Short List: October 8 - 16 | Short List | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Short List: October 8 - 16

Moroccan choreographer Hind Benali's Identity; PICT tackles Macbeth; literary legend Chuck Kinder's poetry reading; comic Anthony Jeselnik at the Byham.

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SPOTLIGHT: Fri., Oct. 10 — Dance

Moroccan-based dancer/choreographer Hind Benali's new work, Identity, began as a solo journey of self-discovery after the deaths of her two grandmothers in the same year. Both were of Algerian decent, and both lived with her. "All the traditional parts of my identity came from them," Benali said recently by telephone from Washington, D.C., where the company was performing the work. "The question then became, ... would I end up leaving tradition behind?" The hour-long work, presented by the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and performed by Benali and her troupe Fleur d'Orange at The Alloy Studios, grew when Benali asked Franco-Moroccan hip-hop dancer Soufiane Karim and composer/musician Mohcine Imrharn to create their own journeys of self-discovery. The resulting contemporary-dance work in three parts, performed to recorded and live music by Imrharn, traces a path from ancestry and tradition through contemporary Moroccan culture, religion and gender politics. Adding to the texture, lyrical calligraphy by Moroccan artist Yacine Fadhil will be projected on the stage and dancers. "There is an evolution in the work that starts with something calm and beautiful and ends up with internal conflict," says Benali. "We are split in two as Moroccans, we want to stick to our traditions, but we also want to be, like everyone does, free." Steve Sucato 8 p.m. Fri., Oct. 10, and 8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 11. The Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Ave., Friendship. $10-25. 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org

Thu., Oct. 09 — Talk

His life might not be Almost Famous material, but Alex Ross is among the country's pre-eminent music writers: Music critic for The New Yorker for nearly 20 years, Ross is the go-to authority on contemporary composers and the current state of classical, and sometimes even pop, music. Tonight, he visits Carnegie Mellon to speak on a topic that should hold the attention of the arts-meets-technology crowd there — "Phonographic Music: Composers and the Early Era of Reproduction." The lecture is free. Andy Mulkerin 7 p.m. McConomy Auditorium, University Center, CMU campus, Oakland. 412-268-7176 or www.cmu.edu/hss/humanities-center/

Thu., Oct. 9 — Stage

"Between the joys of summer and before the bleakness of winter is the perfect time to enjoy Shakespeare," touts PICT Classic Theatre's Alan Stanford in press materials. PICT's artistic and executive director directs a Halloween-season run of Macbeth starting tonight. David Whalen, perhaps Pittsburgh's busiest stage actor, returns for his ninth PICT season to play the Scottish king. Gayle Pazerski plays Lady Macbeth in an atmospheric production that Stanford says will be true to the text, though not to the fashions of Shakespeare's era. Danielle Fox 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 25. Cahrity Randall Theatre, 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $7-54. 412-561-6000 or www.picttheatre.org

Thu., Oct. 9 — Stage

Tonight at the Byham Theater, six famous fictional detectives confront one cloudy Western Pennsylvania metropolis and its seemingly intractable mysteries. It's Off the Record, the annual musical satire in which reporters and editors from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, local stage talent and other celebrities lampoon Pittsburgh news and newsmakers for a good cause. The 14th edition, Mysteries of Pittsburgh!, is emceed by Ken Rice and benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Expect mention of Sally Kalson: The feisty and popular longtime P-G columnist, who over the years played a key role in Off the Record, recently died of ovarian cancer. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. (6:30 p.m. hors d'oeuvres and cash bar). 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $25-75. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra hosts Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber
  • Photo courtesy of Lisa Mazzuco

Fri., Oct. 10 — Music

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra hosts Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber and Spanish guitar phenom Pablo Sáinz Villegas in their Pittsburgh debuts in a program titled "Spanish Strings." Sáinz Villegas (pictured), praised by The New York Times for his "beautifully rounded guitar tone," performs Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra." The program begins with Debussy's "Petite Suite" and ends with Wellber leading Tchaikovsky's virtuosic Manfred Symphony. DF 7:30 p.m. Also 7:30 p.m. Sat., Oct. 11, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Oct. 12. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $25.75-105.75. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

Low Ghost Press by Chuck Kinder
  • Photo courtesy of Diane Cecily

Fri., Oct. 10 — Words

"A gangster gone wild running through the Badlands / Cactus and sand of Death Valley / Goes gushy at a cheap motor court / Over a crippled blond girl with big blues." So goes the High Sierra portion of an epic poem about old movies featured in All That Yellow, a new collection on Low Ghost Press by Chuck Kinder. You might know the self-described "aging hillbilly-hippie poet-type" as a novelist, crypto-memoirist or longtime head of Pitt's graduate writing program (where he mentored, among others, Michael Chabon). In retirement, Kinder writes poems; tonight's movie-themed dual-release event for debut collections Yellow and Imagination Motel (Speed and Briscoe), at ModernFormations Gallery, features guest readers including Jimmy Cvetic, Dave Newman and Taylor Greishober. BO 8 p.m. 4919 Penn Ave., Garfield. $5. www.lowghostpress.blogspot.com

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh Bounce!
  • Image courtesy of Henry Simonds.

