Hot Ticket: A perfect pairing at Squirrel Hill gallery
From 5 to 8 p.m. April 4, join ceramic artist Laura Jean McLaughlin and fiber artist Jane Ogren as they unveil respective new works at Christine Frechard Gallery in Squirrel Hill.
McLaughlin, who keeps a studio in Garfield, makes whimsical figurative works in ceramics that are lighthearted, yet have an overwhelming sense of mystery. Ogren, who lives and works in Pleasant Hills, makes tribal-inspired masks and figures that are just plain mysterious, almost spooky in appearance. Together, their vibrant and evocative artworks are a perfect pairing.
The public is welcome to meet the artists at this free event.
The exhibit will remain on display through May 2 at the gallery, 5871 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. It is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Details: 412-421-8888 or www.christinefrechardgallery.com
— Kurt Shaw
JAZZ — Krall brings ‘Glad Rag Doll' tour
Diana Krall returned to the studio for her “Glad Rag Doll” album, but she is taking that material where she is most famous — on the road.
In small groups or with large orchestras, singer-pianist Krall has made her style of jazz well known. Live performances with those size ensembles have been made into DVDs and CDs.
But she went back to studio to make “Glad Rag Doll,” giving her the ability to control her spin on old material.
“Glad Rag Doll” is her look at songs from the 1920s and ‘30s, including “We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye” and “I'm a Little Mixed Up.” While the songs are old — and have that aged flavor — she gives them modern spins that lifts them far from the Depression Era.
Her stop at Heinz Hall, Downtown, on April 9 will provide a chance to see her do that material live. She also will perform some of her versions on the classics that have shaped her career.
Music begins 7:30 p.m. Admission is $39 to $139.
Details: 412-392-4900 or www.trustarts.com
— Bob Karlovits
THEATER — ‘City of Asylum' highlights struggles
The University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre completes its 2012-13 season with a new play about struggle, resilience and hope.
Conceived, written and directed by Cynthia Croot, “City of Asylum” focuses on four artists hosted by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh.
The international City of Asylum movement provides sanctuary to writers in danger of persecution or death in their home countries. The Pittsburgh sanctuary, the first in the United States, has been operating since 2004.
Croot gives voice to artists from China, El Salvador, Burma and Venezuela in a drama that mixes the truth and brutality of their lives with the beauty and hope of their works.
Performances are from April 4 to 14 at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays in the Charity Randall Theatre, Stephen Foster Memorial, 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Admission is $16 to $25, $12 for students and $15 for senior citizens.
Details: 412-624-7529 or www.play.pitt.edu
— Alice T. Carter
CABARET — One-night show with Tony winner
Fans often have to travel to Manhattan to catch two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole in a performance on a Broadway stage or at the intimate Café Carlyle.
She won her Tonys as Dorothy Brock in “42nd Street” and both young and old Edith Beale in “Grey Gardens”; she has also played in “Steel Magnolias,” “Dinner at Eight,” “On the Twentieth Century” and “The Best Man,” as well as in concerts at Carnegie Hall.
On April 8, those eager to see her need venture no farther than the Cabaret at Theater Square, 655 Penn Ave., Downtown, where Ebersole will be doing a one-night cabaret performance that begins at 7:30 p.m. Look for a blend of wit, storytelling and political satire mixed with familiar Broadway selections and some lesser-known songs.
Admission is $35 and $45.
Details: 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org
— Alice T. Carter
ELECTRONICA — Show mixes classic and modern
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's composer of the year, Mason Bates, not only creates new music, he's also created a new way to experience it.
His show, called “Mercury Soul,” which the Pittsburgh Symphony will present April 5 at Static in the Strip District, draws on his experiences as a DJ for electronica dance music and as a composer of concert music.
“The whole event flows from start to finish without a break,” Bates says. “There is no stopping to change sets. The audience is free to come and go as they please.”
“Mercury Soul” uses lighting and amplification levels to guide the audience's attention. The show moves from interludes of dance music to an arresting array of compositions by John Adams, Iannis Xenakis, Igor Stravinsky, Bates' teacher John Corigliano and Bates himself.
Performers include more than a dozen members of the Pittsburgh Symphony, with Joshua Gersen conducting and Benjamin Schwartz as music director.
The event starts at 9 p.m. at 1615 Smallman St., Strip District. Admission is $20, $15 for students.
Details: 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org/mercurysoul
— Mark Kanny
ROCK — Much evolved since life as a Monkee
Once pegged as “the smart Monkee,” singer, songwriter and guitarist Michael Nesmith has embarked on his first U.S. solo tour in more than two decades.
Nesmith shot to fame after “The Monkees” series premiered in 1966, and though he recently reunited with the band for a tour, it's now his turn to hit the road solo. The 70-year-old artist and his backing band are focusing on the deep trove of country, folk and rock music he made after leaving the Monkees in 1970. “The songs I'll play are a touch chronological and a touch thematic. I picked my favorites to play, the ones I have come to love over the years, and the ones that are most requested by fans of my solo work,” Nesmith says.
