Short List: June 20 - 27 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Artist Fabrizio Gerbino has always been inspired by factories — the light therein, the work done there. Now, a piece of scrap ceramic he found in a workshop in his native Italy figures into "Purge," his contribution to Factory Direct: Pittsburgh. The exhibition showcases work by 14 artists, each commissioned by The Andy Warhol Museum to serve a residency in a local factory. Gerbino chose Calgon Carbon Corp., which makes municipal-scale activated-carbon water filters on Neville Island. "In Stowe Township, where I live, we drink the water they clean," he says. Honoring all the hands-on labor he observed at the plant, he cast 1,500 plaster replicas of his found object, and colored many with paint mixed with black carbon powder Calgon had "purged." Factory Direct — inspired by an eponymous 2005 project in Troy, N.Y. — is staged at Guardian Self-Storage, in the Strip District. Other artists include Dee Briggs, William Earl Kofmehl, Mark Neville and Tomoko Sawada. Factories include Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, Bayer Corp. and Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka. One artist, New York-based Sarah Oppenheimer, presents plans for an installation she had hoped to create with PPG's glass-coating research lab. While the project itself proved infeasible, Oppenheimer calls her experience "massively illuminating." Bill O'Driscoll Factory Direct opens Sun., June 24. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 2839 Liberty Ave., Strip District. Donations welcome. 412-237-8300 or

The local landmark known as the Carrie Furnace is well into its second act. Once among the Mon Valley's industrial hubs, this long-inactive U.S. Steel iron-making facility (built in 1906, shuttered in 1979) is now more likely to be featured in a Wiz Khalifa video ("Work Hard, Play Hard") or as a backdrop in the recently filmed Christian Bale movie Out of the Furnace. But anybody can get up close at Carrie's 20-acre Rankin site, a National Historic Landmark. All summer, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area offers two hard-hat tours daily three days a week. Former mill-workers are among the guides explicating Carrie's history and technology — not forgetting its famed guerrilla artwork, a giant deerhead made from onsite scrap. And even as Carrie makes her bid for National Park status, says Rivers of Steel's Ron Baraff, look for the site to be featured on the History Channel this fall. Bill O'Driscoll 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through August. (Self-guided option available July and Aug. 4). $25. Rankin. 412-464-4020 x 32 or

Thu., June 21 — Music

The 1920s and '30s are long gone, but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy some of their signature music. Tonight through Sunday, pianist Kevin Cole and Grammy-winning vocalist Sylvia McNair perform an evening of George and Ira Gershwin classics, including "The Man I Love," "I Got Rhythm" and "Rhapsody in Blue." Home movies by the Gershwin family accompany select portions of The Gershwins — Here to Stay, affording viewers a rare intimacy. Andy Tybout 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., June 24. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $20-95. 412-392-4900 or

Fri., June 22 — Art

Gallery-goers who believe modern art has become too bleak and impenetrable should find the closing reception for Gabe Felice's The Magic Psychic T-Shirt Presents: In Tents Pair o' Dice singularly refreshing. The Future Tenant exhibit showcases paintings, sculptures, clothing, installations and laser displays designed to elevate positive elements in the human consciousness. Tonight, returning visitors can give the "bonus medallions" they received back to Felice, who will compose songs on the spot based on the spiritual energies they exude. AT 6 p.m. 819 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-325-7037 or

Fri., June 22 — Words

The name Stephan Pastis might not ring a bell, but readers of countless major newspapers should recognize his caustic comic strip, Pearls Before Swine. Tonight and tomorrow, the lawyer-turned-syndicated-cartoonist speaks at Bricolage Theater about the challenges of his second career chronicling comic antagonists like arrogant Rat, reasonable Goat and clueless Pig. A VIP meet-and-greet at the ToonSeum, where Pastis' art is on display, precedes tonight's talk, and a book-signing follows on both days. AT 7 p.m. (6 p.m. VIP event.) Also noon Sat., June 23. 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $6 for talk; $13 for talk and book; $45 for VIP pass and book. 412-232-0199 or

