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Short List: Week of July 16 - 23

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Happy Birthday Pittsburgh Cultural Trust! You're 25 this week. And what better way to celebrate the Trust's achievement -- transforming Downtown into an arts center over these last two decades -- than with Gallery Crawl? Events and activities take place at 25 -- natch -- locations. Get the lay of the land with a special one-hour walking tour of the Penn-Liberty corridor, offered by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (5:45 p.m., Seventh and Penn avenues). At Space Gallery (812 Liberty Ave.), the Smoke and Mirrors exhibit can be perused with live music from Brooklyn-based Luminescent Orchestrii (pictured above). At the Wood Street Galleries (601 Wood St.), it's Physical Conditions, featuring new works by Henrik Menn, Marnix de Nijs and Edwin van der Heide. Even the humble T-shirt gets a makeover at Counter Couture, at 943 Liberty; graphic artists from The Cotton Factory use the ubiquitous garment to pay homage to the area's earlier days as a red-light district. In the mood for dance? Join Roland Ford's Soul Blast Line Dance (6:30 and 7:45 p.m., Eighth and Penn avenues), or get schooled at Arthur Murray Ballroom Studio (136 Sixth St.). And keep an eye open for roving dance performance from the Mary Miller Dance Company. The adventurous won't want to miss Testify!, a performance of female gospel greats by drag queens; bring your church fan, honey! Needless to say, participants can scope out the proverbial so-much-more: local crafts; live jazz and bluegrass; a meet-up with players from the Pittsburgh Passion; photography exhibits; new installation works; short films at the Harris; and even free snow cones at the First Commonwealth table if you say the secret phrase ("So ... I'll see you First Night."). Big kisses, Cultural Trust, and thanks for the party. Al Hoff 5:30-9 p.m. Fri., July 17. Various locations, Downtown. Free. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org

 

Fri., July 17 -- Stage

The New Olde Bank Theatre's annual festival of one-act plays is titled Escape From the Moral Abyss! But abyssal interludes seem to precede the escape. All five comedies are written by NOB's artistic director/mad scientist Sean Michael O'Donnell, and most sound like insider rips on stage life: a spoof of "serious theater" titled "Mrs. Willy Loman Need Not Apply"; "Three Women in a Theatre, Auditioning"; and "MacBUSH," a satire casting Dick Cheney as Lady Macbeth. O'Donnell and Todd Collar direct. Bill O'Driscoll 7 p.m. Show continues through July 25. 722 Allegheny River Blvd., Verona. $12. Reservations required at 412-251-7904 or www.newobt.com

 

JIM NEWBERRY
  • Jim Newberry

Friday, July 17 -- Music

The Occidental Brothers Dance Band International is, by and large, a band that celebrates the lighter side of Afrobeat. Made up of three Americans and two Ghanaians, the ensemble plays easygoing tunes that combine West African ideas with American jazz and pop techniques. So New Order might be the last band you'd expect the group to cover -- but there it is, on its latest album, Odo Sanbra: an upbeat version of "Bizarre Love Triangle." It stems from guitarist Nathaniel Braddock's realization that the new-wave classic uses a chord progression often found in "highlife" (the genre of Ghanaian music the band plays) -- and it kind of works. The band, which had a little help from Andrew Bird on Odo Sanbra, appears tonight at Club Café. Andy Mulkerin 10 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

 

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Sat., July 18 -- Photography

For more than 40 years, Charles "Teenie" Harris captured life in the city's African-American community as a photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier. He would have turned 101 this month, so to celebrate, the Carnegie Museum of Art put together an exhibition that pairs classic Harris photographs with prize-winning snapshots by kids living in Pittsburgh neighborhoods today. Harris' son selected more than 70 photographs for the show, many of which are images from his own childhood. Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Archive Project, Part Three opens this morning at Forum Gallery. Andrea Bullard 10 a.m. Continues through Nov. 1. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15. ($11 students, children 3-18; $12 seniors). 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org

 

