Short List: October 21 - 28 | Short List | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Short List: October 21 - 28

Pittsburgh Ballet’s ambitious season-opener; The Propeller Group at the Carnegie; SuicideGirls’ Blackheart Burlesque; a new Westmoreland Museum of American Art

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SPOTLIGHT: Fri., Oct. 23 — Dance

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre opens its season in ambitious style with a bill of three masterworks by three of dance’s greatest choreographers. Mixed Repertory #1, Oct. 23-25 at the Benedum Center, brings back George Balanchine’s energetic Americana ballet “Western Symphony” (1954). Last performed by the PBT in 1997, the non-narrative, Old West-themed ballet is set to music by composer Hershy Kay, to be performed live by the PBT Orchestra; the work blends the charm of a classic Western musical with the brilliance of Balanchine’s choreography. The other two works are company premieres. William Forsythe’s “In the Middle Somewhat Elevated” (1987) has been called “the work that changed ballet forever” by London’s The Guardian. Classical ballet’s version of “voguing,” the compellingly virtuosic ballet is set to a prerecorded futuristic electronic score by Thom Willems. Forsythe describes the work as “a theme and variations in the strictest sense.” Finally, set to music of the same name by Leoš Janáček (to be played live), Czech choreographer Jiřί Kylián’s “Sinfonietta” (1978) is literally a feet-stamping romp, a gallop and burst of contemporary-ballet genius that is the cherry on top of a landmark production in PBT’s 46-year history. Steve Sucato 8 p.m. Fri., Oct. 23; 8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 24; and 2 p.m. Sun., Oct. 25. 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $28-110. 412-456-6666 or www.pbt.org

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Thu., Oct. 22 — Art

We often think of funerals as drab affairs where everyone is dressed in black, but the Carnegie Museum of Art’s new video-based exhibition The Propeller Group: The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music challenges that idea. Created by The Propeller Group, a Los Angeles-based collective, it’s a visual and musical look at colorful, spirited funeral traditions in South Vietnam and New Orleans. The exhibit opens with tonight’s free screening and artist talk. Kelechi Urama 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org 

PHOTO COURTESY OF VINCENT NOE
  • Photo courtesy of Vincent Noe

Thu., Oct. 22 — Stage

University of Pittsburgh Stages presents the Pittsburgh premiere of the 2012 Pulitzer-winning play Water by the Spoonful, about a troubled Iraq veteran and the four people he meets in an online chatroom. New York-based playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes is best known for writing the book for the Tony-award winning musical In the Heights. This production, directed by Ricardo Vila-Roger, gets its first performance in Henry Heymann Theatre tonight. KU 8 p.m. Continues through Nov. 1. 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. $12-25. 412-624-7529 or www.play.pitt.edu 

Fri., Oct. 23 — Stage 

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents The Nayika Project, a family-friendly performance blending dance, theater and spoken word to tell the story of two women embarking on a quest for the ultimate love. The show, featuring classical Kuchipudi dance, hip hop and spoken word, stars playwright, director and hip-hop artist Paige Hernandez and dancer Chitra Kalyandurg. The Nayika Project, staged at Downtown’s Pierce Studio, continues the Trust’s India in Focus festival. KU 10 a.m. and noon. Also 2 and 8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 24. 805-807 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10.50. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org 

ART BY MARY MAZZIOTTI
  • Art by Mary Mazziotti

Fri., Oct. 23 — Art

A memento mori is a little something to remind us we’re going to die. And Mary M. Mazziotti is as on-message as anyone. The internationally exhibited Pittsburgh-based artist faces mortality with droll dark humor. Her new exhibit at borelli-edwards galleries, Memento Mori, is subtitled “embroidered textiles reflecting the transient nature of life.” The three new bodies of work on exhibit starting with tonight’s opening reception explore medieval-inspired imagery, the texts of jokes and complex patterns that disintegrate — kind of like we all will. Bill O’Driscoll 6-9 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through Nov. 14. 3583 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 412-687-2606 or www.begalleries.com

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Fri., Oct. 23 — Comedy

Jamie Lissow performs five shows over three days at Pittsburgh Improv. The Los Angeles-based comic had a half-hour Comedy Central stand-up special in 2009, and has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Late Show and Last Comic Standing. Lissow also stars with Rob Schneider on the upcoming Netflix series Real Rob. KU 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Continues through Sun., Oct. 25. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead. $17. 412-462-5233 or www.pittsburgh.improv.com

