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Hot ticket: Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet back in town

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
Pacifica Quartet .
Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society
Pacifica Quartet . Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society
Ann Stockton in 'The Speed Queen.'
Off the Wall Productions
Ann Stockton in 'The Speed Queen.' Off the Wall Productions
“The Hunt” is a 4-color silkscreen “showing how the first foxhunt ended miserably when someone had the idea to use cats instead of dogs.”
Dave Klug
“The Hunt” is a 4-color silkscreen “showing how the first foxhunt ended miserably when someone had the idea to use cats instead of dogs.” Dave Klug
Raul Malo, July 2010
George M. Gutierrez
Raul Malo, July 2010 George M. Gutierrez
Bill Gaither
Lobeline Communications
Bill Gaither
Clay Aiken
Elko Productions
Clay Aiken Elko Productions
Martina McBride
File photo
Martina McBride File photo
Celtic Tenors
Baryy McCall
Celtic Tenors Baryy McCall
Greggory Brandt, Ryan Witt, Kevin Daniel O’Leary and David Scott Purdy perform in 'Plaid Tidings' at St. Vincent Summer Theatre.
St. Vincent Summer Theatre
Greggory Brandt, Ryan Witt, Kevin Daniel O’Leary and David Scott Purdy perform in 'Plaid Tidings' at St. Vincent Summer Theatre. St. Vincent Summer Theatre
The cast of Pittsburgh CLO's 'A Musical Christmas Carol.'
Matt Polk
The cast of Pittsburgh CLO's 'A Musical Christmas Carol.' Matt Polk
A scene from Pittsburgh Musical Theater's 'A Lyrical Christmas Carol.'
Patti Braham
A scene from Pittsburgh Musical Theater's 'A Lyrical Christmas Carol.' Patti Braham

The Grammy Award-winningPacifica Quartet returns Monday to the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society evening with a program of three very personal compositions.

The concert will open with Ludwig van Beethoven's last string quartet, which asks the existential question “Must it be?” in its last movement. Leos Janacek's String Quartet No. 2 (“Intimate Letters”) is a reflection of a late-life love affair. Finally, Bedrich Smetana's String Quartet No. 1 (“From My Life”) expresses the passions he experienced, including, in the last movement, the awful effect of the onset of a hearing affliction.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. Admission is $35; $15 for students.

Details: 412-624-4129 or

— Mark Kanny



Country music isn't known for its diversity, musical or otherwise. A clear exception has long been Raul Malo, who went from Grammy-winning mainstream country with The Mavericks, to a more-wandering solo career.

He grew up in a middle-class family of Cuban immigrants in Miami, and began incorporating Latin elements into his music in the '90s, drawing in Tejano, rockabilly and honky-tonk, not to mention Cuban music and even Latin jazz. His Western ballads like “El Paso” are as traditional as can be, yet still somehow seem fresh and clear like a rare cool breeze blowing in through the desert.

Malo will be in Pittsburgh for an intimate concert Thursday at the New Hazlett Theatre on the North Side. Tickets are $27 to $30. The show starts at 7 p.m. Details: 412-320-4610

— Michael Machosky



From the signage at the Pittsburgh Zoo to the funny mural in Primanti's Strip District sandwich shop, Dave Klug's work is all around you. Now, the Mt. Lebanon-based humorous illustrator is bringing his work to the high-fallutin' gallery world with his first solo show, “Dave Klug: New Classic Images.”

It opens Saturday at Panza Gallery in Millvale with a free public reception from 6 to 9 p.m. and will feature nearly 30 original works, a dozen of which are handmade silkscreens he completed at Artists Image Resource on the North Side.

Not only will the exhibit showcase Klug's stylized art and sense of humor, but many of the pieces play off classic imagery from art history, such as a Greek urn adorned with a cell phone-carrying figure and QRS code and computer chips as border designs, and a hilarious take on the famous painting “Whistler's Mother” that focuses on Whistler's dog.

The exhibit continues through Dec. 31. Regular gallery hours are 10 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Panza Gallery is located at 115 Sedgwick St., Millvale.

Details: 412-821-0959 or

— Kurt Shaw



For three nights only, Off The Wall Theater in Carnegie will present the Pittsburgh premiere of “The Speed Queen.”

Adapted from Stewart O'Nan's novel, directed by Austin Pendleton and starring Anne Stockton, this one-woman show won the award for Outstanding Performance — Solo Show at the 2007 NYC Midtown International Theater Festival.

