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Short List: Week of April 14 - 21 

click to enlarge The PBT's Julia Erickson - PHOTO COURTESY OF DUANE REIDER
  • Photo courtesy of Duane Reider
  • The PBT's Julia Erickson

As with the music of the greatest composers, there is a timelessness to the ballets of George Balanchine. His genius enthralls both audiences and dancers. A longtime proponent of the father of American ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the PBT orchestra present three Balanchine masterworks at the Benedum Center. George Balanchine: Celebrating a Legend includes the company premiere of the 1929 Ballet Russes classic "The Prodigal Son." Based on the Biblical tale, "The Prodigal Son" is a three-act story ballet set to music by Sergei Prokofiev. The title role is considered one of the plum parts in the male ballet-dancer lexicon. Meanwhile, 1957's "Agon" has no storyline. Set to Stravinsky's musically dense original score, it was inspired by 17th-century French court dances. One of Balanchine's early ballets where the dancers wear "practice clothes," the ballet is technically unforgiving and, says PBT principal dancer Nurlan Abougaliev, "Stravinsky's music for it is very hard to dance to. The music changes all the time and is hard to count." (The Kazakhstan native will dance the ballet's grand pas de deux with Elysa Hotchkiss Walls on April 15 and 17.) Completing the program is 1950's "Sylvia Pas de Deux," Steve Sucato 8 p.m. Fri., April 15; 8 p.m. Sat., April 16; and 2 p.m. Sun., April 17. Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $20.75-90.75. 412-456-6666 or www.pbt.org

 

Thu., April 14 -- Words

West Mifflin native and former Pittsburgh city planner Michael Adams has published six books of poetry. His most recent is Steel Valley: A Memoir in Stories and Poems. This evening, at the Carnegie Library of Homestead, Adams reads from his book, then discusses growing up alongside the steel industry. Joining him is Carnegie Mellon University photography professor Charlee Brodsky, who has done photography projects on Homestead after the mills. Lucy Steigerwald 5 p.m. (510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall.) Also 2 p.m. Sun., April 17 (Carnegie Library, Oakland). Free. www.homesteadlibrary.org 

 

Thu., April 14 -- Stage

Tracy Letts is getting to be a habit in Pittsburgh. Recent years have seen stagings here of his early plays Bug and Killer Joe, and then last year the touring production of 2007 Pulitzer- and Tony-winner August: Osage County. Tonight's the first performance of Letts' latest, Superior Donuts, at Pittsburgh Public Theater. Smaller-scale and quieter than much of his earlier work, it's about the people circulating through an Uptown Chicago doughnut shop, including its aging-hippie owner, the new kid working for him, some cops and a Russian entrepreneur. Ted Pappas directs a cast including Anderson Matthews and Brandon Gill. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through May 15. 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. $15.75-60.75. 412-316-8200 or www.ppt.org

 

click to enlarge ART COURTESY OF JASON ROSS OF STEEL CITY COMICS
  • Art courtesy of Jason Ross of Steel City Comics

Fri., April 15 -- Comics

Pittsburgh Comicon is where comics creators meet fanboys to share ideas and enthusiasms. This year's gathering at the Monroeville Convention Center includes everything from talks by artists and writers -- including Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise) and Iron Mike Grell -- to a Q&A with George Perez and an "art of inking" panel. Local comics types include Patrick Faust and Jason Oakley, of Steel City Comics. There's also a charity casino night; trivia and costume contests; and a Q&A with Sam Witwer and Sarah Allen, of the SyFy channel's Being Human. BO 1-11 p.m. Also Sat., April 16, and Sun., April 17. Monroeville. $18 (one-day pass); $45 (three-day pass); kids under 8 free with paid adult. 814-467-4116 or www.pittsburghcomicon.com

