The Hot List: Cultural events this weekend

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World's Fair trees

The Downtown trees all got their dazzle on Light Up Night. Today, the ones at the Carnegie Museum of Art get their turn.

The seven 20-foot-high Colorado spruce trees sport decorations inspired by the current exhibition "Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939."

They are accompanied by the Neapolitan presepio, a miniature Nativity scene with more than 100 life-like figures created between 1700-1830.

Both continue through Jan. 6 and are free with museum admission.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, and until 8 p.m. Thursdays. Also open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. New Year's Eve. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Information: 412-622-3131 or

Chorale's 'Ave Maria'

Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria" is an wonderful but lesser-known choral piece, a sumptuous setting that builds slowly to a shimmering climax. The Pittsburgh Concert Chorale will sing this and other holiday classics in its "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" concerts.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Sunday at Ingomar United Methodist Church, Franklin Park; and 8 p.m. Saturday at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church. Music director Susan Medley conducts. $8-$22 (under 12 free);; 412-635-7654.


Holidays at Phipps

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will host its annual Holiday Tea at Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park today and Friday with sittings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Chefs from Cafe Phipps will provide a selection of unique teas along with freshly baked scones with house-made organic preserves and spreads, assorted finger sandwiches, trifles and tarts. Mimosas and a special holiday cocktail can also be ordered for an extra fee.

Along with browsing wares from The Shop at Phipps and other local merchants, a variety of fresh greens for the home will be available at a special Gifts and Greens Market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

Pre-registration for Holiday Tea only is required and costs $24 for Phipps members, and $27 for non-members (price includes tax and service). Call 412-651-5281. The Gifts and Greens Market is free and open to the public.

• The poinsettia arrangements of Phipps Conservatory's annual winter flower show will serve as the backdrop for a sampling of vignettes Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will perform from its upcoming "Nutcracker" production at the "Poinsettias and Pointe Shoes" gathering Friday at Phipps in Oakland. After the performances, guests can meet the Sugarplum Fairy, as well as other dancers in their costumes.

Sessions will be held at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25.75 for adults and $12.75 for children at or 412-454-9017 and includes an exclusive ticket special to attend next month a PBT "Nutcracker" performance at the Benedum Center, Downtown.


CMU's 'Millennium Approaches'

The Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama presents "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches," part one of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer- and Tony-winning two-parter about the AIDS epidemic in New York City during the 1980s.

Jed Allen Harris directs CMU's "Millennium Approaches," which runs through Dec. 8 in the Philip Chosky Theater of the Purnell Center for the Arts on CMU's campus. Shows are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $17-$29 (discounts for students and seniors) at or 412-268-2407.


Market place

I Made It! Market, the city's nomadic indie craft marketplace, makes its way to Bakery Square Friday and Saturday for its sixth annual I Made It! for the Holidays event.

It will feature more than 90 local artisans selling all handmade wares, including ceramics, housewares, jewelry, clothing, bath and body products, giftware, prints, letterpress, sweet treats, plush and children's items.

Friday's festivities include the lighting of Bakery Square's building in red to acknowledge World AIDS Awareness Day by the Delta Foundation. On Saturday, a pop-up beer garden will be hosted by Tapped and Santa will be on site to pose for pictures.

Shoppers can meet and talk with the artists when it runs 5-10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Details:

Laughter in the city

The Cultural District gets all funny this weekend:

• Ron White, the whiskey-swilling, cigar-chewing, marijuana-smoking member of the Blue Collar Comedy crew (which includes Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy), plays the Benedum Center at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $47-$187; 412-456-6666.

• On Saturday, the Benedum presents Shaq's All Star Comedy Jam with Gary Owen, Capone, Tony Roberts and Michael Blackson.

Mr. Owen, a white comedian, was asked this summer by Chicago website Gapers Block how he connects with black audiences. He said, "I can't really explain it. All I do is get on stage and talk about my life, and it resonates with black people. And I've never told stereotypical 'black' jokes ... I've said stuff that I've experienced with my wife's family and the black people I know. And I think it's smarter than what most people would expect to come out of my mouth." The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.50-$49.50; 412-456-6666.