Fri., June 22 — Stage

Two professionally seasoned grassroots troupes join forces to present the first local production of Next to Normal. The hit 2009 Broadway musical by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, about a troubled American family, won a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tonys. Justin Fortunato directs this Carrnivale Theatrics and Front Porch Theatricals production; the six-person cast is led by Daina Michelle Griffith as Diana, the mom with bipolar disorder, and Michael Campayno as her husband, Dan. The score will be performed live in these shows at the New Hazlett Theater. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Continues through July 1. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $18-25.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Fri., June 22 — Screen

Baron Ambrosia is a bombastic, ascot-wearing epicure who spices The Cooking Channel with his campy quest for "forbidden flavor and unbridled passion." He's also the alter ego of Justin Fornal, a formerly Pittsburgh-based filmmaker who invited old 'Burgh buddies Phat Man Dee and Tommy Amoeba to co-star in an episode of The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia. The spoofy plotline, a 1950s-style street-gang love triangle, incorporates the Baron, famous Baltimorean John Waters and entertainers Phat Man Dee and Amoeba alongside Korean soup, barbecued ribs and Ethiopian fare. "The Stomach Rumble of Baltimore, MD," premieres tonight. BO 10 p.m. Airs through Sat., June 24.

Photo courtesy of Venture Outdoors

Sat., June 23 — Outdoors

Besides being the first official Saturday of summer, today marks the start of the National Wildlife Federation's weekend-long Great American Backyard Campout. To celebrate, outdoor-activity advocate Venture Outdoors convenes today in Raccoon Creek State Park for 24 hours of family-oriented activities, campfire cooking, firefly-catching and sleeping under the stars. Participants must bring their own camping gear and food. AT Noon through noon, Sun., June 24. Hanover Township, Beaver County. $10-20. 412-255-0564 or

click to enlarge Art by Carolyn Pierotti
Art by Carolyn Pierotti

Sat., June 23 — Art

Art and food: Fe Arts Gallery bets you won't be able to resist the combination. Today's the closing reception for Women's Work ..., featuring 20 works by 20 local female artists, curated by Susan Sparks and Kathleen Zimbicki; contributors include Delanie Jenkins, Suz Pisano and Randie Snow. But it's also a free community cookout doubling as a fundraiser for the renovation of the Lawrenceville gallery's signature brick courtyard. The Bar(BRICK)Que includes the chance to buy and decorate your own brick ($50) that will be part of the courtyard when it's completed, in July. BO 3-8 p.m. 4102 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free.

Mon., June 25 — Stage

The challenges of aging, the perils of xenophobia and the inescapable nature of the past are all central themes in Terra Nova Theatre Group's latest series of readings of new work by local playwrights. Tonight, the two-week series begins with Master Orlov's Footman, Maureen McGranaghan's Chekhov-inspired drama about a servant who develops feelings for his master's mistress. Forthcoming readings at Grey Box Theatre, of work by playwrights Jeremy F. Richter, Jeanne Drennan, Dennis Schebetta and William Cameron, range from the suspenseful and the whimsical to the tragicomic. AT 7 p.m. Readings continue through July 3. 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Free. 412-586-7744 or

Tue., June 26 — Words

Hemingway's Summer Poetry Series continues, highlighted tonight by a rare reading by Michael Wurster. Long a catalyst and teacher on the local poetry scene, Wurster is also a fine poet in his own right, with a voice alternately wry, quizzical and mysterious. Health issues have slowed him in recent years, but tonight the back room of this familiar Oakland haunt welcomes him alongside fellow local poets Mike James and Lori Wilson. BO 8 p.m. 3911 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-498-7876 or

Wed., June 27 — Open Mic

The open-mic series Eargasm returns. As presented by the Minority Networking Exchange and Jade Earth Events, tonight's Eargasm takes place at Galaxy Lounge, in Homewood. There's a featured act — Flint, Mich.'s Future the Poet — but the focus is the open mic. Poets, spoken-word artists, singers, musicians and comics are all welcome, and encouraged to sign up in advance to perform at this 21-and-over event. Your host is actor and poet Leslie "Ezra" Smith. BO 9 p.m. 7246 Kelly St., Homewood. $10-15. 412-209-5463 or

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