Short List: August 31-September 7 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: August 31-September 7

The Festival of Combustion is back; Silver Eye pictures Elements of Photography; PICT Classic’s Shirley Valentine at the Union Project; a “performance tasting” at Space Upstairs

Photo courtesy of Rivers of Steel Arts
Photo courtesy of Rivers of Steel Arts

SPOTLIGHT: Sat., Sept. 3 - Festival

U.S. Steel’s old Carrie Furnaces site’s rebirth as a center for history and the arts heats up Sept. 3 with the second annual Festival of Combustion. This program of Rivers of Steel Arts (RoSA) takes place outdoors, in the shadow of two remaining blast furnaces that once produced up to 1,250 tons of iron a day. Considerably smaller quantities of metal and other materials will be in play as visitors of all ages try their hands at everything from painting with molten crayon and designing colorful glass mosaics (with help from Pittsburgh Glass Center) to firing their own ceramic works (with TON Pottery) and even carving the sand mold into which craftsmen will pour iron or aluminum to create a take-home artwork. Last year’s fest drew 500, says RoSA chief curator Chris Mcginnis; new this year are contributions from Techshop Pittsburgh, including blacksmithing demonstrations and the group’s Fire Piano (press keys = shoot flames). There are also live welding and metal fabrication demos by the Mobile Sculpture Workshop; food trucks and Voodoo Brewing; and music by DJ Dave Zak and rockabilly band The Bessemers. The rain-or-shine event, in Rankin, also includes mini-tours of the site, a.k.a. the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark. Bill O’Driscoll Noon-8 p.m. Sat., Sept. 3. Rankin. $15 (free for kids under 18); additional workshops are $5-10 each.

Thu., Sept. 1 - Stage

Pittsburgh New Works Festival launches its 26th season. The festival features new one-act plays by writers from all over as staged by local troupes. There are four programs of three plays each, and each program gets five performances at Carnegie Stages. Program A, tonight through Sept. 10, includes: Connecticut-based Bill Arnold’s “Deck Chairs,” set on a sinking Titanic (produced by Cup-A-Jo Productions); Australian playwright Michael Lill’s “All Good Things” (CCAC South); and local favorite F.J. Hartland’s “More Than Meets the Eye” (South Hills Players). Program B runs Sept. 2-11, followed by Programs C (Sept. 15-24) and D (Sept. 16-25). BO 8 p.m. 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. 412-944-2639 or

Image courtesy of Photo Antiquities

Thu., Sept. 1 - Art

It’s amazing what 100 years can do. In Women in Photography: 1839 to 1939, Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History celebrates the monumental changes in women’s fashion as well as in photographic styles and methods. Cracking open the vault, Women in Photography challenges the depiction of haircuts and makeup in period films and TV shows by laying bare the true fads and fashions that women (at least those who could afford a photographer) wore. Tyler Dague 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through Oct. 31. 531 E. Ohio St., North Side. $10 (free for children 12). 412-231-7881 or

Art by Andy Mattern. Image courtesy of the artist

Thu., Sept. 1 - Art

Even as Americans become saturated with online images, the building blocks remain obscured. Tonight, Silver Eye Center for Photography presents an artist discussion at Point Park University’s JVH Auditorium to accompany its latest exhibit, Materials & Processes: Imaging the Elements of Photography. The exhibit celebrates the film, ink, paper, screens and pixels involved in image-capture. Moderated by Silver Eye’s David Oresick, the discussion features Materials artists from across the country, including Daniel Boardman, April Friges, Jessica Labatte, Andy Mattern, Zach Nader and Julie Weber. The exhibit itself opens with a reception at the gallery, on Friday. TD 6:30 p.m. (201 Wood St., Downtown; free). Gallery reception: 6-9 p.m. Fri., Sept. 2 (1015 E. Carson St., South Side; free). 412-431-1810 or

Photo courtesy of PICT Classic Theatre

Thu., Sept. 1 - Stage

“Up close and personal” is this season’s motto for PICT Classic Theatre, which is staging five famed works at the former church now known as the Union Project. “Classics in the Raw” begins with Shirley Valentine. The 1986 work by British playwright Willy Russell (Educating Rita) is a one-woman show — a monologue by a bored, frustrated Liverpool housewife whose life is changed by an unexpected Greek vacation. PICT’s Alan Stanford directs local favorite Karen Baum in the role. The first performance is tonight. BO 8 p.m. Show continues through Sept. 17. 801 N. Negley Ave., Highland Park. $15-50. 412-561-6000 or

