Hot Ticket: B.B. King, Overly's Country Christmas, Pittsburgh Symphony Pops does the Beatles
NOT SO YOUNG, BUT STILL THE KING
Nobody is more synonymous with the blues than B.B. King. It's even in his name — B.B. is short for “Blues Boy,” a nickname dating back to his days as a DJ in Memphis in the late 1940s. Sure, it's a little ironic now that he's 87 years old, but cut him a little slack. The guy tours relentlessly, harder than performers a quarter of his age, and still gets “Lucille” (his guitar) to sing.
King will perform Wednesday at the Benedum Center, Downtown, starting at 7:30 p.m. Sure, he might keep performing and coming to Pittsburgh until he's 120 years old, but if you've always wanted to see him, there's no time like the present. Tickets are $55-$100. Details: 412-456-6666; www.trustarts.org
— Michael Machosky
HEAD TOWARD THE LIGHTS
If you and your family enjoyed the Hartwood Acres Festival of Lights, which has been canceled this year, you might like another Christmas lights celebration opening near Greensburg on Friday at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds.
Overly's Country Christmas features an elaborate holiday-light display with a walk-through Christmas Village filled with old-fashioned traditions and treats. You can sing carols around a bonfire, look at a model-train display, and shop for gifts at the C. Edgar & Sons General Store.
Overly's has been nationally recognized and featured on shows like “Good Morning America.” The event opens daily at 5:30 p.m. and stays open through Dec. 31. The cost is $10 per vehicle Mondays through Thursdays; $12 per vehicle Fridays through Sundays. Details: 724-423-1400 or www.overlys.com
— Kellie B. Gormly
FOSTERING A BETTER SCENE
If you own or collect beautiful things, then you know its hard enough keeping precious objects safe from harm's way. Now, imagine what it would be like if you had to manage a whole museum.
That's the challenge presented in the new exhibit “Your Art Needs You!,” which opens this weekend with a free public reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art .
The exhibit features 179 diverse artworks — including still-lifes, portraits, landscapes, sculpture, even frames — each requiring the skills of a professional conservator to treat, touch-up, or otherwise fix a tear here, ding there, or whatever else is ailing it.
The cost of conserving these paintings, sculptures and frames can sometimes be pretty high. So, visitors to this exhibition will be invited to “adopt” a work of art to help cover the costs. Everyone who adopts a work will be credited on a special wall label for one year after the re-opening of the museum after a $15 million expansion/renovation. Additionally, patrons will receive a certificate of adoption, a one-year membership to the museum, and recognition in the annual report.
The exhibit will remain on view through Feb. 17. Westmoreland Museum of American Art is at 221 N. Main St., Greensburg, and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays; until 8 p.m. Fridays. Admission is $5; free for children under 12 and students with valid ID.
Details: 724-837-1500 or www.wmuseumaa.org.
— Kurt Shaw
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THE POPS
Fifty years ago, an obscure British rock band began making recordings and, in the process, finally hired a new drummer. The Beatles were set to conquer the world, which didn't take long.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Pops will celebrate the anniversary with concerts st arting Thursday that celebrate the Beatles most famous album, “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
The Classical Mystery Tour band, which last performed at the Pops three years ago, will return for the salute to the first rock recording to win a Grammy for album of the year.
Its members — Jim Owen as John Lennon, Tony Kishman as Paul McCartney, John Brosnan as George Harrison and Chris Camilleri as Ringo Starr — will don Beatles' costumes and perform with the devotion of acolytes.
The concerts will start at 7:30 Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Hall, Downtown. Admission is $20 to $98.
Details: 412-392-4835 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
— Mark Kanny
DRAWN TO OUR AREA?
Although the concept of “rock star” seems to stretch further and further into weird new shapes with every passing year, there are few less likely than Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields. His music owes more to '80s synth-pop and pre-rock songsmiths like Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart than anything “rock,” but there isn't a better category out there for him, either. What he does is write some of the funniest, sharpest, wittiest songs on the planet, sung in his deeper-than-Johnny-Cash baritone or bandmate Claudia Gonson's winsome soprano.
