Short List: Week of April 29 - May 6 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Week of April 29 - May 6

Thu., April 29 -- Music

Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is, famously, not a lilting homage to songbirds and flowers. This classic work, inspired by virgin sacrifices, instead resembles something from the Lost score -- eerie, groaning crescendos and anxious, stirring repetition. BNY Mellon Grand Classics continues as pianist Valentina Lisitsa and conductor Manfred Honeck lead the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in works by Rachmaninoff and Richard Danielpour alongside the Stravinsky this weekend at Heinz Hall. Anna Reilly 1:30 p.m. Also 8 p.m. Fri., April 30, and 8 p.m. Sat., May 1. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $12.50-88. 412-392-4900 or


Thu., April 29 -- Scooters

Don't be alarmed if the city looks a little like Quadrophenia this weekend, only hopefully with less fighting: It's the Pittsburgh Vintage Scooter Club's annual City Rally. The rally, which draws scooterists from as far away as Chicago, is in its 10th -- and final -- year. It kicks off with a meet-and-greet tonight at Hofbräuhaus, on the South Side. If you're just learning about scooters, aficionados will be out in force to chat at Saturday's brunch, at Double Wide Grill. Other newbie-friendly events include Friday night's Revival, at the Strip's Firehouse Lounge, and a concert featuring The Pietasters and The Pressure, Saturday night at Howlers, in Bloomfield. Andy Mulkerin 7 p.m. Continues through Sunday. Various venues. 412-818-1555 or


Thu., April 29 -- Comedy

Jim Norton is a standup comic who tells it like it is ... regardless of how impolite or borderline offensive it may be. His blunt humor landed him on Letterman and Leno, in films, and even on The New York Times best-seller list. This surly New Yorker visits the Pittsburgh Improv for three nights of refreshingly raw comedy. AR 8 p.m. Also 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Fri., April 30; and 7 and 9 p.m. Sat., May 1. 166 E. Bridge St., W. Homestead. $22. 412-462-5233 or


Fri., April 30 -- Plants

The desert agave rooted at Phipps Conservatory is getting so tall, ceiling panels have been removed to accommodate it. Celebrating the agave's growth spurt -- which portends the lone flowering of its long lifespan -- Phipps hosts Agave Nights: extended Friday hours with discounted Tex-Mex munchies (plus margaritas for the grown-ups). The party continues through May, or until this 50-year-old plant (which gives us tequila) finishes flowering ... and dies. AR 5-9 p.m. Continues Fridays through May. 1 Schenley Park, Oakland. Free with admission ($9-12; children under 2 free). 412-622-6914 or


Sat., May 1 -- DJs

Today, the Round Corner Cantina opens its newly renovated outdoor patio for Primero de Mayo -- Mexican Labor Day. Strictly speaking, today's International Labor Day, so a lot of other countries are also celebrating. Music at the Cantina comes via local DJs Ed Um and J. Malls, plus San Franciscan guest Halo spinning deep house. But whatever, all we really want to know is ... can we wear white, or can't we? Aaron Jentzen 1 p.m.-2 a.m. 3720 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 412-904-2279 or


Sat., May 1 -- Words

Like the late Howard Zinn, Staughton Lynd is among the best-known and most accomplished contemporary American radical scholars. The former Yale professor, conscientious objector and civil-rights activist has participated in essentially every major social movement since the 1950s, and has used his legal training to sue the U.S. government over military practices. Today, Lynd and his wife, Alice Lynd, visit to speak and sign copies of their new book, Stepping Stones: Memoir of a Life Together. The event is organized by the Battle of Homestead Foundation. AM 1:30 p.m. The Pump House, E. Waterfront Drive, Homestead. Free. 412-831-3871


click to enlarge ART BY ELISE ADIBI
Art by Elise Adibi

Sat., May 1 -- Art 

UnSmoke Systems is an art gallery that's also part of the effort to revitalize Braddock. So like good artists do, UnSmoke is workin' a metaphor: Its new show, Gold in Braddock, references that old alchemical idea of turning lead (read: battered mill town) into gold. The precious metal's symbolic resonances are the raw material for 17 artists from Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New York and Philly. Opening night includes pizza from the outdoor brick oven, artisan cocktails and music by locals The Shanks. Bill O'Driscoll 5-10 p.m. 1137 Braddock Ave., Braddock. Free.


