This weekend is pretty well-stocked with things to do and places to be, but getting there might not be easy. For starters, your car might still be buried in snow and ice. Beyond that, the forecast calls for frigid temperatures and a chance of more snow. To be safe, before you go to the trouble of heading out, you might want to check to see if your event is still happening. On to the Hot List ...
Did you ever to stop to think about how popular bears are with kids? OK, there's Winnie the Pooh, Little Bear, Yogi and Smokey, though the latter two aren't quite the book and video stars the other two are. Biggest of 'em all could be the Berenstain Bears, subjects of a new production by the Omaha Theater Company for the Pittsburgh International Children's Theater. They will make the rounds this weekend with a play of five Bear tales with themes like a new cub in the family, keeping your room clean and standing up against bullies (rather easy to do, actually, when you're a bear). Performances are at Marshall Middle School at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. today; Moon High School at 7 p.m. Friday; Mount Lebanon High School at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. There's also a performance at the Byham at 2 p.m. Feb. 18. Tickets are $9.50 in advance or $11 day-of-show. Call 412-321-5520 or go to www.pghkids.org.
You have to figure that if you're into ballet, you're going to see your share of "Peter Pan." The Benedum stage will be sprinkled with fairy dust for a new rendition of the classic fairy tale by Washington Ballet artistic director Septime Webre. In this production, Webre wanted the viewpoint of Wendy. Times are 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $16. Call 412-456-6666.
Famed Brazilian pianist Ivan Lins returns to the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, where he once recorded "Ivan Lins: Live at MCG." In his four decades in the music industry, Lins has piled on the honors, and recently added a Latin Grammy. To open the spring season at the MCG, he will be joined by saxophonist Marcelo Martins, guitarist Leonardo Amuedo, keyboardist Marco Brito, bassist Nema Antunes and drummer Teo Lima. Shows are 7:30 tonight; 8 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. See story: Post-bossa star Lins beats path to the 'Burgh
It's Mardi Gras, which might not mean a lot to Pittsburghers, but any chance to party, right? Penn Brewery is celebrating Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with Penn Marzen beer and music by Dixie Doc & The All-Stars. The Cajun menu will feature Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Gumbo, Conch Fritters with Cajun Crawfish and Louisiana Roughy, among others. On Mardi Gras Tuesday, you can swing with the Boilermaker Jazz Band from 7 to 11 p.m.
The Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center invites you to spend President's Day Weekend touring the Smithsonian exhibition "First Ladies: Political Role & Public Image" and taking part in other activities. There will be music by The Yankee Doodle Dandies, glass engraving demonstrations and the chance to meet presidential pilot John Hughes, Saturday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stop by the Carnegie Science Center Friday or Saturday and you will encounter National Engineers Week, with presentations, hands-on exhibits, demonstrations and more than 50 exhibitor stands, with people wearing pocket protectors.
We'll say this about That1Guy. He aims to be weird and comes through with flying colors. That1Guy is Mike Silverman, a classically trained stand-up jazz bassist from the Bay Area who performs on his invention of The Magic Pipe, "an instrument that looks like a high-tech version of an Australian didgeridoo, but includes stainless steel, bass strings, magnetic pick-ups, an old Appalachian handsaw, an electric cowboy boot and belches smoke." There are songs to go with it and the result is very much like Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, whom he cites as major influences. That1Guy is signed to Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe label and debuted in 2004 with "Songs in the Key of Beotch." He recently toured with Buckethead, and is about to release a second record in the spring. He plays Club Cafe at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call 412-323-1919.
David Bazan, former frontman of Pedro the Lion, was named by Paste Magazine as No. 85 on the list of the Top 100 Living Songwriters. Bazan, who has retired Pedro and is working as a solo artist, plays Garfield Artworks at 8 p.m. with Philly mathrockers Pattern is Movement. Tickets are $12. 412-361-2262.
George Strait, who topped the PG's list of best country albums for 2006 for the aptly titled "It Just Comes Natural," headlines the Mellon Arena with Ronnie Milsap and Taylor Swift. The Las Vegas Review recently called him "a true believer who defends the mores of traditional honky tonk with Pentecostal zeal" and said of his concert, "At the MGM Grand, Strait alternated spare, hard-luck waltzes about women fed up with their restless beaus ('Amarillo,' 'I Can Still Make Cheyenne,' 'I Ain't Her Cowboy Anymore') with raucous, fiddle-driven odes to the open range and drinking one's woes away ('Unwound,' 'Cowboys Like Us')." The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $52 to $62.50. Call 412-323-1919.
