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Short List: Week of November 19 - 26 

Thu., Nov. 19 -- Poetry

"'What we'd like to do,' he said / 'is include some local poets / in the entertainment.'" So begins a characteristically wry verse by Ed Ochester. At the sixth annual ACLU Bill of Rights Poetry Reading, however, the poets are the whole show. The roster at tonight's civil-libertarian benefit reading, at Carnegie Mellon, ranges from CMU sophomore Madeline Barnes to such laureled veterans as Robert Gibb, Liane Ellison Norman and Ochester himself -- not forgetting Molly Bain, Romella Kitchens, Heather McNaugher, Rosaly DeMaios Roffman, Michael Simms and Justin Vicari. Bill O'Driscoll 7 p.m. (light reception follows). Adamson Wing, Baker Hall, CMU campus, Oakland. Requested donation: $5-20. Reservations recommended at 412-681-7736 or poetry@aclubpgh.org

 

Thu., Nov. 19 -- Stage

King Edward is dying and six duplicitous women are vying for the throne, blinded by their quest for power and title. Drawn from Shakespeare's Richard III, the characters of Normand Chaurette's The Queens range from the aged Duchess of York and the dethroned queen Margaret to the Duchess' mute and handless daughter Anne Dexter. Point Park's professional theater company the REP stages the drama; tonight's preview performance is followed by tomorrow's opening night. Sheila McKenna directs. Lucy Leitner 8 p.m. Show continues through Nov. 22, and Dec. 3-13. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $15-27. 412-621-4445 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com

 

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Fri., Nov. 20 -- Art

To mark the upcoming holiday season, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts opens several shows that have nothing to do with Christmas. James Thurman presents a biting critique of consumerism in Ancient Art-i-facts of the 21st Century, an installation of his sculptures, complete with accounts of their misinterpretation by a fictional futuristic society. Fuyuko Matsubara's Seeds of Light explores the positive qualities of light energy, while the juried show When Night Falls deals with the mystery of what lurks in the dark. Tonight's opening reception also marks the gallery and shop's extended holiday hours. LL 5:30 p.m. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. $5. 412-361-0873 or www.pittsburgharts.org

 

Fri., Nov. 20 -- Stage

In her National Book Award-winning memoir The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion famously grappled with the year that followed the deaths of both her husband (writer John Dunne) and daughter. In 2007, Didion's one-woman stage adaptation, starring Vanessa Redgrave, ran for six months on Broadway. Now the show's come here. The regional premiere, directed by Sean Michael O'Donnell for his New Olde Bank Theatre, stars Natrona Heights-based actress Lori Barrage. Tonight and tomorrow are the run's final performances. BO 8 p.m. 722 Allegheny River Blvd., Verona. $12. Reservations required at 412-251-7904 or info@newobt.com

 

click to enlarge COURTESY OF JOHN ALTDORFER

Fri., Nov. 20 -- Music

Squonk Opera is about the same as before, give or take a musician or two. And its latest project, Mayhem and Majesty, proves the spectacle-happy troupe retains its knack for goofily over-the-top titles. But the new show is change-up from, say, 2008's sci-fi spoof Astro-Rama: No plot or characters, just Squonky art rock from the five-piece band, plus mechanical props and surreal visuals. That show premieres in March, but tonight and tomorrow there's Mostly Mayhem, a free work-in-progress concert at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, where Squonk is currently in residence and seeking public input on the project. BO 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 21. 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. 412-363-3000 or www.squonkopera.com

 

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Fri., Nov. 20 -- Rock

Mark Dignam -- Dublin native, Pittsburgh resident, irreverent wit, captivating crooner -- has been spending time at Turtle Creek's Treelady Studios, preparing his next album. So, it seems, have locals Paul Luc and Ben Shannon; it was at the studio that the three singer-songwriters got to know each other and decided to get together for an all-locals show. It goes down tonight at the Rex Theatre, recently under new management, in an effort to bring attention, Dignam says, to folk rock in Pittsburgh. It'll be a timely entrée into the work of the three artists, who are all planning new albums in early 2010. Andy Mulkerin 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. 412-381-6811 or www.rextheatre.com


click to enlarge RALF BROWN
  • Ralf Brown

Fri., Nov. 20 -- Dancing

Dancing shoes, and perhaps a backup pair, are recommended this weekend for PittStop Lindy Hop v9.0. The annual celebration of the Lindy and other popular dances from the pre-rock era, all swung to live bands, draws hundreds of swing dancers from around the nation. And they step and twirl all night long. The festivities kick off tonight, in Oakland and Squirrel Hill, with Seattle's Solomon Douglas Swingtet and The Rick Matt Project. Dancers of all ages and experience levels are welcome. BO 8 p.m.-midnight (Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Oakland); 1-5 a.m. (Wightman Community Center, Squirrel Hill). Continues through Sun., Nov. 22. Tickets start at $10 for single sessions. 412-260-2216or  www.pittstoplindyhop.com

