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Short List: November 14 - 20 

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FREE EVENT: Thurs., Nov. 15 — Words

Israel Centeno's writings forced him to flee his homeland of Venezuela, but few have been translated into English. Tonight, the current exiled writer-in-residence at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh appears in collaboration with Prime Stage Theater for his largest public reading in Pittsburgh to date. Centeno was born in Caracas, in 1958. His first novel, Calletania, won Venezuela's National Council of Culture Award in 1992. He has published 13 novels and short-story collections and worked as an editor and professor of literature. His novel El Complot, describing a plot to assassinate a fictional militaristic leader, was so troubling to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that Centeno lost his job and faced physical violence. In 2011, he sought refuge at City of Asylum, where he continues to write about his homeland. Tonight he will read, in the original Spanish, an excerpt from his latest novel, La Torre Invertida (The Tower Overturned). It blends gothic and sci-fi elements to create a dystopian fantasy version of Caracas in homage to Ray Bradbury, and is the third in a trilogy. Prime Stage's Justin Fortunato — who recently directed a production of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 — will read Ezra Fitz's English translation of the work, specially commissioned by City of Asylum. Catherine Sylvain 7:30 p.m. Thu., Nov. 15 (7 p.m. reception). 330 Sampsonia Way, North Side. Free, by reservation only. 412-321-2190 or www.cityofasylumpittsburgh.org

Fri., Nov. 16 — Art

That one Beatles record was not technically titled "The White Album." Curator Vicky Clark is more explicit: Her group show White Show: Subtlety in the Age of Spectacle, opening tonight at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, features art in several media that's all or mostly white in color, the better to speak in "a whisper instead of a scream." Contributors include Mark Franchino, Jane Haskell, Delanie Jenkins and Bill Radawec. Two other shows also opening at PCA tonight are Romancing the Tone, showcasing language-based works by six artists, and Small Step Giant Leap, an exhibit of paintings, sculpture, assemblage and installations by members of the Keystone West artists' collective. The big PCA evening includes the preview event for center's newly expanded Holiday Shop, offering arts and crafts by more than 180 regional artists. Bill O'Driscoll Reception: 5:30-9 p.m. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Free. 412-361-0873 or www.pittsburgharts.org

Fri., Nov. 16 – Music

A cello, a viola and two violins: Turtle Island Quartet has spent a quarter-century-plus blending a classical quartet's approach with contemporary American styles. The internationally touring chamber-jazz group's latest collaboration is with acclaimed jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton. Their program, "Poets & Prayers," includes everything from traditional spiritual "Wade in the Water" to Joni Mitchell's "All I Want," a reading of Coltrane's "A Love Supreme," and settings for words by Hafiz and Rumi. Sutton and the Quartet perform two shows tonight at MCG Jazz. BO 7 and 9:30 p.m. 1815 Metropolitan St., North Side. $49.50. 412-323-4000 or www.mcgjazz.org

Fri., Nov. 16 — Beards

The powerful correlation between having facial hair and being a good person is hit home for a second year at Future Tenant. Like Movember, Beardfest 2012 raises money for men's health and prostate-cancer research. Beards of all sizes and materials — including fake beards — are welcome for an evening of art, music, food, drinks and a raffle. Additional prizes will be awarded for the Bushiest, Fanciest Mustache, Best Alternative Material, Best Facial Hair Impression, Best in Show and Best Lady Beard. Catherine Sylvain 7-10 p.m. 819 Penn Ave., Downtown. $5 or $3 (with beard). 215-206-4428 or www.futuretenant.org

Fri., Nov. 16 — Words

"That was the summer I carried a kitchen knife / for protection and slammed / my car into the truck / of a man who stood me up / at a bar. What else could / I do after so much / religion?" Aaron Smith's new collection is titled Appetite (University of Pittsburgh Press), and its title poem is just one incarnation of Smith's exploration of desire through introspection, sharp wit and pop-cultural immersion. Smith, who studied at Pitt, teaches at West Virginia Wesleyan College. He's back in town for a reading and book-release party at the WYEP FM Community Broadcast Center. Poet and radio host Jan Beatty hosts the free event. BO 8 p.m. 67 Bedford Square, South Side. Free. 412-381-9131

