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Short List: August 1 - 6 

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Bicycling keeps growing here, and so does BikePGH. In its 10th year, the advocacy group has taken over Pedal PGH, a day-long event showcasing biking, the city and biking in the city. (The event was founded in 1994 by the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh.) Starting from the SouthSide Works, the Aug. 5 event (formerly held in May) offers three rides, from short and easy to long and challenging. New wrinkles include the car-free short loop of up to 18 miles (all on trails and closed-to-cars city streets) and the Finish Line Festival, with live music, food vendors and a BMX stunt team. Pedal PGH also kicks off BikePGH's eighth annual Bike Fest, itself newly expanded from 10 days to 15, with more events than ever. The events, as usual, are mostly free and mostly created and organized by community volunteers. And they range from the family-friendly ("Babes, Tots, Kids on Board") and the silly (an evening "Underwear Ride") to day-long and hill-intensive rides. There's a renewed focus on mountain-biking opportunities; a Carrie Furnace tour ride; a public-art-themed ride; and more, in the city and throughout the metro area. And don't forget the big Bike Fest Party ($20-125), a lively annual bash set for Aug. 10. Bill O'Driscoll Pedal PGH: 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun., Aug. 5 ($15-100). BikeFest: Aug. 5-19. www.bike-pgh.org

 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY KAREN KAIGHIN
  • Photo by Karen Kaighin

Fri., Aug. 3 — Art

No mid-summer doldrums at Unblurred. The monthly Penn Avenue Arts Initiative gallery crawl has several new and notable shows, plus lots of live music. At the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, check out Through the Pinhole, a group show of pinhole-camera photography curated by Sue Abramson (work by Karen Kaighin is pictured), with musical guests Michael Johnson and Daryl Fleming. Pittsburgh Glass Center hosts American Idols, internationally known artist John Moran's installation featuring his idiosyncratic busts of all 44 U.S. presidents. (Think Lincoln as a hipster.) Most Wanted Fine Art has two shows: Effigies, featuring 3-D work exploring female archetypes, by Macabre Noir and Danielle M. Bartone, and a solo show by cartoonist Ed Piskor, plus music by Grand Snafu and Kabaret Vulgare. Meanwhile, new venue Artisan hosts S.W.E.A.T. It, featuring erotic art by local and international women artists (and a dance party). Also sample new shows at ModernFormations and Garfield Artworks, the latter with live sounds by French post-punk group Besoin Dead. Bill O'Driscoll Most events 7-10 p.m. 4100-5400 Penn Ave., Bloomfield, Friendship and Garfield. Free. friendship-pgh.org

Thu., Aug. 2 — Words

Bookmobiles, much like libraries, are embracing new technologies. This week, OverDrive's nationally touring Digital Bookmobile — a 74-foot trailer equipped with Internet-connected PCs, premium sound systems and portable media players — stops at Northland Public Library (today) and Mount Lebanon Public Library (tomorrow) to showcase local libraries' eBook and audiobook downloading services. At various "learning stations," visitors can search the library's collection and sample eBooks and music. Andy Tybout Noon-6 p.m. (300 Cumberland Road, McCandless). Also 1-5 p.m. Fri., Aug. 3 (16 Castle Shannon Blvd., Mount Lebanon). Free. 412-622-3114 or www.digitalbookmobile.com

Thu., Aug. 2 — Comedy

Chris Porter believes that young women who make marriage a precondition for sex aim too low. "If you wield that kind of power, perhaps marriage isn't the answer. Maybe you should think about society. Maybe you should say, ‘Hey, fellas, I'm not fucking anybody until they cure cancer.' It'll be two weeks — some 20-year-old'll be like, ‘I got it!'" The comedian, a familiar face from Comedy Central and Last Comic Standing, begins a six-show stand at the Pittsburgh Improv tonight. BO 8 p.m. Also Fri., Aug. 3-Sun., Aug. 5. 166 E. Bridge St., West Homestead. $17-20. 412-462-5233 or www.pittsburgh.improv.com

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Thu., Aug. 2 — Stage

If the title of Steven Mitchell's new musical comedy doesn't grab you, perhaps the premise will. Taking place over the course of a single evening, Date Me, Do Me, Dump Me features four local friends recounting their romantic misadventures while growing progressively drunker. The original music and lyrics are by Marianne Forti and Leah Gray, formerly of the band Two Chicks and a Casio. Three of the five cast members are played by current or former Pittsburghers (including Camden Williams, pictured). "The accent, the quirkiness of conversations, I was able to tie all of that into the show," says Pennsylvania-born Mitchell. A singles hour precedes each of six performances at the Rex Theater. AT 8 p.m. Shows continue through Sun., Aug. 5. 1602 East Carson St., South Side. $25-45. 412-381-6811 or www.rextheatre.com 