Nesmith performs at 7:30 p.m. April 9 at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall. Tickets are $25 to $45. Details: 412-368-5225; www.librarymusichall.com
— Los Angeles Times
JAZZ — Music you just eat up
Kenny Garrett says playing in Europe always teaches a lesson in not overlooking the embarrassment of riches in jazz in the United States.
Garrett, who is returning from Europe, says his overseas trip was like giving food to the hungry. And it was particularly true in countries once controlled by the Soviet Union.
“For a lot of people over there, hearing jazz is like eating,” he says. “For a long time, they weren't allowed to eat.”
The Garrett Quintet will perform April 9 at the Cabaret Theater, Downtown, as one of the Jazz Appreciation Month concerts.
Garrett has been a dominant force in jazz for decades, working with masters from Art Blakey to Miles Davis and Chick Corea. But he also has performed with Sting. Here, here will be joined by drummer McClenty Hunter, bassist Corcoran Holt, pianist Vernell Brown and percussionist Rudy Bird.
Garrett is working on an album to follow 2012's “Seeds from the Underground,” and says he will be organizing it after his return from Europe.
Music starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $30.75. Details: 412-445-6666 or www.trustarts.com
— Bob Karlovits
THEATRE — 6 make 6 on the 6th
Put six playwrights on a bus, and they'll return with six plays.
Bricolage Theatre Company returns for its eighth-annual excursion into the creative unknown with B.U.S., short for Bricolage Urban Scrawl. The fundraiser and theater event begins April 5 when playwrights Tameka Cage-Conley, Vanessa German, Chris Potocki, Peter Roth, Dennis Schebetta, and Rosemarie Wilson are embark on a 90-minute bus ride.
Over the next 24 hours, each of the six playwrights will create a 10-minute play that will then be cast, directed, rehearsed and produced for a performance that begins at 8 p.m. April 6. More than 40 local artists will participate in the production.
Audience members can choose between three options:
• Double Decker B.U.S. includes admission to the 7 to 9 p.m. April 5 reception and actor parade at Bricolage, 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown, plus the 6:30 p.m. April 6 pre-show reception, 8 p.m. performance and post-show party activities at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. Cost: $150
• Party B.U.S. includes reception and actor parade, plus the performance and the post-show party. Cost: $75
• Mini B.U.S. includes the performance and post-show party. Cost: $40
Details: 412-471-0999 or www.bricolagepgh.org
— Alice T. Carter
JAZZ — Brass, plus a little doo-wop flavor
Popular music has a way of developing so that various genres often overlap one another. James Gourlay, general director of River City Brass, says that mixture is exactly why the band is mixing flavors in its “Big Band and Doo Wop Brass” programs, opening April 4 at Beulah Presbyterian Church in Churchill.
“We were looking at the music of the time doo-wop was replaced by groups like The Beatles, and there were big bands like Stan Kenton still around and then bands like Buddy Rich's,” he says.
The program will let Johnny Angel & the Halos perform the doo-wop hits that have made them popular while the band will take looks at the music of Billy Strayhorn and Glenn Miller, but ranging up to Joe Zawinul's “Birdland” and Carole King's “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”
“It will be a concert that will have familiar material, but done with a new twist,” Gourlay says.
One of the best examples of that, he adds, will be the arrangement of Benny Goodman's “Sing, Sing, Sing.” It gets new life as “Sing, Sang, Sung” as done by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band.
River City also will be playing its standout version of “Channel 1 Suite,” a powerful piece from the Buddy Rich band.
“It is the kind of concert that people might hear us doing things they find a little bit different,” he says.
Concerts are April 4 at Beulah Presbyterian Church, Churchill; April 5 at Carson Middle School, McCandless; April 6 at The Palace Theatre, Greensburg; April 9 at Upper St. Clair High School; April 10 at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center; Beaver County; April 11 at Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland; April 12 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Johnstown. Admission ranges $21 to $41 except at Beulah, where all tickets are $25. Details: 412-434-7222 or www.rivercity.org. Details for the Pasquerilla concert: 814-269-7200
— Bob Karlovits
MUSIC — Out of their comfort zones, out of the Netherlands
Clarinetist Michael Moore says it is only human to end up playing all-too-familiar music when improvisation is being attempted. But he says the Instant Composers Pool Orchestra succeeds in staying away from that sameness because “we all value staying out of our comfort zones.”
The avant-garde, free-thinking jazz band will play April 10 at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland, doing music that focuses on the improvised thoughts of its members. The band from the Netherlands was formed in 1967 and varies in size and personnel a little, but generally is about 10 members.
It was founded by com poser Misha Mengelbeg, drummer Han Bennink and reed player Willem Breuker.
When Mengelberg formed the band, she tried to ensure a lively approach to music by “not choosing people who think alike,” Moore says.
Moore, who has played in many jazz settings, including with trumpeter Dave Douglas, says the band has some pieces that give it direction, but tries to concentrate on being instant composers. Those were the words once written by guitarist Jim Hall on liner notes to an album.
“The spontaneity is what makes it exciting,” he says.
Music begins 8 p.m. Admission $20; $15 in advance. Details: 412-361-2262 or www.garfieldartworks.com
— Bob Karlovits