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Short List: February 5 - 8

Comedian Lee Camp; Black History Month film fest; Unblurred gallery crawl on Penn; Sam Hazo's new play about the Iraq War

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SPOTLIGHT: Sat., Feb. 7 — Comedy

Lee Camp likes his new gig as head writer and host of Redacted Tonight, a cable comedy-news show on RT America. The weekly program, which premiered in June, is Daily Show-like in format. But Camp says what disinguishes him from, say, Jon Stewart, is that Camp is an activist as well as a comedian. And at advertiserless RT, he says by phone from the RT studios in Washington, D.C., he can freely rip new ones for the likes of Monsanto, Walmart and Citibank; scorch corporate-toady politicians of either party; and take down, say, American Sniper as pro-war, anti-Muslim propaganda. "There's very few places where I can speak my mind and have the freedom I have," he says. Camp has even transformed his trademark "Moment of Clarity" web series (www.leecamp.net) into Redacted Tonight's opening rant. But between taping sesssions, Camp still hits the road. This week he returns to Hambone's Pub, where he played to an SRO room two years ago; local comic Krish Mohan opens. Does Camp find it hard, always turning a globeful of bad news into lefty comedy fire and brimstone? "I won't deny that to read about this stuff around the world all day long, I'm very happy that I have comedy as a tool to handle it," he says. Bill O'Driscoll 8:30 p.m. Sat., Feb. 7. 4207 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $10-12. www.lchambones.brownpapertickets.com

Thu., Feb. 5 — Stage

Up-and-coming troupe 12 Peers Theater returns with another high-concept show. Existence and the Single Girl follows a 12-year-old girl who's obsessed with pondering the meaning of life, and whose cure — as prescribed by a psychologist — is to become a pop-culture phenomenon named Ashley Love. It's easy as a Cosmo personality quiz! This new comedy by local playwright Matt Henderson is directed by Todd Betker and comes complete with original music. It opens tonight at Shadyside's Maker Theater. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Show continues through Feb. 21. 5940 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. $15-20. www.12peerstheater.org

Mala Mala is an award-winning LGBT documentary

Fri., Feb. 6 — Screen

Unapologetic and unusual, Mala Mala is an award-winning LGBT documentary about Puerto Rico's transgender community. The film, which screens at Pitt today, features diverse voices from business owners to sex workers and drag queens, and portrays a fight for personal and community acceptance. Mala Mala aims to bridge the gap between American and Latino LGBT culture. Following the screening will be a discussion with co-directors Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini. Zacchiaus McKee 4 p.m. Posvar Hall, Room 1500, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland. Free. 412-624-6564 or www.filmstudies.pitt.edu

Fri., Feb. 6 — Screen

Sembène — The Film & Arts Festival celebrates Black History Month with eight affordable community screenings over four weekends. Some films, like tonight's opener, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (from 2013, starring Idris Elba), at the Carnegie Library in Homewood, are well known. Also screening this weekend is Erroll Garner: No One Can Hear You Read, a new documentary about the pioneering, Pittsburgh-born jazz pianist (Feb. 7). And on Feb. 8, there's Mapantsula (Hustler), a 1988 film that was the first anti-apartheid feature made by, for and about black South Africans and is sometimes called the South African The Harder They Come. BO Mandela: 6 p.m. (Homewood). Festival continues through Feb. 27 (various locations). Suggested donation per screening: $2. www.sembenefilmfestival.org

Benjamin Liu at the Warhol Museum

Fri., Feb. 6 — Exhibit

"Not until I started to work for Andy did I realize what a pack rat he is," a former assistant to Andy Warhol, Benjamin Liu, once said. Liu says one of his responsibilities was to pack all 610 of Warhol's Time Capsules. An avid collector of art, Fiestaware, photographs, newspapers, dental molds and other minutiae, Warhol began filling time capsules in 1974. Chief Warhol archivist Matt Wrbican and Time Capsules cataloguer Erin Byrne join Liu to open and discuss one of these unique snapshots of history tonight. ZM 7 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. Free with Good Fridays admission ($5-10). 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

