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Short List: Week of April 16 - 23

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Thu., April 16 -- Carnival

Tonight's the kick-off for Carnegie Mellon University's Spring Carnival. It's big, it's free, and it's -- for the most part -- open to the public. The good times start with stand-up comedian Zach Galifianakis, he of many a Comedy Central special. Then on Fri., April 17, there's the big outdoor concert, featuring indie rockers The New Pornographers and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. Both events are free, but you'll need a ticket to attend the Galifianakis show (preference given to CMU students) and a wristband for the concert rain-site, both available from the UC Info Desk. Aaron Jentzen Galifianakis: 8 p.m. (7:30 p.m. doors). Midway Tent, Morewood Parking Lot, CMU campus, Oakland. Concert: 8 p.m. Fri., April 17. CFA Lawn, CMU campus, Oakland. 412-268-2105 or activitiesboard.org

 

Thu., April 16 -- Stage

To say it's a lot to do with pigs scarcely does justice to the final play completed by Eugene O'Neill. But the plot of the groundbreaking playwright's tragicomic A Moon for the Misbegotten (first performed in 1947) does involve swine owned by the Hogan family. They're Connecticut Irish circa 1923, tenants of a lost soul named James Tyrone, who scheme to marry him to young Josie to keep the property from going to a pig-offended neighbor. Pittsburgh Public Theater's new production stars Victor Slezak, Beth Wittig and local favorite Tom Atkins as wily Phil Hogan. Broadway veteran Pamela Berlin directs. A week of preview performances begins tonight. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through May 17. O'Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. $35-55 ($15 for ages 26 and younger). 412-316-1600 or www.ppt.org

 

Thu., April 16 -- Stage

In the new Ireland of a new play by Robert Isenberg, economic fortunes rise, family ties stay strong -- and three cousins plot to assassinate the British Prime Minister. Isenberg, a burgeoning playwright (and CP theater reviewer) wrote Carbomb after first-hand research in the Republic of Ireland. The Duquesne University Red Masquers premiere the mix of humor, politics and tragedy starting tonight. The student cast is directed by veteran John E. Lane Jr. BO 8 p.m. Continues through April 25. Peter Mills Auditorium, Rockwell Hall, Duquesne campus, Uptown. $6 ($4 students/seniors). 412-396-6215

 

Thu., April 16 -- Stage

Phase 3 Productions concludes its freshman season with a new play about a father who considers his daughter a freak -- because an exhibit at the 1904 World's Fair might be this formerly wealthy Louisiana man's return ticket to prestige. But in Swamp Baby, green-skinned Iriana is more interested in learning who her mother was. David Santiago and Lily Junker star; Melissa Hill Grande directs the show, at the Brew House. Swamp Baby is by Aaron Carter, a young Chicago-based playwright. This is its Pittsburgh premiere, and appears to be its first full production anywhere. BO 8 p.m. Continues through May 3. 2100 Mary St., South Side. $10-15. 412-567-5033 or www.phase3productions.org

 

Fri., April 17 -- Seeds

Gardening season is here, so stop by this weekend's Lawrenceville Blossom Tour to receive a variety of free flower and herb seeds from some 25 merchants. Marketplaces at either end of Butler Street host Fossil Free Fuels, Grow Pittsburgh, local chefs and other enterprises, offering information on greener living and greening your thumbs. Leave the car at home and travel the district in a Green Gears Pedicab, a two-seated cab pulled by a bicycle, available at either marketplace. Jessica Dailey 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Also 11 a.m.-4 p.m. daily Sat., April 18, and Sun., April 19. 3500–5100 Butler Street. Free. www.lawrencevillecorp.org

 

Fri., April 17 -- Sing-along

TV junkies who turned to the Internet during last year's writers' strike may know Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog. Created by Joss Whedon and starring Neil Patrick Harris, the musical film was a Web-only miniseries that garnered a cult following. Tonight, the Pittsburgh Browncoats, a local chapter of the philanthropic Whedon fan group Can't Stop The Serenity, screen Dr. Horrible with lyrics provided for -- you guessed it -- singing along. Proceeds benefit women's-rights group Equality Now. Lydia Heyliger 7:30 p.m. First Unitarian Church, 605 Morewood Ave., Shadyside. $5. 609-635-5001 or cstspittsburgh.webs.com

