In the Bible, Midian is where Moses sought asylum from Pharaoh's wrath. But in Pittsburgh, it's the newest 18-and-up weekly goth/industrial dance night -- a respite from the closures of Connections Café, Upstage Lounge and Pegasus. Midian debuts this Thu., Jan. 14 (8 p.m., $5-7), at the Strip District's newly christened Fate Lounge.
In December, Fate (owned by Ron Sullivan, of Dingbats restaurants) opened on the former site of venues Rosebud and The World and ultralounge Privilege. Club marketer Dan Wozniak recruited Jim Semonik (a.k.a. DJ Hiem, veteran of Ceremony and Empire) and Alea Christ (DJ Reiver) to helm Midian, aware of their prowess in the dark-music realm.
"I know Jim from Eide's [where Semonik is record buyer]," Wozniak explains. "He puts his whole heart into that style, so I know he'll make the effort into getting this running."
The club's been sedate so far except for New Year's Eve, when rappers Commonwealth Family performed. "The dead of winter is the slowest time to open," Wozniak admits, but he has plans for an upswing. "It'll be a multi-purpose type venue, with a Wednesday open mic and live bands on the weekends, like the Rosebud days."
With the Strip's reputation tarnished by sporadic violence and a litany of ephemeral cookie-cutter establishments -- the single bright spot being the advent of live venue Altar Bar -- he's got his work cut out for him. "We want to show that it's still an exciting place. There's tons of lighted parking along Smallman Street. So we're going to clean it up."
Contemporary ensemble Alia Musica enters its fourth year by inducting three new members: Baltimore transplant John Arrigo, CMU grad Nathan Hall and oboist Lenny Young, whom scenesters will recall from avant-gardists Ensemble Duchamp and indie-punkers Alpha Control Group C.
"Our oboe player moved to Thailand," explains Alia Musica director Federico Garcia. "But in catching up with Lenny, who's a known freelance player, I found out he's doing more composition. We liked his ideas about the role of New Music and saw he was a good fit."
For its Chatham College performance on Thu., Jan. 14 (7 p.m., $10-12), Alia Musica offers the Pittsburgh debut of Young's "Canción" and works by the ensemble's other composers, as well as a major 20th-century work -- Morton Feldman's "Projections II." True to the work's name, Alia will provide a visual dimension by projecting the unusual score on the wall. "It's graphic notation, but it's not freeform," says Garcia. "Instead of musical notes, he uses boxes."
For more information, see www.alia-musica.org or call 412-361-0194.