Short List: Sept. 7-14 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Sept. 7-14 

Nobel winner Svetlana Alexievich at City of Asylum grand opening; the Carnegie’s all-nighter; Wig Out! at The REP; Star Trek 50th-anniversary screenings; Golden Legends of burlesque

FREE EVENT: Sat., Sept. 10 - Words

Svetlana Alexievich won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature, but only after years of struggle against government repression, first in the Soviet Union and then in Belarus. Once, she was tried on charges that Boys in Zinc, her portrait of soldiers during the Soviet-Afghan war, defamed the Soviet Army. In 2000, Alexievich — who turns her interviews about Soviet and post-Soviet life into collage-like literature — fled Belarus, and later lived for two years in Gothenburg, Sweden, one of 50 cities in the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN).

Alexievich, 68, has since returned to Belarus, but it’s fitting that she’s inaugurating City of Asylum @ Alphabet City; Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum, after all, is ICORN’s U.S. headquarters. After years of holding literary readings in tents, on Sept. 10 the group opens its permanent home, a $12.5 million renovation of a former North Side Masonic Hall including event space, bookstore and wine-and-cheese café.

The inaugural weekend includes a talk by Alexievich and a public conversation featuring her and acclaimed journalist and author Philip Gourevitch. Alexievich was unavailable for interview. But Gourevitch, reached by phone in New York City, says that her Nobel, awarded for work about the emotional legacy of events like the Chernobyl disaster, was long-overdue recognition for nonfiction literature.

Recently, Alexievich was criticized in The New Republic, which charged that her methods — including heavy re-editing of books after publication — misrepresents her subjects to suit her own agenda. Gourevitch, however, notes that Alexievich doesn’t consider herself a conventional reporter, but more a novelist writing “a literature based on documentary work.” He praises her “incredibly powerful material” and calls her work a hybrid: “Alexievich is saying, ‘I’m trying to do something new here.’” At City of Asylum, he’ll ask Alexievich about her methods: “What’s interesting to me is, what’s she up to? Does it ring broadly true?” Bill O’Driscoll Public conversation: 2 and 5 p.m. Sat., Sept. 10 (2 p.m. event is sold out). 40 W. North Ave., North Side. Free.

  • Photo courtesy of John Altdorfer

Thu., Sept. 8 – Stage

The REP launches its season with a bang — and copious glitter — with the Pittsburgh premiere of Wig Out!, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s 2008 play about voguing ball culture in Harlem. McCraney (Choir Boy, The Brothers Size) is one of America’s most accomplished young playwrights, and Wig Out!’s Off-Broadway premiere was a critical hit; the New York Times called it a “gutsy, pulsing portrait of uptown drag queens and the men who love them.” The play, set early in the HIV/AIDS era, is full of music, dance and fabulousness, as members of the House of Light family prepare for a drag-ball challenge against their archrivals. Broadway veteran Tomé Cousin directs; the first performance at Pittsburgh Playhouse is tonight. BO 8 p.m. Show continues through Sept. 25. 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $10-29. 412-392-8000 or

  • Art by Kathryn Cirincione

Fri., Sept. 9 - Art

Advocacy for social causes is everywhere you look lately — why not in your neighborhood art gallery? Spinning Plate Gallery hosts Art Advocacy Speaks — Art for Social Change. Art Advocacy Speaks, a Pittsburgh-based group that promotes artists who use their medium to encourage social change, put out a national call for submissions. Jurors Christina Roberts and Lonnie Graham whittled the submissions down to 39 works, from paintings to installations. The opening reception is tonight. BO 5-8 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through Sept. 25. 5821 Baum Blvd., Friendship.

click to enlarge ART BY EDWARD EBERLE
  • Art by Edward Eberle

Fri., Sept. 9 – Art

An important locally based ceramics artists gets his first career retrospective. Edward Eberle Retrospective showcases 45 works spanning three decades by the Tarentum native, whose influences range from classical Japanese pottery and the Native American Mimbres tradition to Ukrainian pysanky and deconstructed works. Eberle, who formerly taught at Carnegie Mellon University, now works out of his studio in Homestead. An opening reception at the Society for Contemporary Craft is tonight. BO Reception: 5:30-8 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through March 11. 2100 Smallman St., Strip District. 412-261-7003 or

Fri., Sept. 9 – Art

D.S. Kinsel calls himself “a black creative entrepreneur and cultural agitator”; he’s also increasingly known as co-founder of arts group BOOM Concepts. And this month, Kinsel rolls out A Black Man Made This Art as one multimedia exhibit in three different locations. In addition to the component at Garfield’s Imagebox, and the part opening Sept. 28 at the Braddock Carnegie Library, there’s tonight’s opening at Future Tenant. The goal of the text-based show, curated by Alecia Young, is “to reclaim ownership of offensive language used toward Black Americans.” BO 6-9 p.m. (free). Exhibit continues through Oct. 23. 819 Penn Ave., Downtown.

