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Short List: Week of August 17 - 24 

click to enlarge Kimberly Reed. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JASON FALCHOOK
  • Photo courtesy of Jason Falchook
  • Kimberly Reed.

The Moth Mainstage visits Pittsburgh again with perhaps its most diverse cast here yet. The New York-based phenomenon features people telling their own stories, without notes. The Aug. 25 Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures installment called UPHILL: Stories of the Impossible is hosted by comedian Rudy Rush (Def Comedy Jam). Storytellers include Kimberly Reed, a transsexual New York-based filmmaker who formerly was a Montana high school quarterback named Paul McKerrow; Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, author of acclaimed memoir When Skateboards Will Be Free, about growing up in Squirrel Hill in the 1980s as the son of an Iranian father and Jewish-American mother, both socialist activists; visiting comedic storyteller Elna Baker, author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; and veteran Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Sally Kalson. Then there's Sala Udin, whose "impossible" story includes a childhood on the pre-Civic Arena Lower Hill; joining the Freedom Riders fresh out of high school, in 1961; life in political activism and the Black Arts Movement, including an early partnership with playwright August Wilson; a stint in federal prison; and 10 years on Pittsburgh City Council. Interviewed recently, Udin, president and CEO of Pittsburgh's Coro Center for Civic Leadership, was honing his story. Moth producers, he says, "help you pick out the unimportant parts that you think are so important." Bill O'Driscoll 7 p.m. Thu., Aug. 25. New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square, North Side. $25. 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org

 

Thu., Aug. 18 -- Screen

Would you leave your house just to watch TV? ToonSeum bets you will … if you're a real geek. The museum of cartoon art got such a great response to its Buffy the Vampire Slayer screenings that it's launching a monthly Geek TV Night. Nostalgia, socializing and Geek Trivia (oh, yes, trivia there will be) supplement tonight's debut with consecutive screenings of episodes of six different shows: The Muppet Show, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, The Simpsons, The Tick, Buffy and Mystery Science Theater 3000. And no, you can't have the remote. Bill O'Driscoll 7 p.m. 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Donation requested. 412-232-0199 or www.toonseum.org

 

Thu., Aug. 18 -- Words

The New Yinzer Presents, a reading series sponsored by Pittsburgh online literary magazine The New Yinzer, returns to ModernFormations Gallery for its first reading since May. The event will feature readings by poets Juliet Bey -- "her poetry is a novelty snack," says her bio blurb -- and Jerome Crooks, whose most recent collection, "The Moment I Feared," was released this year. Also on hand will be Abeer Hoque, writer in many forms, and Mike Ninehouser, a painter and would-be filmmaker. Brendan Sullivan 8 p.m.  4919 Penn Ave., Friendship. $5 (or free with contribution to potluck). www.newyinzer.com 

 

Thu., Aug. 18 -- Stage

The theatrical experimenters at Bricolage are back. Starting tonight, their Downtown lab hosts the latest installment of Midnight Radio, the live radio-style show complete with hand-generated sound effects, live music, ad spoofs and more. Thing is, what are they going to do with a theme like The Incredible Audio World of Pittsburgh Sports? Not only do Pittsburghers disdain ball games, but all the athletes around here seem pretty well-behaved lately. Yet Bricolage faces the challenge for five performances over two weekends, with actors including Tami Dixon, Wali Jamal and Jason McCune. BO 9 p.m. Show continues through Aug. 27. 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $15-25. www.webbricolage.org

 

Thu., Aug. 18 -- Stage

Arguably there was no more epic project in 20th-century theater than August Wilson's 10-play Century Cycle, depicting African-American life, most of it set in Wilson's native Hill District. Get a gourmet sampler this week as August in August returns. This evening of scenes and monologues from all 10 plays, from Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Fences to Gem of the Ocean, is presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and (naturally) the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. The Center's theater-initiatives director, Mark Clayton Southers, guides a cast including guest stars like Anthony Chisholm, David Conrad, Antonio Fargas and Andrea Frye. BO 8 pm. Shows continue through Sat., Aug. 20. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $20-50. 412-338-8742

