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Making space

| Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004

On Saturday, 16 artist members of the Steel Valley Arts Council will open the doors to artspace 303, the council's art gallery in Homestead, to launch its latest exhibition, "6' x 6'." For this exhibition, each of the participating artists was given a 6- by 6-foot space in the gallery in which to either create or display anything they wanted to. Now that the artists have each explored the possibilities of their allotted spaces, why not stop by Saturday evening for an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. to explore the results• Both the reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.

Artspace 303 is at 303 E. Eighth Ave. in Homestead. Gallery hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Details: (412) 326-0100.

- Kurt Shaw

'King' of the road

The 2004 theater year roars in with a lion as Disney's "The Lion King" settles down for a five-week stay at the Benedum Center, Downtown.

The live stage musical, an adaptation of Disney's earlier popular animated feature film, is a coming-of-age tale about Simba, a young lion cub, who's heir to his father's kingdom.

A presentation of the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, it translates scenes of stampeding wildebeests, comic warthogs, and searing savanna sunrises to the live stage while enlarging on the number of songs and the lush, exotic African flora and fauna of the original.

The almost completely sold-out run begins Friday at the Benedum, Seventh Street at Penn Avenue, Downtown, and continues through Feb. 15 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays.

Although officially sold out, a limited number of tickets may be available for some performances or may become available as the run progresses at prices ranging from $23.75 to $73.75.

Details: (412) 456-4800.

- Alice T. Carter

The dead time comes to life

For live music in Pittsburgh, the long days of January are colorfully referred to as "the dead time." While it's true that most national touring bands are nursing post-holiday hangovers right now, this is actually a great time for local music, and the ideal time for touring bands sturdy enough to hit the road.

This week, it's a bit of both. First off, the mighty B-3's, Pittsburgh's pre-eminent ska band, is going to party like it's 1997 tonight at Rex Theatre. Ska music - think old-school soul with Jamaican rhythm, English style and punk rock energy - is much harder to find than it was a few years back, but this crew is one of the best. Along for the ride are a world-spanning collection of ska all-stars - NYC's King Django, Dr. Ring-Ding from Germany, Eastern Standard Time from D.C. and DJ Soccer John from Pittsburgh. The show starts at

8 p.m. and the cover is $6. Details: (412) 381-6811.

Across town at the Mr. Roboto Project in Wilkinsburg, another top local band shares a bill with some excellent out-of-towners - Pittsburgh's Life in Bed and The Forms from New York City. Each of these bands has a different take on the shimmering walls of sound pioneered by early '90s bands such as My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain, combining it with the more unpredictable rhythmic sense of bands like Slint and Jawbox. Mary Celeste and Ice Capades round out the bill. The show starts at 7 p.m. and the cover is $5. Details: (412) 247-9639.

- Michael Machosky

Jazz on the North Side

Tim Eyermann is making another trip home. The sax player, best known as the leader of East Coast Offering, was in town over the summer to perform with Three Mo' Tenors. Friday, he'll be in his more identifiable jazz role at the James Street Restaurant on the North Side.

The musician, who grew up in the Westwood area near Crafton, lived for 32 years in the Washington, D.C., area where he taught and led the well-known fusion band. Now, work has placed him in Miami where he has an active club life and still works with the Offering. That band will be with him on the North Side.

The gig at James St. begins at 8 p.m. and is free. Details: (412) 323-2222.

- Bob Karlovits

Pickin' on the Region

  • On Tuesday, The Center for American Music along with Allegheny Cemetery will present Stephen Foster Day to commemorate the 140th anniversary of his death. At 10 a.m., there will be a wreath-placing ceremony at the Foster grave at Temple of Memories Mausoleum at Allegheny Cemetery, Lawrenceville. At noon, there will be music by the Stephen Foster Chorus of Stephen Collins Foster School in Mt. Lebanon and a performance by Joe Negri in the Charity Randall Theatre at the Stephen Foster Memorial, Oakland. After the program, the audience can tour the newly renovated Charity Randall Theatre and the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum and Center for American Music Library. All events are free. 412-624-4364.

  • The Pittsburgh RV Show will roll into the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, Saturday through Jan. 18. Hours will be 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Featured will be motorhomes, travel trailers, conversion vans, campgrounds, resorts, ATVs and RV accessories. Admission is $7; $6 for senior citizens; $5 for ages 6 through 16; free ages 5 and younger. 412-565-6000 or www.pghrvshow.com .

  • Get your tickets early for the Second Annual Pittsburgh Wine Festival, set for May 6 and 7. A VIP Tasting will be May 6; the VIP Tasting will precede a Grand Tasting at Heinz Field, North Shore. On May 7, winemaker dinners will be available at participating restaurants and will feature a celebrity winemaker playing host to the evening. Tickets cost $200 for the VIP Tasting and $105 for general admission to the Grand Tasting. Winemaker dinners vary in price and wine selections. The event, presented by The Pittsburgh Liquor Control Board and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, will benefit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review charities. For more information, consult www.pittsburghwinefestival.com , or call 412-320-7904.

  • January Ice Jam will return to the Days Inn, Butler, for a seventh year. At least 21 bluegrass bands will gather for a weekend of free music beginning at 7 p.m. to midnight Friday; 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday; and an 11 a.m. church service Sunday. The Ice Jam will benefit the Bluegrass Relief Fund, which helps defray expenses for friends of the music. Money raised from donations, raffles and the sale of CDs and sweatshirts will be donated to fans and bluegrass musicians who are encountering financial difficulties. Money also will be donated to WYEP-FM, which offers two bluegrass-oriented programs on Sunday evenings. 724-452-6814.

  • Sunday will be the last day to visit the Eckerd Celebration of Lights at Hartwood Acres, Indiana Township, and the Wild West Garden Railroad and Winter Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland. For more information about these and other holiday happenings, see Page 12.

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