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Short List: January 23 - 29 

Spotlight: Fri., Jan. 25 — Stage

What costume shall the poor girl wear? Nico donned many roles, from model and actress to Warhol superstar, Velvet Underground chanteuse and cult-favorite solo artist. The German-born Nico died in 1988, a seeming enigma. But to performance artist Tammy Lang — best known as her evangelical country-singer alter ego Tammy Faye Starlite — Nico is graspable, if mysterious. In 2010 stage show Chelsea Mädchen, Starlite embodies Nico in what's largely a recreation of a wide-ranging 1986 radio interview. Interspersed are in-character renditions of Nico's Velvets classics (like "All Tomorrow's Parties") and signature covers: Bowie's "Heroes," The Door's "The End," "My Funny Valentine," backed by a live band. She also dishes on Lou Reed, John Cale and paramours like Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison. A performance for The Andy Warhol Museum's Off the Wall series is the show's first outside New York or Los Angeles. Starlite, long smitten with Warhol, loves Nico's Warholesque interviews. "I'm a big fan of non sequiturs," she says in a phone interview, and Chelsea Mädchen is surprisingly comic. She sees Nico as less mysterious than nihilistic, or simply fatalistic: "I don't think the surface of the world mattered to her." But Nico's music rang true. "There was nothing false about any way that she sang," says Starlite. "There was nobody like her." Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Fri., Jan. 25. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $20-25. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

Thu., Jan. 24 — Opera 

In Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa's 18th-century opera il Matrimonio Segreto, Paolino and Carolina secretly marry. Complications arise in this complex romantic comedy, newly staged by Pittsburgh Opera at Downtown's CAPA Theater. The show, conducted by Sarah Jobin, stars Pittsburgh Opera resident artists, with tenor Juan Jose de Leon as Paolino and soprano Meredith Lustig as Carolina. The opera is performed in Italian, with English text projected above the stage. Tonight is a special preview performance, with four more to follow. Jeff Ihaza 7 p.m. Show continues through Feb. 3. 111 Ninth St., Downtown. $40.75 (additional performances $50.75). 412-456-6666 or www.pittsburghopera.org

Thu., Jan. 24 — Stage

With its cast of 26, plus an orchestra, 1776 is billed as Pittsburgh Public Theater's biggest production ever. And that's not even counting the larger-than-life characters and storyline in the 1969 Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone musical about the drama surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The show, a critical and commercial Broadway success, was successfully revived in 1997. It centers on the efforts of Congressman John Adams (played by George Merrick, pictured) to corral signatories. Other luminaries include Jefferson (Keith Hines, from the Public's Camelot), Franklin (Steve Vinovich) and Edward Rutledge (Camelot's Hayden Tee). Tonight is the first preview performance, with opening night set for Feb. 1. Ted Pappas directs. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Show continues through Feb. 24. O'Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. $15-60. 412-316-1600 or www.ppt.org

click to enlarge Photo courtesy of Cassie Kay.
  • Photo courtesy of Cassie Kay.

Fri., Jan. 25 - Dance

The Pillow Project keeps seeking new twists on dance. This weekend, Pearlann Porter's company premieres the feature-length version of her Backlit in a Whole New D. The approach matches the improvisational style Porter calls "Freejazz" with an innovative lighting scheme that makes everything pop in an extra dimension ... after you put on those familiar goofy glasses, that is. The hour-long, non-narrative work features dancers Riva Strauss, Zek Stewart, Grant Haralson, Anna Thompson and Taylor Knight performing to instrumental music by The Beastie Boys. Plus, enjoy "mini-martini/jazz sessions" before and after each of the four performances. BO 8 and 11 p.m. Also 8 and 11 p.m. Sat., Jan. 26. $10. 412-225-9269 or www.pillowproject.org

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Fri., Jan. 25 — Art

World-renowned French digital artist Miguel Chevalier unveils new work at Wood Street Galleries. This pioneer of virtual art is known for works like his interactive virtual island in Sao Paolo and "Seconde Nature," a permanent virtual garden in Marseilles. (In 2006, he exhibited his animated video map "RGB Land" at Wood Street.) Power Pixels 2013 includes the world premiere of Chevalier's self-generative video installation, "Digital-Archi (Meta Cities)." The opening is part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's quarterly Gallery Crawl, an evening of free live music, visual art, comedy and more at 27 Downtown venues. BO 5:30-9 p.m. Wood Street: 601 Wood St. Gallery Crawl: Cultural District. Downtown. Free. www.pgharts.org

