Best of Culture: October
This month’s finest exhibits, dance, theater, lectures and more.
Stomp the Yard
STOMP, the award-winning international precision-percussion phenomenon, clatters into town later this month. The tightly choreographed, non-narrative production centers around the idiosyncrasies of eight dancers and musicians who explore the rhythmic potential of found objects like hubcaps and brooms.
(Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., downtown; Oct. 30-Nov. 4; 412/392-4900, trustarts.org)
By Karen Dacko
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
PBT kicks off its 43rd season with Giselle, a masterpiece of the Romantic era. Choreographed in 1841, the two-act work tells of an innocent peasant girl deceived by an aristocratic cad and the retribution demanded by spectral maidens.
(Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Ave., downtown; 412/456-6666, pbt.org)
Akram Khan Co.
The London-based troupe of dancers from Asia, the Middle East and Europe performs award-winning choreographer Akram Khan’s 70-minute Vertical Road (2010). Inspired by Persian poet Rumi, as well as Sufi tradition, the work examines the human journey as well as its rituals and consequences. Kathak East-Indian classical dance and modern dance are accompanied by Nitin Sawhney’s score of natural sounds — traditional Middle-Eastern and Indian recordings. The production features strobe lights, a powder to create a smoke effect, and loud sounds.
(Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., downtown; 412/456-6666, trustarts.org, akramkhancompany.net)
Continuum Dance Theater
Sept. 28-29; Oct. 5-6
Sarah Parker’s The Movement: A New Perspective (2012) focuses on dual careers, and the contrast between day jobs and artistic pursuits. The cast’s onstage costume change from general work-appropriate black pants to tutu-like skirts bridges the transformation. The current production, designed for viewing in the round, promises new additions.
(The Space Upstairs, 214 N. Lexington St. Point Breeze; 412/860-1628, evolveproductions.blogspot.com)
By Mike May
“Impressions of Interiors: Gilded Age Paintings by Walter Gay”
Oct. 6-Jan. 6
His paintings were described as “poèmes d’interieurs” — and what incredible interiors these “poems” saluted. Walter Gay (1937) was an American-born and Paris-based artist who, along with his wealthy wife, Matilda, hobnobbed with the rich and famous of their Gilded Age epoch. His colorful, impressionistic-style paintings of gilded domestic interiors — including those of Edith Wharton, Helen Clay Frick and the Gays themselves — remain his legacy. While masterful, Gay’s canvases also record the personal possessions, decorating habits and taste of the wealthy of his time. At his death, The New York Times declared Gay to be the “dean of American artists in Paris.” Organized by the Frick Art & Historical Center and in development for four years, this exhibit features some 70 works arranged thematically.
(Frick Art Museum, 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze; 412/371-0600, thefrickpittsburgh.org)
“White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes”
Sept. 22-Jan. 13
How do we envision an art institution? Our own Carnegie Museum might be one way. But there are different visions in creating environments for art, and Heinz Architectural Center curator Raymund Ryan explores six of them in this exhibit featuring photography by Iwan Baan.
(Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/622-5551, cmoa.org)
“Beyond the City Lights”
Through Oct. 27
Local artist Marian Sallade returns to Gallery on 43rd Street with new work, including views of the Clarion River in autumn.
(187 43rd St., Lawrenceville; 412/683-6488, galleryon43rdstreet.com)
By Kristofer Collins
Poet Paula Bohince grew up near Greensburg, left for a while and has recently returned to her hometown. Her first poem collection, Incidents at the Edge of Bayonet Woods, was described by The Harvard Review as being “among the darkest and most disturbing books of poetry published in the last decade.” How’s that for a sideways endorsement? Bohince brings her dark talents and her latest book, The Children, to the Pitt-Greensburg campus.
(Pitt-Greensburg Coffeehouse, 150 Finoli Drive; 7pm; Free; Book signing to follow; 724/836-9905)
Best-selling author (and popular NPR funnyman) David Sedaris returns to Pittsburgh with more comic tales of his long-suffering mother, bad temp jobs, the joys of smoking in public and, one hopes, his eerily precise impression of Billie Holiday singing old advertising jingles. There’s nothing quite like hearing his interpretation of Lady Day mournfully intoning the classic Oscar Mayer hot dog tune.
(Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., downtown; 7pm; trustarts.org)
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides roars into town just in time for the paperback release of his latest work, The Marriage Plot. Set in the early 1980s at Brown University, the story follows three college friends as they navigate their first post-collegiate year. The New York Times called it “wry, engaging and beautifully constructed.”
(Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 7:30pm; pittsburghlectures.org)
By Robert Isenberg
Oct. 13-Nov. 4
Ah, the good old days — back when the men were men, women were housewives and their children all joined the Scouts. At Maple and Vine, locals opted to re-enact (and live in) the 1950s … forever. Technology hasn’t evolved, language remains clean and the mores are moored. When Katha and Ryu move to this mysterious utopia, they enjoy the vintage lifestyle for a while until the era’s darker side surfaces. City Theatre opens its new season with Maple and Vine, the satirical thought-experiment by Jordan Harrison.
(1300 Bingham St., South Side; 412/431-2489, citytheatrecompany.org)
Little Lake Theatre
Oct. 18-Nov. 3
War is hell, but what happens when you thrive in that infernal atmosphere? Despite the violence and trauma, Sarah, a war photojournalist, just can’t stay away from the action. But wouldn’t she prefer a peaceful civilian life with her life partner, James? Little Lake presents Time Stands Still, a stomach-punching drama by Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies.
(500 Lakeside Drive, Canonsburg; 724/745-6300, littlelake.org)
Oct. 19-Nov. 3
When the name of your opera translates as “Fountain of Tears,” you can expect some trying times ahead. But Ainadamar, by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov and American librettist David Henry Hwang, is a high-spirited ode to poet Federico Garcia Lorca — and is a celebration of arts in general. Only Quantum would have the courage to mount this wildly avant-garde voice and movement piece.
(East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty; 888/718-4253, quantumtheatre.com)