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Hot picks: Reverend Horton Heat, The Tossers

| Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Music: Rockabilly Reverend freakout

There's at least one reference on a major music site that lists Reverend Horton Heat as pop/rock. Which is like saying Elvis Presley was a crooner, or Ozzy Osbourne a classical musician.

Heat, who appears Friday at Altar Bar in the Strip District, is arguably the embodiment of contemporary rockabilly. A manic performer on stage, Heat's songs are about cars, booze, women and hard living in general. Not for the faint of heart, but Heat is authentic to the core.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $25, $22 in advance. Larry and His Flask is the opening act.

Details: 412-263-2877 or .

— Rege Behe

Theater: Different kind of 'Pirates'

Pirates, police, a major general with an abundance of daughters and a plot that turns on a Leap Year birthday are just some of the attractions of Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance."

Subtitled "The Slave of Duty," this clever, comedic operetta concerns Frederic, a young man finishing his apprenticeship with a band of soft-hearted pirates who falls in love with one of the major general's daughters. Complications arise, not the least of which is that the major general is thoroughly opposed to having a pirate for a son-in-law.

The operetta is being performed through Sunday as the spring production of the Pittsburgh Savoyards ' 73rd season.

First performed in New York City in 1879, it's W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's best-known musical and gave us such songs as "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General," "Poor, Wandering One" and "A Rollicking Band of Pirates We..."

Performances: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie

Admission: $20, $16 for students and senior citizens, $ 10 for pre-teens

Details: 412-734-8476 or .

— Alice T. Carter

Dance: The power to move you

The August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble will salute "Dynamic Women of Dance" by presenting the work of four choreographers at performances on Friday and Saturday in the Cultural District. The troupe was named one of Dance Magazine's 2012 "25 to Watch."

Men outnumber women by four to one as choreographers, notes Greer Reed, artistic director of the ensemble and dance initiatives at the center. The new production is a sequel to the company's 2011 show "Dynamic Men of Dance."

Reed encouraged input from the dancers before choosing to program Kiesha Lalama's "Torque," Kim Bears-Bailey's "Relations," Sidra Bell's "When we get to the other side I will kiss you," and excerpts from "New Second Line" by Camille A. Brown.

The performances start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the August Wilson Center, Downtown. Admission is $20 to $30.

Also on Saturday, the August Wilson Center will host "MOVE! The Power of Black Dance," as part of its Family Series.

In this interactive performance and workshop, participants will learn about black dance, and how it tells the stories and convey feelings people have in common. Members of the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble will talk about giants of black dance, including Katherine Dunham, Carmen de Lavallade, Alvin Ailey and Ulysses Dove.

The show begins at 1 p.m. Tickets are $5.

Details: 412-338-8742 or .

— Mark Kanny

Art: Letting feelings flow

After open-heart surgery, the surgeon explained to artist Kyle Ethan Fischer that his vascular system was similar to that of a sea creature: over-developed and too efficient. In other words, extremely sensitive, and that sensitivity may have been a contributing factor to the dangerous heart conditions that developed.

Fischer's journey through his illnesses led him to explore the idea of meta-consciousness. It also caused him to confront life and death issues. Such observations inspired the works on paper in his latest solo exhibition at Boxheart Gallery in Bloomfield, "Sea Creatures & Blood Vessels." It opens Saturday with a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

The exhibit continues through March 31. The gallery is 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

Music: Lawrenceville meets hookahville

They are staples of the jam band and festival circuit. But on Saturday at the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville, the members of ekoostik hookah will get to ply their trade in the confines of a small club. The evening hearkens back to the Ohio-based groups roots; ekoostik hookah started out playing open-mic nights at small clubs before graduating to bigger stages.

Tickets for the 9 p.m. show are $17.

Details: 412-682-0177 or

— Rege Behe

Music: The punk o' the Irish

On paper, it sounds like a bad idea. But in practice, the peculiar hybrid of punk rock and Irish folk has proved a winning combination, ever since The Pogues started doing it in the early '80s. One of the foremost current practitioners is The Tossers, hailing from Irish neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago. They definitely lean toward the loud, punk rock side of things, but do it with banjo, mandolin, fiddle and tin whistle way up in the mix.

They'll be at the Altar Bar in the Strip District on March 14, starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $20. Details: 412-263-2877.

— Michael Machosky

Music: When notes flow like water

Saxophonist Kenny Blake will perform this evening at a wine tasting and auction to benefit the Three Rivers Rowing Association's juniors organization.

The group works to develop competitive skills of young rowers at the organization near Millvale.

The tasting will be in the Grand Hall of the Priory on the North Side. Besides the crafty jazz Blake produces, the tasting also will feature hors d'oeuvres from the priory's chefs. It also will have an auction for travel items and sports memorabilia.

The tasting begins 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 or $550 for a table of eight. Details: 412-766-6806.

— Bob Karlovits

Film: Lesson for the ages

The Cine Brunch series at the Oaks Theater, 310 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont, will present the 1962 classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Adapted from Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, the movie is set in a small Alabama town in the 1930s, and focuses on honest, highly respected lawyer Atticus Finch, portrayed by Gregory Peck, who puts his career on the line when he agrees to represent a black man accused of rape.

