Writing on the Floor








May 2014
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Last night, CBS's Undercover Boss featured Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and we have to say... he looked pretty good. It was great to see Bill, now ten months into his administration, working to acheive the vision he talked about as a candidate. 

We are re-broadcasting our 2013 converstaion with then-councilman and candidate Peduto (though he was the presumed next mayor) about his dreams for Pittsburgh, and what it would take to get there. Regardless of your political affiliation, it is clear that there is a common goal here harkening back to the era of David L. Lawrence and R. K. Mellon. It's a promising time in this city. 


Direct download: Episode_33_R_-_Pittsburghs_Undercover_Boss_-_Mayor_Bill_Peduto.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33am EDT

This week our guest is Missy Moreno! Missy is an improviser, actress, comedian, writer and producer, putting on some of the funniest cabaret style shows at Arcade Comedy Theater. She spent years at Second City, went through their musical improv conservatory and came back home to Pittsburgh... almost unintentionally... and has now began to make her mark here once again. 

Direct download: Episode_59_-_Missy_Moreno_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53pm EDT

On your program today it's Fred Betzner. Fred is a comedy writer and actor who has done many many things here in town, most recently creating the wildly popular "Knights of the Arcade" series. This is the show that features hilarious, improvised Dungeons and Dragons quests, all performed in front a live audience at Arcade Comedy Theater. It's been going on for over a year, started to get some national attention is now available in podcast form. Fred sits down to talk about that, and a whole lot more

Direct download: Episode_58_-_Fred_Betzner_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10pm EDT

This week our guest is Kevin McMahon, President of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. If you are unfamiliar, that is the organization that started 30 years ago, with the mission of transforming the seedy Penn and Liberty corridor of Downtown Pittsburgh into a thriving cultural center. Today the Culture District is home to theaters, art galleries, jazz clubs, a museum or two, performance spaces, restaurants, and tons of great cultural amenities. 

Direct download: Episode_57_-_Kevin_McMahon_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:58pm EDT

This week's guests are Myq Kaplan (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents, etc) the quick witted, word-playing standup comedian along with actor/comedian Micah Sherman who has been a million things, and Zach Sherwin who you may know from Epic Rap Battles of History or appearing on late night TV or his own youtube channel with his extremely funny and smart rapping. 

Myq, Zach and Micah are on tour this month, and stopped by the Arcade Comedy Theater for a show on Wednesday August 6th. 


Heads Up: Some NSFW language in this one!

Direct download: My_Kaplan_Zach_Sherwin_Micah_Sherman_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:22pm EDT

This week we are rebroadcasting our conversation from January with Josh Raulerson, local host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s FM News Station.

Many people know Josh (or his voice, at least) from their morning commute, and while most probably realize he is intellectual and witty, it’s likely that few realize how highly educated Josh is, or how long he has been working radio. Josh has his Phd. in English and started broadcasting all the way back in his high school days in Iowa.

Josh sits down to talk education, media, Pittsburgh, and the future of public broadcasting.

Direct download: Episode_40_R_-_Josh_Raulerson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This week we are rebroadcasting our conversation with Sean Collier from December of 2013.

Sean Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine, a correspondent for WDVE's morning show and the host of the podcast "You Can't Handle The Truth: Honest Reviews of New Movies" in which he and a guest record their immediate reactions to brand new movies after seeing a screener. It's also a show we just happen to produce from the Writing on the Floor studios (and Zach is an occasional guest - most recently in July of 2014, reviewing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).  Sean is also a stand-up comic, and we talk about writing, Pittsburgh, comedy and a whole lot more.

Direct download: Sean_Collier_Episode_File_2_R_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

This week are re-posting our episode from December of 2012 with Mandy McFadden and Laura Zorch, two of the four authors of EatPGH. A lot of great stuff has happened with thier work since, but this was a fun conversation. 

They sat down in the studio to talk about their continued success with their book, their tour, the blog that started it all, and to talk about the upcoming presentation at South by Southwest. That’s right, the four brilliant young women from EatPGH are presenting at The SXSW digital conference. Amazing.

This is a fun episode with two really funny, awesome Pittsburghers who are following what they love and getting some much-deserved attention. They should serve as an example to anyone who has a passion for something to pursue it however possible. Check them out at EatPGH.com



Direct download: EPISODE_20_R_-_EatPGH_Part_II.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

This week we are "rebroadcasting" our 2013 interview with Kahmeela Adams and Nina Gibbs, the duo behind the Pittsburgh chapter of The 48 Hour Film Project. The project is coming up in just a few weeks, so we figured it would be a good time to revisit our converstaion about it! Kahmeela and Nina have been running it for the last 6 years, and they stop by to talk about that, their work with the storied Hollywood theater in Dormont, how they got inovlved in filmmaking, and how you can get involved yourselves!



Direct download: 48_hour_film.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:47pm EDT

Rick Sebak, the man about town, hero to many, inspiration to more is on our show IN THE STUDIO this week to talk about his Pittsburgh History Series, the new special "A History of Pittsburgh in 17 Objects", living in Pittsburgh, and so much more! 

