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Short List: Oct. 7-13 

Attack Theatre’s latest Some Assembly Required; Quantum takes you to The River; civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis; Pittsburgh Opera’s La Traviata

Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza of Attack Theatre

Photo courtesy of Martha Rial

Peter Kope and Michele de la Reza of Attack Theatre

SPOTLIGHT: Fri., Oct. 7 - Dance

Originally commissioned by the Carnegie Museum of Art in 1995 for its Made in America exhibit, Some Assembly Required is one of Attack Theatre’s oldest and most reprised productions — yet it’s new every time. It has been performed throughout Pittsburgh, nationally and internationally. On Oct. 7-9, Attack returns to Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery to reprise the audience-interactive program. The idea behind Some Assembly Required is for Attack’s dancers and musicians, along with attendees, to co-create an original work inspired by an art exhibition — in this instance, Architecture With and Without Le Corbusier, showcasing work by architect José Oubrerie, professor emeritus at the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University. The exhibition of books, videos, sketches, paintings, photos and models of Oubrerie’s architectural works runs through Nov. 13. Attack’s 75-minute program will feature the troupe’s five dancers, a trio of musicians including Ian Green and Cello Fury’s Simon Cummings, along with Attack directors Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope. The performers will engage with the audience in conversations and improvisations to create, in real time, an original dance work for a one-time performance. Steve Sucato 6 p.m. Fri., Oct. 7; 6 p.m. Sat., Oct. 8; and 2 p.m. Sun., Oct. 9. CMU campus, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Admission is “Pay what moves you.” Reservations suggested at www.attacktheatre.com/sar. 

click to enlarge Art by Seth Clark and Jason Forck
  • Art by Seth Clark and Jason Forck

Fri., Oct. 7 – Art

“Abstraction through decay … architecture in collapse.” The phrases reflect both the collaboration between artists Seth Clark and Jason Forck and its products. After a year-long Idea Furnace residency at Pittsburgh Glass Center, collage artist Clark and glass artist Forck present Dissolution. The exhibit showcases innovative work including large-scale blown-glass collages and architectural installations of wood, metal and glass. See what these two up-and-coming artists have cooked up at tonight’s opening reception, part of Penn Avenue’s monthly gallery crawl, Unblurred. Bill O’Driscoll Reception: 6-9 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through Jan. 16. 5472 Penn Ave., Friendship. 412-365-2145 or www.pittsburghglasscenter.org

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF HEATHER MULL
  • Photo courtesy of Heather Mull

Fri., Oct. 7 - Stage

The River is about a man, two women and fishing. Or is it? Part of the lure of this 2014 work by acclaimed British playwright Jez Butterworth is that the fisherman in whose remote cabin it’s set keeps both the women and the audience guessing what he’s about. Quantum Theatre (which previously produced Butterworth’s Parlour Song) stages the Pittsburgh premiere on the banks of the Allegheny, in the (indoor) dry dock of brand-new Aspinwall Riverfront Park. Adil Mansoor directs Andrew William Smith, Daina Michelle Griffith and Siovhan Christensen. The first performance is tonight. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 30. 285 River Ave., Aspinwall. $18-51. 412-362-1713 or www.quantumtheatre.com

Fri., Oct. 7 – Music

City of Asylum wraps its inaugural Jazz Poetry Month with three different free programs of avant-garde jazz, all incorporating acclaimed guitarist Mary Halvorson. Tonight, it’s a solo show by Halvorson, whom the Jazz Journalists Association recently named Guitarist of the Year. On Saturday, the City of Asylum tent hosts Thomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up, a five-piece including Halvorson. And on Sunday, the month-long series concludes as Halvorson and drummer Fujiwara join bassist Michale Formanek to perform as Thumbscrew. BO  Halvorson solo: 8 p.m. Fujiwara & The Hook Up: 8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 8. Thumbscrew: 7 p.m. Sun., Oct. 9. 318 Sampsonia Way, North Side. Free. www.alphabetcity.org

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF SANDI VILLARREAL
  • Photo courtesy of Sandi Villarreal

Sat., Oct. 8 – Talk

While he’s a long-serving congressman from Georgia, John Lewis remains best known as a key leader of the civil-rights movement, with pivotal roles in the March on Washington and 1965’s Bloody Sunday protest in Selma, Ala. Lewis is also co-author, with Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell, of March, the acclaimed, bestselling trilogy of graphic novels about the Movement. With book three newly out, the ToonSeum presents today’s A Conversation with Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, a free event at the August Wilson Center. And tonight, Sweetwater Center for the Arts hosts a ticketed event, with a cocktail reception, book-signing and talk by the three authors; the $50 ticket includes one book from the series. BO 2-4 p.m. (August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown; free). Evening event: 7-10 p.m. (Sewickley Academy, 315 Academy Dr., Sewickley; $50). 412-741-4405 or www.sweetwaterartcenter.org

