Best of Culture: August

This month’s finest exhibits, dance, theater, lectures and more.




Photo by Rich Sofranko
 


By Karen Dacko

International Choreography Competition/Jazz Dance World Festival
Aug. 1-4

Jazz Dance World Congress, established in 1990 by late jazz-dance meister Gus Giordano and Northwestern University, is an international educational event, offering master classes and public performances (including a choreography competition and a main-stage festival). Imported programming features 10 troupes, including Mexico’s Cuerpo Etéreo Danza Contemporánea and Japan’s Masashi Action Machine — plus companies from Chicago, Salt Lake City and Philadelphia. Three local troupes — August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and students from Point Park University’s Conservatory Dance Co. — will also perform.

(Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., downtown; 412/456-6666, jazzdanceworldcongress.org)

Pillow Project
Aug. 11 & 31

This month’s “Second Saturday” event showcases ( ) — an evening-length minimalist jazz work about interpersonal connections. “Fifth Friday,” a new Pillow Project initiative, offers works by the troupe and informal opportunities for audience participation.

(The Space Upstairs, 214 N. Lexington St., Point Breeze; 412/225-9269, pillowproject.org)

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Aug. 16

Recently promoted principal dancer Christine Schwaner and soloist Amanda Cochrane — along with new apprentices Corey Bourbonniere, JoAnna Schmidt and Casey Taylor — perform in Ballet Under the Stars, PBT’s annual outdoor showcase featuring Dwight Rhoden’s “Chromatic” and “Napoli Variations” by August Bournonville.

(Hartwood Acres Amphitheater, Middle Road, Allison Park, 412/767-9200; PBT: 412/281-0360, pbt.org)



By Mike May

“Humor in Craft”
July 20-Oct. 27

Funny thing — art doesn’t often have a sense of humor. Art is Serious stuff. That’s why a show like “Humor in Craft” is refreshing — especially during the summer. Guest curator Brigitte Martin, artist and author of the new book Humor in Craft, has assembled a fun group of 33 artists from around the globe to tackle this theme in a world-premiere exhibit at Society for Contemporary Craft. Of course, being funny requires talent and creativity — sometimes in greater abundance than when the goal is to create Serious art. The humor here can range from laugh-out-loud funny to more subtle wit, employing irony, sarcasm and political shadings. And let’s not forget that some of the most Serious things in life can be expressed in jest.

(2100 Smallman St., Strip District; 412/261-7003, contemporarycraft.org)

“American Idols”
Aug. 3-Nov. 10

It’s election time — and what better way to salute the season than with heads of state: busts of all our American presidents, from Washington to Obama. But don’t expect a staid, civics-class look at our leaders. In “American Idols,” glass sculptor John Moran offers an offbeat whimsical interpretation: Consider Abraham Lincoln as a hipster or Rutherford B. Hayes as a lumberjack.

(Pittsburgh Glass Center, 5472 Penn Ave., Friendship; 412/365-2145, pittsburghglasscenter.org)



By Kristofer Collins

Carolyne Whelan
Aug. 19

Whelan, who will speak at the Carnegie Library Main Branch event, is the author of recently published The Glossary of Tania Aebi, a poem cycle concerning the first American woman to circumnavigate the globe. In the past, I’ve referred to Whelan’s poetry in these pages as “spare, even austere, with nary a word wasted. The terminology of sailing frames defines Aebi’s world, providing a structure to safely move her across the water and into her own self. The experience of a young woman at sea becomes a metaphor for the insignificance we can sometimes feel in our less-dramatic lives on dry land.”

(4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 2pm; free; carnegielibrary.org)

Reading Room in Market Square
Aug. 28

Now in its third season, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Reading Room in Market Square offers a generous sampling of CLP programs for downtown workers and visitors. Spend your lunch hour getting your bookworm on! Librarians will be on hand to help steer you toward your new favorite book. Special book discussions are also on the lunchtime menu. And I’m sure if you ask nicely, the librarians will throw some french fries on top.

(Market Square, downtown; 11am-2pm; free; downtownpittsburgh.com)


By Robert Isenberg

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre
Aug. 2-25

Nikolai Ivanov is kind of a jerk. He’s manipulative, he owes money and he’s ambivalent about his wife’s tuberculosis. Ivanov, a four-act drama, is a difficult pill to swallow — but like all of Chekhov’s works, the play is a heartfelt tale of choices and regret, made all the more splendid in this Tom Stoppard adaptation. Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre presents this lesser-known masterpiece by the great Russian master. But that’s not all for PICT: Every other year, Pittsburgh’s premier classical company shows its mettle with a month-long festival. This year, “A Celebration of the Life and Theatre of Anton Chekhov” lasts five weeks, from July 19 to Aug. 26. Catch “Funny Chekhov”, a series of Chekhovian comedies, and “After Chekhov”, with Russo-inspired plays by Brian Friel — but be sure to check the PICT site for all the details.

(Charity Randall Theatre, Stephen Foster Memorial, University of Pittsburgh, 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/624-7529, picttheatre.org)

Comtra Theatre
Aug. 17-Sept. 1

Elle Woods is just your prototypical sorority girl, until her boyfriend dumps her. Why would Warner move on? Because he wants a “more serious” girlfriend. So Elle struts her way into Harvard Law, with unexpected results. Based on the satirical novel by Amanda Brown — and 2001 film — Legally Blonde is a romp through Valley Girl and law-school cultures. Comtra presents this high-energy musical, featuring such pop hits as “Omigod, You Guys.”

