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Short List: March 20 - 26 

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Free Event: Fri., March 22 — Circus

It's been out of town for a bit, but Zany Umbrella Circus is back with its new show "Cake." This live-storybook-style show about a kid's birthday gone awry incorporates clowning, juggling, aerial work and more: It will be performed outdoors in Market Square, three times daily Friday through Sunday, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Led by performer Ben Sota, the Zanies have performed as far away as Jordan, Ethiopia and Afghanistan, and these 10th-anniversary shows are accompanied by a school-bus museum exploring the troupe's history. (That's the bus pictured, along with troupe members.) Starting at 8:30 p.m. Fri., March 22, other Downtown activities include Hotspot, an outdoor group meditation for selected guests of performance artists and "willfully conjoined techno-mystics" the Sisters of the Lattice, held in the Sisters' steam saunas, at 921-23 Liberty Ave. The idea is to "create a wireless network from the energy" of the meditation's participants. Everyone not busy meditating is free to watch; there's also a free screening of the Sisters' feature-length film. On Saturday, it's a three-fer: the Zanies, Hotspot, and a 6 p.m. happy hour at Tavern 245 relaunching the city Office of Public Art's Pittsburgh Artist Registry. Bill O'Driscoll "Cake": 2, 5 and 8 p.m. Fri., March 22. Also Sat., March 23, and Sun., March 24. Hotspot: 8:30 p.m. Fri., March 22, and 8:30 p.m. Sat., March 23. Downtown. Free. www.downtownpittsburgh.com

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Fri., March 22 — Stage

Paige in Full is billed as "A B-Girls Visual Mixtape" — a fusion of poetry, dance, visual art and live music telling the story of a multicultural girl growing up in Baltimore. The sibling duo, comprised of writer and performer Paige Hernandez and musician Nick tha 1da, brings its brand of storytelling to the Peirce Studio at Downtown's Trust Arts Education Center for four shows today and tomorrow as part of a national tour. Jeff Ihaza 10 a.m. and noon. Also 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sat., March 23. 807 Liberty Ave. Downtown. $10. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

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Fri., March 22 — Stage

In their fantasy world of blow-up furniture, pools and rainbow-colored liquids, Ringling Bros. and Cirque du Soleil veterans Doug Rougeux and Casey Carle go by the names "Bub" and "Yesac Elrac The Bubblemaniac." Their touring show Bubble Time comes to the Byham Theater thanks to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Pittsburgh International Children's Theater. Each of the five performances this weekend features a soapy — hence the bubbles — fusion of visual arts and theater for both kids and adults. JI 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Also 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. Sat., March 23. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $9.50 -11. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

Fri., March 22 — Screen

So now there are more women in Congress than ever — 18 percent, about the same as, um, Tajikistan. How much of their underrepresentation in positions of influence is due to the way mass media portray women and girls? Jennifer Siebel Newsom's new feature documentary, Miss Representation, is on the case. Opinions are sought from luminaries ranging from Gloria Steinem to Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi to Rachel Maddow. The free Frick Fine Arts Building screening is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh and education and advocacy group Women in Film and Media Pittsburgh. Bill O'Driscoll 6 p.m. Schenley Plaza, Oakland. $10 (free for students). Register at www.wifmpit.org

Fri., March 22 — Words

"Some people say, / Live like you'll never die, a prayer for idiots. / Instead, I will chant: Love is only fear of death. Love is only fear of death. / I don't believe that either." Between directing Carlow University's creative-writing program and cohosting and producing public-radio show Prosody, Jan Beatty is a linchpin of the local poetry scene. Now the award-winning poet has a new collection of her own tough, distinctive work — The Switching / Yard (University of Pittsburgh Press), her fourth. Tonight's book party, at the WYEP Community Broadcast Center, includes a reading, signing and reception. BO 7:30 p.m. 67 Bedford Square, South Side. Free. beattyjp@aol.com

Fri., March 22 — Stage

Given their penchant for gleefully turning beloved children's stories into lurid explorations of society's seamy underbelly, why would The Rage of the Stage Players stop at repopulating Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan with junkies, sex fiends and other miscreants? So here's the premiere of Winnie-the-Pooh and the Seven Deadly Sins. In the troupe's telling, "an older, more jaded, and openly gay Christopher Robin" returns to the Hundred Acre Wood to find his old pals consumed by Envy (Piglet), Lust (Tigger), Gluttony (Pooh) and more. The fun begins tonight at Off the Wall Theater. BO 8 p.m. Continues through April 6. 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $15. 724-292-8427 or rageofthestage@yahoo.com

