Short List: Week of September 2 - 9 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Short List: Week of September 2 - 9

The attic at Willard Psychiatric Center
  • The attic at Willard Psychiatric Center

Thu., Sept. 2

In 1995, after126 years in operation, New York's Willard Psychiatric Center closed its doors forever. And it was only then that the lives of many of its patients came to light. Tucked in the hospital's attic was a door, and behind that door lay 400 hundred suitcases, largely undisturbed, taken from patients committed between 1890 and the 1970s.  "Willard was a place to put people away and keep them out of sight," Darby Penney, of Advocates for Human Potential, says. It was a hospital where people lived and died, often without serious evaluation or therapy. And this wasn't atypical of state hospitals at the time, Penney explains. Using found diaries, medical records and immigration papers, Penney pieced together the rich lives of patients who had had jobs, families and educations. The Lives They Left Behind, the resulting 2003 exhibit, displayed the collected items and histories of 14 patients. A traveling version with photographic and textual panels is on display in Frick Fine Arts, honoring each individual and demonstrating how the mental-health system ultimately failed them -- a situation Penney feels remains today, differing only in style, not substance. Jenelle Pifer 6–9 p.m. Continues through Sat., Sept. 25. Frick Fine Arts Gallery, 620 Schenley Drive, Oakland. Free.


  • Art by Mario Zucca

Fri., Sept. 3 -- Art

Admittedly, we're biased. But we're still gonna tell you about People I Know (and Some I Don't), a new gallery show by Mario Zucca, who's one of CP's favorite free-lance illustrators. Every day, Zucca's art-blog of the same name features a new portrait in ballpoint pen on lined paper: wacky friends, people from old snapshots, Pittsburgh Pirates from when they were good. The curiously funny, oddly intimate work at <C> Space is a highlight of tonight's Unblurred. The monthly Friendship/Garfield/Bloomfield art crawl also features a showcase for emerging choreographic talent at Dance Alloy and South, photographer Scott Roller's contemporary images from the Freedom Rider routes of the 1960s. Bill O'Driscoll 6-9 p.m. 4823 Penn Ave., Garfield. Free.


  • Art by Harish Saluja

Fri., Sept. 3 -- Art

Perhaps you know Harish Saluja as the filmmaker behind locally made festival hit The Journey. Or maybe you've enjoyed a film at the Asian film festival Silk Screen; that's his baby, too. You might even know his voice from WDUQ-FM's long-running Music From India. However, there's still another side to Saluja. With Mandalas & Deities, his first show of oils on canvas in years, Saluja incorporates figurative work into his accustomed abstracts for a deeper exploration of Hindu gods and spirituality. The opening reception is tonight at Mendelson Gallery. BO 7-9 p.m. 5874 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. 412-361-8664



Sat., Sept. 4 -- Comics

Free Comic Book Day, an internationally anticipated event, takes place the first Saturday in May. But New Dimension Comics has decided that one freebie per year is just not enough, and now they're giving away graphic novels -- almost $20,000 worth -- for their Free Graphic Novel Day. Each visitor is invited to choose one free book from a special selection including The New Avengers, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Witchblade, Speed Racer, Transformers and many more. Stop by and celebrate at any of its five Pittsburgh locations, while supplies last. Jenelle Pifer Hours vary by store. All New Dimension Comics locations. Free.


Sat., Sept. 4 -- Art

Local artist Anthony Purcell likes to paint highly detailed animals with a touch of whimsy -- and he likes to do so on wood. Gracing cutting boards, tabletops and logs are the expressive mugs of haughty lizards, demure cats and even a regal frog prince. Magic Animals: New Works by Anthony Purcell, a new exhibit at The Gallery 4, displays a dozen or so of these small-scale, detail-rich paintings. The exhibit opens tonight, with hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. JP 7-11 p.m. Show continues through Sat., Oct. 16. 206 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside. Free. 412-363-5050


Sat., Sept. 4 -- Dance

The ancient tales of the Arabian Nights are historic and poetic; about love and tragedy; and involve comedy and burlesque. Moquette Volante, a Pittsburgh-based Middle Eastern dance company, performs a multi-dimensional re-telling of these folkloric stories by interweaving dance, theater, storytelling and even a bit of magic. Founded by Highland Park's Kristin Ward, the company seeks to bridge cultural gaps by promoting traditions of storytelling, dance and music. The performance is preceded by a Secrets of Scheherazade movement workshop. JP 7 p.m. Future Tenant, 819 Penn Ave., Downtown. $10 ($25 includes performance and workshop). 412-441-1818