Merritt also seems to hate touring, traveling, and well, and leaving Manhattan for any reason — so it's a rare treat to see the Magnetic Fields actually coming to Pittsburgh for the first time in a decade. They'll be at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland at 8 p.m. Friday for a show presented by the Andy Warhol Museum. Tickets are $25 to $30. Details: 412-237-8300.
— Michael Machosky
Beyond the bossa nova and samba
Composer-guitarist Gilberto Gil seems to have had a mission that extends beyond music.
His sounds expressed a sense of freedom that precipitated his arrest by Brazil's military government in 1969. But, in 2003, he became minister of culture in a more-open government. He left for health reasons in 2008, and, in 2010, began touring again.
“A mission is a natural thing,” he says. “It should be part of what you do with life.”
He will bring his music Thursday to the Byham Theater, Downtown, when he will present a mix based in the music of the northeast of Brazil, where he grew up.
“Everybody knows the bossa nova and the samba, but we will be trying to show other types,” he says. “It is country music from the northeast.”
The band in the “For All Tour,” which will include accordion and fiddle, will present music that, he says, has its roots in folk music of central Europe, brought over though emigration and exploration. But it also is shaped by the multicultural reality of Brazil.
Music begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $30 to $53. Details: 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org
— Bob Karlovits
Real beauty is more than stage deep
When the wind of change shatters Edward Kynaston's life, it also destroys his identity and self-worth.
In 1661, Kynaston is a Restoration-era theater superstar famous for playing female roles. But when King Charles II amends English law to allow women on stage, Kynaston loses his livelihood, his lover and his sense of self.
His journey from who he was to whom he becomes forms the drama of Jeffrey Hatcher's witty and insightful play “Compleat Female Stage Beauty.”
Dylan Meyers plays Kynaston in the University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre production that ends Sunday in the Henry Heymann Theatre, on the lower level of the Stephen Foster Memorial, 4200 Fifth Ave, Oakland.
Performances: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $25; $12 for students; $15 for seniors
Details: 412-624-7529 or www.play.pitt.edu
— Alice T. Carter
Ready to CAVE
There's a great, young band from Chicago called CAVE, which is more than a little odd, since there are no caves in Chicago, and caves, in general, tend to be kind of cold, dark and quiet places. Unless your cave is full of weird echoes, iridescent lights from an unseen source, stalagmites and those creepy translucent bugs that have never seen light. Then, perhaps you've wandered into the right kind of CAVE.
CAVE, coming Friday to 6119 in East Liberty, brings the heavy, hard-psychedelic jams, with pounding, relentless percussion and extended guitar freakouts that never get wimpy or hippie-friendly. Opening will be Running and like-minded locals Dark Lingo and Gangwish. Admission is $8. Details: www.via-pgh.com
— Michael Machosky
Those sensational nuns
The Little Sisters of Hoboken have come out of the cloister with a Las Vegas-style revue at the Kean Theatre in Gibsonia.
“Nunsations,” the fourth installment in Dan Goggins' series of “Nunsense” shows, finds the stage-struck sisters belting out songs that include “Sin City Sue” and “Black and White with Her Money on Red.”
Reprising the roles they played in other “Nunsense” offerings are Debra Humphrey as Mother Superior, Deena Hower as Sister Robert Anne and Gretchen Breslawski as Sister Mary Paul (Amnesia). Newcomers to the cast are Roseann Rosnick as Sister Mary Hubert and Megan Flannery of as Sister Mary Leo.
Three performances remain: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at theKean Theatre at St. Barnabas, 5847 Meridian Road, Gibsonia.
Admission: $30 to $32. Dinner theater packages are available for $52 and $54 at the Mt. Vernon Restaurant at St. Barnabas. Dinner service begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and lunch service at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Details: 724-444-5326 or www.KeanTheatre.com
— Alice T. Carter
Yeah, this sorta, mighta, coulda happened
Stas Ziolkowski, a nationally known storyteller who recently moved to Murrysville from Arkansas, will be telling the story of “Sam Jack Moffitt” at Saturday's 13th-annual StoryWorks “Tellabration!” Ziolkowski is one of the storytellers who will be participating in “Yes! It Really Happened,” which is the theme of Tellabration. Storyteller Michael Perry says he leaves it to the audience to determine how much of his story is fact and fiction. The free event, which starts at 7 p.m., will include original and historical tales appropriate for adults and kids age 10 and older. The two-hour program, which includes intermission and refreshments, will be at Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church, 4600 Old William Penn Highway, Murrysville. Details: 724-307-8679
— Kellie B. Gormly
Power and glory and pedal steel
Mixing the power of Jimi Hendrix and the complexity of Django Reinhardt pedal steel guitarist Chuck Campbell will display his brand of powerful gospel music Saturday in Oakland.
