Hotlist of events for the coming weekend

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'Batman' back

"Pittsburgh Batman" is back for an encore, moving to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater after playing to packed houses last year at Bricolage, Downtown. Co-written and directed by Lord Grunge of the rap band Grand Buffet, the performance features original live music and some new faces, including barebones founder Patrick Jordan as Pittsburgh Bruce Wayne.

Lord Grunge (Jarrod Weeks) has described the play as "a new take on the 'vigilante dressed in bat costume' paradigm. It's Batman like you've never seen him before, Pittsburgh style." He devised the satirical take on the Dark Knight with bandmate Grape-A-Don (Jackson O'Connell-Barlow), who joins in along with comedian Davon Magwood, indie rocker Weird Paul, Ultimate Donny (formerly of Gil Mantera's Party Dream), drag queen Varian "Tising" Huddleston and underground hip-hop artist Sage Francis.

Showtimes at the East Liberty theater are 8 p.m. today through Saturday. Tickets: $25; More at

PSO's 'Blues'

Led by conductor Donald Runnicles, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will play "Euphonic Blues" by Nancy Galbraith (one of the orchestra's composers of the year), Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1 (with British pianist Stephen Hough) and orchestral highlights from Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen."

"Euphonic Blues" was written for the 100th anniversary of the Carnegie Mellon University school of music, where Ms. Galbraith is on the faculty. "I wanted to do something that was nostalgic, but then I wanted to break into something more celebratory," Ms. Galbraith said. The piece will be the last written by one of the local composers showcased in the PSO's Year of Pittsburgh Composers.

The concerts are at Heinz Hall 8 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $25.75-$105.75; or 412-392-4900.

Crafts and more

The Arts & Crafts Spring Fever Festival sets up shop at the Monroeville Convention Center with more than 80 vendor booths featuring jewelry, decorative painting, scented candles, embellished clothing, functional and decorative wood, fabric decor and more.

Pre-packaged foods will include dip mixes, flavored oils, dessert mixes, kettle korn and roasted almonds.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5.50; $1 kids 6-12.

Comics, comics, comics

The ToonSeum will welcome pioneering comics writer, artist and "herstorian" Trina Robbins to help kick off the annual Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo. Ms. Robbins has curated comics anthologies aimed at promoting women in comics and has authored books on the subject. The event begins at 7:30 tonight at the ToonSeum, 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Admission is $10, $5 for members, at or at the door.

On Friday, the ToonSeum will host a 7:30 p.m. ToonSeum members- and PIX exhibitors-only reception for "Theo Ellsworth: Memory and Identity," an exhibit featuring original artwork from the experimental cartoonist, who will sign books and a limited-edition ToonSeum print. Information:

The expo runs 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday at 10 S. 19th St., South Side. Admission is free.


Free museum admission

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh will offer free admission today for the 12th annual celebration of the anniversary of Fred Rogers' birthday.

Visitors can explore classic "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" pieces such as King Friday's Castle and The Neighborhood Trolley and enjoy a visit from speedy delivery man Mr. McFeely at 11 a.m.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information:


Carnegie Mellon University's Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry will present the Pittsburgh premiere of "CLOUDS," billed as "the world's first 3-D, interactive, generative, documentary film," at 5 p.m. today at the studio, Room CFA-111, CMU's Oakland campus.

Directed by James George and Jonathan Minard, the film was created during a two-year fellowship to present a groundbreaking experience that joins documentary storytelling with the interactivity of a game-like world. "CLOUDS" premiered in the New Frontier showcase at the 2014 Sundance Festival and will be seen in the Transmedia Storyscapes section of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York April 16-27. The CMU event is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served. Learn more at


Christian jam

Winter Jam 2014, one of the largest Christian music tours, finally touches down here on the second day of spring.

The headliner is Newsboys, founded in Queensland, Australia, in 1985 and fronted now by former DC Talk member Michael Tait. The pop band's debut with him, 2010's "Born Again," bowed at No. 4 on Billboard 200 Albums chart, followed by "God's Not Dead" in 2011 and last year's "Restart."

