Short List: Jan. 25-Feb. 1 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Jan. 25-Feb. 1

Helen Macdonald at the Monday Night Lectures; barebones wrestles with The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety; Hacking / Modding / Remixing as Feminist Protest; Something Rotten! at the Benedum

SPOTLIGHT: Mon., Jan. 30 - Talk

Helen Macdonald

Photo courtesy of Marzena Pogorzaly

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures welcomes Helen Macdonald, the English writer, poet and naturalist responsible for 2015’s blockbuster, genre-defying memoir H Is for Hawk. When Macdonald lost her father, overwhelming grief provoked her to buy a goshawk. In doing so, she joined the ranks of the cultured and bereaved who looked toward nature for a balm for her anguish. (Recall Teddy Roosevelt, whose famous conservation efforts came in the face of tragedy.) She retreated from friends and family and set about training her hawk, Mabel, in urban Cambridge. If that all sounds very gloomy, well, it is. But Macdonald’s book is so much more than a memoir of her grief. It also serves as excellent nature writing, as well as a mini-biography of the writer T.H. White, an unhappy, closeted man who once wrote a book about training his own goshawk. What Macdonald learns about man’s relationship to nature and its power to heal, or not, is meaningful and compelling to country folk and city folk alike. Macdonald speaks Jan. 30 at the Ten Evenings series at Carnegie Music Hall. Books will be for sale before and after the talk. Amani Newton 7:30 p.m. Mon., Jan. 30. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $15-35. 412-622-8866 or

Thu., Jan. 26 – Stage

What if you could live out your dreams, but only at the expense of selling out your culture? That’s the question in The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated 2009 play by Kristoffer Diaz. A pro-wrestling fall guy discovers an amateur with charisma to rival the league’s star. When he presents him to the bosses, they have a great idea: introduce the Indian-American as a terrorist character. The play opens barebones productions’ 2017 season with a two-week run at The Gym at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh. Amani Newton 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 5. 120 S. Whitfield St., East Liberty. $35. 888-718-4253 or

Thu., Jan. 26 – Stage

If a little romantic/comedic relief is in order, Pittsburgh Public Theater offers a fresh staging of one of Shakespeare’s most sportive plays. Twelfth Night has a shipwreck, a twin brother and sister, a cross-gender masquerade (naturally), a love triangle and drunken antics. It’s also one of the few Shakespeare plays whose original music survives, in the songs sung by the jester Feste. In this production, which the Public’s Ted Pappas locates in a pre-World War I setting, Feste is played by Broadway veteran Mitchell Jarvis. The show also stars Carly Street, as Viola; Max Rosenak, as Sebastian; Timothy D. Stickney, as Orsino; and Gretchen Egolf (pictured), as Olivia. The first performance is tonight. Bill O’Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 26. O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Downtown. $15.75-62. 412-316-1600 or

Fri., Jan. 27 – Art

Generations of students from kids to seniors have taken classes at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, in everything from painting and printmaking to jewelry, ceramics and weaving. Tonight, 39 works by 29 artists from 16 different classes will be on display as part of the Center’s semi-annual Student Show. The works were chosen by PCA staff. Tonight’s opening reception includes a talk by painter Phiris Kathryn Sickels, who’s a PCA student and exhibiting solo artist. BO Reception: 5:30-9 p.m. ($5 donation requested). Exhibit continues through March 19. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. 412-361-0873 or

Fri., Jan. 27 - Art

Angela Washko, a visiting assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is emerging as a fourth-wave successor in feminist art. Working in the tradition of Yoko Ono and Carolee Schneeman, Washko uses her work to challenge gender presumptions, only instead of focusing on the body, Washko confronts biases embedded in video games and technology. In Hacking / Modding / Remixing as Feminist Protest, at the Miller Gallery, Washko curates 22 artists whose work also employs technology to speak to women’s perspectives and experiences. Tonight’s opening reception is followed by a public series of lectures and screenings. AN 6-8 p.m. Exhibit continues through Feb. 26. 5000 Forbes Ave., CMU campus, Oakland. Free. 412-268-3618 or

