Short List: February 16 - 21 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Thu., Feb. 16 — Words

Sorry, America — no post-racial politics for you. At least not yet. In fact, according to Desmond King, a professor of American government at the U.K.'s Nuffield College (an affiliate of Oxford University), race continues to define American politics. King wrote the book Separate and Unequal: African Americans and the U.S. Federal Government and is co-author of 2011's Still a House Divided: Race and Politics in Obama's America. The visiting scholar's talk today, at the University of Pittsburgh, is the Roscoe Robinson Jr. Memorial Lecture on Diversity and Public Service. Bill O'Driscoll 6 p.m. University Club, 123 University Place, Oakland. Free.


Thu., Feb. 16 — Art

The folks at Assemble artspace are a bit like mad scientists, always trying something new. Tonight, there's actual science involved, with a visit from artist Erika Johnson and her Small Neighbors Project. Assemble asks you to bring a jar of water from "your favorite pond, river or puddle." With help from a microscope, you can take a look at who inhabits that H2O. Johnson, for her part, uses a webcam with a reversed lens to take stills and video of local aquatic microfauna. At Assemble, she'll share video of river critters like ostracods, cyclops and stenostomum. BO 7:30 p.m. 5125 Penn Ave., Garfield. Free.

Fri., Feb. 17 — stage

Tongue in cheek, artspace Future Tenant calls its annual performance residency series Trespass. This year's model features three groups who submitted proposals last fall. The three-week series begins tonight with Hunted Creatures, a touring, Pittsburgh-based experimental music/sound/visual act featuring Ryan Emmett, Micah Pacileo and Amy Hoffman. The Feb. 25 installment spotlights Avant-garde Sandwiches, a.k.a. the percussionist-and-composer duo Mike Perdue and Matt Aelmore. The series wraps on March 3 with the hand-held madness of Lucky Puppets, a project of local puppet-meisters Tom Sarver and Mike Cuccaro. BO 7 p.m. 819 Penn Ave., Downtown.

Fri., Feb. 17 — Words

Madwomen in the Attic is among the city's longest-running poetry endeavors. The collective of women poets, based at Carlow University, is led by Carlow professor and accomplished poet Jan Beatty (who also curates CP's online poetry feature). Tonight, the Madwomen host a free on-campus book party and reading featuring their latest publication, Voices From the Attic Volume XVII. Readers include Beatty, Sarah Williams-Devereaux and Ellen McGrath Smith. BO 7 p.m. reception and book sale; 7:30 p.m. reading. Fifth floor, Grace Library, Carlow campus, Oakland. 412-578-6346

Photo courtesy of Steven Hoebermann

Fri., Feb. 17 — Music

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its composer of the year, Steven Stucky, celebrate the legacy of a native daughter with the world premiere of Stucky's Silent Spring. The work, commissioned for the 50th anniversary of Springdale native Rachel Carson's landmark environmental book, echoes what Stucky calls her "distinctive mixture of hard science and eloquent lyricism." The composition is an orchestra tone poem inspired by Carson's writings. Manfred Honeck conducts the PSO in the premiere and in Sibelius' Violin Concerto, with Dutch violinist Nikolaj Znaider as guest soloist. BO 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Feb. 18, and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Feb. 19. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $20-93. 412-392-4900 or

February 17 — Dance

Step in and warm up your winter night with the hot rhythms of Alba Flamenca, Pittsburgh's own flamenco group. Tonight's show, at Club Café, features the Hybrid Dance Project, with Olivia Kissel from Zafira Studios. Kissel's studio is well known for blending belly dance with ethnic and modern forms, stretching the boundaries between classic and contemporary styles from across the world. Mariluz Orbay 9:30 p.m. 56 South 12th  St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4950 or

click to enlarge Jeff "Tain" Watts at Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia
Jeff "Tain" Watts at Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia

February 18 — Music

Tonight, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia renew their rivalry in what trumpeter Sean Jones considers "our Super Bowl of jazz." The Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia concert features top Pittsburgh jazz drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts and Philadelphia bassist Christian McBride playing their big-band compositions with the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at The August Wilson Center for African American Culture. No word on the point spread. MO 8 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $20-40. 412-568-2700 or 

Sat. Feb. 18 — Comedy

If you caught Comedy Central's roasts of, say, Donald Trump or Charlie Sheen, chances are you enjoyed a few hearty laughs courtesy of Jesse Joyce. Since he left the Steel City for the Big Apple in 2001, the Pittsburgh native has established himself as an hilarious standup comic and a brilliant writer, touring nationally and writing jokes for famous comedians like the late Greg Giraldo. Tonight, for the first time in more than two years, Joyce performs in his hometown, with two shows at Mullen's Bar and Grill. It's the grand opening of the North Side bar's comedy venue, Upstairs at Mullen's. Chris Young 8 and 10 p.m. 200 Federal St., North Side. $15-18. 

Sat.., Feb. 18 — Stage

Something forbidden this way comes — or so suggest organizers of The Forbidden Zone. They're calling it a "variety play," and when you ask them what that means, someone named Gunner e-mails you: "It's a variety show tied together by an interweaving dramatic narrative." The variety includes "sermons, sounds, cyborgs and snacks," courtesy of a dozen performers. You're encouraged to bring blankets, and friends, to St. Mark's Forbidden Church, in Lawrenceville, tonight. Yes, it's an actual church building, and yes, the event is "sponsored in part, by the Rogue Messengers Union and the INTERGALACTIC SPACE COMMISSION." The show repeats on Sunday. BO 9 p.m. Also 5 p.m. Sun., Feb. 19. 39th and Mintwood streets, Lawrenceville. $5-10.

Photo courtesy of David S. Rubin

Sat February 18 — Comedy

Intent on shaking up Pittsburgh's traditionally male-dominated comedy scene, the new all-female comedy troupe Frankly Scarlett debuts tonight at The Cabaret at Theatre Square. The group was formed by Abby Fudor (of Steel City Improv Theater and the Pittsburgh Improv Jam), Liz Labacz (of Friday Night Improvs) and newcomer Robin Hitchcock. Tonight, they are joined by musician Addi Twigg and other performers for The Frankly Scarlett Comedy Hour, an evening of improv, original sketches and video, and music. MO 10:30 p.m. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. $5 (21 and older). 412-325-6769 or

February 21 — Outdoors

Join Venture Outdoors for a nighttime hike through Riverview Park, also known as "the jewel of the North Side." This latest entry in the group's New Moon Hike series is between 4 and 5 miles long at a moderate pace, and meant for the physically fit. You will get a chance to see stars and nocturnal critters come alive in the darkness of a new moon — and as your eyes adapt to low light, you'll see more than you might have thought possible. MO 7 p.m. Riverview Park, Perry North. $8. 412- 255-0564 or 

Tue., February 21 — Circus

Rock 'n' roll meets the circus in Pop Goes the Rock, Cirque Dream's newest production. Founder Neil Goldberg directs the show with aerialists, balancing acts, strongmen and more, all performed while the band plays top 20 chart-toppers from over the years, from "King of the Road" to "Rapper's Delight" and "Like a Prayer."  Florida-based, internationally touring Cirque Dreams is presented by PNC Broadway Across America Pittsburgh, with eight shows at Heinz Hall, starting tonight. MO 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., Feb. 26. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown.  $20-65. 412-456-1390 or

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