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Short List: Week of March 25 - April 1

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To Neal Medlyn, imitation is the sincerest form of art. The stage veteran's comically twisted shows find their organizing principle in pop music. Like ABBA and Mamma Mia!, Medlyn creates musicals from pop albums, using songs as thematic brackets for his own content. Gawky, pale and less than pitch-perfect, Medlyn is center-stage every time, singing his heart out and busting moves like Lionel Richie (in Neal Medlyn's Lionel Richie Opera), R. Kelly (Kenny Mellman+Neal Medlyn=Robert Kelly), Phil Collins (Neal Medlyn's Coming in the Air Tonight) and Prince (Neal Medlyn's Unpronounceable Symbol). Medlyn's shows suggest singing to the mirror with a hairbrush; the 34-year-old, Brooklyn-based performer sings over backing tracks with unbridled energy and commitment, despite his geeky appearance. "When I was a kid I danced around to videos, but I always imagined insane things happening alongside it," says Medlyn, who grew up in Texas. "Pop music sort of is American culture. I want to be inside it, not look at it from a distance." In The Neal Medlyn Experience Live!, visting The Andy Warhol Museum's Off the Wall series, Medlyn and two backup dancers perform the The Beyoncé Experience Live! DVD from start to finish, as loyally as possible. There are sequins, and streamers and, as so often before, Medlyn in a dress. "I think about America -- this is America, and this is what we make," says Medlyn. "I feel like the fabric of America is ... Beyoncé!" Anna Reilly 8 p.m. Fri., March 26. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10-20. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

 

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Thu., March 25 -- Film

Things that are free: parks, and for three days, four movies about outdoor spaces. Parks Are Free, co-presented by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, opens tonight with The Garden, an inspiring and heartbreaking doc about a community vegetable garden in Los Angeles. On Friday, a Central Park installation by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude is documented in The Gates. Saturday offers two hour-long films: "Pale Male," about one infamous red-tailed hawk in Manhattan, and "A Sense of Wonder," a portrait of Rachel Carson. Al Hoff 7 p.m. Gates (7:30 p.m., Fri., March 26); Pale (3 p.m. Sat., March 27); and Sense (5 p.m. Sat., March 27). Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Reservations required at 412-682-7275 or www.pittsburghparks.org.

 

Thu., March 25 -- Stage

Clara is an innocent little Carolinian on holiday with her doting mother. In 1950s Italy, Clara develops an affinity for the food, the art and ... the suave Florentine men. Unfortunately, mother Margaret isn't so charmed by Clara's suitor, Fabrizio. Is she overprotective? Jealous? Point Park University's Conservatory Theater Company stages The Light in the Piazza, the 2005 Tony-winning musical. Anna Reilly 8 p.m. Continues through April 3. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $18-20. 412-621-4445 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com.

 

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Fri., March 26 -- Exhibit

Spend a weekend under the stars ... and the moon, meteorites, asteroids, planets and whatever else is out there. The Carnegie Science Center hosts Space Out!, a weekend of all things intergalactic. Moon rocks, telescopes and other space oddities will be displayed for kids and adults alike. Stargazers can also sign up for tonight's astronomy-themed sleepover, complete with meals, movies, demos and other out-of-this-world activities. AR Sleepover: tonight. Other activities: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., March 27, and Sun., March 28. 1 Allegheny Avenue, North Side. $9.95-22.95 (Sleepover is $35 per person.) 412-237-3400 or www.carnegiesciencecenter.org   

 

Fri., March 26 -- Stage

As the Guerilla Girls taught us, museums seem more interested in depicting naked women than in exhibiting work by women artists. Support Women Artists Now Day objects, too: Last year saw 170 SWAN events in 12 countries. Pittsburgh's event, now in its second year, is A Celebration of Pittsburgh's Women Artists, organized by theater troupe No Name Players. The program of music, dance, literary readings, theater, film and visual art boasts dozens of contributors, including Cheryl Cappezuti, Gab Cody, Emay, Linda Haston and Umoja African Arts. It's tonight and tomorrow, at intimate Grey Box Theatre. Bill O'Driscoll 7:30 p.m. Also 7:30 p.m. Sat., March 27. 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $20. www.nonameplayers.org

 

Sat., March 27 -- Rock

It's been a busy time for sprawling rock conglomerate Mandrake Project: The mainly instrumental Pittsburgh-based group recently released A Miraculous Container (Blistering Records) and is working on the follow-up with producer David Rosser (The Twilight Singers, Gutter Twins). The band takes the stage tonight at the Rex Theater with visual elements from filmmaker David Hall and guests Chalk Dinosaur and Eighth Whale. Then on Mon., March 29, tune to 88.3 FM to hear Mandrake live on WRCT's "Advanced Calculus" program (9-10 p.m.). Aaron Jentzen 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.). 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $10. 412-381-6811 or www.rextheater.com

 

