are shaping up just ducky in Pittsburgh -- and we mean that literally. A 40-foot-tall rubber duck is set to appear on Pittsburgh's rivers on Sept. 27, starting its journey at the West End Bridge that evening toward the Point and under the Fort Duquesne Bridge. Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's "The Rubber Duck" -- 35 feet long and 30 feet wide -- will be the opening curiosity of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's third Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. Partygoers will be at the Roberto Clemente Bridge, shut down for the occasion, to celebrate the beginning of the festival. A giant rubber duck in the water will certainly be a first for the city, a spectacle so unusual that the festival can hardly lay an egg.
THE LION MAY sleep tonight in some part of the world, but at Dollar Bank on Fourth Avenue, Downtown, a pair of brownstone lions kept vigil outside for 138 years. Unfortunately, the elements took their toll on the statues, which were carved by a German immigrant stone mason in 1871. They were removed in 2009 for restoration before being returned last year and they now sit in the interior of the bank. But what about the space in front of the grand building where the lions once ruled? Hush, my darling, because last week another pair of brownstone lions -- carved by Nicholas Fairplay of Oberlin, Ohio -- took up station atop pedestals. They are the pride of Dollar Bank, but also the city of Pittsburgh.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT was a lion of an architect but his personal life was an opera of passion and emotion beyond any "Lion King." Along the way to designing such masterpieces as Fallingwater in Western Pennsylvania, he lived a saga of adultery, murder and fire at his retreat in Taliesin, Wisc. Indeed, all of this drama was captured in an opera called "Shining Brow" -- the translation of the Welsh word Taliesin. Composed by Daron Hagen with a libretto by poet Paul Muldoon, the opera was first performed in 1993. On Friday evening and again yesterday, the opera was to be performed in the glorious setting of Fallingwater by the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh as part of its Summerfest, the first time any opera has been performed there. If the weather cooperates, it is hard to imagine an event more memorable, short of a giant rubber duck floating down Bear Run, the stream that Fallingwater straddles.