Of the album's more pop direction, keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein told The Wichita Eagle. "We just kind of felt like it would be great to make a statement and make a pop record that would be from a production standpoint on par with anything on the radio, something that could stand up with any pop music but still carry that power of a gospel message."

Also on the bill are Lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Thousand Foot Krutch, Plumb, NewSong and Colton Dixon. The show is at Consol Energy Center at 7 p.m. Friday. $10 at door;


Spring flowers

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens comes alive with the sounds of music for the Spring Flower Show, opening Saturday.

The show will feature thousands of vibrant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, snapdragons, primula and pansies. They will be presented through sculptures made out of up-cycled instruments, and popular songs will also be piped in.

The show runs through April 20. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $15; $14 for seniors/students; $11 for kids 2-18. Information:


2 Chainz, DMX at Benedum

The Benedum tries something a little different on Sunday with the 2 Good 2 Be T.R.U. Tour starring rappers from two generations: 2 Chainz and DMX.

2 Chainz, from Georgia, comes with such hits as "I'm Different" and "No Lie," and the album "B.O.A.T.S. II," offering "Feds Watching" and "Where U Been?"

DMX, obviously, is a fallen star, having soared to popularity in the '90s, becoming the first artist to have his first five albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. The 43-year-old star is a walking rap sheet, but he can put together quite a set list, with such hits as "Party Up (Up in Here)," "What's My Name?" and "X Gon' Give It To Ya."

The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $38.75-$58.75;, 412-456-6666.


• Stage AE has a diverse weekend with Nashville country star David Nail, fresh from SXSW and touring on his new album, "I'm a Fire," playing tonight (doors at 7 p.m.; $25); LA punk band Mariachi El Bronx in The Club at Stage AE on Saturday with World's Scariest Police Chases (7 p.m. doors; $10); and on Sunday, it's LA indie-pop band Grouplove, known for the singles "Colours" and "Tongue Tied" (6 p.m. doors, $25);

• Superstar violinist David Garrett joins not-your-father's-accordionist Martynas for an 8 p.m. show Friday at the Benedum Center, Downtown. Tickets are $30.50-$43.50; or 412-456-6666.

• WPTS Radio presents baroque folk ensemble Mutual Benefit at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the William Pitt Union Assembly Room, Oakland. The band's album "Love's Crushing Diamond (Other Music)" was released in October to critical acclaim, including Best New Music from Pitchfork. Local band Black Brick will open. Tickets are $8 advance and $10 day of show; Available at the venue box office and Sound Cat Records, Bloomfield.

• Graphic design students at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh will host "Articulate Art," an auction and fundraiser for the Children's Sickle Cell Foundation from 6-10 tonight at Sonoma Grille, 947 Penn Ave., Downtown. Participants can bid on original works by Duane Rieder, Scott Smathers, Mark Bender, Terese Jungle, Karl Huber and more. Tickets are $15 for students (excluding wine) and $40 for general attendees (includes wine);

• The Afro American Music Institute Boys Choir will sing Sunday at 4 p.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church, North Side, presented by the Tiffany Concert Series. Tickets are $5-$10, available at the door; 412-323-1070.

• Presented by the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania, pianist Steven Mayer will perform Mozart, Schumann, Chopin and Gottschalk at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Kresge Theatre on the Carnegie Mellon University campus. Tickets: $5-$15, free for CMU students;

• The Pittsburgh Philharmonic will perform "Save the Last Dance," a concert featuring dance tunes from Strauss waltzes to tango to a medley from "My Fair Lady," at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday. The concerts feature Julie Choe, concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and tango dancers Trini Regaspi and Martin De San Martin. The Friday concert is at Butler County Community College, Saturday's is at North Hills Middle School Auditorium, Ross. Tickets are $3-$12.

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh presents "New York, New York Cabaret" at Olive or Twist, 140 Sixth St., Downtown. The cabaret will feature a mix of New York-inspired oldies, pop, jazz and Broadway tunes ahead of the choir's May performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York. Tickets for the 8 p.m. Saturday event include performance, hors d'oeuvres and desserts with a cash bar. $100;

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra will join for Twyla Tharp's "Nine Sinatra Songs" and excerpts from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Palace Theatre, Greensburg. Tickets are $25-$49; or 724-836-8000.

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