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Sat., March 27 -- DJs

Last fall, the monthly Vipers Soul Club at Shadow Lounge gave way to a new soul and funk night there, Title Town, hosted by former Vipers resident Gordy G. and J. Malls. Tonight, they host a gem of a guest DJ: Mr. Fine Wine, host of Friday night's Downtown Soulville on New Jersey's legendary WFMU. At it since the mid-'90s, Mr. Fine Wine has been previously tapped for podcasts and live-tour DJ jobs for Daptone Records (best known for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and The Budos Band). Andy Mulkerin 9 p.m. 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. $5. 18 and over. 412-363-8277 or shadowlounge.net

 

ART COURTESY OF GARY BASEMAN
  • Art courtesy of Gary Baseman

Sat., March 27 -- Art

It's been awhile since hedonism was considered transgressive. Probably back to, like, 1960 -- the year, coincidentally, that gave us both the Playboy Bunny and the Playboy Clubs. Said Bunny, now a multilayered avatar of postfeminist something or other, is the focus of Playboy Redux: Contemporary Artists Interpret the Iconic Playboy Bunny, a 50th-anniversary show at The Andy Warhol Museum. The 25-artist group show (echoing Warhol's own work for Playboy magazine) opens tonight with a pajama party featuring DJ Zombo and a pair of costumed Playmates. Or you can just read the articles. BO 9 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $15-20. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

 

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Sat., March 27 -- Burlesque

Sleazy sex shows are as classy as a crusty sock. Women grinding against a pole? So not attractive. If you're jonesing for something sassy, ditch the gentlemen's club and head to Howlers for the nationally touring Pretty Things Peep Show. Bettina May, Go-Go Amy and Heather Holliday couple sex appeal with vintage charm in this '30s-style burlesque act. And with sword-swallowers, contortionists and ragtime musicians to boot, these vaudeville gals aim to enamor and entertain. AR 9 p.m. Howlers Coyote Café, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $10 ($12 at door). 412-682-0320 or howlerscoyotecafe.com

 

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Mon., March 29 -- Rock

When last we saw Citay, the band filled unassuming Belvedere's with beautiful harmonies (not to mention the bodies of more than a half-dozen band members). The San Francisco folk-pop-rock outfit returns with a new album, Dream Get Together, which mixes triumphant rock guitar with hypnotic, contemplative eddies of sound. Currently a seven-piece, the band, headed by Ezra Feinberg, visits the Helter Shelter tonight, along with Brooklyn's The Queening and locals Free Clinic and The Temps. AM 8 p.m. 4936 Harrison St., Lawrenceville. $5. secreteyebooking@gmail.com

 

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Mon., March 29 -- Rock

Miles Kurosky has just released his solo debut -- the ambitious, densely arranged album The Desert of Shallow Effects -- but he's hardly a newbie. From 1996 to 2004, Kurosky helmed acclaimed Elephant6 indie rockers Beulah; then health problems sidelined him for several years. Oh, and one other remarkable thing about Kurosky performing tonight at Brillobox: It should be interesting to see how he'll present material live that took more than two dozen musicians to record. Guests Delicious Pastries and Pancho-san open. AJ 9:30 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $12. 412-621-4900 or www.brillobox.net

 

Tue., March 30 -- Music

New York musician Lukas Ligeti wears a lot of hats -- member of Burkina Electric, son of Austrian composer Gyorgy Ligeti. But tonight at Garfield Artworks (in a show presented by frequent CP contributor Manny Theiner), Ligeti rolls solo. The percussionist-cum-electronic instrumentalist melds West African polyrhythms and synthesized sounds, as exemplified in his Tzadik release Afrikan Machinery. The CAPA-based group Antithesis opens, along with local free-jazz saxophonist Ben Opie. AM 7:30 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $10. All ages. 412-362-2262 or garfieldartworks.com 

 

Tue., March 30 -- Words

Cyberpunk Apocalypse might sound like a comic book or a video game, but it is in fact a house -- a collective space in Lawrenceville for a community of writers and zinesters of all ages and experience levels. The house, which hosts readings, workshops and low-rent residencies, celebrates its first anniversary with a big party tonight at Artists Image Resource. There will be readings from a slew of writers, including Cyberpunk regulars Daniel McCloskey, Artnoose and Elwin Cotman, plus Open Thread's Adam Atkinson and CP contributor Savannah Schroll Guz. AM 6-9 p.m. 518 Foreland St., North Side. Sliding-scale donation. cyberpunkapocalypse.com

 

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Wed., March 31 -- Talk

Oh, Henry. Former Black Flag frontman, now Sons of Anarchy co-star, poet, author, punk icon, speaker and all-around intense dude Henry Rollins returns to town on his Frequent Flyer spoken-word tour. (Subtitle: Knowledge Without Mileage Equals Bullshit.) "Entertaining" seems too trivial a descriptor, "compelling" too deadly serious, but Rollins' monologues always provide plenty to laugh and brood about. And if you've been draggin' ass lately -- physically or mentally -- Rollins' talks offer a unique motivational jolt. AJ 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.). New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square, North Side. $32.50 ($35 day of show). 412-320-4610 or www.newhazletttheater.org

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