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)

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Sports media company Whistle Sports documented Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon's recovery workout regime.
Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

Celebrating 75 Years: Connecting History with Community

The Heinz History Center’s World War II traveling exhibit focuses on western Pennsylvania’s ties to history.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's Meg Cheever To Step Down

The nonprofit's founding President and CEO will leave her position early next year.
Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

Pittsburgh Pens' Spouse is ‘Hockey Wife’ On and Off Camera

After a Stanley Cup-winning season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, one player’s wife is working on her own claim to fame.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

Restaurant Review: Pork & Beans

The latest restaurant from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group brings Texas-style smoked meats and more to Downtown.
Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Daytripping: Brave the Cave

Go subterranean at Laurel Caverns, the largest cave in Pennsylvania.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Watch: Jameson Taillon's Remarkable Recovery

Sports media company Whistle Sports documented Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon's recovery workout regime.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

Dish Osteria and Bar To Close

The beloved Pittsburgh institution will serve its last meal in April.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

The (Very Good) Brewery You Should Be Patronizing in Homestead

Voodoo Brewery is an enticing alternative to the many chains in and around the Waterfront.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Steelers’ Philosophy Back on Display After Hightower Flirtation

Even as they entertained Dont’a Hightower for nearly seven hours during a free-agent recruiting trip to the South Side, the Steelers never lost sight of who they are or what they’re all about.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

Turn Your Bath into a Spa with These Oils

The miniature bath- and shower-oil collection from Aromatherapy Associates makes every shower a luxury experience.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

The CMU Film Fest Opens with One of 2016's Best

Reviews of two films appearing at the 2017 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: "I, Daniel Blake," and "The Eagle Huntress." Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Combating the Cold: How This Couple Pulled Off Their Winter Wedding

Combating the Cold: How This Couple Pulled Off Their Winter Wedding

Happy to see warmer weather? This gorgeous winter wedding may actually have you missing the snow.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Special Delivery: Creating a Rustic Woodlands Nursery

Special Delivery: Creating a Rustic Woodlands Nursery

Local art teacher Chris Galiyas used inspiration from his son’s name, Arrow, and his first home with his wife to create a heartfelt, whimsical baby room.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

New Club is a Hit at Thiel College

The Outdoor Recreation Club becomes the newest student organization at the college.

Comments