Short List: November 18 - 23 | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: November 18 - 23

Quantum raises Chickens in the Yard; poet Ed Roberson reads; Ursula Rucker is her Father’s Daughter; and the Carnegie has designs on Silver to Steel

Fri., Nov. 20 — Stage

Adil Mansoor and Paul Kruse didn’t want to start a theater company. But they basically had to in order to stage, with producer Nicole Shero, their first production, in 2013. Their Hatch Arts Collective mounted Chickens in the Yard, with four actors playing six human characters and four chickens; the story was told from the birds’ perspective. Mansoor and Kruse met as undergraduates in Chicago, and separately ended up in Pittsburgh; in staging productions like 2014’s Wall Dogs, they grew to appreciate their adopted town’s audiences and funding community. They found a particular fan in Quantum Theatre founder Karla Boos, who had been exploring emerging theater artists here and loved Kruse’s Chickens script. Staging a new production with Quantum’s resources and expertise seemed the perfect way to inaugurate the Gerri Kay New Voices Program, honoring a late Quantum board member. Chickens, directed by Mansoor, is both set in Lawrenceville and staged in a photography studio there. It stars Laurie Klatscher, Siovhan Christensen, Joseph McGranaghan and Alec Silberblatt, with original music performed live by Morgan Erina and Ginger Brooks Takahashi. The story — which investigates the notion of family, whether of origin or of choice — might seem familiar theatrical fare. But as Boos notes, “It speaks in a language I hadn’t heard — the language of chickens.” Bill O’Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 3. Javo Studios, 5137 Holmes St., Lawrenceville. $15-40. 412-362-1713 or

click to enlarge Short List: November 18 - 23
Photo by Heather Mull

Thu., Nov. 19 — Stage

In his 2011 comic thriller Small Engine Repair, John Pollono throws three middle-aged high school buddies — Frank, Swaino and Packie — into Frank’s greasy repair shop under mysterious circumstances complicated by the arrival of a young preppy named Chad. Reviewing the Off-Broadway production, The New York Times called Small Engine Repair a “shivery, funny revenge comedy” that recalls the “brazen vulgarity and acrid humor of [David] Mamet at his best.” barebones productions stages the Pittsburgh premiere, with Rich Keitel directing a cast including barebones artistic director Patrick Jordan and Broadway veteran Brendan Griffin. The first performance is tonight; Friday and Saturday shows include a reception catered by local talents including chef Kevin Sousa. Bill O’Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 5. 1211 Braddock Ave., Braddock. $30-55. 888-718-4253 or

Thu., Nov. 19 — Words

“Someone may want / to know one day how many steps we took / to cross one of our streets,” wrote Pittsburgh native and University of Pittsburgh grad Ed Roberson in his 2006 book of poetry, City Eclogue. He returns to his alma mater for a free lecture and reading from his eight books of poetry, as part of Pitt’s Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. Roberson, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, is currently a Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Northwestern University. Kelechi Urama 8:30 p.m. 650 Schenley Drive, Oakland. 412-624-6508 or 

Fri., Nov. 20 — Festival

Well, it’s the first holiday season without either a Kaufmann’s or a Macy’s Downtown in nearly 130 years. But for nearly half that time, we’ve had Light Up Night. The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s holiday turns 55 with most of the trimmings, including the seasonal openings of Market Square’s holiday market and PPG Plaza’s ice rink. There’s also live music on various outdoors stages; a free Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concert at Heinz Hall (reservations requested at; no fewer than three tree-lightings; and a nostalgic reprise of Kaufmann’s window display, albeit sans Kaufmann’s. BO Evening events begin at 5:30 p.m.

click to enlarge Short List: November 18 - 23
Photo courtesy of Tom Little for the Carnegie Museum of Art
Collection of Jacqueline Loewe Fowler.

