Short List: Week of June 25 - July 2 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Week of June 25 - July 2 

click to enlarge COURTESY OF JASON COHN

Hear ye, hear ye: With its Midnight Radio project, Bricolage Theatre revives the tradition of the classic radio serial -- think The Shadow, The Lone Ranger, soap operas -- with modern twists and Pittsburgh flavor. Following last summer's trial run, Bricolage returns June 26 and 27 with the first of four monthly stage performances of original 10-minute genre plays for radio. For nine local playwrights, it's science fiction, detective noir and more told strictly with sounds: human voices and whatever noises can be produced live, whether manually or via old-school sound-effects LPs. The Radio Series Smack-Down (co-sponsored by CP) showcases three such cliffhangers each month, plus musical guests and audience-participation fun. (Think haiku and Secret Decoder rings.) The winner of each month's audience balloting faces off -- with a fresh installment of the serial -- at September's concluding smackdown. In June, the show Bricolage calls "Prairie Home Companion on Red Bull" showcases Monongahela, Lissa Brennan's Planet of the Apes-style take on Pittsburgh's future; Sloan MacRae's Daily Bread Hour of Prayer Power, a religious-revival takeoff; and Michael McGovern's self-explanatorily titled Connie Frankenstein Presents "Siamese Twins Meet The Thing With Two Heads." Bricolage mad scientists Jeff Carpenter and Tami Dixon have recruited top local actors for their vocal talents (and ability to play multiple roles). Sam McUmber is the one-man band; this month also features musical guests UkuLizzy and Buddy Nutt, and a celebrity mystery guest. Mostly, though, Bricolage wants you to listen up. "It's kind of a lab for sound," says Carpenter. Bill O'Driscoll 10 p.m. Fri., June 26, and 10 p.m. Sat., June 27. 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $15. 412-381-6999


Sat., June 27 -- Book

Among the comforts of America's most livable city is having our own celebrity medical examiner. (Does that rank us among the "most die-able" too?) But Cyril's not the only such act. Dr. Michael Baden, too, frequents the small screen, as a commentator and as host of HBO's Autopsy. When not discussing dead bodies on TV, Baden writes about them; he and his wife, attorney Linda Kenney Baden, recently released Skeleton Justice, a suspense novel featuring, of all things, a medical examiner and his romantic partner, a lawyer. Michael Baden appears at today's Coffee & Crime Breakfast at Oakmont's venerable Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Andy Mulkerin 10 a.m. 514 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont. $5. Reservations required at 412-828-4877 or


Sat., June 27 -- Wine

Recessionary times have drawn us to DIY projects: growing our own food, crocheting our own iPod cozies. Sometimes, though, doing it yourself is more about fun than saving money. Take wine. A bottle of two-buck Chuck might be cheaper, but crafting your own in the basement takes your oeno-experience to the next level. Today at Butler County's Porter House Brew Shop, learn the basics as the store offers Wine 102, a hands-on class in making fruit wines. Beginners are welcome, and food is provided. AM 4-6 p.m. 12894 Perry Hwy., Portersville. $20. Reservations required at 724-368-9771


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Sat., June 27 -- Film

Equal parts twisted visionary and computer-geek genius, Moshe Mahler uses CGI technology to explore the darker, grimier facets of human existence. Mahler and his crew at the Carnegie Mellon Graphics Lab concocted Motion Pictures, a series of digitally animated video installations that emphasize movement and emotion. "Three Rooms" features a house full of demented humans and animals that engage in depressing, cyclical behaviors, while "Oral Fixations" stars a large-mouthed glutton with an ever-expanding waistline. The exhibition opens tonight at Mount Lebanon's Art Loft. Andrea Bullard 6-9 p.m. Exhibit continues through July 17. 615 Washington Road. Free. 412-563-3003


Sat., June 27 -- Fights

It's taken a while since the sport was finally sanctioned in Pennsylvania, but Pittsburgh gets its first look at the increasingly popular pursuit known as mixed martial arts. In the real-life version of that Warrior movie they're shooting here, main-event fighters Rich Clementi and Kyle Jensen square off at Mellon Arena in tonight's Ultimate Cage Fighting Challenge's Rumble on the Rivers, presented by locally based promoter Still Standing Productions. Other fighters set to strike and grapple include former standout Duquesne University wrestler James Brasco; Shaler High grad Joe DeMore; and former Steelers lineman (and NCAA champion wrestler) Carlton Haselrig. BO 7:30 p.m. Downtown. $31.50-72. 800-745-3000 or


