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Short List: April 5 - 12

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PHOTO COURTESY OF KEITH MCCRAY
  • Photo courtesy of Keith McCray

Penn Avenue's arts corridor gets pretty busy during its monthly gallery crawls. But Christine Bethea was particlarly gratified by a comment about the bustle on Penn during last year's Geek Arts/Green Innovation Festival. "Somebody said it looked like Times Square out there," says Bethea, the artist and Artica boutique owner who directs the annual eco-themed, multi-venue celebration of science and creativity. Piggybacking on the Unblurred crawl, GA/GI drew 3,000 visitors, Bethea says. Adding to 2011's hula-hoopla (pictured), the 2012 iteration, on Fri., April 6, promises to be the biggest yet. For instance, 25 or more local comics artists and vendors will table the very first Toonseum Mini Con (actually running April 5 and 6). Plus, GA/GI's annual eco-fashion show gets a makeover: No longer just a runway affair, Fashionation: March of the Fashionistas, at Pittsburgh Glass Center, will feature seven local designers selling their eco-friendlier wares, and send models outdoors to work the Penn sidewalk. Along seven blocks of Penn, also look for a biofuel-technology display; tattoo-themed artwork; science-themed art; vintage anti-pollution films from the Group Against Smog & Pollution; and a GA/GI fixture: Pitt's 80-foot mobile science lab. Bill O'Driscoll Toonseum Mini Con: 6 p.m. Thu., April 5, and 6 p.m. Fri., April 6. (113 N. Pacific Ave., Garfield). GA/GI and Unblurred: 6 p.m. Fri., April 6. 4800-5400 Penn Ave., Bloomfield/Garfield/Friendship. Free. www.gagifest12.blogspot.com

Erika Cuenca and Noah Plomgren in Tigers Be Still - PHOTO COURTESY OF  KRISTIN MARTZ
  • Photo courtesy of Kristin Martz
  • Erika Cuenca and Noah Plomgren in Tigers Be Still

Kim Rosenstock's play Tigers Be Still blends comedy and drama in the story of Sherry, a neurotic would-be art therapist suffering a quarter-life crisis, suddenly faced with an uncertain future and a seemingly endless void of loneliness ahead. A new City Theatre production is directed by Matt M. Morrow, who fell in love with Rosenstock's writing after his own recent challenges helped him relate. Sherry is about to start over with a new job, while everyone around her remains decidedly depressed. Her mother has not left her room since her husband walked away, and Sherry's sister Grace wallows in self-pity. Meanwhile, a tiger has escaped the zoo, and people are told to stay indoors. The play meditates on how our attitude ultimately defines our experience of life. Erika Cuenca plays Sherry; the cast also features Theo Allyn, Jeff Howell and Noah Plomgren. Opening night is Fri., April 6. Mariluz Orbay 8 p.m. Fri., April 6. Show continues through May 6. City Theatre, 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $30-60. 412-431-2489 or www.citytheatrecompany.org

Thu., April 5 — Words

Ron Carlson is a writer's writer — and yes, we mean that literally. Well regarded by fellow writers and readers for his short fiction (in such collections as A Kind of Flying and At the Jim Bridger) and novels (2009's The Signal), Carlson is also known for 2009's Ron Carlson Writes a Story. It's a book-length essay in which this "master of the short story" (so says Booklist) takes readers step by step from the image that inspired one of his works to the final sentence. His goal in fiction, he has said, is to journey "out past what I know, which is where the next thing is always waiting." Tonight, Carlson, who teaches at the University of California-Irvine, reads and speaks at the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series. Bill O'Driscoll 8:30 p.m. Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Schenley Drive, Oakland. Free. 412-624-6508 or pghwriterseries.wordpress.com

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Fri., April 6 — Art

Shaw Galleries hosts an exhibit celebrating spring's traditional association with love and renewal. Varuzhan Yepremyan: Love in Bloom features half-a-dozen large-scale original oils by this contemporary Armenian-born artist. Yepremyan's vivid colors and signature compositions have earned him places in exhibitions and private collections on three continents. The two-day exhibit at the Downtown gallery begins tonight with a reception. BO 5-8 p.m. 805 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-281-4884 or www.shawgalleries.com

