Hot picks: Juggling festival, ‘Vatican Splendor’ events, Black Crowes |

Hot picks: Juggling festival, ‘Vatican Splendor’ events, Black Crowes

Special event: Extra splendor


Visits to parishes and religious sites, along with discussions, are providing additional elements to the “Vatican Splendors” display at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

The events will provide another way of looking at the display of art, relics and other pieces of the 2,000-year-old history of the Roman Catholic Church. The events begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with a panel discussion on art and immigration at the history center. The session will be included with the $10 admission to the museum or the $20 ticket for the Vatican display, which includes museum admission.

Other events include:

• A visit to the thousands of relics at St. Anthony’s Chapel in Troy Hill, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday and Dec. 6.

• A tour of the art and architecture of St. Nicholas Church, Millvale, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1.

• A tour of four well-known Pittsburgh parishes, tentatively set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

Buses for the tours will leave from the history center, 1200 Smallman St., Strip District. Cost for each tour is $40 or $35 for history center members, and does not include admission to the “Vatican Splendors” exhibit. Details: 412-454-6314.

— Bob Karlovits


Theater: Captivating


Thursday, two venerable Pittsburgh actors will finally appear together for the first time when Tom Atkins and Bingo O’Malley perform a staged reading of “Elder Hostage.”

Teri Bridgett and Susie McGregor-Laine will join them in the reading of playwright Ray Werner’s trilogy of one-act plays that finds seven people of advanced years who are trapped physically and emotionally as well as confined within the three stories — “Mum’s the Word,” “Wandering Angus” and “Night Song.”

Proceeds from the event will support a fully staged production next year of Werner’s trilogy by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company.

The reading begins at 8 p.m. Thursday at the New Hazlett Theater, One Allegheny Square East, North Side.

Admission: $25. Tickets are available at the door.

Details: .

— Alice Carter


Music: Black Crowes


During a recent concert in Boston, Black Crowes vocalist Chris Robinson berated a few fans in the audience for talking during songs. Call it an act of petulance, but it’s indicative of Robinson’s devotion to music. If nothing else, he cares, and the music the Crowes have produced over the last 20 years embodies Robinson’s passion: There’s a bit of swagger, a bit of bravado, a cocktail of ragged rock splashed with blues and just a hint of Southern-fried boogie.

The Black Crowes perform Friday at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Admission for the 7 p.m. show is $40 to $45.

Details: 800-745-3000 or .

— Rege Behe


Special event: Give it a toss


Jugglers will abound this weekend in Sewickley at the Not Quite Pittsburgh Juggling Festival III, which features activities Friday to Sunday. Jugglers from several states will attend the event, sponsored by the Leave It to Beaver Valley Jugglers and the Quaker Valley Middle School Juggling Club. Anyone who juggles, wants to learn how to juggle, or just enjoys watching juggling is welcome to attend.

Free general juggling activities will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Quaker Valley Middle School ‘s gym. The festival’s stage show will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the school’s auditorium, and costs $3 per person. Other activities are free, but donations are accepted. Activities include juggling lessons for beginners on Saturday, and a used-prop sale on Sunday. Details: 724-312-6257 or .

— Kellie Gormly


Art: Let the sunshine in


Join sculptor Richard Claraval from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Spinning Plate Gallery for the opening of his latest solo exhibit, “This Sun Of Robert.”

Exploring the artist’s personal triumph over a difficult childhood, the exhibit pivots around a central piece, “The Prison of My Youth,” which directly addresses an adolescence spent with a verbally abusive father. The rest of the work dramatically radiates outward from it, shifting from darker, more-intense pieces, to brighter, more-optimistic ones.

Claraval, who is a long-time resident of the Spinning Plate Lofts above the gallery, will actually work on new pieces in one portion of the gallery throughout the run of the exhibit, which ends on Dec. 31.

Spinning Plate Gallery, at 5720 Friendship Ave., East Liberty, is open from 2 to 9 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays.

Details: 412-877-7394 or .

— Kurt Shaw


Theater: Out of the underground


Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery and could have stopped at saving herself.

Instead she became a conductor on the Underground Railroad and led hundreds of escaping slaves to freedom.

Playwright William F. Mayfield’s play “Harriet Tubman Loved Somebody” explores the life of this Civil War spy, abolitionist and suffragette and looks at what motivated her to risk her life for others.

Produced by the University of Pittsburgh-based Kuntu Repertory Theatre, “Harriet Tubman Loved Somebody” is playing through Nov. 20 at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, 542 Penn Ave., Downtown.

Performances: 8 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays and 4 p.m. this Sunday.

Admission: $20, $13 for seniors and $5 for students with a valid ID.

Details 412-394-3353, or .

