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Arts & Entertainment

Hot picks: CulinaryART, 'Mid-Strut,' winter microwonderland

| Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012

Art: Consume some CulinaryART

From 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Gallery Sim on the South Side will unveil its latest exhibit, "CulinaryART," which celebrates the South Side Soup Contest planned for Feb. 18. More than 25 artists have submitted their culinary visual art creations for this exhibit.

The unique and imaginative works are exemplified in Madeleine Tappy's photographic submissions titled "Galaxy," which includes images of the bottom of her copper saucepan and her view of the world through the "Tunnel" of a roll of paper towels. Other submissions include Drew Hine's glass-blown "Wavy Platters," Karen McKee's functional ceramics and Fran Vogel's watercolor of "Laura @ Cafe."

The artists have chosen mediums of watercolor, oil, ceramics, glass, metal sculpture, photography and pastels to render their vision of the culinary world. It's an exhibit designed to whet your taste buds.

The exhibit will remain on view through March 25. Gallery Sim is located at 1735 E. Carson St., South Side. Regular gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

Details: 412-586-4531 or www.gallerysim.com

— Kurt Shaw

Music: The REP premieres 'Mid-Strut'

On Friday The REP, Point Park University's professional theater company, begins the world premiere of Ambridge native Eric Burns' first play, "Mid-Strut."

"Mid-Strut" focuses on an eccentric, intelligent, middle-aged man who learns he has incurable cancer. With just a few months to live, he sets out to redress one of the missed opportunities of his life. He searches for and finds Wendy, a woman he last saw three decades earlier when she was a majorette at their high school.

Their eventual meeting becomes a catalyst for change not just for Jack and Wendy but others who are close to them.

Performances of "Mid-Strut" run Friday through Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland.

Admission: $24 to $27, $7 and $8 for students

Details: 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com

— Alice T. Carter

Outdoors: Winter Microwonderland

Winter activity is going a slightly different direction Saturday at Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County.

Rather than concentrating only on sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, the annual Winterfest activities will include examinations of snowflakes with a digiscope and close looks at sections of ice.

Of course, the fest's human dog-sled race also will be included in the free activities.

In addition, sleigh rides will be provided for $5 for adults, $3 for kids and free for children under 3.

Food and drink also will be available.

Winterfest will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sugarloaf sledding area. Details: 724-329-8591 or by e-mailing bwallace@pa.gov .

— Bob Karlovits

Music: Kathleen Edwards at the Rex

Kathleen Edwards isn't a household name. She's not a pop star, doesn't travel with a large entourage, probably isn't going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone or any other magazine anytime soon.

She's just good at everything she does.

The Canadian singer and songwriter, appearing Saturday at the Rex Theater, South Side, has just released "Voyageur," an album that can't easily be defined. It's a blend of folk, pop and rock, but none of those signifiers alone do the music justice. Produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver (who is also her new beau), it features songs such as "Going to Hell" and "A Soft Place to Land," which express the polar sides of the divorce she went through.

Plus, she sings with a voice that's as big as the country she comes from.

Admission for the 8 p.m. concert is $30, $25 in advance. Hannah Georgas is the opening act.

Details: 412-381-6811, www.rextheatre.com

— Rege Behe

Classical: Many voices as one

Thomas Wesley Douglas is leading an exploration of the human voice this weekend that will at times have the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh playing the part of a piano.

The choir's "Consolidation" concerts Saturday and Sunday will feature the Bach Choir, which he directs, and the Pitt Men's Glee Club and the Oakland Girls Chamber Choir, doing an a capella show. The three choruses will sing separately and together at times.

In two pieces, one from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Magic Flute," the Bach singers will provide a vocal transcription of piano accompaniment.

Douglas says the choirs will sing at various locations and at times surround the audience "to really provide a great examination of the human voice."

The show will include medieval madrigals, classics from Mozart and Sergei Rachmaninoff and hits from the Beatles.

Douglas says the show fits into the season's mixture of sounds, called "Convergence," in its way of blending "likely material in an unlikely" way.

Music will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, Fifth Avenue, Oakland. Admission is $30, $22 for seniors and $12 for students. Details: 412-394-3353 or www.proartstickets.org

— Bob Karlovitz

Music: Meklit Hadero

Her name might not be as easy to remember as Norah Jones, but if there's anybody more exciting in the singer-songwriter space right now than Meklit Hadero , well, he/she's good at hiding.

The Ethiopian-born San Franciscan recalls the iconoclastic, observational precision of Joni Mitchell, combined with the jazz-inflected phrasing of a Jolie Holland or Madeleine Peyroux, subtle African influences, and a penchant for ornate arrangements. Yet, she has one of those immediately distinctive voices -- sensuous, smart, worldly -- that reveals something new and different with almost every line.

Meklit Hadero will be at the Shadow Lounge , East Liberty, starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $8 to $10.

Details: 412-362-8277

— Michael Machosky

Dance: Bodiography Contemporary Ballet

"Speaking of ..." returns with the first of a series of performances that celebrate the Pittsburgh arts scene.

Beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side will showcase an eclectic mix of dance, musical and spoken-word performers.

Bodiography Contemporary Ballet will offer a preview of its upcoming 10th anniversary show.

Also on the program are readings by writer Jim Daniels, poet Nikki Allen and spoken-word impresario Tameka Cage-Conley.

The evening also will spotlight new choreographic work from Texture and hip-hop act Vie Boheme and the live sounds of Cello Fury.

Admission: $15; $10 in advance

Details: www.Showclix.com or www.speakingofpittsburgh.com

— Alice T. Carter

Theater: 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'

This weekend marks your last chance to see Kuntu Repertory Theatre 's production of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

August Wilson's drama of racism, ambition, self-hate and exploitation is set in a Chicago studio in 1927, as Ma Rainey and her musicians are about to make a record.

Kuntu Repertory Theatre's founder and producing artistic director Vernell A. Lillie directs a cast led by Teri Bridgett as Ma Rainey.

Performances: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh , 7101 Hamilton Ave., Homewood.

Admission: $20

Details: 412-624-8498

— Alice T. Carter

Music: Harpsichordist Richard Egarr returns

Known for his joyous music making, harpsichordist Richard Egarr returns to Pittsburgh for a concert Saturday in Oakland presented by the Renaissance and Baroque Society.

"The harpsichord had its 'golden age' in the 17th century. Few composers have ever really understood the sound world of this instrument, apart from the few geniuses from this golden time," he writes in his program notes.

He will perform music by two such composers, Johann Froberger and Louis Couperin, plus pieces by Henry Purcell and John Blow that he says "are beautifully written for the instrument, and full of that quirky wit and humor that is so unmistakably English."

In addition to his keyboard work, Egarr is music director and conductor of the Academy of Ancient Music chamber orchestra, based in London, and has begun conducting non-period chamber and full-symphony orchestras.

The concert will start at 8 p.m. Saturday at Synod Hall , Oakland. Admission is $20 to $35; $10 for students

Details: 412-361-2048 or www.rbsp.org

— Mark Kanny

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