Short List: May 4 - 10 | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: May 4 - 10

Seventh annual Geek Art/Green Innovators Festival; Pittonkatonk brings the brass back to Schenley; Two Tales of Terror at PICT; the Neighborhood Flea season opens for Mother’s Day


Fri., May 6 — Festival

Penn Avenue’s gallery crawl Unblurred gets bigger this month by teaming with the Geek Art/Green Innovators Festival. It’s the seventh annual incarnation of this interactive, multidisciplinary showcase of art, technology, ecology and performances curated by Passports: The Art Diversity Project. Highlights include a demonstration and exhibit by the venerable Pittsburgh Bonsai Society (you know, those tiny trees), and representatives from local neighborhood gardens talking urban gardening. GA/GI director Christine Bethea says you’ll also find eco tech, art and dance combined for the evening at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, and elsewhere an appearance by prolific local comic-book artist Daniel McCloskey. Other Unblurred galleries will be busy, too. As part of its Café Con Leche series, Most Wanted Fine Art features work by Latino artists including Gregory Garay, Jason Mendez and Hosey Carona. Alisha B. Wormsley offers “This Here,” a two-week pop-up gallery, with visual art inspired by a film about jazz visionary Ornette Coleman. Assemble has electronic-sound artist Jonathan Hodges. Kelly Malone debuts Workshop PGH, her DIY crafts and skills shop. And over at Local 412, there’s an ’80s/’90s throwback music night, with both live hip-hop remixes and karaoke. The Local 412 event has a $10 cover, but otherwise Unblurred, like GA/GI, is free. Bill O’Driscoll 6-11 p.m. Fri., May 6. 4800-5500 Penn Ave., Bloomfield/Friendship/Garfield. Free.

SPOTLIGHT: Sat., May 7 — Music

The seeds of Pittonkatonk and its May Day Brass BBQ and Festival were sown in 2012, when about 100 revelers saw 18-piece Providence, R.I.-based brass-band punks What Cheer? Brigade play a Highland Park garage. In 2013, 300 watched an expanded lineup, and a year later Pittonkatonk was born as an all-volunteer, day-long, picnic-style fest at Schenley Park’s Vietnam Veterans Pavilion. The 2015 edition drew 3,000 people, says Pete Spynda, the DJ and promoter who co-founded Pittonkatonk with Carnegie Mellon University music professor Rich Randall. Such growth reflects the past decade’s rebirth of the brass band as a source of jubilant musical defiance (or defiant jubilation): Stageless, and typically unamplified, the raucous shows blur the line between audience and performer. Styles range from high school marching bands to traditional Balkan brass bands and hip-hop/jazz groups. This year’s lineup of a dozen or more acts includes perennial faves like What Cheer? and New York’s Raya Brass Band, newcomers like the West Philadelphia Orchestra (traditional Balkan) and Detroit Pleasure Society (old-time New Orleans brass), and local fixtures Timbeleza and Col. Eagleburger’s Goodtime Highstepping Band. Special guest, as part of Pittonkatonk’s fledgling Young Musicians Collaborative: the University Prep High School Marching Band. Finally, in an era when “free” often means “corporate-branded,” the May Day Brass BBQ — which in part honors International Workers Day — is community-funded and noncommercial. (Nobody will try to sell you anything.) There’s free food — including homemade Serbian sausage — and the ethic is potluck and BYOB. Bill O’Driscoll 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., May 7. Oakland. Free; potluck and donations welcome.

Thu., May 5 — Stage

Starting tonight, PICT Classic Theatre tackles one of America’s most well-known writers. For Two Tales of Terror, artistic director Alan Stanford has adapted “The Tell-Tale Heart” using Edgar Allen Poe’s exact text, while “The Fall of the House of Usher” has been adapted to include parts for three characters. Even the show’s setting, the gothic-revival Stephen Foster Memorial, evokes Poe’s sensibilities. Courtney Linder 8 p.m. Continues through May 20. 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $7-50. 412-561-6000 or

Fri., May 6 — Art

The moody landscapes of painter James P. Nelson — often depicting scenes of dusk or nighttime — have been part of Pittsburgh’s art mix for decades. This month, Nelson gets a rare solo show. James P. Nelson: paintings and works on paper opens with a reception tonight at Panza Gallery. BO 6-9 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through May 28. 115 Sedgwick St., Millvale. 412-821-0959 or

