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Short List: Week of May 20 - 27

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COURTESY OF KYLE BOSTIAN
  • Courtesy of Kyle Bostian

Kyle Bostian, founder of the new theater company Pittsburgh PACT, likens life in Pittsburgh's East End to the roll of a die: The company's debut performance, Casino Liberty, explores the cycle of randomness in life, violence and privilege as it plays out in the neighborhood. Bostian, himself a Lawrenceville resident, considers the destructive cycles in underprivileged communities endemic in American culture and uses Casino Liberty to explore ways to break them. The show characterizes the East End through monologues, satirical scenes, dance sequences and live music under flashy lighting effects that mimic a casino's showy décor. Expect jabs at the mayor, commentary on the police beatings of CAPA student Jordan Miles, and questions about the impact of urban development. Following a montage-like structure, Casino Liberty refuses a dramatic narrative in favor of snapshots of Pittsburgh's personalities. In fact, much of the script was derived directly from interviews the company conducted just yards from the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater -- on the four corners of the intersection of Penn and Highland avenues. The small cast includes stage pros Leslie 2X Smith and Gab Cody as well as students from Point Park, Pitt and CAPA. Bostian, an assistant professor at Point Park, formed Pittsburgh PACT to encourage activism through drama. "It has a potential to not only entertain and give people a positive artistic experience but also to really be provocative socially," Bostian said. "To get people talking and maybe even wanting to be more involved in their own communities." Jenelle Pifer 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., May 22, and 5 p.m. Sun., May 23. Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $10. 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org

 

Thu., May 20 -- Stage

Jealousy, racism, betrayal -- Shakespeare all but wrote the book on them when he wrote Othello, and 400 years hath dimmed not the grip of these evils upon us. Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, which in recent years has dug into King Lear and Julius Caesar, stages the tragedy with a cast headed by Pitt alum Javon Johnson and Allison McLemore (from in PICT's Jane Eyre). Canadian actor Michael Hanrahan plays Iago; Andrew Paul directs in the up-close-and-personal Henry Heymann Theatre. Tonight is the first of two preview performances; the official premiere is Sat., May 22. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through June 12. Forbes Avenue at Bigelow, Oakland. $20-50. 412-394-3353 or www.picttheatre.org

 

Fri., May 21 -- Rock

The rock gets weird tonight at Gooski's when The Dreams take over. Combining No-Wave-style rock deconstruction with Slits-inspired dub sounds and the prehistoric, pre-industrial percussive aggression of Savage Republic, the French band makes what could very well be the sounds of nightmares -- but the best kind of nightmares. This one comes highly recommended. Miami's Teepee and local drum hero Paul Quattrone open. Andy Mulkerin 10 p.m. 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. $5. 412-681-1658

 

Sat., May 22 -- Film

After heated battles in Dormont Council, the borough has granted approval for a skate park to be named in memory of Vincent and Stephen Pitcher, brothers who died in a tragic river accident in 2008. The stipulation: A nonprofit, headed by the boys' mother, must raise all the money for Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark. With a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation, the group is off to a good start. But skate parks aren't cheap -- so this weekend, the Hollywood Theater hosts a benefit skateboard-movie festival. The mother of all skate movies, 1986's Thrashin', screens today, and the movies continue tomorrow. AM 2 p.m. Also Sun., May 23. 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. $6 ($5 students). 412-344-1245

 

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Sat., May 22 -- Bees

Backyard gardeners have more and more company these days from backyard beekeepers. There's even a nonprofit group dedicated to the cause of urban apiarists: Burgh Bees. Today, at Bees and Honey, the group joins the Fern Hollow Nature Center to discuss the natural history of the bee (which co-evolved with flowering plants); tour the center's new apiary; and sample local honey and honey-infused recipes. A tutorial on catching flies is optional. BO 4-6 p.m. 1901 Glen Mitchell Road, Sewickley. $30. Register at 412-741-6136 or fhnc@verizon.net

 

Sat.., May 22 -- Art

Marcel Duchamp was a daddy of Dada; decades later, early Pop as practiced by the likes of Andy Warhol was sometimes called "neo-Dada." But how much did works like Duchamp's cheeky signed urinal truly presage Andy's soup cans? Andy Warhol Museum archivist Matt Wrbican shares some thoughts in Twisted Pair: Marcel Duchamp / Andy Warhol. This first-ever exhibition exploring the Andy-Marcel axis pairs dozens of their works and delves into Warhol's personal papers. Tonight is the opening celebration. BO 6:30-10 p.m. Show continues through Sept. 5. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $15-20. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org


