Short List: Week of November 25 - December 2 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Week of November 25 - December 2

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Done in the style of an old-school barnstorming stage show, Zafira Dance Company's annual Vaudeville Carnivale is just a damn good time: Hear live music, watch bellydancers and trapeze artists, peruse oddities and curiosities. Attractions at the showcase's fourth iteration, on Sat., Nov. 27, at the Rex Theater, include Jill Parker and Tamara Nelson of California's Foxglove Sweethearts. The two perform vintage bellydance; Parker (pictured) is a famed instructor who helped found modern tribal-fusion bellydance. Zafira itself offers new-to-Pittsburgh bellydance works. There's also ballet (by sister act Sara Stout and Katrina Hamer) and aerialist performances by Pittsburgh's Erin Carey and Vermont's Amanda Goble. The music includes tunes by emcee Phat Man Dee and local old-time country and swing interpreters The Turpentiners. For all that, a wild card tonight might be Mr. Arm and Velda Von Minx, presenting Trundle Manor's Traveling Creepshow. This is a road version of the private, locally based collection highlighting "actual fright-inducing objects," including "our vast array of jarred animals, antique taxidermy, things for which to murder with, old world charm, sadistic medical devices,  coffins and coffin-like items, steampunk-influenced creations [and] cryptozoology." Step right up. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 27. Rex Theater, 1602 E. Carson St., South Side. $15-20. Over 21. 412-381-6811 or


Fri., Nov. 26 -- Outdoors

There's a fair chance that today you're both off work and seeking some mode besides sloth and gustatory overindulgence. Venture Outdoors prescribes its Herbal Tea Hike. It's a guided, moderately challenging five-mile tromp through scenic Settlers Cabin Park. Then comes a sampling of soothing, healthful home-made herbal teas. Perhaps some even help with digestion. Bill O'Driscoll 1-4 p.m. 1225 Greer Road, Oakdale. $12. Park: 412-787-2750


Artwork courtesy of Susan Sparks.

Fri., Nov. 26 -- Art

If it was a good way to end year 99, it's good enough for 100. So Associated Artists of Pittsburgh is reprising last year's big Deck the Walls group show of small works, filling Downtown's Gallery 707 with art in any medium so long as it's no bigger than 20 by 20 inches (or longer than 10 minutes for film or video). This is the final official exhibit of the AAP's centennial, so expect that some portion of the group's more than 500 artist members will have the little gallery teeming with art. (Pictured is work by Susan Sparks.) Tonight is an opening reception. BO 6-8:30 p.m. Exhibit continues through Dec. 13. 707 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-361-0873


Sat., Nov. 27 -- Games

If you're looking for a competition in which you're classified as a "senior" if you were born in the late '90s, look no further: The 2010 Pokémon City Championships are here! Part of an official series of tournaments, the city competition is the first step toward the trading-card-based game's world championships, held next summer in San Diego. The tournament is open to all players, regardless of experience (a pro-am of sorts). The three age categories ensure that no 9-year-olds are up against anyone old enough to remember a pre-Pokémon world. Andy Mulkerin 11 a.m. CCGs Cards, Comics and Games, 4020 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Free. All ages. 412-621-3401 or


Sat., Nov. 27 -- Festival

The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater hosts the third annual Suite Life: A Billy Strayhorn Birthday Bash, in honor of the pianist and local legend, composer of many of The Duke Ellington Orchestra's greatest hits. The mix of local and visiting artists includes Sean Jones and his New York City Quintet covering Strayhorn classics like "Something to Live For" and "Satin Doll." The August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble performs a new tribute to Strayhorn. Poet Christina Springer and vocalist Demareus Cooper serve as emcees for the evening, which includes a pre-show mixer. Weenta Girmay 8 p.m. (pre-show 7 p.m.) 5941 Penn Ave., East Liberty. $10-25. 412-363-3000 or


Sat., Nov. 27 -- DJs

Forget sweating to the oldies -- burn off those Thanksgiving calories in style tonight at Shadow Lounge, during the Title Town soul and funk dance party. At tonight's installment of the long-running party -- the last of 2010 -- regular hosts J. Malls and Gordy G. are joined by a special guest DJ making her Pittsburgh debut: The Honeydripper, a.k.a. Nydia Davila, longtime label manager for Daptone Records. Title Town -- the best antidote to tryptophan. Aaron Jentzen 9 p.m. 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. $5. 18+ with ID. 412-363-8277 or