Sat., May 1 -- Music

You might know him as Mr. Funky, or perhaps The Dirty Poet. But tonight he's Unfinished Symphonies, bringing a proprietorial mix of faux-classical organ, pop and performance art to Christine Frechard Gallery with an evening modestly titled Tearing the Fabric of the Universe (Just to See What's Inside). The program includes "a mini-set about the vanishing planet Pluto," plus music by Tommy Amoeba and moving images by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE. BO 8 p.m. 5871 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. Free. 412-327-1555


Sat., May 1 -- DJ

Michigan-born deep-house champion Rick Wade has spun in Germany, the Netherlands, even Russia in recent years; next week, he's back in London. But tonight he's all ours, courtesy of Love Is Wet. The monthly New Amsterdam gig, which features disco and house spun by Nikkels, Lauren G and Thomas Cox, also showcases live visuals by projectionist Blissy. Wade's mix stretches back to the mid-'90s, with myriad releases through Detroit's Harmonie Park. AM 9:30 p.m. 4421 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $6-8. 412-682-6414 or


Sun., May 2 -- Wrestling

In the early 1980s, there was no bigger pro-wrestling feud than local icon Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko. The bad blood must be behind them, because Zbyszko teams with Bruno's son, David Sammartino, as the main event for Deaf Wrestlefest 2010, benefiting the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. The pair takes on Steel City Tag Team Champions Lou Marconi and Frank Stalleto. Other guests include Mick Foley -- a.k.a. Cactus Jack -- and Mankind. Charlie Deitch 6 p.m. WPSD Gymnasium, 300 E. Swissvale Ave., Edgewood. $20. or


Sun., May 2 -- Film

Though best known for classic samurai epics like Seven Samurai and Ran, Akira Kurosawa was also a master of what the Japanese call gendai-geki -- stories of contemporary life. One of his best in that vein, 1961's High and Low, screens tonight at the Regent Square Theater. It's a kidnapping thriller whose title reflects the film's deep sense of the divisions between rich and poor in post-war Japan. Toshiro Mifune stars as the industrialist whose child is kidnapped. And as always in Kurosawa, the visuals -- displayed in a restored 35 mm print -- are stunning. BO 8 p.m. 1035 S. Braddock Ave., Edgewood. $8. 412-682-4111


Sun., May 2 -- Comedy

Looking at Bill Maher's career, it's hard to believe that a comic who once co-starred in a movie about cab drivers with Mr. T has become one of the most irreverent political commentators of our time. Maher brings his brash and unapologetic spin on current events -- "Let's not say [Tea Party activists] are racist, let's say they're nostalgic for an era where blacks were invisible" -- to Munhall's Carnegie Library Music Hall. CD 8 p.m. 510 E. 10th St., Munhall. $65.50-75.50. 412-368-5225 or


Sunday, May 2 -- Rock

Martin Bisi is best known as a recording engineer and producer: His catalog, going back to the early '80s, includes releases by Swans and Sonic Youth. He's also a musician in his own right. Tonight he appears (along with Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls) at Brillobox behind his latest EP, Son of a Gun, a weird trip through what seems to be the sonically disturbing life of a free-jazz cowboy. Full of tricks and oddities -- and occasionally hooks -- the new record is for those who enjoy challenging psyche and no-wave a la, say, The Red Krayola. With Dave Bernabo + Assembly and The Mandrake Project. AM 9 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $6. 412-621-4900 or


Tue., May 4 -- Rock

The Alternative Press Tour is coming through town again -- it always seems like an odd venture for a magazine, but on the tour's fifth incarnation since debuting in 2007, it must be working out just fine for AP. (Can a CP Tour be far behind? Hmm ...) Performing tonight at Altar Bar are Never Shout Never, Every Avenue, Hey Monday, The Cab and The Summer Set. At press time, the show was sold out, but that's never stopped the resourceful. AJ 6:30 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District. All ages. Sold out. 412-263-2877 or

Tue., May 4 -- Stage

PNC's Broadway Across America series continues with a touring production of Mel Brooks' madcap new musical Young Frankenstein. (No, no, it's Fronk-en-shteen.) The ghoulishly funny film is brought to life on stage by the geniuses behind The Producers. And don't let the re-animated corpse fool you: You'll want to uncover your eyes for this monster mash (especially when they're tap-dancing in tuxedos). Seven shows at the Benedum Center start tonight. AR 7:30 p.m. Continues through Sun., May 9. 803 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $22-66. 412-456-6666 or

Wed., May 5 -- Blues

Malcolm Gladwell might suggest that high IQ isn't as clear a predictor of success -- or much else -- as we think, but there's little doubt that slide-guitarist and Mensa member Watermelon Slim is something of an outlier in the world of blues. Slim's odyssey includes a stint in Vietnam, antiwar activism, decades of seemingly random jobs, several academic degrees -- oh, and a watermelon farm in Oklahoma. Slim and his band, The Workers, have earned accolades for recent albums, including 2007's The Wheel Man; they play Moondog's tonight. AJ 8 p.m. 378 Freeport Road, Blawnox. 412-828-2040 or

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