Cards on the table, Rick is a hero of Zach's, always has been, and it was WAY cool to have him in our studio, to answer questions from Zach's own nerdy curiosity muscle (a term I uses for his brain now and then... )

Direct download: Rick_Sebak_2__mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50am EDT

Our guest today is Laura Mustio. Laura is an artist and author who quit her job, set up a kick-starter, and raised money so that she could spend a year traveling to four countries, making art inspired by those locations. She is out now with a new book about this experience in India, Italy, Ireland and Iceland, and the exhibit of this work open this weekend at The Union Hall above Bar Marco in the Strip District. Laura stopped by last week to talk about this project, and what it's like to spend all of her time making art again. 

Direct download: Episode_54_-_Laura_Mustio_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32pm EDT

On your program today is Tracy Certo, the founder and editor of "Next Pittsburgh" the new online multimedia magazine that is "taking Pittsburgh to the next level" by covering the innovative people, ideas, projects and events making Pittsburgh a better place. 

Tracy became well-known in town for her work as editor of Pop City Pittsburgh starting when it was founded back in 2006. Her devotion to the city and love of urban environments (especially Pittsburgh) lead her to create a brand new media outlet called Next Pittsburgh. She sat down to talk with me in late May about that project and why she chooses to do what she does. 

Direct download: Episode_53_-_Tracy_Certo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:50pm EDT

Our guest this week is Dr. Matt Lamanna, Paleontologist and Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at The Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Matt is a rock star in the world of paleontology, directs the third-largest collection of actual dinosaur fossils, and recently published a groundbreaking paper about a newly identified dinosaur called "Anzu". This creature he and his colleagues discovered has been called "The Chicken From Hell" and while it wasn't actually a chicken, it was very closely related to today's birds. 

Matt sat down to talk dinosaurs, digging, Michael Crichton, Anzu, and a whole lot more!

Direct download: Episode_52_-_Matt_Lamanna_-_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:29pm EDT

In this first-ever bonus episode, Liz Labacz and Zach talk love and frustration... and more love of Aaron Sorkin and all his writing, and series, and movies. The West Wing was a big deal for these two. 

Direct download: Liz_Labacz_Aaron_Sorkin_Bonus_Episode_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:06pm EDT

It's Liz Labacz! Liz is an actress, Improviser, writer and comedia, as well as one third of the hilarious female-driven sketch group "Frankly Scarlett". Liz is one of this class of funny and driven people in town who have been working diligently and patiently at the craft of comedy for several years now, and I feel like the culture in the city is finally catching to them. Liz has been involved in comedy since the early 2000s, and it feels like it's only been in the last few years that the we've seen an explosion in the scene that is starting to offer venues for people of her incredible level of talent. Liz stops by to talk comedy, writing, Aaron Sorkin, and SO much more. 

Direct download: Episode_50_-_Liz_Labacz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:01pm EDT

This week our guest is Shannon Norman. Shannon is a a comedian and tv personality who is a member of the "race to the coffin" comedy tour. That tour was put together by him and a few other guys in town who all have edgier and less-than-healthy persona's on stage at least, if not also in real-life. Shannon has become one of the few tried and true comedians to come out of the Pittsburgh scene, and numbers among those who don't just call Pittsburgh home, but live here still. Shannon sits down to talk comedy, ventriloquists, bunking with furries on the road, and more

Direct download: Shannon_norman_mono_episode_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:12pm EDT

Our guest this week is Brain Edward, drivin gforce behind Burgh Vivant, which describe as "an interview program with a mission to promote and encourage the unique culture of the city of Pittsburgh through candid interviews with Pittsburgh’s artists, cultural leaders, entrepreneurs, and newsmakers."

Brian is a cultural administrator, arts educator, performing and literary artist, director and playwright, an avid scholar of art and film, and a proud Pittsburgh native.  He stops by to talk about Pittsburgh, 'Burgh Vivant, his play "Amish Burlesque", and to nerd out over old movies and Batmad the Animated Series. 

Direct download: Brian_Edward_Episode_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

Jesse Landis-Eigsti (of Jesse LE, as he is sometimes known) is a musician, composer, comedian and improviser based here in Pittsburgh. 

Jesse writes and performs amazingly funny and musically intruiging songs, that are simultaneously funny, witty, and catchy. He also is the acompanist for Arcade Comedy Theater's house musical improv team, and is a member of the questing party on Knights of the Arcade, where he plays the bard... bardly (with a magical floating keyboard that follows him everywhere). 

Jesse sits down to talk about that, writing a mini-opera about the Mario Brothers, and a whole lot more!

Direct download: Episode_47_-_Jesse_Landis-Eigsti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14pm EDT

This week we are rebroadcasting our conversation from May 2013 with Greg Gillotti:

"Great is an experienced improvisor and comedian who is very deeply plugged into the scene in town. He is on several improv teams, produces and features in "The Death Show" (in which the players improvise a wake for a member of the audience), he teaches classes and has played at the Steel City Improv, The Cabaret at Theater Square, the brand new Arcade Comedy Theater downtown, jams, libraries, outside of diners... Kind of all over the place!

