Seven Days in Pittsburgh: Dec. 10-16 | Arts + Entertainment | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Seven Days in Pittsburgh: Dec. 10-16

Free theater performances, a live-streamed Hanukkah competition, and more events this week in, and around, Pittsburgh

click to enlarge Yazid Gray in Pittsburgh Opera’s Soldier Songs, see Fri., Dec. 11 - PHOTO: DAVID BACHMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Photo: David Bachman Photography
Yazid Gray in Pittsburgh Opera’s Soldier Songs, see Fri., Dec. 11
Thu., Dec. 10
ART • VIRTUAL
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art gives some insight to its Diversity Billboard Art Project with a virtual talk featuring participating artists Shane Pilster and Tina Williams Brewer. Both artists will discuss their perspective works — CommUNITY by Pilster and Embracing Collective Cultures by Brewer — which were inspired by the theme “Make Our Differences Our Strengths.” The talk will be moderated by the project's lead artist, Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer. 7-8 p.m. Free with registration. thewestmoreland.org/events

Fri., Dec. 11
THEATER • VIRTUAL
When Pittsburgh Opera realized it had to shift its scheduled in-person production to a virtual setting, it chose not to abandon its original performance plan. Soldier Songs, a 60-minute opera focused on “combat and its impact on members of the military and their families,” is being live-streamed from the Opera’s headquarters with a complete live orchestra, providing at-home audiences with “all kinds of neat angles and close-ups.” The story follows the main character “The Soldier” (played by Yazid Gray) from his time as a child playing with toy soldiers to his time as a veteran looking back at his years in the service. All songs will be sung in English. 7:30 p.m. Free. youtube.com/user/PittsburghOpera and facebook.com/PittsburghOpera

click to enlarge Carriage rides at Starlite’s Fifth Annual Christmas at the Drive-In - PHOTO: STARLITE DRIVE-IN
Photo: Starlite Drive-In
Carriage rides at Starlite’s Fifth Annual Christmas at the Drive-In
FILM • IRL
Small town = Butler, Pa. Nostalgia = Starlite Drive-In. Outdoor Christmas activities = check! It’s practically a Lifetime holiday movie come to life! Head up north for Starlite’s Fifth Annual Christmas at the Drive-In, featuring Polar Express and It’s a Wonderful Life. There will also be lots more holiday fun, including a social-distance friendly visit from Santa Claus, Christmas llamas, and horse and carriage rides. 6 p.m. Also Sat., Dec. 12. 1985 N. Main St. Ext. Butler. $6 per person. starlightdrive-in.com

click to enlarge Celebrate the holiday season at the National Aviary. - PHOTO: ELLIOT CRAMER
Photo: Elliot Cramer
Celebrate the holiday season at the National Aviary.
Sat., Dec. 12
ZOO • IRL
The family may not be able to travel for the holidays, but you can still take a trip to the tropics with Season's Greetings Saturdays at the National Aviary. The event will feature meet-and-greets with some of the Aviary's birds as well as holiday crafts, and dropping letters in a "North Pole-approved mailbox." This event requires timed tickets. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through Sat., Dec. 19. 700 Arch St., North Side. $14.95-17.95. aviary.org

LIT • VIRTUAL
The portrayal of so-called "Middle America" tends to be limited to one that is working class and white. University of Minnesota professor Terrion L. Williamson wants to change that image with Black in the Middle. Belt Publishing describes the anthology as “a collection of personal narratives, thought-provoking art, and searing commentaries” encompassing the Black Middle American experience. White Whale Bookstore will present the first of a three-part Virtual Conversation Series about the book with a panel that includes Williamson and several contributors representing Pittsburgh and other places. 7-8:30 p.m. Free with registration. whitewhalebookstore.com/events

HOLIDAY • VIRTUAL
Hanukkah is a holiday about making do with what you have, so in the middle of a pandemic, it only makes sense to celebrate on Zoom. Join college students from around the city for the Big Spin Dreidel Competition, hosted by the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh. 8 p.m. Online registration required. hilleljuc.org/event/thebigspin


Sun., Dec. 13
LIT • VIRTUAL
Join Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures for an event with Lauren Tarshis, author of the I Survived series, which tell the stories of scary historical events through the eyes of children who lived through them. Her latest, I Survived the California Wildfires, follows an 11-year old boy who suddenly finds himself caught in the path of the devastating 2018 fires. 2:30 p.m. Video available for one week. Free. pittsburghlectures.org

OPERA • VIRTUAL
The team behind Verdi by Vegetables: the Movie are pretty sure it’s the first-ever Vegetable Puppet Opera Movie. And there is no sense in arguing because the virtual event includes the film premier and interludes for veggie-opera trivia, cocktails, bingo, prizes, raffles, and virtual mingling with the artists and creators. And it’s all a fundraiser for performing arts group Resonance Works Pittsburgh. 3 p.m. $25 minimum donation. resonanceworks.org

click to enlarge Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square - PHOTO: PITTSBURGH DOWNTOWN PARTNERSHIP
Photo: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square
Mon., Dec. 14
MARKET • IRL
Strap on your face mask and head to the outdoor Peoples Gas Holiday Market for some festive shopping in Downtown Pittsburgh. Now in its ninth year, the Market Square event features a variety of vendors, food, and activities. Browse traditional gifts from around the world and from Pittsburgh shops like 837 North, Keystone Steel Co., and love, Pittsburgh. Kids can stay safe while checking off their wish list during a Zoom call with Santa — even better, a suggested donation of $5 for each call benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Wed., Dec. 23. Market Square, Downtown. Free. downtownpittsburghholidays.com/peoples-gas-holiday-market

Tue., Dec. 15
Theater • Virtual
Two African American families, one gathering for a traditional Christmas and the other celebrating Kwanzaa, join together in Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre’s Ubuntu Holiday. The comedy is an encore streaming of the company’s popular 2014 performance, written by Kim El and directed by Mils James. Continues through Jan. 3. Free. pghplaywrights.org/ubuntu-holiday-video

Wed., Dec. 16
FILM • VIRTUAL
The 2011 documentary Dark Girls draws inspiration from filmmaker Bill Duke's childhood experience of being called names for having dark skin. “I tried to put bleach on my skin to lighten it because I thought it was ugly,” Duke recalls in a 2015 inteview with the L.A. Times. His film examines the impact of colorism in the Black community, especially with women, who are judged and valued based on the lightness of their skin color. The Heinz History Center will present an online screening of Dark Girls as part of its From Slavery to Freedom film series. Dr. Huberta Jackson-Lowman will also discuss the film and “place into cultural and psychological context the impact of colorism on women of African descent,” according to the website. 5:30-8 p.m. Free with registration. Ticket holders receive a YouTube Live link for the screening event. heinzhistorycenter.org/events

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