Short List: May 20 -26 | This Week's Top Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: May 20 -26

TEDxPittsburgh brings some new ideas; Fort Pitt Museum gets Captured by Indians; Eve Apart opera debuts locally; the Pittsburgh Underwear Bike Ride rolls


SPOTLIGHT: Sat., May 23 — Talk

We, too, have whiled away 15 minutes at a pop watching TED talks on philanthropy or mushrooms that somebody passed around on Facebook. But Pittsburgh has its own, TED-sanctioned but independently organized and in-person version of the popular speaker series for "ideas worth spreading." And the theme for this year's TEDxPittsburgh, held Sat., May 23, at the Byham Theater, is Bridges: Ideas That Connect Us. The speakers, many locally based, include Dr. Jim Withers, the internationally known founder of Operation Safety Net, a street-medicine program for the homeless. Michelle King is a self-described "instigator of learning" whose interests include designing learning institutions to build connections. Gab Bonesso is a performer, comic and motivational speaker known for her anti-bullying work. At least two speakers speakers have environmental interests: Andrew Butcher, founder of Pittsburgh-based nonprofit GTECH, and Aislinn Slaugenhaupt, a high school student who's a nationally known speaker. Dr. Josie Badger is a youth-empowerment expert. Lawrence Ian Reed studies facial expression, emotion and cooperation; Samantha Bushman wants to revolutionize sex ed; Michelle Franzo is a consultant and World Policy Institute fellow; and Diane Turnshek is a physicist and science-fiction writer interested in space colonization. TEDx runs all afternoon and concludes with an after-party. Bill O'Driscoll Noon, Sat., May 23. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $40. 5-7 p.m. (after-party at SPACE gallery, Downtown, ticketed separately). 412-456-6666 or

Thu., May 21 — Words

"I was nine years older than the country I had come to live in," writes Jill Kandel of moving to Zambia as a newlywed in 1981. The North Dakota native has since lived and worked all over the world, but it was that initial overseas move that provided the material for her new memoir, So Many Africas: Six Years in a Zambian Village. The manuscript won publication via Pittsburgh's Autumn House Press' nonfiction contest. The widely published Kandel, who now lives in Minnesota, reads tonight at East End Book Exchange with Pittsburgh-based poet and memoirist Lori Jakiela. Bill O'Driscoll 7 p.m. 4754 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-224-2847 or

Thu., May 21 — Talk

Two local comics artists help close out the season for the TNY Presents reading series. One of them is Daniel McCloskey, known for founding the Cyberpunk Apocalypse writers' residency, but a prolific artist and writer in his own right. He'll present the fifth installment in his original series America's Lesser Known Predators, each written specifically for a local reading event. McCloskey is joined at ModernFormations Gallery by comics artist Nils Balls and writers Caitlin Bender and Adrienne Jouver. BO 8 p.m. 4919 Penn Ave., Garfield. $5 (free with potluck contribution).

Short List: May 20 -26
Art by Benjamin West

Fri., May 22 — Exhibit

Life on the American frontier was complicated, and the turbulent relationships between cultures remain difficult to convey. In its new exhibit, Captured by Indians: Warfare and Assimilation on the 18th-Century Frontier, the Fort Pitt Museum explores the practice of Native Americans capturing settlers. With dwindling numbers, Native Americans were forced to use other tactics to survive. The year-long exhibit, which opens today, uses life-cast vignettes of three captives with Western Pennsylvania connections to explain the practice. Zacchiaus McKee 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through May 2016. 601 Commonwealth Place, Downtown. $3-6. 412-281-9284 or

Fri., May 22 — Pyro

Some days this month, it might have already felt hot enough to be July, but tonight's fireworks aren't for Independence Day. Fireworks outfit Pyrofest makes a bigger bang in its fourth year with a venue change, from Hartwood Acres to Cooper's Lake Campground, in Butler County. Pyrofest's new location allows the festival to grow — including the addition of a second day. The festival includes bands, concessions and plenty of huge firework displays. Special events like a pyro-musical, phantom fireworks display and winners of the "Fantasy in the Sky" challenge will take place after dark. ZM 4 p.m. Also 4 p.m. Sat., May 23. 205 Currie Road, Slippery Rock. $20-110. 800-854-4705 or