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Sat., May 22 -- Singer-Songwriters

At the New Hazlett Theater's Songwriter Spotlight, area musicians offer original songs and the stories behind them, and even a few songs they wish they'd written. The series is hosted by local rock legend Joe Grushecky and multi-talented musician and producer Rick Witkowski. Tonight's installment features performances by young R&B singer Margot B. and Jon Belan of tongue-in-cheek rockers Gene the Werewolf. Also performing -- although now based in the Philadelphia area -- is artist and musician Karl Mullen, formerly active in Pittsburgh's music scene. Aaron Jentzen 8 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $10. All ages. 412-320-4610 or www.newhazletttheater.org

 

Sun., May 23 -- Blues

Blues singer Janiva Magness has big awards and big plans -- but what's most impressive is her big, bluesy voice. The Detroit-born Magness, the second woman to ever win B.B. King Entertainer of the Year at the Blues Music Awards, is on tour promoting her new album, The Devil Is an Angel Too, out on Alligator Records. (Sounds like she's got soul, too: Magness is also an advocate and spokesperson for foster-care organizations.) Magness will show off her powerful voice and great blues beats tonight at Moondog's. Kelsey Shea 7:30 p.m. 378 Freeport Road, Blawnox. 412-828-2040 or www.moondogs.us

 

Sun., May 23 -- Film

Movie-goers have often seen Humphrey Bogart as the villain. But none of those roles are quite as unsettling as his turn in the brooding, less-seen noir In a Lonely Place. Bogart portrays a troubled Hollywood screenwriter, accused of murder, who takes out most of his demons on his neighbor (the luminous Gloria Grahame). Nicholas Ray's 1950 film has been recently restored, and screens at Regent Square Theater tonight as part of its Restored Rarities series. The shadowy depths of one man's soul will be rendered in a crisp 35 mm print. Al Hoff 8 p.m. 1035 S. Braddock Ave., Edgewood. $8. 412-682-4111 or www.pghfilmmakers.org

 

Sun., May 23 -- Rock 

Blackberry Smoke might sound like an appetizing little treat, but it's anything but fruity. The band is a staple in the post-Lynyrd Skynyrd generation of country rock, basking in that Southern style of slide guitars, gritty vocals, long hair and aviator sunglasses. Its sound is pretty well summed up in the title of its new album, Little Piece of Dixie. Blackberry Smoke brings its slice of the South to Thunderbird Café tonight; the Robbie Jay Band opens. KS 8 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $10. 412-682-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net

 

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Sun. May 23 -- Rock

True crime, serial killers recent and vintage, gross-out gore -- such are the preoccupations of long-running Chicago band Macabre and its self-described "murder metal." Led by guitarist/vocalist Corporate Death, the band tends toward concepts -- for example, its 2000 album Dahmer, about you-know-who -- and almost musical-theater corniness, in songs like "Jack the Ripper." The trio of sickos plays 31st Street Pub tonight. Opening the show -- which is presented by CP contributor Manny Theiner -- are Abysme, Red Fox and Worse Than Birth. AJ 8 p.m. 3101 Penn Ave., Strip District. $10 ($12 at the door). 412-391-8334 or www.31stpub.com

 

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Mon., May 24 -- Rock

Magic is everywhere in the Trib Total Media Amphitheatre at Station Square tonight when the Insane Clown Posse brings to town the Happy Daze Tour -- replete with family faves like Kottonmouth Kings and Coolio. It all starts with Juggalo Championship Wrestling, and almost certainly will involve dudes on stilts and everyone's favorite off-brand soda pop. Will there be mimes running all around this bitch? You'll have to show up if you want to find out, ninja. AM 6 p.m. Station Square, South Side. $30. All ages. 800-745-3000

 

Wed., May 26 -- Words

Eighty-one-year-old psychosexual therapist Ruth Westheimer has been giving sex advice for 30 years. The German-accented and over-the-top enthusiastic Dr. Ruth paved the way for more openness about sex on her radio show Sexually Speaking. And now after three decades of sex, it's time for some romance. Adagio Health, a nonprofit women's health-care provider, hosts Dr. Ruth for "Rev Up the Romance," a lecture plus Q&A and book-signing held in a section of Larrimor's clothing store's new location Downtown. JP 5 p.m. 249 Fifth Ave., Downtown. $75. 18 and over. 412-253-8165 or www.adagiohealth.org

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