Short List: Week of September 22 - 27 | Featured Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Week of September 22 - 27 

  • Photo courtesy of Paul G. Wiegman

The $78 million collected each year from the Allegheny Regional Asset District's 1 percent sales tax has many uses. Much of it keeps the lights on at libraries, supports parks or helps out your favorite arts group; some pays down stadium debt. But once a year, ARAD thanks taxpayers directly with RADical Days, a run of diverse free activities, mostly at places you'd usually have to pay for. The three weeks of the 10th annual edition begin on Sat., Sept. 24, with Allegheny County Parks Hartwood Acres Hay Day, a day-long festival including hay rides, pony rides and a petting zoo. If arias are your thing, check out Pittsburgh Opera: Rising Stars, a show by the opera's resident artists at its Strip District headquarters. On Sun., Sept. 25, RADical Days continues with free admission to the Carnegie Science Center. On Mon., Sept. 26, it's a free pass to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (pictured above). Other highlights: Next Sat., Oct. 1, freebies include the Sen. John Heinz History Center; City Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival; and Pittsburgh Filmmakers (screening the Ann Arbor Film Festival). And on Oct. 2, visit the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History; the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh; the Mattress Factory; and the New Hazlett Theater, for an afternoon of music, dance, theater and more. Bill O'Driscoll RAD Days continues through Oct. 15. Some events require registration.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ANNIE O'NEILL
  • Photo by Annie O'Neill

Thu., Sept. 22 -- Art

Organized efforts to document Pittsburgh photographically began in 1907, with The Pittsburgh Survey, and continued in the 1950s with the famed Pittsburgh Photographic Library -- not forgetting work by iconic shooters like W. Eugene Smith and Teenie Harris. The tradition continues with the Heinz Endowment's Downtown Now Photography Project, which from 2007-10 commissioned nine local photographers to document both big changes (like construction projects) and everyday life in and around Downtown. Carnegie Museum of Art curator of photography Linda Benedict-Jones has selected 86 of these images for Picturing the City: Downtown Pittsburgh, 2007-10. The exhibit, featuring work by the likes of Melissa Farlow, Mark Perrott, Martha Rial and Dylan Vitone, opens with a reception tonight. Bill O'Driscoll 6 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-622-3131 or


Fri., Sept. 23 -- Transportation

For commuters sick of acute whiplash from stop-and-go traffic, The Pittsburgh Climate Initiative offers a crash course in alternative transit. Transportation Exploration celebrates Moving Planet Day, an international effort promoting awareness about public and people-powered transportation. Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker, Port Authority CEO Steve Bland and Green Building Alliance Director of Innovation Aurora Sharrard speak about Pittsburghers' collective responsibility to utilize their city's options. The day also marks the complete outfitting of Port Authority buses with bike racks -- and includes a bike-racking demo for those who bus and bike. Amy Kuhre 7:30-9:30 a.m. Market Square, Downtown.

Art by Thommy Conroy and Tommy Bones. - PHOTO COURTESY OF JILL LARSON.
  • Photo Courtesy of Jill Larson.
  • Art by Thommy Conroy and Tommy Bones.

Fri., Sept. 23 -- Art

How many artworks can you fit in Space Gallery? For curator Jill Larson, the answer is "more than 20,000." Larson asked 20 local and visiting artists to make 1,000 pieces of art each -- and what's more, to make them free, so that each visitor can interact with the art by taking a piece of it away. Thus Extraction, an exhibit opening tonight and featuring installations like Matthew Paul Isaacson's war tableaux with thousands of cast figurines (including Smurfs); Chris Craychee's freezer full of secret-message ice-cubes; and Delanie Jenkins' plan to give away a thousand $1 bills (if you pass the interview). BO 5:30 p.m. 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-325-7723 or


