Short List: February 13 - 19 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

SPOTLIGHT: Fri., Feb. 15 — Comedy

What's behind Pittsburgh's newly burgeoning comedy scene? Abby Fudor largely credits the Pittsburgh Improv Jam, at the Cabaret at Theatre Square. At least, that three-year-old Thursday showcase is where Fudor connected with fellow writers and performers Randy Kirk, Kristy Nolen, Jethro Nolen and Michael Rubino, now partners in The Arcade Theater. The Downtown venue opens this weekend with four shows that reflect organizers' desire to produce and present "all things comedy." In a Liberty Avenue storefront (formerly La Prima Espresso) leased from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the four shows will be headlined by an eclectic array of talents, from "Pittsburgh Dad" Curt Wootton and magician-comic Lee Terbosic to standup comics (and father and son) Gene Collier and Sean Collier. Each show features Arcade's brand-new in-house team of improv veterans, Player One, plying both long- and short-form improv. Other programs variously feature Frankly Scarlett, the city's only all-female sketch troupe; musician Addi Twigg; juggler and yo-yo artist Mark Hayward; and Joe Wos, the Toonseum's cartooning storyteller. Pittsburgh already has the Improv Jam, the Pittsburgh Improv, Steel City Improv Theater (now in Shadyside) and more. Now it has Arcade Theater, too, planning shows every Friday and Saturday night. "We're all just funny people who enjoy comedy and laughing," says Fudor. Bill O'Driscoll 8 and 10 p.m. Fri., Feb. 15, and 8 and 10 p.m. Fri., Feb. 16. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $20-25. 412-339-0608 or

Thu., Feb. 14 — Stage

It's bubblegum with a message. The campy musical comedy Zanna, Don't! imagines a Midwestern high school in a world where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality taboo. The Girls' Intramural Mechanical Bull-Riding Team sets fashion; chess champs top the pecking order. But what if members of the opposite sex want to kiss in the school musical? Tim Acito and Alexander Dinelaris' 2003 show about Heartsville High was an off-Broadway hit. Pitt Rep's local premiere starts its run — of course — tonight, on Valentine's Day. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Show continues through March 3. Henry Heymann Theater, Stephen Foster Memorial, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. $12-25. 412-624-7529 or

Thu., Feb. 14 — Stage

Future Tenant Art Space's bi-annual Trespass Residency Series returns tonight. The series offers three separate artists a chance to reside in Future Tenant's Downtown venue for one week each to build a show. The spring series includes work by Andrew Huntley, with Theatre Sans Serif; and performances by Meagan Reagle and 5th Wall Theatre. But it all begins this weekend with three shows by John Zobele's "RRRECYCLE BIN," a digital-art collection of repurposed items. Jeff Ihaza 6 p.m. Also 6 p.m. Fri., Feb. 15, and 6 p.m. Sat., Feb. 16. Trespass continues through March 2. 819 Penn Ave, Downtown. Free.

Fri., Feb. 15 — Art

Local artist collective The Brew House Association challenged a group of Pittsburgh artists to visually capture their interpretation of the familiar nostalgia for lost love. The exhibition The One That Got Away features the work of Justin Cooper, Meghan Olson, Jaci Rice, Tom Sarver and Kara Skylling. Tonight is the opening reception. JI  6 p.m. Exhibit continues through Feb. 22. 2100 Mary St., South Side. 412-381-7767

Fri., Feb. 15 — Stage

Remarkable for a small theater troupe, Laura Smiley's Unseam'd Shakespeare Company is 20 years old. And for a company dedicated to dissecting the Bard, how else to celebrate than by staging The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)? The parodic, three-actor romp through "all 37 plays in 97 minutes," written by Reduced Shakespeare Company co-founders  Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, itself dates to 1987. Unseam'd essays the feat with actors Nicholas J. Browne, Connor McCanlus and Andy Kirtland. Elizabeth Ruelas directs at Downtown's Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre space. BO 8 and 10:30 p.m. Show continues through March 2. 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $23-25. 888-718-4253 or