Fri., May 6 — Words

This spring, nine individuals with mental illness participated in Writing Away the Stigma, a six-week Creative Nonfiction Foundation education program. Now these fellows from across the country, whose illnesses range from depression to PTSD and bipolar disorder, will share their true stories of surviving mental illness at three events this month, starting with tonight’s Graduation Reading & Reception, at the Mattress Factory. Other Mental Health Awareness Month readings take place May 21, at the Carnegie Library in Lawrenceville, and May 22, at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. BO 6:45 p.m. 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side. Free.

click to enlarge Short List: May 4 - 10
Art by Barbara Heller

Fri., May 6 — Art

Those colorful textile flowers you saw this past winter at Carnegie Libraries and elsewhere — “Pop de Fleurs” — weren’t just harbingers of spring. They also heralded Fiberart International 2016’s 22nd Triennial, hosted by the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh. This massive juried show, featuring 81 new works by 79 artists from 14 countries, opens with receptions tonight at two venues, the Society for Contemporary Craft and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Tomorrow, those venues host the Fiberart Forum, with a keynote lecture, and presentations by featured artists. BO 7-9 p.m. (2100 Smallman St., Strip District, and 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside; free). Exhibit continues through Aug. 21.

Fri., May 6 — Stage

June can’t pay her rent and her evil landlord, Jitter, demands either her money or her hand in marriage. You’ve heard this archetypal tale before; Joanne Bogart and Eric Rockwell’s 2003 off-Broadway favorite The Musical of Musicals (The Musical) spoofs this narrative five times through, in five acts satirizing the works of composers like Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Weber. Off the Wall Productions opens its new staging tonight. CL 8 p.m. Continues through May 21. Carnegie Stage, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $25-40. 724-873-3576 or

click to enlarge Short List: May 4 - 10
Photo courtesy of Jeff Swensen

Sat., May 7 — Stage

Playhouse Jr., Point Park University’s children’s-theater company, presents two new productions for its summer season. Stone Soup, a musical by Damon Brown and Allen Robinson, retells the classic folk tale about sharing, with a catchy rock beat. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is Bruce Mason’s adaptation of the beloved Judy Blume story about Peter and his irritating brother, Fudge. Both shows open today; for Mothers’ Day, tickets for both are free this weekend for all mothers. CL 2 p.m. Shows continue through May 22. 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $5-10. 412-392-8000 or

Sun., May 8 — Market

Just in time for Mother’s Day, the Neighborhood Flea is back for its third season of monthly events in the Strip District. The pop-up marketplace features a curated array of more than 50 vendors of everything from housewares, vintage goods, clothing and art to food and juice. Crafting workshops and a DJ round things out. Neighborhood Flea continues on second Sundays through the summer. BO 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 2300 Penn Ave., Strip District.

click to enlarge Short List: May 4 - 10
Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors

Mon., May 9 — Outdoors 

Once again, yellow kayaks will skim past PNC Park and the Point, dotting the rivers with what appear to be bananas. Kayak Pittsburgh is open for the season, and for those who haven’t yet mastered the art of the paddle, Venture Outdoors offers an evening outing for beginners to illustrate just how enjoyable kayaking can be. Equipment, guides and instruction will be provided. CL 6 p.m. Under the Sixth Street Bridge, North Side. $29. 412-969-9090 or

Mon., May 9 — Music

At just age 21, Edgar Moreau has already captivated audiences with his virtuosity on the cello, for instance winning first prize in the 2014 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Pianist Jessica Xylina Osborne — who has also performed across the U.S. and Europe — will join Moreau for tonight’s concert, which closes out this year’s Music at Rodef Shalom Congregation series. The evening includes a reception with the artists. CL 8 p.m. 4905 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-621-6566 or

click to enlarge Short List: May 4 - 10
Art by Jennipher Satterly
Tue., May 10 — Art

Jennipher Satterly has explored her deep-rooted fascination with plastic products since the 1990s. But in her exhibition at BoxHeart Gallery, Floodgates for Hydra, the internationally recognized painter ups the ante through brushstrokes that question the fate of the byproducts of a growing consumer culture. Opening simultaneously at BoxHeart today is That was the River, This is the Sea, with paintings by local artist Joshua Hogan, sculpture by James Shipman and a window installation by Daria Sandburg. A reception with the artists takes place May 21. CL 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Exhibit continues through June 24. 4523 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-687-8858 or