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Short List: September 12-18 

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Tue., Sept. 18 — Dance

When it debuted its Some Assembly Required series 15 years ago, Attack Theatre was a little ahead of the interactive-art curve. A dance performance created on the spot, based on audience members' responses to artworks, was a novelty — one the troupe took to the Carnegie International and to galleries as far afield as Avignon, France. This week, Attack pushes its own concept further, and outdoors too, with Some Assembly Required: Public. In two performances at each of five public artworks around town, dancers and musicians will perform a "blank slate" piece, then add a series of improvised layers based on a guided discussion about the art with the audience. Led by artistic directors Peter Kope and Michelle de la Reza, the series of 10 performances in five locations begins Tue., Sept. 18, at Victor Brenner's landmark Schenley Plaza fountain sculpture "A Song to Nature." Bill O'Driscoll 6 p.m. Tue., Sept. 18 (Schenley Plaza, Oakland). Also 6:30 p.m. Thu., Sept. 20 (Penn Avenue and South Beatty Street, East Liberty), with eight more performances through Sept. 30 (various locations). Free. sar.attacktheatre.com

click to enlarge CREDIT: ART BY KIRILL KULETSKI.
  • Credit: Art by Kirill Kuletski.

Fri., Sept. 14 — Art

"We have begun to think of all aspects of our lives in medical terms," say curators Giovanna Borasi and Mirko Zardini. This has reached the point of designing our hypochondria into the built environment, or so Imperfect Health posits. The medicalization of architecture is the focus of this Canadian Centre for Architecture exhibition, given its U.S. premiere tonight at Carnegie Mellon's Miller Gallery. Revealing implicit health concerns in urban and landscape design, the exhibit ultimately highlights the importance of architecture in human wellbeing. Catherine Sylvain Exhibition tour: 4:30 p.m.; reception: 6-8 p.m. CMU campus, Oakland. Free. 412-268-3618 or www.millergallery.cfa.cmu.edu

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Fri., Sept. 14 — Art

"Give me convenience or give me death," quipped Jello Biafra. In that spirit, and following on 2011's food-themed exhibit Your Place at the Banquet, curators Rose Clancy and Maria Mangano present A Matter of Convenience at Future Tenant. The show explores the environmental, social and health consequences of our convenience-first lifestyle. Mangano addresses community-supported agriculture; Clancy saved all her plastic soda bottles for a year; landscape architect Suzy Meyer reconsiders dandelions; and Anna E. Mikolay compares local honey and the processed kind. Unfinished Symphonies and the Tortured Genius contribute original songs, and there's even a special cookbook published for the occasion. The opening reception is tonight. BO 6-9 p.m. 819 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. www.futuretenant.org

click to enlarge ART BY WILL STEACY. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST, MICHAEL MAZZEO PROJECTS, NEW YORK, AND CHRISTOPHE GUYE GALERIE, ZURICH.
  • Art by Will Steacy. Courtesy of the artist, Michael Mazzeo Projects, New York, and Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich.

Fri., Sept. 14 — Art

For years, Will Steacy has been amassing newspaper clippings and found objects, and combining them with his own photographs and writings into a huge collage. He nicknamed it "The Beast" — this widely exhibited and published artist/activist's critique of an America that leaves its poor behind. Starting today, Silver Eye Center for Photography is the first to exhibit that collage, formally titled No Home No Job No Peace No Rest, in its 170-foot entirety. The New York-based Steacy will attend tonight's talk and opening reception for the show, which also includes photos drawn from earlier Steacy projects. BO Gallery talk: 6:30 p.m.; reception: 7-9 p.m. Exhibit continues through Dec. 10. 1015 E. Carson St., South Side. Free. 412-431-1810 or www.silvereye.org

Fri., Sept. 14 — Words

Raymond Carver Will Not Raise Our Children: This new novel's pungently humorous, no-nonsense title nicely captures the sensibility of local author Dave Newman. Newman's protagonist, Dan Charles, is a writer who teaches English for peanuts at a Pittsburgh university, and copes with a variety of crazy characters while struggling to support his family. The launch party for this Writers Tribe Books publication — Newman's second novel — is tonight, at Brillobox. Newman will read, and so will Bob Pajich and others. There's also live music by Monsters and Moldies. BO 7-10 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-621-4900

