TV Talk: Tamburitzans show debuts on WQED; Pittsburgher competes on Netflix's 'Drink Masters' – TribLIVE

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A year after he spearheaded the WQED-TV special “Tamburitzans: Prism,” producer/editor Frank Caloiero delivers another special featuring the music and dance group with “Tamburitzans: Symbols” (7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, WQED-TV).
Caloiero, a former “Tammie” dancer/singer and Tambura player (1988-92), said this new special taped at the Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University on June 1, a few days before a public show on June 4 (Caloiero did some additional filming and grabbed audience reactions from the public show for the “Symbols” soundtrack).
At 88 minutes, it’s longer than last year’s hour-long program, as “Symbols” celebrates the ancestral music and dance of Croatian, Georgian, Nordic, Serbian, Polish, Italian Bulgarian and Macedonia cultural traditions.

“The first one was really well-received and it was made pretty efficiently with a tight crew. So we decided, let’s do it again,” said Caloiero, describing the production as a partnership between the Tammies and WQED. “The Tamburitzans are providing the sound mix, the venue and some of the camera equipment and WQED provided the camera operators, editing and distribution.”
The Tamburitzans have become a family affair for Caloiero, who met his wife, Amy, while performing with the troupe. His twin children, Sam and Sofia, are now part of the Tammies and in their junior year of college at Chatham.
Caloiero said the Tamburitzans draw from colleges all over the Pittsburgh region and the WQED special airs in advance of a local public performance, 6 p.m. Nov. 5 at Ross Elementary School, 90 Houston Road in Ross Township.
In addition to showcasing performances, “Tamburitzans: Symbols” features “behind the curtain” segments Caloiero filmed in August as the Tammies prepared for the 2022-23 academic year’s show.
“You really get an inside glimpse as to what it’s like to put a two-hour show together and what it’s like to take that show on the road,” Caloiero said. That includes following the Tammies at summer training camp, where they learn new routines, songs and dance moves and then onto Red Wing, Minn., where they performed the new show and made tweaks to it.
In addition to airing on WQED, “Tamburitzans: Symbols” will be made available for airing on other Pennsylvania PBS stations.
“The hope is really to take the previous show and this year’s show and make a pitch to national PBS to put some resources in it for a [new] national show,” Caloiero said. “My goal is to get a little more funding to make it a little more of an elaborate production.”
Pittsburgher on ‘Drink Masters’
Netflix’s latest competition series, “Drink Masters,” features Michael R. Anderson of Avalon as one of 12 competing bartenders and mixologists tasked with creating cocktails that are judged on appearance, taste and creativity while vying for a $100,000 grand prize.

Premiering Oct. 28, the series is from the same production company as Netflix’s “Blown Away,” which featured a Pittsburgh competitor earlier this year.
Anderson, who just last week helped open Rib Room inside Downtown Pittsburgh’s Meat & Potatoes restaurant, has lived in Pittsburgh since 2015, working at several restaurants in the Richard Deshantz Restaurant Group, including Butcher and the Rye, Pork & Beans, Poulet Bleu, Fish Nor Fowl and Sally Ann’s.
Anderson, who came in second place in Heaven Hill Brand’s Bartender of the Year contest in 2017, said he applied to be on “Drink Masters” after being tipped off to its existence by someone with a connection to the show. It was filmed in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in late 2021.
In a “Drink Masters” episode, Anderson says the $100,000 would open a lot of doors for him. But he’s not ready to launch his own restaurant just yet.
“I love the business … but right now I feel like the opportunity to continue to learn, to experience, to continue to evolve and to grow as a person — especially after what we’ve been through as a society for the last three or four years — I still have a lot of leg stretching that I’d like to do,” Anderson said by phone Tuesday.
“Drink Masters,” hosted by Tone Bell, shows how bartending has changed in recent decades with a greater emphasis on original creations that require not just bar equipment, but sometimes a kitchen, too.
“The people who are best-suited for careers behind the bar at a really high level, they have an appreciation and sometimes hands-on experience with working in and around kitchens,” Anderson said. “I typically find that I create very strong relationships with chefs just because we find some common ground in how we approach our business and how we approach our careers.”
FRP moves into new home
Fred Rogers Productions recently relocated from its previous South Side home to SouthSide works with new office space that includes a couch that pays homage to the one seen on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and a board room that reimagines elements of King Friday’s castle.
FRP will participate in SouthSide Works’ fall celebration Saturday in the town square, screening Halloween episodes of FRP’s “Donkey Hodie” and “Alma’s Way,” 5:30-6:30 p.m., following the fall-themed celebration that takes place from 1-4 p.m.
Channel surfing
Trevor Noah’s final night hosting Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” will be Dec 8. … Stephen Colbert will host CBS’s “Pickled” (9 p.m. Nov. 17, KDKA-TV), a two-hour sports comedy special featuring 16 celebrities (Murray Bartlett, Dierks Bentley, Will Ferrell, Max Greenfield, Luis Guzman, Phil Keoghan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tig Notaro, Emma Watson) competing in a pickleball tournament. … “The Hardy Boys” will end with its third season streaming in 2023 on Hulu.
You can reach TV writer Rob Owen at [email protected] or 412-380-8559. Follow Rob on Twitter or Facebook. Ask TV questions by email or phone. Please include your first name and location.
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