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Short List: November 28 - December 4 

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Fri., Nov. 30 — Variety

 "The variety show is the opposite of monotony," says artist and Carnegie Mellon University School of Art faculty member Suzie Silver. This semester, with graduate student Scott Andrew, Silver taught an undergraduate course called Trans-Q Television. Their students, along with many artists and writers, produced an online TV variety series — with emphasis on the "various" — that receives its premiere tonight at 6119. The first episode is hosted by Pittsburgh drag queen Alaska Thvnderfvck. It features an all-drag soap opera in collaboration with California-based filmmakers and transgender couple Zachary Drucker and Rhys Ernst; highlights of hip-hop producer Le1f's performance at this year's VIA Festival; and animation, fashion and video-art interstitials. The series, supported by The Center for the Arts in Society and CMU's School of Art, will be launched online in January, with six episodes in the first season. "The aim was to create a provocative and humorous show that moves us towards a non-binary system of thinking about gender and sexuality," Silver says. "It's pretty utopian." After the screening tonight, there will be performances from female female-impersonator Darla de la'Piranha and drag queen Veruca la'Piranha, among others. That's followed by a dance party with VJs and DJs including Brooklyn artist and musician Ginger Brooks Takahashi. Catherine Sylvain 8:30 p.m. Fri., Nov. 30 (9 p.m. screening). 6119 Penn Ave., East Liberty. Free. 412-268-1533 or www.transq.wordpress.com 

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE BELAN
  • Photo courtesy of Michelle Belan

Thu., Nov. 29 — Stage

French aristocrats behaving badly but insulting each other beautifully, all in rhyming couplets: That, a stellar cast and more recommend the local premiere of The School for Lies. David Ives' 2011 adaption of Moliere's classic comedy The Misanthrope follows a nobleman who decides to tell the brutal truth all the time. Even when he falls in love with a woman as sharp-tongued as he? Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's Andrew S. Paul directs a cast including local favorites Nike Doukas, Leo Marks, Robin Abramson, Helena Ruoti and more. The first preview performance is tonight. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Show continues through Dec. 15. Charity Randall Theater, Stephen Foster Memorial, Forbes Avenue at Bigelow, Oakland. $20-48. 412-561-6000 or www.picttheatre.org

Thu., Nov. 29 — Stage

Bricolage Productions' Midnight Radio series isn't really made for radio. Rather, these popular shows employ old-time radio techniques — like live sound effects — strictly for the entertainment of a "studio" audience. Never truer than with season-closing production Cult Movie Classics. Bricolage will provide its own original, live overdubbed dialogue to projected excerpts of both kung-fu flick The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Godzilla vs. Mothra. The cast includes Patrick Jordan and Sheila McKenna. Also, look for musical guest Josh Verbanets (from Meeting of Important People) and supplemental shenanigans. BO 9 p.m. Show continues through Dec. 8. 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $15-25. www.bricolagepgh.org

Fri., Nov. 30 — Dance

While it's not quite in The Nutcracker's league for tradition, it's getting closer: Attack Theatre's Holiday Unwrapped is back for its fourth season. The family-friendly 40-minute show follows four characters through the mayhem of year-end consumerism, set to an eclectic score including classical, klezmer and hip-hop versions of holiday favorites. The lively show's take-away is "have fun." The first of three shows is tonight; on Sat., Dec. 1, there are two shows, with a Game Day for interactive play in between. It all takes place at Attack's spacious studios, inside Pittsburgh Opera's Strip District headquarters. BO 7 p.m. Also 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1. 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. $5-15. 888-718-4253 or www.attacktheatre.com

click to enlarge ART BY COLTER HARPER AND CAROLINA LOYOLA-GARCIA
  • Art by Colter Harper and Carolina Loyola-Garcia

Fri., Nov. 30 — Art

Local artists might or might not be familiar faces — depends largely on whether they're performers — but in either case they seldom get art made about them. That changes at After Dark. The exhibition by Colter Harper and Carolina Loyola-Garcia imaginatively deploys digital photography and "light painting" in portraits of 10 local artists, including Quantum Theatre's Karla Boos, belly-dancer Olivia Kissel, singer Phat Man Dee, musician Ben Opie, actress Adrienne Wehr, and visual artists Brian Brown, Sarah Humphrey, Ayanah Moor (pictured), Thaddeus Mosley and James Simon. The show, at 707 Penn Gallery, opens with a reception tonight. BO 6-9 p.m. 707 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-325-7017 or www.pgharts.org

