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Short List: July 7 - 14

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Thu., July 7 -- Stage

Zany Umbrella Circus founder Ben Sota has been studying theater in Europe, and one result is Mirette's Circus. Inspired by a children's book about a little girl who becomes a tightwire artist in 1920s Paris, the new show employs circus skills, physical theater, masks, dance and live music to explore self-doubt, courage and passion. Sota is joined by aerialists Erin Carey and Rachel Schiffer and members of Germany's Oko Sokolo Company for five shows for all ages, with live music, starting today. Bill O'Driscoll 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Also 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Fri., July 8, and 10:30 a.m. Sat., July 9. Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $10-15. 412-363-3000

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Fri., July 8 -- Sports

Parkour is the art of getting from here to there under one's own power as quickly as possible -- even if that means scaling fences, vaulting walls or doing backflips. (OK, the backflips are mostly for fun.) If you've seen traceurs practice their craft only in the movies, Steel City Jam 2011 offers a close encounter, and the chance to join in. Starting today, Pittsburgh Parkour Association and Team Sanjuu host three days of training sessions and excursions, in Highland Park, the North Side and Oakland. The events are free. BO 2 p.m. (Highland Park). Also 10 a.m. Sat., July 9, and 10 a.m. Sun., July 10. 312-772-6588 or www.meetup.com/pghparkour, www.teamsanjuu.com

 

Fri., July 8 -- Words

The Shaler North Hills Library continues its Sizzling Summer of Art lecture series with an especially enticing line-up of prominent local sculptors. James Simon's public sculptures include the St. Michael statue, in Bloomfield, memorializing the three police officers killed in 2009 in Stanton Heights; Susan Wagner sculpted Willie, Roberto and Maz outside PNC Park; and Thaddeus Mosley's abstract wood sculptures are a local treasure. The artists convene tonight for a discussion moderated by artist William Rock. BO 7 p.m. (reception follows). 1822 Mount Royal Blvd., Glenshaw. Free. 412-486-0211

 

Fri., July 8 -- Music

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble begins its latest four-weekend season of contemporary art music. Led by artistic director Kevin Noe, tonight and tomorrow the six-member ensemble gathers on the City Theatre mainstage to tackle Stephen Hartke's surreal trio "The Horse With the Lavender Eye" and renowned composer Thomas Albert's "Characters." But a highlight should be "Bon Appetit!" The late Lee Hoiby's one-act opera stars guest countertenor Peter Thoreson as Julia Child herself, baking a two-pan chocolate cake. As the lyrics say, "Chocolate is much more complicated than any of us expect." BO 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., July 9. $15-25 (free for first-timers). 412-431-2489 or www.pnme.org

 

Fri., July 8 -- Words

Novelist, poet, translator and giant-fish hunter Mark Spitzer visits ModernFormations Gallery tonight. Raised in Minneapolis, while passing through Colorado he taught himself French by translating a 20-page poem by Jean Genet. Then Spitzer landed in Paris and spent two-and-a-half years translating poetry in a basement. Now in Arkansas, he teaches creative writing, edits the Toad Suck Review and pursues six-foot alligator gar. Six Gallery Press and Low Ghost Press host Spitzer alongside local writers including Don Wentworth, Margaret Bashaar and Bob Pajich. BS 8 p.m. 4919 Penn Ave., Garfield. $5. www.modernformations.com

 

Fri., July 8 -- Party

You've heard of '80s Night. How about a '20s night? But the Roaring 20s Bash, at the historic Allegheny Elks Lodge and featuring the good-time sounds of the Pittsburgh Banjo Club, isn't just a kick. The party benefits James A. Richards, a longtime supporter of the local arts scene now facing financial and health problems. Richards' ventures include the website PGHevents; The Pittsburgh A&E Book professional directory; and trade newsletter Pittsburgh Applause. He's also a Pittsburgh International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival board member. Era-appropriate costuming is encouraged but not required at tonight's soiree. BO 8 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave., North Side. Suggested donation: $10. 412-325-7070

