Short List: June 16 - 22 | This Week's Top Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: June 16 - 22

Public artwork Acupuncture debuts at the Mattress Factory; a burlesque tribute to Prince; Opera Theater SummerFest tours Carmen; Cirque du Soleil’s new show


SPOTLIGHT: Fri., June 17 – Art

Acupuncture is perhaps the most emphatic statement a public artwork has made in Pittsburgh in years. The new permanent sculpture, by German artist Hans Peter Kuhn, will appear by night to be six 100-foot-long shafts of white light piercing the roof and upper floor of the Mattress Factory museum at various angles and emerging from the building’s south face. It can be seen from all angles from as far away as Downtown. Kuhn, a light and sound artist whose resume includes a long list of public artworks around the globe, says the seeds of Acupuncture were planted a decade ago when the museum asked him to create a light piece to make the building more visible. Kuhn, speaking by Skype from Mexico City (where he was between a pair of art openings for his work), said of the utilitarian former factory: “It’s just a box basically. I thought I should disturb this building by making some chaos.” He says he was inspired partly by Mikado, the pick-up-sticks game. The shafts — each in two segments that never actually pierce the building — are LED-filled acrylic tubes fabricated by Pittsburgh’s Bunting Graphics. Mayor Bill Peduto flips the switch on Acupuncture on June 17 at the Mattress Factory’s 19th annual Urban Garden Party fundraiser, Light Up the Night, featuring food, drink and live entertainment. Bill O’Driscoll 7:30-11 p.m. Fri., June 17. 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side. $95.

Thu., June 16 — Festival

Tonight’s the kickoff for Wilkinsburg’s Art in the Park series. The event, run by nonprofit Youth for a Brighter Community, features artists, poets, dancers and live music gathering on a grassy lot on the town’s main drag. Organizers hope Art in the Park can help change negative perceptions of the community. The free series is sponsored by the Borough of Wilkinsburg and the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. Bill O’Driscoll 6:30-8:30 p.m. 743 Penn Ave., Wilkinsburg. Free. 412-726-9369

Fri., June 17 — Fair

According to United Nations reports, there are more than 60 million refugees living in the world today. Today, Acculturation for Justice, Access and Peace Outreach marks World Refugee Day in Market Square. Highlights include music and dance performances from Bhutanese youth activists Children of Shangri-Lost and cultural hub Afrika Yetu. Refugees will also take part in a citizenship ceremony with U.S. immigration services, and vendors will offer foods representing an array of world cultures. Tyler Dague 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Downtown. Free. 412-422-7200 or

Fri., June 17 – Festival

Juneteenth is a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. The Pittsburgh 2016 Bicentennial Juneteenth Festival honors particularly Martin R. Delaney, the great abolitionist, journalist and physician who lived in Pittsburgh before the Civil War. Events include tonight’s Gathering to honor local women of distinction. On Sat., June 18, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., the Jubilee of Freemen Re-Enactment Parade recreates Downtown the historic 1870 parade that African Americans in Pittsburgh held to mark Pennsylvania’s ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which gave blacks the right to vote). That’s followed from 2-8 p.m. by the Community Awareness Day in Market Square, including a Rock the Vote voter-registration drive. Most Juneteenth events are free. BO

click to enlarge Short List: June 15 - 21
Photo courtesy of Nikolaj Lund

Fri., June 17 — Music

Music director Manfred Honeck closes the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s season this weekend by welcoming an old friend back to Heinz Hall. Former PSO concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley (pictured) returns to perform Mozart’s Rondo in C Major and a new concerto in the style of Jewish Klezmer music, “Fidl-Fantazye.” The program concludes with Mahler’s passionate Symphony No. 5. TD 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., June 18, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., June 19. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $20-94. 412-392-4900 or

click to enlarge Short List: June 15 - 21
Photo courtesy of A. Haley

Fri., June 17 – Burlesque

While you could probably stage a burlesque show to almost any kind of music, it’s hard to think of a pop artist whose catalog is more up to the task than Prince. Tonight, at James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy, local producer Viva Valezz! presents His Purple Reign: A Burlesque Prince Tribute. The late icon’s funky and sexy tracks will set the stage for performers including Valezz (pictured) and her Velvet Hearts troupe. The two-hour show is followed by an all-Prince dance party with DJ Tanner. BO 8 p.m. 440 Foreland St., North Side. $10 (dance party only: $5). Table for four: $30 (VIP table: $50).