Fri., Nov. 30 — Stage

The opening monologue of Tick, Tick ... Boom! notes that the play's title "is the sound of one man's mounting anxiety." The semi-autobiographical rock musical by composer Jonathan Larson is more intimate than his Pulitzer-winning Rent, but similarly depicts an AIDs-fraught, bohemian New York in the 1990s. Following Larson's 1995 death, the show was restructured for a cast of three. A production premiering tonight at Grey Box Theatre is 12 Peers Theatre's first musical, directed by Pittsburgh playwright F.J. Hartland. CS 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 9. 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $15-20. 412-496-2194 or www.12peerstheater.org 

Sat., Dec. 1 — Stage

Beat impresario Michael McGovern, who's been producing The Beat Cabaret series since 2010, co-hosts tonight with "stand-up philosopher" Tim Sedwick at ModernFormations Gallery. They'll introduce local spoken-word artists Jennifer Schaupp, Monica Lyde and the performer known only as Thomas, with musical support from Tobacco Road saxophonist Dale Mangold. Tonight's finale is a special premiere of McGovern's play "Preparing Banquo," a finalist at The Red Bull Theatre's Off-Broadway short-play festival. It does comic justice to Macbeth's Banquo via a coaching session from famous Shakespearean ghosts. CS 8 p.m. 4919 Penn Ave., Garfield. $5. 412-513-8760 or www.modernformations.com 

Sat., Dec. 1 — Music

If you hear "percussion ensemble" and think "drum circle," think again. Critically acclaimed, seven-man outfit Talujon has collaborated with, or performed adventuresome contemporary compositions by, the likes of Henry Threadgill, Julia Wolfe and Steve Reich, and has toured the U.S. and Europe. Tonight, the University of Pittsburgh's Music on the Edge series hosts the New York-based Talujon at Bellefield Hall Auditorium. The program includes works by John Cage, Eric Moe's "Danger: Giant Frogs," the world premiere of Amy Williams' "Dream Landscape" and more. BO 8 p.m. 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. $10-20. 412-624-7529 or www.play.pitt.edu

click to enlarge ART BY JEREMY KOST
  • Art by Jeremy Kost

Sun., Dec. 2 — Art

Andy Warhol used his camera as a buffer between himself and the celebrities he wanted to get close to, and Jeremy Kost started out the same way. And from snapping nightlife shots in his hometown of New York, Kost's camera has now got him inside The Andy Warhol Warhol Museum. His first solo exhibit here, Friends With Benefits, depicts gender, sexuality and ephemerality through the Polaroid. Included are Polaroid-inspired silkscreen paintings of Pittsburgh drag performers and a multilayered Polaroid collage of Warhol's grave. The show opens today. CS 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibition continues through Jan. 27. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10-20. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

Mon., Dec. 3 — Words

Aside from their beauty, coral reefs are hugely important habitats for aquatic life, crucial to biodiversity and human fisheries alike. They're also rapidly disappearing, threatened by things like climate change. But Bob Snowden, of the Pittsbugh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, says there are ways to conserve coral reefs. Snowden, an aquarist of marine invertebrates who works with the reef-conservation group The SECORE Foundation, gives a free talk on the subject tonight at the Carnegie Science Center's Café Scientique. The evening includes a cash bar and $8 dinner option. BO 7 p.m. 1 Science Drive, North Side. Free; registration required at www.carnegiesciencecenter.org 

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Mon., Dec. 3 — Words

Twelve different doctors inserted unsterilized fingers and instruments into the bullet wound of President James Garfield. And the given name of the doctor overseeing Garfield's medical care happened to be "Doctor." Candice Millard uncovers these details in Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, her bestselling history of Garfield's 1881 assassination. The former editor at National Geographic also wrote The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey. She speaks tonight at Carnegie Music Hall for Monday Night Lectures. CS 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-35. 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org

Tue., Dec. 4 — Words

"Solitary room freak-outs nobody knows the panic of / white paint has no country / outside, the tree roots peed on, fingers wiped on bark, / I have been here before." Pittsburgh-based poet Michael S. Begnal, who's lived in Ireland (and sometimes writes in Gaelic), has just released his second poetry collection, Future Blues, on Salmon Poetry. He reads from the book tonight at Barnes & Noble Café, on the Duquesne University campus. Also reading is essayist Peter Trachtenburg. BO 7 p.m. 1015 Forbes Ave., Uptown. Free. 412-434-6626 or www.barnesandnoble.com

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