 

Fri., April 17 -- Dance

Performers in a company like Dance Alloy Theater sometimes help shape new work. The five-member troupe certainly did in the powerful "becoming angels," part of its recent performance, Exposed. This weekend, see the dancers as "official" choreographers in Alloy on Alloy. The evening of six short works is choreographed by Christopher Bandy, Adrienne Misko and Michael Walsh as well as DAT education director Greer Reed-Jones (who also solos, in a work by artistic director Beth Corning). It's performed by the troupe and guests at DAT studio, so seating is limited. BO 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., April 18. Dance Alloy Theater Studio, 5530 Penn Ave., Friendship. $10. 412-363-4321

 

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Fri., April 17 -- Music

Capping three weeks of concerts, recitals and lectures, the Pittsburgh Symphony's Rachmaninoff Festival concludes this weekend with performances of the composer's most famous pieces. Conductor Leonard Slatkin presents "Vocalise" (a vocal composition widely transcribed for instrumentalists) and Rachmaninoff's powerful final composition, "Symphonic Dances." Russian pianist Denis Matsuev performs "Piano Concerto No. 3," one of the most challenging works in the piano repertoire. JD 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., April 18, and 8 p.m. Sun., April 19. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $17.50-84. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

 

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Fri., April 17 -- Taking Over

It's been a busy year for local garage-pop band The Takeover UK: tons of touring with the likes of Army Navy and The Von Bondies; adding new bassist Derek White; writeups in the big mags; and ... what am I forgetting? Oh yes, the band's long-awaited major-label debut, Running with the Wasters. Tonight, Takeover UK celebrates with a local CD release at Brillobox that's sure to be a packed-to-the-walls powderkeg. The show includes the band's fellow Ryko labelmates Gliss and promising locals Satin Gum. AJ 9:30 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 412-621-4900 or www.brillobox.net

 

Sat., April 18 -- Film

If you missed radio-friendly indie-rock superheroes Wilco in their brief stint as unofficial house band of the Three Rivers Arts Festival, fear not. You can spend an evening with the mellow fellows at Melwood Screening Room tonight, as 91.3 WYEP and Pittsburgh Filmmakers present the concert film Wilco: Ashes of American Flags, about the band's 2008 tour. Bookended by a reception and live alt-country twangery into the night, it's a great way to cap off your Record Store Day. Melissa Meinzer 7 p.m. (6:30 p.m. reception and music). 477 Melwood Ave., N. Oakland. $8. 412-682-4111

 

Sat., April 18 -- Music

Calliope House brings two notable acts to its concert series tonight: Boston's Vance Gilbert and longtime blues pianist/guitarist Ann Rabson. Gilbert has plied his soul-tinged folk rock since the early '90s; his velvety voice and groove recall Van Morrison and Boz Scaggs. Rabson has been at it since the early '60s, and takes a more traditional approach, but her boogie-woogie piano licks are similarly infectious. (She's in the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame, which, while it's no Canton, is no small feat.) AM 7:30 p.m. Carnegie Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $35-40. 412-394-3353 or www.calliopehouse.org

 

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Sun., April 19 -- Flowers

Now that spring has probably sorta definitely sprung, you can find gorgeous blooms all over the place outside. But before going completely au naturale, take a final gander at the Spring Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory. Check out springtime stalwarts like tulips, daffodils and intoxicating hyacinths; drive the programmable fountain in the Victoria Room; or hop on the Garden Railroad. The annual exhibit, which closes today, honors Charles Darwin's 200th birthday. MM 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. 700 Frank Curto Drive, Oakland. $10 ($9 students/seniors; $7 children). 412-622-6914 or phipps.conservatory.org

 

