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Short List: July 22 - 30

Randy Newman at the PSO; Edward Hopper paintings at the Carnegie; 2015's final Open Streets; and Who Is Gil Scott-Heron? at the Hollywood

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SPOTLIGHT: Thu., July 30 — Music

Randy Newman's career has ranged (at the least) from the scorchingly ironic "Rednecks" (from his 1974 album Good Old Boys) to the jauntily reassuring "You've Got a Friend in Me," off the Toy Story soundtrack. But that's Newman: Both risk-taker and master craftsman, he's a singer, songwriter and showman whose satiric wit means he often gives listeners more than they think they're getting, or want to get. His "Sail Away," for instance, is a gorgeous tune sung in the persona of a slave trader touting America to Africans. Since the 1960s, Newman's been a songwriter's songwriter. But at 71, the owner of six Grammies and two Oscars is still recording and touring. On July 30, he plays Pittsburgh for the first time since (believe it or not) 1977, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Thursday Night Icons series. Newman's distinctive sly vocals will front the PSO as directed by Fawzi Haimor; for part of the evening, Newman himself will conduct the orchestra. For most of his career, Newman's been a cult favorite, save a period of mainstream popularity that followed his 1977 hit "Short People." At Heinz Hall, you might hear that jokey tune, or almost anything else in Newman's singular repertoire. Bill O'Driscoll 7:30 p.m. Thu., July 30. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $39-139. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

Thu., July 23 — Words

Local literary journalists get a moment to spotlight their own work at Meet the Press, tonight's reading at East End Book Exchange. Rege Behe is a veteran freelancer known mostly for his arts-and-entertainment writing at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; he's working on his first novel. Kristofer Collins, the books editor at Pittsburgh Magazine, is an indie publisher (Low Ghost Press, Coleridge Street Books) and published poet. And Fred Shaw, a writing and literature instructor who reviews books for CP, is a poet who recently published the chapbook Argot. BO 7 p.m. 4754 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-224-2847 or www.eastendbookexchange.com

Fri., July 24 — Convention

From Big Bird to Bigfoot, this weekend's Horror Realm & Pop Expo has you covered. The locally produced, three-day festival of films, celebrity appearances and parties at the Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh West Green Tree includes today's appearance by Caroll Spinney (Sesame Street's Big Bird). Saturday includes: an appearance by Ryan Hurst (Opie on Sons of Anarchy); a screening of locally produced comedy Bigfoot The Movie, with Curt Wootton ("Pittsburgh Dad"); a horror-tattoo contest; and that evening's Zombie Luau dance party and The Underground after-party. Sunday's highlights include the Horror Realm Masquerade costume contest. BO 5-10 p.m. Also 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat., July 25, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., July 26. 401 Holiday Drive, Green Tree. $10-40 (VIP: $100); some autograph and photo sessions ticketed separately. www.horrorrealmcon.com

Fri., July 24 — Festival

We can't claim firsthand experience of this weekend's Kecksburg VFD UFO Festival — or, for that matter, of UFOs. But if you've any interest in such mysterious phenomenon, it's surely the place to be. This year marks the 50th anniversary of a famed UFO crash-landing outside this Westmoreland County town. The annual festival includes everything from tonight's KVFD UFO Store to Saturday's parade (with UFO costumes and floats!) and Sunday's UFO Conference, featuring a reunion of eyewitnesses. Also look for displays by local UFO, Bigfoot and paranormal investigators. And the Hay Bale Toss. And fireworks, live music and the signature Bed Race. You get the picture. BO 6-11 p.m. Also Noon-11 p.m. Sat., July 25, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., July 26. Claypike and Route 982, Kecksburg, Pa. Free. 724-423-9540 or www.kecksburgvfd.com

Fri., July 24 — Comedy

Some magicians, like Lee Terbosic, are also comedians. But magicians and comics don't team up all that often on stage. Tonight, though, the nationally touring Terbosic, known for his card tricks, is joined by comedian Jim Krenn at the Oaks Theater. The two Pittsburgh natives (Krenn recently returned to a regular morning-drive radio gig) join forces for Jim Krenn & Lee Terbosic: Comedy & Magic, an evening of laughs, sleight-of-hand and more. BO 8 p.m. 310 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont. $15-20 (with cash bar). 412-828-6322 or www.theoakstheater.com

