Darius Rucker kicks off the Steelers season with a Friday show at Stage AE.
Fine art Fair
Mellon Park will be a lively scene this weekend for the 44th annual A Fair in the Park, the contemporary fine art and craft show and sale presented by The Craftsmen's Guild of Pittsburgh.
It features more than 100 artists working in clay, fiber, wood, jewelry, glass, metal and mixed media.
Squonk Opera, Pittsburgh's leading performance-art troupe, does shows at 2 and 4 p.m. Friday; noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday; and noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday. Alternative rock band Lovebettie plays at 5:30 p.m. Friday. There also will be a children's activity area and food booths.
Hours are 1 to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Information: www.afairinthepark.org.
Every day is a tattoo convention on the South Side.
This one, in Monroeville, is more organized. It's the 21st annual Meeting of the Marked convention Friday through Sunday at the Monroeville Convention Center and DoubleTree Monroeville.
This convention includes more than 80 booths with nearly 100 tattoo artists and dozens of vendors from across the United States, Canada and Europe. There also will be vendors of body jewelry, tattoo art and books, pin-up artists and tattoo memorabilia.
There will be a number of tattoo contests, along with sideshow performances from Lucky the Painproof Man, Professor Josef Furdek's Cabinet of Curiosities and the traveling Creepshow Tent from Trundle Manor.
Seminars include a realism in tattooing seminar with portrait tattooer Ron Meyers, a tattoo machine building workshop with Tony Urbanek, a blood-borne pathogens and principles of infection control seminar from SafeArt Works and, for the first time, Basics of Acrylic Painting with local pin-up painting phenom Dave Nestler.
Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $15 per day; children 14 and under free. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Details: http://meetingofthemarked.com.
Rarely does a summer go by without a visit from Rascal Flatts.
The trio of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney rolls in Friday night on the Live and Loud Tour playing a pop-country hybrid exemplified by "Life Is a Highway," "Me and My Gang," "Mayberry" and other hits.
This is the second Rascal Flatts trip here since releasing last year's "Changed," which featured the hits "Banjo," "Come Wake Me Up" and the title track.
This time, they bring along The Band Perry, a sibling trio that broke out in 2010 with the crossover hit "If I Die Young" and has since followed with a second album, "Pioneer," featuring "Better Dig Two." Also on the bill is Cassadee Pope, who broke off from the band Hey Monday to win season three of "The Voice." Her debut album is coming in October.
The Steelers kick off the 2013 campaign against the Tennessee Titans at 1 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field, but first, there's a Kickoff Concert Friday night at Stage AE with Darius Rucker, who pulled off the music equivalent of going from quarterback to safety.
He started off, of course, as the singer and guitarist for South Carolina band Hootie & the Blowfish, which broke huge in 1994 with such hits as "Hold My Hand," "Let Her Cry" and "Only Wanna Be With You" and a Grammy for best new artist.
With Hootie's popularity winding down, Mr. Rucker went country in 2008 with "Learn to Live," and it worked. With his first single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," he became the first African-American with a No. 1 country song since Charley Pride in 1983. He followed that with two more country chart-toppers, "It Won't Be Like This for Long" and "Alright."
In May, he issued his third studio album, "True Believers," highlighted by the No. 1 single "Wagon Wheel," a cover of an Old Crow Medicine Show song initially based on a sketch by Bob Dylan.
In case you're wondering, he does play a few of the Hootie songs at his country shows.
Two of Earth's four elements will get a shout out at Riverlife's fourth annual Party at the Pier, at the outdoor riverfront amphitheater at Three Rivers Casino (777 Casino Drive, North Shore). The theme this year is Torch, and boy, are they sticking to it.
The gathering, which goes from 7-11 p.m., will feature fire performers, installations from the Pyrotopia Festival of Fire, sunset cruises (so you can check out another big ball of fire), food (fire-themed, of course), drinks, music and dancing.
The fundraiser has sold out for the past three years, and VIP tickets are already gone, so be sure to get yours before they burn up. $75-$125; tickets and more at www.partyatthepier.com, www.riverlifepgh.org and 412-258-6636.
Bluegrass and Beyond
The second annual Bluegrass and Beyond Music Festival hits Harmony Friday and Saturday with regional bands raising funds for the historic community's parks and trails in western Butler County.
Friday, starting at 6:30 p.m., is the Rhythm and Blues portion with guitarist Danny Kalb (The Blues Project) followed by The Billy Price Band.
Saturday starts at 10 a.m. with Tiger Maple String Band, Well Strung and Midnight Rooster. It stops for lunch and picks up at 2:30 p.m., with The Allegheny Drifters, Border Ride and Midnight Drive. The headliners are the Rowan Cunningham Band at 6:30 p.m. and The Honeycutters at 8:30 p.m.
There will be vendor booths, food, shopping at Harmony's specialty shops, and guided tours of Harmony Museum.
Admission prices vary depending on the package chosen: Friday night only, Saturday only, or two-day pass. www.concertsinharmony.com.
Artist of the Year
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside begins September with three new exhibitions, starting with a reception Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
The Artist of the Year exhibition highlights Akiko Kotani, a former Slippery Rock University faculty member who combines painting, drawing and fiber. Her training includes a bachelor's in fine arts from the University of Hawaii, a master's in fine art from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and two years working with a Mayan Indian weaver in Guatemala. Ms. Kotani has had more than 230 exhibits, 30 of which are one-person exhibits, in regional, national and international venues.