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Sun., April 19 -- Sound

Koen Holtkamp and Brendon Anderegg have known each other since childhood and have worked together quite a bit: They attended art school in Chicago, and together are behind the sound-art collective/label apestaartje. As Mountains, they collaborate on ambient soundscapes that transport the listener -- sometimes to a quiet place, sometimes to a world of subtle tension. Their latest album, Choral, is a beautiful structure of electronic music and effects, released by Chicago's venerable Thrill Jockey label. The Brooklyn duo appears tonight at Garfield Artworks, with Death Vessel and Pairdown, in a show produced by CP contributor Manny Theiner. AM 8 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. All ages. $8 ($10 at door). 412-361-2262 or www.garfieldartworks.com

 

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Tue., April 21 -- Singer-Songwriter

One woman probably comes to mind first when you think of a red-haired, piano-playing singer-songwriter with a penchant for wordless murmurs and the dramatic -- but Rachael Sage would prefer you think of her, instead. The New York City-based former thespian and dancer has amassed quite a catalog and since the late '90s, her nonstop touring has included performances alongside Sarah McLachlan and Ani DiFranco. Her latest album is the brand-new Chandelier. Tonight's show, presented by Dave's Music Mine, includes Thadeus MacLaing. AJ 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.) Club Café, 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

 

Tue., April 21 -- Stage

Bertolt Brecht is among the most studied figures in 20th-century drama. The German playwright applied Marxist theory to not merely the content but also the form and production of his works. He changed musical theater through his work starting in the 1920s with Kurt Weill. (Their "Alabama Song" was famously covered by The Doors.) These collaborations take center stage in A Bite of Brecht, Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama's night of cabaret-style theater. The show, written and directed by Robyn Archer and Barbara Mackenzie-Wood, opened April 16 to a sellout first weekend. It continues tonight through Saturday. AM 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. nightly through Sat., April 25, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater, Carnegie Mellon University, Oakland. $15-29. 412-268-2407 or www.cmu.edu/cfa/drama

 

Tue., April 21 -- Slam

The third Tuesday of each month, Shadow Lounge hosts the Steel City Poetry Slam. Spoken-word artists get behind the mic to compete for one of three spots on Pittsburgh's team at this year's slam nationals. Judges decide who'll advance to further rounds; D.J. Brewer masters the ceremonies. You're also free to just show up and listen. BO 9 p.m. 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. $5. 412-412-363-8277 or www.myspace.com/steelcityslam

 

Wed., April 22 -- Book

Thirty years ago, a senseless killing spree changed Southwestern Pennsylvania. Kill for Thrill, criminologist Michael W. Sheetz's new book, details the events that culminated in the fatal shooting of Apollo patrolman Leonard Miller. Sheetz shares his insight as a former Apollo cop and seeks to understand how human life can mean so little to some. Join Sheetz tonight or tomorrow for a discussion and book-signing. JD 6:30 p.m. Penguin Bookshop, 420 Beaver St., Sewickley. Also 7 p.m. Thu., April 23, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, South Side. Free. 843-577-5971

 

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Wed., April 22 -- Comedy

A New Castle native and former Pittsburgher, comic Joshua Sankey brings his hometown humor back to the 'Burgh, headlining tonight at the Improv. Effortlessly smooth and infinitely sarcastic, Sankey's targets range from cyber-geeks and unsolved mysteries to motivational sayings. The opener is Sankey's pal Mark Riccadonna, who likes to recall his days as an undefeated high school wrestler: "You'd be surprised how many forfeits you get when you come out in a pink singlet ... and an erection." JD 8 p.m. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead. $15. 412-625-5233

 

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Wed., April 22 -- Rock

Jeremy Jay's pop songs are deceptively simple: sparsely orchestrated for the most part, and often predicated upon a single repetitive progression, they verge on musically amateurish. But that's seemingly intentional: The music provides a backdrop for explorations of characters and ideas much more complex. The simple sounds make him a great fit for his label, Olympia's K Records (home to Beat Happening, Microphones and Kimya Dawson), but he also brings to mind artists like Dan Bejar's Destroyer. He appears tonight at Gooski's along with Harangue and Julie Sokolow. AM 9 p.m. 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. $6. 412-681-1658

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