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Briefs: Free PSO concerts set

| Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will perform two free concerts for local music lovers in mid-August as a warm-up for its first European tour in three years.

Guest conductor Hans Graf will lead the Aug. 15 performance of "Don Juan" by Richard Strauss and Symphony No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff -- the repertoire that will be performed in four German cities Sept. 2-5. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m.

Music advisor Sir Andrew Davis will conduct the Aug. 18 performance of Symphony No. 2 by Charles Ives, Symphony No. 9 by Dmitri Shostakovich and "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks" by Richard Strauss -- the repertoire that will be performed in Greece, Ireland, Wales and at the Proms in London Aug. 25-30. The concert starts at 8 p.m.

Both concerts will take place at Heinz Hall, Downtown, and will include encores. Admission is free. The concerts will be followed by bon voyage parties with refreshments provided by Truffles and Flourishes.

Details: 412-392-4900.

-- Mark Kanny

Srishti Dances to unveil new work

Oakland-based Srishti Dances of India will unveil its newest work here in late August before taking it on tour to Ann Arbor, Mich., Chicago, Philadelphia and sites in New Jersey.

"Karna and Kunti" is a collaboration between Srishti president and artistic director Sreyashi Dey and India-based Kaushik Chakravarty that will combine Eastern Indian Odissi and Southern Indian Kathakali dance and theater styles, as well as Hindustani classical music and Rabindra Sangeet -- a singing style begun by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore . The story is taken from Tagore's "Karna Kunti Samvad," a tale of an abandoned child discovering his birth mother, and features an English translation of Tagore's Bengali verse.

Odissi is one of two styles of Indian dance in which Srishti specializes. Chakravarty is a leading exponent of Kathakali dance.

The performances also will include dances in the traditional Odissi and Kathakali styles.

The performance will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, East Liberty. Admission: $12, $10 for students and seniors.

Details: 412-361-1478.

-- Mark Kanny

Red Krayola hit the Warhol

The Red Krayola has always been a band that's colored outside the lines.

They're maybe the longest-lived underground rock band on the planet, first making experimental psychedelic rock in Houston in 1966. Despite several long hiatuses, bandleader Mayo Thompson was always able to find the band a contemporary home whether it was post-punk in late '70s England, or U.S. indie rock in the early '90s.

The band's early music was mostly about pulverizing and tearing apart the typical rock-song format -- so it's surprising how melodic, even pretty, the band can sound these days. But the songs still come in strange shapes and colors, full of fierce intelligence and wry humor.

The Red Krayola rarely tours, but they will be at the Warhol at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15. Details: 412-237-8300.

--Michael Machosky

Of Montreal pops into the Mattress Factory

If you're still looking for that perfect summer soundtrack to help correct a perfectly miserable summer, you can't do much better than the sunny, sugar-rush psychedelic pop of Of Montreal . They'll be at the Mattress Factory at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The band name is misleading -- they're actually of Athens, Georgia, where a little band called REM once made perfect summer albums a long, long time ago. Of Montreal buoys ramshackle indie rock with lush, frothy arrangements worthy of "Pet Sounds"-era Beach Boys -- each song a cornucopia of gentle weirdness and impeccably arranged hooks and choruses.

Tickets are $10 or $12 at the door. Details: 412-321-4253.

--Michael Machosky

Cultural events in the city

  • Pittsburgh CLO presents "Bombay Dreams" at 8 p.m. Performances continue through Sunday at the Benedum Center, Seventh Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown. $16.50-$52.50. 412-456-6666.

  • City Theatre presents "Late Nite Catechism 2" at 7 p.m. Performances continue in an open-ended run at the Lester Hamburg Studio Theatre of City Theater, 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $35. 412-431-2489.

Chili Peppers, Shakira top list of MTV award nominees

The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Shakira are front and center at this year's MTV Video Music Awards.

The rock band and the pop superstar got seven nominations each for the videos "Dani California" and "Hips Don't Lie," respectively, MTV announced Monday. Both will compete for video of the year along with Christina Aguilera ("Ain't No Other Man"), Madonna ("Hung Up") and Panic! At The Disco ("I Write Sins Not Tragedies").

Madonna, Shakira and Aguilera also are nominated for best female video with Kelly Clarkson ("Because of You") and Nelly Furtado ("Promiscuous").

Madonna is up for another three awards, including best dance video and best pop video.

Aguilera, now in a '40s glamour-puss phase, is also nominated for best pop video and best choreography in a video.

Nick Lachey 's "What's Left of Me," which recreates his breakup with Jessica Simpson , will vie for best male video with James Blunt ("You're Beautiful"), Kanye West ("Gold Digger"), T.I. ("What You Know") and Busta Rhymes (for his remix of "Touch It," featuring Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliot ).

The bands for best group video include the Chili Peppers, Fall Out Boy ("Dance, Dance") and Gnarls Barkley ("Crazy").

The 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, scheduled to air live on MTV, will take place on Aug. 31 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

-- The Associated Press

Task Force reopens B.I.G murder case

Six veteran homicide detectives are leading a new police task force investigating the unsolved 1997 killing of Notorious B.I.G.

The new probe comes in the face of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the rapper's mother, Voletta Wallace , and other relatives, who claim rogue police officers were involved in the killing, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The lawsuit filed by the Wallace family ended in a mistrial last year when it was discovered that a police detective intentionally hid statements by a jailhouse informant linking the killing to two former officers.

A judge ordered the city to pay $1.1 million in legal fees and other expenses to family of the rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace. A new trial was set for early next year.

-- The Associated Press

Moss uncovers for Vanity Fair

Kate Moss , wearing only long white gloves, leather boots and a white fur hat, graces the cover of Vanity Fair's September issue.

The 32-year-old supermodel also appears in a photo spread inside the magazine, on newsstands Aug. 8. In two photos, she sports an androgynous look -- wearing a black hat, jacket and tie -- inspired by Marlene Dietrich . In another, she channels Dietrich in the 1934 movie "The Scarlet Empress" by posing in a white gown draped around her waist.

Moss has the top spot among the rich and famous featured in the magazine's international best-dressed list for 2006.

Other sharp dressers include George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Renee Zellweger, Gwen Stefani, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice , CNN newsman Anderson Cooper , filmmaker Sofia Coppola, Prince William and Jordan's Queen Rania.

-- The Associated Press

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