Short List: July 17 - 23 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: July 17 - 23

Downtown goes (partly) car-free at the inaugural Open Streets Pittsburgh; the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial begins; No Name Players revamp Shakespeare; the Science Center gets the Blues

FREE EVENT: Sun., July 20 — Outdoors

Dancing in the streets — and walking, biking and doing yoga there — gets feasible Downtown next Sunday morning. That's when Pittsburgh joins some 100 U.S. cities in the Open Streets movement, which temporarily closes pavement to automotive traffic, making public space people-friendlier. San Francisco's Golden Gate Park has been car-free on Sundays for decades; more recently, inspired by the international Ciclovia movement, cities from New York to Nebraska have held Open Streets events. Pittsburgh's was initiated by Bike Pittsburgh, which worked with CityLab, city and county government and others on the four-hour Open Streets Pittsburgh pilot. Market Square will close to cars, as will Market Street, Sixth Street, and (as during Pirates games) the Robert Clemente Bridge. Save for car traffic passing through at Liberty, Fifth and Fort Duquesne Boulevard, it'll be a half-mile of people-powered transport, plus three hubs for things like a gaga pit (for that dodgeball-like game) and classes in tai chi, zumba, family zumba, yoga, family yoga, roller-skating and dance lessons. It's all outdoors, rain or shine; it's free; and the focus is on participation, not spectatorship or consumption. "It's a great opportunity for people to come out on the streets, be active and meet their neighbors — and who doesn't want to do that?" says Bike Pittsburgh's Ngani Ndimbie. A bigger Open Streets Pittsburgh is planned for 2015. Bill O'Driscoll 8 a.m.-noon, Sun., July 20. Downtown. Free.

Thu., July 17 — Stage

After just one production, fledgling theater company The Phoenix has rebooted as Kinetic Theatre Company. While Mark Clayton Southers is no longer involved, co-founder Andrew Paul forges ahead with the Pittsburgh premiere of David Mamet's Romance. The 2005 courtroom farce is about a Jewish chiropractor with an anti-Semitic defense attorney, a prosecutor in a domestic dispute and a judge on antihistamines. Paul (formerly of Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre) directs local favorites Patrick Jordan (as the defendant) and David Whalen (as his lawyer), along with Matt DeCaro, who reprises his role as the judge from the play's Chicago premiere. The first performance at the Alloy Studios is tonight. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 2. 5530 Penn Ave., Friendship. $15-35.

click to enlarge Corey Escoto: Sleight of Hand
Corey Escoto's "Gemstone in the Sky"

Fri., July 18 — Art

The Pittsburgh Biennial keeps growing. In 2011, for the first time, this venerable Pittsburgh Center for the Arts showcase for regional artists collaborated with other organizations, drawing on the curatorial talent at the Carnegie Museum of Art, The Andy Warhol Museum and the Miller Gallery. That went well and now — in addition to PCA's sister organization, Pittsburgh Filmmakers — the 2014 Biennial has taken three more partners: Pittsburgh Glass Center, the Mattress Factory and SPACE gallery, all "really key places" in the local scene, says PCA Director Laura Domencic. Opening dates for the shows at the eight venues are staggered; the first is Corey Escoto: Sleight of Hand, a solo exhibit of new work at the Carnegie. The internationally exhibited Escoto, who lives in Pittsburgh, will show photographic and sculptural work including his "hacked Polaroids," part of his exploration of obsolete technologies, handcrafted processes, and the production and consumption of illusion. The July 18 opening reception includes an artist talk. Escoto's show runs through Sept. 29; the next leg of the Biennial opens Aug. 1, at Pittsburgh Glass Center. Bill O'Driscoll Opening event: 5:30-9 p.m. Fri., July 18. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 421-622-3131 or

Fri., July 18 — Talk

Retired NASA lunar cartographer and Carnegie Mellon alumnus Alex Valentine speaks tonight at a free event at Shaw Galleries. Valentine's work mapping the moon and calibrating astronomical cameras helped make the first manned moon landing a success. Now, on the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11's flight, he discusses the early days of the American space program and presents some of the topographic lunar maps that he worked on while at NASA, an experience which he calls "life-altering." Dan Willis 6:30 p.m. 805 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-281-4884 or

