Short List: July 1-7 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: July 1-7

Creepy dolls at Unblurred; the Regatta returns; it's Christmas at KidsPlay; Smokey Robinson joins the PSO

Art by Mahlimae
Art by Mahlimae
FREE EVENT: Fri., July 3 — Art

There's a reason there's a whole subgenre of horror films devoted to creepy dolls coming to life: Many dolls are inherently creepy. But people keep making dolls and buying them, not least the artists in Dollirious — The Art of the Doll. The new show at Most Wanted Fine Art is the gallery's contribution to July 3's Penn Avenue gallery crawl, Unblurred. It features work by some 15 doll artists and makers from across North America. Contributors include Pittsburgh-based curator Macabre Noir and her collaborator, Aaron Doctor. Expect the dolls by artists like Junker Jane, Sheri DeBow and Ugly Shyla to range from elegant and ugly-cute to unnerving. Meanwhile, Penn Avenue's dozen or more Unblurred venues also include a few others opening new shows, including Side Wall Project, at the Irma Freeman Center for the Imagination; co-curator Brick offers 12 murals marking the first anniversary of nearby venue Sidewall, by artists including Jen Cooney, Christopher Kardambikis and Shaun Slifer. And art-and-tech space Assemble hosts Café Con Leche, the group that connects the local Latino community and promotes Latino culture here. Expect pop-up performances and other kinds of constructive fun. Bill O'Driscoll Unblurred: Most venues open 7-10 p.m. Fri., July 3. 4900-5400 Penn Ave., Bloomfield/Garfield/Friendship. Free.

Thu., July 2 – Screen

For nearly as long as he's been making music, Neil Young has also made movies, typically under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey. The Hollywood Theater wraps its Bernard Shakey Film Fest with one of his more recent ventures, 2003's Greendale. The feature-length work, shot home-movie style, accompanied Young's concept album of the same name and tells the musical story of the travails of one contemporary family in a small Northern California town. The film, starring Sarah Johnson, Eric White and Ben Keith, got mixed reviews but has its fans. Bill O'Driscoll 7:30 p.m. 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. $8. 412-563-0368 or

Fri., July 3 – Festival

Photo courtesy of EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta

It's almost more fun than can be contained on three rivers: The three-day EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta offers a craft market, sandcastle-building, Frisbee-playing dogs, BMX bike stunts, live music and fireworks. And, of course, there will be boats: from jet-ski stunt shows, Formula One power-boat races and dragon boats to the popular Anything That Floats race, held on Sun., July 5. Al Hoff Noon-10 p.m. daily, through Sun., July 5. Downtown and North Side. Free.

photo credit Louis Stein

Fri., July 3 – Comedy

Looking for a little bit more edge to your comedy? Do you think Carlin's infamous "seven dirty words" are nothing more than a good starting point? Then perhaps Arcade Comedy Theater's monthly Blue Light Special comedy showcase is for you. The night allows some of Pittsburgh's most promising comics to "let loose." Tonight's show features headliner John Pridmore, a Pittsburgh native known for tackling issues of sexuality in his comedy, as well as John Dick Winters, Norlex Belma, Andy Picarro and James J. Hamilton. Joseph Peiser 10 p.m. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $10. 412-339-0608 or

Fri., July 3 – Music

First Niagara continues its First Fridays at the Frick music series tonight with a performance from the Carpe Diem Quartet. Known for blending distinct genres such as Gypsy, tango, jazz, folk and rock, the Quartet are playing for free on the Great Lawn of the Frick Art & Historical Center. The award-winning ensemble has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and is currently in residence at Ohio Wesleyan University. Southside BBQ and Franktuary food trucks will be present as well. The First Fridays series continues through September. JP 7 p.m. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. Free. 412-371-0600 or

Sat., July 4 – Art

Today marks the opening of Gamine, an exhibition of new works by Pittsburgh artist Marlana Adele Vassar at the Gallery 4. The new paintings blend fantastical colors with a realistic humanity in an art-nouveau style, exploring the many dimensions of modern femininity. Largely self-taught, Vassar graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and in addition to multiple shows at Gallery 4, was a recent winner of a fellowship award from the August Wilson Center. Gallery 4 will host a formal opening reception for Gamine on July 11. JP 7-11 p.m. Show runs through July 25. 206 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside. Free. 412-363-5050 or

Tue., July 7 – Kid Stuff

Wondering what to do with your pre-school-aged kids? Every Tuesday through August, KidsPlay, at Market Square offers free, fun and educational programming, including music, dancing and hands-on activities. Today, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership series offers a Christmas-in-July theme, with Santa in the Square, holiday tunes by the Pittsburgh Music Academy and crafts from the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Families, caregivers, schools and daycares are all welcome. After KidsPlay, stop by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's adjacent Reading Room, which sells books for $1-2. BO 10-11:30 a.m. Continues Tuesdays through Aug. 25. Market Square, Downtown. Free.

Tue., July 7 – Words

Today at the Big Idea Bookstore, two authors, each with a punk-rock edge, will be giving readings. A music critic and novelist, Michael Founier's most recent work is Swing State, a novel that explores the decades-long economic doldrums in his native rural New England for decades. Mike Faloon is the author of the short-story collection The Hanging Gardens of Split Rock. He will be reading from his online "The Other Night at Quinn's" column, which details experiences at his favorite jazz club. JP 7 p.m. 4812 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. 412-687-4323 or

Tue., July 7 – Words

If you can make only one installment of the weekly Hemingway's Summer Poetry Series this year, you might want it to be tonight. The long-running showcase for local poets features some of Pittsburgh's biggest names, including National Book Award-winner Terrance Hayes and a few others who are revered educators as well as practitioners: Ed Ochester, Judith Vollmer and Michael Wurster. Not to forget Jimmy Cvetic, the series co-organizer who's also Pittsburgh's best-known homicide detective turned poet (and occasional CP contributor). It's free. BO 8 p.m. Hemingway's Café, 3911 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

Wed., July 8 – Screen

Tonight's Pittsburgh premiere of the 2014 bio-doc Cesar Chavez takes place, somewhat appropriately, out in the open air of Flagstaff Hill, in Schenley Park, as part of Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park. Chavez, the Mexican-American labor-rights activist (1927-93), spent much of his career out in the fields, organizing farm workers into a union (today, the United Farm Workers). The film, directed by Diego Luna, stars Michael Pena as Chavez, and depicts his struggle to secure decent working conditions and wages for those who pick our produce. AH Film begins at dusk. Oakland. Free.

Wed., July 8 – Words

Local illustrator Mark Brewer has finally given us a dictionary worth reading cover to cover: Brewology: An Illustrated Dictionary for Beer Lovers. The book offers a lighthearted lesson in the complete A-to-Z of craft beer, and everything to do with ales and lagers. Brewer's illustrations have appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the Wall Street Journal and other publications; today, he'll give a special author's talk and sign copies of his book at Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley. JP 6-7 p.m. 417 Beaver St., Sewickley. Free. 412-741-3838 or

Thu., July 9 – Music

Smokey Robinson's trademark high tenor made him an integral part of the classic Motown sound; his music inspired The Beatles and Rolling Stones, and he wrote hits for Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder — no wonder he's considered an icon. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra kicks off its Thursday Night Icons series tonight, in a special performance with Robinson at Heinz Hall. Resident conductor Fawzi Haimor will lead the orchestra through an evening of Robinson's many timeless hits. JP 7:30 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $39-139. 412-392-4900 or

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