Short List: Week of July 22 - 29 | Short List | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Short List: Week of July 22 - 29 

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When Andrew Paul was planning Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's upcoming festival of Harold Pinter plays, avoiding titles overfamiliar to Pittsburgh wasn't too hard: In recent years, only one local company (Quantum Theatre) has staged a work (Betrayal) by the late British master and Nobel laureate whom some consider the leading playwright of the past half-century. Still, PICT's artistic director hasn't merely avoided such classics as The Homecoming. The five-week, six-play Pinter Celebration begins with a local professional premiere: The Hot House, an early Pinter work that wasn't staged anywhere until 1980 -- two decades after he wrote it. The dark comedy about abusive bureaucracy is set in an unnamed state-run institution where the staff must be crazier than the never-seen inmates. Larry John Meyers and Tami Dixon lead the cast in a 12-show run directed by Matthew Gray. Gray says that the 1958 script's blistering, borderline surreal comedy prefigures such British TV classics as The Prisoner ("that slight turn-to-the-side of reality") and Monty Python's Flying Circus -- and even Lost. Paul, meanwhile, directs No Man's Land (eight performances), starring renowned Canadian actor Richard McMillan and Sam Tsoutsouvas as two poets, one rich and one homeless, who may or may not be old friends. Paul calls the critically lauded 1974 play "Pinter's masterpiece," adding that it's both "a very tough play on audiences" and "Pinter at his most poetic." Irish director Alan Stanford (who once directed Pinter himself) is in town to helm two plays. One is Pinter's adultery drama Betrayal, for eight nights staged on a double-bill of shorter works with hit-man comedy The Dumb Waiter (directed by Martin Giles). The other is Pinter's final play, The Celebration, a satiric comedy paired for four evenings with his first play, The Room (directed by Sheila McKenna). Pinter's sparsely worded, pause-filled style often sets audiences on edge. It helps not to expect realism: "His plays are all subconscious," Paul says Stanford once told him. Says Gray: "The genius of Pinter's writing is he doesn't give you answers. He gives you lots and lots of questions." Bill O'Driscoll The Hothouse: Thu., July 22-Aug. 22. No Man's Land: July 30-Aug. 21. Stephen Foster Memorial, Forbes Avenue at Bigelow, Oakland. $20-50. 412-394-3353 or www.picttheatre.org

 

ART BY SHELLE BARRON
  • Art by Shelle Barron

Fri., July 23 -- Art

Associated Artists of Pittsburgh has been everywhere this year, celebrating its centennial with exhibits at a different gallery (or two) each week. But the group and its 450-plus artist members have no bigger show than the one that opens tonight. It's the 100th incarnation of the Annual, arguably the year's top venue for area talent. The show, at the Carnegie Museum of Art, is juried by art critic Donald Miller and Al Miner, of Washington, D.C.'s Hirshorn Museum. The reception is free. Bill O'Driscoll 7:30 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org

 

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Fri., July 23 -- Film

The wild Montana West is filled with mountains, sheep and a dwindling population of modern-day cowboys. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash's new documentary, Sweetgrass, follows these semi-nomadic men through the majestic landscapes of the oft-dangerous Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains as they lead their flocks of 3,000 to summer pasture. An unsentimental portrait of this fading way of life, Sweetgrass illuminates a quiet, natural and sometimes violent world where man and animal are intimately dependent. A three-day run at the Harris Theater begins tonight. Jenelle Pifer 8 p.m. Also Sat., July 24, and Sun., July 25. 809 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $3-7. 412-681-5449 or www.pghfilmmakers.org

 

Fri., July 23 -- Stage

The annual Alexander Berkman Labor & Music Festival is named for the anarchist who shot Henry Clay Frick. It's aimed primarily at people not very fond of the old robber baron themselves. (In that, its aim improves on Berkman's.) Musician and ringmaster Steve Pellegrino and his Loose Organization of Surreal Ethereal Realists host a Berkman impersonator; Berkman haiku contest; The Typewriter Girls; filmmaker Tony Buba; Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Mel Packer; and live music by House of Assassins -- though perhaps the biggest surprise is that they've staged this three years running at Pitt's Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. BO 8 p.m. Schenley Drive, Oakland. Donation requested. pellegrino@looserpittsburgh.org

 

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Sat., July 24 -- Words

It might seem natural to set a murder mystery in the office of a crime magazine, but nothing in Harry Dolan's debut novel Bad Things Happen (Berkeley Publishing Group) is quite so obvious. With wit and dry humor, Dolan tells the story of the magazine's editor, who must discover the source behind a string of murders among a staff well versed in crime and how to cover it up. Dolan visits Mystery Lovers Bookshop for the Coffee & Crime series, including a reading, signing and continental breakfast. JP 10 a.m. 514 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont. $5. Reservations required at 1-888-800-6078 or www.mysterylovers.com

