Short List: April 15 - 21 | This Week's Top Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: April 15 - 21

Pittsburgh Earth Day; Harlem Renaissance feted at the Byham; Wilkinsburg Dream City Art; Bukowski tribute at brillobox

FREE — Wed., April 22 — Festival

It's easy enough to overstate how "green" Pittsburgh is: Our air and rivers are still pretty dirty, after all; our suburbs still sprawl and our traffic still jams. Nevertheless, the region is paying more attention to things like energy conservation and renewables. Pittsburgh Earth Day, billed as the first large-scale citywide celebration of this secular holiday, is a good time to build on that consciousness. It was conceived by Ronda Zegarelli of marketing firm Acrobatique Creative, and has the imprimatur of the City of Pittsburgh. The full day of events at locations including Downtown's Market Square and Mellon Square Park, and Schenley Plaza in Oakland, starts with a business breakfast Downtown. There's also a food-truck festival, a pop-up organic market, an artists' market, fitness classes and other family activities. Live music comes courtesy of acts including Chris Jamison of NBC's The Voice; members of The Clarks; Donora; and Nameless in August. Green feature: All performances are either wind- or solar-powered. There's plenty more, too, including evening events at Downtown's  Fairmont Hotel — a "sustainability soiree" and eco-fashion show. Meanwhile, check the windows of Macy's for a series of locally shot photos of eco-inspired outfits. And then there is designers Mindy Eshelman and ROY's "The Trash Dress," which will grace the window of the Downtown Larrimor's starting April 20. Bill O'Driscoll Events begin at 11 a.m. Wed., April 22. Various locations. Free.

Thu., April 16 — Convention

Pittsburgh's premier anime, gaming, music and Japanese-pop-culture convention, Tekko, returns to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for its 13th year. This year there's even more for fans. New attractions include Tekko Gakkou, a series of classes exploring facets of Japanese culture and history. Special Tekko guests include voice actors J. Michael Tatum, Jerry Jewell and Jamie Marchi. Mainstay features include vendors, panels, fashion shows and cosplay contests. The four-day convention begins today. Zacchiaus McKee 4:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., April 19. 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., Downtown. $30-50.

Thu., April 16 — Talk

Queer voices inform all workplaces — even steel mills. In her book Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Steelworkers, Gary, Ind.-based scholar Anne Balay presents stories about work, class, gender and sexuality. While queer individuals have made strides legally and socially in the United States, working-class homophobia remains. Many of the voices Balay captures have experienced harassment and violence, and almost all remain closeted. Tonight at the University of Pittsburgh, Balay delivers a talk titled "Gay Steelworkers: Expanding how we imagine queer folks, and how working-class queers expand queer possiblity." ZM 4 p.m. 4200 Fifth Ave., Cathedral of Learning Room 324, Oakland. Free. 412-624-7323 or

Thu., April 16 — Stage

In the African-American community during the years leading up to the Harlem Renaissance, there was a sense of building artistic expression. The words and thoughts of Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. Du Bois and others became the voice of a new generation. Nationally touring musical Raisin' Cane spotlights this turning point. Starring Jasmine Guy and the Avery Sharpe Trio, Raisin' Cane honors the Harlem Renaissance through text, song, music, movement and imagery tonight at the Byham Theater. ZM 7:30 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $25-50. 412-456-6666 or

Fri., April 17 — Screen

Crossroads — An Oral History is writer and Hill District native Yvonne McBride's compilation of video interviews about the Hill District during the mid-century golden age of jazz. Interviewees include iconic local musicians like Roger Humphries and Nelson Harrison. A free preview screening today at the Kaufmann Center includes a Southern-inspired catered luncheon; live music; and a chance for audience members to share their own stories of the Hill. Bill O'Driscoll Noon-2 p.m. 1825 Centre Ave., Hill District. Free.

