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Short List: January 30 - February 5 

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Fri., Feb. 1 — Stage

Just like you, Paul Gertner loves his iPad; and much like Arthur C. Clarke, he thinks that any technology this advanced is indistinguishable from magic. But Gertner actually is a magician. And while corporate and college gigs pay the bills, the Shaler native's stage work is original enough for Charleston, S.C.'s prestigious Piccolo Spoleto Theater Festival. (He's also done The Tonight Show and two TEDx talks, and performed internationally.) Last June at Spoleto, the award-winning magician premiered Braindrops: Mind Reading, Magic & iPads, his new solo show that uses technology to ask whether we're becoming addicted to it. Sure, the sleight-of-hand master's iPad stirred his creative juices and inspired new tricks for this hour-long blend of magic, comedy and digital marvels; it Pittsburgh-premieres with six performances Feb. 1-9. But when Gertner dons his literal "electronic mask" (as at left), be prepared for some provocative twists. "I'm going to lie to you. Cheat. Distract," he says in a phone interview. Then he'll ask audiences "What do they believe, and why?" and prompt questions about how 24/7 tech is affecting our daily lives, our memories, our decision-making. "What happens when technology starts to control us?" he says. Braindrops — the followup to his 2010 stage show Ten Fingers — is interactive, so bring your cell phones. (As if you'd forget.) Bill O'Driscoll Feb. 1-9. Grey Box Theater, 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $20. 412-784-1115 or www.PaulGertnerMagic.com

Thu., Jan. 31 — Words

Abby Mendelson is a local journalist of long standing, and author of numerous books about Pittsburgh institutions — notably the Steelers, but also a forthcoming book on local houses of worship. He's also an instructor at local universities and a regular contributor of about-town pieces to CP's Last Page. Mendelson's a novelist, too; his latest is The Oakland Quartet. Set in 1958, in working-class Pittsburgh, it follows four teen-age baseball players who commit a horrible crime and must live with the consequences. Mendelson signs copies of his self-published book at East End Book Exchange. Bill O'Driscoll 7 p.m. 4754 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-224-2847 or www.eastendbookexchange.com

Thu., Jan. 31 — Stage

Just now, the wintry setting of John Gabriel Borkman will ring true. So will its premise of a disgraced businessman, out of jail but broke, awaiting redemption. But this 1895 play by Henrik Ibsen (his penultimate work) ups the emotional stakes: The floor Borkman ceaselessly paces is upstairs from his wife and former mistress — who are sisters. Quantum Theatre's production of this rarely staged work stars Malcolm Tulip, Robin Walsh and Bridget Connors, and is directed by longtime Ibsen specialist Martin Giles. The show, staged in East Liberty's renovated Hart Building, opens tonight. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 24. 6022 Broad St., East Liberty. $18-48. 888-718-4253 or www.quantumtheatre.com 

Fri., Feb. 1 — Art

Once again, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts fills its big yellow house. Premiering tonight are 10 separate solo works or collaborations by regional artists, spread across the PCA's 5,000 square feet of exhibition space. Among the works assembled by curator Adam Welch are audio/video installations by David Bernabo and Emily Walley, and by Jeremy Boyle and Mark Franchino. Also: Transcience, Steven Chalmers' photographic portraits of wanderers, from snowbirds to ex-cons; David Montano's NON-WORK, an installation combining video and mixed media assemblage; and Above Dusk, Kara Ruth Snyder's large-scale abstract paintings. BO Reception: 5:30-9 p.m. Exhibits continue through April 7. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. $5. 412-361-0873 or www.pittsburgharts.org

click to enlarge ART BY SPAZ AND MELISSA CICCOCIOPPO
  • Art by Spaz and Melissa Ciccocioppo

Fri., Feb. 1 — Art

Inspired by Pokemon — and who isn't? — the artist known as Spaz brings you "Spazimon," his own friendly little monsters. Opening tonight at the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination is a show of Spaz's creature drawings and Melissa Ciccocioppo's sculptural renderings of same, all supplementing a 20-year Spaz retrospective. The show's part of the Penn Avenue gallery crawl Unblurred. Other new shows include Consciousness, an exhibit of flameworked glass by Korean-born Eunsuh Choi, at Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Darkness and Light, charcoal drawings by Richard Claraval at ModernFormations Gallery. BO Unblurred: 6-10 p.m. Friendship/Bloomfield/Garfield. Free. www.friendship-pgh.org

