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Short List: September 19 - 25 

Time again (albeit a little earlier than usual) for your annual offering of free admissions from the Allegheny Regional Asset District. ARAD uses a portion of the county's sales tax to support libraries, parks, arts groups and sports facilities, and its annual multi-week thank-you to taxpayers is RADical Days, Sept. 20-Oct. 13. Admittedly, some RADicals Days stuff is usually free anyway, but lots of it isn't. On Thu., Sept. 20, for instance, entry to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is free. On Sun., Sept. 23, you can fly free all day: visit The Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Science Center, Mattress Factory and floating enviromental classroom Riverquest, or take in the "Rising Stars" concert at Pittsburgh Opera or the New Hazlett Theater's full afternoon of live music, film and more. And if you want to balance out all that art with some sport, on Sept. 27, take one of six free hourly tours at Heinz Field. RADical Days continues with lots more through Oct. 13. See a full schedule at www.radworkshere.org. Bill O'Driscoll

Thu., Sept. 20 — Stage

That hot theatrical ticket Midnight Radio returns for its fourth season. Tonight, Bricolage Productions debuts its live-radio-style adaptation of Graham Greene's script for the film classic The Third Man. Absent the cinematic version's minatory shadows, this staging — complete with live music and sound effects — will attempt to conjure dark doings in post-war Vienna, and summon the spirit of the infamous Harry Lime (played on screen by Orson Welles). The Bricolage troupe includes Jason McCune, Wali Jamal, Elena Alexandratos and Bria Walker. Bill O'Driscoll 9 p.m. Continues through Sept. 29. 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $15-25. www.webbricolage.org

click to enlarge Model by Weiss/Manfredi. - COURTESY OF WEISS/MANFREDI
  • Courtesy of Weiss/Manfredi
  • Model by Weiss/Manfredi.

Fri., Sept. 21 — Art 

If you find something a bit "hospital corridor"about typical gallery spaces, White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes will satisfy your craving for diversity. The newly commissioned photo series by Iwan Baan interrogates the "white cube" style of museum layout by depicting the pioneering design of six new galleries across the world from Seattle to Japan, alongside presentation models and site plans. A discussion with Baan will precede the exhibition opening at the Carnegie Museum of Art's Heinz Architectural Center. Catherine Sylvain 6:30 p.m. discussion; 7:30-9 p.m. reception. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org 

click to enlarge Thomas Hampson at Pittsburgh Symphony. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DARIO ACOSTA.
  • Photo courtesy of Dario Acosta.
  • Thomas Hampson at Pittsburgh Symphony.

Fri., Sept. 21 — Music

The opening of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics season aptly features a performance of Dvořák's From the New World by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, an arrangement inspired by the composer's first encounters with America. But two soloists are the centerpiece of this weekend's concerts. In a Richard Strauss double bill, esteemed baritone Thomas Hampson returns to Heinz Hall to perform Orchestral Songs, while the PSO's own William Caballero performs Horn Concerto No. 1. CS 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Sept. 22, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Sept. 23. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $20-93. 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org

Fri., Sept. 21 — Event

Call it the short happy life of a reading series. Actually, though it started in a coffeehouse in November 2010, Speaking Of ... quickly became much more than a monthly literary event. Moving to the New Hazlett Theater, Phinehas Hodge's baby became a quarterly showcase for storytelling, performance poetry, classical music, hip hop, dance and more. Tonight, the series concludes in characteristically eclectic fashion. Readers include author and creative-nonfiction guru Lee Gutkind, acclaimed poet Robert Gibb and poet (and Speaking Of co-founder) Alaina Dopico. Also: a short film from Samm Hodges; Anqwenique Wingfield sings Nina Simone; and dream-pop band Sleep Experiments collaborates with Texture Contemporary Ballet. BO 8 p.m. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $15-20. www.speakingofpittsburgh.com

click to enlarge Temple Grandin at the Mother Earth News Fair
  • Temple Grandin at the Mother Earth News Fair

Fri., Sept. 21 — Event

The third annual Mother Earth News Fair returns with some big-name speakers. Headliners include livestock-welfare expert Temple Grandin and organic farmer and sustainable-farming expert Joel Salatin (from The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food, Inc.). Other speakers include fermentation guru Sandor Katz. The Seven Springs Mountain Resort-hosted weekend fair also includes workshops on gardening, renewable energy, green building and more. BO Noon-7 p.m. Continues Sat., Sept. 22, and Sun., Sept. 23. Seven Springs, Pa. $15-35 (children under 17 free). 800-234-3368 or www.MotherEarthNewsFair.com

