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Hot Ticket: 'Death' on the stage; 'River of Words' on North Side

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 5:06 p.m.
Rick Moore | Throughline Theatre Company
Andy Coleman (left), Eric Leslie (center), and John Henry Steelman star in Throughline Theatre Company's “A New Death.'
Gisela Romero
Poesia — poetry in English — is part of the 'River of Words,” a series of temporary public art commissions being installed along City of Asylum Pittsburgh’s Garden-to-Garden Trail on the North Side.
Raj Naik
Rick Braun

When the chronically unemployed, under-valued Harlan Howe unexpectedly gets a job with a mysterious corporation, his life takes a surprising turn.

He has been hired as a literal messenger of death, and even with angels working overtime to train him, Harlan may not survive the adjustment period for this high-stakes job.

Chippewa Township playwright C.S. Wyatt draws on years of research and an obsession with vintage television for his comedy “A New Death,” which seeks to answer religious and existential questions that include: “Why are we here? What is the point? And who the heck is in charge?”

Throughline Theatre Company offers the world premiere of “A New Death” as the second production of its fifth season. It will play at the Grey Box Theatre, 3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville, from July 18 to 26 at 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 2 and 8 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $15, $12 for students and seniors and an additional $10 for the opening night.


— Alice T. Carter


Taken at their ‘Words'

At 6 p.m. July 25, a reception will get under way for a community-wide art installation involving the participation of more than 40 residents of the North Side.

“River of Words” is the first in a series of temporary public-art commissions being installed along City of Asylum Pittsburgh's Garden-to-Garden Trail. It's also a cross-cultural collaboration, involving writer Israel Centeno and visual artists, Carolina Arnal and Gisela Romero, who are all natives of Venezuela. City of Asylum resident artists, they have invited community members to host “words in residence” on the exteriors of their homes and gardens.

The words, in Spanish and English, are references to poetry, literature and the Pittsburgh physical and cultural landscape. For example, the names of our three rivers are included as well as “zombies.” The words are made from laser-cut acrylic, vinyl letters, or chalk, and have been placed throughout the North Side.

The reception is from 6 to 8:15 p.m. A member of the Office of Public Art will conduct short neighborhood tours of the artwork at 7 and 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will be under the Alphabet City Tent, 318 Sampsonia Way, North Side.

Details: 412-323-0278 or

— Kurt Shaw


Bring the Mayhem

The metal pioneers of Korn are headlining the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival on July 26 at the First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown.

Korn is touring to support the band's latest album, “The Paradigm Shift,” which is its 11th studio album. The album first came out in October 2013, but a deluxe reissue — “The Paradigm Shift: World Tour Edition” — came out July 15 and is available exclusively at Best Buy. It features new songs “Hater” and “The Game is Over.”

Korn's best-known hits include “Clown,” “Here to Stay,” “Get Up” and “Love and Meth.” The lineup of bands at Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival also includes Avenged Sevenfold, Asking Alexandria, Trivium, Cannibal Corpse, Suicide Silence, Body Count, Miss May I, Emmure, Mushroomhead, Texas Hippie Coalition, Veil of Maya, Upon a Burning Body, Darkest Hour, Ill Nino, Wretched and Islander.

The performances begin at 1 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 to $89.50. Details: 800-745-3000 or

— Kellie B. Gormly


Attack of the jazz

Trumpeter Rick Braun says he has discovered the advantages of “jazz packaging.”

“It's not like I don't enjoy doing my own shows, because I do, but we have so much understanding and camaraderie, getting together is a great deal of fun,” he says.

The smooth jazz trumpeter is talking about the show Jazz Attack, which will be featured July 25 at Robert Morris University's Sewell Center in Moon. It features him, guitarist Peter White and saxophonist Euge Groove.

Braun says he and his fellow smooth-jazz purveyors came up with the idea of combining their efforts in the later years of the last decade when the economy was so lousy it was a way of appealing to listeners who were watching their money.

“We know each other and it was fun to play together,” he says. “And the audience liked it, too.”

Jazz Attack started with Braun, White, singer Jonathan Butler, and saxophonist Richard Elliot before taking its current shape. There also are steady get-togethers with saxophonist Kirk Whalum and guitarist Norman Johnson, a duo with Elliot, and a Christmas show with White and saxophonist Mindi Abair.

Braun still performs and records on his own and his new album, “Can You Feel It,” recently was No. 1 on the Billboard contemporary jazz chart.

Music starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25 and $50. Details: 412-322-0800 or

— Bob Karlovits


Ribs and wings and Seven Springs

Eat to your heart's content in the mountains this weekend.

The fifth annual Seven Springs Rib & Wings Festival will include plenty of food and entertainment for three days at the resort.

There will be ribs and wings of all styles from BG's BBQ, Smokin' Joe's Hog Wild Barbecue, Pigfoot BBQ, Mojo's Rib Shack and Armadillo's BBQ & Rib Company.

Thirteen bands will serve up nearly 20 hours of music, headlined by Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers at 7:15 p.m. July 24, Chris Higbee at 7:30 p.m. July 25 and Scott Blasey of the Clarks at 2:30 p.m. July 26.

Other activities includes games, face painting and crafts.

Admission is $7, which does not include food, it's free for those age 11 and under. Festival hours are from 4 to 9 p.m. July 24, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 25 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 26. Details: 800-452-2223 or

— Tribune-Review

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