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Top picks: Even grad school can't stop the music

| Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
JP Cutler Media
Singer Vienna Teng
Simon & Schuster
David McCullough, author of 'JOHN ADAMS,' to be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2001.
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
Even Rolls-Royces can be competitors in the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Kick-Off Rallye.
Frick Art & Historical Center
Robert Michaels
Eric Forberger
Jonathan Burns (left) and Mark Hayward present Mark & Jonathan’s Fireside Chat

Singer-songwriter-keyboardist Vienna Teng is proving school does not have to stagger a career in music.

In 2010, she left the arts scene to pursue graduate work in business and environmental studies at the University of Michigan. Now, the California native is back on the touring circuit as she gets ready for the release of her new album, “Aims,” in September.

She will offer some of that music as well as songs from her pre-grad-school days on July 9 at Club Cafe, South Side.

Her songs explore a range of topics, from personal and emotional items to the worth of the Occupy Movement. Whatever the topic, the songs are presented with her distinctive vocal style and her facile keyboard work.

She will perform with guest Alex Wong.

Music begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $16. Details: 412-431-4950 or

— Bob Karlovits

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix starts its engines

The first bit of competition in the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix starts July 7 in Oakland.

It is a little more than two weeks until classic sports cars will fill Schenley Park for the annual benefit for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Valley School, but the Kick-off Rallye will provide a bit of no-speed racing.

Drivers will leave Craig Street in Oakland and follow clues on a two- to three-hour mystery course, ending in a dinner and party at the Spaghetti Warehouse in the Strip District. Drivers amass points by following directions, staying within the speed limit and answering trivia questions.

The first car takes off at 11:31 a.m. Participation: $75 for a team of two. Details:

— Bob Karlovits

Fast and ferocious flamenco

Robert Michaels' dedication to the guitar dates back to when he was 14 and invented a fret-board with wood and six strings to prove his seriousness to his parents.

Now, the Canadian is a platinum-selling artist who somehow gets rock-star-like acclaim for his flamenco playing. He will show off that virtuosity July 5 as this month's guest at the First Fridays at the Frick concert at the Frick Art & Historical Center, Point Breeze.

Michaels is a winner of the Juno, Canada's Grammy-like award, and gives credit for his success largely to “word of mouth” that attracts fans to concerts and sparks album sales.

The First Fridays programs are a staple of the arts in the Pittsburgh area, held on the lawn behind Clayton, the mansion of 19th-century industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Besides being the site for dinners by picnickers bringing their own food, the center offers food at its Café at the Frick restaurant.

Music begins at 7 p.m. Concerts are free, but a $5-per-adult donation is recommended. Details: 412-371-0600 or

— Bob Karlovits

Bridges and birthdays

David McCullough has spent his career bridging the present to the past, so it seems appropriate that he would be honored by having a span named for him.

The Pittsburgh native who is one of America's most popular historians will celebrate his 80th birthday July 7 with a David McCullough Day celebration. Part of the event will be the official renaming of the 16th Street Bridge in the Strip District after him.

The dedication at 2 p.m. will be attended by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, other county officials and representatives of the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip, where a birthday cake will be served at 3 p.m.

At 4 p.m., the historian will deliver a talk, “Bridging the Past and the Present” in a ticketed event in the history center's Mueller Education Center.

The event at the bridge is free and, in honor of the historian, admission to the history center will be free that day, also.

General-admission tickets to the talk are $20. Details: 888-718-4253 or

— Bob Karlovits

Lots to juggle means more to enjoy

Pittsburgh native Mark Hayward, with performing partnerJonathan Burns of Lancaster will bring their new live variety show/ talk show to theArcade Comedy Theater at 8 and 10 p.m. July 6.

A world yo-yo champion and member of a World Champion Juggling Team, Hayward returns to Pittsburgh after participating on shows like “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “America's Got Talent.” Burns has performed across the world since 2004, and recently appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Their project, called Mark & Jonathan's Fireside Chat, will be an evening full of entertainment, including special performances by Pittsburgh magicianDoc Dixon and Herman Pearl, known locally as DJ Soy Sos. After each act, performers will sit by the fire and chat with the comedic duo. Audience participation is encouraged; a portion of the evening will be dedicated to answering crowd questions. Admission is $10.


— Emma Deihle

The dialogue of motherhood, writ large

When Susan R. Rose and Joan Stein invited playwrights to create selections for “Motherhood Outloud,” they imagined it as an evening of monologues on the joys and challenges of child-rearing.

What this pair of female Broadway producers received from the writers turned out to be an ensemble of scenes and monologues that zero in on the heart and the funnybone.

The roster of nationally known playwrights who contributed includes many who have had their work produced locally: Leslie Ayvazian (“Lovely Day”), Beth Henley (“Crimes of the Heart”), Michele Lowe (“String of Pearls”), Theresa Rebeck (“Seminar”) and Cheryl L. West (“Birdie Blue”) as well as others who may be new to audiences.

It promises to shatter established ideas about parenthood while looking at the communal experiences of mothers that remain and recur generation after generation.

“Motherhood Outloud” will run through July 20 at Little Lake Theatre, 500 Lakeside Drive South, North Strabane. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. July 14.

Admission is $18 to 20; $12 for age 15 and younger.

Details: 724-745-6300 or

— Alice T. Carter

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