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Short List: Week of May 7 - 14

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The Kite Runner aside, popular culture seldom evokes pre-Taliban Afghanistan. But thanks to two courageous archivists, a few films not only depicting that society -- including its Westernized elements -- but made within it survived the Taliban's 1996 takeover. Risking their necks, a Kabul film-lab technician and a colleague hid selected reels from Taliban torch squads and smuggled them from the country. One was Khaleq A'lil's "The Suitor" ("Talabgar"), a tragicomedy about a poor young con man's romance with a beautiful student from a middle-class family. The 40-minute film features, among other things, whiskey-drinking and miniskirts. The Andy Warhol Museum screens "The Suitor" on Fri., May 8, as part of an evening of shorts titled Local:Global. The program also features "Beirut Outtakes," an eight-minute found film consisting of preview trailers for vintage Lebanese dramas and Western-style but Lebanese-produced action films; it's courtesy of acclaimed experimental filmmaker (and Canonsburg native) Peggy Ahwesh. In addition, Local:Global includes the premiere of local filmmaker Michael Lies' "Experyment6." The 22-minute science-fiction work premises humankind as the subject of an experiment conducted by a powerful extraterrestrial being. Under pressure from his superiors, he imposes a literal do-or-die deadline for us getting our act together -- which necessitates much cross-cultural negotiation. (If only it were that simple.) All films will be screened by projected video. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Fri., May 8. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

 

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Thu., May 7 -- Jazz

There's the cheesy kind of smooth, and there's classic smooth. The latter is what John Pizzarelli embraces, with his old-school sense of style, and his nimble jazz guitar and light vocal touch, which often run in parallel. His new album, With a Song in My Heart, honors composer Richard Rodgers, and features interpretations of standards "Johnny One Note" and "The Lady Is a Tramp." Pizzarelli plays six shows at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, starting tonight. Aaron Jentzen 7:30 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Fri., May 8; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Sat., May 9; and noon and 2:30 p.m. Sun., May 10. 1815 Metropolitan St., North Side. $39.50. 412-322-0800 or www.mcgjazz.com

 

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Thu., May 7 -- Rock

It's time for the third installment of CP Remixed, a -- you guessed it -- CP-sponsored series highlighting the city's top talents, selected for you by music professionals active in the local scene. Our curator tonight is Benjy Grinberg of Pittsburgh-based label Rostrum Records, and he's presenting Donora (a new Rostrum signing), along with indie rockers Meeting of Important People and singer-songwriter Joy Ike. With free beer and eats courtesy of Penn Brewery and the Quiet Storm -- and the way sold-out nature of the last event, curated by Girl Talk -- you're advised to arrive early. AJ 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.). WYEP Community Broadcast Center, 67 Bedford Square, South Side. $6 suggested donation. 412-316-3342 x138 or www.pghcitypaper.com

 

Thu., May 7 -- Stage

A hundred years ago, Pittsburgh was a city of immigrants. That's the town dramatized in Speak American, which City Theatre commissioned from playwright Eric Simonson for Pittsburgh's 250th birthday. The play is set in an English class for Slovak, Bulgarian and Polish steelworkers, taught by a newbie female instructor. The cast features local favorites Daina Michelle Griffith, David Whalen, John Shepard and Mark Staley. Simonson directs; preview-week performances of this world-premiere production begin tonight. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through May 31. 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $17-60. 412-431-2489 or www.citytheatrecompany.org

 

Fri., May 8 -- Stage

Children's novels take to the stage as Playhouse Jr. begins its 60th season. E.B. White's beloved tale of friendship, Charlotte's Web, turns musical, with Wilbur and Charlotte singing songs by Charles Strouse. Edith Nesbit's 1902 story "Five Children and It" also comes to life: The sand fairy Psammead grants the children's wishes, creating conflict between magic and responsibility. Opening-night tickets are only 60 cents. Jessica Dailey 7 p.m. Continues through May 24. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $7. 412-621-4445 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com

 

Fri., May 8 -- Art

From its spacious first floor to the former bedrooms upstairs, plus nooks and crannies, the Mattress Factory's annex gallery has shaped many an exhibit. And many of those have been part of the Gestures series. The 12th invitational of small, site-specific works by participants from various disciplines commences tonight. Curator Katherine Talcott -- late of the Three Rivers Arts Festival -- recruited 16 artists or artist teams, including sculptors, painters, poets and sound artists. Atticus Adams; Stephanie Flom and Peter Oresick; Carin Mincemoyer; Risë Nagin; Joseh Tonies; and R. Weis are a few. The opening reception's always a good party. BO 7-9 p.m. ($10). Show continues through June 21. 1414 Monterey St., North Side. 412-231-3169 or www.mattress.org

