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Short List: Week of February 3 - 10 

Thu., Feb. 3 -- Crafting

It's not often that you get a chance to be a trailblazer -- literally -- from the comfort of a rocking chair. Tonight's Knit & Crochet Trail Marker Meet-Up at the Lawrenceville cards-and-crafts joint Wildcard offers such a chance: Knitting types can craft markers to hang on trees in the new Emerald View Park, in Mount Washington, guiding hikers along the park's trails. The project is ongoing, and you don't need to be a master knitter to take part. Andy Mulkerin 6-8 p.m. 4209 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. 412-224-2651 or www.mwcdc.org

 

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Fri., Feb. 4 -- Art

Paul Thek was a visionary. In 1960s New York, when antiseptic pop art ruled, Thek made beeswax sculptures of rotting meat and severed limbs. In Europe, he pioneered installation art, albeit of a peculiarly disposable kind. But back in New York, though Thek kept making art (now small works on canvas), he died nearly forgotten, in 1988. Paul Thek, Diver: A Retrospective, the first major museum exhibition in the U.S. reviewing his career, just completed an acclaimed run at the Whitney Museum of American Art and lands at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The show, co-organized by the Whitney's Elisabeth Sussman and Carnegie director Lynn Zelevansky, opens with a free reception tonight. Bill O'Driscoll 7-9 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org

 

Fri., Feb. 4 -- Art

The Penn Avenue Arts Initiative hosts gallery crawl Unblurred, mid-winter edition. Among the exhibits and performances at multiple venues, highlights include a 10th-anniversary show at Pittsburgh Glass Center: TENacity, with 31 glass artists presenting new work based on an historic or personal event from the decade past. ModernFormations Gallery opens Memory and Decay, featuring new work by Brad Heiple and Katie Watson. And at Dance Alloy, Black History Month begins with the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble's performance of Legacy, choreographer Crystal Frazier's tribute to hip-hop legends like Tupac, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Jam Master Jay and James Brown (7 p.m.; $7; 412-363-4321). Alloy artistic director Greer Reed-Jones also salutes one of her mentors, Alvin Ailey, with another work. Most Unblurred events are free. BO 7-10 p.m. Penn Avenue, Friendship/Bloomfield/Garfield. www.friendship-pgh.org

 

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Fri. Feb. 4 -- Music

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is much more than why ballet drives Natalie Portman crazy in Black Swan. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's fortnight of all things Tchaikovsky starts this week. Tonight, pianist Denis Matsuev plays the composer's First Piano Concerto, and Gianandrea Noseda guest-conducts his Francesca Da Rimini and Romeo and Juliet: Overture-Fantasia for soprano, tenor and orchestra, a familiar piece from Tchaikovsky's unfinished opera. The festival continues with talks, performances, videos and master classes at local universities. More Tchaikovsky performances follow next weekend. Lucy Steigerwald 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Feb. 5, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Feb. 6. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $20-93. 412-392-4900 or pittsburghsymphony.org/Tchaikovsky

 

Sat. Feb. 5 -- Exhibit

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History invites you to measure finch beaks and imitate Hawaiian fruit-fly courtship. A touring interactive exhibition called Explore Evolution opens today, highlighting eight scientific case studies on subjects ranging from humans' close bonds with chimps to ant colonies, algae and how HIV changes strains dangerously quickly. The exhibit is geared toward young adults, but anyone curious about how they came to rock those opposable thumbs might learn a thing or two. LS 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through July 24. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $11-15. 412-622-3131 or www.carnegiemnh.org

 

Sat. Feb. 5 -- Art 

Starting today, 70 works from a 400-year range means Frick Art Museum visitors will get a sweeping look at both finished drawings and preliminary sketches by notable French artists like Jean-Baptiste Greuze, François Boucher and Théodore Rousseau. The rise of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture is highlighted in Storied Past: French Drawings, 1500-1900, a traveling exhibit from the Blanton Museum of Art in Texas. Especially notable are 17th- and 18th-century works by Charles-Antoine Coypel and others. LS 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through April 11. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. Free. 412-371-0600 or www.frickart.org

 

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Sat., Feb. 5 -- Art

The strangely perfect grid structure of Hong Kong influenced native son Chung (Fanky) Chak in his photomontage series The Boxes. Chak took photos of Hong Kong, Montreal, Tokyo and New York City and turned them into 40-by-40-inch collages which include pieces of photos of windows and buildings from all over. His work explores urban, geographical and cultural stereotypes without commenting on their truth. Chak is Box Heart Gallery's artist of the year, and the venue is showing its love with an opening reception today. LS 5-8 p.m. Exhibit continues through Feb. 26. 4523 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-687-8858 or www.boxheart.org

 

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Sat., Feb. 5 -- Art

"Express yourself" is taken literally tonight at Sweetwater Center for the Arts. It's the opening reception for Who, Me?, a group exhibition of self-portraits by local artists. The show is juried by Joyce Werwie Perry, who owns le Poire gallery (and who recently had her own solo show at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art). Perry is also a Sweetwater instructor, as are other artists in the new show. BO 7-9 p.m. Exhibit continues through Feb. 26. 200 Broad St., Sewickley. Free. 412-741-4405 or www.sweetwaterartcenter.org

 

Feb. 5 -- Comedy

The eve of the Steelers' third Super Bowl in six years? Perfect time to ask, "Sports in Pittsburgh -- Unhealthy Obsession?" At least it's perfect if you're John McIntire, the freelance gadfly who dares in playoff season to inquire, "Do you know more about the Steelers' backup offensive linemen than you know about your own children?" Well, duh: Our kids won't bring home a Lombardi Trophy, but Doug Legursky might, is all we're saying. At tonight's John McIntire Dangerously Live Comedy Talk Show, at Downtown's Cabaret Theater, the host is joined by comedian Gab Bonesso and guest panelists. BO 10:30 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. $5 (free for Cultural District patrons). 412-456-6666

 

Thu., Feb. 10 -- Outdoors

Today's the last day to register to learn skills to help you join in the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count. From Feb. 18-21, bird-loving layfolk will help scientists gather data on bird diversity in the U.S. and Canada. It's the 14th year for the Count, hosted by the National Audobon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Anyone can play, but a Feb. 19 morning program at Jennings Environmental Center, in Slippery Rock, includes an indoor workshop on bird-identification basics and using the Count website (www.birdcount.org) to submit your data. Register at 724-794-6011 or www.dcnr.state.pa.us/calendar. BO

 

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Thu., Feb. 10 -- Words

In 2004, 11 parents in little Dover, Pa., sued over the school board's decision to teach "intelligent design" in ninth-grade biology classrooms. The case went to federal court, and so did York-based newspaper reporter Lauri Lebo. Her 2008 book The Devil in Dover: An Insider's Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America, was lauded as an empathetic but uncompromising account of a modern-day Scopes trial. Tonight, at the Carnegie Science Center, the Center for Inquiry hosts Lebo talking about what's happened since that internationally reported trial. BO 7 p.m. 1 Allegheny Ave., North Side. $5 ($2 kids). 412-237-3400

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