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Short List: Week of November 26 - December 3

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Returning from its midriff-baring world tour, Pittsburgh's own Zafira Dance Company performs tonight at the Rex Theater. The troupe blends traditional belly dance, contemporary dance and vaudeville theatrics; Zafira's Olivia Kissel promises an opulent cabaret spectacle in a show also featuring acclaimed California-based belly-dancing group The Indigo, and Phat Man Dee as emcee. "There will be playful, saucy pieces that have an Old World feel, while other pieces will be more stylized with clean lines and form that explore themes of neuroses, despair and longing," Kissel e-mailed from the Netherlands, where Zafira is currently performing and hosting workshops. Set to a unique blend of Eastern European gypsy and medieval Sephardic music, with an infusion of urban gothic, Kissel, Christine Andrews, Maria Hamer and others have been performing their combination of retro and modern ethnic dance as Zafira since 2000. In the past year, they have gone international, performing at dance festivals and teaching intensive workshops in the 'Burgh and abroad. Clad in ornate costumes crafted from Old World fabric and ethnic textiles, Zafira is set to unveil new choreography that includes Rajasthani (Indian) and tango elements. Lucy Leitner 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 28. Rex Theater, 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $15-20. 412-381-6811 or rextheater.com

 

Thu., Nov. 26 -- Film

Tired of boring your barstool buddies with your great ideas for making a film ... if only somebody would give you the money? Sharpen your pencils, because the newly formed Steeltown Film Factory -- an offshoot of the Steeltown Entertainment Project -- has $25,000 to award to up to three local aspiring filmmakers. Applicants have until Dec. 31 -- five weeks from today -- to submit a 10- to-12-page screenplay; the subject should be relevant to Pittsburgh and Southwestern PA. Winning short films will be produced next summer and screened at the 2010 Three Rivers Film Festival. Details at www.SteeltownFilmFactory.org. Al Hoff

 

Fri., Nov. 27 -- Hip Hop

It's been awhile since Formula412 debuted its full-band hip-hop sound with The Difference, and the Pittsburgh-based outfit's philosophy on playing its hometown seems of the "absence makes the heart grow fonder" variety. So it's doubly noteworthy that Formula412's "Black Friday" show tonight at the Rex Theater promises "all-new music with an all-new sound." Intrigued? You should be. Aaron Jentzen 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $10 ($12 day of show). 412-381-6811 or www.rextheater.com

 

Fri., Nov. 27 -- Comedy

It takes guts to host a weekend comedy night in a South Side bar -- right after Thanksgiving, no less, one of the drinkiest eves of the year. It takes even more guts to be one of the comics. But we bet Sean Quinn can take it. The Philly native and former Boston Comedy Festival champ is hot-wired, irreverent, politically incorrect and surely more than a match for snozzled hecklers. Tim Diamond, TJ Amick and John Pridmore join him for tonight's Black Friday Comedy Showcase at St. James Place, where the admission is name-your-price. Bill O'Driscoll 10 p.m. 18th and Mary streets, South Side. UselessComedyShow@gmail.com


Sat., Nov. 28 -- Film

Get pumped for winter with Dynasty, the latest powder extravaganza from Warren Miller, presented by Venture Outdoors. From the comfort of your seat at the Carnegie Music Hall, in Carnegie, shoosh along with top extreme skiers and snowboarders as they make the world's most beautiful mountains their playgrounds -- from remote locales in northwest China and Norway to in-country frozen hot spots such as the Colorado Rockies and Lake Tahoe. Dynasty also celebrates 60 years of outdoor filming, and includes vintage clips from the archives. AH 4 and 8 p.m. 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie. $10-12. 412-255-0564 or www.ventureoutdoors.org

 

Sat., Nov. 28 -- Benefit

In March 1889, in Braddock, Andrew Carnegie dedicated the first of the many libraries he would fund during and after his lifetime. At a time when many public libraries are losing funding and threatened with closure, the Braddock Carnegie Library is proud to still be at it -- and to be celebrating its 120th birthday with an Anniversary Gala. Featuring all the staples -- hors d'oeuvres, an open bar, live jazz -- and some extras if you please (a "history mystery hunt" involving live actors), it's a fancy way to enjoy (and aid) a library that's been an all-purpose community center for more than a century. Call for reservations. Andy Mulkerin 7 p.m. 419 Library St., Braddock. $50. 412-351-5356