Stockton plays convicted murderer Marjorie Standiford, who is spending her last hours on death row recording her answers to questions posed by a celebrated author about her involvement in a killing spree, her drug addiction, her wild sex life, and how it all brought her to this moment.

Performances: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Off The Wall Theater

Admission: $35; $20 for seniors; $5 for students

Details: 888-718-4253 or

— Alice T. Carter



The Moth Radio Hour, which airs weekly on public radio, features true stories told by celebrities and ordinary folk. Everyone from The New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik to comedian Lisa Lampanelli has stepped up to the mic to share some live non-fiction. The Moth Story Slam is an open-mic talent search that's held in cities across the country. Tuesday at theRex Theater, contestants will put their names into a hat. The 10 names that are drawn will be given five minutes of stagetime to tell a story based around that evening's theme, which is “Aftermath.” Their stories will be scored by teams of judges selected from the audience. The winner gets to compete at the next level, and may even make it to the GrandSlam. Be warned: Editing a story to five minutes and telling it without the benefit of notes is a lot harder than you think. The Rex is located at 1602 Carson St., South Side. Tuesday's event is sold out.

Details: 412-381-6811,

— William Loeffler



What is that bright light that shines like Rudolph's nose? It's the stage lights reflecting off of Billy Corgan's bald head. The mercurial Corgan has picked up the pieces of Smashing Pumpkins and is hitting the road. Earlier this summer, they released “Oceania,” the first album to bear the Pumpkins name since 2007's “Zeitgeist.” Corgan is the only remaining original member of the band, but it's always been his vehicle, anyway. They play Thursday at Stage AE on the North Shore. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $39.50 to $42.

Details: 866-748-7849,

— William Loeffler



More musical together?

Apollo's Fire will explore the crossroads of pagan and Christian music in “Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas Vespers,” in a colorful concert Saturday in Oakland for the Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque Society.

Artistic director Jeannette Sorrell, who created the program with Sylvain Bergeron, notes that, “The traditional music of Scotland and Ireland — especially the Christmas carols — celebrates pagan deities and Christian saints with little distinction between the two.”

In addition to the Apollo's Fire instrumental ensemble and chamber chorus, performers will be Meredith Hall, soprano; Jesse Blumberg, baritone; Steven Player, guitar and Celtic dancer; and Ensemble le Nef from Montreal, Celtic harp, lute, bagpipe, flutes and percussion.

Sorrell will lead the Pittsburgh Symphony in the six Brandenburg Concerti by Johann Sebastian Bach at BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts in April.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. Saturday at Synod Hall, Oakland. Admission is $20 to $35; $10 for students

Details: 412-361-2048 or

— Mark Kanny



Elizabeth Shepherd sings with the swing and speed of some of founders of bebop, but says her music comes more from following the music of groups like Tribe, De La Soul or Pharcyde.

She says she sees her music as “groove-based singer-songwriter soul-jazz — how's that for a mouthful?”

Shepherd will be leading her trio Monday at Ava Lounge, offering a collection of tunes from standards to originals shaped by the hits of today.

“I really feel that hip-hop and dance music have shaped my aesthetic, my writing and my take on jazz standards,” she says, adding that she came to jazz mostly through modern music, which she calls the “great-grandson” of jazz.

The visit to Ava is part of a nine-stop tour through the United States and Canada, which had three weeks in Europe and Japan. It is a trip centered on her new album, “Rewind.”

She will perform with Colin Kingsmore on drums and Gordon Mowat on bass, both of whom help on backup vocals.

Because her music is a blend of jazz and hits of today, she says she tries to “read the crowd, play to the audience, and play to the room. But in terms of having to play something that I don't really feel or don't really want to do, I can't say that I ever really find myself in that position anymore, luckily.”

Music begins at 8 p.m. Admission: $12; $10 in advance. Details: 412-363-8277 or

— Bob Karlovits



“Annie” takes the stage for the opening show of Mon River Arts' 2012-13 mainstage season.

It's been 35 years since Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin transformed the petite paragon of pluck and positive energy from a long-running cartoon character to a beloved musical theater icon.

But the orphan and her dog, Sandy, still charm family audiences and Daddy Warbucks with her sunny outlook, her search for her long-lost parents and her attempts to help President Roosevelt and his Cabinet bring sunshine to the Depression.

Performances: Friday through Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Grand Theatre, 207 South Second St., Elizabeth

Admission: $16; $14 for seniors and students

Details: 412-384-0504 or

— Alice T. Carter

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