 

Friday, Nov. 20 -- Rock

Howlers in Bloomfield has played host to much of the local rockabilly-revival scene; tonight, the bar welcomes some rockabilly originals. Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers are enshrined in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, having been on the Sun Records roster during the label's '50s heyday. With so many acts from that era gone or significantly changed, it's a rare treat to see a true original in an intimate venue -- a real rock bar. With rockabilly locals The Bessemers. AM 9 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $15. 412-682-0320 or www.howlerscoyotecafe.com

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The band 28 North, unlike its rockslide-prone namesake road, has an air of smooth sailing. Its rock 'n' roll has a distinctly Pittsburgh feel, reminiscent of the late-'90s scene headed up by The Clarks and Brownie Mary. Hooks galore, powerful vocals and shredding guitar solos color the band's output, showing that it's poised to be Pittsburgh's next big thing in straight-up rock. The band headlines tonight at Altar Bar, accompanied by local openers Crossing Boundaries. AM 10 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. $5. 412-263-2877 or www.altarbarpittsburgh.com

 

Sat., Nov. 21 -- Art

Porcelain flower pots from 1754, from France's famed Vincennes Porcelain Factory. A 1980s chaise lounge by designer Marc Newson, sheathed in aluminum to suggest an airplane fuselage. A grandfather clock, circa 1800. These are among the rare objects on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art's newly renovated Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries. The galleries, closed for a decade, and rethought by decorative-arts curator Jason T. Busch, offer 500 items tracing two-and-a-half centuries of decorative arts from America and Europe. The public's first glimpse is today. BO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland.  $11-15. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org

 

Sat., Nov. 21 -- Music

Described as the most sought-after tango pianist of the day, Octavio Brunetti and his traveling quintet combine traditional Argentine tango with tango nuevo in The Americas -- In Concert. Also featuring performances by local banoneón master Ernesto Contenti and soprano Lilly Abreu, Pitt's Center for Latin American Studies sponsors the event to promote the development of musicians from all the Americas. It's part of a series of annual concerts that expose Pittsburghers to the music of both North and South. LL 7:30 p.m. Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, 650 Schenley Drive, Oakland. Free. www.cis.pitt.edu/clas

 

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Sat., Nov. 21 -- Electronic

Octave One, an internationally touring live-electronic music group, hails from Detroit's heady underground techno scene. Comprised of Lenny and Lawrence Burden, and sometimes additional Burden brothers, the group's also known to work under the name Random Noise Generation. Octave One's in town tonight for a blowout at the Lawrenceville Moose presented by Hijack and Humanaut, with interior design by head partyman Thommy Conroy and a "kinetic light installation" by Joshua Space; also appearing are DJs Local and Jason Cuban. Likely one for the books. Aaron Jentzen 9 p.m.-2 a.m. 120 51st St., Lawrenceville. $12 ($15 at the door). 18 and over. humanaut.net

 

Sat., Nov. 21 -- Woodstock

This summer's cash-ins on Woodstock nostalgia was quite the barrage: Coffee-table and tell-all books, boxsets, album reissues -- anything to tap the pockets of boomers' memories 40 years after. But some have celebrated the '60s' defining happening in more organic, local ways. Tonight, a Woodstock-themed benefit for the MS Service Society features period-appropriate psychedelic video projections and KardaZ performing some of the classic songs from the concert, as well as dancing, raffles and a prize for "Best Dressed Hippie." (For more on this year's Woodstock nostalgia, check out CP's music blog, FFW>>.) AJ 9 p.m. Ozzie's Bar & Grill, 403 Perry Hwy., Westview. $5. 21 and over. 412-931-3990

 

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Sun., Nov. 22 -- Outdoors

The Montour Trail -- stretching through Pittsburgh's western and southern suburbs -- is a great place for a fall bike ride, even if you're not learning much. Even better is a ride that leaves you with a little history to impress your friends with. That's where the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Albert D. Kollar comes in: an expert in global climate change that took places millions of years ago, Kollar leads today's Venture Outdoors-sponsored ride called Geology and History of the Montour Trail. He'll take it way back -- to the Pennsylvanian age -- and also fill riders in on more recent history, like two centuries of coal mining. AM 10 a.m. Montour Trail, Coraopolis. 412-255-0564 or www.ventureoutdoors.org

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