Fri., April 17 — Music

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music Director Manfred Honeck and his brother Rainer Honeck, concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, have never performed together professionally. That changes when Rainer Honeck joins the PSO as a soloist in Benjamin Britten's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. The program includes Maestro Honeck's arrangement of a suite from Dvorak's "Rusalka Fantasy," and closes with Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, "Pathétique." The first of three performances at Heinz Hall is tonight. ZM 7:30 p.m. Also 7:30 p.m. Sat., April 18, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., April 19. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $25.75-105.75. 412-392-4900 or

Sat., April 18 — Stage

This week marks Shakespeare's 451st birthday. Festivities include tonight's Prime Stage Theatre Co. presentation of Mrs Shakespeare: Will's first & last love, Yvonne Hudson's long-running, one-woman show in which she embodies Anne Hathaway Shakespeare. And offering their Week of Will are Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks, Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project and Steel City Shakespeare. Events include April 21's Pop-Up Shakespeare, a free noon program of scenes and poetry in Downtown's Mellon Square Park, and April 23's Shakespeare Happy Hour, with Bard-themed food and drink at Franktuary, in Lawrenceville. BO Mrs Shakespeare: 7 p.m. (Prime Stage Studio, Bon Air; $15-20; Week of Will schedule at

Short List: April 15 - 21
Art by Dee Briggs

Sat., April 18 — Art

While Wilkinsburg has long been a hard-luck town, it has artists in abundance. Resident artist Dee Briggs has organized Wilkinsburg Dream City Art, a free, day-long festival with some 40 Wilkinsburg artists presenting work at 10 sites. Attractions include: Briggs' House of Gold, a full-sized Wilkinsburg house disassembled and stacked in her studio; Jeff Lovett's 16 mm film and vinyl-record installation; and a painting workshop led by Bob Ziller. Afternoon site visits are followed by evening events at Percolate gallery and Biddle's Escape coffeehouse. BO Noon-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Start at 606 South Ave. or 1412 Swissvale Ave., Wilkinsburg.

Mon., April 20 — Talk

You probably won't want to count these sheep while you're falling asleep. In their new book, Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?, Carnegie Mellon psychology professor Timothy Verstynen and Bradley Voytek, a professor of cognitive science and neuroscience at University of California San Diego, speculate how zombies might function given current knowledge of how the brain works. Each chapter draws upon zombie popular culture and employs neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and brain-behavior relationships. Verstynen visits Swissvale's Wilkins School Community Center tonight for a lecture and discussion about this lively topic. ZM 7 p.m. Room 13, 7604 Charleston Ave., Swissvale. Suggested donation: $5. 412-244-8458 or

Mon., April 20 — Talk

In its 13th season, Mythbusters remains one of the Discovery Channel's most-watched series. Co-hosted by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, the Emmy-nominated show uses the scientific method to test everyday myths. Hyneman and Savage have become spokespersons for applying science to daily life. The duo will appear live at the Benedum Center tonight for an evening of on-stage experiences, audience participation, videos and behind-the-scenes stories. ZM 8 p.m. 803 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $42.25-152.25. 412-456-6666 or

Tue., April 21 — Music

The year marks the centennial of Billy Strayhorn's birth, and the famed Pittsburgh-born jazz composer is feted tonight with 100 Years of Strayhorn. The Cabaret at Theater Square hosts performances by two nationally acclaimed guests, vocalist and guitarist Allan Harris and pianist Eric Reed. Expect renditions of the likes of "Satin Doll" and "Lush Life." The show's presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, BNY Mellon and Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. BO 8 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. $30.75. 412-456-6666 or

Wed., April 22 — Words

The Creative Nonfiction Foundation is known nationally for its quarterly magazine Creative Nonfiction and for publishing books of literary nonfiction. Now the foundation founded by Lee Gutkind has embarked on the Writing Pittsburgh project: Over the next five years, it will publish three books about its home city. Tonight, at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Lecture Hall, Writing Pittsburgh launches with "Neighborhood Stories: Well Told." This evening of live storytelling features tellers include artist and activist Vanessa German, writer and editor Damon J. Young and Quantum Theatre's Karla Boos. Selected audience members can also tell one-minute stories at tonight's event, co-presented by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Music Hall. BO 7 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free.

Thu., April 23 — Words

A poet laureate of the 20th-century American demimonde (Dive Bar Division), Charles Bukowski died in 1994 but remains a cult hero for his tough, plain-spoken verse and prose. Tonight, some 20 local poets and writers honor the guy whose tombstone reads "Don't Try" with a reading at Brillobox. Buk Night: A Tribute to Charles Bukowski features talents including Jimmy Cvetic, Lori Jakiela, Dave Newman, Sarah Shotland, Scott Silsbe and Don Wentworth. BO 8 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. Free.