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Fri., Jan. 25 — Comedy

Live comedy makes its way to the Latitude 40 entertainment complex, in Robinson. Starting tonight, the expansive, Vegas-styled entertainment center opens the doors of its newly opened Latitude Live room to touring comedian Mark Eddie. Eddie, a former Pittsburgher, was a professional rocker before he turned to comedy. He's known for blending acoustic guitar — and adaptations of hit songs — with his comedy in a fashion that is "unmatched," according to no less an authority than Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger JI 8 p.m. 200 Quinn Drive, Robinson. $5-25. 317-813-6565 or www.latitude40pitt.com

Fri., Jan. 25 — Art

Silver Eye Center presents new exhibits by the winners of its annual Fellowship 13 International Photography Competition. International Fellowship honoree Diane Meyer offers Time Spent That Might Otherwise Be Forgotten, the California-based artist's series incorporating cross-stitch embroidery into photographs. The Keystone Award winner (for a Pennsylvania photographer) is Ross Mantle, whose California, Pennsylvania reflects the experience of road trips from California, Pa., to the Golden State. The opening reception is tonight, a gallery talk by the artists tomorrow. BO 6-8:30 p.m. Gallery talk: 10 a.m. Sat., Jan. 26. Exhibit continues through March 16. 1015 E. Carson St., South Side. Free. 412-431-1810 or www.silvereye.org

Sat., Jan. 26 — Stage

In solidarity with a march for gun control in Washington, D.C, Pittsburgh PACT (Public Action Communitarian Theater) hosts an event Downtown today featuring works by a variety of writers and performers. The event includes short plays, essays, monologues and more by local authors as well as national and international submissions received by New York-based activist troupe NoPassport for a similar event in D.C. The works will staged at Bricolage Productions's space with help from area actors, directors and other stage artists. Local groups CeaseFirePA and One Pittsburgh are co-sponsors. JI 4 p.m. 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. pghpact@gmail.com

Sun., Jan. 27 — Stage

Each year, Dreams of Hope and its youth performance troupe create an original stage show to raise awareness about LGBT issues. Employing spoken word, movement, drama, percussion and song, they visit community centers, churches, universities, high schools, corporate-diversity events and union halls, and conclude each show with a youth-led discussion. But before this year's Department of Hope hits the road, they're previewing it for free today, at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Department of Hope imagines an academy where "agents of change" expose policies and rules that work against people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or allied identities. BO 4 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. www.dreamsofhope.org

Tue., Jan. 29 — Music

By the time of his death this past August, at age 68, there was almost no big award Marvin Hamlisch hadn't won for his composing, from three Oscars to a Pulitzer. Besides hits like "The Way We Were," Hamlisch was known for his long association with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, for which he was Principal Pops Conductor. Tonight, the PSO honors him with One Singular Sensation, a star-studded tribute featuring the likes of Idina Menzel (singing "What I Did for Love" and more), Lucie Arnaz, Robert Klein, Kevin Cole and many more. Net proceeds benefit the Marvin Hamlisch Pops Artistic Excellence Fund. BO 7:30 p.m. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $35-200. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF ANGFAZZ PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Photo courtesy of Angfazz Photography

Wed., Jan. 30 — Comedy

A good sheet cake is one that effortlessly — and deliciously — blends its component parts. The members of improv group Sheet Cake are bakers in this regard, blending the long-form wit of Sara Micnowski's troupe The Leaky Basement with Neva Boyd and Viola Spolin's short-form work. Their newfangled comedic confection is served at the Pittsburgh Improv tonight, in the group's debut. JI 8 p.m. 166 E. Bridge St., West Homestead. $5. 412-462-5233 or www.pittsburgh.improv.com

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Thu., Jan. 31 — Music

Award-winning folk singer Mária Majda Guessous, known as Mesi, brings traditional Hungarian music to Hazelwood today, with a multicultural twist. Mesi, whose father is Moroccan, also includes Turkish and Moroccan tunes in her repertoire. As part of her U.S. tour, she and two accompanists on traditional instruments perform tonight at the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Pittsburgh. The concert is co-sponsored by New York's Hungarian Cultural Center. BO 6:30 p.m. 221 Johnston Ave., Hazelwood. $10-12. 800-848-7366 x136

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