— Alice Carter


Music: Tough crowd, meet tough band


The Wiyos may be named after one of the toughest street gangs of 19th century New York, but don’t take that too seriously. In fact, there’s something warm and inviting about the band, who bring a reckless, infectious enthusiasm for old-school musical styles to their music.

It’s a messy mixture of jumping blues, jugband stomps, ragtime struts and ultra-lo-fi country blues, played by guys like Sauerkraut Seth Travins (upright bass) and Michael Farkas (kazoo, washboard, harmonica, vocals, sound effects). Yet, rather than remaining content to crank out museum-quality replicas, the band seems determined to let each song determine its own direction — if that means adding a human beatbox to the song “Stomp,” so be it.

The Wiyos will be at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts 7:30 p.m. Thursday, as part of the Calliope Pittsburgh Folk Music Society’s concert series. Tickets are $15-$17. Details: 412-361-1915.

— Michael Machosky


Music: Smooth transition


Russ Freeman says nearly constant personnel changes are just what he wanted when he founded the Rippingtons 24 years ago,

“I think that to stay current, to have constant energy, you have to change,” he says.

Freeman, who will appear with the Rippingtons in the North Side this evening, thinks that is what has happened and kept the band alive. For instance, the band has featured the sax voice of players such as Jeff Kashiwa, back with them these days, as well as Brandon Fields and Eric Marienthal.

Freeman knows the band sometimes is criticized because of its “smooth jazz” sound, but contends it is not that style as much as it is an “instrumental, pop band.”

But he says he is not about to fight the “smooth” label too strongly.

“It is the hand that has fed us,” he says. “It is a big help to have been accepted on the radio and that has been part of our success.”

The Rippingtons will perform at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, North Side. Admission is $42.50. Details: 412-322-0800.

— Bob Karlovits


Comedy: Beyond the Flute Man


He’s a frequent guest on the Morning Show on WDVE-FM, where his “Flute Man” routine is in the same rotation as songs by Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. But comedian Greg Warren has moved far beyond that routine, funny as it is. More recent work includes the song “One Star People,” about a tribe of trailer trash who crash a four-star hotel. Warren, who performs at the Pittsburgh Improv Thursday through Saturday, worked for Procter & Gamble before quitting to become a comedian. Catch one of his shows at the Improv at 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15-$18.

Details: 412-462-5233

— William Loeffler


Music: Brains and beats


Rock ‘n’ roll is not always a haven for, shall we say, intelligence. You don’t have to have a Ph.D. — or sometimes even a G.E.D. — to get by.

Thursday’s double bill at Mr. Small’s Theatre in Millvale is an exception. Brendan Benson, best known for his work with the Raconteurs, and the Posies, who reached a critical peak in the early ’90s, both produce smart pop music that’s easy on the ears while not resorting to banal cliches.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show, which also features Aqueduct, are $22.

Details: 412-821-4447 or .

— Rege Behe


Theater: Young and in love



With a hole in their apartment’s skylight, a quirky neighbor and an interfering parent, newlyweds Paul and Corrie Bratter will need more than passion to keep their love aflame.

“Barefoot in the Park,” Neil Simon’s classic comedy of newlyweds discovering their differences in a tiny sixth-floor walkup, has been making audiences laugh for 47 years.

It begins a two-week run Friday at the Kean Theatre in Gibsonia.

Performances continue through Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. this Sunday. The theater in located inside the Washington Place, 5847 Meridian Road.

Admission: $20-$29 or $41 for an optional dinner theater package.

Details: 724-444-5326 or .

— Alice Carter


Music: ‘Continental Connections’


Success came quickly for the Seattle-based group Plaine and Easie. Just a few months after forming in 2009, it won two awards at Early Music America’s annual competition, including the audience choice award.

Saturday night, the Renaissance and Baroque Society will present Plaine and Easie performing a program celebrating the cosmopolitan music scene in London in the early 17th century, called “Continental Connections.” Plaine and Easie’s members are soprano Linda Tsatsanis, lutanist John Lenti, violinist Shulamit Kleinerman and bass violinist Nathan Whittaker.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. Saturday at Synod Hall, Oakland. Admission is $10 to $35.

Details 412-361-2048 or .

— Mark Kanny


Music: Towering sound


Simpatico composers will share the program Sunday when Ion Sound Project presents a concert that features the chamber music of Joan Tower, who happens to be the Pittsburgh Symphony’s composer of the year.

The ensemble, which is in residence at the University of Pittsburgh, will play four of Tower’s pieces — “Petroushskates,” which was inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score “Petrouchka”; Piano Trio “For Daniel”; “Clocks” for marimba solo; and “Pastorale” for flute and piano. The program also includes Igor Stravinsky’s trio version of his “L’Histoire du Soldat” Suite.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at Bellefield Auditorium, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland. Admission: $15, $10 for seniors and students; $10 and $5 in advance.

Details 412-394-3353 or .

— Mark Kanny

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