 

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Sat., Nov. 28 -- Tribute

The Pittsburgher behind so many Duke Ellington hits, Billy Strayhorn, has a birthday party tonight. Strayhorn, of course, died in 1967, but devotees at his partial-namesake Kelly Strayhorn Theater celebrate for him with the musical homage Suite Life. Feting the local legend are the Pittsburgh Gospel Choir, spoken-word artist Vanessa German and the Sean Jones Quintet. Those familiar with "Lush Life" and "Take the 'A' Train" can get acquainted with the rest of the jazz composer and pianist's impressive catalog. LL 8 p.m. 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $5-20. 412-363-3000 or Kelly-Strayhorn.org.

 

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Sat., Nov. 28 -- Rock

A band could do worse than to cite The Kinks, Little Feat and Gram Parsons as influences, and if a little twangy guitar and countrified hard-luck vocals are music to your ears, you'd be wise to check out Pittsburgh roots-rockers The Wheels. The band's self-titled album, released last December, encompasses both gentle swing and guitar rage. The band plays Molly Brannigans tonight, with opener The Pale Barn Ghosts. AJ 10 p.m. 660 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon. 412-341-7827 or www.mollybrannigans.com


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Sun., Nov. 29 -- Records

In old-school Pittsburgh pop culture, few names loom larger than Chilly Billy Cardille. During 50 years on the local airwaves, he's done the weather, hosted record hops and studio wrestling, and he's still DJing on WJAS. But Cardille remains best known as host of Channel 11's Chiller Theater, which ran from 1963 to 1983 and led to cameos in George Romero's classic zombie films. Today, Cardille visits the Pittsburgh Record & CD Convention, itself an institution in its 13th year. Cardille appears at this gathering of local and national vendors of LPs, CDs and 45s from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. BO Convention: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Radisson Hotel, 101 Marriot Drive (off Mansfield Avenue), Green Tree. Free (8 a.m. early-bird admission: $10). 412-331-5021

 

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Wed., Dec. 2 -- Rock

Saving Abel probably isn't the first band to sport an "on tour with Nickelback" sticker on its album cover. But it might be the first to do that and sound at times like a more soulful Kroeger and company. Nonetheless, it's a modern-rock combination that's given the band's sole album a big boost -- and when Saving Abel isn't angst-mongering, it wields some distinctly Southern-rock swagger. Tonight, the group plays Club Zoo with guests RED, Pop Evil and Taddy Porter. AJ 6:30 p.m. 1630 Smallman St., Strip District. $20 ($22 day of show). All ages. 412-201-1100 or www.clubzoo.net

 

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Thu., Dec. 3 -- Art

An artist, a critic, a collector and a patron walk into a museum -- and that's how they put together Four Perspectives on Fifty Years, the Westmoreland Museum of Art exhibit. Tonight, local painter/sculptor Adrienne Heinrich shares her opinions in a gallery talk alongside two of her three co-curators, former Pittsburgh Tribune-Review art critic Graham Shearing and area collector Marty O'Brien. With art from the museum's permanent collection, the exhibit features a selection of works not usually seen together. LL 7 p.m. 221 North Main St., Greensburg. Free. 724-837-1500 or wmuseumaa.org

 

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Thursday Dec. 3 -- DJs

If we told you Designer Drugs were getting really big in the house scene, you might not be all that surprised. Then we'd clarify that we're referring to the NYC duo that manufactures original electro beats and has been incredibly prolific in the remix department as well. The DJs -- Michael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Nelson -- are now on the roster of IHEARTCOMIX, the label that hosts acts as diverse as Matt & Kim and Juiceboxxx. Designer Drugs are the big draw tonight for LazerCrunk, the monthly electro-and-rap night hosted by Cutups and Keeb$ at Brillobox. AM 10 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-621-4900 or www.stackinpaper.com

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