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Short List: March 23 - 29

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As hosts of Mythbusters, now in its ninth season on the Discovery Channel, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage test the validity of rumors, movie scenes and popular myths — would a bull really cause destruction in a china shop? — often with explosive, unexpected results. They hear two things from fans. "One is, 'Your show is filling up my DVR,'" Savage says in a phone interview. "The other is, 'Your show is the show we watch with our family.'" This week, Hyneman and Savage bring their family-friendly live show, Mythbusters: Behind the Myths, to Heinz Hall. Don't expect a live version of the TV show, though. "[On TV,] we don't understand the science behind what we're doing necessarily, so we're actually experimenting," Savage explains. "We don't know what the results are. If we tried to communicate that to a stage show, it could be spectacular, but there could be long periods where there's nothing going on." Instead, Hyneman and Savage irreverently undertake controlled experiments, peppered with video clips, stories and lots of audience participation. Fans sometimes come bearing gifts. ("There's a lot of crafting going on," Savage chuckles.) Hyneman has a theory about what fills the seats: "We're not guys in lab coats, talking at you. People don't just want to watch people behaving, they want to watch them misbehaving."

Margaret Welsh 7:30 p.m. Tue., March 27. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $35-85. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

 

Fri., March 23 — Stage

Point Park University's professional theater company, the REP, presents the world premiere of Bruce J. Robinson's new play, MIA. Salesman Frank Schooler struggles to keep his family together after a plane crash takes his eldest son, Capt. Michael Schooler of the Air Force's 97th Bombardment Wing. But on what should have been Michael's 40th birthday, Schooler's youngest son announces his decision to enlist, forcing the family to face the possibility of losing both sons to war. John Amplas directs a cast including Larry John Meyers and Tommy LaFitte. Mariluz Orbay 8 p.m. Continues through April 7. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $24-27. 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com

Fri., March 23 — Stage

Tonight's the Pittsburgh premiere of the latest work by up-and-coming young playwright Marcus Gardley. Inspired by true events, Every Tongue Confess is Gardley's imaginative 2010 drama set in rural 1990s Alabama, during a series of church burnings. Characters including churchpeople, a woman with second sight and an itinerant musician people the script; Gardley's lyricism has earned him comparisons to August Wilson. Fittingly, then, this Tre Garrett-directed production is hosted by the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through April 1. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $20-30. 412-258-2700 or www.augustwilsoncenter.org

ART BY MARIANA ESCRIBANO
  • Art by Mariana Escribano


Sat., March 24 — Art

UnSmoke Systems Artspace opens its season tonight with a reception for Snapshot: A One Week Show. The plucky Braddock venue hosts work by three artists. Photographer Ross Mantle, known for his haunting and incisive images of life in the Mon Valley, unveils his new project, California, Pa. Mariana Escribano, of Mexico City, blends figurative and abstract imagery of Braddock in paintings reflecting the months she's spent living there. And Dee Briggs debuts new steel sculptures. The reception coincides with an outdoor screening of "I Am Palestine," a video work by Karina Foulordava and Sean Neely. As always, there's wood-fired pizza from UnSmoke's community oven.

BO 5-9 p.m. Continues through Sun., April 1. 1137 Braddock Ave., Braddock. Free. unsmoke@gmail.com

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Sat., March 24 — Art

Locally Queer is the latest incarnation of local photographer Ebba Schmid's The Other Men Project: Portraits of Transmen. The Brew House exhibit, featuring images of female-to-male transgender folk, closes tonight with a reception. The event includes a screening of Gender Redesigner, Johnny Bergman's feature-length 2007 documentary about a man born into the body of a woman seeking to make his outside match his inside. BO 6-8 p.m. 2100 Mary St., South Side. Free. www.other-men-portraits-of-transmen.org

 

Sat., March 24 — Opera

Puccini's Tosca, long among the world's most popular operas, receives a new production from Pittsburgh Opera. Soprano Angela Brown, known worldwide for her Aida and her Tosca, plays the passionate Italian singer in love with ill-starred painter Cavaradossi, sung by Metropolitan opera favorite Hugo Vera; both stars make their company debuts. Music director Antony Walker conducts the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra in famed arias, including Tosca's "Vissi d'arte." There are four performances of the 1900 classic, starting tonight. BO 8 p.m. Also 7 p.m. Tue., March 27; 8 p.m. Fri., March 30; and 2 p.m. Sun., April 1. 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10-195. 412-456-6666 or www.pittsburghopera.org

 

Sun., March 25 — Outdoors

If it feels too warm to tap maple sugar — well, that's this (just-ended) winter for you. Today, Jennings Environmental Education Center hosts its annual Maple Sugaring Event. An indoor presentation on maple trees is followed by a guided outdoor walk including a working evaporator and a taste of real maple syrup. Local maple products will also be for sale. BO 2 p.m. 2951 Prospect Road, Slippery Rock. Free. 724-794-6011 or jenningssp@pa.gov

 

Sun., March 25 — Music

Today, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, with orchestra and soloists, presents its season highlight. It's a performance at East Liberty Presbyterian Church of Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor, featuring solos and four-, five- and eight-part choruses, followed by the choir singing a capella in Copland's In the Beginning. Mildred Miller Posvar, the famed mezzo-soprano and founder of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, coached Mendelssohn chorister and Regional Metropolitan Auditions Winner Andrey Nemzer to sing the solo. MO 3 p.m. 116 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. $5-25. 888-718-4253 or www.themendelssohn.org

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Wed., March 28 — Words

International aid worker turned novelist Stephen Dau revisits his home turf both in his debut novel and to promote it. Dau's The Book of Jonas is about a teen-age refugee from a Muslim country, sent to live with a Christian family in Pittsburgh after he's left orphaned by a U.S. mortar attack. Dau, an area native and Pitt grad, did relief work in Eastern Europe and Bosnia. The new novel has garnered strong reviews. Tonight, Dau reads and signs at Writers LIVE, at the Oakland Carnegie Library. BO 6 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. Registration recommended at 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org.

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Thu., March 29 — Words

The University of Pittsburgh's Asia Over Lunch lecture series brings you "China's America," a lecture by Jay Jing Li, associate professor of history at Duquesne University. In today's brown-bag lecture, Li discusses his book China's America: The Chinese View the United States, 1900-2000 (SUNY Press), in which he examines changing Chinese perspectives of the U.S. through various eras and monumental socioeconomic shifts. The book was named one of 2011's Top 25 academic books by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. MO Noon. Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland. Free. 412-648-7370 or asia@pitt.edu

Tom Kalin and Swoon
  • Tom Kalin and Swoon

Thu., March 29 — Words

Back in 1992, Tom Kalin's film Swoon, about the infamous 1920s Leopold and Loeb child-murder case, helped launch what became known as the New Queer Cinema, and a fresh take on sexuality in popular culture. Kalin is now also a writer, activist and internationally exhibited artist. Today, he visits Carnegie Mellon University's Center for the Arts in Society to present "Fiction/Nonfiction," a talk exploring the tension between the two in his work. On Friday, he marks Swoon's 20th anniversary with a special screening at The Andy Warhol Museum. BO 4:30 p.m. (Porter Hall 100, CMU campus, Oakland; free; www.cmu.edu/cas). Swoon screening: 8 p.m. Fri., March 30 (117 Sandusky St., North Side; $15; 412-237-8300)

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