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Short List: February 3 - 9

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Art by Robert Ebendorf. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TARA LOCKLEAR

Fri., Feb. 3 — Art

Thirty-three artists from Edinboro, Pa., to Balaclava, Australia, contribute to Transformation 8: Contemporary Works in Small Metals, a biennial exhibition at the Society for Contemporary Craft. The 33, including eight from overseas, are all finalists for the 2011 Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder's Prize, named for the woman who founded the SCC. The winning artist, who receives a $5,000 cash prize, will be announced at tonight's opening reception. BO 5:30 p.m. Exhibit continues through June 30. 2100 Smallman St., Strip District. Free. 412-261-7003 or www.contemporarycraft.org

Chen Reiss at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • Chen Reiss at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Fri., Feb. 3 — Music

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra returns to Heinz Hall this weekend with two powerful soloists. Starting tonight, in his first PSO appearance since 2003, Grammy-winning baritone Thomas Hampson performs Dvorak's "Biblical Songs." Then he joins Israeli soprano Chen Reiss, who has quickly become a frequent PSO guest; along with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, conductor Manfred Honeck and the orchestra, they'll perform Brahms' A German Requiem. Mariluz Orbay 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Feb. 4, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Feb.5. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $20-98. 412-392-4900 or pittsburghsymphony.org

Art by Stephen Tuomala at Unblurred
  • Art by Stephen Tuomala at Unblurred

Fri., Feb. 3 — Art

Some two dozen venues are participating in tonight's Unblurred gallery crawl, on Penn Avenue. The mix includes a children's art workshop at assemble, the community art space; new exhibits at venues including ModernFormations, where Stephen Tuomala's The Word Made Flesh explores distorted medical images; live music at venues including Mr. Roboto Project, featuring Endless Mike and the Beagle Club; and a nominal "Three-Ring Circus" at Most Wanted Fine Art, with Chatham University grad students offering readings, art and film, plus music by Grand Snafu and Middi. Most Unblurred events are free. BO Doors at 6 p.m. at most venues. Friendship/Bloomfield/Garfield. www.friendship-pgh.org


Fri., Feb. 3 — Dance

At least two things about the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre show Uncommon are new. One is "Chromatic," by favorite PBT guest choreographer Dwight Rhoden; it's a world premiere from the maker of Simply Simon and Smoke 'n Roses, set to the music of Bach. Uncommon also marks the first time the PBT has performed part of its season at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. The program, featuring a live chamber orchestra, is rounded out by Mark Morris' "Maelstrom" and Dennis Nahat's "Quintet." Also rare for the PBT: the show, which opens tonight, has nine performances encompassing two weekends. BO 8 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $50. 412-258-2700 or www.pbt.org

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Sat., Feb. 4 —Exhibit

Phipps Conservatory offers you another chance to take a botanical journey around the world. This time the destination is Tropical Forest India. Phipps staffers Ben Dunigan and Jordyn Melino combed the Western Ghats — an ecologically threatened inland area of mountains and plains — searching the biologically rich woodlands for plants both cultivated and wild. The new exhibit includes Ayurvedic healing gardens, waterfalls, a field research station, and even a temple façade. Tropical Forest India opens today. BO 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Schenley Drive, Oakland. $9-12 (children under 2 free). 412-622-6914 or phippsconservatory.org

Chair by Vivian Beer. Photo courtesy of Douglas J. Eng
  • Chair by Vivian Beer. Photo courtesy of Douglas J. Eng

Feb. 4 — Art

Ornate chairs from the past — like one with a Sphinx carved into the backrest. Chairs that came from someone's idea of the future, like one with an erector-set feel. A chair by Frank Lloyd Wright. And chairs more resembling sculpture than tools for sitting. Find them among the 43 pieces in The Art of Seating: 200 Years of Design. The exhibit drawn from the private American Chair Collection opens today at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. BO 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through April 8. 221 N. Main St., Greensburg. $5 suggested donation. 724-837-1500 or wwwwmuseumaa.org


Sat., Feb. 4 — music

Renaissance & Baroque of Pittsburgh takes you back to the early 17th century, the heyday of the harpsichord. Also known as the cembalo or spinet, the instrument produces one of the most distinctive sounds of the baroque era. Tonight's program at Synod Hall, The Harpsichord's Golden Century, features Richard Egarr, the British conductor and harpsichordist who attributes his interest in 17th-century composers to the fact that "it was the time of barrier breaking and exploration, as well as the time of the harpsichord's greatest importance." He adds, "I am a proud music addict and love to communicate my passion and enthusiasm for music to everyone." MO 8 p.m. Synod Hall, 125 N. Craig St., Oakland. $20-35. 412-361-2048 or rbsp.org 

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Sat., Feb. 4 — Variety

The local-arts potpourri known as Speaking Of launches its 2012 season with a savory mix of artists and art forms. The New Hazlett Theater hosts this sophisticated variety show, which includes dance, music and the spoken word. Bodiography Contemporary Ballet previews its 10th-anniversary show, alongside new choreography from Texture Contemporary Ballet. Words star in readings and performances by fiction writer Jim Daniels, poet Nikki Allen and spoken-word artist Tameka Cage Conley. And the music's courtesy of soul singer Vie Boheme and instrumental group Cello Fury. BO 8 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $10-15. speakingofpittsburgh.com


Sat., Feb. 4 — Words

"Quit complaining you don't have the strength, 'cause if that was the truth, you wouldn't hold onto things like you do," admonishes spoken-word artist Joe Brundidge in his poem "Stronger Things." The Austin, Texas-based poet, a.k.a. Element615, is a slam-team member, open-mic host and frequent collaborator with jazz, rock and blues bands. Tonight, his 32-state tour takes him to Lawrenceville's 720 Music, Clothing and Café as the featured guest at the Eargasm open-mic series. The guest MC is KDKA TV's Lynne Hayes-Freeland, and there's music from DJ Shade Cobain. BO 9 p.m. 4405 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $10 (18 and over). 412-904-4592 or www.720records.com

“Truck,”by Andy Warhol
  • “Truck,”by Andy Warhol

Sun., Feb. 5 — Art

We know Andy Warhol loved Campbell's soup. But until today's opening of Warhol and Cars: American Icons, no other exhibition had explored the artist's fascination with American motorcars. Organized by New Jersey's Montclair Art Museum, the exhibit includes artwork from 1946 to 1986, and explores the development of his artistic work with cars as products of American consumer society. A BMW M-1 racing car, hand-painted by Warhol, will be on display in the museum's entrance gallery. MO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Show continues through May 13. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10-20. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

Photo courtesy of Lucius Fontenot
  • Photo courtesy of Lucius Fontenot

Wed., Feb. 8 — Music

Four-time Grammy nominee Cedric Watson is a fiddler, accordionist, vocalist and songwriter; he blends traditional Caribbean and Cajun rhythms for a music that is both nostalgic and progressive. Watson and his band Bijou Creole draw on various musical styles, at times incorporating bluegrass or string-band influences into their sets. Tonight's concert, at the Byham Theater, part of the Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. MO 7:30 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $18-35. 412-471-6930 or www.trustarts.org


Thu., Feb. 9 — Trees

Help along the re-greening of Allegheny County. TreeVitalize and Tree Pittsburgh, two groups that get trees planted and cared for, are holding an informational session on how to apply for new trees to plant in your neighborhood and organize to care for them. All county residents are welcome at tonight's event at Conservation Consultants Inc., on the South Side, which includes refreshments and a light dinner. To register, see TreeVitalize on Facebook or email trees@paconserve.org BO 6-7:30 p.m. 64 S. 14th St., South Side. Free. 

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