Short List: May 16 - 23 | This Week's Top Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: May 16 - 23

Short List: May 16 - 23
Photo courtesy of Kate Freer of Room 404 Media.
Darian Dauchan in Death Boogie.

The August Wilson Center for African American Culture's First Voice Festival showcases new work by the center's fellows and visiting artists, with everything from oral histories to multimedia hip-hop poetry. This fourth annual international festival of black arts starts May 18 with Women of the Great Migration: A Listening Experience. Radio journalist Erika Beras' documentary uses video and audio to let women who migrated to Pittsburgh from the South from 1910 on tell their own stories. Also on May 18 is Basquiat Babies: Artists Tameka Cage Conley, Christiane Leach, Amanda Lewis, Staycee Pearl and Alisha Wormsley interpret the art of Jean-Michael Basquiat in music, film and performance. May 20 highlights include Death Boogie, a multimedia hip-hop-poetry musical written and performed by New York-based actor and poet Darian Dauchan. Death Boogie depicts a blue-collar worker drawn to revolution, incorporating comic-book illustrations in a style Dauchan calls "Pee-Wee Herman meets Che Guevara." The show features live music by The Mighty Third Rail, Dauchan's trio combining hip-hop poetry with beat-boxing, violin and upright bass. The festival continues next weekend with oral histories by Kelli Stevens Kane, film screenings and Staycee Pearl Dance Project's compelling dance work OCTAVIA, a tribute to science-fiction author Octavia Butler. Bill O'Driscoll Fri., May 18-May 26. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Most events are free; tickets to Death Boogie are $10. 412-258-2700 or

When veteran spoken-word artist Christina Springer calls something "the single most transformative art experience I have had in nine years," we take note. In 2010, in Greece, Springer performed in Miko Kuro's Midnight Tea, the brainchild of Natasha Marin.  The Seattle-based poet's unscripted performance-art version of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony is a fixture on Vancouver's underground art scene. (The show's also been served in China and Paris.) On May 19, Marin brings Midnight Tea to the intimate Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, where she'll portray ghostly host Miko for 12 hand-picked guest artists, including Springer, Kimberly DrGoddess Ellis, Brian Broome and Ketan Bakrani. Observers can watch as these dozen guests (largely strangers to each other) gather at midnight to act out Marin's dozen roles. The roles have prescribed speech and movement patterns, but they're open to interpretation and change depending on interactions with other performers and the audience. Expect the unexpected: "It's not the queen of England's tea," says Marin. "It's Alice in Wonderland's tea." Bill O'Driscoll Midnight-2:30 a.m. Sat., May 19. 5006 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $12-20.

Short List: May 16 - 23
Saskia Laroo

Fri., May 18 — Music

This weekend, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Distinctively Dutch Festival hosts two unusual musical visitors. At the Pittsburgh International Children's Festival, for your polyrhythmic delectation, Drums United performs five shows in three days, one of only three U.S. stops on its North American tour. The percussion-and-vocal group melds Latin, African and Indian styles, tapped and pounded by drummers from Senegal, Venezuela, Surinam, Iran and Holland. Meanwhile, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild presents Dutch Women of Jazz. Tonight's show features Amina Figarova Sextet and the saxophone-fronted Tineke Postma Quartet. On May 19, the Saskia Laroo Band performs. BO Drums United: 11:15 a.m.; continues through Sun., May 20 (Bellefield Hall, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland; $8). Dutch Women of Jazz 8 p.m.; also 8 p.m. Sat., May 19 (1815 Metropolitan St., North Side; $20-30 per show). 412-456-6666 or

Fri., May 18 — Party

Most libraries strive to maintain an atmosphere of peace and quiet, but don't expect a subdued crowd tonight at the Carnegie Library's East Liberty branch. In the latest in its series of After Hours fundraising parties, the library hosts activities ranging from a furniture auction and a whiskey-tasting to a live "Where's Waldo?" game and music by bluegrass quintet the Mon River Ramblers. The after-party is at the nearby Mad Mex, on South Highland Avenue. Andy Tybout 7 p.m. After-party: 10 p.m.-midnight. 130 S. Whitfield St., East Liberty. $50. 412-622-6509 or

Sat., May 19 — Outdoors

Pittsburghers hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of city life rarely consider traveling Downtown. But today, visitors to Point State Park can participate in a variety of outdoorsy activities, including fishing, biking, kayaking and yoga. Those with more exotic interests may enjoy learning the fundamentals of Unção Capoeira, a 500-year-old Brazilian martial art. The all-day Venture Outdoors Festival, presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, is a highlight of Great Outdoors Week, a 10-day celebration of the city's recreational opportunities. AT 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Downtown. Free. 412-255-0564 or

Sat., May 19 — Cabaret

Phantasmagoria: 10 p.m. Sat., May 19. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $13 (21 and over).

— Bill O'Driscoll

Sun., May 20 — Comedy

Brian Regan is just like a lot of people you know — if they made more funny faces and were, you know, funnier all around. The comic, a favorite on Letterman, recently released his CD All By Myself. Continuing on his nonstop tour of U.S. theaters, the eminently relatable Regan performs at Heinz Hall tonight only. BO 7 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $42.75. 412-392-4900 or

Short List: May 16 - 23
Ahead of Time: The Ruth Gruber Story

Sun. May 20 — FILM

Ruth Gruber lived a remarkable life: The Brooklyn native received her Ph.D. at 20; she then took her journalism skills far afield to cover the Soviet Union in the 1930s and Alaska in the early 1940s. During World War II, she helped escort Holocaust refugees to the U.S., and in 1947, documented the British attack on the Exodus ship. This afternoon, catch the recent award-winning Bob Richman's bio-doc, Ahead of Time: The Ruth Gruber Story, and hear from Gruber herself, still active at 100. Al Hoff 2 p.m. SouthSide Works Cinema, South Side. $10 (student and seniors $5). 412-621-8875 x.101 or

Wed., May 23 — Talk

Pittsburgh Glass Center begins its summer lecture series with a talk by visiting instructors Nadège Desgenétez and Tony Serviente. The free lectures at this nationally recognized glassmaking shop, school and gallery continue nearly every Wednesday through Aug. 8. Next week, Australian artist Nick Mount previews his upcoming PGC show, 10 Years of Bottles and Bobs: A Survey. BO 6 p.m. 5472 Penn Ave., Friendship. Free. 412-365-2145 or

Thu., May 24 — Party

We can't verify the claim, but if Transport says that this is "Pittsburgh's First Ever Trans Friendly Monthly Dance Party," who are you to assert otherwise? All are welcome at this event at Lawrenceville hotspot Cattivo. Transport launches tonight and is scheduled to continue every second Thursday. BO Doors at 9 p.m. 146 44th St., Lawrenceville. 412-687-2157