Sat., Sept. 4 – Rock

Local rockers 28 North just returned home from a month on the road -- though they're not staying put for long. The four-piece is headed to CMJ later in the fall, and hope to stay on the road for a bit at that time; the band's members say they're quitting their day jobs driving school vans to spend more time in the tour van. Tonight they celebrate their homecoming from a tour that saw them playing with, among others, Afroman, with a show at Thunderbird Café. Richmond's Jim O'Ferrell Band opens. Andy Mulkerin 10 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $5. 412-682-0177 or



Sat., Sept. 4 -- Hip Hop

While Nas is better known for feuding with other rappers and his beef with Jay-Z, he's got some friends in the rap world as well, such as Bob Marley's youngest son, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The two first collaborated in 2005 when they recorded "Road to Zion." Half a decade later, they've decided to give it another go and record a full album, entitled Distant Relatives. Nas' contemporary rap and Marley's toasting (a Jamaican predecessor to rap) will fuse tonight at Mr. Small's Theatre. Kelsey Shea 9 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $49.50. All ages. 412-821-4447 or



Sun., Sept. 5 -- Rock

Once again, Rusted Root will play the Allegheny County Music Festival at Hartwood Acres, taking a break from the band's current tour. With the large, outdoor venue and mixed crowd, last year's concert felt like a toned-down resurgence of Grateful Dead concerts. The locally rooted jam band has been around the scene since the early '90s and is probably best known for its song, "Send Me on My Way." The show will benefit several local charities. KS 7:30 p.m. Hampton Township. $20 (suggested donation per car). All ages. 412-350-3428 or


Sunday, Sept. 5  -- Film

America has a bona fide love affair with cars. In honor of that romance (or at least the dying embers of that relationship), on Sundays in September, Pittsburgh Filmmakers is presenting four films that forefront the automobile. Tonight is George Lucas' 1973 nostalgia comedy American Graffiti, in which summer evenings for young men of the early '60s meant cruising in your car. Also on track: the offbeat '80s comedy Repo Man and the hippie road-tripper Two Lane Blacktop. The series wraps up with Steven Spielberg's 1973 white-knuckle ride, Duel, in which a car is stalked by a semi-truck. Al Hoff 8 p.m. Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Ave., Edgewood. $8. 412-682-4111 or



Wed., Sept. 8 -- Outdoors

In the late 1800s, the city of Pittsburgh was thirsty. So Highland Park and its reservoir were created. Now, the municipal waters sit amongst sprawling green space, gardens and a reservoir-loop path for walkers and joggers. Learn more about Highland Park's history, ecology and current conservation efforts with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy at the weekly Walks in the Woods. Treks last 90 minutes and are led by docents familiar with parks and surrounding areas. Upcoming tours explore Frick and Schenley parks. JP 6:30 p.m. Walks continue Wednesdays through Sept. 29. Meet at entry fountain. Free. 412-682-7275 or



Wed. Sept. 8 – Rock

Dramatic, lush, sometimes even epic, Broken Social Scene's oeuvre stands out even without considering the fact that its members and participants comprise a Who's Who of Canadian rock. Leslie Feist, Do Make Say Think's Charles Spearin and Stars' Evan Cranley are among the many who have collaborated with band mainstays Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. BSS's latest, Forgiveness Rock Record, combines big pop sounds, electronic flourishes and jazz techniques into a unique but not unwieldy sound that shows why the band is boss in the world of Canadian indie. The Wooden Birds open. AM 8 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $32.75-37.75. All ages. 412-456-6666 or


  • Art by Shaun Slifer

Thu., Sept. 9 -- Art

Art can sensitize us to our surroundings. That's certainly the intention of the exhibit opening tonight at Artists Image Resource. Dig It! (But Not Like That) is billed as "a Panappalachian art show" focused on the environmental stresses we put on urban and natural landscapes. Think coal-mining (both mountaintop-removal and underground) and the current hot topic, Marcellus Shale drilling. Artists from the region contribute posters, quilts, photography and more, alongside live silkscreening and discussions featuring reps from groups like the Center for Coalfield Justice and the Sierra Club. BO 6-10 p.m. 518 Foreland St., North Side. Free. 412-321-8664

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