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Short List: December 16 - 22 

Fri., Dec. 16 -- Festival

It's the final weekend to sample a first at Kennywood: This is the first time the fabled, 114-year-old amusement park has opened its gates in December. And it's not just for the Kennywood Holiday Lights show, which illuminates the park's lagoon every half-hour. Many rides are open, too, including Gingerbread Express (a re-themed Olde Kennywood Railroad), the Merry-Go-Round and the Paratrooper. There are also performances by local choirs, cookie-decorating, a model-train display and a Santa station. Parking is even free -- though you'll still have to pony up for the Potato Patch fries and kettle corn. Bill O'Driscoll 5-9 p.m. Also 5-9 p.m. nightly Sat., Dec. 17, and Sun., Dec. 18. $13.99 (children ages 2 and under are free). 412-461-0500 or www.kennywood.com

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Fri., Dec. 16 -- Art

The Pittsburgh Filmmakers Senior Thesis Show presents work from undergraduate photography students Kelly Bogel, Brittany Harrington, Sarah Shank and Katie E. Remele. Each responds to the theme: what it means to be an "emerging artist." Their digital and darkroom productions range from urban grit -- as in Bogel's black-and-white imagery of postindustrial architecture -- to arresting beauty, as in Remele's digital prints of birds. The show opens with a reception, tonight, at Melwood Photography Gallery. Amy Kuhre 6-8 p.m. Exhibit continues through Jan. 19. 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-681-5449 or www.pghfilmmakers.org

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Fri., Dec. 16 -- Music

Internationally recognized ensemble Chatham Baroque caps a year of performances and a recent CD release (Alla Luca) with three seasonal concerts. Wintry Mix celebrates composers Georg Muffat and Heinrich Biber with sonatas from Armonico Tributo and Mensa Sonora. Guest violinist Allison Edberg, violists Kristen Linfante and Regina Ketter, and chamber organist Adam Pearl join the ensemble at Sewickley's St. James Parish for tonight's opening performance. There's also a Saturday show at Synod Hall, in Oakland, and a Sunday performance at Laughlin Music Center, on the Chatham University campus. AK 8 p.m. (200 Walnut St., Sewickley). Also 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 17, and 8 p.m. Sun., Dec. 18 (various venues). $30. www.chathambaroque.org

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Fri., Dec. 16 -- Comedy

The Rev. Bob Levy is sort of like that dirtbag uncle of questionable moral character that every family seems to have -- he has no couth, no class and speaks his mind in a distinctive gravelly voice. Unlike your uncle, though, Rev. Bob is really, really funny. A veteran stand-up comic, Levy became well-known as a regular guest on the Howard Stern Show and set himself apart by hosting a series of raunchy, hilarious roasts. His comedy is brash and in-your-face and his show at the Smiling Moose is not for the easily offended. Charlie Deitch 10 p.m. 1306 East Carson St., South Side. $10-15. 877-435-9849 or ticketfly.com

 

Sat., Dec. 17 -- Festival

It's halfway between the World Series and spring training -- maybe slightly closer than the Pirates have gotten to being a contender in recent, um, decades. But the club showed signs of life early last season, and it's hoping to build on whatever good will that generated with this weekend's Piratefest, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The annual "interactive baseball carnival" features: autograph sessions with emerging stars like Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Joel Hanrahan and alumni like Doug Drabek and Andy Van Slyke; youth baseball clinics; a singing competition for aspiring national-anthem vocalists; and much more. BO 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Also noon-5 p.m. Sun., Dec. 18. 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Downtown. $4-12. www.pirates.com

 

Sat., Dec. 17 -- Variety

Joe Torry's dad tried to make him join the military, but he wouldn't go: "If you quit, they come looking for you. What kind of job is that?" The former Def Comedy Jam host and film actor, known for good-natured ribbing of audience members and his often raunchy material, headlines two shows today at the August Wilson Center. N-Motion Entertainment and the Afro-American Music Institute also present comic Comma'Dee and live music by horn-driven, Washington, D.C.-based jazz/funk band 76 Degrees West and jazz keyboardist Kevin Howard. BO 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $32.50-47.50. 412-394-3353 or www.augustwilsoncenter.org

 

Sat., Dec. 17 -- Stage

It's not a play, exactly, but neither is it just comedy. Gab Bonesso calls her new venture Standup Theater. Tonight, at Downtown's Bricolage space, there are monologues and standup comedy by this veteran local comic. But the web columnist -- who's about to begin an "experimental residency" with Waffle Shop creator Jon Rubin -- will also showcase one-woman skits and a staged reading of a new short play she's written, with help from local actors Dustin Wickett and Tami Dixon. Comic John McIntire hosts, and the musical guest is Josh Verbanets, of Meeting of Important People. BO 8 p.m. 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10. 412-471-0999

 

Sun., Dec.18 - Outdoors

Though the weather has been unusually warm this season, Venture Outdoors prepares its annual Cross-Country Ski Intro and Hike at Laurel Ridge State Park. With its Scandinavian origins, cross-country skiing facilitated transportation and hunting before it evolved into a recreational pastime and competitive sport. As demonstrated in this beginners' workshop, it's often easier to learn than its downhill counterpart. This half-day workshop -- which will be held with or without snow on the ground -- covers basic technique and gear, and concludes with a hike along Laurel Ridge trails. AK 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 1117 Jim Mountain Road, Rockwood, Pa. $20-27. Register in person, at 412-255-0564 or www.ventureoutdoors.org

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Sun., Dec. 18 -- Music

Local arts outfit Poets Corner is known for inclusiveness, whether it's staged performances or literary readings. The group continues that tradition with a sing-along version of selections from the season's most recognized oratorio: Handel's Messiah. Soloists Emily Swora, Mary Beth Sederburg, Christopher Quigley and William Mark Snyder join Calvary Renewal Choir and Chamber Ensemble for the concert, but the audience is invited to sing during four choruses, including Glory to God and Hallelujah. This special rendition at Calvary United Methodist Church (with its renowned Tiffany stained-glass windows) concludes with a reception. AK 4 p.m. 971 Beech Ave., Allegheny West. $5-10. 412-512-0589 or www.calvarypgh.com 

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Mon., Dec. 19 -- Music

Classical Revolution Pittsburgh exists to bring live chamber music to the people -- at little to no cost, and outside the concert halls where some audiences might fear to tread.  The group, including both professional musicians and conservatory students, has played at venues like the Beehive Coffeehouse and the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern. Tonight's concert is at Monk's Place, an informal Lawrenceville venue. For those keeping score, the show includes works by Brahms (Clarinet Quintet in B minor opus 115) and Liszt, and Prokofiev's Quintet in G minor opus 39 for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola and double bass. BO 8 p.m. 3634 Penn Ave., Lawrenceville. Free (donations welcome). faraci77@gmail.com

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Thu., Dec. 22 -- Comedy

Pittsburgh Improv Jam could be described as a weekly battle between professional comedic teams, spurred by audience participation. You'll never see the same show twice: The Jam relies on random words shouted from the audience, then worked into scenes by established improvisers from local comedy troupes like Hustlebot, Iron City and The Cellar Dwellers. Spectators can join in on the spot or sign up in advance, if they want to plan their spontaneity. Presented by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, tonight's 21-and-over show is hosted at The Cabaret at Theater Square. AK 10 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. $3. 412-325-6769 or www.pgharts.com

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