Greg is also a incredibly bright and insightful guy, who loves to analyze comedy. We have a great discussion about how he got started in all this, and then his thoughts on comedy. He is all about the more the merrier and fostering comedy and art. We also get into the nuances and differences in the stand up and improv worlds, as they continue to merge and cross-over.

It is an exciting time for comedy, and Greg talks shop like few others can!

**warning - NSFW langauge here and there!**"

Direct download: Greg_Gillotti_Recast_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:58pm EDT

(R) This week we are rebroadcasting our discussion with Charlie Humphrey. In October of 2012, Charlie sat down at our old recording space downtown to talk about his work as Executive Director of Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, The Three Rivers Film Festival, changes in media in Pittsburgh and Public Broadcasting.

Charlie is a good friend of the show, a true thought-leader, and this is among our favorite interviews in the history of this program. Enjoy!

Direct download: Episode_18_-_Charlie_Humphrey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am EDT

This week our guest is Kacey Wherley, founder and director of TEDxGrandviewAve. TEDx is a locally organized TED event, and Kacey decided that Pittsburgh should have an official branch... thus was born TEDxGrandviewAve. 

Kacey is a great representative of the millenials in town who are truly doing great things to give back to the city that they love, and Kacey isn't even from here originally! She fell in the love Pittsburgh in college, and deiceded to stay. She sits down to talk about all that and more!

Direct download: Episode_46_-_Kacey_Wherley_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09pm EDT

This week our guest is Deb Acklin! Deb is the President and CEO and WQED Multimedia. She began her career in media at a very young age, and has been a major part of the media landscape in Pittsburgh for years. She has amazing insights on public broadcasting, millenials returning to Pittsburgh, creative people supporting each other, Rick Sebak, Mr. Rogers and a whole lot more. 

Direct download: Deb_Acklin_Episode_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:45pm EDT

For Valentines Day we are rebroadcasting our episode with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto... becasue we at Writing on the Floor love this city, and so does he. Bill sat down with Zach back in June, when he had won the Primary and was the democratic candidate for the November General Election. He talked about his plans and hopes for the city - ambitious but very strategic, and clearly passionate. 

Enjoy, and Happy Valentine Day.


(original description below)

This week we have a very special guest – City Coucilman and Democratic Candidate for the Office of Mayor of Pittsburgh, BILL PEDUTO is on the show. Bill has decades of work in city politics and policy, and he shares with us that his end-goal is being mayor of this great city. He talks about his agenda, his policies, how he got into the politics game and his vision for the future of this great city. He is likely to be elected mayor this fall, having just won the democratic primary, and his plans for this city are very exciting.

We want to thank Bill for taking time out of his incredibly busy schedule to sit and speak with us, and to thank his incredibly hard-working staff for coordinating with us.

Direct download: EPISODE_33_-_Bill_Peduto_City_Councilman_and_Mayoral_Candidate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26pm EDT

Alright on your program today it's Ali Spagnola. Ali is a performer and artist who describes herself as a drinking composer with a music problem. She produced the album "Ali's Power Hour Drinking Game" which is a series of 60 onee-minute songs to drink along to. She has taken that album and performs it live, all across the US, which has lead to some ctazy stories including a Trademark Troll coming after her, and getting banned from Michigan on one occasion. That's right, she was basically told she wasn't allowed to do anything at all in the state. We talk about all that and more! 

Direct download: Episode_44_-_Ali_Spagnola.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:24pm EDT

This week our guest is John Feightner. You would be hard pressed to find a funnier, and more prolific improviser, writer or actor in this city... or in any city for that matter. John is a long-time player in improv, runs the perennial "Friday Night Improvs" in the Cathedral of learning, and is a member of the sketch group "Hustlebot" which took their pilot for Comedy Central "Stoners with a Time Machine" and is turning it into a serious web series. 

Direct download: Feightern_episode_mono_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:29pm EDT

Our guest this week is Brad Stephenson from ActClasy.com and The Act Classy Lunchbreak, a fantastic podcast wherein he and Joe Lyons eat lunch and riff, often with a notable guest. Brad is an actor, writer, standup comedian and very smart guy who is a breeze to talk to, and might be the most naturally funny guest we've had on the show to date.

Direct download: Episode_42_-_Brad_Stephenson_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:24am EDT

This week our guest is Matt Light. Matt is a local comedian who has been doing stand up for about 5 years. He recently started to go out on the road, touring with some guys like Aaron Kleiber and John Winters, after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He changed a lot of his material to be about that, and adapted his rougher style to be more honest and approachable, and it seems to have worked for him. Matt talks about getting past his cancer (he is done with Chemo!) comedy styles, The Pirates (hey hey!) and a whole lot more.

Direct download: Episode_41_-_Matt_Light.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week our guest is Josh Raulerson, local host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s FM News Station.

Many people know Josh (or his voice, at least) from their morning commute, and while most probably realize he is intellectual and witty, it’s likely that few realize how highly educated Josh is, or how long he has been working radio. Josh has his Phd. in English and started broadcasting all the way back in his high school days in Iowa.

Josh sits down to talk education, media, Pittsburgh, and the future of public broadcasting.

Direct download: Episode_40_-_Josh_Raulerson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EDT