click to enlarge sl_abides_40.jpg

Sat., Oct. 8 – Festival

It’s gone way beyond bathrobes and White Russians: Pittsburgh Abides, that annual homage to all things The Big Lebowski, keeps upping the ante. This year’s event, Obviously You Are Not a Golfer, takes over both floors of Spirit Lounge with video projections, Lebowski-themed décor and people dressed as the Dude, Walter and what have you. The immersive environment comes complete with zipline, iron lung, trivia, In-N-Out-style burgers, costume contest and dance-cycle competition. And because the Coen brothers’ cult classic provides endless material, new attractions include a mini-golf course with holes designed by local artists; live music by The Fucking bEagles Brothers (for heckling) and Charlie Hustle and the Grifters as the Dude’s Tape Deck; and a contest for performances of your two-minute version of the film. BO 3 p.m. 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $18-20. pghabides.com

click to enlarge ART BY TODD PINKHAM
  • Art by Todd Pinkham

Sat., Oct. 8 – Art

Todd Pinkham’s paintings are “caught between characteristics of the Pop Artists and the Abstract Expressionists.” His new show, Laughing While Levitating, at BoxHeart Gallery, promises works “rich with imagery of heroes, deities and monsters” and which “act as translators for all the things his conscious mind cannot grasp.” Pinkham is a professor at California University of Pennsylvania. The opening reception is tonight. IF 5 p.m. Exhibit continues through Nov. 4. 4523 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-687-8858 or www.boxheartgallery.com

click to enlarge sl_traviata_40.jpg

Sat., Oct. 8 – Opera

La Traviata is the world’s most frequently performed opera. But in composing it, Verdi created a special challenge for whoever sings the lead role of Violetta. “It’s kind of written for two different voices,” says Danielle Pastin, the nationally known, Pittsburgh-based soprano who tackles the role in Pittsburgh Opera’s new production. But the Brighton Heights resident is prepared for both the first act’s rapid high notes and the more lyrical singing in acts two and three; after all, she’s sung Violetta before, with Syracuse Opera. Just as important, Pastin embraces Violetta herself. Verdi’s heroine, a famed courtesan, is a mature woman who doesn’t back down in defending her independence or her right to choose a partner. “I love the fight in her,” says Pastin. Pastin trained with Pittsburgh Opera as a Resident Artist and made her debut at the Met in 2011. She’ll sing Violetta opposite tenor Cody Austin as her lover, Alfredo, whose wealthy father opposes the match. The production at the Benedum Center is stage-directed by Chas Rader-Shieber, with the orchestra conducted by Christian Capocaccia. The opera will be sung in Italian, with an English translation projected above the stage. And Pastin promises that even those who’ve seen La Traviata before will enjoy a big surprise planned for Act III. BO 8 p.m. Also Oct. 11, 14 and 16. 237 Seventh Ave., Downtown. $12-159. 412-456-6666 or www.pittsburghopera.org

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF FRIEDMAN-BERGMAN
  • Photo courtesy of Friedman-Bergman

Sat., Oct. 8 – Comedy

With his first special on Comedy Central, Live from Radio City Music Hall, newly released, it’s safe to say Brian Regan has reached unprecedented popularity. He has had 27 performances on The Late Show With David Letterman and also a role in 2014’s Chris Rock film Top Five. Most recently Regan appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s web show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and performed on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. The comedian stops by Heinz Hall tonight on his national tour. IF 8 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $45-50. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

click to enlarge sl_forman_40.jpg

Thu., Oct. 13 – Words

After penning young-adult novels including If I Stay, which was adapted for the screen in 2014, bestselling author Gayle Forman took a plunge into adult fiction with her latest work. Though her previous novels and writings for Seventeen magazine typically focused on youth, her acclaimed new novel Leave Me explores the challenges of motherhood. Forman’s national tour stops by the Penguin Bookstore, in Sewickley, tonight for a conversation with Jayne Adair, former executive director of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. IF 6 p.m. 417 Beaver St., Sewickley. A copy of the book ($26.95) is your ticket. 412-741-3838 or www.penguinbookshop.com

click to enlarge sl_basetrack_40.jpg

Thu., Oct. 13 – Stage

BASETRACK Live arrives in Pittsburgh after visiting 22 cities across the nation. Based on the real experiences of U.S. Marines deployed in Afghanistan, this “multimedia fusion of performance, documentary film and an electro-acoustic score” has been praised as a powerful investigation into the effects of war on soldiers and their family. The New York Times named it a top-10 performance of 2014. Tonight’s show, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as part of the Cohen and Grigsby Trust Presents series, is at the Byham Theater. IF 7 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $20-36. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org


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