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Hot briefs: James Dasher; Alestorm; Sunday Gravy Show; Bricolage's 'Word Play'; Academy Chamber Ensemble

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 5:57 p.m.
Author James Dashner
Author James Dashner

Along the cyber lines

James Dashner, a New York Times best-selling author, will be doing a presentation Nov. 22 at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Oakland.

Dashner wrote the “Maze Runner” trilogy, the “13th Reality” series and “A Mutiny in Time.” Dashner's newest book — “The Eyes of Time,” which came out Oct. 8 — kicks off his new “The Mortality Doctrine” series about cyberterrorists and gaming. The main character, Michael, is a gamer struggling to find the line between fantasy and reality.

Dashner's presentation, which begins at 7 p.m., is one of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures' series of five programs in the 2013-14 PA&L Kids and Teens series, featuring authors of contemporary literature for younger and older children. Tickets are $10 and two for $15.

Details: 412-622-8866 or

— Kellie B. Gormly

A pirate's life for them

If you're going to have a gimmick, you might as well just throw caution into the wind, go ahead and walk the plank, so to speak.

Alestorm is a “true Scottish pirate metal” band. Much in the same manner as Viking metal, these hearty Scottish lads look like hairy, undead refugees from Blackbeard's crew and write songs exclusively about being pirates, and doing pirate stuff, like “Set Sail and Conquer,” “Keelhaul” and “Death Throes of the Terrorsquid.”

Because Pittsburgh is especially pirate-friendly territory, expect them to put on an especially ridiculous show Nov. 26 at the Smiling Moose on the South Side. Trollfest and Gypsyhawk are also on the bill. The show starts early, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $21.

Details: 877-435-9849 or

— Michael Machosky

It's all Gravy

Multidirectional artist Frank Orrall will be the opening performer in the new Sunday Gravy Show on Nov. 24 at a gutted, former dry-goods store in Lawrenceville.

The series will crash in a different neighborhood each month, offering an afternoon of various types of entertainment, typified by Orrall. He is a singer, spoken-word artist and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Poi Dog Pondering and the Thievery Corporation.

The shows, designed to be interactive events with the audience, will be hosted by Wammo, co-founder of the Asylum Street Spankers. They are being presented by the Sprout Fund and Calliope: the Pittsburgh Folk Music Society.

Tricia Tanner, executive director of Calliope, says the series has evolved from such similar, informal shows as the Green Mannequin Series and the Back Porch Ballroom Series.

The show will include refreshments, are BYOB and are open to all ages. The sites in Lawrenceville will be told only to ticket holders, and reservations are required. Admission is $20.

Details: 412-361-1915 or

— Bob Karlovits

Soundtracks of their lives

Bricolage is bringing live storytelling to the stage complete with its own soundtrack for “WordPlay — Transit Tales,” at 8 p.m. Nov. 22.

The show will feature actors, comedy writers and everyday people reading their funny and poignant stories set to a live score. Contributors include Matt Bower, Tami Dixon, Cindy Jackson, Beulah Mougianis and Alan Olifson.

DJ Chad Elish will use anything from Bach to Britney Spears to develop the perfect soundtrack for each performance. The result is a distinct, collaborative — and often hilarious — show.

“Transit Tales” is a multimedia storytelling project about how public transit affects lives in Allegheny County. Riders, nonriders and drivers can record their own stories, which are then used in various outlets, including radio, print and social media and live performance.

Creator and producer Olifson, host of the Pittsburgh's monthly Moth StorySLAM series, brought “WordPlay” to the Steel City from Los Angeles where it ran for five years. Tickets are $15.


— Rachel Weaver

‘Listen' up

Three centuries of music will be explored by the Academy Chamber Ensemble in a “Listen Locally” concert Nov. 25 at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie.

The concert will feature Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's (1756-91) Quintet in C, Felix Mendelssohn's (1809-47) Quartet in E minor, and Bohuslav Martinu's (1890-1959) Duo No. 2 for violin and cello.

The ensemble is led by violinist Warren Davidson and includes violinists Lea Givelber and Sandro Leah Santiesteban, violist David Sinclair and cellist Paige Riggs.

Music begins at 7:30 p.m.. Admission is $15. Details: 412-276-3456, ext. 7, or

— Bob Karlovits

All hail ‘Norma'

Vincenzo Bellini's opera masterpiece “Norma” will be presented in a fully staged performance with full orchestra by Undercroft Opera starting Nov. 21 in Brookline.

“Norma” is a pinnacle of bel canto opera, the style that flourished in Italy in the first half of the 19th century and is characterized by legato phrasing, vivid coloratura and sheer beauty of voice. The action takes place in France during its occupation by the Roman Empire. Norma, a priestess of Druids, is betrayed in love by Pollione, the Roman general with whom she's had two children.

Undercroft's production is double cast, with one set of singers for Nov. 21 and 23 and a second cast for Nov. 22 and 24. The title role will be taken by Kelly Lynch and Charlene Canty; her lover Pollione by Robert Frankenberry and Seth Gruber; and Adalgisa, Pollione's new lover, by Diana Cantrelle and Mary Beth Sederburg. Walter Morales will conduct. Patrick Brennan is stage director.

The performances start at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 to 23 and 2 p.m. Nov. 24 at Seton Center, 1900 Pioneer Drive, Brookline. Admission is $25 to $38, $15 for children under 12.


— Mark Kanny

Classic collaboration

World-renowned flutist Eugenia Zukerman will give a recital as part of the St. Vincent College concert series Nov. 23. The pianist will be Milana Strezeva.

Zukerman has collaborated with many of the world's top classical musicians, including Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and her former husband Pinchas Zukerman, as well as with major orchestras. In addition to making commercial recordings, she is a distinguished broadcast and print journalist.

Her St. Vincent program will include music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Bela Bartok, Francis Poulenc, Frederic Chopin and Gabriel Faure.

The concert will start at 8 p.m. Nov. 23 in the Robert S. Carey Student Performing Arts Center, St. Vincent College, Unity. Admission is $25, $15 for students.

Details: 724-805-2565 or

— Mark Kanny

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