The older punks around town will remember a show back in 1987 when Savage Republic stoked fires, pounded on oil drums and danced to a tribal beat on the Cut at Carnegie Mellon University. The LA band, hitting only three cities east of the Mississippi on its reunion tour, combined dark postpunk with industrial/tribal percussion and Middle Eastern motifs, influencing the likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor. This lineup, touring with a limited edition EP, features mid-'80s members Greg Grunke, Thom Fuhrmann and Ethan Port, with Sterling Fox, Bryan Taylor and Alan Waddington. They play the Lawrenceville Moose at 8 p.m. with the Microwaves and Mike Tamburo. Tickets are $18 at the door.
Hollywood issued its Valentine's Day romance this week with "Music and Lyrics," pairing romantic comedy all-stars Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. The PG's Barb Vancheri gave it 2.5 stars and said the couple's chemistry is "passable but not sizzling."
Opening in theaters Friday are "Factory Girl," starring the infamous Sienna Miller as Edie Sedgwick to Guy Pearce's Andy Warhol; the Marvel Comics-inspired "Ghost Rider," starring Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze, motorcycle stunt rider by day and bounty hunter of rogue demons by night; "Bridge to Terabitha," a fantasy-adventure based on the Newbery Award-winning novel; and "Breach," a story of FBI spies and political intrigue starring Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe.
Rod Stewart, who won't quit till he's covered every song in the pop repertory, hits the Mellon Arena on the tour for another "Classics" CD. According to the reviews, Stewart is in fine voice and venturing back into better days. See story: Music Preview: Hot Rod keeps rocking even without the creative spark
He used to burn up the pop charts. Now he's the hottest thing on college campuses. Of course, we're talking about Bobby Vinton, who brings hits like "Blue Velvet" and "Roses are Red" to the Westminster College Celebrity Series, joined by an orchestra and family members. Whether or not he's really hot on college campuses, that's just a guess. It begins at 8 p.m. in Orr Auditorium. For tickets, call 724-946-7354.
Aaron McGruder, who drew his share of Feedback letters in the PG for his controversial strip "The Boondocks," will meet his public for "An Evening With Aaron McGruder" at the Byham Theater, sponsored by the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. McGruder recently discontinued the strip, shifting the franchise to television and books. It begins at 8 p.m. Feb. 17. Tickets range from $20 to $64. Call 412-456-6666.
Robin and Linda Williams were such good friends of "A Prairie Home Companion," they actually made it into the movie. Now, the folk duo comes to Carnegie Lecture Hall with Their Fine Group, plus the local bluegrass ensemble The Allegheny Drifters, at 8 p.m.
Just in time for Valentine's week, tenor saxophonist Stephen Pollock is back with a new album, "Songs of the Heart," a collection of love songs and ballads. He celebrates with a CD release party at the Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church featuring a string quartet and bass as well as pianist Vahan Sargsyan. Special guests will be trumpeter Sean Jones, saxophonists James Houlik and Chris Hemingway, guitarist Thomas Kiktam, singer Amanda Ford, pianist Craig Davis and flutest Kristen Predl. Tickets are $10; $5 for students. All ticket proceeds will go to South Hills Interfaith Ministries as well as $1 from each CD sale. It begins at 7:30 p.m.
The Virginia Glee Club will join forces with the Chatham College Choir in a free public concert at 8 p.m. at the Campbell Memorial Chapel, Chatham College campus. The groups will perform selections from their respective repertoires and combine to sing Poulenc's "Gloria." Call 412-365-1201. See story: Two glee clubs will find harmony
The Brashear Association Food Pantry, which serves more than 350 families a month, is the beneficiary of the third annual South Side Mid-Winter Soup Contest presented by Iron & Glass Bank. For the contest, dozens of South Side restaurants and shops will offer free soup samples, so for $5 and the donation of a can of soup, you can "soup hop" from noon to 4 p.m. at the South Side Shops. For details, go to www.southsidepgh.com.
Cruising out of Kansas City -- the city that wants our hockey team -- are The Gaslights, a band that blends country, rock and soul into something it calls, not alt-country, but prairie rock. "We just felt that the other genre labels like alt./country were inaccurate and limiting," guitarist Chris Meck says in the bio. "We're just a song-oriented band and these are our influences." The Gaslights play the Thunderbird Cafe at 8 p.m. Tickets are $4. Call 412-682-0177.
Matt Heaton, who bought his first guitar in Shadyside 25 years ago, has played garage-rock, surf-rock, tango and classical. He returns now from Boston with guitar/bouzouki and flute as part of the Irish duo Matt and Shannon Heaton for a show at Murphy's Tap Room, 1106 S. Braddock Ave, Regent Square. The duo's latest record was last year's "Blue Skies Above." Matt has said of the project, "We're all about bringing our own American musical sensibilities to Irish music, as long as it doesn't crush the initial intent of a song." It begins at 7 p.m.