• Heinz Hall counters with Lisa Lampanelli, an insult comic who surely knows how to liven up a roast. The comedian, who confesses to an "addiction to food and black men," is also the author of "Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat, and Freaks." She performs at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $42.75; 412-392-4900;

Attack mode

Catch the holiday spirit with Attack Theatre at the return of the modern dance troupe's "Holiday Unwrapped" gathering. Dancers will spice up the season with the company's unique style of wit, theatricality and "rambunctious physicality," all set to a mix of classical, jazz and klezmer music.

It's 7 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. On Saturday, people are welcome to stick around between performances for Game Day, featuring activities from Obscure Games. Tickets: $5 for children, $10 for teachers, seniors and students and $15 for adults at Game Day admission is free with ticket purchase.


Celtic Christmas

Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul combine their talents Saturday for a Celtic-infused Christmas concert at the Byham Theater.

Born in the Bronx, the Grammy-winning Ms. Ivers is a nine-time All-Ireland fiddle champion who became known for her work with Irish dance group Riverdance and went on to perform with Cherish the Ladies, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Chieftains, Sting and Patti Smith, to name a few.

Billboard Magazine noted that "Ivers bridges the gap between her Celtic roots and styles ranging from jazz, salsa and flamenco to rock, funk and even electronica ... a sensation."

Immigrant Soul features original Blues Brothers Band member Tommy McDonnell and three-time All-Ireland accordion champion Buddy Connolly.

It begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25-$40 at the Box Office at Theater Square, 655 Penn Ave., and at or 412-456-6666.


• The Andy Warhol Museum presents Naughty-or-Nice Holiday Bash featuring Sharon Needles at 7 p.m. Saturday. Needles, "RuPaul's Drag Race" season four winner, hosts the event, which features music by Tracksploitation. The $99 tickets comes with hors d'oeuvres and two drink tickets. Tickets: or 412-237-8300.

• Reverend Horton Heat on the pulpit of a former church? What could be more appropriate. The Texas psychobilly rockers play Altar Bar at 7:30 tonight with The Cheats, Ben Dumm and The Deviants, and The Turbosonics. Tickets are $17-$20;; 1-877-435-9849.

• The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra performs 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Hall. The program is the suite from Faure's "Pelleas and Melisande," Mozart's Violin Concerto in G Major and Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances." Music director Lawrence Loh conducts in this free concert (but tickets are required, available at

• Sister wants to know, "Why haven't I seen you for "Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of Magi's Gold" at City Theatre this year? The show by Maripat Donovan with Marc Silvia and Jane Morris features Kimberly Richards as Sister through Dec. 16. Tickets: $40 at 412-431-CITY (2489) or

• "A Christmas Story," based on the 1983 film by Jean Shepherd, based on his novel, with Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, is on stage at Little Lake Theatre beginning tonight. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 15. Tickets: $18 Thursday and Sunday, $20 Friday and Saturday, $12, 15 and younger; 724-745-6300 or

• Classic rock cover band Kardaz will play a Hurricane Sandy relief show at 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Hard Rock Cafe, Station Square 9:30 p.m., presented by a group from St. Mary's Church in Hampton. Admission is $5.

• You'd hate to be a drumhead in this concert. Percussion ensemble Talujon plays Bellefield Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday, performing University of Pittsburgh composers Eric Moe's "Danger: Giant Frogs" and Amy Williams' "Dream Landscape," as well as Wayne Peterson's "Trap Drum Fantasy" and several John Cage works. It's at 8 p.m. Saturday. $10-$20, free for Pitt students; or 412-624-7529.

• Hot on the heels of Insane Clown Posse comes its discovery, Twiztid, which combines hip-hop and horror in a similar comic book style. The duo, which just released its ninth album, "Abominationz," plays Stage AE on Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22.50 to $25; 1-800-745-3000.

• The Fab Four -- Ultimate Beatles Tribute promises note-for-note renditions of the classics at Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead in Munhall at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8; or 412-368-5225.

• Dancers from Slippery Rock University's department of dance collaborate with The Pillow Project's Pearlann Porter for its "Dance Technology" concert. Performances are 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday at the university's Field House Dance Studio. Seating is limited. Information:

theater - artarchitecture - music


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