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Short List: June 24-28

John Riegert presents 250 portraits of one guy; comedian Jessica Kirson; Phipps’ Tropical Forest Congo Festival; Roving Art Cart continues its journey

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SPOTLIGHT: Fri., June 24 – Art 

Even if you don’t know who John Riegert is, you’ll be intrigued by the concept behind John Riegert: The SPACE exhibit, which opens June 24, comprises 250 portraits of a single person by a near-Who’s Who of local artists, with Riegert himself as full-time docent. If you do know Riegert, the show’s doubly fascinating: When organizer Brett Yasko imagined many artists depicting one subject, the first subject he thought of was his gregarious, larger-than-life friend, who’d survived a 2009 suicide attempt and four days in a coma, and was later diagnosed as bipolar. And Riegert himself (pictured) says, “I couldn’t pass it up.” Graphic designer Yasko invited 400-plus artists; of the 250 participants (including top local names from Robert Qualters to Alisha B. Wormsley), nearly half met with Riegert. The media range from paintings and photos to soft sculptures, video and installations, including a “portrait in sound” of inveterate Facebooker Riegert reading his posts. Nudes? “John was like, ‘Sure!’” says Yasko. (Track the process at www.johnriegert.tumblr.com — or in writer Eric Lidji’s book-length essay, which is part of the exhibit.) Yasko believes meeting Riegert himself will be the highlight for many visitors. As Riegert cheerfully says, “People can ask me whatever they want.” Bill O’Driscoll Opening reception: 5:30-10 p.m. Fri., June 24 (with DJ Edgar Um; free). Exhibit continues through Sept. 4. 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-325-7723 or www.spacepittsburgh.org

Fri., June 24 – Words

In an age of instant communication, the U.S. Postal Service often gets a bad rap. Snail mail? However, Bloomberg Businessweek writer Devin Leonard would like a word. His new book, Neither Rain Nor Snow: A History of the United States Postal Service (Grove Press), details the importance of the mail and the surprising impact it continues to have on our country. Stories include the USPS’ founding by Benjamin Franklin, advancements in mail technology, and the infamous strike of the 1970s. Leonard visits City Books today for a signing. Tyler Dague 4-6 p.m. 908 Galveston Ave., North Side. Free. 412-321-7323 or www.citybookspgh.com

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Fri., June 24 – Stage

We won’t even try to put this one in our own words, so here’s what they tell us: “Catacky: CatAckTrophy is a three-person play featuring acrobatics, puppets, strange sounds and live mutations. Set in an isolated town overrun by feral cats and unbreathable smog, an unlikely couple learns to fly above the air pollution.” This Pittsburgh-based troupe launches a national tour tonight at North Oakland’s Blumcraft building. A second performance, tomorrow, is outdoors, in a backyard in Greenfield. Expect, yes, people in cat costumes. Bill O’Driscoll 7:30 p.m. (450 Melwood Ave.). Also 7:30 p.m. Sat., June 25 (323 Ivondale St.). Suggested donation: $5-10. catacky.wordpress.com

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Fri., June 24 – Comedy

Jessica Kirson has written letters to her body parts. “Dear Ass! You startled me! I’m easily startled! … I don’t feel safe with you, you’re too damn big!” The comedian, a favorite on TV and at comedy festivals, is known for her impressions of old people, little kids, infants and the entire cast of Jersey Shore. Kirson brings her standup act — including some of the best face-pulling in the business — to Cruze Bar tonight. The iCandy Pittsburgh show is hosted by local comic Chrissy Costa. BO 7:30 p.m. 1600 Smallman St., Strip District. $20 (VIP: $40). 412-471-1400 or www.brownpapertickets.com

Fri., June 24 – Stage

Invisible in Plain Sight is an evening of performances at Carnegie Stage dedicated to giving voice to LGBTQ folks. The program includes a reading by actor Ingrid Sonnichsen’s from The Pink Unicorn, Elise Forier Edie’s 2013 play about a small-town Texas woman whose 14-year-old daughter comes out as gender queer. Also, locally based dance artist Moriah Ella Mason performs a movement theater piece about the persecution she faced growing up Jewish and queer. The evening concludes with an open mic. Proceeds benefit the Equality Florida Go-Fund-Me account for victims of the Orlando shooting. (A Sunday performance is sold out.) BO 8 p.m. 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $10. 724-873-3576 or www.carnegiestage.com

