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Short List: Week of July 23 - 30 

Thu., July 23 -- Call for Artists

It was just last February that County Executive Dan Onorato ordered the Allegheny County Airport Authority to leave Peter Calaboyias's "Silver Grid Wall" sculpture in place rather than replace it with advertisements. But now it seems the Airport Authority has turned over a new leaf, and wants more art, not less -- at least for a few months. The authority is soliciting proposals for the cleverly named Temporary Art Exhibit: Showcase G-20, to be staged in time for the conference of world leaders in September. The call seeks two-dimensional or small three-dimensional works focusing on the "visual art, history and culture of the Pittsburgh region." Who knows when you'll get this chance again? Just don't steal our idea: a mural of Fred Rogers eating a Primanti's sandwich and making the Immaculate Reception while one of the Gulf Tower peregrines carries Sid Bream away in its talons. Nine days remain until the Aug. 1 deadline. Andy Mulkerin 412-391-2060 x233 or www.pittsburghartscouncil.org

 

Thu., July 23 -- Lit

Yes, local author Maggie Leffler's new novel about family secrets, clashing female cousins and a wayward woman who falls for a "nearly divorced" father is chick lit. But it's well-written chick lit, with an edge and a very engaging prologue titled "Seven Misconceptions Your Biological Father May Have Had About Me," addressed by a dying mother to her 2-year-old son. And it's set in Pittsburgh. Leffler discusses The Goodbye Cousins (her second novel) at a signing tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Andrea Bullard 7 p.m. 2705 E. Carson St., South Side. Free. 412-381-3600

 

Fri., July 24 -- Lit

Prepare to be vaporized: Confluence -- the 21st annual literary sci-fi convention -- has landed. Panel discussions featuring big names in speculative art and fiction (including author John Scalzi), film screenings and filk concerts (sci-fi themed folk) pack the schedule this weekend -- but there's still time to browse heaps of speculative fiction and art between events. The festivities commence today at the Pittsburgh Airport Doubletree Hotel. AB 4 p.m. Also all day Sat., July 25 and Sun., July 26. 8402 University Blvd., Moon Township. $15-45 ($9-20 children). 412-344-0456 or www.parsec-sff.org/confluence/

 

Fri., July 24 -- Blues

Head to Hartwood Acres this weekend for the 15th annual Pittsburgh Blues Festival, a benefit for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Tonight's kickoff, featuring roots rocker Eric Lindell and Cyril Neville & Tribe 13, is free with a bag of non-perishable food donations. The fest continues through Sunday with headliners including Los Lobos and the Robert Cray Band, local bands on the second stage and family-friendly activities in the KidZone. Aaron Jentzen 4 p.m. Also 1 p.m. Sat., July 25, and 1:30 p.m. Sun., July 26. Indiana Township. $22 ($25 at the gate; Friday free; kids 12 and under free; additional discounts available). 412-460-BLUE or www.pghblues.com

 

click to enlarge WORK BY MASAYO ODAHASHI AT GLASSWEEKEND '09
  • Work by Masayo Odahashi at glassweekend '09

Fri., July 24 -- Art

Millville, N.J.'s glassweekend '09 was the latest edition of the prestigious biannual international symposium and exhibition of glass art. Now's your chance to see work by the artists whom Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery brought to that big curated showcase. Moshe Bursuker, Masayo Odahashi and eight others contribute to a new exhibit of largely sculptural work here, joined by locals Drew Hine and Theo Keller. Tonight's opening reception is free. Bill O'Driscoll 5:30-9 p.m. 5833 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. 412-441-5200

 

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Fri., July 24 -- Film

Big Man Japan suggests a ready-made cult film: Ultraman via Spinal Tap. Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto's science-fiction mockumentary stars the director himself as a middle-aged nobody who's also the last scion of a line of superheros who periodically grow to enormous size to defend Japan from outlandish monsters. But he's unpopular with locals -- he's too fat, and wrecks property -- and his manager requires he sport ads on his naked torso. Said the Austin Chronicle: "Midnight madness doesn't begin to describe this strange Japanese import." Screenings are tonight through Sunday at the Melwood Screening Room. BO Call for times. Also Sat., July 25, and Sun., July 26. 477 Melwood Ave., N. Oakland. $8. 412-682-4111

 

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Fri., July 24 -- Art 

Pinball's glory days may be long past, but the game makes a pop-artsy comeback tonight at The Andy Warhol Museum. The Professional Amateur Pinball Association, along with local art collective Unicorn Mountain, invites pinball wizards to test out 14 machines that illustrate the intersection between pop music, pop art and pinball. UM artists Mike Budai and Brian Holderman transformed two of the machines into psychedelic landscapes as centerpieces for the show. DJ Mark Prosser complements the revelry with the sounds of the '70s. AB 7-10 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. Free. 412-237-8300

