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Short List: July 29 - August 6

Three Rivers Storytelling Festival; Uncumber Theatrics’ Mingled; kayaking the blue moon; and Reservoir of Jazz

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SPOTLIGHT: Tue., Aug. 4 — Words

Oral storytelling is likely as old as language itself; whether it’s crafting a simple narrative of one’s day or a hero’s epic adventure, humans have always had a need to tell and hear stories. For 15 years, the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival has helped Pittsburgh celebrate this ancient tradition, and this year it returns for a week of programming sponsored by the nonprofit StorySwap Storytelling Guild. The entertainment begins off-site on Tue., Aug. 4, with a special edition of Kid’s Play at Market Square featuring storyteller and cartoonist Tim Hartman. Friday night, the action moves to the North Campus of Winchester Thurston School, with the return of the Liar’s Contest, with local storytellers competing to see who can deliver the most convincing half-truths and slick deceits. Nationally touring talents Alton Chung (pictured), Connie Regan-Blake, Lyn Ford and Jim May will all perform on Saturday afternoon, and sign copies of their books. Afterward, in Story Scrum, three teams representing distinct genres will compete against each other, with the audience selecting the final winner. And if you’re a storyteller seeking to improve your skills, try one of the four workshops open to teens and adults throughout the weekend for an additional cost, and covering everything from the basics to mastering the ghost story. Joseph Peiser Tue., Aug. 4-Sun., Aug. 9. 4225 Middle Road, Allison Park. $5-15. 412-449-9373 or www.3rstf.org

ART BY LUON ST. PIERRE
  • Art by Luon St. Pierre

Friday, July 31 — Art

Tucson, Ariz.-based artist Luon St. Pierre has a penchant for bright and vivid colors, for creating sculptures and furniture out of found objects, and for populating them with abstract figures reminiscent of Picasso’s portraits. She’s a strong supporter of outsider art, and her new mixed-media show, Conversations From the Backseat, opens tonight at outsider-art showcase Gallerie Chiz. Expect refreshments, and live music from Sean Barill on the banjo. Joseph Peiser 5:30-8:30 p.m. Exhibit continues through Aug. 29. 5831 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. Free. 412-441-6005 or www.galleriechiz.com

Fri., July 31 — Stage

The Pittsburgh New Works Festival is gearing up for its 25th season of presenting new one-acts. Starting tonight, at CCAC South Campus Theatre, it stages a two-week run showcasing past winners of its Donna Award, for best play. The plays include: “Twilight” (1992), by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts; “Just One Abiding Dearth” (1998), by C.P. Stancich; “The Fellowship of Actors and Directors” (2002), by Katherine Miller-Haines; and “A Skewed Nude” (2004), by Kim (Zelonis) Dale. The fest trots out this year’s new plays in September. Bill O’Driscoll 7:30 p.m. Continues through Aug. 9. 1750 Clairton Road, West Mifflin. $15-17. 888-718-4253 or www.pittsburghnewworks.org

Fri., July 31 — Outdoors

A blue moon occurs only … well, once in a blue moon, so tonight make the most of the opportunity and view it from a kayak on the Allegheny River. Guides from Venture Outdoors lead a group on a dusk-to-dark paddle from Kayak Pittsburgh along the banks of the river for an unobstructed view of this rare second full moon in a single calendar month. Kayaking experience is necessary, and participants must be age 12 or older. JP 8-10:30 p.m. Beneath the Clemente Bridge, North Side. $30-40. 412-255-0564 or www.ventureoutdoors.org

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Fri., July 31 — Stage

It’ll be just like speed-dating, so dress to impress. But Mingled is really a work of immersive theater, in which some of your dates might not be fellow audience members, but rather actors improvising their way through the encounter — and, like everyone else, revealing more of their characters as the evening goes on. Mingled is the latest from Uncumber Theatrics, a new troupe with an impressive track record including Her Things and Professor Eldritch’s Asylum for Uncanny & Extraordinary Women. Mingled has five performances this weekend only, at ModernFormations Gallery. Reservations are recommended. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Sun., Aug. 2. 4919 Penn Ave., Garfield. $20. www.uncumbertheatrics.com

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Fri., July 31 — Words

“Yesterday I lost a country. I was in a hurry, / and didn’t notice when it fell from me / like a broken branch from a forgetful tree.” So begins Dunya Mikhail’s poem “I Was in a Hurry.” Mikhail, born in Iraq in 1965, emigrated to the U.S. in 1996 after being labeled a subversive at home. Her books are nonetheless published across the Arabic-speaking world. She’s now based in Michigan, and tonight she gives a free reading at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s Alphabet City Tent. BO 8 p.m. 318 Sampsonia Way, North Side. Free. www.cityofasylum.org