Sat., Nov. 27 -- Rock

Broughton's Rules is the second local band in as many months to release a record on the big indie Relapse Records. (Hero Destroyed is the other.) The heavy guitar-rock band includes three members of '90s Pittsburgh mainstay (and Homestead Records signee) Blunderbuss, one of whom also did time in Don Caballero. The attention to warm, heavy tones and the mathy nature one might expect from such personnel shines through on the band's new Bounty Hunter 1853; the LP's release is celebrated tonight at Brillobox. Knot Feeder and Instructions open. AM 9:30 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 412-621-4900 or 


Sat., Nov. 27 -- Rock

Some long-lasting Pittsburgh rockers (we're looking at you, Clarks and Gruschecky) have hogged the spotlight for so long, it's become a bit of a punchline, even as they maintain an intense popularity. Then there are those who have labored in the wings: Evan Knauer's A.T.S. would figure in this group. The genre-defying, hyperliterate weird-rock band -- still active, but not with all the members it originally comprised -- celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, former members join the current lineup for a reunion of sorts tonight at Howlers; there'll even be a horn section. Love Letters opens. AM 9 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. 412-682-0320 


Sun., Nov. 28 -- Outdoors

It's three more weeks till winter, but it's already just about cold enough to enjoy the pleasures of the Schenley Park Skating Rink. The city's only regulation-size rink (well, the only one they let peons like us use) is your seven-days-a-week, all-ages Zamboni'd surface for glides, slides and flailing pratfalls. Thursdays is family night (one child free with each paying adult); there are also thrice-weekly discounts for college students, and adults-only sessions on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights, when the rink stays open till 11:30. They'll even sharpen your skates (for a small fee). BO 1:30-9 p.m. (Hours vary daily.) Schenley Park, Oakland. $3-4. 412-422-6253 or


Tue., Nov. 30 -- Music

Chris Botti is versatile. The trumpeter, currently the largest-selling American jazz instrumental artist, saw his career take off with his 2004 release When I Fall in Love. He's since become a cross-over success in a big way, performing a repertoire that spans pop, jazz and classical. His trumpet has crooned alongside the likes of Sting, Josh Groban, John Mayer, Aerosmith's Stephen Tyler and famed tenor Andrea Bocelli. The Grammy-nominated Botti appears at Heinz Hall tonight only, courtesy of Highmark Presents. WG 7:30 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $29-65. 412-392-4900 or


Tue., Nov. 30 -- Radio

It's not at midnight, but now it is actually on the radio. Bricolage Productions' Midnight Radio project, which performs radio-style plays live on stage, just wrapped another successful season. Tonight, WYEP broadcasts a recording of one of the highlights: The Dark Side of the House, Bricolage's original full-length adaptation of the chilling true story of a Pittsburgh burglar who made national headlines when a surgeon attempted to cure his criminal impulses by giving him a lobotomy. The one-hour broadcast includes musical guests and commercial spoofs. BO 7 p.m. WYEP 91.3 FM.


Wed., Dec. 1 -- Words

Many people want to change the world, but Leslie Crutchfield says she really knows how. The author and philanthropist writes and lectures on models of giving that make for high-impact change. Her forthcoming book, Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World, is a follow-up to Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Non-profits (which she co-wrote). Crutchfield's afternoon lecture today addresses how to move away from simple grant-making and toward real social change. WG 3:30 p.m. University Club, Ballroom B, 123 University Place, University of Pittsburgh campus, Oakland. Free. 412 624 4238 or


Thu., Dec. 2 – Folk

Texan singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe has just released her debut album, Suburban Nature, on Kirtland Records -- a set of songs resounding with both sensitivity and bravado. Jaffe's crackly voice evokes a more American-sounding Laura Marling; Jaffe's more introspective songs rely on rustic acoustic guitars and atmospheric textures, but on tracks like the single "Clementine," she cuts loose with drums and snarl. "Now I'm feelin' different," she deadpans. On recent tours she's opened for artists as disparate as Midlake and Norah Jones; on tonight's Club Café stop, she performs alongside singer-songwriter Ben Weaver and Caleb Pogyor. AJ 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.). 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. $8. 412-431-4950 or

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