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Short List: November 7 - 13 

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SPOTLIGHT Wed., Nov. 14 — Words

Writer Neil Gaiman has an enviable ability to blend fantasy and reality in his work, while making real a number of his own dreams. From starting out as a journalist struggling to interest British newspaper editors in stories about comics, Gaiman went on to create his own best-selling comic series, The Sandman (1989), whose main character is the embodiment of dreams. His first solo novel, Stardust, was adapted into the 2007 fairytale film starring Robert De Niro. He spun mythology into the classic American road trip with his bestselling 2001 novel American Gods, and followed childhood hero C.S. Lewis' footsteps by winning the Carnegie Medal, for his 2008 children's novel The Graveyard Book. More recently, Gaiman achieved the dream of just about anyone growing up in Britain in the 1970s by writing an episode of Doctor Who. Gaiman speaks Wed., Nov. 14, in a special Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures event at Carnegie Music Hall. Neil Gaiman & An Evening of Stardust marks the 15th anniversary edition of the novel, but Gaiman has confessed he "will undoubtedly talk about other things, especially The Ocean at the End of the Lane." The 2013 release will be his first solo novel for adults since 2006. Catherine Sylvain 7:30 p.m. Wed., Nov. 14. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-30 ($10 students). 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org

Thu., Nov. 8 — Stage

Though he was first known for plays dealing in the absurdist or bizarre (Fuddy Meers, Kimberly Akimbo), David Lindsay-Abaire also successfully works in a realistic key, as in the Pulitzer-winning Rabbit Hole. His latest, last year's Good People, is set in his native, blue-collar South Boston neighborhood. There, tough, wise-cracking Margie, out of work, looks up an old high school boyfriend who's now a wealthy doctor. The premiere production, on Broadway, was an award-winning critical hit. The local premiere, starting tonight at Pittsbugh Public Theater, stars Kelly McAndrew and David Whalen and is directed by City Theatre's Tracy Brigden. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 9. 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. $15-55. $12-316-1600 or www.ppt.org

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Fri., Nov. 9 — Art

The biennial Bridge Exhibition Series has run at the Society for Contemporary Craft since 1988. Bridge 12, curated by SCC director Kate Lydon, features work by three artists connecting traditional craft media with other art practices. Australian metalsmith Melissa Cameron uses computer-aided design to manufacture jewelry from recycled found objects. New York artist Betty Vera weaves photographs into thread with a Jacquard loom. And Philadelphia ceramist Kevin Snipes imposes cartoon-style sketches onto porcelain forms. Catherine Sylvain Opening reception: 5:30-8 p.m. Exhibit continues through March 30. 2100 Smallman St., Strip District. Free. 412-261-7003 or www.contemporarycraft.org

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Sat., Nov. 10 — Pets

A pet parrot is more than just a conversation piece. Says Cathy Schlott, animal-training manager at The National Aviary: "Some of the traits that make parrots so appealing — long lifespans, ability to copy sounds, and intelligence — also make them very challenging to live with." Today the Aviary offers a day-long workshop for current and prospective parrot owners. Positive Parroting covers training techniques, care, nutrition and health information on all parrots including parakeets, cockatiels, conures, macaws and cockatoos. CS 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 700 Arch St., North Side. $50. 412-258-9439 or www.aviary.org

Sat., Nov. 10 — Fashion

The Frown Crown is a new retail clothing store in Lawrenceville, but local designer Matt Gondek didn't start it just to showcase his own T-shirt work. The venue also highlights other local brands. Today, for instance, The WRK'n Class releases its Fall 2 line of original streetwear, from T-shirts and crew necks to long-sleeve shirts and hoodies. With its images of motorcycles and steel mills, and a sometimes-throwback aesthetic, WRK'n Class salutes the region's blue-collar roots. It boasts that its clothing is American made, from domestic cotton to the stitching. The release includes an early-evening party. BO Noon-8 p.m. (party: 4-8 p.m.). 5169 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. 412-781-6847 

