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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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The Battle of The Hollywood

Dormont's historic Hollywood Theater faces an uncertain future after news of a potential sale prompted an immediate public furor.

Three Rivers Champion: Cecile Springer

A self-proclaimed “loudmouth,” Springer says her favorite part of volunteering is meeting other people and persuading them to do what she wants them to do.

Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Reviews of "Phantom Thread," "Call Me By Your Name," "Den of Thieves" and new animated releases, plus local movie news and notes.

Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

What is Pittsburgh's best breakfast joint? Dive bar? Yoga studio? Local singer? Meteorologist? It's time to nominate your local favorites in multiple categories.

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

Restaurant Review: or, The Whale

The Downtown restaurant is a captivating, if costly, catch.

Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

Pittsburgh is a city that celebrates its neighborhood bars. In some of those spots, second- and third-generation regulars are pulling up their stools to be served by someone who started pouring drinks decades ago.

Second Chances: Crossroads in the Kitchen

People working to overcome substance abuse problems and ex-offenders discover a welcoming environment in restaurant kitchens.

How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

Looking to beat the winter doldrums? We round up the best places and experiences for a little personal indulgence.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongdee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

The Growing Popularity of Shooting a Clay Pigeon

Skeet shooting is taking off as a favored western Pennsylvania hobby.

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Andrew McCutchen: Thanks for the Memories

It's hard to overemphasize McCutchen's impact on the Pirates and its fan base.

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.
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Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

Amazon Includes Pittsburgh in its Top-20 List for HQ2

The list of 20 was narrowed from 238 proposals Amazon received in October. So which other cities made the cut?

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New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongdee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

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Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Chefs Becca Hegarty and Rick Easton to cook comfort food to help Hegarty’s mother.

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Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

Nominate the Best! Pittsburgh Magazine's 2018 Readers' Poll

What is Pittsburgh's best breakfast joint? Dive bar? Yoga studio? Local singer? Meteorologist? It's time to nominate your local favorites in multiple categories.

Comments

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

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The Battle of The Hollywood

The Battle of The Hollywood

Dormont's historic Hollywood Theater faces an uncertain future after news of a potential sale prompted an immediate public furor.

Comments

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

The bar, which hosted a bizarre incident involving a top Steelers coach, is fine enough for the post-collegiate set.

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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.
Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

Comments

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

The Patriots are to the Steelers what Moby Dick was to Captain Ahab and that kind of obsession can backfire.

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The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Phantom Thread Is, Somehow, Both Unpleasant and Lovely

Reviews of "Phantom Thread," "Call Me By Your Name," "Den of Thieves" and new animated releases, plus local movie news and notes.

Comments

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

Reviews of "The Post," "I, Tonya" and "The Commuter," plus local movie news and notes.

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Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.

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These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

Thinking of popping the question? Take a note from these grooms-to-be who set the bar high.

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Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Downtown is booming as plans develop for yet another new apartment building.

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Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Frustrated by his sterile white classroom, teacher Greg Geibel earned an A+ from students when he transformed the space into something resembling a modern coffeehouse.

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