 

Sat., July 24 -- Food

As the Tour de France winds down, the fourth annual Buy Fresh Buy Local Farm Tour kicks off. Join the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture to create your own route linking some of the 24 participating area farms. Meet growers and learn your food's origins. Meats, cheeses, fruits and veggies will be available for purchase. (Bring a cooler.) Day passes can be purchased at the first farm you visit. Suggested routes are at www.tiny.cc/farmtour. JP 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $10 per car. 412-697-0411 or www.pasafarming.org

 

Sat., July 24 -- Grand Opening

It's been up and running for a few weeks now, but this weekend marks the grand opening of a new complex of businesses in Polish Hill. Squirrel Hill fixture Copacetic Comics moved in with Mind Cure Records, a new shop run by some old heads from the punk scene. The new Lili Coffee*Shop occupies the first floor. Opening festivities center on seminal local punks The Five: Anyone who buys the Reid Paley-fronted Five's LP at Mind Cure gets a free Paley CD at Copacetic, and vice versa. Andy Mulkerin 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; also noon–4 p.m. Sun., July 25. 3138 Dobson St., Polish Hill. 412-621-1715

 

Sat., July 24 -- Rock

"Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks," sings Tom Petty in "Walls." And some days -- once a summer, reliably -- Petty and the Heartbreakers roll through Pittsburgh for a blowout outdoor concert. The legendary band plays First Niagara Pavilion tonight with openers Drive-By Truckers. Petty just released his bluesy new album Mojo, and ticket-buyers receive a code to download both the album and, at the end of the summer, eight live tracks recorded on the tour. Aaron Jentzen 7:30 p.m. 665 Rt. 18, Burgettstown. $41-131. All ages. 724-947-7400 or www.livenation.com

 

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Sun., July 25 -- Rock

Rasputina's style matches its name perfectly: fantastical, historical and a bit quirky. The cello-driven, goth-girl rock band is touring with its new album, Sister Kinderhook, and its first-ever male cellist, Daniel DeJesus. Rasputina's seventh full-length since 1992 takes the band to a slightly simpler, stripped-down sound, but it still hews to a sort of Sleater Kinney/lo-fi grunge with the added touch of cellos. As the recent subject of tour documentary Under the Corset, Rasputina is anything but slowing down. Freak-folk singer Larkin Grimm opens at Mr. Small's Theatre. Kelsey Shea 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $15. All ages. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com

 

Peter S. Beagle at Joseph-Beth Booksellers
  • Peter S. Beagle at Joseph-Beth Booksellers

Mon., July 26 -- Words

Tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, a name author signs copies of his most famous book -- first published in 1968. But Roc Books is offering an illustrated 40th-anniversary edition of beloved fantasy novel The Last Unicorn, with its mythic horned heroine, a magician named Schmendrick and a picaresque cast of characters. And Peter S. Beagle himself visits to sign the paperback. BO 7 p.m. 510 S. 27th St., South Side. Free. 412-381-3600

 

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Tue., July 27 -- Rock

Earthride is on the Southern Lord roster and has the attributes of a sludgy doom outfit for sure. But compared to better-known labelmates like Sunn O))) and Khanate, the Maryland band is pretty accessible. Less devoted to stretching doom to its limits, Earthride is more about putting the growling, threatening edge back on Sabbath-worship rock. Fans of Pentagram are well advised to check out Earthride tonight at the 31st Street Pub. With Valkyrie and locals Argus. AM 9 p.m. 3101 Penn Ave., Strip District. $8. 412-394-8334 or www.31stpub.com

 

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Tue., July 27 -- Rock

Bob Log III must be getting older (though we can't really tell since he wears that helmet). But does playing lightning-fast Delta blues on guitar while picking up drum beats with one's feet, all while never showing one's face, ever really get old? The Fat Possum rocker, who's been at it a good 20 years, returns to hold court at the Thunderbird Café; start considering now whether you'll be the one to sit on his lap (or dip your nipple in his scotch). The Pork Torta opens the show, presented by frequent CP contributor Manny Theiner. AM 9 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $10-12. 412-682-0177 or thunderbirdcafe.net

 

Thu., July 29 -- Rock

The Rooftop Trio might make you want to extend lunch just a little longer today. As part of the Mellon Square Summer Concert Series, the young jazz and funk band performs live at noon, and breaks the Downtown routine with guitar-heavy jams and classic covers of artists like Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson. The series features different local performers every Thursday -- Crossing Boundaries plays August 5 -- and is sponsored by Citiparks, BOB-FM and City Paper. KS Noon. Smithfield Street and Sixth Avenue, Downtown. All ages. Free. 412-255-2391 or www.citiparks.net

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