Fri., May 22 — Opera

"Lillith, lies and paradise": Alia Musica stages the Pittsburgh premiere of Eve Apart at Hillman Auditorium. The multimedia opera re-imagines the Genesis story while exploring primal feminine power and religion through video and characters like Lillith. In Jewish folklore, Lillith preceded Eve, but vanished after Adam attempted to assert his sexual dominance. Created by Tennessee-based composer Tim Hinick, with a libretto by Pittsburgh-based Kip Soteres, Eve Apart casts local favorites including soprano Desiree Soteres and tenor Donovan Smith, conducted by Federico Garcia. Danielle Fox 7:30 p.m. Also 7:30 p.m. Sat., May 23, and 2 p.m. Sun., May 24. 1825 Centre Ave., Hill District. $15-25. 412-414-4649 or

Fri., May 22 — Stage

Front Porch Theatricals opens its 2015 season at the New Hazlett Theater with a show that puts an unconventional twist on romance. Jason Robert Brown's off-Broadway favorite The Last Five Years follows two lovers as they tell the story of how they fell in and out of love over the course of five years. Jamie tells his story chronologically, while Cathy tells hers backward. The two meet once during the show, in the middle, at their wedding. Pittsburgh-born actors David Toole and Erin Lindsey Krom headline. Zacchiaus McKee 8 p.m. Continues through May 31. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $20-24. 412-320-4610 or

Short List: May 20 -26
Photo courtesy of No Name Players

Fri., May 22 — Stage

Dislike sit-coms, and think maybe one would be more fun live? Or do you like sit-coms, and maybe just need to get out more? Either way, The Sisters Sorella might be for you. This original sit-com from theater troupe No Name Players, performed live monthly, rolls out its latest episode tonight and again tomorrow at Arcade Comedy Theater. Series writers Tressa Glove, Julianne Avolio and Maggie Carr star as three Italian-American sisters reunited in a single apartment after one separates from her husband. Join neurotic Cetta, narcissistic Raff and oddball Ernie for comedy, live music and even live commercial breaks. BO 10 p.m. Also 10 p.m. Sat., May 23. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10.

Sat., May 23 — Hands-On

Gardens are a veritable smorgasbord of activity. Today, Phipps Conservatory offers Discovery Garden Day, a hands-on showcase. While the day is meant to be fun for the whole family, activities specifically for younger children include lawn games, potting plants, crafting and exploring the Nature Play Garden. In addition, learn more about topics including pollinators, the life-cycles of plants and the origins of certain foods. ZM 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 1 Schenley Park, Oakland. $11-15. 412-622-6914 or

Thu., May 28 — Screen

Video-production company In Media Res launches its series Cinema Exchange with a free screening and discussion of Triple Divide, a 2013 documentary about how state environmental regulators failed when it came to fracking for natural gas. The award-winning film, produced by investigative-journalism nonprofit Public Herald, has had public screenings around the U.S. Tonight's is presented in Uptown's historic Paramount Film Exchange Building by the film's co-directors, Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman. Cinema Exchange is an initiative of In Media Res and community-development nonprofit StartUptown. BO 7 p.m. (6:30 p.m. reception). 544 Miltenberger St., Uptown. Free.

Thu., May 28 — Outdoors

Grab your helmets, bike locks and undies: The first Pittsburgh Underwear Bike Ride of 2015 is tonight. In an effort to promote positive body image and self-confidence — and build a stronger bike community — bikers will take to the streets of Lawrenceville to ride (mostly) naked along a route ending at Penn Brewery. The only rules are to have fun, be respectful and stay safe. A pedicab DJ will accompany the ride. Other underwear rides are scheduled for the final Thursday night of each month this summer. ZM 9 p.m. Route begins at 46th and Butler streets, Lawrenceville. Free.!/PghUndiesRide