Unblurred gallery crawl

Fri., Feb. 6 — Art

If you haven't seen Penn Avenue in Garfield since the construction barriers came down, an excellent excuse is tonight's Unblurred gallery crawl. The art, music and activities at more than a dozen venues include receptions for DeWayne Kendrick's black-history-themed exhibition APOCRYPHA, at BOOM Concepts, and Thommy Conroy's Valentine's-themed show at Artisan. At ModernFormations, 12 x 12 Rewind, a big group show of works one-foot-square by local artists, honors 2009's original 12 x 12 show. The Irma Freeman Center for Imagination opens exhibits of post-modern surrealist paintings and drawings by Pittsburgh artist Rachna Rajen, and of work by New York-based woodcut artist John Carruthers. And The Mr. Roboto Project hosts this year's Pittsburgh incarnation of international phenomenon Fun-a-Day, showcasing art by more than 80 locals who each committed to work on a project, of any genre, every day in January. BO Most venues: 7-10 p.m. 4900-5400 Penn Ave., Friendship/Bloomfield/Garfield. Free. www.pennavenue.org

Fri., Feb. 6 — Stage

That the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was based on lies is now little disputed. But venerable poet and writer Samuel Hazo thought there was more to the story. Hazo felt compelled to write Tell It to the Marines: A Play for the Time at Hand. The drama is set in 2007, when a retired Marine major who backs the war must come to terms with three people who oppose it: his wife; his brother, a Catholic priest and Marine veteran; and his son, back from Iraq and unable to adjust to civilian life. He also has another son, still fighting in Iraq. "My concern was to show the effect of this on people, particularly people in a family," says Hazo, himself a Marine veteran as well as a Duquesne University English professor emeritus and former State Poet. The cast and crew for this premiere production include seasoned director Rich Keitel and such top local actors as Daina Michelle Griffith and Jeffrey Howell. The six performances are at a perhaps-unlikely venue: Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall. But the facility's president and CEO, John McCabe, who waived the auditorium's usual rental fee, says the play is another way of "remembering and honoring our veterans." BO 7 p.m. Continues through Feb. 15. 4141 Fifth Ave., Oakland. $5-25. 412-621-4253 or www.soldiersandsailorshall.org

Sat., Feb. 7 — Marketplace

Just remembered Valentine's Day? Need a little something to forget Valentine's Day? East End Brewing has got you covered either way with its inaugural Crafts & Drafts Artist Market. The brewpub marks the release of its Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout with free samples of the same, but also by hosting nine local crafters (from screenprinted T's to fused glassware) and taste treats from Commonplace Coffee and Spak Bros. DJ MB spins the soul. Admission is free. BO Noon-5 p.m. 147 Julius St., Larimer. 412-537-2337 or www.eastendbrewing.com

Heinz History Center, author and historian Sylviane Diouf visits

Sat., Feb. 7 — Words

In a Black History Month event at the Heinz History Center, author and historian Sylviane Diouf visits with her most recent book, Slavery Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons. African refugees who escaped slavery in the Americas, maroons formed independent settlements. Diouf explores links with the History Center's From Slavery to Freedom exhibit. Following a discussion, Diouf will sign copies of her book and invite listeners to view the exhibit. ZM 2-4 p.m. 1212 Smallman St., Strip District. $6-15. 412-454-6000 or www.heinzhistorycenter.org

Sat., Feb. 7 — Exhibit

Phipps Conservatory gets a little more exotic. In the long-running exhibit that opens today, more than 60 percent of the tropical plant life has been changed out to spotlight a variety of flora never before showcased there. The result of years of research, Tropical Forest Congo highlights some of Africa's lushest landscapes. To celebrate, Phipps features fun activities for children, including a storytelling performance, plus a pot-a-plant table, crafts, food sampling and visits from researchers. ZM 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Schenley Park, Oakland. $11-15. 412-622-6914 or www.phipps.conservatory.org

Veronica Lustt, The Nomi Darling Show

Sun., Feb. 8 — Screen

Life can be a drag. Maybe that's why drag queen Veronica Lustt was once arrested for stealing corn from a farm in rural Pennsylvania. With a brand-new episode, Gay Life TV's sketch-comedy program The Nomi Darling Show presents The Veronica Lustt Story, Part 1. Formerly available only via online subscription, Nomi is unveiling an eight-episode season for free on YouTube. The newest episode features local queen Lustt and Pittsburgh players including Cindy Crochford, Qarma Kazee, Tootsie Snyder, Shesus Khryst and rapper HollyHood. Expect both a screening and live performances from the cast tonight at Blue Moon Bar. ZM 10 p.m., 5115 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. 412-781-1119 or www.gaylifetelevision.com

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