He will lead theCampbell Brothers in a show that could be called “Sacred Steel” for its blend of music and religion.
The show by Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society will feature Campbell and his brother, Phil, on electric guitar; son, Carlton, on drums; and bassist Malcolm Kirby. Katie Jackson and Denise Brown share and mix duties on vocals.
They have taken their music from the halls of the House of God Keith Dominion Church in Nashville, where it has been part of the service for 60 years, to performances from the Hollywood Bowl to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Music begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oakland. Admission is $39 or $23 for student rush. Details: 412-361-1915 or www.calliopehouse.org
— Bob Karlovits
The Washington County Arts Choir will perform the world premiere of “Magnificat” by Pittsburgh jazz guitaristJoe Negri on Saturday in Upper St. Clair.
In addition, Negri himself will be there to perform his “Mass of Hope” with his quartet and soloists Maureen Budway and Thomas Douglas.
Music begins at 7 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Admission is $15. Details: 724-225-9638 or www.wcac-sing.org
— Bob Karlovits
Notes from the edge
The stimulating Music on the Edge series presented by the University of Pittsburgh's School of Music kicks off its season Sunday evening with a concert by Sequitor, the highly regarded contemporary music ensemble based in New York City.
Conductor and artistic advisor Paul Hostetter will be joined by mezzo-soprano Mary Nessinger for Maurice Ravel's “Trois Poemes de Stefane Mallarme.” The program also includes three works by Pitt faculty members — Amy Williams' “Cineshape 5,” Mathew Rosenblum's “Maggies” and Eric Moe's “Strenuous Pleasures” — as well as “Variations on a Summers' Day” by Sequitor co-founder Harold Meltzer.
The concert starts at 7 p.m. Sunday atBellefield Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland. Admission is $20; $15 in advance; $15 and $10 for seniors; $10 for students.
Details: 412-624-7529 or www.pitt.edu/tickets
— Mark Kanny
A story to tell
Tom Russell is a fine singer and guitarist, but, best of all, he is a great storyteller.
He will bring all of those talents Tuesday to the Roots Cellar at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside. The show, sponsored by Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society, will show off some of the music from his new album, “Mesabi.”
His current and older music bear the same traits: It tells a story and weaves the eternal truths of good fiction. It can do that in various lexicons, too. “Mesabi,” for instance, deals with stories that take place in Mexico and up near the iron range in Minnesota for which it is named.
Besides reaching listeners, his music also has been performed by Jonny Cash, Nanci Griffith and Joe Ely.
Music begins 7:30 p.m. Admission is $28 and $13 for student rush. Details: 412-361-1915 or www.calliopehouse.com
— Bob Karlovits
The kind of Led that's good for you
It's not fair to lump Jason Bonham'sLed Zeppelin Experience among the thriving and lucrative tribute-band industry. The son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham has an obvious personal and paternal connection to songs like “Black Dog” and “Kashmir” that transcends mere musical taxidermy.
Jason, of course, sat in for his late father when Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones played a rapturously received Led Zeppelin reunion show at London's O2 stadium in 2007. With a film of that concert, “Celebration Day,” making the rounds, this is a good time to catch what for many will probably be the nearest thing to a true Zep concert. And lemmetellya, it's ain't half bad.
The band's set list at a show last month at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles reportedly included “Four Sticks,” so named because John Bonham used two drum sticks in each hand to nail the down the song's dervish beat during the recording. Their version of “When the Levee Breaks,” by Memphis Minnie and Joe McCoy, stays true to the original Zepp elin's mesmeric, swampy blues stomp.
Jason and Co. perform Saturday at the Carnegie Music Hall at 510 E. 10th St. in Homestead. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $45 to $75. VIP tickets are available for $175. The cost includes an after-show meet-and greet.
Details: 412-368-5225, www.librarymusichall.com
— William Loeffler