Sat., Oct. 11 — Exhibit

Introduced in 1965, by Wham-O, the spectacularly bouncy Super Ball wowed the kids. It especially impressed Pittsburgh native artist and filmmaker Henry J. Simonds, whose International Sphaeralogical Society joined the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh to create the interactive exhibit Bounce! Starting today, the show (based on Simonds' gallery show Super-Ball) lets you: Use a machine to activate hundreds of Super Balls at once; make Super Ball art; play Super Ball games; and see how high you can bounce one of these hyperkinetic wonders. BO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1 Children's Way, North Side. $13-14 (free for kids under 2). 412-322-5058 or www.pittsburghkids.org

Sat., Oct. 11 — Stage

City Theatre opens its season with Outside Mullingar, the new romantic comedy from Pulitzer-, Oscar- and Tony-winning author John Patrick Shanley. The play introduces Anthony, an aging, Irish cattle farmer threatening to rebuke his son's inheritance, and his pining neighbor, Rosemary, who peeks a freckled nose into the family feud. Longtime City Theatre artistic director Tracy Brigden directs the production, which features Ron Menzel, Mary Rawson, Noble Shropshire and Megan Byrne. DF 5:30 p.m. Continues through Nov. 2. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $15-56. 412-431-2489 or www.citytheatrecompany.org

The Mine Factory
  • Art by PJ Zimmerlink

Sat., Oct. 11 — Art

Since resigning as director of The Andy Warhol Museum, in 2010, Tom Sokolowski's been relatively quiet on the local arts scene. But tonight, the ever-opinionated Sokolowski, now an independent curator and consultant, is back in action. Sokolowski selected five of the most innovative artists from the ranks of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh for this short-run show at The Mine Factory. The show, with work by Mark Franchino, Brenda Roger, Elizabeth Amber Rudnick, Bill Wade and PJ Zimmerlink, opens with tonight's reception. BO 6-9 p.m. Exhibit continues through Oct. 25. 201 N. Braddock Ave., Point Breeze. Free. www.aapgh.org

Panza Gallery Pittsburgh Society of Artists' 49th Annual Juried Member Exhibition
  • Art by Dale Schmitt

Sat., Oct. 11 — Art

Congratulations to the award-winners in the Pittsburgh Society of Artists' 49th Annual Juried Member Exhibition: Cristina Saucedo, Dale Schmitt, Janice Schuler and Wes Smith. Their pieces — and 53 other artists' works selected for the exhibit at Panza Gallery — reflect mediums including photography, watercolor and collage. Juror Paul Rosenblatt, an artist and owner of Springboard Design, presents the awards before tonight's opening reception. DF 6 p.m. Exhibit continues through Oct. 28. 115 Sedgwick St., Millvale. Free. 412-821-0959 or www.pittsburghsocietyofartists.org

The Science Center's SpaceOut!
  • Photo courtesy of Ric Evans.

Sat., Oct. 11 — Festival

To celebrate 75 years of planetarium stargazing and the launch of Buhl Academy, the Carnegie Science Center hosts an astronomy weekend. The late Pittsburgh philanthropist Henry Buhl Jr. established The Buhl Foundation, which led to the planetarium and the center's predecessor, the Institute of Popular Science. Now the foundation's academy will create an astronomy education program for local students. The Science Center's SpaceOut! weekend includes recognition of an asteroid named "Henrybuhl" and a shower of events, including talks from local astronomer, opportunities for safe solar observing and sundial-making. DF 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Also 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun., Oct. 12. 1 Allegheny Ave., North Side. $11.95-18.95. 412-237-3400 or www.carnegiesciencecenter.org

Anthony Jeselnik

Thu., Oct. 16 — Comedy

"I just read the biography of the guy who invented Super Mario Brothers," says Anthony Jeselnik. "Do you that when he was a kid, people used to laugh at him when he would kill turtles with a hammer?" The comic with the face of a choir boy ... who just booby-trapped the pastor's cassock ... made his name on Comedy Central roasts, and with comedy talk show The Jeselnik Offensive. His national standup tour brings the Upper St. Clair native with a deliciously twisted sensibility back home tonight to his biggest venue here yet, the Byham Theater. BO 7:30 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $27.50. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

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