Sat., Feb. 16 — Games

The cocktail lounge/hand-built arcade PLAY Parlour hosts a free tournament of arcade games tonight. Timeless games like dueling darts, skeeball, mini-golf and whack-a-mole will be featured in the competition. PLAY Parlour currently houses machines hand-built by sculptor Adam Shreckhise in his Lawrenceville studio. For those who aren't the competitive type, the space will remain open to play games not featured in the tournament. The event is open to anyone 18 and older. JI 3-10 p.m. 5258 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free,


Sat., feb. 16 — Outdoors

Explore the city's newest regional park and contribute to ornithological knowledge today courtesy of Venture Outdoors. The group's Winter Bird Walk is a three-mile jaunt through Emerald View Park, which skirts Mount Washington. The wooded hillsides are good habitat for amateur and beginning bird enthusiasts to explore. This naturalist-led walk is part of the Great American Backyard Bird Count, an annual four-day initiative sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society. BO 8:30-10:30 a.m. Mount Washington. $6-12. 412-255-0564 or

Sat., Feb. 16 — Screen

With the county set on gas drilling at the airport, here's a timely screening of Triple Divide. The new feature-length documentary follows an 18-month investigation by nonprofit journalism outfit into Pennsylvania's experience with fracking for shale gas. Filmmakers Joshua B. Pribanic and Melissa Troutman found consequences including contaminated water, air and land; intimidation and harassment; illness; and more. Triple Divide (the title refers to our region's topography) screens for free today and tomorrow at The Big Idea Cooperative Bookstore and Café, with discussion to follow. BO 3 p.m. Also 5 p.m. Sun., Feb. 17. 4812 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-687-4323 or

Sun., Feb. 17 — Crafting

There are few non-food items that can't be repurposed as crafting material. So expect more than yarn at today's Craft Supply Swap. This I Made It! Market event at Assemble art space is designed to help crafters clean out their storage bins of remnants and other unused stuff — which just might be the stuff another crafter's been jonesing for. Pre-sharing on Facebook is encouraged, and punch and cookies will be provided. BO 3-6 p.m. 5125 Penn Ave., Garfield. Free.

Tue., Feb. 19 — Stage 

Most "rock musicals" have but a glancing relationship to actual rock music. But whatever you might say about American Idiot, you can't say that: Green Day's hit pop-punk album only later became a critical and commercial 2009 Broadway hit. The show follows suburban teens through a post-9/11 landscape of drugs and the Iraq war, with songs like "Know Your Enemy" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends." A touring production hosted by PNC Broadway Across America hits Heinz Hall for eight performances starting tonight. And you can see it for less than most arena shows cost. BO 7:30 p.m. Show continues through Feb. 24. $20-62. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. 412-456-6666 or

Tue., Feb. 19 — Dance

In keeping with the new trend for hyper-casual arts events, Bar Marco and Continuum Dance Theater debut You Drink ... We Dance. The new monthly series features Continuum dancers showcasing excerpts of their work-in-progress objects of desire. So it's drinks and snacks in Bar Marco's upstairs gallery space while you wait for the next pop-up-style dance sequence. The series continues on third Tuesdays monthly through May. Some proceeds benefit the troupe. BO 7:30-9:30 p.m. Also March 19, April 16 and May 21. 2216 Penn Ave. (second floor), Strip District. $20. 412-860-1628 or

Wed., Feb. 20 — Stage 

Jessica Holter takes the stage at Carnegie's Off the Wall Theater. In her show Ghetto Girl Blue, the comedian takes an uncommonly humorous perspective on her experiences and topics like race and sexuality. Holter, of Irish and West Indian heritage, founded the Punany Poets in 1995 and has been featured on HBO's Real Sex. Holter brings her honest form of humor to town as part of her nationwide Valentine's tour. JI 8 p.m. 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $25-40. 412-489-5840 or

Thu., Feb. 21 — Words

New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Haigh, known for her novels Faith and The Condition, speaks this evening at Carnegie Library's Main Branch, in Oakland. Haigh's latest book, News From Heaven (Harper), is a collection of short stories. The Times calls Haigh "an expert natural storyteller with an acute sense of her characters' humanity." A book signing will follow this Writers LIVE talk and reading courtesy of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. JI 6 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-622-8866. Registration required at

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