 

click to enlarge sl_bridge_15.jpg

Fri., April 15 -- Art

Like warped children -- perhaps children hybridized with plucked chickens? --15 clay figures in Anne Drew Potter's "The Captain's Congress" sit or stand in a circle, seeming to squawk at each other, while the 16th sits forlornly outside it. "I am interested," writes Potter, "in the moment when the self-evidence of our own experiences is challenged by confrontation with the other, the infinity of realities that exist outside of our own." Potter joins Mariko Kusumoto (metal) and Lisa Cook (fiber) in Bridge 11, the new exhibit at the Society for Contemporary Craft. The opening reception is tonight. BO 5:30-8 p.m. 2100 Smallman St., Strip District. Free. 412-261-7003 or www.contemporarycraft.org

 

Fri., April 15 -- Art

"What about the Rust Belt?" ask two new art exhibits. Tonight's the opening reception for The Big Urban Photography Project, a show of images of Rust Belt cities by their young residents, organized by news site www.rustwire.com; appropriately, it's at the former manufactory known as the Brew House. On Saturday, it's different art form, similar question: Rethinking Pittsburgh's Industrial Legacy: Prints as Catalyst for Change opens at Artists Image Resource, with local artists including Patricia Bellan-Gillen, the Howling Mob Society and Shaun Slifer. Events include a symposium, reception and printmaking workshop. BO Big Urban Photography: 6-9 p.m. (2100 Mary St., South Side; www.rustwire.com). Rethinking: 4:30-8 p.m. Sat., April 16 (518 Foreland St., North Side; 412-321-8664 or www.artistsimageresource.org).

 

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF OLAF HEINE
  • Photo courtesy of Olaf Heine

Fri. April 15 -- Jazz

If you've ever wished to dance in Weimer Berlin like the Nazis were never going to come, there are limited options today besides Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester. German baritone Raabe has been bringing the '20s and '30s back since 1986. He plays German cabaret, ragtime and early jazz classics as well as tunes like "Cheek to Cheek" and "I Got Rhythm." Raabe also puts his spin on songs by artists like Britney Spears and Salt 'n' Pepa. Raabe and his 12-piece orchestra come to the Byham Theater tonight. LS 8 p.m. 101 Sixth St, Downtown. $38.25-53.25. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org

 

Sat., April 16 -- Crafts

Local indie-craft fair Handmade Arcade turns 7 with a big move: its first-ever Downtown event. Moreover, the showcase specializing in items that integrate upcycled, recycled and eco-friendlier materials today occupies the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, itself noted for green conscientiousness. Thousands are expected to flock to visit more than 120 vendors from the region, 15 states and Canada, offering everything from gift items (jewelry from found objects; felt wallets) to housewares, baby clothing and art. There are even hands-on arts and crafts, including screen-printing, bookbinding and zine-making. BO 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Downtown. Free (early-bird passes $15). www.handmadearcade.com

 

click to enlarge sl_alice_15.jpg

Sat. April 16 -- Stage

Théâtre Tout à Trac seems an appropriate group to put its spin on Alice in Wonderland. The Quebecoise theater troupe loves to experiment with masks, puppetry and other elements that enhance the surreal, whimsical quality of the Lewis Carroll classic. Some characters are played by puppets, others by actors. The stage is Alice's father's library, to subtly suggest to kids that reading is fun, but also that strange things can pop out of books. The performance at the Hillman Center for Performing Arts is the show's U.S. premiere. LS 7 p.m. 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel. $15-25. 412-968-3040 or www.thehillman.org

 

click to enlarge sl_steelcity_15.jpg

Sun., April 17 -- Sport

Pittsburgh's bicycle-racing community gets a boost with the return of the Steel City Showdown. Sidelined after its 2008 premiere, the Showdown re-emerges as a short-track lap race using the North Side's Roberto Clemente and Andy Warhol bridges. Organizers (who hail from local racing teams) and lead sponsor Allegheny General Hospital Sports Medicine offer races for amateurs of all experience levels, ranging in length from 30 to 60 minutes. Up to 300 racers are expected; watching is free, and the Showdown Tailgate (behind PNC Park) showcases local bike commerce and culture, with snacks. BO 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. North Side. Free. www.steelcityshowdown.com

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