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Sat., Nov. 17 — Art

"A post-apocalyptic flower garden" could describe many of the formerly industrial art galleries in Pittsburgh. For a new installation at UnSmoke Systems Artspace this is the intended effect. Sweetness and Light is a merger of the ongoing bodies of work by two artists: Keith Lemley's Dreams of an Ideal and Taryn McMahon's Every Flower is Susceptible of Cultivation. They create curious hybrid constructions using neon, paper, screen-printing and found objects, exploring tensions between man-made and natural forms. CS 6-9 p.m. Exhibition continues through Dec. 16. 1137 Braddock Ave., Braddock. Free. 415-518-9921 or www.unsmokeartspace.com

click to enlarge Art by Milton Weiss
  • Art by Milton Weiss

Sat., Nov. 17 — Art

If that famously botched Spanish fresco Ecce Homo (guilelessly disfigured by an elderly churchwoman) didn't demystify the art-conservation process, a new exhibition aims to. Your Art Needs You! is an innovative call-to-arms at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. It displays 177 faded or damaged artworks from the museum's permanent collection that visitors can choose to "adopt." They will be credited with a plaque for helping fund the restoration of these diverse pieces, including paintings by Pittsburgh's Samuel Rosenberg. CS Opening reception: 6:30-8 p.m. Exhibition continues through Feb. 17. 221 N. Main St., Greensburg. Free. 724-837-1500 or www.wmuseumaa.org

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC ROSÉ.
  • Photo courtesy of Eric Rosé.

Sat., Nov. 17 — Dance

Every fall, Bodiography Contemporary Ballet returns to the Byham Theater for Multiplicity, its showcase of collaborative choreographic and artistic work. But the work itself is new each time. At tonight's 11th incarnation, Bodiography dancers perform new ballet, modern and jazz works by former company members Kaitlin Dann and Lauren Suflita Skrablak and guest artist Daniel Karasik, as well as four short pieces by Bodiography artistic director Maria Caruso. There's also dance-inspired visual art by Eric Rosé. BO 8 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $30. 412-456-6666 or www.bodiographycbc.com

Sat., Nov. 17 — Comedy

Comic Davon Magwood has assembled for you something modestly called a Not So Fancy Time: A Night of Alternative Stand Up Comedy. Brandon Rickard hosts tonight's showcase at Club Café, with nine area comics including Alex Stypula, Oliva Grace Traini, Solomon, and Jordan Weeks. Magwood headlines. It's the late show at the venue; expect post-election humor, to say the least. BO 9:30 p.m. 54 S. 12th St., South Side. $10-15. 412-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com

Sun., Nov. 18 — Music

Music on the Edge is a University of Pittsburgh-based series for contemporary music, performed by professional musicians. Tonight, MOTE begins its season of programs spotlighting experimental or otherwise adventurous modern compositions with a visit from New York's acclaimed contemporary-music ensemble Sequitur. The ensemble has played iconic venues like The Knitting Factory and Joe's Pub. Paul Hostetter conducts the 13-piece group, which includes critically lauded mezzo soprano Mary Nessinger, in works including Ravel's "Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé," Amy Williams' "Cineshape 5," Mathew Rosenblum's "Maggies" and Eric Moe's "Strenuous Pleasures." BO 7 p.m. Bellefield Hall Auditorium, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. $10-20. 412-624-7529 or www.pitt.edu/tickets

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Mon., Nov. 19 – Words

"I think that myth-making is something that people really do in strife," says Téa Obreht of her best-selling magical-realist novel The Tiger's Wife, set in the troubled Balkans. Born in 1985, in Belgrade, Obreht emigrated to the U.S. at age 12 to escape the civil war. Her debut novel was inspired by the death of her grandfather and made her the youngest writer in the New Yorker's 20 Under 40 list in 2011. She speaks tonight at Carnegie Music Hall for the Monday Night Lectures. CS 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-35. 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org

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Wed., Nov. 21 – Music

Not many Presidential Medal of Freedom winners play gigs here; Dylan's the only recent one that comes to mind. But tonight's appearance by B.B. King would be important even if the bluesman didn't own that honor. At age 86, he's a legend, with 53 years of recordings to his name, from "Payin' the Cost to Be the Boss" to that collabo with U2. And King's distinctive, single-note guitar style, with custom vibrato, is a foundation stone of blues and rock. You can give it up for the man tonight at the Benedum Center. BO 7:30 p.m. 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $58-103. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

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