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Short List: November 24 - December 1 

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Thu., Nov. 24 -- Screen

If you haven't caught Carl Kurlander's 2008 homage to Pittsburgh, My Tale of Two Cities, at one of its many local screenings, here's a chance to do so without leaving your couch. Kurlander is the local boy turned Hollywood screenwriter and producer who returned to discover his hometown's postindustrial rebirth. Tale is admittedly a feel-good documentary. But really, what other movie boasts guest spots by Franco Harris, Cyril Wecht, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Thomas Starzl, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and Mr. McFeeley, plus a singalong of "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"? A panel talk airing at 7:30 p.m. precedes the 2009 film's broadcast premiere, on WQED, tonight. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. wqed.org

 

Fri., Nov. 25 -- Kids

With school and day care on intermittent holiday hiatus, Carnegie Science Center offers day camps for kids ages 4-10. The first two are Science Fun Days, today and Mon., Nov. 28. Then comes a week-long round Dec. 26-30, with a variety of themes based on age. All camps include a live theater or laser show, an Omnimax movie, a science workshop and play time. The camps are full day, with half-day options for 4- and 5-year-olds, and come-early and stay-late options, for an additional fee. BO 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Camps continue through Dec. 30. $20-40 per kid daily. 412-237-1637 or CarnegieScienceCenter.org

 

Fri., Nov. 25 -- Stage

Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co. has a new home Downtown -- one block over and four blocks up from its old one -- and its first production there is the company's signature Theatre Festival in Black & White. The annual festival matches new one-act plays by white playwrights with black directors, and vice versa (though the plays themselves aren't all explicitly about race). Program A, with four works including Ray Werner's "Felled Family Tree," directed by Lonzo Green, and Kim El's "Just Fishin'," directed by Hallie Donner, premieres tonight. It rotates with Program B, which includes "Apple Says Yes," by Andre Kimo Stone Guess (best known for heading the August Wilson Center) and directed by Randy Kovitz, and F.J. Hartland's "Shaving Lessons and Half Windsor Knots," directed by Ja'Sonta Roberts-Deen. BO 8 p.m. Performances continue through Dec. 4. 937 Liberty Ave. (third floor), Downtown. $15-20. www.pghplaywrights.com

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  • Art by Ross Mantle

Fri., Nov. 25 -- Art

Pittsburgh artist Ross Mantle's photography exhibit In the Wake opens today at 707 Penn Gallery. People and places in the Monongahela Valley are represented in crisp images of unsolicited dormancy: a reminder of small-town reality in postindustrial aftermath. Meanwhile, at 709 Penn Gallery, Pittsburgh-based printmaker Thomas Norulak shows Detritus. It's a collection of etchings true to its name, with natural landscapes and man-made objects bearing corroded patinas. Both artists offer raw views of Western Pennsylvania's stark beauty. There's an opening reception for Detritus tonight. Amy Kuhre 6-8 p.m. Exhibits continue through Dec. 31. 707 and 709 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

 

Sat., Nov. 26 -- Music

The Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh was created to bridge the gap between youth and adult choirs. This year, the choir's latest incarnation won the prestigious American Prize for choral performance. Today, the group's 25th anniversary is marked with the Junior Mendelssohn Jubilee, featuring an alumni reunion and, naturally, a concert. The nearly 600 alumni include film performers like Manu Narayan (The Love Guru), stage stars including Michael Maniaci and Robert Boldin, and rising talents like current Pittsburgh Opera resident artist Alexandra Loutsion. Today's concert at the Omni William Penn features favorites by Brahms, DeBussy and Mendelssohn; for the grand finale, alumni join current vocalists for Aaron Copland's "Stomp Your Foot" -- a reprise of a number from the junior choir's very first show. BO 4 p.m. concert (jubilee follows). 530 William Penn Place, Downtown. Concert: $4.99-14.99; jubilee: $14.99-124.99. www.themendelssohn.org

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Sat., Nov. 26 -- Music 

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater presents its annual homage to one of its partial namesakes, and one of the Big Band era's most prolific artists: pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn. Suite Life: A Billy Strayhorn Birthday Bash welcomes Pittsburgh drummer Roger Humphries and a six-piece ensemble for a performance celebrated Strayhorn standards like "Take the 'A' Train" -- composed for Duke Ellington -- and the classic "Lush Life," which Strayhorn wrote as a teen prodigy. Spoken-word artist Leslie "Ezra" Smith performs original work, and local radio personality Tony Mowod emcees this event marking Strayhorn's 96th birthday. A pre-show mixer begins the celebration one hour early. AK 8 p.m. 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $15-30. 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org 

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Tue., Nov. 29 -- Call for Artists

Do unbridled corporate greed, censorship and inhumane farming outrage you? Do you have filmmaking skills? The Progressive Visions Video Contest offers a chance to express your viewpoint -- and win one of two $300 awards. In the wake of its 2010 Progressive Action Video Contest -- winners included the Jasiri X music video "What If the Tea Party Was Black?" -- the Pittsburgh 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club began accepting video submissions for its next competition. Entries must address relevant and compelling topics and be no more than 15 minutes long. Register and submit video entries via email at ron@pgh14widc.org; digital copies may be physically submitted to the contest chair. The deadline is March 16. AK www.pgh14widc.org

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Wed., Nov. 30 -- Words

In 1911, William Magee, mayor of a town called "hell with the lid off," created Pittsburgh's Art Commission. Urban beautification seemed a tall order here, but the commission survives. One current member is Sylvia Rohr Samaniego, an associate professor of art history at Carlow University and an expert on murals of the early 20th century. Today, the Office of Public Art (a partnership between city government and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council) marks the centennial with "From Smoky City to Renaissance: Pittsburgh's Art Commission and the Shaping of Urban Space and Identity," a free talk by Rohr at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. BO 5:30 p.m. Convention Center (Room 406), Downtown. Registration required at proartstickets.org. www.publicartpittsburgh.org

 

Wed., Nov. 30 -- Stage

Triplet sisters, abandoned by their father, are forced to find a way out of the woods; two brave separate paths and meet back where they began -- 20 years later -- with the sister who vowed to stay. Stage play This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing received the 2010 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, prompting Irish-born playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer to credit young audiences in his acceptance speech: "I am committed to making strong and respectful work for children, which acknowledges them as astute audience members outside plays." The play premiered in translation, in Argentina; University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre presents its English-language premiere in a six-show run starting tonight, at Studio Theatre in the Cathedral of Learning. AK 8 p.m. Show continues through Dec. 4. 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. $8-12. 412-624-7529 or www.play.pitt.edu

 

Thu., Dec. 1 -- Stage

A mysterious murder on Waterloo Bridge leaves young Bunny St. John Manders accused. His half-sister, Gwen, hires super-sleuths Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to crack the case, which is muddled by red herrings like Hitler's secret parentage and the true identity of Jack the Ripper. Written by Tony award-winning Irish playwright Hugh Leonard, The Mask of Moriarty is a comedic murder mystery. Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre presents the Pittsburgh premiere of this family-friendly production, starring local favorites David Whalen and Martin Giles as Holmes and Watson. The first performance is tonight, at the Charity Randall Theatre. AK 8 p.m. Show continues through Dec. 17. Forbes Avenue at Bigelow, Oakland. $20-50. 412-394-3353 or www.picttheatre.org

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