Sat., Aug. 1 — Outdoors

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The Blazing Star is a vibrant purple wildflower that blooms only in the dog days of summer in Pennsylvania’s rare prairie ecosystem — yes, there is a prairie in Pennsylvania. To take in this gorgeous flower as well as other late-summer blooms and birds of the season, the Wissahickon Nature Club hosts today’s free, guided nature walk through the Jennings Prairie, in Slippery Rock. Bring binoculars, lunch and sunscreen, as the prairie is hot and without shade. JP 10 a.m. 2951 Prospect Road, Slippery Rock. Free. 412-523-0368 or www.wissahickonnatureclub.com

Sat., Aug. 1 — Festival

As so often these days around here, music, food and art collide at Feastival. The free, day-long event organized by the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation and Grey Area Productions features acts including national headliners Robert Randolph & the Family Band and Big Sam’s Funky Nation. The food is by a battalion of food trucks including Oh My Grill, Mac & Gold and Pittsburgh Pierogi Truck. And the art is from vendors and exhibitors including the I Made It! Market and Assemble. It’s outdoors, it’s family-friendly, and VIP tix are available. BO 3-9 p.m. McKees Rocks Municipal Lot, Route 51 and Furnace Street, McKees Rocks. Free. www.pghfeastival.com

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Sat., Aug. 1 — Art

You probably know them for the sounds they make on stage, but these local musicians are visual artists as well. At Wilkinsburg’s Percolate art space, Audio/Visual showcases the gallery-ready work of vocalist Christiane D; percussionist Ian Green (Ishtar, Cello Fury); Rashad Jamaal (a.k.a. hip-hop artist Billy Pilgrim); and Jenn Wertz (Love Child, and formerly of Rusted Root). The show, curated by Percolate’s Bob Ziller, opens with a reception today. BO 6-9 p.m. Exhibit continues through Aug. 30. 317 S. Trenton Ave., Wilkinsburg. Free. www.facebook.com/percolateart

Sun., Aug. 2 — Music

We won’t say summer’s getting short; technically, it’s only half over. But the start of CitiparksReservoir of Jazz Concert Series each August does remind you to enjoy long days and warm air while you can. The free series, in Highland Park, showcases the region’s abundant jazz talent. The 2015 version kicks off with a set or two by the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra. Next Saturday, look for the trad sounds of the Boilermaker Jazz Band. Reservoir of Jazz continues through Labor Day weekend. BO 5-7 p.m. Highland Avenue and Reservoir Drive, Highland Park. Free. 412-255-2493 or www.citiparks.net

Sun., Aug. 2 — Music

All summer long, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been working to reach new audiences. That initiative continues with its final Classical BBQ of the season. Join the PSO in the Heinz Hall Summer Garden for pre-show food and entertainment, followed by a performance incorporating selections from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and pioneering American composer Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. Afterward, the music continues with live jazz in the garden. JP 6:30 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $30. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

Mon., Aug. 3 — Words

Can AA work for Buddhists? Or, given the group’s Christian origins, for other non-Christians? Danae Clark says yes, and she’s telling how in her in-progress autobiographical book A Buddhist Goes to Rehab. The local writer hopes her experience can help others, from therapists to people considering recovery. But she needs funds to complete the book. Her Indiegogo campaign (which runs through mid-August) is complemented by tonight’s reading and discussion, at Biddle’s Escape. Another reading is planned for Aug. 13, at Squirrel Hill’s Classic Lines bookstore. BO 7 p.m. 401 Biddle Ave., Wilkinsburg. Free. 412-909-9999 or www.biddlesescape.com

Thu., Aug. 6 — Arts

The festival-style RAW: Pittsburgh showcase for local artists returns tonight with performances, installations and pop-up galleries arrayed throughout the former church long ago repurposed as Mr. Small’s. Paramount features more than 40 local artists, most of whom do 2-D visual art or photography, with others specializing in jewelry, fashion, makeup or performing arts, including contemporary dance and even fire art. Live music acts tonight include Different Places in Space, and Gene Stovall. The host is Kellee Maize. Fashionable dress is encouraged. BO 7-11:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $15-20 (21 and over). www.rawartists.org/pittsburgh/paramount




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