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Short List: Week of June 11 - 18

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In the 40 years since the riots at New York's Stonewall Inn galvanized the LGBT community into organized action against systematic oppression, there have been ups and downs, but plenty worth celebrating. This week, Pittsburgh's community and allies do just that. 2009 Pittsburgh Pride -- Your Rights, Our Rights, Human Rights begins Thu., June 11, with events ranging from free and family-friendly to swank nightlife affairs. Getting things started is 10-time Grammy nominee Me'Shell Ndegeocello. The neo-soul singer and bassist gives the new August Wilson Center for African American Culture's first live concert. On Friday night, sample a baker's dozen of LGBT-friendly spots around town. Buses will ferry folks between the locations, and each spot has a special for tour participants, ranging from a free drink to a tasty snack to help soak up all the fun in your tummy. Saturday sees the fourth Dyke March, celebrating and claiming space for women-loving-women. (Meet at 2 p.m. on the Carnegie Mellon University lawn; the march steps off at 3.) Saturday night, Pride in the Street takes over Liberty Avenue, Downtown. Tony- and Grammy-winning Dreamgirls songstress Jennifer Holliday, hip-hop duo God Des & She and DJ Phil B. bring the party to the streets. And Sunday welcomes the Pride Awareness March, beginning Downtown at noon, and PrideFest, an afternoon of performance, advocacy, information and, of course, food. There's plenty more, too -- performances, happy hours, a brunch and church services. See the full calendar at www.pittsburghpride.org. Melissa Meinzer Pittsburgh Pride continues through Sun., June 14. Various locations and times (412-246-4451). Me'Shell Ndegeocello concert: $20-25 (August Wilson Center, Downtown; 412-258-2700). June 12 Pub Crawl: $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

 

Courtesy of Renee Rosensteel
  • Courtesy of Renee Rosensteel

Fri., June 12 -- Gospel

There's always something inspiring about Fridays. And that's even without the brand-new Friday Lunchtime Gospel Music Series. Following its Pittsburgh Spirit and Soul all-city choir performances last year, Pittsburgh Gospel hosts these free weekly Downtown brown-bag concerts, which combine the talents of the Rev. Deryck Tines with those of selected area singers. Today, hear classic gospel of the sort once sung by Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland. Bill O'Driscoll Noon-1 p.m. 937 Penn Ave. (third floor), Downtown. Free. www.pittsburghgospel.com

 

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Friday, June 12 -- Art

Contemporary art is often called cynical. At least the artists in Smoke & Mirrors admit they might be faking it. Guest curator Jesse Hulcher has gathered at Space 20 artists who "perform, impersonate or hide behind an alias or a contrived level of intellect or artistic skill ... for an exhibition of tricks, fakes and lies in a world that is sincere." Sincerity, of course, can also be faked. Anyhow, Hulcher's accomplices include Brooklyn's Cory Arcangel; Pittsburgh's Eileen Maxson; former Pittsburghers Olivia Ciummo, Thad Kellstadt and Jesse McLean; and the internationally exhibited likes of Paper Rad's Jacob Ciocci and Texas-based Mike Smith. The show opens tonight -- for real. BO Opening reception: 5:30 p.m. Exhibit continues through Sept. 12. 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-325-7723

The Battle of Homestead, a pivotal clash in labor history, has a new memorial. Painstakingly, inlaying concrete and cobblestone by hand, artist Lorraine Vullo honors that deadly 1892 struggle, and the men and women who lived and worked hereabouts, with her Homestead Labyrinth. The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area helped fund this contemplative, large-scale artwork, situated near the old Homestead Works' Pump House, along the riverside Steel Valley Trail. You can see it anytime, but an opening reception is tonight. BO 6-8 p.m. Waterfront Drive East, Munhall. Free. RSVP at 412-464-4020

 

Fri., June 12 -- Health

G.Y.T., repeat after me: Give yourself a little TLC by participating in Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania's GYT (Get Yourself Tested) program. As part of the group's Be Safe, Be Sexy campaign, you'll receive a free, rapid HIV test and screenings for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Other STI screenings are available at reduced rates. If you miss tonight, you can GYT any Friday in June. Lydia Heyliger 6-9 p.m. 933 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-434-8971 x. 139 or www.ppwp.org

 

Fri., June 12 -- Reading

What if the fountain of youth materialized in a barroom's grubby toilet bowl? What if the government put serotonin in the food, just to keep us happy? American Soma (So New Publishing), the new short-story collection by CP art critic Savannah Schroll Guz, ranges from dreamlike vignettes to fantasy and science fiction, and looks warily toward the future. Guz, of West Virginia, has begun her book tour, and tonight's the official launch: a reading at Kiva Han coffeehouse, with poet Kristofer Collins and writer Karen Lillis. BO 8 p.m. 420 S. Craig St., Oakland. Free. 412-687-6355