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Sat., March 23 — Stage

Support Women Artists Now Day is marked by hundreds of events in two dozen countries. In Pittsburgh, standard-bearer No Name Players Theatre Company has recruited more than 80 local professional female musicians, dancers, poets, theater artists, visual artists, filmmakers and fashion designers to present world-premiere short works inspired by filmed interviews with area women and girls. Today's fifth annual Pittsburgh SWAN Day, at the New Hazlett Theater, includes the usual evening show for adults, plus a brand-new afternoon event for ages 10 and up. Proceeds benefit next year's event. BO 1 and 8 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $5-30 ($35 with evening pre-show reception). www.nonameplayers.org

Sat., March 23 — Art

Unless your Laundromat is a lot more fun than the ones we know, tonight is probably your only chance (this year, anyway) to party in one. It's courtesy of artist Cheryl Capezzuti's National Lint Project, a two-decade initiative that turns dryer lint into small, colorful sculptures. The Project's latest incarnation is an art installation at Trey's Laundromat and Brighton Café. Tonight's opening party includes live music by saxophonist Hill Jordan and his jazz combo Slide Worldwide. BO 5-7 p.m. Exhibit continues through April 27. 3801 Brighton Road, Brighton Heights. Free. www.studiocapezzuti.com

Sat., March 23 — Showcase

As a portmanteau of "Rust Belt" and "Dust Bowl," Rustbowl conjures, not unpridefully, a sort of gritty desolation. Perhaps that's what artist collective Monalloh Foundry is going for with tonight's multi-genre showcase. Musical acts Andre Costello & the Cool Minors, Chet Vincent & Molly Alphabet, and The Faithful Sinners; poets Michael Simon, Brian DiSanto and Lucy Goubert; and a live puppet show by Zach Dorn complement the artwork of Joe Mruk, who frames it all as "a landscape of twisting steel and branches" at The Shop. BO 7 p.m. 4312 Main St., Bloomfield. $5. www.monallohfoundry.com

Mon., March 25 — Words

The winner of the 2012 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition, Eduardo C. Corral, speaks tonight at Point Park University's Writer's Series. Born in Casa Grande, Ariz., Corral has had his work featured in Best American Poetry 2012, Beloit Poetry Journal, Jubilat and more. He's currently a professor at Columbia University. Tonight he reads from his first book of poetry, Slow Lightning. JI 6 p.m. 201 Wood St., Downtown. Free. 412-392-8184 or www.pointpark.edu

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Tue., March 26 — Words

Carrie Mae Weems is known for using photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation and video in artwork exploring issue like family relationships, gender roles, racism and sexism. She is featured in collections around the world, including MoMA and The Williams College Museum of Art. Tonight, Weems speaks at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Art lecture series in the Kresge Theater. JI 5 p.m. CMU campus, Oakland. Free. www.cmu.edu/art/lectures

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNALENA MCAFEE
  • Photo courtesy of Annalena McAfee

Tue., March 26 — Words

In which Pittsburgh gets a visit from one of the English language's most acclaimed novelists. Ian McEwan, author of Amsterdam, On Chesil Beach and, most famously, 2001's Atonement, speaks tonight in the University of Pittsburgh's William Pitt Union ballroom. The free talk, hosted by the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, comes on the heels of McEwan's latest, Sweet Tooth (Doubleday). BO 8:30 p.m. Forbes Avenue at Bigelow, Oakland. Free. 412-624-6508 or pghwriterseries.wordpress.com

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Wed., March 27 — Comedy

Comedian Nikki Glaser, one half of the MTV show Nikki and Sarah Live, performs her stand-up tonight at Carnegie Mellon University. Glaser got her start as a comedian after appearing on the reality show Last Comic Standing while she was still attending college. Her performance tonight at McConomy Auditorium is free. JI 6 p.m. Carnegie Mellon University. Oakland. Free. 412-268-2105 or www.activitiesboard.org

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