Short List: Week of September 17 - 24 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Week of September 17 - 24

Emerging from a long, winding and controversial Broadway history, Beggar's Holiday hits the stage this weekend in a biting satire of greed and corruption as seen through the blind eyes of an affable beggar named Mac. The musical -- it's Duke Ellington's only Broadway show -- re-envisions Brecht's The Threepenny Opera. It premiered in 1946, with picketers protesting the racially integrated cast. Ellington actually never finished writing the second act; the cast (which included Zero Mostel and Alfred Drake) never recorded an album. All that, plus mixed reviews, temporarily consigned Beggar's Holiday to the nether realm of musical-theater lore. But it would not remain silent forever. Dale Wasserman, who had co-produced the original show, spent 50 years piecing together the puzzle that was Beggar's Holiday to create a musical satire that remains relevant today. The latest of Wasserman's revisions --  completed just prior to his death, in 2008 -- is the version the Pittsburgh Opera Theater presents this week. "This is really the first major revival of a piece that nobody knows," says Opera Theater's Jonathan Eaton, who directs. "It's a great opportunity for Pittsburgh to see a work that really no one has seen." The music remains true to Ellington's jazz compositions. Broadway and Disney movie vocalist Timothy Blevins plays the lead role of Mac, and acclaimed jazz singer Maureen Budway is Cozy Cool. With the music played live by Manchester Craftsmen's Guild musicians, the show will fill the MCG stage with a colorful array of beggars, mobsters, hookers and some of the most interesting street people in theater. Wasserman once promised that Mac's musical vacation from the demanding hours of the begging profession "has something to offend everybody. ... The show is first of all entertaining, but nobody -- repeat, nobody -- escapes the bite of its teeth." Lucy Leitner 8 p.m. Fri., Dec. 18; 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 19; and 2:30 p.m. Sun., Dec. 20. MCG Jazz Music Hall, 1815 Metropolitan St., North Side. $42.50. 412-456-6666 or


Thu. Dec. 17 -- Rock

What would a holiday season be these days without an appearance by Silver and Gold? The local rock super-group has taken to getting together once a year at WYEP's Holiday Hootenanny; it's now fair to call it a tradition. Musicians from bands like Donora, Blindsider, and Meeting of Important People -- among many others -- will gather at Pittsburgh Opera to regale those in the holiday spirit with some carol-type songs. There will, of course, be food and drink as well, and it all benefits the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Andy Mulkerin 6:30 p.m. 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. All ages. $5 donation plus one non-perishable food item. 412-381-9131 or


Thu., Dec. 17 -- Words

What to get the radical aesthete who has everything? A trip to the Encyclopedia Destructica space tonight might help with that conundrum: Just Seeds, a group of printmakers with radical leanings from across the U.S. and Canada, holds a print sale just in time for the holidays. Local artist Mary Tremonte -- Just Seeds member and Encyclopedia Destructica's current resident artist -- hosts the sale while her zine collection remains on display for perusal in the space. AM 7 p.m. 156 41st St., Lawrenceville. Free; prints sell for up to $35.


Thu., Dec. 17 -- Comedy

Imitator of the rich and famous Pablo Francisco returns to the Improv tonight to spoof our celebrity-obsessed world. Known as "The Movie Trailer Guy" for, among others, his one-man action-movie preview parody starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a tortilla vendor, Francisco is a former Mad TV player who hit the road with Carlos Mencia and Freddy Soto as part of "The Three Amigos" tour. With his impressions of Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey and Ozzy Osbourne, US Weekly subscribers beware. Lucy Leitner 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Continues Fri., Dec. 18- Sun., Dec. 20. 166 E. Bridge St., W. Homestead. 412-462-5233 or


Fri., Dec. 18 -- Film

Get your anti-Happy Holidays vibe on at the latest installment of the SuperTrash exploitation-film series at The Andy Warhol Museum. The double-feature dose of cinematic depravity begins with Guerdon Trueblood's 1973 shocker The Candy Snatchers, in which a pretty girl is kidnapped by sickos. Next, it's a very fraught Christmas, as a deranged killer dressed as Santa Claus goes on a rampage in Silent Night, Deadly Night. Charles E. Sellier Jr.'s holiday slasher pic was yanked from theaters upon release in 1984. Now you can see it at a museum. Al Hoff 7 p.m. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10. 412-237-8300 or


