Ernestina Simple) in the 1969 film musical Hello Dolly, directed by Gene Kelly, starring Barbara Streisand, Walter Matthau, Tommy Tune, and Michael Crawford.  ’Burgh Vivant host Brian Edward will discuss with Ms. Kaniz topics including her career in film, stage, and television, working with such notables as Kelly and Streisand, the making of Hello Dolly, and her perspectives on Pittsburgh.  Ms. Knaiz will also answer selected questions from fans.

The event is a homecoming of sorts for Knaiz, who began her career performing in musical comedies at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, now operated by Point Park University, whose George R. White Theatre will host the March 16th interview and Hello Dolly film screening.

This special edition of ’Burgh Vivant will begin at 4:00pm on Sunday, March 16th in the George R. White Theatre of Point Park University, 414 Wood St., Pittsburgh PA, followed immediately by a screening of Ms. Knaiz’s 1969 film Hello Dolly.  Light refreshments will be provided.  The event is free and open to the public.  Reservations are encouraged.  RSVP to its@burghvivant.org.  Interview questions for Ms. Knaiz may be submitted by Friday, March 14th via email to its@burghvivant.org.  This event is produced in cooperation with The John P. Harris Society of Point Park University.

’Burgh Vivant is an online talk magazine dedicated to examining Pittsburgh’s unique arts and culture community through candid interviews with local artists, performers, entrepreneurs, and newsmakers.  ’Burgh Vivant hosts a featured guest weekly, supplemented with reviews and features in the categories of Art, Culture, Dance, Film, Food, Music, Style, and Theatre.  Viewers may subscribe for free at www.burghvivant.org and follow on Twitter and Facebook.