Art by Cynthia Consentino

Fri., Sept. 2 - Art

Ceramic knickknacks get an artful remix in the work of Cynthia Consentino. Think porcelain madonnas with the heads of songbirds or baby dolls. Tonight, the Massachusetts-based artist, whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, opens a new show at Gallerie Chiz. The reception for An Anthology: Tales of Land, Sea & Sky includes an artist talk, and the event is part of the monthly FirstFriday ArtWalk on Ellsworth Avenue. The gallery will donate 10 percent of opening-night sales to the Persad Center. BO 5:30-8:30 p.m. 5831 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. 412-441-6005 or

Photo courtesy of Dawn Hartman Photography

Fri., Sept. 2 - Stage

You’ve tried tapas, and beer flights. How about “an evening of bite-sized ideas”? Tonight and tomorrow, The Space Upstairs presents four of its new resident and apprentice movement artists for small plates of performance, from Sarah Jeffers’ “evolving encounters with light” to Sarah Friedlander’s “course of nonfiction in dance-for-the-camera.” This Performance Tasting also features The Ellipses Condition (lead Space Upstairs resident artists John Lambert and Pearlann Porter) sneak-peeking their new dance work Pas de Jazz. Other attractions include live painting on top of the projected shadows of dancers. BO 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.). Also 9 p.m. Sat., Sept. 3. 214 N. Lexington St., Point Breeze. $10 suggested donation.

Photo courtesy of Dawn Hartman Photography

Sat., Sept. 3 - Stage

Slapstick, puns, mistaken identities, separations at birth and demonic possession? Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks opens its production of Comedy of Errors today in Frick Park. Subsequent performances of Shakespeare’s ancient-Greek mishaps will take place in tomorrow in Pymatuning State Park, in Linesville; Highland Park (Sept. 10 and 11); Arsenal Park (Sept. 17 and 18); and, once again, Frick Park (Sept. 24 and 25). In this production, nine cast members play at a manic pace to incorporate elaborate costume changes at high speed. TD 2 p.m. (Frick Park, Beechwood Boulevard and Nicholson Street, Squirrel Hill). Continues at various venues through Sept. 25. Free (donations accepted). 412-404-8531 or

click to enlarge ART BY FRAN GIALAMAS
Art by Fran Gialamas

Sat., Sept. 3 - Art

Celebrating a nearly 60-year career in the visual arts, Chatham Art Gallery revisits its first-ever solo student show today with works from Fox Chapel artist Fran Venardos Gialamas. Since that opening, in 1958, when she was a Chatham University junior, Gialamas’ prints and photos, often depicting life in a steel town, have been displayed regionally and at the Ceres Gallery, in Manhattan. Chronicles of a Chatham Art Major holds a public reception today. TD 2-6 p.m. Exhibit continues through Oct. 16. 5798 W. Woodland Road, Shadyside. Free. 412-365-1232 or

Mon., Sept. 5 - Outdoors

Summer’s final official Day Off is a fine time to barbecue, but you also needn’t travel far for outdoor recreation. The Allegheny County Parks, for instance, have a full slate of activities: The tennis courts are open, as are golf courses, spray parks, wave pools, and Kayak Pittsburgh’s bike and boat rentals at the North Park Boathouse. There’s even special programming, like this morning’s free Beginner Birding session at the South Park Grant Shelter, this afternoon’s free outdoor- and hiking-safety class at Deer Lakes Park — and the first annual Pooches in the Pool ($15-20), which allows one dog per human to splash into the North Park Swimming Pool. All special events either require or recommend pre-registration, available online. BO

Photo courtesy of Britsburgh

Tue., Sept. 6 - Festival

Let’s face it: Crossing the pond is not cheap. However, for the second year running, British-American Connections Pittsburgh is bringing the U.K. to the Steel City, for Britsburgh 2016. The six-day event begins today at East End Brewing with the ceremonial tapping of the English-style bitter Britsburgh Ale and a concert from local rock band The Honeyriders. Subsequent events include a Jane Austen film discussion and reception at Duquesne University; new and classic British farce and satire at Arcade Comedy Theater; traditional afternoon tea; chocolate and cheese at the Victorian Lady of Academy Hill, in Greensburg; local-history walking tours; British Invasion concerts at the Carnegie Museum of Art; and much more. TD 4-10 p.m. (East End Brewing, 147 Julius St., Larimer; free). Festival continues through Sun., Sept. 11. 412-478-1756 or

Wed., Sept. 7 - Talk

Artists are perennially underpaid. But why? That’s the fundamental question addressed by WAGE (Working Artists and the Greater Economy), a New York-based activist group working to regulate the payment of artist fees by nonprofit arts groups, and to establish “a sustainable labor relation between artists and the institutions that contract them.” WAGE core organizer Lise Soskolne offers a public presentation and workshop, aimed at artists and arts administrators, tonight at Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center. Soskolne will discuss WAGE’s certification program for recognizing nonprofits that voluntarily pay artist fees that meet a minimum standard. BO 7 p.m. 1000 Madison Ave., North Side. Free.

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