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Short List: November 12 - 18

Science with puppets at Phipps; Intergalactic Nemesis: Target Earth at the Byham; local boxers at Consol; Napoleon biographer at Monday Night Lectures

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SPOTLIGHT: Sat., Nov. 14 -- Stage

Isla Hansen and Tucker Marder are interested in science and technology, but no PowerPoints for them, please. The two Carnegie Mellon University graduate art students have matched scientists with area artists for Encountering the Unseen, which they describe as "artist-actualized lectures on contemporary topics in microbiology." The free Nov. 14 event grew from both their puppetry work and their interest in new developments in microbiology. In particular, they were intrigued by the "gut-brain axis," or how intestinal fauna are understood to affect people's emotions and mental health in ways formerly attributed to psychology. Hansen and Marder are among the seven artists, performers and puppeteers who'll join a small brass band to illuminate talks like "The Human Microbiome & The Gut-Brain Axis," by Chatham University microbiology professor Sherie L. Edenborn, and one about tree-root microbes's impact on climate change, by UC Berkeley doctoral candidate Evan Starr. Hansen promises "a lot of scaled-up bodily functions"; Marder says he and Hansen, for instance, will supplement a talk on predatory bacteria in ophthalmic microbiology with "a 6-foot-diameter eyeball, a giant puppet on a pole." Phipps Conservatory's Botany Lecture Hall surely hasn't seen anything like it. "The main goal," says Marder, "is to figure out if spectacle and humor can create meaning." Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Fri., Nov. 14. 1 Schenley Drive, Oakland. Free. Limited seating; RSVP at "Encountering the Unseen" Facebook event page.

Eco Art PGH

Thu., Nov. 13 -- Art

"The future" plus "the environment" typically inspires thoughts of dystopia. But Eco Art PGH solicited local college students for visual interpretations of a future Pittsburgh that's more sustainable — economically, environmentally or otherwise. Artist Ziggy Sawdust, the office of state Sen. Jim Ferlo and PGH Green Innovators organized the contest, which includes cash prizes. Tonight's event, at Pittsburgh Opera headquarters, includes DJs and live music, light refreshments and complimentary adult beverages. Proceeds benefit PGH Green Innovators and the Larimer Green team. Bill O'Driscoll 7-10 p.m. 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. $15-20. 412-621-3006 or www.pghgreeninnovators.org

Seth Clark is one of Pittsburgh's higher-profile young artists
  • Art by Seth Clark

Thu., Nov. 13 -- Art

Seth Clark is one of Pittsburgh's higher-profile young artists, known for striking collages that evoke collapsing buildings. Though widely exhibited, he's trying a new business model. Through his Studio Direct program, Clark invited eight patrons to each pre-purchase a work, which he had a year to complete; the funds supported his studio practice. The finished works are part of Studio Direct, a collection of Clark's newest works. The opening reception at The Union Hall is tonight. BO 7-10 p.m. Exhibit continues through Dec. 31. 2216 Penn Ave. (second floor), Strip District. Free. www.sethclark.com

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Thu., Nov. 13 -- Cabaret

Forgo makeup; local performers Anna Elder and Rebecca Covert will make you blush naturally with their show Indecent Divas, "a cabaret with sass and questionable class." Decorum aside, the pair present an hour-and-a-half of comedy with blues, modern pop and show tunes sung with a three-piece band, plus an encore titled "Pure Filth." This week's four performances at Off The Wall Theater begin tonight, with "special guest diva" Brian Edward, of Burgh Vivant. Danielle Fox 8 p.m. Continues 8 p.m. nightly through Sun., Nov. 16. 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $10-20 (encore is additional $5). 724-873-3576 or www.insideoffthewall.com

Pride of Pittsburgh II, Monty Meza-Clay
  • Photo by Heather Mull.

Fri., Nov. 14 -- Sport

Since becoming a boxing promoter last year, Mike Tyson has shown that he loves Pittsburgh fighters and producing shows in the Steel City. After a sold-out televised event here in August, Tyson returns with Pride of Pittsburgh II. While the event is headlined by undefeated Monessen welterweight Sammy Vasquez Jr., the must-see fight is between local pugs Monty Meza-Clay, of Rankin — ranked 15th by the World Boxing Council — and "Lighting" Rod Salka, of Bunola. The two Mon Valley lightweights battle for the vacant WBC/Central American Boxing Federation title tonight at Consol Energy Center. Charlie Deitch 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. $42-250. www.consolenergycenter.com