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Sat., July 18 -- Farms

Now's your chance to see where food comes from -- no, not from the supermarket or inaccessible corporate facilities -- but from farms right here in the Pittsburgh region. At the third annual Buy Fresh Buy Local Farm Tour, $10 gets a car-pass to visit fruits, vegetables, cheese and livestock. Drive to any or all of the more than 20 Allegheny County tour stops, and you'll learn about the origins of healthy foods raised using sustainable practices, and the role of local production in preserving rural and urban landscapes. Plus, tasty samples, discounted produce and pick-your-own. AB 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $10. buylocalpa.org

 

Sat, July 18 -- Literary

Among the notable mover-shaker entities within the young lit scene in town is Open Thread, an organization that sponsors regular poetry readings, as well as online and print publications. The group's latest contribution is this weekend's Small Press Festival, a celebration of indie publishing houses. Held at Carnegie Mellon, SPF features an array of vendors representing local publishers and panel discussions and workshops geared toward writers and aspiring publishers. Creative Nonfiction, The New Yinzer and plenty more will be represented. AM Noon-6 p.m.; also Sun., July 19. Purnell Center for the Arts, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $5. www.spfpittsburgh.com

 

Sat., July 18 -- Reading

While the poets and writers at the Gist Street Reading Series are typically good, you could hardly blame anybody who showed up for the food, which has been known to include homemade bread and ice cream. It's all doubly true for the Annual Cookout Extravaganza. Bring a dish to supplement the salads, the desserts and the bounty on the open grill in the friendly confines of the James Simon Sculpture Studio backyard. Oh, yeah: After you eat, there's readings by Spokane, Wash., fiction writer Samuel Ligon and Virginia poet Mary Crockett Hill, both published by Pittsburgh's Autumn House Press. BO 8 p.m. 305 Gist St., Uptown. $5. info@giststreet.org

 

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Mon., July 20 – Book

With the provocatively titled How The Beatles Destroyed Rock 'N' Roll, author Elijah Wald explores an alternative history of pop music in America, examining the truly popular groups and trends -- going back to John Philip Sousa -- instead of music critics' sacred cows. (Wonder what he makes of Nickelback, the execrable but inexplicably successful band playing Post-Gazette Pavilion on July 18?) Tom Waits says the book is "suave, soulful, ebullient and will blow out your speakers." Though Wald currently teaches at UCLA and contributes to the Los Angeles Times, we hear he's done a stint in Pittsburgh in the past -- which we suspect contributed to his contrarian views. He discusses The Beatles' impact on pop music this evening at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Aaron Jentzen 7 p.m. 2705 E. Carson Street, South Side. Free. 412-381-3600 or www.josephbeth.com

 

Tue., July 21 -- Poetry

Just two more weeks remain in this summer's edition of the long-running Hemingway's Poetry Series. Tonight, join Ellen McGrath, Justin Vicari, Jeff Oaks and fight-promoter and ex-cop poet Jimmy Cvetic for lively verse at the venerable Oakland watering hole. On July 28 comes the series' "grand finale," with up to a dozen poets letting the meter run. BO 8 p.m. 3911 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-621-4100 or jbauer103w@aol.com

 

Wed., July 22 -- Music

When these irreverent lads fell somewhat out of favor following 1994's airwaves-saturating Dookie, few would have guessed that Green Day would be ending the next decade as a critically acclaimed commercial juggernaut, a classic act that still attracts a young audience. Could you imagine, say, The Offspring suddenly releasing a chart-busting, politically charged rock opera, like Green Day's American Idiot? No, you can't. And the band shows no sign of slowing down with this year's 21st Century Breakdown -- well done, gentlemen. AJ 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.). Mellon Arena, Downtown. $25-49.50. 412-642-1800 or www.mellonarena.com


Thu., July 23 -- Reading

The Iranian government stripped bookstores of Moniro Ravanipour's fiction in 2007, threatened by her stark portrayal of the lives and concerns of women. Ravanipour, who has led the campaign against the stoning of women in her country, reads from her incendiary work tonight in Iran Unveiled, part of WYEP's American Shorts series. Pittsburgh-based writer Anahita Firouz, whose novel In the Walled Gardens challenges stereotypes about Iranian religious culture, also reads. A Q&A, music and refreshments will follow. AB 7 p.m. 67 Bedford Sq., South Side. $10. 412-456-6666

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