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Short List: Week of February 10 - 17 

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When local actor-made-good David Conrad was growing up in Pittsburgh, his best friend was Lowell Boyers, son of Conrad's English teacher and nephew of actor/performance artist Spalding Gray. Gray would occasionally come to town and spend time with the lads, enthralling them with tales of his mad and beautiful life. Both boys are now grown and Gray is gone, an apparent suicide in 2004. But his work is being resurrected by his widow, Kathie Russo. Russo has assembled and directed a collection of unfinished, never-performed pieces as Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, and is touring the country, joined by area performers in each location. On Feb. 12, Conrad and Boyers visit The Andy Warhol Museum as part of its Off The Wall series, reading works of a man who inspired them both creatively and personally. Conrad and Boyers won't know details until they join the touring company (pictured) for a rehearsal. Then they'll receive scripts and glimpse some of the final words of one of performance's most invigorating trailblazers for the first time. "I've seen [Gray] three times, and been really moved by his work," Conrad says. "I remember watching and thinking, 'Why is this so fascinating?' There was something different about what he was doing that made him really special." Lissa Brennan 8 p.m. Sat., Feb. 12. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10-20. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

 

Thu., Feb. 10 -- Festival

In 1997, black moviegoers especially resonated to Love Jones, the romance starring Larenz Tate and Nia Long, set in an artsy corner of Chicago. Tonight, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture launches eight days of socializing and performances called Love Jones Week. Highlights include performances tonight by visiting singer and poet Wes Felton and neo-soul vocalist Tamika "Love" Jones, and Friday's open mic and poetry slam with live band. On Saturday, Love Jones director Theodore Witcher (who grew up in Pittsburgh) visits for a screening of the film. The weekend also includes Sunday afternoon's soul-line-dancing and steppers-set competition. Bill O'Driscoll 5 p.m. Events continue through Feb. 17. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. See www.augustwilsoncenter.org for times and prices. 412-258-2700

 

Thu., Feb. 10 -- Stage

The profane, darkly comic and bloodily enthralling plays of Martin McDonagh are  nearly their own subgenre. Not least in his Connemara Trilogy, including The Beauty Queen of Leenane, McDonagh's twisted vision of the rural Irish West fascinates. Now Point Park's REP offers the Pittsburgh premiere of the trilogy's The Lonesome West (1997), about two feuding brothers and their village priest. Kim Martin directs a cast including Philip Winters and David Cabot. The first performance is tonight. BO 8 p.m. Show continues through Feb. 27. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $24-27 (the 2 p.m. Sat., Feb. 12, show is pay-what-you-will). 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com

 

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Fri., Feb. 11 -- Exhibit

Public Enemy's Chuck D famously called rap "the black CNN." But before there was hip hop -- or TV -- there was The Pittsburgh Courier. Founded in 1910, at its peak in the 1950s the Hill District-based publication had 21 national editions and global reach, giving African-American readers a fresh perspective on everything from civil rights to sports. America's Best Weekly: A Century of the Pittsburgh Courier opens today at the Sen. John Heinz History Center, with photos, artifacts, videos and a recreation of a 1950s newsroom, all telling the legendary publication's story. BO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through Oct. 2. 1212 Smallman St., Strip District. www.heinzhistorycenter.org


click to enlarge Image courtesy of Seth Clark
  • Image courtesy of Seth Clark

Fri., Feb. 11 -- Art

No fewer than eight solo shows open tonight at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Notably, the opening reception celebrates Carnegie Mellon professor Golan Levin, whose audiovisual work explores intersections of art, science and technology. Meanwhile, performance and installation artist Heidi Bender investigates the fallout of technological globalization in Motherlands; painter Seth Clark's Ruination studies Pittsburgh's decaying structures; and Aaron Henderson offers video installations about state and county fairs. And there's more work in a variety of media by Anna E. Mikolay, Ian Page, Henry Simonds and Gerald Van Scyoc. BO 5:30-8 p.m. Exhibits continue through March 20. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. $5 donation requested. 412-361-0873 or www.pittsburgharts.org

 

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Sat., Feb. 12 -- Dance

Tango infernos have a lot more historical longevity than disco ones. The tango began in 19th-century working-class neighborhoods and red-light districts in Argentina and Uruguay. It's since traveled the globe and is now part of ballroom culture, though it's still associated with sensuality and Latin America. Tango Fire, of Buenos Aires, visits the Byham Theater tonight as Tango Inferno -- The Fire Within makes its Pittsburgh debut. Ten dancers perform this journey through tango's history. Four-man band Quatrotango provides music with piano, double-bass, violin and the traditional bandoneon. Lucy Steigerwald 8 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $19-45. www.pgharts.org or 412-456-6666

 

Sun., Feb. 13 -- Stage

You might not know Junie B. Jones, but your average 4- to 8-year-old does. Barbara Park's series about the precociously pesky kindergartener, and now first-grader, has 26 books. Award-winning Theatreworks USA brings a touring production of the musical adaption Junie B. Jones to town, starting today with the Byham Theater, courtesy of Pittsburgh International Children's Theatre. The 60-minute show is based on four of the books, including the Junie B. Jones diary Top-Secret Personal Beeswax, which encourages readers -- and now viewers -- to do their own writing. LS 2 p.m. (101 Sixth St., Downtown, $9.50-11). Continues at various area locations through Feb 20. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org

 

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Mon., Feb. 14 -- Party

Good vibes abide yearly at Love of Friends, a sort of alternative Valentine's Day -- but not anti-Valentine's Day -- celebration. This is the fifth iteration of the event, founded by six friends with connections to the local art and music scenes; while past events have focused on live local music, this year's party, held at Space Gallery, shows off local artists' work. Food and drink from local vendors are included in the price of admission, and music is supplied by the Operation Sappho DJs. Andy Mulkerin 7 p.m. 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $25. www.loveoffriends.com

 

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Mon., Feb. 14 -- Music

Daphne Alderson is one of Pittsburgh's most-lauded cabaret-style singers, known for her tributes to composers as diverse as Oscar Hammerstein and Buddy Holly. For Valentine's Day, she embraces another icon. All Heart, All Judy is Alderson's tribute to Judy Garland, backed by a crack band including pianist and arranger Douglas Levine, guitarist John Marcinizyn, bassist Jeff Mangone and drummer Al Wrublesky. Alderson assures that the concert, in lovely Heinz Memorial Chapel, is "for folks who both love and hate Valentine's Day." BO 7:30 p.m. Fifth and Bellefield, Oakland. $10-20. 412-624-4157 or www.daphnealderson.com

 

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Tues. Feb. 15 -- Music

DrumLine Live is a version of band that's a lot grander than most geeks' high school or college experiences. A touring stage production by producers of the 2002 movie Drumline, the show explores the progression of drums, from African rhythms to jazz to hip hop. The inspiration is historically black colleges and universities and their battles of the bands and halftime shows. Drumline Live's 40-member band, which performs at the Benedum Center tonight, comes from several such schools and includes five dancers, a drum major, a host, and 33 wind and percussion players. LS 7:30 p.m. 719 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $20.75-45.75. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org

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