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Winter Guide 2013 

A selection of local happenings that should provide entertainment, edification and exercise this season

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LITERARY

click to enlarge Book discussion groups at the Carnegie Library
  • Book discussion groups at the Carnegie Library

Winter is a great time to catch up on reading, but why not get out and talk about it? The Carnegie Library offers loads of book discussion groups, for mulling over everything from graphic novels and poetry to mysteries and short stories. See the website for schedules and locations. Ongoing. www.clpgh.org

Why are we here? Nationally known Pittsburgh-based science author Chip Walter returns with a new book posing an evolutionary answer to why Homo sapiens survived when species like Neanderthals didn't. Walters visits the Waterfront Barnes & Noble to launch Last Ape Standing, his follow-up to Thumbs, Toes and Tears. Jan. 31. West Homestead. 412-462-5743

The Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series hosts a free reading by nonfiction writer Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, whose latest was 2011's critically noted Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America. Rhodes-Pitts will be honored as this year's William Block Senior Writer. Feb. 26. Oakland. 412-624-6508 or www.pghwriterseries.wordpress.com

While it's not quite spring, maybe it's time for Paris. Monday Night Lectures hosts Paula McLain, the poet and author of The Paris Wife, a novel set in the Jazz Age about Hemingway's first spouse. March 18. Oakland. 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org

Since 1985, the Guerrilla Girls have used posters, zines, films, street actions and a book (Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls) to further their fight against sexism in the art world. The anonymous, masked group will hit the Carnegie Lecture Hall for the provocatively titled talk-slash-performance "What Are Museums For?" which recounts the artists' methods. March 20. Oakland. 412-622-3288 or www.cmoa.org

 

STAGE

click to enlarge Tammy Faye Starlite at The Andy Warhol Museum
  • Tammy Faye Starlite at The Andy Warhol Museum

She's already done Tammy Faye Bakker and Tammy Wynette. Now performance artist Tammy Faye Starlite tackles Warhol superstar and Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico. One-woman show Chelsea Mädchen, part of The Andy Warhol Museum's Off the Wall series, is based on actual encounters between Nico and journalists. Starlite sings, too: "Femme Fatale," Bowie's "Heroes" and more. Jan. 25. North Side. 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org

If 21st-century capitalism seems uniquely problematic, meet John Gabriel Borkman. Towering dramatist Henrik Ibsen's penultimate play depicts a disgraced 19th-century businessman along with his wife and his former mistress (who are sisters). Quantum Theatre stages the rarely produced work, directed by Martin Giles. Jan. 31-Feb. 24. Hart Building, East Liberty. 888-718-4253 or www.quantumtheatre.com

In 1001 Arabian Nights, Scheherazade told stories to keep alive. With Soap Opera, Attack Theatre has only to keep your attention — and odds are good the veteran dance troupe will manage that with this "passionate mash-up of dance and opera" inspired by Scheherazade. Feb. 1-10. Strip District. 412-281-3305 or www.attacktheatre.com

Yes, they can-can. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet's new Moulin Rouge — a story of "love, ambition and heartbreak" with French music and high kicks — broke records at home and is packing houses on the road. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre tackles the challenge at the Benedum Center. Feb. 14-17. Downtown. 412-456-6666 or www.pbt.org

 

click to enlarge Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion at Byham Theater - PHOTO COURTESY OF IAN DOUGLAS

One of Pittsburgh's own takes a coveted stage. The Pittsburgh Dance Council, which hosts the world's top troupes, presents the premiere of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion's Pavement. Local native Abraham, whose electric movement and riveting choreography have made him a rising star nationally, says this work explores "the state of Black America." Feb. 16. Byham Theater, Downtown. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org

click to enlarge American Idiot at Heinz Hall. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TURNER ROUSE JR.
  • Photo courtesy of Turner Rouse Jr.
  • American Idiot at Heinz Hall.

Who'd have thought of turning Green Day's pop-punk album American Idiot into a Broadway musical? But the 2009 show was a critical and commercial hit. PNC Broadway Across America brings Billie Joe Armstrong's power-chord vision of post-9/11 teen dreams to Heinz Hall. Feb. 19-24. Downtown. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org

click to enlarge Daniel Beaty at City Theatre - PHOTO COURTESY OF NATHAN YUNGERBERG
  • Photo courtesy of Nathan Yungerberg
  • Daniel Beaty at City Theatre

Born in 1887 in Georgia, to former slaves, vocalist Roland Hayes went on to conquer the world's classical stages. Hayes is brought to life in Breath and Imagination, a world premiere at City Theatre. The show is written by and stars Daniel Beaty, whose one-man show Through the Night was a hit for City last season. March 9-31. South Side. 412-431-2489 or www.citytheatrecompany.org

No matter who's telling her story, things never go too well for poor old Madame Butterfly. Still, Puccini's take remains among the world's most popular operas. A new Pittsburgh Opera staging of Madama Butterfly stars Italian soprano Maria Luigia Borsi and American tenor Bryan Hymel. March 16-24. Benedum, Downtown. 412-281-0912 or www.pittsburghopera.org

 

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