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Fri 19 Aug – Comedy

A funny name is a plus in the world of comedy, but Greg Proops doesn't need it. A veteran of the improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Proops is a hard-working comedian: He tours the standup circuit; regularly creates a podcast -- the Proopcast; and continues his work as an actor and voice actor for TV series, video games and films. Proops appears tonight at The Improv in Homestead, the first two of five shows this weekend. BS 8 p.m. Also 10 p.m. through Aug 21. 166 East Bridge St., The Waterfront, Homestead. $20. www.improv.com/ComedyClub/Pittsburgh

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Sat., Aug. 20 -- Bees

Today, for those who may have forgotten, is National Honey Bee Day. What better way to celebrate than to head up to Jennings Environmental Education Center and learn a little about these amazing insects? Honey bees are an integral part of our ecosystem, and are responsible for 80 percent of insect pollination. Today's program will expose the mysteries of the insects' incredibly complex society, including what makes a queen bee so special, as well as the basics of bee-keeping. BS 10 a.m. 2951 Prospect Road, Slippery Rock. Free. www.dcnr.state.pa.us 

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Sun., Aug. 21 -- Jazz

For the third Sunday in a row, Citiparks' Reservoir of Jazz concert series will be at Highland Park. Tonight's concert features the 21st Century Swing Band, a 10-piece Big Band ensemble featuring some of Pittsburgh's best jazz musicians. Helping to set the jazzy mood will be: drummer Roger Humphries, a Pitt professor who has played with luminaries like Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard; and pianist Max Leake, who, since turning pro at age 15, has been a musician, composer and producer. BS 5 p.m. Highland Avenue and Reservoir Drive, Highland Park. Free. www.citiparks.net or 412-255-2493

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Sun., Aug. 21 – Film

One of the granddaddies of the screwball-comedy genre, Frank Capra's 1934 film It Happened One Night depicts a street-smart newspaper man (Clark Gable) pursuing a runaway heiress (Claudette Colbert). It's funny and romantic, but even amid its escapism, viewers wouldn't have forgotten the Depression, aspects of which are incorporated into the story (riding the rails, hungry people, stealing breakfast). Likewise, the story's sly charm is dependent on Colbert's character learning to live like regular folks: Watch as she learns to dunk donuts and hitchhike. The film plays tonight at Regent Square Theater. Al Hoff 8 p.m. 1035 S. Braddock Ave., Edgewood. $9. 412-682-4111 or www.pghfilmmakers.org

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Mon., Aug. 22 -- Stage

Now that gay marriage in places like New York and Washington, D.C., has ruined marriage for straight people, don't you think … oh, wait, that didn't happen? Well, in that case, see Gay Blues, Matthew Cleaver's music-filled one-man show about our culture's homophobia, as singularly manifested in hating on civil unions. The 2010 show, honed in New York City cabarets, benefits the PERSAD Center and Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre (where Cleaver is currently starring in The Importance of Being Earnest). The show, featuring songs like "I've Got a Right to Love My Baby," is tonight only. BO 7 p.m. Charity Randall Theatre, Forbes Avenue at Bigelow, Oakland. $25. 412-394-3353 or www.picttheatre.org

 

Wed., Aug. 24 – Outdoors

It's halfway through the month of August and perhaps you still haven't started your summer exercise regimen. Not to worry: Venture Outdoors has your back. Tonight, the group is leading a "high-energy" hike through Schenley Park. But act quickly: This is the last of this summer's evening hikes. The hike lasts about two hours, and if that isn't enough of a workout, there's the optional addendum of hoofing it up and down the Cathedral of Learning's 36 stories. BS 6-8 p.m. $8. www.ventureoutdoors.org

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