Sat., Sept. 24 --Outdoors

As its first order of business, new nonprofit Paddle Without Pollution engages dozens of volunteers to rid city riverbanks of trashy accretions. Canoeists and kayakers of all skill levels can help clean up 26 total miles of riverbank, culminating at Point State Park. Co-founders David and Melissa Rohm provide trash bags, gloves and snacks. Volunteers should bring their own form of aquatic transportation to one of the three launch points: Brunot Island, the Three Rivers Rowing Alliance's Millvale launch and the South Side Riverfront Park boat launch. Those without a paddle can contribute by offloading debris at designated points. AK 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Free. Register at


Sat., Sept. 24 -- Stage

In its seventh season, Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks continues bringing the Bard to the people, outdoors and for free. This year's late-summer-afternoon's dream is The Merry Wives of Windsor, a bustling farce featuring a conniving, out-at-elbows incarnation of Shakespeare's rambunctious knight Falstaff. This is the fourth and final weekend of performances, today and tomorrow in Frick Park's Blue Slide Playground. Tommy Costello directs, with original music by Ryan McMasters; the action roves a bit; bring a blanket or a chair. BO 2 p.m. Also 2 p.m. Sun., Sept. 25. Beechwood Boulevard and Nicholson Street, Squirrel Hill. Donations accepted.


Sat., Sept. 24 -- Words

Tonight, see the largest poetry reading in history -- or at least Pittsburgh's slice of it. Global event 100,000 Poets for Change is the brainchild of California-based poet and publisher Michael Rothenberg, who believes that verse and the celebration of it can make the world a better place. Rothenberg promises that today, the aforesaid number of poets will gather at 600 events in 95 countries and 450 cities, from Brisbane to Botswana, and Paris to Mumbai. Not forgetting Pretoria to Pittsburgh, where, at Hemingway's, poets will read, including Luqmon Abdus-Salaam, Jimmy Cvetic, Nancy Krygowski, Christina Springer and Don Wentworth. There's also an open mike. BO 8 p.m. 3911 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Free. 


Mon., Sept. 26 -- Words

Tonight, it's First Amendment things first, as the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the ACLU presents FREADom, its annual star-studded celebration of banned and challenged books. Featured readers this year at the Frick Fine Arts Building include rapper and activist Jasiri X (of "What If the Tea Party Was Black?" fame); the cocktail ladies of LUPEC; actor, educator and philanthropist Richard Rauh; Bricolage Production Company; and writer and indie rocker Karl Hendricks. Also: a banned-songs sing-along. BO 7 p.m. Schenley Drive, Oakland. Free. 412-681-7736 or

click to enlarge Public art by Nobuho Nagasawa
  • Public art by Nobuho Nagasawa

Tue., Sept. 27 -- Words

Interdisciplinary artist Nobuho Nagasawa built a reputation for rejuvenating public spaces into ethereal breaks from urban dissonance. Themes of light, shadow and weightlessness pervade many of her commissioned projects, including "Landings," an avian-inspired redesign of the Soto Station in Los Angeles. Today, the Carnegie Mellon School of Arts Lecture Series welcomes the Japanese-born, New York-based artist to Kresge Theater. Among topics discussed will be her upcoming project Downtown, connecting the Mon Wharf with Point Park campus. AK 5 p.m. College of Fine Arts Building, CMU campus, Oakland. Free. 412-268-2084 or

John D'Agata
  • John D'Agata

Tue., Sept. 27 -- Words

For readers and writers fascinated by shifting boundaries of creative non-fiction, University of Pittsburgh hosts essayist John D'Agata at its Contemporary Writer Series. Concepts of informative prose will be challenged as the "poetic journalist" shares more than a decade worth of experience in crafting creative non-fiction. Author of essay collections About a Mountain and Halls of Fame, D'Agata's work covers a parade of curiosities including a toxic-waste site in the Nevada desert and a Hall of Fame for Marbles. The creative-writing professor, editor and essayist examines the popular genre at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. AK 8:30 p.m. Schenley Drive, Oakland. Free. 412-624-6506 or


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