 

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Sat., June 13 -- Robots

Good news: C3PO and R2D2 are no longer stranded on Tatooine. Luke Skywalker's sidekicks have found a home at roboworld, a new permanent exhibition opening today at Carnegie Science Center. With more than 30 interactive stations, roboworld lets you battle robots in air hockey and challenge "industrial arms" to one-on-one basketball while learning how robots think and sense. You can even create your own robot. And if the bots wear you out, hang with some robot-savvy humans at Robot Workshop, and chat about cutting-edge robotics technology. Andrea Bullard 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 1 Allegheny Ave., North Shore. $14 (kids $10). 412-237-3400

 

Sat., June 13 -- Festival

Next time you feel like taking an aerosol can to an old warehouse, save your paint --there are people who actually want you to graffiti their stuff. Stand Up Now, a local arts tour dedicated to raising awareness about violence, poverty and education in Pittsburgh, lets aerosol artists create paintings live at its events. The group also opens the stage to speakers, performers and musicians on a first-come, first-served basis. Today, S.U.N. travels to both Robert E. Williams Memorial Park, in the Hill District, and the Homewood YMCA. AB 1-3 p.m. Milwaukee and Adelaide streets, Hill District; and 7140 Bennet St., Homewood. S.U.N. continues various Saturdays into September in selected neighborhoods. Free. 412-657-3327

 

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Sat., June 13 -- Rock

Tonight, hometown rock 'n' roll fans have two reasons to celebrate. Firstly, it's a chance to check out the Amphitheatre at Station Square, the open-air venue which reopened on Memorial Day after a long absence. Similarly, local heroes The Clarks hold a CD-release show for their first studio album in five years, Restless Days. Though the rootsy rockers have been at it for two decades, they've picked up some new tricks: When you purchase tickets through fan site www.clarksonline.com, you register to win meet-and-greet passes, and can pick up the album -- plus two older albums and loads of goodies -- in the modern-day medium of the USB bracelet. Opening tonight's show is Ari Hest. AJ 7 p.m. Station Square, South Side. $25. 412-434-7600 or www.ampstationsquare.com

Following their stunning 2008 premiere of 13 Most Beautiful...Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests, Dean & Britta return to the Andy Warhol Museum tonight for a special show. The performance, which kicks off the new Warhol Live exhibit, includes their duo material as well as songs from their previous, much-beloved bands Luna and Galaxie 500. The exhibit, organized in partnership with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, explores Warhol's fascination with and participation in music and the performing arts. AJ 10-11:30 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

 

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Tuesday, June 16 -- Rock

Black Skies hails from the South of tube amps and stoner metal (see Kylesa, Facedowninshit). The Chapel Hill trio brings the apocalyptic riffage in a most voluminous manner, fuzzed-out guitar and bass complemented by gruff vocals that suggest the band is more for true metalheads and Fu Manchu partisans than for the Dead Meadow set. Fresh off the release of its very, er, geometrically named EP Hexagon, the band drops by the Smiling Moose tonight for a show with local stoner dudes Channel Scorpion News. Andy Mulkerin 9 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $5. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com

 

Wed., June 17 -- Talk

As Rachel Carson warned decades ago, environmentally speaking there is no "away": All the chemicals pouring from our factories and homes constitute "a vast uncontrolled experiment" on nature ... and nature includes us. At today's CityLive discussion series, The Environment's Impact on You, the sample guinea pigs are Women and Girls Foundation Executive Director Heather Arnett and Shadow Lounge owner Justin Strong. Expert panelists Amanda Parks (co-owner of Pittsburgh's Equita boutique) and Jane Houlihan, of D.C.-based Environmental Working Group, evaluate how the stuff Arnett and Strong are exposed to daily might affect their well-being. Houlihan is a nationally known researcher on the health risks from toxins in food, air, water and consumer products. BO 6:30 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. Free. 412-320-4610

 

Wednesday, June 17 -- Music

James Blackshaw is a young British guitar phenom; with his intricate fingerpicking style, he garners comparisons to John Fahey and Leo Kottke, but his compositions stray from those artists' American-primitive tendencies, favoring a classical European feel. He truly writes compositions for guitar -- with occasional help from accomplished backers, including members of Current 93. These sonic-scapes suggest a contemporary composer like Eyvind Kang. Blackshaw appears tonight in a show produced by frequent CP contributor Manny Theiner at Garfield Artworks. Opening are Greg Davis & Chris Weisman, Mike Tamburo and the Niels/Nakatani Duo. AM 8 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $7 (10 at the door). All ages. 412-361-2262

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