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Short List: Week of April 7 - 14

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Thu., April 7 -- Words

While graduates of Taylor Allderdice High have graced the cover of Rolling Stone (see "Khalifa, Wiz"), few have gone on to be members of a musical group voted "Beijing Band of the Year." But writer, stay-at-home dad and rock-star-in-China Alan Paul can claim that distinction. All the details, and other ex-pat shenanigans, are found in Paul's new book on his three years abroad, Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming A Star in Beijing (Harper). Paul visits the Waterfront Barnes and Noble tonight. Lucy Steigerwald 7 p.m., 100 W. Bridge St., West Homestead. Free. 412-462-5743

 

Thu., April 7 -- Words

Author Lydia Davis, say many critics, inhabits a genre all but to herself. She's best known for her experimental stories, some as brief as a sentence. Reviewing her collected stories, the New Yorker's James Woods praised "a body of work probably unique in American writing, in its combination of lucidity, aphoristic brevity, formal originality, sly comedy, metaphysical bleakness, philosophical pressure, and human wisdom." Davis, who teaches at SUNY Albany, has also written The End of the Story: A Novel, and translated Proust, Foucault and Flaubert (including last year's Madame Bovary). She speaks tonight at the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series. BO 8:30 p.m. Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Schenley Drive (off Schenley Plaza), Oakland. Free. 412-624-6508 or www.creativewriting.pitt.edu

 

ART BY MICHELANGELO LOVELACE SR.
  • Art by Michelangelo Lovelace Sr.

Fri., April 8 -- Art

In Call of Duty: Operation 100, Korean-born artist Sung Rok Choi uses video animation to explore the relationship between his family history and 100 years of Korean politics (including a 19th-century military conflict with the U.S.). In Living for the City, painter Michelangelo Lovelace Sr. explores urban environments in an outsider-artist style. Halo: An Exhibit of Things Secular and Sacred, is a Pittsburgh Society of Artists show juried by local artist Michael Lotenero; Extremes, juried by Jill Larson, asked members of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh to explore that theme. These and four other new shows open tonight with a reception at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. BO 5:30-8 p.m. Exhibits continue through May 22. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. $5 donation requested. 412-361-0873 or www.pittsburgharts.org

 

Fri., April 8 -- Film

If you've had trouble in years past getting tickets to the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, you're in luck. This year the showcase of short films about extreme sports (snowboarding, spelunking, whitewater kayaking) and adventure travel from around the globe expands from two to three days, all at the Byham Theater. As always, Venture Outdoors is the local sponsor. Tonight's the first screening for this 35th annual fest, though each of the three days highlights six different films. BO 7 p.m. Also 7 p.m. Sat., April 9, and 2 p.m. Sun., April 10. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $12.75-23.75. www.ventureoutdoors.org

 

Sat., April 9 -- Film

Even the environmentally conscious among us sometimes fret more about what their food comes in -- paper or plastic? -- than about the environmental consequences of the food itself. How beef production devastates rainforests, for instance. A leader in raising such concerns is author John Robbins, whose 1987 best-seller Diet for a New America advocated plant-based eating for the health of both the planet and its people. The film version of the book screens today as part of Eating Green -- The Power of Your Fork, a presentation by certified natural-health counselor Rosemary Trail at Fern Hollow Nature Center. A discussion (and of course, food) round out the program. BO 10 a.m. 1901 Glen Mitchell Road, Sewickley Heights. $20. Reservations required at 412-741-6136 or fhnc@verizon.net.

 

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Sat., April 9 -- Words

In a 2009 New York Times "Modern Love" essay, Laura Munson wrote about the crisis her marriage suffered when her husband announced that he didn't love her and perhaps never had. Somehow, Munson had the self-help habit and enough Zen within to let her husband figure out for himself that he didn't want to leave. Her much-discussed column became a 2010 book, This Is Not the Story You Think It Is ... A Season of Unlikely Happiness (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam). Munson reads and signs at the Penguin Bookshop this afternoon. LS 1 p.m. 420 Beaver St., Sewickley. Free. 412-741-3838 or www.penguinbookshop.com

 

Sat., April 9 -- Dance

In its Second Saturdays series, the always-inventive Pillow Project cultivates a laid-back jazz-lounge atmosphere, but there's plenty going on: improvisational performances with live multimedia. As the series begins its fourth season tonight, the program features [in the motion of light], described as an "evening-length jazz study of defining color and light through emotional tone and physicality." The night includes the troupe's dance interpretation of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, plus works featuring live video-projection effects and live music. BO 8 p.m. 214 N. Lexington St., North Point Breeze. Suggested donation: $10. 412-225-9269 or www.pillowproject.org

 

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Sat., April 9 -- Comedy

Todd Barry, who appears tonight at the Smiling Moose, is so drearily deadpan that sometimes it takes a second to realize he's just told a joke. Not that Barry's comedy is about punchlines -- he's been known to read the newspaper to comedic effect. He's appeared in Darren Aronofsky's film The Wrestler and even as the number 7 on Sesame Street, in a rather dark dramatization of the old "why is 6 afraid of 7" joke. But comedy fans will know him from Delocated, Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist and Louie. Barry co-headlines with Neil Hamburger, plus special guest Brendon Walsh. Margaret Welsh 10 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $20. 1-800-745-3000 or www.smiling-moose.com

 

PHOTO BY ELLEN APPEL
  • Photo by Ellen Appel

Mon., April 11 -- Music

A world-renowned string quartet visits the Carnegie Music Hall tonight. Takács Quartet formed in Budapest in 1975 and still boasts two original members, Karoly Schranz and Andras Fejer. Along with violinist Edward Dusinberre and violist Geraldine Walther, the Boulder, Co.-based outfit performs works by Haydn ("The Rider"), Bartok (Quartet No. 1, Op. 7) and Schubert (Quartet No. 15 in G major, D887). BO 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-35. 412-624-4129 or www.pittsburghchambermusic.org

 

Mon., April 11 -- Music

Keir Neuringer plays saxophone in ways you've likely never heard. The avant-garde improv musician and performance artist, who augments his works with texts and readings, takes the instrument to extremes -- with the physicality of his playing style, and the tonal complexities of his sometimes deceptively simple-sounding pieces. He's collaborated with plenty of notables, and has played extensively with Ensemble Klang, based in The Hague. Winding down a solo tour that's taken him through Canada and the Midwest, he plays tonight at Box Heart Gallery. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 4523 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. All ages. 412-687-8858 or info@accordionanarchy.com

 

COURTESY OF RONN PALM
  • Courtesy of Ronn Palm

Tue., April 12 -- Exhibit

Sesquicentennials don't happen every day. So the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, in Carnegie, marks the 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter (otherwise known as the start of the Civil War) with Civil War Memories, an exhibition of photos. One collection includes originals from Ronn Palm, who owns a Gettysburg Civil War museum consisting of more than 8,000 images. The other is courtesy of James Meldrum, who spent years photographing Civil War re-enactors. Both men attend the opening reception tonight. The photo exhibit continues through May 14. LS 5 p.m. 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie. Free. 412-276-3456 or www.CarnegieCarnegie.com

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