  • Courtesy of Johnny Moto

Sat., June 27 -- Rock

Adam Franklin rose to prominence as frontman for Swervedriver, the early '90s British shoegaze band that never quite made a commercial splash but became one of the most influential acts of the genre. In the years since Swervedriver broke up (not counting last year's reunion), Franklin has released numerous records under his own name; as alias Toshack Highway; and in collaborations such as Magnetic Morning. His latest is Spent Bullets. He appears tonight at the Rex Theatre, in support of long-lasting Australian rockers The Church. AM 8 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $25 ($30 day of show). 412-381-6811 or


Sat., June 27 -- Rock

When Donora debuted on the big stage at Mr. Small's, quite awhile back -- and well before they signed with Rostrum Records -- it was the first indication I'd seen that the local trio had the goods to make it on a larger scale: irresistible pop hooks, unique stage presence and a surprisingly layered, sweeping sound. Donora's back at Small's tonight with some more local groups of considerable promise: Ben Hardt and His Symphony, The Harlan Twins and The Blonde Girls. Consider it a crash-course in the local scene's best indie-pop, suitable for export. Aaron Jentzen 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.). 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $7. All ages. 412-821-4447 or


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Sun., June 28 -- Alt-Country

Over the past 16 years, The Old 97's have created a literary yet blistering style of alt-country, and have shown remarkable stamina, surviving a major-label meltdown, their frontman going solo and the usual ups and downs that wreck lesser bands. While some of the albums are pretty goddamn great, the best way to experience The Old 97's is live, and tonight at Hartwood Acres Amphitheatre, you can do that for free. The show is part of their "Evening With" tour, which opens with solo acoustic sets by Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond. AJ 7:30 p.m. Indiana Township. All ages. 412-767-9200 or



Sun., June 28 -- Ambient

Tonight, The Andy Warhol Museum welcomes acclaimed Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, performing in the theater with a six-piece ensemble. With his cinematic themes and dreamlike textures that combine orchestral instruments and electronics, it's no surprise that Jóhannsson has composed extensively for film and theater, among his many projects. His latest solo release is 2008's Fordlândia, on the legendary 4AD label, which features the haunting strings and vocoder of "The Sun's Gone Dim and the Sky's Turned Black." AJ 8-10 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $12. 412-237-8300 or


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Tue., June 30 -- Jazz

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has a groovy remedy for Tuesday-evening drudgery -- JazzLive, a summer concert series. Tonight at Katz Plaza, PCT hosts Dwayne Dolphin on piccolo, electric and acoustic basses. Dolphin favors the unusual piccolo bass these days, but years of international travel and collaborations with some of the most innovative acts in jazz and funk have colorfully nuanced his sound. Local jazz quartet Sweaty Betty Blues comes to the rescue next week. AB 5-7 p.m. Continues Tuesdays through Sept. 8. Penn Avenue and Seventh Street, Downtown. Free. 412-456-6666


Wed., July 1 -- Outdoors

Picture it: watching the sun majestically take over the sky from a small watercraft, the rays gleaming on skyscrapers and lighting the tranquil early morning water. You're not on a zillion-dollar vacation in Thailand -- you've merely joined Kayak Pittsburgh for its Wednesday Wake Up Paddle. Every week, moderately skilled paddlers take in the sunrise for an hour and still have time to get to work, sunkissed and blissed out. (Beginners can try the group's Beginner Paddles, on Monday evenings.) Melissa Meinzer 6:15-7:30 a.m. Meet under the Sixth Street Bridge, North Side. $18. 412-969-9090 or


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Wed., July 1 -- Birds

As anyone who's been dive-bombed by a Eurasian eagle owl knows, close encounters with birds of prey deliver quite the adrenaline rush. It's bound to happen at least twice today at FliteZone, the National Aviary's summer bird show, where a few inches are all that separate human heads from the wingspans and talons of hooded vultures. Also taking flight this morning are hyacinths, macaws and a North American bald eagle named Indy. AB 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Continues Wednesdays through Sundays through Sept. 7. 700 Arch St., North Side. $10. ($9 seniors; $8.50 children; free for kids under 2). 412-323-7235


Thu., July 2 -- Art

The '50s weren't America's most culturally fecund years, but artist Sheila Klein has transformed one of the decade's tackier artifacts into high art. Plastic hairdo covers, popular with beehive-sporting housewives, were among Klein's muses for Map of Everything, a series of immersive, textile-based installations. The exhibition opens tonight at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, as does AUGËRE, a compendium of artwork by former PCA Artists of the Year, including Robert Qualters, Kathleen Mulcahy and Adrienne Heinrich. Thirty AUGËRE pieces will be auctioned Aug. 31 to begin a fund for future recipients. AB 5:30-8:00 p.m. Exhibits run through August 30. 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. $5. 412-361-0873


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