Short List: Week of November 18 - 25 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Week of November 18 - 25






As co-creator of The Daily Show, well before Jon Stewart hosted, satirist Lizz Winstead gets partial credit for helping the nation's progressives weather today's right-wing backlash. But Winstead, a performer and writer, has long since moved on. She co-founded, and hosted on, radio's late, lamented Air America. She's a news junkie and blogger with a book of essays due out soon. She's developing a television version of Wake Up World, her sharp-clawed off-Broadway satire of TV morning shows. And now she's touring nationally with My State of the Union, a one-woman show heavy on current-events comedy. Reached at home in Brooklyn, Winstead -- who plays the August Wilson Center on Sat., Nov. 20 -- sees her live shows as performing the same service as Stewart's big Washington rally: People see their neighbors there, and discover like minds. "Once you start bringing people together in a community, even in a comedy show like that, they really dig it," says Winstead, 49. Moreover, "It's a catharsis. When people realize they can still laugh at the nuttiness, they still have a little bit of hope." And heads up, Pat Toomey and Luke Ravenstahl --Winstead always studies up on local politics, too. Opening her Nov. 20 show are local performers Dr. Goddess (who brought Winstead to town), Jasiri X and Gab Bonesso. On Sun., Nov. 21, Winstead will also lead a comedy-writing workshop here. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 20. 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown. $15-50.  917-545-7284 or


Photo courtesy of Kerry Skarbakka

Thu., Nov. 18 -- Art

Kerry Skarbakka is falling. Falling from the sky, falling down the stairs, falling out a window. He appears suspended in swamps, bathtubs, sewers and oceans. The Pittsburgh-based, internationally exhibited artist's new photography and video exhibition, Anxiety and Redemption, opens at Filmmakers Galleries tonight. The photographs feature Skarbakka as his own model, floating in mid-air or underwater, ambiguously lingering in the viewer's imagination between total collapse and flight. The reception includes an artist's talk. Weenta Girmay 5:30-8 p.m. (7 p.m. talk). Exhibit continues through Dec. 5. 477 Melwood Ave. Oakland. Free. 412-681-5449 or


Photo courtesy of Tom Persinger

Thu., Nov. 18 -- Music

The Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, a group of professional singers and pianists, debuts at Pittsburgh Opera's Strip District space with a multimedia rendition of Schumann's beloved song cycle Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love). This rarely performed classical piece includes all 20 songs in the cycle and features internationally known baritone Troy Cook and pianist Benjamin Binder. Pre-performance, local photographer Tom Persinger exhibits 20 salt-print photographs, each one inspired by a movement of Dichterliebe's poetic journey. The photos also provide a backdrop for the performance, projected behind the performers with accompanying lyrics. WG 7:30 p.m. 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. $12.50-25. 412-396-4355 or


Thu., Nov. 18 -- Music

Philly-based Bilal may be known more for his collaborations than his solo work: The vocalist's résumé includes regular appearances with Common, and work with Jay-Z and Erykah Badu. The classically trained singer and New School grad toes the line between mainstream pop and more complicated jazz-infused soul music. His latest, Airtight's Revenge, came out this fall; he appears tonight at Shadow Lounge with support from DJ Vex, Gene Stovall and Tiara Wiles. The two shows, at 8 and 11 p.m., mark his Pittsburgh debut. Andy Mulkerin 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. $30. 412-363-8277 or


Fri., Nov. 19 -- Festival

Pittsburgh's annual celebration of conspicuous electricity consumption is expanding: The 50th Light Up Night runs two days, at spots throughout the Golden Triangle. It starts today with parades, tree-lightings and music outdoors, the latter both in Market Square and at the Bridge Party on the Roberto Clemente Bridge (with headliner Donnie Iris and the Cruisers). The PPG Plaza ice rink opens -- and yup, there's fireworks too. Tomorrow brings more outdoor music, free horse-carriage rides and more. Most of it's free, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. BO 4-10 p.m. Also 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. tomorrow. Downtown. 412-566-4190 or


Fri., Nov. 19 -- Art

Not quite blinded by the incandescent excesses of Light Up Night, a new art exhibit explores scaling back. At Space gallery, guest curator Ally Reeves' Scale: Aesthetic Turbulence and the Search for Lifestyle Panacea asks artists to envision working, playing and living "in a world where creativity has become an everyday necessity and even a survival technique." Sculptor Derk Wolmuth, for instance, contributes a functional show built from 80 percent salvaged materials. Other artists include Bill Daniel, Teresa Foley, Gordon Kirkwood, Heidi Tucker and Caleb Gamble. The opening reception is tonight. BO 6-9 p.m. Exhibit continues through Feb. 6. 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-325-7723