Fri., April 6 — Music

For its Good Friday service, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir offers an unusual piece of music. Celebrated contemporary Norwegian composer Egil Hovland's Agnus Dei is a rare hybrid of choral mass and bassoon concerto. By turns hauntingly ethereal and tumultuous, Agnus Dei ("Lamb of God") will be performed by the choir with bassoonist Linda Fisher. Hovland is a noted composer of sacred music; this rarely performed work's four movements will be punctuated by readings. BO 7 p.m. 5121 Westminster Place, Shadyside. Free. 412-682-4300 or www.shadysidepres.org

Sat., April 7 — Art

Matisse was 81 and confined to his bed when he created The Thousand and One Nights. Inspired by Scheherazade, the heroine of Arabian Nights, the multi-panel paper cut-out is rich in fantastical imagery and symbolism created by the artist during many sleepless nights: magic lamps, dancing plant forms, hearts, cut-out text and more. The 1950 work is a visitor favorite at the Carnegie Museum of Art, but because of its fragility, it is displayed only occasionally. Today's the first day of a special three-month exhibition organized by Louise Lippincott, the museum's curator of fine arts. Mariluz Orbay 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through July 15. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free with museum admission. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org

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Sat., April 7 — Words

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Amulet Books) is Pittsburgh native Jesse Andrews' first novel. The book's protagonist, Greg, belongs to every social group at his Pittsburgh high school, but has no friends — until his mother forces him to befriend Rachel, a girl he once knew in Hebrew school who has leukemia. Despite the serious subject, the narrator's use of humor and sarcasm offers an outrageous, yet truthful look at death and high school. Celebrate the book's release at Sewickley's Penguin Bookshop. Refreshments will be served. MO 3 p.m. 420 Beaver St., Sewickley. Free. 212-229-7110 or www.abramsbooks.com

Still from Christina Battle's "Hysteria."
  • Still from Christina Battle's "Hysteria."

Sat., April 7 — Film

Madness and Civilization — what a team. It's like peanut butter and jelly, or April showers and May flowers. The underground-cinema enthusiasts of The Dock Ellis Perforated Head Society present an evening of short works exploring the theme. Highlights include "Obedience," researcher Stanley Milgram's 1962 documentary about his infamous experiments instructing subjects to administer electric shocks to other humans. There's also a bootleg cult classic: Joe Rees' "The Cramps: Live at Napa State Mental Hospital" (1978), in which punk icon Lux Interior and band play to a crowd comprised largely of inpatients (who mostly seem into it). Also screening are "Schizophrenia: Catatonic State," a 1951 Canadian educational film, and Christina Battle's "Hysteria," an experimental evocation of the Salem witch trials. In the best underground-cinema tradition, "Schizophrenia" and "Obedience" will be screened in 16 mm prints. The program concludes the Host Skull performance series at 707 Penn Gallery. BO 7 p.m. 707 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. www.hostskull.com

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Tue., April 10 — Music

In the Mood wants you to party like it's 1943. The internationally touring big-band swing-dance revue makes its first-ever stop in Pittsburgh for shows today and tonight. The live, 13-piece String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra backs six singers/dancers in period costume, waltzing and jitterbugging to "In the Mood," "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)" and 40 more favorites as popularized by the likes of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, The Andrews Sisters and Frank Sinatra. The show, at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, doubles as a tribute to the World War II generation. BO 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Fifth Avenue, Oakland. $30-59. 800-928-2787 or soldiersandsailorshall.org

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Thu., April 12 — Stage

In his 1873 comic novel Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Verne employed his imagination to create a travel itinerary that then seemed nearly impossible. Starting tonight, Pittsburgh Public Theater asks audiences to use their own imaginations as Verne's now-antique quest is recreated on stage, complete with transit by train, steamship and elephant. Ron Bohmer (pictured) plays Englishman-in-a-hurry Phileas Fogg, Jeffrey Kuhn his servant Passepartout, and three other actors as an array of supporting characters in this staging of Mark Brown's 2001 adaption. With direction by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, the show's first performance is tonight. More kid-appropriate than much theater fare, 80 Days is recommended for ages 8 and up. BO 8 p.m. O'Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. $15.75-55. 412-316-1600 or www.ppt.org

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