Starting Friday, the Future Tenant festival of 10-minute plays marks its tenth anniversary with eight of the best comedies in its archives, all work by local playwrights.
Given that the annual festival always includes at least a couple standouts, this best-of compilation should be a fun night.
Six of the plays are by just three playwrights. Gayle Pazerski contributes “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (about a pair of Civil War reenactors) and “When I Do the Hoochy Coochy in the Sky” (about a young couple, new to town, answering a personals ad).
From Robert Isenberg, there’s “Intermezzo” (about a couple coming to a relationship crossroads at the opera) and “Post-Script” (about an action-movie hero after the credits roll).
And Joe Lyons contributes “Purgatoriography” — about two unlikely companions in “a surprisingly boring afterlife” — and “The Unbearable Lightness of Eating,” concerning “the unsung heroes in the world of competitive eating.”
Arthur M. Jolly’s “Four Senses of Love” is about two people who’ve lost their senses of taste and touch. And Fred Betzner’s “12 Sided Die” is built around, you guessed it, a games of Dungeons and Dragons.
Future Ten 10 is produced by Betzker and Brad Stephenson. And the shows are directed by estimable local talent including John Lane, Don DiGiulio, Todd Betker and Joanna Lowe.
Future Ten takes place, as always, at Future Tenant gallery, 819 Penn Ave., Downtown.
The first show is at 8 p.m. Friday, with three more shows on Sat., Oct. 19, and Oct. 25 and 26. Tickets are $10.
The adventuresome puppet-theater troupe's new show premiered on Saturday at the New Hazlett. A short review is in Program Notes.
If you're an employee of any number of federal agencies, right now you're likely a little bored, and also financially strapped. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has a solution to both of these problems.
PSO announced today that it plans to give away a pair of tickets to one of its October performances to any federal employee who comes to the box office and requests them. The performances are:
Oct. 11-13's BNY Mellon Grand Classics performance of Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings," which, according to the PSO's website, affords you to the chance to ...
That beautiful sound ... it's the world mourning America's sanity, isn't it?
Also available: PNC Pops' "Broadway and Beyond" program with Brian Stokes Mitchell (Oct. 17-20) and a BNY Mellon Grand Classics performance of "The Hebrides Overture" by Mendelssohn (Oct. 25 and 27).
To take them up on the offer, bring your federal ID to the Heinz Hall box office during business hours (Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sat., noon-4 p.m.) or up to an hour before a performance.
The 1972 reggae classic starring Jimmy Cliff, with its gunplay and peerless soundtrack, has its final screenings here tonight and tomorrow. More in Program Notes.
Yesterday’s delightful, if somewhat unlikely, expression of the 2013 Carnegie International did at least two things really well.
One, it blended a festive community event — an open-house brunch and library open house — with the launch of one of the International’s more intriguing offerings: Locally based art collective Transformazium’s new art-lending library, featuring works by Carnegie International artists, local artists and others. You can even borrow puppets there.
If the art-lending experiment works, it will be largely because Transformazium and other volunteers and neighbors have worked hard to make the library a real community center, not just a place to borrow books and get online.
In any case, those efforts paid off yesterday in a diverse crowd of hundreds that included both Braddock residents and folks from the Pittsburgh art scene who’d seldom been to Braddock before. (The Carnegie Museum of Art ran a couple buses from the Oakland museum to the library.)
The women of Transformazium — Ruthie Stringer, Dana Bishop-Root and Leslie Stem — hosted, with help from the Sprout Fund.
Second, the 11 a.m.-3 p.m. event was a great way to show off the library itself. Andrew Carnegie’s very first public library was built in 1889, a few blocks from his first steel mill — U.S. Steel’s still-functioning Edgar Thomson Works.
The library’s long history included, in the 1970s and ’80s, a stint on the demolition list — a fate avoided only through the dedication of community volunteers.
Little by little, the library is bouncing back. Its collection of books and DVDs isn’t huge, but that’s only part of the story. Just as Carnegie’s own vision was for a community center that included a swimming pool, music hall, bowling alley, billiards hall and bathhouse, so does the reconfigured facility boast a ceramic studios and a screen-printing shop open to the neighborhood.
The print shop — set up adjacent to the building’s third-floor basketball court — is a Transformazium project, and another addition to the youth and community program established in recent years by the library’s many volunteers.
The expanse and promise of the huge library building was emphasized on a tour led yesterday by Hannah Scruggs, an Americorps worker who works at the library.