Photo courtesy of Travis Neely

Fri., Nov. 19 -- Rock

The Composure didn't have to look far for a label to release its first album: The locally based band, fronted by Punchline guitarist Paul Menotiades, signed to Modern Short Stories, the records-and-more clearinghouse run by Punchline's Steve Soboslai. The full-length, Strings Attached, comes out next week nationally, and tonight is the release show at The Smiling Moose. The record is full of the hooky, professional sounds one would expect from a bunch of veteran pop-punkers, plus some rhythmic changes and unexpected extras that improve upon the genre's template. With River City Extension, Vesta, Bright and Early, Caleb Lovely. AM 6:30 p.m. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4668 or


Fri., Nov. 19 -- Cooking

Who says you can't teach a bachelor to cook? Pittsburgh native turned New York celebrity chef Chad Carns makes it easy with the simple yet fanciful recipes in his cookbook The Gourmet Bachelor: Global Flavor, Local Ingredients. Tonight, he returns for a book-signing and cooking demonstration at his alma mater, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Other Light Up Night events and local appearances follow. For Steelers fans tired of the same old burgers and dogs, Carns visits Heinz Field on Sun., Nov. 21 -- game day -- for a gourmet Korean barbeque tailgating demo. WG 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Art Institute, 420 Boulevard of the Allies, Downtown. Free.) Events continue through Nov. 27. 412-566-4190 or


Sat., Nov. 20 -- Rock

Time and tide wait for no band, and The Gathering Field's members have been plenty busy since they disbanded, after the Pittsburgh group reached a national audience in the mid-1990s. Frontman Bill Deasy, for example, continues to record and perform solo, and has even branched into novel-writing. But who doesn't like the occasional blast from the past? The Gathering Field reunites for a show tonight at Diesel, formerly Nick's Fat City, where the band got started. There's no opener, so expect plenty of favorites from this beloved Pittsburgh band. Aaron Jentzen 7:30 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.). 1601 E. Carson St., South Side. $15. 412-431-8800 or


Sat., Nov. 20 -- Words

In response to the impending finale of the Gist Street Reading Series, Pittsburgh newcomer Phinehas Hodges has created a new venue where words count. Speaking of ... is meant as that rare showcase for both performance-based and literary poetry. At tonight's first installment, at the North Side's Amani Café, the attractions include local poetry-slam favorite Brian Francis and poet Elizabeth Hoover. Also reading is Sherrie Flick, a fiction writer ... and co-founder of the long-running Gist Street. In the Gist tradition, eating is encouraged, here with a suggestion to bring your own cookies. BO 8 p.m. 507 Foreland St., North Side. $5. 412-322-0674 or


Sat., Nov. 20 -- Rock

You may have seen acoustic duo The Wreckids holding down a street corner during October's Gallery Crawl, sharing their irreverent fun, lefty message and catchy melodies with passers-by. Tonight, they release their second EP, Sycamore, with a show at the Thunderbird Café, also featuring Donora and Nik and The Central Plains.  The Wreckids describe Sycamore as "anti-pollution, pro-gay, anti-dogma, pro-positive attitude," but it's hardly earnest preachifying -- there's usually a barbed humor. "If you're looking for love and you're bi-curious, make the biblical literalists furious," they advise on the song "Homo Erectus." Indeed. AJ 9 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $5. 412-682-0177 or


Tue., Nov. 23 -- Stage

Rock of Ages is one of those guilty pleasures you hear about -- a stage musical, set in a Los Angeles rock club in 1987, that dares to sing along with Journey, Styx, Pat Benatar and Whitesnake. The nationally touring version of the 2009 Broadway hit visits the Benedum Center for eight shows starting tonight, courtesy of PNC Broadway Across America. The production stars American Idol celeb Constantine Maroulis. In his New York Times review, Charles Isherwood described Rock as "a seriously silly, absurdly enjoyable arena-rock musical," He added, "Call it Xanadu for straight people -- and straight-friendly people too." BO 7:30 p.m. Shows continue through Nov. 28. $21-74. 412-456-6666 or


Wed., Nov. 24 -- Comedy

Boomers versus Millennials -- it's not a lost episode of Battlestar Galactica. It's the Generation Wars standup comedy tour, a locally itinerant affair that pits graying grumpster John McIntire against attention-span-challenged young 'un Gab Bonesso. McIntire on apathetic under-30 voters: "Thanks to the young people, we have John Boehner, the Lizard King, as the speaker of the House." Bonesso: "John's bitching because none of us vote? I'm sorry -- make it an iPhone app!" The skirmishes continue tonight at Grey Box Theatre. More are planned, including Dec. 9, at the Pittsburgh Improv. BO 8 p.m. 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $15 (BYOB). 412-586-7744 or

click to enlarge Brian Francis at Speaking of ...
Brian Francis at Speaking of ...

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