Photo courtesy of Annie O’Neill
  • Photo courtesy of Annie O’Neill

Sat., June 25 – Festival

You don’t have to go on a safari to explore the jungles of Africa. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens celebrates the Tropical Forest Congo Festival today with family-friendly activities amidst the exhibit’s lush displays of plant life native to Africa. Visitors can learn about medicinal rainforest herbs from the Herb Society of America’s Andrea Jackson, and about the Congo from Duquesne University students. Café Phipps provides samples of regional-inspired dishes. TD 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 1 Schenley Drive, Oakland. $11-15 (free for children under 2). 412-622-6914 or www.phipps.conservatory.org

Sat., June 25 — Skating

The recently reopened Belvedere’s Ultra-Dive gets deeper into its groove with tonight’s installment of Down & Derby, Beyond Rollerdome. It’s a Mad Max-themed roller-skating party, and event title notwithstanding you’re encouraged to costume from any entry in the iconic, post-apocalyptic film series. More than 250 pairs of skates are available for rental, the tunes are courtesy of DJ JX4 and Hank D, and here’s a bonus: free skate-rental for anyone who brings a Mad Max-style custom steering wheel. BO 9 p.m.-2 a.m. 4016 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 21 and over. $6 with RSVP at www.sk8party.com

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Sun., June 26 — Exhibit

Carnegie Science Center has showcased former Cold War submarine the USS Requin as a unique exhibit for 26 years. This morning and on select dates this summer, Science Center staff and a submarine vet will lead special Tech Tours through parts of the Requin seldom seen by the general public, including the conning tower, the periscope and other unrestored sections. Tech Tours give a look behind the scenes at life on a submarine. Tours are limited to 12 registrants. TD 9-11 a.m. Also July 10, July 24, Aug. 7, Aug. 21 and Sept. 11. 1 Allegheny Ave., North Side. $20. 412-237-1637 or www.carnegiesciencecenter.org

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Sun., June 26 — Market

Yard sales typically feature outdated clothing, plastic knickknacks and questionable electronics. By contrast, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts eighth annual yART sale features some 80 local artists displaying art, supplies and equipment for purchase, rain or shine. Everything from photography and glass to pottery will be available, with prices ranging from 50 cents to $200. Artist Ron Donoughe will be on hand to sign copies of his Pittsburgh-focused book 90 Neighborhoods, and artist Conor McGrann will screen print shirts and totes. TD 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Free. 412-361-0873 or www.pfpca.org

Mon., June 27 — Stage

Musical Theatre Artists of Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Musicals Incubator helps local creative teams move their work forward by getting it in front of an audience. This summer, it teams with the Pittsburgh CLO for two free readings of musicals in development. The first is Dear Boy, a comedic true story set in 18th-century England, where the Earl of Chesterfield seeks to control the life of the illegitimate son living a secret existence as husband and father. The book and lyrics are by local playwright Jeanne Drennan, with music by David Berlin. Tonight’s reading, in Charles Gray Auditorium, is followed by an Aug. 29 reading of Eva Rainforth’s Me, Myself and Others. BO 7 p.m. 130 CLO Academy Way (eighth floor), Downtown. Free; reservations encouraged at mtap.weebly.com.

Tue., June 28 — Artmaking

It’s hard to believe that the Citiparks Roving Art Cart is celebrating its 43rd season. This summer, the Cart salutes the city’s numerous river crossings with bridge-themed crafts for kids at playgrounds and parks all over Pittsburgh. Today, the Roving Art Cart might get a little wet as it stops at the Troy Hill Spray Park. Artist Alison Zapata will help children create shadow puppets and students from Sarah Heinz House’s Robotics and Technology Camp will join in the fun. Other Art Cart stops this week include the West End/Elliot Overlook (June 29), the Hill District’s Ammon Recreation Center (June 30) and Riverview Park (July 1). TD 10 a.m.-1 p.m (1200 Goettman St., Troy Hill). Roving Art Cart continues through Aug. 5. Free. 412-665-3665 or www.citiparks.net

Tue., June 28 — Outdoors

For some, difficult yoga poses are just another part of their exercise regimen. However, a whole new challenge has gained traction across the country: stand-up paddleboard yoga. Yes, if you don’t downward dog right, you might be doggy-paddling seconds later. But if you’re game, Venture Outdoors is holding SUP Yoga sessions like tonight’s, where leaders guide you through a series of poses on North Park Lake. Registration is limited, and basic yoga and SUP skills are recommended. TD 7-8:15 p.m. 10301 Pearce Mill Road, McCandless Township. $33. 412-255-0564 or ventureoutdoors.org


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