Short List: July 6 - 14 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: July 6 - 14 

Opera Theater SummerFest in Shadyside; Gallery Crawl and Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh party Downtown; Pogopalooza at the Carrie Furnaces; Unrehearsed Shakespeare in the parks

Fri., July 8 – Opera 

Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s SummerFest keeps getting bigger. Now it’s outgrown its home of three years, Oakland’s 20th Century Club; the fifth annual SummerFest is housed in Shadyside’s Winchester Thurston School, which artistic and managing director Jonathan Eaton says can accommodate all the fest’s rehearsals and performances. Well, almost all: This year, SummerFest expanded to six weeks, partly to encompass six itinerant performances of festival-opener Carmen the Gypsy in three intimate venues around town. But all the other main-stage shows are in Winchester Thurston’s newly renovated, 315-seat Falk Auditorium. These include SummerFest’s production of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate (July 8, 10, 16 and 23), with Christina Overton and Isaiah Fedken (pictured), and July 9’s final performance of Carmen. SummerFest also spotlights Handel’s Baroque masterpiece Julius Caesar (July 15, 17 and 23), about the Roman dictator’s relationship with Cleopatra; the production is a showcase for renowned Pittsburgh-based countertenor Andrey Nemzer. And Strauss’ lesser-known 1935 romantic comedy The Silent Woman gets two performances (July 22 and 24). SummerFest also features a reprise of Night Caps, its crowd-pleasing suite of original comic mini-operas (July 21 and 24); the short, kid-friendly Little Red Riding Hood ($5-10); and numerous recitals and free Late Night Cabarets. And as ever, all SummerFest programming is sung in English. Bill O’Driscoll SummerFest continues through July 24. 555 Morewood Ave., Shadyside. $25-75 (half-price student-rush option available). 412-326-9687 or

Thu., July 7 — Stage

At a cigar factory in 1920s Tampa, Cuban-Americans roll each cigar by hand as a lector reads to them to pass the time. Such is the sweltering setting for Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2003 drama, Anna in the Tropics, opening tonight at Little Lake Theatre Company. As lector Juan Julian reads Anna Karenina, so the power of Tolstoy becomes the spark that ignites the workers’ already strained relationships. The first show is tonight. Tyler Dague 8 p.m. Show continues through July 23. 500 Lakeside Drive South, Canonsburg. $12-20. 724-745-6300 or

  • Photo courtesy of Nathan Lutz

Fri., July 8 — Art

Something of a double-header Downtown tonight. First comes the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s quarterly Gallery Crawl, with two dozen venues full of visual art, live music, improv comedy, film screenings and more; openings include [in]COMPLETION [in]TRANSITION, an exhibition documenting a project which took a Carnegie Mellon architecture professor and 12 students to Havana to re-envision a half-completed landmark, Cuba’s National Art School. And late night, at the August Wilson Center, the Trust hosts Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh, which combines dance party and lounge vibe, blending in brass bands, live art-making and DJs. Bill O’Driscoll Crawl: 5:30-10 p.m. Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh: 9 p.m. (7 p.m. VIP reception). $30-95. 412-456-6666 or

Fri., July 8 — Stargazing

Thanks to light pollution, many Americans rarely see the enormous breadth of stars in the night sky. The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh would like to change that. The organization holds the first of its July Star Parties tonight at the Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory in Deer Lakes Regional Park, weather permitting. Through the powerful telescope, visitors will be able to view Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn, the Hercules cluster, the Ring nebula and of course, the moon. TD 8:50 p.m. Also 8:50 p.m. Sat., July 9. 225 Kurn Road, Tarentum. Free. 724-224-2510 or

click to enlarge sl_pogo_27.jpg

Fri., July 8 — Sport

Pogo sticks, long the bane of overprotective parents, have made a comeback thanks to XPogo. The extreme underground sport combines uncanny balance with agility and stunts that many more established scenes (think The X Games) celebrate. This year’s Pogopalooza World Championships take place at an unlikely location: the historic Carrie Blast Furnaces. The relic of Pittsburgh’s industrial past hosts high-jump events today and tomorrow’s championship finals for freestyle and best trick. TD 6-9 p.m. Also 6-9 p.m. Sat., July 9. Carrie Furnace Boulevard, Rankin. $10-30. 212-488-6725 or

  • Photo courtesy of Leslie Many

Fri., July 8 — Words

You’ll be in rare company tonight with Whitney Terrell: He’s surely one of the few award-winning novelists (The Huntsman, The King of Kings County) who became an embedded journalist in Iraq (for outlets including Slate and NPR, 2006-2010). He now teaches creative writing at the University of Missouri Kansas City, but his new novel, The Good Lieutenant (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is set amongst U.S. troops in Iraq. Iraqi poet and journalist Sabreen Kadhim also reads at tonight’s free City of Asylum event. BO 6-8 p.m. 3418 Sampsonia Way, North Side.