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Fri., Aug. 3 — Stage

As if underscoring the difference one person can make, Nilaja Sun's 2006 play No Child ... — about a high school teacher challenging her class in the Bronx to stage a play — is written for a single actor. This weekend, at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, that performer is Reenah Golden, a spoken-word artist, activist and educator who founded a nationally acclaimed poetry program, SLAM HIGH. Golden performs No Child as a dance-theater work. AT 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Also 11 a.m. Sat., Aug. 4. 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. Tickets are pay-what-you-can. 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org

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Fri., Aug. 3 — Music

They're a "New Wave a capella group" that started off doing left-field versions of "Helter Skelter" and "Psycho Killer." But over the course of 30 years, The Bobs have proved nothing if not eclectic and versatile, offering inventive covers alongside witty originals ("Let Me Be Your Third World Country"), opening for Zappa and The Dead, and touring internationally. The Bobs — Matthew Stull, Richard Greene, Dan Schumacher and Angie Doctor — play the outdoor concert series known as First Fridays at the Frick tonight. BO 7 p.m. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. $5 donation requested. 412-371-0600 or www.TheFrickPittsburgh.org

Fri., Aug. 3 — Stage

No Name Players return with the latest from top contemporary playwright Neil LaBute. The Tony-nominated reasons to be pretty is the final installment in LaBute's trilogy about society's obsession with physical beauty. The play centers on a couple whose relationship undergoes a seismic shift following an off-hand remark. The cast includes Don DiGiulio, Jody O'Donnell, Clara H. Childress and Karen Baum, directed by local luminary Marci Woodruff. The first show in Pitt's Studio Theater is tonight. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 18. Cathedral of Learning (basement), Forbes Avenue at Bigelow, Oakland. $15-20. www.nonameplayers.org

click to enlarge PHOTO BY NEIL SEDERBURG, COURTESY OF UNDERCROFT OPERA
  • Photo by Neil Sederburg, courtesy of Undercroft Opera

Fri., Aug. 3 — Opera

When Sen. Joseph McCarthy accused world-renowned playwrights, artists and intellectuals of anti-American activities back in the 1950s, he unwittingly inspired several enduring works of art. One of the most memorable from that era is Carlisle Floyd's hard-hitting operetta Susannah. Set in New Hope Valley, Tenn., the two-act drama follows the 19-year-old title character's struggle to combat false allegations of "loose behavior." This weekend and next, Undercroft Opera presents a Patrick Brannan-directed production of Floyd's masterpiece, fully staged with local professional performers and a complete orchestra. AT 8 p.m. Bellefield Hall Auditorium, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. $20-35. 412-422-7919 or www.undercroftopera.org

click to enlarge ART BY JAMES WHISTLER, COURTESY OF CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF ART
  • Art by James Whistler, courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art

Sat., Aug. 4 —Art

Although James Whistler lived most of his life in Europe, he served on advisory boards for several Carnegie International exhibitions. Starting today, the Carnegie Museum of Art showcases its extensive collection of Whistler's prints and paintings. While the show doesn't include his famous image of his mother, it does feature rare sketches of London life and the strikingly spare oil painting "Arrangement in Black: Portrait of Señor Pablo de Sarasate." Whistler and Rebellion in the Art World focuses on the artist's provocative aesthetics, and his habit of picking fights with fellow painters. AT 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through Dec. 2. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $11.95-17.95. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org 

Sun., Aug. 5 — Screen

Using art and activism, Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace works to prevent nuclear war and raise awareness about the risks of nuclear energy. The group marks the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima with the Shadow Project, recreating the aftermath of a nuclear attack by outlining bodies in chalk around town. Tonight, the group screens Nuclear Savage, a 2011 documentary about the effect on Marshall Islanders of decades of radiation exposure courtesy of the U.S. government. A Skype talk with Japanese peace activists follows. Tomorrow night brings Shadows of War, a night of spoken work, readings and music at Shadow Lounge. BO 5:30 p.m. (film at 6 p.m.). Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., North Oakland. Shadows of War: 7 p.m. Mon., Aug. 6 (5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty). www.rememberinghiroshima.wordpress.com

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