Fri., Sept. 9 – Screen

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek’s television debut. Local recognition of this pop-cultural milestone continues tonight with A Steel City Celebration of Star Trek at the Hollywood Theater, sponsored by Geek Pittsburgh. First is a fan fest featuring 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; the film stars the series’ original cast and Ricardo Montalban. Also look for local fan groups and a sneak preview of To Boldly Go, an exhibit of original Trek-themed comics art opening Oct. 28 at the ToonSeum. At the Hollywood, die-hards can stick around for the local premiere of For the Love of Spock, Adam Nimoy’s documentary about his late father, Leonard. BO Steel City Celebration: 6 p.m. (Khan screening at 7:30); $10. Spock: 10 p.m. ($6-8; Khan attendees get $2 off). 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont. 412-563-0368 or

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Fri., Sept. 9 – Party

If Nighttime isn’t the biggest party in years at the Carnegie Museum of Art, it’s certainly the longest. Tonight, at 7 p.m., the Carnegie launches back-to-back shindigs that last until 4 a.m. First, there’s the unveiling of a new public art installation that the museum calls “a camera for seeing time”; there are also new works from the Hillman Photography Initiative’s Lighttime program, with pieces by Andrea Polli, Alisha Wormsley, DIS, and Bradford Young. Also early, there’s a family dance party, live music from acts including Colonel Eagleburger’s Highstepping Goodtime Band and Britsburgh’s British Invasion showcase, a teen lounge, food trucks and more. The museum’s galleries stay open till 10 p.m.; what follows (with help from VIA and Hot Mass) is an all-night dance party in the Music Hall’s grand foyer, with DJs Metacara (pictured), Eye Jay, Naeem b2b Jwan Allen, Shawn Rudiman and Tony Fairchild. BO 7 p.m.-4 a.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $10-25. 412-622-3212 or

Fri., Sept. 9 – Stage

One of Pittsburgh’s resident peace-and-justice heroes is Molly Rush. In 1980, protesting nuclear proliferation as a member of the Plowshares Eight, this lifelong activist and Pittsburgh native broke into a General Electric facility in King of Prussia, Pa., and banged on a nuclear missile with a hammer. That famous episode was documented in Liane Ellison Norman’s Hammer of Justice. Now local playwright Tammy Ryan has adapted the book for the stage. Molly’s Hammer (which world-premiered this year at the Repertory Theater of St. Louis) gets a staged reading tonight in Chatham University’s Eddy Theatre. The reading (featuring top local actors Jason McCune, Don DiGiulio and Kimberly Parker Green) benefits the Thomas Merton Center, which Rush co-founded. Rush will attend the reading. BO 7:30 p.m. Chatham campus, Shadyside. $20 (low-income tickets: $5 at the door).

  • Photo courtesy of Iwan Baan

Sat., Sept. 10 – Art

In public life these days, optimism seems scarce. But it’s the organizing principle of Building Optimism: Public Space in South America. With video, photography, drawings and models, this new exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center highlights architects and designers seeking to use planning to improve urban life. The exhibit includes concepts for Braddock’s in-progress Recycle Park by famed Ecuador-based architect Al Borde, who specializes in low-budget projects. BO 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibit continues through Feb. 13. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $11.95-19.95. 412-622-3131 or

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Sun., Sept. 11 – Outdoors

After a successful debut last year, the Walkatop urban hike returns for an expanded, any-fitness-level trek through Emerald View Park, in Mount Washington. Urban hiking is increasingly popular among city folk looking to get outdoorsy without leaving town, and Walkatop really earns the name. The skyline’s never out of sight, but you’re submerged in green. The hike benefits The Thomas Brown Alton Foundation, dedicated to suicide prevention and improved mental health. Alex Gordon 8 a.m.-noon, Sun., Sept. 11. Parking lot on Grandview Avenue, across from Duquesne Incline, Mount Washington. $20-25.

  • Photo courtesy of Ed Barnas

Sun., Sept. 11 – Burlesque

Following its debut last year, in Los Angeles, burlesque’s Golden Legends Champion Challenge hits Pittsburgh. The annual event, founded by performer Gabriella Maze, celebrates burlesque’s history and connects up-and-comers with veterans whose careers span decades. The Sat., Sept. 10, master classes are open to the public; so, of course, is this afternoon’s concluding showcase at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy. A competition features protégés of such Legends as Maze, Madame E, Tiffany Carter and guest mentor Matt Finish (Mr. Exotic World 2015). Host Dixie Crystal also welcomes such showcasing headliners as Camille 2000; Poison Ivory (Miss Exotic World 2016 and a top name in contemporary burlesque, pictured); Egypt Blaque Knyle, May Hemmer, Tas DeVille, Viva Valezz!, and last year’s GLCC first runner-up, Vivi Noir. BO 1 p.m. 422 Foreland St., North Side. $25.

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Thu., Sept. 15 – Screen

Robert Frank looms almost impossibly large over the world of modern American photography, whether you know him or not. His seminal 1958 photography book The Americans, which chronicled the Swiss-born photographer’s year-long trip through the U.S., introduced artful, unfussy photojournalism to the masses — where it’s stayed since. In Don’t Blink – Robert Frank, the critically acclaimed, excellently soundtracked 2015 documentary directed by Laura Israel, we’re treated to an in-depth, inside look at Frank’s work and often reticent personality. (“I hate these fucking interviews, I’d like to walk out of the fucking frame.”) There’s a free screening tonight at Point Park University. AG 6 p.m. GRW Theater, 414 Wood St., Downtown. Free with RSVP.


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