(20540 Route 19 North, Cranberry Township; 724/591-8727, comtraplayers.com)

No Name Players
Aug. 3-18

Greg is a bored underachiever — and so is his girlfriend Steph. But then he describes her to friends as “regular” — not beautiful or even cute. In Neil LaBute’s super-realistic morality tale, Greg tries to understand why his sweetie might not be thrilled by that description. No Name Players presents Reasons to be Pretty, a complex relationship drama with a young powerhouse cast.

(Studio Theatre, Cathedral of Learning, Oakland; nonameplayers.org)

Bricolage Theater
Aug. 1-Sept. 1

What exactly is an “immersive urban adventure?” How about a “refitnessing center?” Like a lot of Bricolage’s projects, you may not have any idea what you’re watching until the house lights dim. Strata is a collaboration with Riley Harmon, a multimedia artist whose innovative work has involved billboards, film, drum kits and video games. Don’t ask. Don’t guess. Just see what happens.

(Mystery venue revealed when purchasing tickets; bricolagepgh.org)

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Hot Reads

Chuck Noll: A Man for All Seasons

Chuck Noll: A Man for All Seasons

Two years after Chuck Noll’s death, University of Pittsburgh Press prepares to publish the first definitive biography of the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers coach. Pittsburgh Magazine is proud to share an interview with author Michael MacCambridge and an exclusive excerpt of “Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work,” scheduled for release in October.
The Changing Face of Campus in Pittsburgh

The Changing Face of Campus in Pittsburgh

Renovation is under way at nearly all of our area colleges and universities. For students heading back to school this fall — and their parents — we offer this crash course on the highlights of these projects and their projected benefits.
Fall Fashion: In the Black

Fall Fashion: In the Black

The little black dress, and shirt, and pants, never go out of style. Add mystery to your wardrobe with these easy-to-accent autumn staples.
Apteka: A Taste of Home

Apteka: A Taste of Home

Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski bring top-notch vegan, eastern European cuisine to Bloomfield.
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The 412

Casting Call: ‘A Long Day But You Will Be Fed Like a King’

Casting Call: ‘A Long Day But You Will Be Fed Like a King’

A new Netflix series filming in the Pittsburgh area is looking for thousands of extras.
Turning on the Tap: You Now Can Buy Beer at Pitt Home Games

Turning on the Tap: You Now Can Buy Beer at Pitt Home Games

It’s the first time beer will be sold stadium-wide at University of Pittsburgh games at Heinz Field.
Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has been lobbying for more direct service from Pittsburgh to the West Coast.
Zing Basket Promises Speedy Grocery Delivery to Your Door

Zing Basket Promises Speedy Grocery Delivery to Your Door

The online grocery delivery service opened this week, promising delivery in 45 minutes or less to selected neighborhoods.

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Hot Reads

Chuck Noll: A Man for All Seasons

Chuck Noll: A Man for All Seasons

Two years after Chuck Noll’s death, University of Pittsburgh Press prepares to publish the first definitive biography of the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers coach. Pittsburgh Magazine is proud to share an interview with author Michael MacCambridge and an exclusive excerpt of “Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work,” scheduled for release in October.
The Changing Face of Campus in Pittsburgh

The Changing Face of Campus in Pittsburgh

Renovation is under way at nearly all of our area colleges and universities. For students heading back to school this fall — and their parents — we offer this crash course on the highlights of these projects and their projected benefits.
Fall Fashion: In the Black

Fall Fashion: In the Black

The little black dress, and shirt, and pants, never go out of style. Add mystery to your wardrobe with these easy-to-accent autumn staples.
Apteka: A Taste of Home

Apteka: A Taste of Home

Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski bring top-notch vegan, eastern European cuisine to Bloomfield.
Talk of The Tahn: City of Beer

Talk of The Tahn: City of Beer

There are plans afoot for a international museum of beer to be built and staffed right here in Pittsburgh.
Pitt vs Penn State: Resumption of Hostilities

Pitt vs Penn State: Resumption of Hostilities

After an extended hiatus, the storied rivalry between the Pitt Panthers and Penn State Nittany Lions returns in September to Heinz Field.
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On the Blogs


Casting Call: ‘A Long Day But You Will Be Fed Like a King’

Casting Call: ‘A Long Day But You Will Be Fed Like a King’

A new Netflix series filming in the Pittsburgh area is looking for thousands of extras.

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PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

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Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Le'Veon Bell Talks The Talk But Can’t Walk The Walk

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The Steelers running back emphasized his latest suspension resulted from missed random drug tests, and not a relapse into the marijuana-induced haze that got him jammed up last season. But if you lack the maturity to grasp the consequences of your actions (or, in this case, inactions), does it really matter?

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Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Work It

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A new handbag from Sandra Cadavid’s is perfect for work — or play.

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Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

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'Hands of Stone' Keeps the Boxing Movie Genre Strong

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Reviews of "Hands of Stone" and "Don't Breathe," plus local movie news and notes.

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Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Not Your Typical Bachelorette Party, This One Had a Purpose

Not Your Typical Bachelorette Party, This One Had a Purpose

Bride-to-be Jessika Baldwin didn’t want a traditional bachelorette party — so she hosted a day out that benefited women other than herself.

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The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
West End Welcomes Antique Store

West End Welcomes Antique Store

What was old becomes new again at the recently opened Vintage 73 antique store in Crafton Heights.

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The hottest topics in higher education
Two Events Planned for Prospective Waynesburg Students

Two Events Planned for Prospective Waynesburg Students

A fall visitation day and a Saturday information session aim to allow interested students a look into life at the university.

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