 

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Fri., May 8 -- Rock

It's not unusual to see tour buses parked near the music venues on Carson Street, but one you probably won't see this weekend is a Prevost, Series 60 Accuride Alcoa, with the license plate V957YW. That bus, belonging to Montreal orchestral pop act The Dears, was stolen just days ago, on the eve of their tour kickoff, as the band was home packing. Fortunately, The Dears are still playing Diesel tonight, supporting their album Missiles (Dangerbird Records), along with guests Great Northern and Eulogies. Oh, and if by some chance you do spot that bus, give the 5-0 a ring, willya? AJ 7 p.m. 1601 E. Carson St., South Side. $13 ($15 day of show). All ages. 412-431-8800 or www.dieselpgh.com

 

Sat., May 9 -- Anti-Folk

From early dalliances with Beck to more recent collabs with The Avett Brothers, Paleface has worked with and influenced quite a few of pop music's big names, but never quite transcended cult status himself. The New York City "anti-folk" singer-guitarist developed artistically just as he was befriending Daniel Johnston, and the pop sense and lyrical simplicity of his work betrays the influence Johnston surely had. After a quick rise in the early-'90s alt scene, Paleface hit the bottle and hit bottom. But now he's back on tour with drummer/girlfriend Monica Samalot, playing Howler's Coyote Café tonight with Elliot Sussman, The Armadillos, and Boca Chica. Andy Mulkerin 8:30 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $6. 412-682-0320

 

Sun., May 10 -- Birds

On Mother's Day, all mothers and grandmothers receive free admission at the National Aviary. So after you treat your mom to brunch, join her in feeding nectar to the lories, tossing fish to the brown pelicans, and meeting the new African Penguin. Alternately, if you're the mom and just want to escape, leave the kids at home and treat yourself. JD 10 a.m-5 p.m. 700 Arch St., North Side. 412-323-7235 or www.aviary.org

 

Mon., May 11 -- Reading

If you know Frank Gagliano as a man of the theater, you've good reason: This Pittsburgher, for years artistic director of Carnegie Mellon's Showcase of New Plays, is a playwright and lyricist with credits in Off-Broadway, regional and university theaters in the U.S. and Europe dating back 40 years. Tonight, however, Gagliano showcases his prose talents with a decidedly theatrical reading from his first novel, Anton's Leap. The ribald and farcical "fugitive memoirs of that Russian dancer, artist and fornicator" Anton Otchayanie, set as Anton seeks to defect in 1982, is read by Gagliano and local actors at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater. BO 8 p.m. 542 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-394-3353

 

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Monday May 11 -- Rock

Offonoff's press materials came to us with the tour dates copied right over top of the bio, instead of on the other side of the paper. Whether this was intentional I'm not sure, but it's fitting: The visual noise and corrupted signals sum up the frenetic, stop-and-start sounds of the international improv group. The lineup is stellar: Italy's Massimo Pupillo; Norway's Paal Nilssen-Love; and Holland's Terry Ex (of The Ex), who all met while playing with Thurston Moore and Jim O'Rourke. In Offonoff, they make sounds on guitar, bass, and drums that test the border between melody and weird noise. Their show tonight is produced by frequent CP contributor Manny Theiner at Garfield Artworks; Dave Bernabo + Assembly and Hunted Creatures open. AM 8 p.m. 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $8 ($10 at the door). All ages. 412-361-2262 or www.garfieldartworks.com

 

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Wed., May 13 -- Festival

Treat the kids to a day of art, animals, and playful performances at the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival, featuring seven different shows in Oakland venues. Dancers and percussionists from the Congo bring a performance filled with intense choreography and pulsating rhythms, while an Italian company presents Farfalle, a multimedia show about a butterfly's life cycle. Meanwhile, activities on the Schenley Plaza festival grounds are free, including a petting zoo, art cart, carousel rides and some 20 performances. JD 9:30 a.m. Continues through May 17. Stage performances: $8-18. 412-456-6666 or www.pghkids.org

 

Wednesday May 13 -- Rock

Thrones is the longtime project of Joe Preston, who's done time in essentially every band in the sludge/doom pantheon: The Melvins, Earth, Sunn O))). He's been at it on and off for 15 years, and has released quite a few records on labels Kill Rock Stars and Southern Lord. Thrones songs largely exhibit the bassy, minor-key tendencies of the bands mentioned above, but with a thread of oddball creepiness (synthesized sounds, vocal effects) that set them apart. Preston plays as Thrones tonight at Gooski's, along with Microwaves, Ohmu and the elusive El Chimpo. AM 10 p.m. 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. $6. 412-681-1658

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