Fri., Jan. 27 – Stage

Race relations have been at the forefront of American political life in recent years, not that we’re closer to a resolution. If anything, matters of racial pride and shame are even more muddled, and that conflict lies at the heart of I Am Not Sam, a 2015 one-man show arriving for a two-day run at the August Wilson Center. Playwright Michael Phillip Edwards performs all three characters: an elderly black man, his white son-in-law and his interracial grandson, all deliberating the question “What is black?” The shows are presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. AN 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Sat., Jan. 28. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $28.25. 412-456-6666 or

Sat., Jan. 28 - Art

Hervé Tullet returns to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. During his previous visit, many of Pittsburgh’s smallest citizens had the opportunity to work with the French artist, creating large-scale pieces in the tradition of his geometric, primary-colored canvases. The work has been hanging in the museum’s art studio ever since. Tullet returns to oversee a new exhibition, Hervé Tullet’s Art Explosion: Pittsburgh, which will hang in the main galleries today through Feb. 26. Visit today and tomorrow from 1-2 p.m. to have Tullet sign one of his bestselling picture books, including Press Here!, Let’s Play! and Mix It Up! AN 10 Children’s Way, North Side. $14-16 (free for kids under 2). 412-322-5058 or

Sat., Jan. 28 – Music

Piano four hands is what it sounds like — a style of performance with two people playing one piano — but seeing it in person is an unexpected trip. There’s as much choreography involved as there is musicality, and the result is weirdly mesmerizing. If you’re unfamiliar, get familiar tonight at The Andy Warhol Museum as the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo performs the music of Hungarian composer György Kurtág (Check out the duets with his wife, Marta, on YouTube — adorable.) Also performing is violist Sarah Plum. Presented by Pitt’s Music on the Edge. Alex Gordon 8 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $15-20. 412-624-7529 or

Sun., Jan. 29 – Talk

This week even more than before, people have been talking about the need to fight back against anti-democratic values and any and all efforts to reduce equality. This afternoon, join a longstanding local bastion of progressivism as the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club holds its Resistance Inaugural Ball, at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Not a ball in the traditional sense (there’ll be little waltzing), it’s instead a festive get-together that includes the club’s annual meeting and a chance to meet like-minded people and organizations. All are welcome. The free event includes refreshments and music by DJ Zombo. BO 1-4 p.m. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Free.

Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

Tue., Jan. 31 – Stage

Singing, dancing and acting, all at the same time? It’s so crazy, it just might work. That at least is the thinking of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, playwrights in Elizabethan England whose plan to outdo their overbearing rival Will Shakespeare involves staging the world’s first musical. Something Rotten!, itself a musical comedy by Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell that spoofs Shakespeare, musicals and plenty more, was a 2015 Broadway hit, nominated for 10 Tony Awards. The first national touring production features three of the Broadway principals, including Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti, as the Bottom boys, and Adam Pascal, as Shakespeare. It gets eight performances at the Benedum Center, courtesy of PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh, starting tonight. BO 7:30 p.m. Continues through Feb. 5. 237 Seventh St., Downtown. $26-77. 412-456-6666 or

Wed., Feb. 1 – Music

Get up close and personal with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians at Music 101. In these long-running informal lunchtime lectures, speakers discuss their musical lives and their instruments, and give short performances. The series continues today with violinist Jennifer Orchard’s presentation, titled “White Nights.” Visitors can bring their own lunches or order brown-bag meals from The Common Plea for $9. (See for details.) Music 101 talks, held in Heinz Hall’s Dorothy Porter Simmons Regency Rooms, are organized by the Pittsburgh Symphony Association, the PSO’s primary all-volunteer fundraising arm. BO 12:30-1:30 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $2 (free for students and children).

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