Fri., Sept. 14 — Opera

Microscopic Opera, specializing in short-form contemporary operas, offers an unusual program. The company's season-opener pairs two versions of "Riders to the Sea": John Millington Synge's 1904 one-act tragedy, and Ralph Vaughn Williams' 1937 opera. The play is performed by local professional actors including Laurie Klatscher; the opera cast is led by Mary Beth Sederburg. The evening concludes with the local premiere of a third work, acclaimed new-music composer Thomas Albert's 1976 music drama "Lizbeth." This piece about accused axe-murderer Lizzie Borden features local opera standout Anna Singer. Artistic director Andres Cladera directs a 14-piece orchestra at Pittsburgh Opera's performance space. BO 8 p.m. Shows continue through Sept. 22. 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. $40. www.microscopicopera.org

Sat., Sept. 15 — Event

Those interested in meeting members of Pittsburgh's pagan community may want to trawl their basements for anything loosely resembling a percussion instrument. Indeed any acoustic instrument is welcome in the Giant Drum Circle shaking Squirrel Hill Irish Centre for this year's Pagan Pride Day, as impromptu jamming is highly encouraged. Mandatory at the annual awareness-raising event is a non-perishable donation for the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Expect speakers, psychic readers, food, vendors and belly dancers, but don't expect not to contribute. CS Speakers start at 10 a.m.; drum circle is 1-4 p.m. 6886 Forward Ave., Squirrel Hill. Free. www.greaterpittsburghpaganpride.weebly.com

Sat., Sept. 15 — Words

If you don't consider Homewood a repository of historically significant houses, churches, streets and parks, today's talk and panel discussion should change your mind. Hidden Gems: The Architecture of Homewood gathers experts to note and recall neighborhood landmarks of the past and present, from George Westinghouse's estate to the century-old National Negro Opera Company. WQED host Chris Moore moderates a panel including local experts in preservation and urban planning. The free event, at the Carnegie Library's Homewood branch, is organized by Creative Local. BO 2-4 p.m. 7101 Homewood Ave., Homewood. Free; RSVP at 412-818-1779. info@creativelocal.org

click to enlarge ART BY ANNA E. MIKOLAY
  • Art by Anna E. Mikolay

Sat., Sept. 15 — Art

Anna E. Mikolay regards her paintings as the "rests" in the score of the world's symphony.  Her color fields, grids and geometric shapes work to rearrange the spaces that surround them, and she's lately become one of Pittsburgh's busiest artists at local galleries. Tonight, her new solo show opens with a reception at Braddock's UnSmoke Artspace (also home to her studio). The show is titled Activating Space: New Works. BO 7-9 p.m. 1137 Braddock Ave., Braddock. Free. www.unsmokeartspace.com

Sat., Sept. 15 — Comedy

Now that the conventions have ended, perhaps we can ask: Just how polarized are we, left- and rightwise? Who better to answer that question, or at least snicker sarcastically, than the folks at the John McIntire Dangerously Live Comedy/Talk Show? For tonight's Bipolarization Nation edition, at Cabaret Theater, McIntire and comedian Gab Bonesso are joined by performance artist Dr. Goddess, local ACLU chief Vic Walczak and "Evil GOP Ad Genius/Santorum Aide" John Brabender. BO 10:30 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. $5. www.trustarts.org

Sun., Sept. 16 — Words

Tomorrow, it'll be 150 years to the day since a mysterious explosion at Lawrenceville's Allegheny Arsenal killed 78, most of them girls rolling bullet cartridges for the Union Army; some of the victims remain unidentified. Today, the Lawrenceville Historical Society and the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War mark the 150th Anniversary of the Allegheny Arsenal Explosion with lectures, historical re-enactors, live music and more. Among the presenters is Mary Frailey Calland, the local author whose latest work of historical fiction, Consecrated Dust, tells a story of Civil War-era Lawrenceville centering on the blast. At 12:30 p.m., Calland presents a tribute to the victims featuring local actors. BO 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 40th Street, Lawrenceville. Free. www.lhs15201.org

Thu., Sept. 20 — Event

Not all fundraisers are newsworthy, but the New Hazlett Theater's sixth anniversary is an exception. For one thing, the North Side landmark sat empty for years before its revival as one of Pittsburgh's best performance venues. For another, tonight's Salon 6 celebration features an intriguing performance line-up, headlined by famed violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, billed as "perhaps the only composer who has performed with both Philip Glass and Lady Gaga." Other attractions include Texture Contemporary Ballet; spoken-word artist Alan Olifson; the Trevor McQueen combo; Erin the Aerialist; and live jazz with Mark Flaherty. Plus cocktails, dessert and champagne. BO 6 p.m. (performances at 7 p.m.). 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $100-125. 412-320-4610 or www.newhazletttheater.org

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