A light brunch provided by Oakmont Bakery begins at 10 a.m. A brief introduction to the film, presented by the Oakmont Carnegie Library, is at 11 a.m. and the film screening begins shortly after.

Tickets for the brunch and film are $12 and $6 for the film only. Details: 412-828-6322.

Music: Home is where the music is

Singer Dane Vannatter is doing more than simply enjoying Pittsburgh as a place to visit or perform. He has moved here.

The singer, who was born in Muncie, Ind., and was running his career out of Boston, now is living in Ross.

He will be showing off his voice to fans in his new hometown Friday at the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy, the new edition of the well-known North Side jazz venue.

The show also will feature a new song, "The Dream," by guitar wiz Joe Negri and lyrics by Brookline's Lou Tracey.

Vannatter will be accompanied by Jeff Lashway on piano, Paul Thompson on bass and James Johnson III on drums.

Music begins at 8 p.m. at the club at 422 Foreland St. Admission is free. Details: 412-904-3335.

— Bob Karlovits

Comedy: Lucky 7

There's a mere three performances remaining for Paula Vogel 's comedic look at a decidedly nontraditional family.

"And Baby Makes Seven" completes its run Saturday at Off The Wall Theater in Washington.

Tressa Glover and Robyne Parrish play Ruth and Anna, a long-time, committed couple about to become parents of a baby fathered by Anna's gay friend Peter, played by Tony Bingham.

As they await the new baby's arrival, the expectant parents face a big dilemma -- what to do about the three children they had earlier created in their imaginations.

The problem is that Anna and Ruth have come to rely on their imaginary children as a device to talk about emotions and issues they have trouble discussing.

As all three characters approach their concerns, Vogel's play explores issues of family life and of comfort, love and acceptance.

Performances: 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Off The Wall Productions, 147 N.Main St.

Admission: $5-$30.

Details:412-394-3353 or

— Alice T. Carter

Families: Go on a winter safari

Learn about animal habitats, lifestyles and conservation efforts at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium 's Winter Safari.

Each Saturday through March, a different animal is highlighted. Winter Safari takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Tropical Forest and PPG Aquarium at the Highland Park zoo.

The safari is included with admission of $10; $9 for age 60 and older and ages 2-13; free for age 1 and younger. Details: 412-665-3640

— Sis Reola

Special events: Learn about maple syrup

Syrup-makers are starting to tap maple trees for their sugary sap, and you can take the kids to enjoy Pennsylvania-made maple syrup at a pancake breakfast and learn more about the process at events this weekend

• The 6th Annual Maple Sugar Celebration and Pancake Breakfast, from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at Fern Hollow Nature Center in Sewickley, features a breakfast with traditional or buckwheat pancakes with Pennsylvania syrup. Participants will hear about the traditions and history of maple-sugaring. The event also will include children's activities, tree-tapping and raffles. Seatings will be available every half-hour. Admission is $8; $6 for ages 3 to 12. Reservations are requested. Details: 412-741-6136 or .

• A Maple Sugaring Festival will be Saturday at Boyce Park Nature Center in Boyce Park, Plum. Sample the sweetness of maple syrup and learn the history and lore of the maple-sugaring process. Experience firsthand how to identify maple trees, tap, collect sap and then, reduce it to syrup. Register for one of two sessions: 11 a.m. to noon or 1 to 2 p.m. Details: 724-733-4618.

• Kinter's Family Maple Sugaring Program will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center, on Kerr Road, off Crooked Creek Dam Road, Bethel. Allan and Andy Kinter will present a program on maple sugaring. There will be samples for tasting, and maple syrup and candy will be available to purchase. Equipment to tap your trees will be on hand. The program is free, but donations will be accepted. Details: 724-763-6316.

Kids: Get crafty

The Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District -- located in a portion of the Pittsburgh Produce Terminal at 2100 Smallman St. -- is hosting two crafts classes Saturday for children.

At the "Make a Fuzzy Fleece Scarf Workshop," kids and adults can pick their colors and stripes, and create warm and fuzzy scarves for next winter. Artisans from "Little House, Big Art" will do the sewing, and participants will take the scarves home.

Children age 5 and younger will need an adult for assistance at the class, which begins at 9 a.m. Cost is $5.

Details: 412-444-5278.

Also at the market on Saturday, a balloon-twisting class begins at 1 p.m. Local artist Kristin Ward will be teaching the basics of balloon art, like twisting, shaping and forming animals and other objects. The class is for age 6 and older, but younger children can participate with an adult. Suggested donation is $5, and only 15 people can participate.

Details: 412-281-4505. For more information about the market, visit .

— Kellie B. Gormly

Theater: Mirror, mirror on the wall

This is the last weekend you can take the kids to see the Gemini Theater's quirky version of "Snow White."

The play tells the story of the fair princess and her seven sidekicks on stage with music, singing and dancing, and interaction with the audience. Gemini's version features Snow White's sidekick, Squilt the Squirrel, who goes with her to a cottage in the woods where the "Seven Little Buddies" live. Meanwhile, the evil queen pursues Snow White, and puts her to sleep with the poison apple -- but, as people familiar with the story know, someday, her prince will come.

"Snow White" plays at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10.

Details: 412-243-5201 or

— Kellie B. Gormly

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