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Hot Ticket: Cartoon exhibit; Tenacious D; Yoga Festival at Phipps

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Untitled work by by the late Turkish cartoonist Atila Ozer (1949-2011), part of the Toonseum exhibit “Drawn to Peace: The Art of Atila Ozer.” Toonseum
Rob Davidson
Violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley
Pittsburgh actor and playwright Wali Jamal performs as Martin Delany in this one-man show. Audrey L Martin
Jack Black (left) and Kyle Gass are Tenacious D. Tenacious D



The exhibit “Drawn to Peace: The Art of Atila Ozer,” on display now at the ToonSeum, Downtown, is an impressive collection of peace-themed cartoons by the late Turkish cartoonist.

Ozer (1949-2011) had his first published cartoon appear in 1973 in the pages of “Bonbon,” a humor magazine in Turkey. Since then, his work has appeared as editorial cartoons in newspapers and magazines in Turkey, Germany and Austria, and several books of his cartoons, including “Karikature Selam” and “Karikatur Muzeleri,” centered on the topic of world peace.

Despite the simplicity of his illustrations, Ozer's cartoons presented deep, thought-provoking messages that won him dozens of awards in cartoon competitions in Japan, China, Korea, Iran, Syria, Cyprus, Germany and Bulgaria.

The exhibit runs through April 30. It is supported in part by the American Middle East Institute (, an independent, nonprofit organization headquartered in Pittsburgh that focuses on building business, educational and cultural ties between the United States and the countries of the Middle East.

The ToonSeum is at 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown, and is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Admission: $5 for those 13 or older; $1 for children 12 and younger; and free to children 5 and younger.

Details: 412-232-0199 or

— Kurt Shaw



Long before Jack Black was a gigantic movie star, he was a gigantic rock star … in his mind, at least. Along with buddy Kyle Gass, he formed the mighty Tenacious D, proving that two portly, older schlubs with acoustic guitars could summon all the majestic, unholy grandeur of rock and roll. It was a novelty act, sure, but they really sold it — to the point that you could actually believe that these pudgy goofballs might indeed be the saviors of rock.

Soon, Black's crazy commitment to character and superb comic timing attracted Hollywood's attention, and he was whisked away to the movies. Everyone assumed the D was dead. Yet, here they are at Stage AE on the North Shore this Tuesday, with a new album “Rize of the Fenix.”

Tickets are $39.50 to $42, and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Details: 800-745-3000;

— Michael Machosky


Nobody's sure why rock and roll, blues and soul split up and headed in different directions, since they all started out in the same place.

Vintage Trouble, playing at Stage AE on Friday, tries to bring them all back together, and makes it sound as natural as it is. Anybody can find a White Stripes/Black Keys-imitating backing band nowadays, but Vintage Trouble has Ty Taylor, who looks, sounds and moves like he stepped out of 1966. Taylor takes his cues from classic soul shouters like Otis Redding and James Brown, and seems to be growing out of the more self-consciously “retro” elements as a songwriter.

Listening on an iPod misses part of the picture, though — Vintage Trouble practically demands to be experienced live.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Stage AE on the North Shore, and costs $12 to $15. Details: 800-745-3000;

— Michael Machosky


Singer Lisa Ferraro and saxophonist Benny Benack II, along with arranger Mike Tomaro and the Three Rivers Jazz Orchestra, will perform Wednesday at the “Just Jazz” Familylinks benefit Downtown.

The performance at the August Wilson Center supports the Familylinks program, which, last year helped 7,000 people through school and community programs as well as behavioral-health services.

Tony Mowod will emcee the program, which will be catered by the Savoy Restaurant in the Strip, whose owner, Chuck Sanders, is honorary chair of Familylinks. The event will be feature hors d'oeuvres and desserts.

General-admission tickets are $75; VIP are $150. The cocktail reception begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by the opening act at 7. Tickets can be purchased at Details: 412-661-1800.

— Bob Karlovits


Saxophonist Eric DeFade will be the guest at Thursday evening's jazz vespers at First Presbyterian Church, Downtown.

The vespers are offered as a way of using jazz as an end-of-the-workday source of spirituality.