 

Fri., July 24 -- Art

That artistic potpourri known as the Gestures series returns to the Mattress Factory annex. The group show's 13th edition, like the 12th, is curated by Katherine Talcott, and features small site-specific works by the likes of Jeremy Boyle, Gary Huck, Lindsay O'Leary, Renee Piechocki and Dror Yaron. Sample: Stephanie Armbruster's "Word Salad," an installation inspired by the whimsy and visual overload of the city. At 35 feet long, it mightn't be "small," but you'll get the picture(s) at tonight's opening reception. BO 7:30 p.m. Exhibit continues through January. 1414 Monterey St., North Side. $10. 412-231-3169

 

Friday, July 24 - Rock

It's about time Westmoreland County got its due for the wealth of gifts it's provided us: Henry Clay Frick; certain CP staffers; the longtime debatably Christian metalcore band Zao. Of these, the latter arguably remains the most popular today. Zao has been at it through a series of lineup changes for 15 years, and released its brutal 10th full-length, Awake?, in May. Zao plays Mr. Small's Theatre tonight with a couple other bands with Westmoreland County roots -- Drugdealer and Kamikabe -- and North Carolina's To Speak of Wolves. AM 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. All ages. $10. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com

 

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Sat., July 25 -- Outdoors

As if free rock-climbing, geocaching and guided bike tours weren't enough incentive to bring the fam to Mellon Park, Venture Outdoors spices today's Family Outdoor Festival with hissing-cockroach races and a bug petting zoo. There are also art activities for kids (courtesy of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts), and the Free Ride folks are standing by to fix flat tires, loose bolts and other minor bicycle maladies free of charge. Can't make it this weekend? The festival hits the North Side's Allegheny Commons West Aug. 29. AB Noon-4 p.m. 6601 Fifth Ave., Point Breeze. Free. 412-255-0564 or ventureoutdoors.org

 

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Sat., July 25 -- Roller Derby

Flat-track roller derby is kind of like speed-skating gone punk rock -- checking is fair game and the girls play under aliases like Mel Practice, Auntie Establishment and Ally McKill. The Steel City Derby Demons, Pittsburgh's only women's roller-derby league, hosts an international tournament beginning tonight at Harmarville Bladerunners Ice Complex. The Steel Hurtin squad battles Hamilton, Ontario's The Eh! Team to prove which steel city manufactures the toughest chicks. AB 6:30 p.m. 66 Alpha Dr. West, Harmarville. $10 ($15 at the door). 412-826-0800 or steelcityderbydemons.com

 

Sun., July 26 -- Outdoors

It's a week for nature education in Butler County. Today, it's raptors, as Moraine State Park's resident naturalist discusses the ospreys, bald eagles and great horned owls who live and hunt there. Also today, Jennings Environmental Education Center staff lead a 90-minute walk, complete with peak-bloom wildflowers, through Jennings' unique prairie ecosystem. And on Thu., July 30, Alameda naturalist April Claus gives frogs, toads, snakes, turtles and salamanders their due in a program called "Let There Be Slime." BO Moraine raptors: 1:30 p.m. (724-368-8811). Jennings Prairie program: 2 p.m. (Slippery Rock; 724-794-6011). "Slime" program: 7 p.m., Thu., July 30 (Carousel Shelter, Alameda Park; 724-284-5383). All programs free.

 

Mon., July 27 -- Talk

Hey, G-20, globalize this: The movement for local living economies contends that healthy food, renewable energy, good jobs and other building blocks of a sustainable society are best created by rallying resources close to home. Tonight, area community-development specialist Carlos Gasca discusses Startup!, a new cooperative business school promoting local living economies. The program, hosted by environmental group Bioneers, includes a video by acclaimed Smallmart Revolution author Michael Shuman. BO 6 p.m. GTECH, 214 Lexington Ave., Point Breeze (inside Construction Junction complex). Free. RSVP at 412-436-0392

 

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Mon., July 27 -- Music

Chicago outfit The Horse's Ha is built around the vocal harmonies of James Elkington (The Zincs) and Janet Bean (Freakwater), with additional musicians culled from the city's scene. Combining jazz and English folk elements, their new album, Of the Cathmawr Yards, is a sometimes strikingly propulsive, sometimes lazily drifting backdrop for Elkington's literary, image-rich lyrics: "Dead wrong, dress right / for waltzes in starlight, the / house is dry, the flowers / grieve in their vase." The Horse's Ha plays the Thunderbird Café tonight with Local Honey. AJ 8 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $8 ($10 at the door). 412-682-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net

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