Fri., Oct. 23 — Comedy

What to do with a low-budget 1966 cult-classic devil-worship thriller that has a 0 percent critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes? That is widely considered one of the worst films ever? That people know of only because Mystery Science Theater 3000 mocked it? Well, you stage your own live reading of Manos the Hands of Fate — with an all-female cast. Matt Buchholz’s Alternate Histories teams with Arcade Comedy Theater for WoManos The Hands of Fate tonight. BO 8 p.m. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10. 412-339-0698 or www.arcadecomedytheater.com

ART BY JANE HASKELL
  • Art by Jane Haskell

Sat., Oct. 24 — Art

“Without light, there is no life,” wrote Jane Haskell. The Pittsburgh-based artist, who died in 2013, created numerous local exhibitions where light dominated. She also served as a board member at Carnegie Museum of Art. To celebrate her influence, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh holds the opening reception for Jane Haskell: Drawing in Light, the first in-depth examination of Haskell’s work. The exhibition, at the Fine Perlow Weiss Gallery and Berger Gallery, includes about 30 light sculptures, paintings and drawings. KU 6-9 p.m. 5738 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. Free. 412-521-8010 or www.jccpgh.org 

Sat., Oct. 24 — Party

The venerable Westmoreland Museum of American Art looks pretty much totally different than the last time you saw it. In a lengthy overhaul that closed the building down, the Greensburg landmark’s exterior was modernized, with new landscaping, and its interior is nearly 50 percent larger, including new space for both exhibits and education and community programming. This weekend offers two chances to celebrate. Tonight’s Sky’s the Limit Grand Reopening Dance Party (7:30-11 p.m.; $75) features Tracksploitation, DJ Gordy and live music by Beauty Slap. (A VIP pre-party and cocktail party are sold out.) On Sun., Oct. 25, the museum’s Free Community Day (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) offers live entertainment including Colonel Eagleburger’s Highstepping Goodtime Band, puppet shows, puppet-making and more. BO 221 N. Main St., Greensburg. 724-837-1500 or www.thewestmoreland.org

Sat., Oct. 24 — Burlesque

Any burlesque worth its saltiness is also dosed with humor. But SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque’s geek-culture spin on this classic art form has been earning it world tours and sold-out halls. The show, produced by online alt-beauty/indie-culture community SuicideGirls, costumes its high-energy striptease numbers in Star Wars stormtrooper masks, Clockwork Orange derbies, Donnie Darko bunnysuits and more, from Zelda to Orange is the New Black. The fall tour hits the Rex Theater tonight. BO 9 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $30 (VIP: $90). 21 and over. rex.greyareaprod.com

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Mon., Oct. 26 — Words

When Condé Naste announced the end of Gourmet magazine after a 68-year run, no one was more surprised than then-editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl. She channeled her reaction to Gourmet’s closing into a cookbook, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life (Random House). Through her attention to detail, Reichl, a New York-based memoirist, restaurateur and six-time James Beard Award-winner, changed the way we think about cooking. Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Monday Night Lectures series hosts Reichl tonight at Carnegie Music Hall. KU 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-30. 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org 

PHOTO COURTESY OF NATHAN JOHNSON
  • Photo courtesy of Nathan Johnson

Tue., Oct. 27 — Stage

A Brooklyn kid becomes a songwriter with dozens of signature hits and, eventually, a name performer herself. But from “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” to her iconic album Tapestry, Carole King is also the subject of a Tony- and Grammy-winning show. Beautiful — The Carole King Musical combines her famous tunes with King’s personal story of heartbreak and rebirth, and her relationships with the likes of songwriting partner Gerry Goffin. Starting tonight, the North American tour of Beautiful visits the Benedum Center for eight shows courtesy of PNC Broadway in Pittsbugh. Abby Mueller stars as King. BO 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., Nov. 1. 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $45-100. 412-456-4800 or www.trustarts.org

Wed., Oct. 28 — Comics

Ed Piskor’s critically acclaimed, internationally selling graphic history of hip hop keeps rolling. The Pittsburgh-based artist’s obsessively detailed, wildly entertaining books, done in classic-comics fashion, are up to Hip Hop Family Tree Book 3, covering 1983-84 and the rise of such icons as Run-DMC, The Fat Boys and the Beastie Boys, and the formation of Def Jam Recordings. Piskor himself breaks for a book-signing today at Phantom of the Attic Comics. BO 4-7 p.m. 411 Craig St., Oakland. 412-621-1210 or www.phantom-attic.com


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