Fri., Dec. 18 -- Stage

"All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find." In his A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas evoked memory, character, a timeless sense of belonging. Playhouse Jr., the children's theater company at Point Park University, honors the beloved prose poem with a new stage adaptation co-written by Mark Staley, who directs a student cast. The show concludes with four performances this weekend. Bill O'Driscoll 8 p.m. Also 2 and 8 p.m. Sat., Dec. 19, and 2 p.m. Sun., Dec. 20. Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland. $7. 412-621-4445 or


Image courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art, gift of George Leary

Sat., Dec. 19 -- Art 

Decked out like the interior of a Renaissance castle, the Carnegie Museum of Art presents Gods, Love, and War, an array of tapestries and prints from the permanent collection on display for the next six months. The immense woven wall hangings from the 16th and 17th centuries depict glorious moments in myth and history; they once served as a means for royalty to commemorate such triumphs. Along with the panoramic tapestries, the exhibit, which opens today, features master prints by the likes of Albrecht Dürer, and an ongoing loom demonstration on the techniques behind these ornate masterpieces. LL 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $11-15. 412-622-3131 or


Cara Rufenacht of Venture Outdoors

Sat., Dec. 19 -- Outdoors

They say everything tastes better in the woods. That might go double for woodsy food like "mountain pie." That's the treat made with a couple of pieces of bread, old-fashioned pie irons -- heated over an open fire -- and fillings from fruit to cream cheese. And it goes triple in winter, when an easy, family-friendly hike through hilly Riverview Park helps work up an appetite. Venture Outdoors leads today's guided Mountain Pie Ramble. Pre-registration is encouraged, but walk-up participants (so to speak) are welcome. BO 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Riverview Park, Observatory Hill. $5 ($20 per family). 412- 255-0564 x21


Sat., Dec. 19 -- Music

The Renaissance City Choirs might not look a day over 21, but tonight's the LGBT group's 25th Anniversary Holiday Concert. As always, RCC artistic director Andres Cladera offers a mix of the traditional and the new. The Carnegie Music Hall concert includes not only Handel's Hallelujah chorus, but also members of the Edgewood Symphony joining in for excerpts from Saint-Saëns' Christmas Oratorio. And familiar singalong tunes hold their place next to everything from "O Tannenbaum" to the newfangled "Come Out for Christmas" and "Surabaya Santa." Afterward, stick around for the cookie reception. BO 8 p.m. (7 p.m. reception). 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $7-49.50. 412-362-9484 or


Sat., Dec. 19 -- Rock

If the holidays have given you the bah-humbugs, consider celebrating Festivus, the alternative, non-commercial holiday inspired by Seinfeld. Locally, promoter and CP contributor Manny Theiner hosts an annual concert featuring the Youngstown-based Leonard Cohen Ensemble One, which also just happens to convene once a year, covering tunes by the legendary songwriter. Festivus V, tonight at Howlers Coyote Café, features the Ensemble, along with The Hit & Miss Engines, Emily Rodgers and Swing Set. Stop by and spread a little "rest of us" cheer. Aaron Jentzen 8 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $7. 412-682-0320


Sat., Dec. 19 -- Rock

As long as there are kindly yet clueless relatives -- basically, until the end of time -- we'll be seeing some version of the ugly holiday sweater. The award for snarkiest use of one by a musician probably goes to Donald Fagen and his reindeer sweater, but local bands have gotten in on the irony with the annual Ugly Sweater Show. Now in its fifth year, the show features School of Athens, Triggers, Retrofitter and Paul Luc tonight at Club Café. Wear your own ugly sweater and get in for $5, plus drink specials. AJ 9 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side. 412-431-4950 or


Wed., Dec. 23 -- DJ

Tony Toca -- DJ Tony Touch -- has been at it since the early '90s and has made a name for himself as one of the finest (and most prolific) mixtape creators out there. Having toured with The Roots and Big Pun, and manned the tables for Eminem (on whose satellite radio channel Toca has a regular show), he's a legit major player. Tonight, he appears at Shadow Lounge in a Christmas Eve-eve edition of the Classic Material DJ night. Also appearing: locals Selecta, SMI, Hank D, BZE and Luqmon Abdus-Salaam, along with New York's Smoking Sextion. AM 10 p.m. 5972 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. Ages 18 and over. $20. 412-363-8277

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