Sat., Sept. 22 — Games

Scotland gave Pittsburgh Andrew Carnegie, so some appreciation of its culture might not go amiss at today's Ligonier Highland Games. Families in particular should enjoy this annual plethora of Celtic music, dancing, clan parades, dog exhibitions and shepherding demonstrations in aid of the Clan Donald Educational & Charitable Trust. Cabers will be tossed, bags will be piped, and a reservation-only dinner and ceilidh will conclude the packed agenda at Idlewild Park come sunshine or, more authentically, rain. CS 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Ceilidh: 6.30 p.m. 2582 Route 30, Ligonier. $10-20 (games). $15-40 (ceilidh) 814-931-4714 or www.ligonierhighlandgames.org

Sat., Sept. 22 — Music

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater continues its cross-genre series Hear/Now with an international act and local talent. The overseas visitor to The Alloy Studios is Swiss jazz quartet NoReduce, an exemplar of the new Swiss jazz movement and featuring drummer Nasheet Waits. Also, Pittsburgh-based dancer Jil Stifel collaborates with installation artist Blaine Siegel on a movement work featuring giant inflated bags. Rounding out the evening is a performance fusing music and movement by a local collective featuring Rafael Abreu-Candeo, David Bernabo, Taylor Knight and David Pellow. BO 8 p.m. 5530 Penn Ave., Friendship. $10. 412-363-3000 or www.kelly-strayhorn.org

click to enlarge Jim Breuer
  • Jim Breuer

Sat., Sept. 22 — Comedy

What nationally known standup comic would post video of himself lovingly taunting his elderly father and mother — he nicknames them "Fally" and "Blindy" — around the breakfast table? At least until the old man yells, "Scram!" Jim Breuer is who. The everyman comedian's Jim Breuer Live! tour takes him to the Byham Theater tonight. BO 8 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $27.50-45. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

click to enlarge sl_sinfernorachel_38.jpg

Sat., Sept. 22 — Fashion

That saucy monthly shindig known as Sinferno does something special: a fashion show. Featured are two up-and-coming designers. Rachel Reich — best known as Velda Von Minx, of Trundle Manor — flaunts her "penchant for femme fatale villains, amateur taxidermy and candy-coated evil." And Brian David showcases his "vintage-inspired clothing for the modern-day woman." The two-floor party, at Cattivo, also features DJs including 1970s disco king Terry David. BO 9 p.m. (fashion show at 11 p.m.). 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. $5. 

click to enlarge Erik Larson
  • Erik Larson

Mon., Sept. 24 — Words

It's back to school for Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. This year's program of Literary Evenings kicks off with a moral conundrum facing a family. Erik Larson talks tonight about his new book, In the Garden of Beasts, a novelistic history of William E. Dodd, American ambassador to Germany during the rise of Hitler. Dodd's conflicting loyalties and his own daughter's Gestapo-gallivanting heighten the drama in a dark chronicle from the author of true-crime thriller The Devil in the White CityCS 7:30 p.m. Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-35. 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org

click to enlarge sl_natashatretheway_38.jpg

Mon. sept. 24 — Words

On a previous visit to the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, Natasha Trethewey read from her 2006 collection Native Guard, which merely won the Pulitzer Prize. This year, Trethewey was named U.S. Poet Laureate. The poet, who teaches at Emory University, also has a new collection out, Thrall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Expect to hear from it when she again takes the stage of the Frick Fine Arts Building. The free reading opens the Contemporary Writers season. BO 8:30 p.m. Schenley Plaza, Oakland. Free. 412-624-6508 or www.pghwriterseries.wordpress.com

click to enlarge Ray Mancini
  • Ray Mancini

Tue., Sept. 25 — Words

If you were a kid in the Ohio Valley in the 1970s and '80s, you wanted to be Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini. A handsome Italian pug from hardscrabble Youngstown, Mancini captured the hearts of the valley and the nation. In his new book The Good Son: The Life of Ray Boom Boom Mancini, biographer Mark Kriegel paints a stunning portrait of the fighter and the man. An immensely talented boxer, Mancini is forever linked to one of professional sports' great tragedies — the death of Korean fighter Duk Koo Kim following a 1982 bout with Mancini. Kriegel's brilliant chapters about that episode are the book's most compelling. Kriegel and Mancini attend a book-signing tonight. Charlie Deitch 7 p.m. Barnes and Noble, 100 W. Bridge St., West Homestead (The Waterfront). Free. 412-462-5743

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