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Hot ticket: Box Heart Gallery's newest exhibit opening

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:56 p.m.
Frank Caliendo
File photo
Frank Caliendo
XinXin Zhi (China), 'Love Letters', Ceramic Installation - 65 individual pieces
XinXin Zhi (China), 'Love Letters', Ceramic Installation - 65 individual pieces
Harpsichordist Andrew Appel
Credit: Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque Society
Harpsichordist Andrew Appel Credit: Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque Society
Anne Scheffler as writer E.B. Janet, Danielle Trzcinski as naive Tasha Woode and Patrick Whalen as Hugh, the heart throb and love interest of Tasha, in 'SPANK! Fifty Shades Parody”
Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Anne Scheffler as writer E.B. Janet, Danielle Trzcinski as naive Tasha Woode and Patrick Whalen as Hugh, the heart throb and love interest of Tasha, in 'SPANK! Fifty Shades Parody” Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Inspired by the prestigious Carnegie International, Box Heart Gallery's“Art Inter/National... here and abroad” exhibit opens Saturday with a free opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

Now in its 12th year, the exhibit features the work of 20 artists from across the United States and around the world. From video to sculpture, textile, encaustic or painting, 24 works of art in a wide variety of media will be on display.

The exhibit continues through Feb. 2. Box Heart Gallery is located at 4523 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Regular gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Details: 412-687-8858 or

— Kurt Shaw


E L James' steamy, best-selling erotic novel spices up the winter theater scene as “SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody” comes to town.

A presentation of the Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series, the show takes a humorous look at the hugely popular — some would say, scandalous — book, through sketches, improvisation and musical comedy.

The show is not associated with, nor authorized by, author E L James or Vintage Press.

“Spank!...” follows author E.B. Janet and her fantasy characters — a young, innocent woman and an impossibly attractive man — as the couple tryst their way through unbridled sexual encounters.

Producer Michael Mills promises a laugh-filled evening that captures the escapist, over-the-top fun of the novel. It's for adult, broad-minded audiences.

Performances: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Byham Theater, Downtown

Admission: $35.50 and $45.50

Details: 412-456-6666 or

— Alice Carter


He's funny on ESPN, Letterman , Leno or Conan, where he fires off a breathless succession of dead-on impressions of John Madden, Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Robin Williams, William Shatner, Charles Barkley and others.

But Frank Caliendo is best experienced live. He's a gifted stand-up comedian who happens to excel at imitations.

“Frank is flat-out one of the quickest and most instinctual comics I've ever known,” says Randy Baumann, who co-hosts the Morning Show on WDVE-FM, where Caliendo is a frequent guest. “Everyone knows what a great impressionist he is … but he's totally underrated as an improvisational comic. There are some comics who guest on the show that are tremendously successful stand-ups, but can't be extemporaneously funny. Frank can do hours of improv in character and it seems effortless.”

Caliendo has staked out a unique niche in the sports world, where his impressions of NFL coaches, team owners, sports analysts and Terry Bradshaw provide viewers with a sports-comedy twofer. He might have something to say about the 40th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception when he performs this weekend at the Pittsburgh Improv at the Waterfront in Homestead. Admission is $30 to the shows, which kick off at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday.

Details: 412-462-5233,

— William Loeffler


French baroque music will hold court Saturday evening when theFour Nations ensemble is presented by the Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque Society.

The musicians will contrast the bolder style of music for public concerts with the more-refined taste of music written for aristocrats in pieces by Louis Couperin, Francois Francoeur, Jean-Joseph Mondonville and Michel Blavet.

Four Nations, founded in 1986, is based in New York City and led by harpsichordist Anthony Appel. The other members are flutist Charles Brink, violinist Tatiana Chulochnikova and cellist Loretta O'Sullivan.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. Saturday atSynod Hall, Oakland. Admission is $20 to $25; $10 for students.

Details: 412-361-2048 or

— Mark Kanny


To say that indie rock is full of semi-legendary eccentrics is a bit redundant. The brilliant, but fame-averse, self-deprecating, even self-sabotaging weirdo is almost as familiar an indie-rock cliche as the guy with the unkempt beard. But a few still stand out in their brilliance and weirdness, like Jeff Mangum, best-known as the voice behind the late, lamented Neutral Milk Hotel. Their album “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” (1998) — a kind of lo-fi “Sgt. Pepper” featuring Mangum's unsettling voice atop funeral marches and fuzzy psychedelia — was a critical smash and slow-building hit.

But Mangum didn't like all the attention, so he disbanded the group and retreated from sight.

Mangum still makes lots of music, and occasionally he re-emerges for solo acoustic performances. He'll be doing one of those Thursday night at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Tall Firs and Briars of North America are opening, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Details: 412-237-8300.

— Michael Machosky


Creating a jazz group goes far beyond simply adding together a group of players.

The significance of that equation should show itself this evening when trumpeter Sean Jones, pianist Alton Merrell and bassistJeff Grubbs perform in the lobby of the Fairmont Pittsburgh.

Jones works in many setting and with a variety of people, but this trio will create a lean musical look in a drum-less setting. It also will provide a chance for the three players to display clear-cut looks at their talent.

Jones and pianist Merrell played together in a recent look at the music of George Gershwin and know each other very well. Grubbs is a bassist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra whose jazz chops grow constantly.

Music begins at 7:30 p.m. at the hotel on Market Street. It is free. Details: 412-773-8800 or

— Bob Karlovits


TheBrown Bag concerts Pittsburgh Opera offers for free on Saturday afternoons begin the new year this week with a sampling of a romantic comedy gem from the time of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Actually, Domenico Cimarosa's “The Secret Marriage” was a bigger hit than any of Mozart's operas in Vienna, where it was first performed in 1792.

The singers on Saturday will perform arias, love duets and ensembles from “The Secret Marriage,” taking the roles they'll perform in the opera's fully-staged production, which starts on Jan. 26.

Kyle Oliver will play Count Robinson, who hopes to marry into the family wealth of the merchant Geronimo, sung by Joseph Baron. Although the plan is for Robinson to marry Geronimo's older daughter Elisetta, sung by Jasmine Muhammad, he falls for younger daughter Carolina, sung by Meredith Lustig. That brings us to the opera's title and comic fulcrum, because Carolina is secretly married to Paolino, sung by Juan Jose de Leon.

The concert starts at noon Saturday at Pittsburgh Opera, 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip District. Admission is free.

Details: 412-281-0912 or

— Mark Kanny


Even after 53 years, Alfred Hitchcock's black-and-white thriller “Psycho” still delivers a jolt or two of adrenaline.

Revolutionary in its day for both its subject matter and its technique, it demonstrates that you can generate surprise and terror with nothing more elaborate than a shower curtain, a knife, a few scrapes of a violin and artful, imaginative editing.

It's also a nice companion piece for those who have seen the recently released “Hitchcock” with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, which focuses on the making of “Psycho.”

Pittsburgh Filmmakers will screen “Psycho” at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Regent Square Theater, 1035 South Braddock Ave., Regent Square.

Admission: $9

Details: 412-682-4111 or

— Alice T. Carter

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