 

Sat., July 9 -- Puzzles

Last year's inaugural Pittsburgh Crossword Puzzle Tournament packed a larger-than-expected crowd of 85 contestants into a reception room in Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall; this year's edition promises the same. The premise: Everyone completes three puzzles (sanctioned by cruciverbal demigod Will Shortz of The New York Times); after those three rounds, the three contestants with the best scores (based on accuracy and speed) sweat it out solving a fourth puzzle on a big grid in front of everyone else. The $25 entry fee benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Andy Mulkerin 12:30 p.m. sign-in. 4141 Fifth Ave., Oakland. $25. 724-554-4838 or www.pittsburghcrossword.com

Art by Chitra Ganesh - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Sat., July 9 -- Art

The Andy Warhol Museum's Word of God series has already featured a Koran illuminated with images of American life and a Torah marked up with a yellow highlighter. The third installment, The Word of God(dess): Chitra Ganesh, opens today with an artist talk and reception. Brooklyn-born Ganesh's work too explores how a religion strives to pass on divine messages, interpreting Bollywood, comics and Hindu folklore through a variety of media, including comic-book frames and three-dimensional wall installations. BS 2 p.m. talk (reception follows). Exhibit continues through Sept 4. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $15. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

Sat., July 9 -- Dance

One of the Pillow Project's first big shows was 2005's Concept Album, an energetic jazz-dance take on classic-rock tunes. The troupe has since matured into one of Pittsburgh's top dance companies. Tonight, see what artistic director Pearlann Porter and Pillow Project's nine resident artists make of the Concept concept these days, as they use their bodies to create "physical tracks" to Zeppelin and Floyd. The evening also features live music and improvised dance, all in a casual lounge-style atmosphere. BO 8 p.m.-midnight. 214 N. Lexington St., Point Breeze. Suggested donation: $10. 412-225-9269 or www.pillowproject.org

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Sun., july 10 -- exhibit

Today, Carnegie Science Center staff lead a tour through the vintage submarine USS Requin. The 312-foot vessel, now moored on the Ohio, was active for 23 years at the height of the Cold War. It remains open daily, but this seasonal tour series takes visitors ages 15 and up through non-restored compartments and up the conning tower to view the periscope -- both areas that are rarely open. Guides will add insight and color to illuminate the endless challenges facing submariners. BS 9-11 a.m. Also July 24 and Aug. 7 and 21. 1 Allegheny Ave., North Side. $20. 412-237-1637 or www.carnegiesciencecenter.org

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Mon., July 11 -- Words

Writer and filmmaker Jesús Ángel García presents the "transmedia novel": His badbadbad (New Pulp Press) is lively print fiction about a guy who's a church webmaster by day, online sex entrepreneur by night … but it's also a soundtrack of gritty original songs and a series of short documentary films exploring this Southern neo-noir's themes. García enumerates said themes as: "fear, hypocrisy, sexual morality, intimacy in e-culture and self-destruction vs. redemption." A full evening, for sure -- but see for yourself when the San Francisco-based Garcia's national tour hits Belvedere's Ultra-Dive tonight courtesy of Cyberpunk Apocalypse. BO 7-10 p.m. 4016 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. 412-687-2555

 

Tue., July 12 -- Words

A revered Chilean poet's birthday and a French festival of national liberation. OK -- even if Bastille Day is really not until Thursday, today is actually Pablo Neruda's natal anniversary. And that's good enough for Hemingway's Summer Poetry Series. The Pablo Neruda's Birthday / Bastille Day Reading features area poets Joan E. Bauer, Ed Carvalho, Kristofer Collins, Ziggy Edwards and Kelli Stevens Kane. And it continues the free weekly series tonight. BO 8 p.m. Hemingway's Café, 3911 Forbes Ave., Oakland. jbauer103w@aol.com

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