Fri., Nov. 20 — Art

In 1935, already acclaimed for his hand-wrought luxury silver, a young German émigré craftsman named Peter Muller-Munk moved to Pittsburgh, where he’d launch a second career. His industrial-design firm, Peter Muller-Munk Associates, set the tone for the post-war consumer market, turning out iconic products from the Normandie pitcher and the Waring Blender to cameras, radios, tableware and power tools. The Carnegie Museum of Art exhibit Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk covers both halves of his career with an unprecedented display of both his crafted works and mass-produced objects. The show opens tonight with Mad Men & Martinis, a 1960s-themed cocktail party. BO Party: 7-10 p.m. ($15). Exhibit continues through April 11. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. 412-633-3212 or

click to enlarge Short List: November 18 - 23
Photo courtesy of Ken Gift

Fri., Nov. 20 — Words

Acclaimed spoken-word artist Ursula Rucker revisits her past in My Father’s Daughter, a raw, epic poem that juxtaposes her own tumultuous life journey with her mother’s in a powerful story of survival. Philadelphia Magazine says the poem, which features live accompaniment by guitarist Tim Motzer, elicits “chills.” Rucker, who is based in Philadelphia, performs tonight and tomorrow at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. A mixer precedes the show, and admission is “pay what makes you happy.” KU 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 21. 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. 412-363-3000 or 

Fri., Nov. 20 — Dance

RMG/lightentry, a Pittsburgh-based collaborative-movement project created by performer Roberta Guido, tackles the anxiety of trying to become a “real person” after college in Falling For a Moment. The multidisciplinary dance piece describes a 21-year-old’s journey to adulthood through personal narratives in movement, language and imagery. The performance takes place in Wood Street Galleries as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Wood Street Galleries Movement Series. KU 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 21. 601 Wood St., Downtown. $10 at the door. 412-456-6666 or 

Fri., Nov. 20 — Dance

La Roche College presents the world premiere of Maria Caruso’s The Messiah. The Pittsburgh-based choreographer and founder of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet uses this full-length ballet to highlight Handel’s groundbreaking oratorio Messiah. Bodiography dancers will be accompanied by the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra and Maestri Singers, under the direction of music director Thomas Octave. Tonight and tomorrow’s performances are at the Byham Theater. KU 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 21. 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $35-55. 412-456-6666 or 

Fri., Nov. 20 — Stage

Kendra McLaughlin’s cheekily titled one-woman play You Can’t Have An Orgasm With Me was partly inspired by another Pittsburgh actress’ solo show — Mary Lipple’s Blackbird Pie. Lipple’s story, sadly, ended with her death from cancer in 2013. But the Mary Lipple Memorial Fund Award lives on. Now, 2014 recipient McLaughlin reprises Orgasm (which she first performed last year) for three showings this weekend at Grey Box Theatre. The comedic drama depicts three women (each played by McLaughlin) in therapy. BO 8 p.m. Also 2 and 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 21. 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $15.

Fri., Nov. 20 — Dancing

For vintage social dancing practically around the clock, nothing beats the PittStop Lindy Hop. The 15th annual dance exchange for lovers of swing includes seven dances over three days, starting with tonight’s event at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall featuring the ever-popular Boilermaker Jazz Band. For tireless hoofers, tonight’s late-night/early-morning ’do, at Pittsburgh Opera, features Miss Freddye’s Blues Band. Other highlights include Saturday night’s dance at Soldiers & Sailors, with world-touring pianist and Lindy-hop star Gordon Webster and his nine-piece band. Beginners are welcome. BO 8 p.m.-midnight (Soldiers & Sailors, Oakland) and 1-5 a.m. Sat., Nov. 21 (Pittsburgh Opera, Strip District). Continues through Sun., Nov. 22. Various venues. $10-20 (whole weekend: $70).

Sat., Nov. 21 — Exhibits

Philanthropist Helen Clay Frick opened the Frick Art Museum in 1970, and the facility now known as The Frick Art & Historical Center has expanded several times. But it’s never grown more than through the $15 million expansion and renovation unveiled today. With 30 percent more square footage of building space, the Center boasts an expanded Car and Carriage Museum and brand-new education and community centers. See them at a free, day-long public celebration featuring timed tours, art-making activities and more. The event coincides with the first weekend of the annual Holidays at the Frick festivities. BO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. Free. 412-371-0600 or

Mon., Nov. 23 — Screen

Film fans, soccer aficionados and even scholars might appreciate tonight’s screening of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s film documents, in real time, the motions of star French midfielder Zinedine Zidane during a single 2005 game. (Seventeen cameras were used.) The free screening continues Pitt’s The Year of Humanities in the University, and launches the Bodies in Motion series, a collaboration between Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the Film Studies program. BO 6 p.m. 407 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Free.