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Fri., Feb. 1 — Dance

Internationally known, New York-based Chinese dance company Shen-Yun returns to Pittsburgh tonight with an all-new program for the new year. The company's routines range from grand classical processions to ethnic and folk dances. It draws from historical themes and those of today, with backdrops of celestial palaces and pastoral vistas. The first performance at the Benedum Center is tonight, with three more following this weekend. Jeff Ihaza 7:30 p.m. 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $53.25-153.25. 412-456-6666 or www.ShenYun2013.com

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF MARTHA RIAL
  • Photo courtesy of Martha Rial

Fri., Feb. 1 — Dance

And then there's this big boulder ... or at least there is in Attack Theatre's ads for Soap Opera. The lively and inventive dance troupe calls its latest "a passionate mashup of dance and opera" updating the classic story of Scheherazade, with opera's epic themes and sweeping music, including a live guest vocalist. Look for a review in CP next week: The show opens tonight, with seven performances over two weekends at Attack studios, in the Strip District — where you can see what that boulder's all about. BO 8 p.m. Show continues through Feb. 10. 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. $20-35. 412-281-3305 or www.attacktheatre.com

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH BADER.
  • Photo courtesy of Sarah Bader.

Fri., Feb. 1 — Comedy

"My phone always wants to tell people where I am," says Davon Magwood. "And I'm like, ‘Chill the fuck out! Why are you snitchin' on me? I told my mom I was in the hospital. You tellin' this bitch I'm at Chuck E. Cheese! Shut up, phone!" The prickly young standup comic is leaving town. His last stand in Pittsburgh (for now) is tonight's late-night Evening of Comedy at Club Café, also featuring Day Bracey, Solomon and more. Jordan Weeks hosts. BO 10:30 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $10. 866-468-3401 or www.ticketweb.com/clubcafe

Sat., Feb. 2 — Stage

Valentine's Day is a good time for couples to get "creative." For the local artists/couples performing at Couples Come Out!, at the New Hazlett Theater tonight, that means collaborating on art projects in a variety of genres. Love ties all of these pieces together as the show, produced by Twin Soul Affect, features discussions with the artists on how creative collaboration can strengthen relationships. Performers include Gab Cody and Sam Turich (theater and film); David and Tameka Cage Conley (poetry, theater); and Billy Pilgrim and Kendra "Vie Boheme" Denard (hip hop and dance). Jeff Ihaza 8 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square, North Side. $20-24. 412-320-4610 or www.newhazletttheater.org

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Sun., Feb. 3 — Art

It's been a half-century since Andy Warhol thrust his soup cans upon an unsuspecting world. His influence on contemporary art is hard to fathom, but Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years gives it a try. This exhibition, organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, matches 45 works by Warhol with 100 works by 60 other top artists, including names like Koons, Mapplethorpe, Murakami, Richter and Sherman. It's a huge show, gracing four floors of (where else?) The Andy Warhol Museum starting today. BO 10 a..m.-5 p.m. Show continues through April 28. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10-20. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

Tue., Feb. 5 — Words

The Carnegie Mellon University School of Art presents its Visiting Artist Lecture Series, featuring internationally regarded artists whose work ranges across genres. This season's series kicks off with a lecture from School of Art alumnus Shana Moulton. Moulton is known for video and performance art exploring the relationship between technology, like computer operating systems, and the real world. Her free talk takes place tonight at CMU's Kresge Theater. JI 5 p.m. Kresge Theater, College of Fine Arts building, CMU campus, Oakland. Free. 412-268-2409 or laurengo@andrew.cmu.edu

Wed., Feb. 6 — Words

Squatting isn't just about inhabiting vacant buildings — it's about housing justice. So contends Hannah Dobbz in her new book, Nine-Tenths of the Law: Property and Resistance in the United States (AK Press). Dobbz, a Pittsburgh resident and former squatter, speaks tonight about squatting and property struggles in the U.S. from colonial times to the present. The talk at the Big Idea Cooperative Bookstore & Café is free. BO 7 p.m. 4812 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. 412-687-4323 or www.thebigideapgh.org

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