Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to Host Downtown New Year's Eve Celebration, 12/31

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to Host Downtown New Year's Eve Celebration, 12/31

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced the vibrant programming planned for this year's New Year's Eve celebration, scheduled to take place in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh's Cultural District on Tuesday, December 31, 2013. Perennial Pittsburgh favorites, in addition to a few new and exciting events, are intended to highlight the history of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh and commemorate 20 years of the family-friendly community celebration.

"We are proud to support Highmark First Night Pittsburgh as a family-friendly, community event," said Dan Onorato, executive vice president, Highmark. "Our support is focused on ensuring that the event is accessible to the entire community and offers a great experience to the young and young at heart of our region."

Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2014 is produced by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust with generous support from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, the event's longtime supporter and returning presenting sponsor. Highmark First Night Pittsburgh provides the city with a chance to ring in the new year while celebrating the arts: dance, music, theater, comedy, magic, visual art and film, plus hands-on activities for children and adults.

"Through this year's exciting programming, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is able to illuminate how relevant the event was, and continues to be, to the cultural fabric of our city," says Darcy Kucenic, Director of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. "The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is grateful to the vision of former Mayor Tom Murphy and to Jamee Todd, the founders of First Night Pittsburgh. The Trust is also grateful to Highmark for its third consecutive year as the presenting sponsor of the region's largest New Year's event."

Soul/R&B and Funk sensation Charles Bradley AND HIS EXTRAORDINAIRES will headline the 20th anniversary celebration, performing on the Highmark Stage in downtown Pittsburgh's Cultural District. Bradley transcended a bleak life on the streets and struggled through a series of ill-fitting jobs - most famously as a JAmes Brown impersonator at Brooklyn clubs - before finally being discovered by Daptone's Gabe Roth. "Sometimes performances are that special, where words can't re-create them...a classic showman...he sells every syllable, dropping to his knees, outstretching his arms, shaking his hips. And that voice [is] both pleading and plaintive, anguished and extraordinary." - Los Angeles Times, SXSW review. This can't-miss performance will be accompanied by the Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale: the countdown to midnight, raising of the 1,000 lbs. ball 150 feet in the air above Penn Avenue Place, and a spectacular Zambelli fireworks finale!

New attractions include a special one-time ICE LABYRINTH. Visitors can experience a fully immersive 5 ft. high and 40 ft. x 40 ft. walk-through maze of giant ice blocks, specially designed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh with LED lighting, carved and designed by Ice Creations' Rich Bubin. The ice labyrinth will be located next to Fire & Ice Plaza at the 8th Street parking lot, which will again feature Ice Creations and Steel Town Fire. Playwright FJ Hartland and his award-winning play Funeral in the Rain will be presented as well as a new visual art exhibition by Edinboro University curated by Bruce Gallery. The exhibit will act as a conduit of art between Pittsburgh, Erie, and Edinboro. By working with the community, TRANSPOSE will install a short-term Pop-up gallery installation at 820 Liberty Avenue. iQ Kids Radio, a commercial-free, family-friendly educational radio station developed by WQED Multimedia and SLB Radio Productions, Inc., will host a dance party in EQT Plaza to celebrate one year of the web radio station! Attendees can enjoy a DJ dance party and a make-and-take craft.

It Was the Coldest Winter Ever, a special variety show by Miniature Curiosa will create a miniature city from medicine cabinets, desk lamps, Victorian dollhouses, and repurposed junk. Inside, amongst the tiny copper-wire trees and within the cramped bedrooms of the pocket-sized residents, puppeteer Zach Dorn reveals the miniature city's hidden stories. Equipped with video technology, Dorn sends digital cameras through the cardboard streets, projecting puppet performances for children and adults alike. Also new this year, Bricolage Production Company will present First Look First Night: an immersive urban adventure where audiences will be invited to embark on a personal 30-40 minute journey interacting with the world of art. Part game and part performance, First Look: First Night is an experience unlike any found on a stage, taking its audience on an actual journey through various city locations.

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