Fri., July 18 — Screen

The 48-Hour Film Project, which gives teams exactly two days to write, shoot and edit a short film, has drawn to a close. But noncompetitors can see the fruits of local filmmakers' labors at this weekend's free premiere screenings. Teams were given a prop, a character, a line of dialogue and a genre for inspiration. Throughout this weekend, the Hollywood Theater will show all 46 films that resulted, beginning with the first 12 tonight. A best-of screening is planned for July 28. DW 7 p.m. Also noon and 3 p.m. Sat., July 19, and 1 p.m. Sun., July 20. 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. Free. 412-563-0368 or

Fri., July 18 — Stage

Throughline Theatre's fifth season continues tonight with A New Death. The darkly comic new work, by local playwright C.S. Wyatt, was inspired by sitcom pioneers like Bob Newhart and Mary Tyler Moore. In it, everyman Harlan Howe is unwittingly hired as a messenger of Death, and his attempts to fill the role temper the play's existential tendencies with good old-fashioned comedy hijinks. The play opens tonight; the July 24 performance will be followed by a playwright Q&A. DW 8 p.m. Continues through July 26. Grey Box Theater, 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $15 (opening-night reception: $25). 412-586-7744 or

Fri., July 18 — Stage

Playwright Kirk Lynn, of the Austin, Texas-based Rude Mechanicals, has a new project: "fixing" Shakespeare's least popular plays. His first salvage effort was The Life and Death of King John, which Lynn translated into contemporary English, adding curse words and making some edits (like cutting half the characters). Austin critics liked last year's debut production of Fixing King John ("remarkably original and fiercely energetic," wrote one). Tonight, those cheeky No Name Players stage the play's Pittsburgh premiere. Steven Wilson directs a cast of 10. BO 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 2. Off the Wall Theater, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $15-20.

Sat., July 19 — Cycling

Advocacy group Bike Pittsburgh has launched City Cycling, to teach beginning and veteran cyclists alike safe street-biking. The Fundamentals of City Cycling ($35), taught by bike educators Karen Brooks and Harry Geyer, is held Tuesday and Thursday nights at Homewood's Wheel Mill; it covers everything from pre-ride safety checks to skills for stopping and starting in traffic. The Confident City Cycling class ($20) — which teaches skills like making climbs and descents, and safely crossing intersections — is held monthly at different locations. The first session is at 10 a.m. today, at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's East Liberty Branch. BO

Sat., July 19 — Exhibit

The Carnegie Science Center's BLUE! exhibit offers visitors blue foam blocks of all shapes and sizes — a challenge to everyone's inner builder. But the Center also offers two other ways to get the blues this weekend. One, it's Blue Moon Weekend, a two-day exhibit commemorating the 45th anniversary of the moon landing, including a look at Hollywood's takes on lunar exploration and a chance to make your own UFO. And two, the summer's weekly blues-and-bluegrass performance series contines today at 1 p.m. with master local blues guitarist Ernie Hawkins and Wil E. Tri on harmonica. BO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1 Allegheny Drive, North Side. $11.95-$18.95 (free for kids under 3). 412-237-3400 or

Sat., July 19 — Festival

The Homewood Children's Village presents the annual Harambee Ujima Black Arts Festival, which returns for its 21st year this weekend. It features African and Afro-Caribbean dance, live music, a multimedia art gallery centered on the theme of wellness, as well as a martial-arts demonstration and the Reading Is Fundamental bookmobile. Performers include Saltworks Theater Company, local arts-education group Hip Hop On LOCK, and Homewood's own St. Charles Lwango Choir. Attendees are urged to bring lawn chairs. DW 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Also July 20. Kelly Street and Homewood Avenue, Homewood. Free. 412-961-1377 or

Wed., July 23 — Art

Sure, Superman's faster than a speeding bullet, but can he really fool Iron Man's hyper-accurate targeting system? Such questions and more will be answered at the ToonSeum exhibit When Worlds Collide: The Ultimate Superhero Smackdown. Patrons can peruse artwork by legendary comic book artists like Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko, and vote for their favorite heroes. Limited-edition hand-signed prints of the matchups will also be available for purchase. The show is up today, followed by tomorrow night's opening party. DW 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ($8). Party: 6:30 p.m. Thu., July 24. 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown. ($25-75). 412-232-0199 or

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