The tour included the decommissioned swimming pool, which the library hopes to remake as a black-box performance space and café. I was also surprised by the airy Rotary Room — a clubby meeting hall with a huge marble fireplace and leather-upholstered furniture, and even boasting the library’s original bronze statue of Hermes. Finally, there was the music hall — now sawdust-covered from an ambitious, also volunteer-driven effort to refurbish the wooden floor, redo the seating, and again use the grand space for concerts and shows.
The tour deposited you back out into the library’s present-day reception area, where tables were laden with tasty catered snacks, and sunlight and warm October air flooded through the thrown-open antique windows. Steps away, two grills were going, with ribs and veg kabobs. There was even live music, from a jazz saxophonist and a small brass combo.
Keep an eye on the Braddock Carnegie Library, where community volunteers, groups like Transformazium, backers like the Sprout Fund and more seem already to be working wonders in a town hit especially hard by the collapse of heavy industry.
The Cultural Trust's slate of U.S.-premiere shows continues with this remarkable hybrid of theater, dance and film — with all the roles played by human hands. See a review in Program Notes.
While nobody expects to win a MacArthur “genuis grant,” we can’t say we were too surprised to hear that one of this year’s 24 winners of the $625,000 prize was Pittsburgh native dancer and choreographer Kyle Abraham.
OK, we were hardly alone in our admiration: Dance Magazine, for instance, had already named Abraham one of its “25 To Watch” for that year. And Abraham himself — speaking to CP today by phone — credits his success to folks dating back to his mother’s circle of friends who still turn out for his Pittsburgh shows like this past Febuary’s Pavement, at the Byham Theater courtesy of the Pittsburgh Dance Council (and as featured on CP’s cover that week).
“You really realize how big a family can be,” says Abraham, speaking by phone from San Francisco, where he is choreographing a new work for Los Angeles-based troupe Body Traffic.
All regional venues for visual, performing and literary arts are invited to include their profiles on www.pittsburghartplaces.org, a searchable web site launched yesterday by Pittsburgh’s Office of Public Art.
The site, intended as a resource for both arts groups and arts patrons, currently includes 200 profiles, said OPA director Renee Piechocki at a press event yesterday. And it’s not just about museums, galleries and theaters: bookstores, public libraries, public art sites, even bars with live music are invited to participate.
Venues can also list information about specific exhibitions and facilities rental.
“We really want to engage the widest array of visitors” to the site, said Piechocki. The site is open to any venue or artwork in the 13-county region.
Two bits of info from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s press event today, about tomorrow’s opening of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, featuring the much-ballyhooed Rubber Duck Project.
First, if you want to see the 40-foot-tall, bright-yellow Duck being towed upstream for its sure-to-be dramatic arrival at the Roberto Clemente Bridge (during the Rubber Duck Bridge Party), get there early. The party starts at 5:30 p.m., and sources in the Trust say the duck could arrive as early as 6 p.m. (Once it gets there, it'll bob all night then head to a mooring spot down by the Point for at least the next three weeks, said the Trust’s Paul Organisak, who curated the PIFOF.)
Second, the presser -- held inside the gates at PNC Park, looking out on the bridge -- included none other than Florentijn Hofman, the Dutch artist who created the Duck in 2007 and who has since presented it at cities around the world. (PIFOF marks its North American premiere.)
As first reported on this blog, about two weeks ago, local cartoonist Joe Wos drew the ire of the Cultural Trust when he started taking orders for a T-shirt featuring an image of the Duck. Wos contends that using the image was within his rights; the Trust told him (via email) that he was compromising "the brand of the rubber duck" and risked creating "ill will."
At the time, Hofman did not respond to CP’s email seeking comment -- and Wos is still taking T-shirt orders. So today I asked Hofman whether -- given prior copyright flaps in China over the creation of actual rival giant yellow ducks -- he had any comment on the disagreement.
"This is a nonissue," he replied.
That seemed kind of non-answer, but I asked Hofman whether he had any plans to take legal recourse on copyright grounds.
"Rubber ducks don't belong to anyone," said Hofman. "But rubber ducks of 15 meters, 18 meters, 20 meters, they belong to me." Again, he added, "It's not an issue for me, actually."
Which still didn't clear up how much Wos has to worry about legal action. As reported in CP’s prior post, Hofman would likely have grounds to pursue a copyright-infringement claim on the duck. Whether he actually does so remains to be seen.
Andrew Paul, late of Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, and Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co. founder Mark Clayton Southers announce an ambitious roster of local premieres for the new company, The Phoenix. The curtain rises in Program Notes.
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