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History alive

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, June 8, 2006 12:00 a.m

Starting this weekend, the human story of steel will be told through art, song and history in the form of “Born of Fire,” the latest exhibition to open at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, 221 N. Main St., Greensburg.

In addition to artifacts and a documentary film about the history and culture of steelmaking in Western Pennsylvania, the centerpiece of “Born of Fire” is the exhibition “The Valley of Work,” the museum’s complete collection of more than 140 works of art that document Pittsburgh’s steel heritage, which will be shown in its entirety for the first time. From the early steel mill paintings of Aaron Harry Gorson (1872-1933) to contemporary photographs by Aaronel deRoy Gruber, the works offer fitting social commentary on the importance of steelmaking in Western Pennsylvania, the era that defined it and the emergence of our country as a world power.

It all gets underway 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday when the public is invited to free exhibition preview and reception beginning with the premiere of a 60-minute documentary “Born of Fire: How Pittsburgh Built a Nation” at Greensburg Salem Middle School , across the street from the museum. The exhibition preview follows, featuring a cash bar and Steelworkers Picnic featuring ethnic food, as well as a CD release party by the NewLanders at the museum.

On Sunday, the celebration continues with the Born of Fire Family Celebration . Featuring activities, scavenger hunts and guided tours noon-3 p.m., the day’s events will also include a performance by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh performer Tim Hartman, who will re-enact the tall tale of Joe Magarac in “Joe Magarac: Man of Steel” at 2 p.m. followed by a book signing with curator Barbara Jones at 3 p.m., author of the accompanying book “Born of Fire: The Valley of Work.”

All events are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended for the Saturday exhibition preview. Details: 724-837-1500, ext. 29.

The exhibition continues through Sept. 3. Regular museum hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, until 9 p.m. Thursdays.

Admission: A $3 suggested donation for adults.

Details: 724-837-1500 or www.wmuseumaa.org .

— Kurt Shaw

Rock

Back to the future

Say one thing about the New Wave music of the early 1980s: Those guys knew how to dress. There was a sophisticated, suave style affected by bands like the Human League, the Pet Shop Boys, The Fixx and, especially, ABC , which performs Tuesday at Club Cafe , South Side. Sure, they were a bit campy, but it was part of the act. And musically, they were a cut above their peers, lead singer Martin Fry a more-than-passable singer on the hits “When Smokey Sings,” “Poison Arrow” and “The Look of Love (Part One).”

Admission for the 7 p.m. show is $30 in advance, $32 at the door. Skinny ties and gold lame suits are optional.

Details: 412-431-4950 or www.clubcafelive.com .

— Regis Behe

Country

Classic performer

Country singer Kenny Rogers — who recently made a comeback with his hit single, “I Can’t Unlove You,” from his album “Water & Bridges” — will perform at 8 p.m. today at the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse, Burgettstown. Rogers’ best-known hits from the ’80s include “The Gambler” and “Coward of the County.” Admission for the dinner show is $99-$139. The venue is at the intersection of routes 18 and 22. Details: 412-323-1919 or www.pepsiroadhouse.com .

— Kellie B. Gormley

Theater

Popular demand

Jennerstown’s Mountain Playhouse produces the first production of “The Chief” to be done outside of Pittsburgh.

New York-based actor James Prendergast plays legendary Steelers founder Art Rooney in this one-man show that’s as much about the relationship between sports and Western Pennsylvania residents as it is about the man who fostered the team to multiple Super Bowl wins.

Those attending Tuesday’s opening-night performance are invited to join the cast and crew for a tailgate-themed post-show party with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

On June 11, a free talkback follows the 3 p.m. performance.

“The Chief” continues through June 18 with performances at 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and 3 p.m. Sundays at Mountain Playhouse on Route 985, 1/2 mile north of Route 30 in Jennerstown, Somerset County.

Admission: $10-$30.

Details: 814-629-9201 or www.MountainPlayhouse.com .

— Alice Carter

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