Sat., June 18 – Exhibit

A Malian infant sleeping dusted with sand. Seven pears on a Moscow sill in afternoon sunlight. A caged chimp’s arm reaching out to Jane Goodall. Few publications are as known for their photography as is National Geographic. Today, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History opens 50 Greatest Photos of National Geographic, a touring exhibit based on the popular iPad app and drawing on the magazine’s 120-year history. The show includes the stories behind the photos and, for some images, the “near frames” that came before and after the iconic shots. BO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through Sept. 11. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $11.95-19.95 (free for children under 2). 412-622-3131 or

Sat., June 18 – Art

Last year, the SouthSide Art Crawl bid to reclaim a bit of the South Side’s past (as old heads will recall) as one of the city’s arty neighborhoods, rather than simply a mile-long bar. Courtesy of Redfishbowl, the Crawl returns, this year promising 30 or more venues hosting work by 250 visual artists, two dozen bands, live music, street performances, pop-up shops and more. It’s the longest Saturday of the year daylightwise — a good excuse to enjoy the afternoon-into-evening street-fair vibe. BO 3 p.m.-midnight. Ninth to 25th streets along East Carson Street. Free.

Sat., June 18 — Comedy

As if Ray Barone, Phil Dunphy, Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor and Archie Bunker hadn’t already proved, fatherhood is ripe for humor. Tonight, at the Father Ryan Arts Center, longtime improv troupe The Amish Monkeys presents an evening audience-fueled comedy, games and songs with a distinctly dad theme, and just in time for Father’s Day. Dadbod not included. TD 8 p.m. 420 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks. $9. 412-243-6464 or

Sun., June 19 — Talk

Spiritual leader, author and social activist Radhanath Swami knows a thing or two about living well. As a practitioner of bhakti yoga, the American-born Swami is known internationally for his charitable work and his talks and books on spiritual transformation. At the Byham Theater, the group Folk Pittsburgh hosts The Journey Within, his first Pittsburgh appearance. The evening includes Eastern music, a performance by the local Nandanik Dance Academy and a talk by Swami. Free copies of his new book, The Journey Within, and to-go dinner boxes are included with admission. TD 5 p.m. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $10.75-40.75. 412-456-6666 or

Wed., June 22 – Opera

Opera Theater of Pittsburgh launches its fifth annual SummerFest in a novel way: with a revival of its flamenco-accented reworking of Carmen The Gypsy that tonight begins a seven-date tour of four intimate local venues. Soprano Kara Cornell reprises her title role from SummerFest’s acclaimed 2012 production of Bizet’s classic; the new show also features James Flora, as Don José, and Christopher Scott, as the toreador; Opera Theater’s Jonathan Eaton directs. Performances tonight and tomorrow at Oakland’s Sphinx Café are followed by showings at venues in the West End, Sewickley Heights and elsewhere in Oakland. But Carmen is also a teaser: Starting July 8, SummerFest will be in full swing, opening productions of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, Handel’s Julius Caesar and much more. BO 7 p.m.; also 7 p.m. Thu., June 23 (401 Atwood St., Oakland). Continues June 25-July 9 (various locations). $25-35.

click to enlarge Short List: June 15 - 21
Photo courtesy of Errisson Lawrence. Costumes by Kym Barrett © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

Wed., June 22 – Cirque

While a few blockbusters have broken $1 billion in recent years, no movie has surpassed the gross of James Cameron’s Avatar. The 2009 epic has also inspired acrobatic supertroupe Cirque Du Soleil’s new show, Toruk: The First Flight. Featuring giant sets and elaborate puppetry, Toruk tells a pre-human-contact tale of the Na’vi, blue humanoid aliens with a distinctive biological connection to their lush moon, Pandora. The spectacle hits Consol Energy Center tonight for the first of seven shows here. TD 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., June 26. 1001 Fifth Ave., Downtown. $38-130. 800-745-3000 or