Fri., Nov. 14 -- Music

George Takei takes the helm at Heinz Hall for a Sci-Fi Spectacular. Star Trek's original Mr. Sulu and conductor Jack Everly lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra through scores from classic science-fiction television and movies, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Since his days aboard the USS Enterprise, Takei has become famous for his voice talents and social-media wit, and has guest-narrated similar concerts nationally. Other guests include vocalist Kristen Plumley and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. DF 7:30 p.m. Also 7:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 15, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Nov. 16. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

The Intergalactic Nemesis: Target Earth

Fri., Nov. 14 -- Stage

Comic books meet theater in the Pittsburgh premiere of live-action graphic novel The Intergalactic Nemesis: Target Earth. Written by Chad Nichols and Jason Neulander, the comedic touring show is a science-fiction adventure set in the 1930s and performed like an old-school live radio broadcast, but featuring a backdrop of more than 1,250 comic-book-style panels projected on a screen. Actors Rachel Landon, Brock England and Christopher Lee Gibson perform at the Byham Theater to a live score, with original sound effects from Kelly Matthews. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust event includes a post-show book-signing. DF 8 p.m. 101 Sixth Ave., Downtown. $14-45. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

Contemporary Choreographers
  • Photo courtesy of Jeff Swensen

Fri., Nov. 14 -- Dance

A strong and varied line-up of contributors highlights the annual Contemporary Choreographers show from Point Park University's Conservatory Dance Company. Choreographers collaborating with the school's student performers include: Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell; internationally known performer and choreographer Luke Murphy; North Carolina-based David Morse; and Ronin Koresh, of Philadelphia's critically acclaimed Koresh Dance Company. Tonight is the first of eight performances over two weekends at Downtown's George R. White Performance Studio. BO 8 p.m. Performances continue through Nov. 23. 201 Wood St., Downtown. $18-20. 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com

Cirk La Putyka brings its Slapstick Sonata

Sat., Nov. 15 -- Circus

Blending classical music and comedy, contemporary circus Cirk La Putyka brings its Slapstick Sonata show from the Czech Republic to the Hillman Center for Performing Arts. One part slapstick comedy, one part Mozart, the show is set in a dark warehouse, where the graveyard-shift laborers reveal themselves as boisterous performers. The Hillman Performing Arts Series presents the 20 musicians, actors, acrobats, puppeteers and dancers following a pre-show festival Eastern European crafts, snacks and face-painting. DF 7:30 p.m. 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel. $15-28. 412-968-3040 or www.thehillman.org

Sun., Nov. 16 -- Food

Sixty vendors let you sample the flavors of the season at the Third Annual Farm to Table Harvest Tasting. Today's event has a new location — Pittsburgh Public Market and Wigle Whiskey, both in the Strip — and showcases food purveyors, chefs and area farmers. If you're looking to try new artisanal cheeses and breads, locally raised meats, sauces, jams, craft beers and more, this is probably the place to be. BO 3-7 p.m. 2401 Penn Ave., Strip District. $10-35. 412-657-3028 or www.farmtotablepa.com

Sun., Nov. 16 -- Drag

Dare we call it "venerable"? At 22 years, the Miss Tri-State All-Star Pageant is certainly Pittsburgh's longest-running drag contest (but doesn't look a day over 20). As organized by Kierra Darshell, it's back at the Cabaret at Theater Square. Queens will compete in the evening-gown and talent categories to succeed last year's winner, Kourtney Brown. The evening includes a cash bar and food service. BO 7:30 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. $25-30. www.kierradarshell.com

Andrew Roberts at Carnegie Music Hall

Mon., Nov. 17 -- Words

Andrew Roberts, whom The Economist hailed as "Britain's finest military historian," comes to Carnegie Music Hall tonight to discuss Napoleon Bonaparte at the Monday Night Lectures. Robert has visited 53 of Bonaparte's 60 battle sites, and pored over 33,000 of his surviving letters. He's worked his findings into Napoleon: A Life, the first biography to include the lengthy correspondence. Roberts also wrote the bestselling World War II history The Storm of War, and is a frequent broadcast-news commentator on England's royal family. DF 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-35. 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org

Thu., Nov. 20 -- Words

Poetic, political and wise, fiction writer NoViolet Bulawayo paints the complexities of her home county, Zimbabwe, in a glaring light. Author of Hitting Budapest, Snapshots, and We Need New Names, the latter a critically acclaimed novel about displacement and immigration, Bulawayo aims to "write stories that don't normally get told," she has said. Bulawayo, 32, has won the Caine Prize for African Writing, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and, now, the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Brown Literary Award. Tonight, she visits Frick Fine Arts Auditorium as part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series. DF 8:30 p.m. 650 Schenley Drive, Oakland. Free. www.writing.pitt.edu

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