  • Photo courtesy of J.LA Photography

Sat., July 9 — Talk

Lesley Ware is a Brooklyn-based author, style expert and educator. But once, she lived in Pittsburgh, and it was here that she developed her passion for fashion. Ware, who specializes in inspiring tween and teen fashionistas, returns with her new book My Fab Fashion Style File, a personal sketchbook. Please RSVP for this daytime event at Wild Card boutique. BO Noon-2:30 p.m. 4209 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. RSVP at

click to enlarge ART BY MAXIM GAZENDAM
  • Art by Maxim Gazendam

Sat., July 9 — Festival

Starting July 2, visitors to Schenley Plaza could watch five two-person teams of international sand-sculpting experts working with 40 tons of Pittsburgh sand to prepare entries for the Sand City Spectacular, billed as the first-ever such competition hosted in Pennsylvania. (The $14,000 purse is courtesy of the Colcom Foundation.) Starting today, you can see the results — giant sand sculptures celebrating Pittsburgh’s 200th anniversary — as part of a two-day festival including kids’ activities, food vendors and live music. Performers include blues favorite Billy Price, party band Told Ya So!, jazz legend Kenny Blake and Eagles tribute band Desperado. BO Noon-9 p.m. Also noon-6:30 p.m. Sun., July 10. Oakland. Free.

Sat., July 9 — Stage

Shakespeare unrehearsed sounds daunting. But not to The New Renaissance Theatre Company, whose Unrehearsed Shakespeare Project starts its third season. Echoing Elizabethan practice, the actors use scripts containing basically their lines only, with no time for group rehearsals. The Project’s 2016 tour promotes fun, spontaneous theater with two classics in repertory at five different county parks — and actors who trade roles each show. Over the next 16 days, see A Midsummer Nights Dreame (directed by Elizabeth Ruelas) and The Tragedie of Romeo and Juliet (directed by Andy Kirtland) performed by the same troupe in North Park, Harrison Hills Park, Hartwood Acres, Boyce Park and Settler’s Cabin. Today, it’s Midsummer, on the North Park Boathouse Lawn. BO 4 p.m. (10301 Pearce Mill Road, Allison Park). Performances continue at various locations through July 24. Free.

click to enlarge ART BY ROBERT WEAVER
  • Art by Robert Weaver

Sat., July 9 — Art 

It’s been eight years since Unsmoke Systems Artspace took over a former Catholic school building in Braddock. Tonight, the gallery hosts an opening reception for the exhibit Non-Material Effects of Material Processes. Artists Kara Skylling, Jeremy Tarr and Robert Weaver present works of drawing, painting and sculpture with an emphasis on deconstruction and on exploring both infinite and finite space. TD 6-10 p.m. Exhibition continues through July 31 (by appointment). 1137 Braddock Ave., Braddock. Free. 415-518-9921 or

  • Photo courtesy of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art

Sat., July 9 — Art

For decades, work by self-taught or minimally trained artists didn’t have a place in established critical or academic circles. However, an outpouring of such work made folk art the dominant form in the U.S. in the 19th and early-20th centuries. The Westmoreland Museum of American Art honors that era with a new exhibition, A Shared Legacy. The museum will host a reception this evening to inaugurate the display of more than 60 works of sculpture, paintings and even furniture, exemplifying the variety of media given life during this culturally turbulent time in America. Works include Edward Hicks’ famous painting “The Peaceable Kingdom.” TD 6:30-8 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through Oct. 16. 221 N. Main St., Greensburg. 724-837-1500 or

Sat., July 9 — Music

It’s not Halloween, but Spirit Hall is dressing up as an 1850s social-dance hall for Doo Dah Nights. This Lawrenceville Historical Society event celebrates the legacy of Stephen Foster, born here in 1826 and considered the world’s first full-time composer of popular song. Enjoy live, period-authentic renditions of Foster tunes (“Oh! Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” et al.) by Prof. Guibert and the 1913 Blue & Gray Reunion Band, food and drink, and historical re-enactors. The festival concludes with a square dance led by local outfits Devilish Merry and The Haygood Paisleys. BO 7:30 p.m. (square dance at 9 p.m.). 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $8-10 (21 and over).



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