On view will be two large-scale installations and numerous other 2-D and 3-D pieces made from plastic, silk and glass.
The 2013 Emerging Artist is Lenka Clayton, a British conceptual artist living in Pittsburgh whose "artwork considers, exaggerates and reorganizes the accepted rules of everyday life, extending the familiar into the realms of the poetic and absurd."
Her current project, "An Artist Residency in Motherhood," includes 200 hand-made shoes (called "One Brown Shoe"), 30 framed drawings, three videos and a collection of felted tools.
The third exhibition is "Master Visual Artists: Preserving the Legacy," with work from Tadao Arimoto, Tina Williams Brewer, Gary Jurysta, David Lewis, Contance Merriman, Rise Nagin, Chuck Olson, Mark Perrott, Marjorie F. Shipe and Paul Zelevansky.
It runs through Nov. 3 at 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (62+) and $3 for students; free for children 12 and under, and to members of PF/PCA. Information: pittsburgharts.org or 412-361-0873.
The Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze gets physical on Saturday with Let's Move Family Fun Day at the Frick, presented by UPMC Health Plan.
Activities include old-fashioned pastimes like badminton, croquet, sack races and beanbag toss; tours of Clayton, the historic home of the Henry Clay Frick family, at your own pace; Yoga and a Story on the Great Lawn, offered at 11 a.m. and noon; and retro photo booth (noon-3 p.m.).
The free event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; TheFrickPittsburgh.org; 412-371-0600.
Sport of Kings
Family House and Fifth Third Bank bring the "sport of kings" to Hartwood Acres Saturday for the 30th anniversary Family House Polo Match.
Festivities begin at 11 a.m. with tailgating, a silent auction and children's activities. At noon the Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Virginia International Polo Club and competitor, the #1 Cochran Potomac Polo Club, warm up and demonstrate polo shots. The opening ceremonies start at 1 p.m. followed by the match at 1:30 p.m. At halftime, guests are invited onto the field to stomp the divots to the playing of "Pretty Woman."
The event includes a vintage car display; activities in the Children's Tent, such as face painting, finger casting and games; and wine and food featuring Narcisi Winery, Bacardi, Donato's and SiBA, while browsing boutiques.
Family House provides accommodations for patients and their families who are awaiting medical treatment at one of Pittsburgh's hospitals.
City of Asylum/Pittsburgh presents its ninth Jazz-Poetry Concert Saturday on Sampsonia Way between Sherman and Monterey streets on the North Side.
It features legendary saxophonist and composer Oliver Lake, along with Dee Alexander and her trio. Native American poet Joy Harjo heads a lineup of international poets and writers including three of City of Asylum's exiled writers-in-residence: Israel Centeno (Venezuela), Khet Mar (Burma) and Yaghoub Yadali (Iran). Guest poets are Wang Jiaxin (China) and Sridala Swami (India), fellows at the University of Iowa Creative Writing program. Argentine-Chilean poet Ariel Dorfman has recorded a poem especially for the event, and there will be a surprise guest as well.
Muse is one of those bands that has managed to skip Pittsburgh with great frequency on its most recent tours. The last time Muse played here, in 2007, it was opening for My Chemical Romance at the Petersen Center.
Now, the British alt-rock band returns, having gotten much bigger with a few big radio tracks ("Resistance," "Madness") and a reputation for visual spectacles. Muse headlines Consol Energy Center in support of its sixth album, "The 2nd Law," of which Rolling Stone said, "In an era of diminished expectations, Muse make stadium-crushing songs that mix the legacies of Queen, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead while making almost every other current band seem tiny."
Muse is joined by charismatic Kentucky band Cage the Elephant, which is releasing its third album, "Melophobia," in October.
• Gaelic Storm, Skerryvore and Carbon Leaf are among the favorites returning to the 23rd annual Pittsburgh Irish Festival at Riverplex this weekend. For the story, see Page W-17.
• It's back to school in the real world and on the South Side, where "Sister's Summer School Catechism" is in session at City Theatre's Hamburg Theatre. Kimberly Richards returns as Sister in a play by Maripat Donovan. There is limited seating remaining for the run, Friday through Sept. 15, 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, plus 5:30 p.m. Sept. 8 and 7 p.m. Sept. 10-11. $45 at citytheatrecompany.org or 412-431-CITY (2489).
• "WordPlay," a quarterly show launching at Bricolage's Downtown theater, gives storytellers a stage and a live DJ score for their works. Creator and producer Alan Olifson, host of the Pittsburgh's monthly Moth StorySLAM series, brought the concept to Pittsburgh. He will be among performers Dave Malehorn, Brittany Story, Kelly Trumbull and John Dick Winters, with music provided by DJ Chad Elish, at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 at www.bricolagepgh.org or 412-471-0999.
• Worth noting is an under-the-radar event at Stage AE Saturday night with The Killers, Wiz Khalifa and Matt & Kim playing a sold-out private event to fans who won tickets through a Labatt promotion. It will be The Killers' first show here since playing the former Station Square venue The Rock Club in 2004. The Las Vegas alt-rock band, best known for the hits "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me," released its fourth album, "Battle Born," late last year. Doors open at 6 p.m. Check secondary market sites such as Craigslist for tickets on sale.