DeFade is a busy area performer who plays regularly with the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra and has performed with guitarist John Scofield, pianist Ahmad Jamal and vibes star Gary Burton, among many others.

The vespers will start at 5 p.m. with light refreshments followed by a service, jazz, Scripture and prayer at 5:30 p.m.

It is free. Details: 412-471-3436, ext. 217, or

— Bob Karlovits



Actor and playwright Wali Jamal offers an introduction to a dynamic but little-known Pittsburgher in “An Evening with Martin Delany, Pittsburgh Writer.”

Delany, a free black man, lived in Pittsburgh during the years when slavery was still legal in large parts of the nation and teaching a black person to read was a crime. Nevertheless, he refused to let racism prevent him from becoming a poet, a newspaper publisher, a doctor, an abolitionist and a Civil War soldier.

President Abraham Lincoln advised his secretary of war, Erwin Stanton: “Do not fail to meet this most extraordinary and intelligent black man.”

You can, too.

Jamal performs as Delany in his one-man show through Saturday in the Elsie Hillman Auditorium of Hill House, 1835 Center Ave., Hill District.

Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $15; $5 for senior citizens and students.

Details: 412-867-9213

— Alice T. Carter


Prime Stage Theatre brings F. Scott Fitzgerald's tale of passion, obsession, greed, money and mystery to the stage with its regional premiere production of “The Great Gatsby.”

Set on New York's Long Island in the free-wheeling Jazz Age of the 1920s, the play follows Nick Carraway, a recently relocated Midwesterner, who is befriended by his mysterious, wealthy neighbor Jay Gatsby and becomes both participant and narrator of Gatsby's world and his pursuit of the elusive Daisy Buchanan.

Simon Levy's stage adaptation of the novel is the only version that the Fitzgerald estate has authorized for stage production since 1926.

Rich Kietel directs a cast headed by Sean Patrick Sears as Gatsby, Julia Warner as Daisy and Andrew Swackhamer as Carraway. Tom Roberts will perform live jazz piano for every show.

Performances run through March 10 at 8 p.m. Fridays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side

Admission is $15 to $25; $10 to $20 in advance. Details: 888-718-4253 or

— Alice T. Carter



Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley and Duquesne University pianist David Allen Wehr will team up on Tuesday night at the next Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society concert in Oakland.

The program will begin with the baroque era with Giuseppe Tartini's Violin Sonata in G minor, known as “The Devil's Trill.” The piece attempts to capture a dream, the composer wrote, in which the devil took his violin and proved to be an astonishing virtuoso.

Bendix-Balgley and Wehr also will perform John Corigliano's Violin Sonata, an early and very beautiful piece by one of America's most important living composers. The concert will conclude with Claude Debussy's Violin Sonata, the last piece he wrote, and Franz Schubert's Fantasy in C major, D. 934.

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

Details: 412-624-4129 or

— Mark Kanny



Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland will be celebrating an ancient and popular form of exercise Friday through March 7, with the Tropical Forest India Yoga Festival. Local instructors will give presentations on the Ayurvedic yoga tradition in the lush Tropical Forest Conservatory, from 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, and Monday through March 7. On Saturday and Sunday, sessions are at 11 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. On weekend days, visitors can enjoy Indian-food tastings from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Throughout the week, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., kids can create rangoli, which are Indian mosaics made from natural materials like beans and flower petals. While you are at Phipps, you can check out the new building, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes. Yoga Festival activities are included with general Phipps admission of $15; $14 for senior citizens and students; and $11 for ages 2 to 18.

Details: 412-622-6914 or

— Kellie Gormly



Extra performers will join Microscopic Opera when it salutes the centennial of composer Benjamin Britten's birth with performances of his children's opera “The Little Sweep” this weekend in the Cultural District.

Britten wrote the opera in 1949 for the second Aldeburgh Festival in Sussex, England. It was the second part of a show called “Let's Make an Opera” that combined a play in the first half with the opera as the fulfillment of the play.

“The Little Sweep” will be performed by professional singers and students from Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School, and with the original orchestration for string quartet, piano four-hands and percussion.

The performances start at 7 p.m. Friday, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday at CAPA, Downtown. Admission is $15, $8 for those 18 and younger.


— Mark Kanny

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