Sat., Nov. 10 — Outdoors

For those who like the great indoors, too, try today's Historic Homestead & Homestyle Cooking Hike. The Venture Outdoors program is a three-mile trek around the former steelmaking hub (now home to The Waterfront retail complex). The easy hike includes a tour of the town's revitalized landmark Carnegie Library and the Carpatho-Rusyn Center. It ends with a tour of the Bulgarian-Macedonia National Educational Cultural Center, and a meal there including the center's famed homemade soups. BO 1-5:30 p.m. Homestead. $45. 412-255-0564 or www.ventureoutdoors.org

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Sat., Nov. 10 — Words

The latest from North Side-based literary cooperative Cyberpunk Apocalypse actually flows from the keyboard — and drafting pen — of Cyberpunk founder Daniel McCloskey. A Film About Billy (Six Gallery Press) is an inventive hybrid of a novel and graphic novel. The protagonist is Collin Heart, a teen-ager in Pittsburgh who, in the midst of a mysterious global suicide epidemic, is attempting to complete a documentary about his dead friend. McCloskey is back from a 20-city reading tour for tonight's release party at Downtown's Awesome Books. Nate McDonough also reads, along with contributors via Skype. BO 7 p.m. 929 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. thecyberpunkapocalypse.tumblr.com

Sat., Nov. 10 — Benefit

Tree Pittsburgh is mostly about living trees — making sure there are more of them thriving — but it also promotes creative use of dead ones. Tonight, annual fundraiser Arbor Aid features art (including furniture art) by more than 40 local artists who used reclaimed wood. And the event takes place in the brand-new The Wheel Mill, which claims status as the first indoor bike park in Pennsylvania. Arbor Aid is actually the public's first chance to see venue's interior; the 80,000-square-foot Homewood space was, like the Arbor Aid art, constructed almost entirely from reclaimed wood. BO 8 p.m.-midnight. 6815 Hamilton Ave., Homewood. $25-75. 412-362-6360 or www.treepittsburgh.org/arbor-aid

Sun., Nov. 11 — Comics

Pop-culture geeks, start your engines: The 1960s Batmobile is among the highlights at this year's Pittsburgh Comic & Collectibles Show. Have your photo taken in this replica 'Mobile amidst the panoply of vendors of old and new comics, toys and collectibles, comics cosplayers and more. It's all courtesy of New Dimension Comics. Frequent NDC guest Ron Frenz (Spider-Man, Thor) headlines a roster of some two dozen mainstream and indie comics artists at Century III Mall. For the ultimate fan-boy (or -girl) experience, there's even a trivia contest hosted by Dr. Who impersonators. BO 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 3075 Clairton Road, West Mifflin. $3. 412-965-1487 or www.ndcomics.com

Mon., Nov. 12 — Variety

If wintery Monday nights are a grim prospect, there's a new weekly series brightening them at the Rex Theater. Comedy Kick-off is a benefit for Performance for People — a new charity founded by Pittsburgh Improv Academy's Eliot Preschutti to fund struggling comedians and other entertainers. It showcases local and emerging talent as well as special guests. Tonight, Nashville musicians Shane Tutmarc and Little Bandit headline an evening of multimedia art, sketch comedy, standup, DJs and free pizza. The performance series continues Mondays through Dec. 17. CS 6 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $15. 347-468-2614 or www.performanceforpeople.com

click to enlarge Photo copyright Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
  • Photo copyright Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Tue., Nov. 13 — Stage 

On screen, Michael Morpurgo's children's novel became a Steven Spielberg epic; on stage, some ingenious puppeteers have long created the same impact. Following its acclaimed London debut in 2007, War Horse won five Tony Awards on Broadway last year including Best Play — impressive for a show in which the main character is acted by a life-size puppet. Joey the horse befriends an English farm boy during World War I in this touring production at the Benedum Center, the show's local premiere. The first of eight PNC Broadway Across America performances is tonight. CS 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., Nov. 18. 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $35-85. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

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Tue., Nov. 13 — Words

"A one-word name refuses gender identity, marital status, sociopolitical or cultural and geographical identity by not separating the family name and the first name," states Kimsooja. "A one-word name is an anarchist's name." The Korean-born artist combines performance, video and installation to address the displaced self. She has worked in New York City, Paris and Seoul since her first solo exhibit in 1979. She speaks tonight at the Carnegie Mellon School of Art's Kresge Theater for its Visiting Artist Lecture Series. CS 5 p.m. 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-268-2409 or www.cmu.edu/art

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