Sat., July 25 — Festival

Few words strike greater fear in many children's hearts than "healthy." Well, today at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, there's a wide range of activities to ensure that your family has a good time being healthy. Healthy Family Day, sponsored by UPMC Health Plan, features a Family Dance Party with a live DJ, scavenger hunts, and fruit and vegetable sculpture making, as well as pediatric health professionals on hand to answer questions about children's health. JP 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 10 Children's Way, North Side. Free with museum admission ($13-14). 412-322-5058 or www.pittsburghkids.org

ART BY EDWARD HOPPER
  • Art by Edward Hopper

Sat., July 25 — Art

Few popular painters have captured the quiet beauty of American life like Edward Hopper; his diner scene "Nighthawks" is a cultural touchstone. To honor this icon, the Carnegie Museum of Art is displaying its entire collection of Hopper paintings for three months in its Gallery One. CMOA Collects Edward Hopper includes works such as "Sailing," the first painting Hopper sold, "Roofs, Washington Square" (pictured) and 15 more, as well as a number of prints by Hopper's influences, including Rembrandt and Charles Meryon. JP 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through Oct. 26. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $12-20. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org

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Sat., July 25 — Food

Pittsburgh's steel mills were powered by the waves of immigrants washing onto America's shores in the 19th and early-20th centuries, and many brought with them a rich food culture. The Pittsburgh Rust Belt Culinary Tour, produced by Pittsburgh Tours and More, takes visitors' taste buds on a journey through the region's glory days, as well as to new businesses taking root in old buildings and revitalizing neighborhoods. Stops include South Side's Pretzel Shop and Brew Gentlemen Beer Co., in Braddock. JP 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tours continue through Dec. 5. 25 W. Station Square Drive, South Side. $85 (21 and over). 412-323-4709 or www.pghtoursandmore.net

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Sat., July 25 — Exhibit

The Fort Pitt Museum continues its summer-long Living History series today with a live 18th-century blacksmithing demonstration by Jymm Hoffman, whose Hoffman's Forge, in Ambridge, specializes in reproductions. Visitors to Point State Park can watch Hoffman create a number of household and architectural items, as well as view a display of pre-made items commonly forged by blacksmiths of the time. Living History programs are included with museum admission. JP 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 601 Commonwealth Place, Downtown. $3.50-7. 412-281-9284 or www.heinzhistorycenter.org/fort-pitt

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Sun., July 26 — Festival

Open Streets Pittsburgh has proved both popular and somewhat controversial. In this, its second year, its first two Sundays of closed-to-cars streets have attracted 25,000 to Downtown, the Strip District and Lawrenceville, while drawing complaints from some merchants and motorists. In any case, today's the final Open Streets of 2015, with 3.5 miles of Penn Avenue and Butler Street closed starting at Market Square for biking, walking, shopping and whatever. Four activity hubs along the route offer organized group fun, from yoga classes to dance lessons, rain or shine. And car people, fear not: You can internally combust across the route at a dozen intersections. BO 8 a.m.-noon. Free. www.openstreetspgh.org

Sun., July 26 — Screen

Iconic poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron died in 2011, leaving behind an influential body of recordings, the best known of which remains "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Scott-Heron himself was something of an enigma — one that acclaimed filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (20,000 Days on Earth) explore in the documentary Who Is Gil Scott-Heron? The film, drawing on interviews from friends, family and musical collaborators, was originally packaged with Scott-Heron's posthumously released album, Nothing New. It's now making the theatrical rounds in select cities. Tickets to tonight's screening, at the Hollywood Theater, include a free download of Nothing New. BO 7 p.m. 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. $5-8. 412-563-0368 or www.thehollywooddormont.org

ART BY RACHEL ARNOLD SAGER
  • Art by Rachel Arnold Sager

Thu., July 30 — Art

Earlier this year (inspired by writer and designer Elle Luna's 100-Day Project), Rachel Arnold Sager committed to making a unique artwork every day for 100 days running. She did, and you can see 'em all tonight as Wildcard hosts 100 Days. Sager, a Pittsburgh transplant, does mostly drawings, often with a dreamlike feel. Her work was previously seen at Wildcard in 2012's Monster Haiku show. The reception for the Lawrenceville boutique's first gallery exhibition in more than a year is tonight. BO 6-9 p.m. 4209 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. 412-224-2651 or www.wildcarpgh.com

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