Pittsburgh has been celebrating its 250th in many ways, but Tangueros de Ley's Ernesto "Tito Conti" Contenti may have one of the most unusual in his new tango song, "Part of Me," dedicated to his adopted city. A resident here since the 1970s, the Argentinian accordionist and violinist, along with co-arranger Tom Roberts, wanted to reflect the "warmth and friendliness of the region."
The song will be premiered at the tango ensemble's 8 p.m. concert today at the James Simon Sculpture Studios, on Gist Street, Uptown. A $15 ticket will buy audience members music, a wine and cheese bar and the opportunity for a little dancing of their own. More information: 412-377-5850 or www.tanguerosdeley.com.
-- Jane Vranish
Songs of goodwill
"It feels like a huge cloud has lifted," Michael Franti recently told a crowd in Toronto.
The reggae-rocker and peace activist, performing tonight at the Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead, was referring to the end of the Bush era and the beginning of the Obama one. He even whipped out a new song with the simple chorus of "Barack Obama."
Franti, as seen in the documentary "I Know I'm Not Alone," is the kind of musician who spreads good vibes around the world even in the worst of times. Now, his concerts are taking an even more celebratory tone.
He's touring on his new album, "All Rebel Rockers," recorded in Jamaica with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. All Music Guide writes that it's "the first record by Franti's Spearhead that captures the power and goodwill of the band's live shows."
The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29 to $32. Call 412-323-1919.
-- Scott Mervis
Yes Men meeting
If you haven't yet heard of The Yes Men -- the outrageous artist-activists who infiltrate corporate conventions posed as scheduled presenters, announced the World Trade Organization's (faux) dissolution to shift focus to helping the poor, and crafted a hoax official Web site for candidate George W. Bush -- you can learn about and meet some of them this weekend at Carnegie Mellon University's Miller Gallery.
At 5 p.m. Friday a free "How to Be a Yes Man Workshop," including film clips from the upcoming "The Yes Men Movie," will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. It will be followed by a "Business Casual Reception," with Yes Men Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum, to open the first Yes Men survey exhibition, "Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism With The Yes Men."
Call 412-268-3618 or visit www.cmu.edu/millergallery.
According to some, Reggie Watts is an "anthropological humorist" who "utilizes the latest in presentational technologies" to perform a "melange of absurdist storytelling, video imagery, geometric movement sequences and spontaneous musical compositions" that "comment on humanity's refusal to accept an eventual global shift towards unimaginable destruction."
Schnikies. I'd just say he humorously mocks stuff while singing/rapping/performing. Take the following pseudo-rap lyrics of one of his performances:
"I like women. I like the concept of a woman. I like to take that concept of a woman and reduce it, reduce it to a quantifiable understanding. I like to objectify. I like to take those objects and put them in my videos." It gets funnier, but this is a family paper.
Check him out at The Warhol on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets $20 or $10 for students. 412-237-8300.
-- Kate McCaffrey
Richard Lloyd, former Television and current Matthew Sweet guitarist, turns up Saturday at the Brillobox with his band The Sufimonkeys.
Lloyd recently told the New Haven Advocate, "I am no longer a member of Television, after 34 years. I quit last year. For lots of reasons, but mostly because Tom [Verlaine] just doesn't want to play enough. He's always turning down offers and it's too frustrating. It's sad. Hell, I put that damn band together. I found Verlaine playing in some crappy bar and told [Television manager] Terry Ork, 'Build the band around that guy and I'll be the guitarist on the side.' "
Lloyd released a solo record last year, and his next project is an album of covers by his hero, Jimi Hendrix.
The show is at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15.
Carlos on call
From the mind of Mencia:
On John McCain: "You want me to vote for him because he was in a war that we lost and he got caught?"
On a couple that lost its house because of an adjustable mortgage: "They got tricked, really? They didn't know the word adjusts means it changes? ... They made a 30-year commitment to pay for a mortgage but somehow they just forgot to read the contract. ... If you have stuff on layaway at Wal-Mart of course you can't buy a house!"
Needless to say, Carlos Mencia won't be pulling his punches when he performs at Heinz Hall Saturday night. The outspoken host of the Comedy Central show "Mind of Mencia" should have plenty to say about the election and the economic crisis, and he's not going to worry too much about offending people.
He recently told the Boston Herald, "What I say is stupid. Who takes a comedian seriously? I'm doing sophisticated knock-knock jokes."
It begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $42.50. Call 412-323-1919.
Bazaar for veterans
Safe to say we can all get behind the 60th annual Shadyside Presbyterian Church Christmas Bazaar Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which will benefit Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard, providing transitional housing and counseling for homeless veterans.
The bazaar will offer a unique assortment of crafts (jewelry, books, hand-stitched items, attic treasures, plants and floral arrangements), foods and activities, with a seated luncheon, and more casual lunch options. There will also be activities for children and veterans' memorabilia on display. No charge for admission. Call 412-682-4300.
With the recently announced creation of a department of photography at Carnegie Museum of Art, the medium has taken on a buzz.
For those who want to find out what the appeal is, five accomplished photographers who have documented the city's architecture -- Clyde Hare, Mark Perrott, Dylan Vitone, Richard Kelly and the late Luke Swank -- are featured in the exhibition "Pittsburgh: A Century of Photography" that opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Concept Art Gallery, 1031 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square. Call 412-242-9200.
Few manifestos sound as great as J.S. Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier." Out to show that the older forms of composing, namely preludes and fugues, were still full of life, and out to prove that the well-tempered tuning system was superior to the "mean-tempered" one widely used, Bach still managed to write fantastic keyboard music.
In two "books," Bach wrote a pair of preludes and fugues in each of the 24 major and minor keys, something not possible with the prevailing custom of tuning instruments for a particular key. The newer (for the 1700s, that is) well-tempered system allowed for all of a keyboard's notes to work with each other -- a practice that eventually led to the equal temperament of the modern piano.
Sunday, the Renaissance & Baroque Society presents harpsichordist Richard Egarr performing Book I of Bach's set at Synod Hall, Oakland. The music director of the Academy of Ancient Music performed Bach's "Goldberg Variations" here in 2006.
It's not often you get the chance to hear a composition that changed the way we hear music performed by a modern master. 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10-$30; call 412-361-2048.
-- Andrew Druckenbrod
• Rik Emmett, frontman for the Canadian band Triumph, will lay it on the line at the Rex Theater on the South Side Saturday night for a show of the hard rock band's "classics," songs from his 12 solo records and new material. "It's kind of like MTV's Unplugged, in that I'll sit on a stool, play music and tell stories," Emmett said in a statement. "It's great, because I can play some of the songs I want, whether they're blues, jazz, classical or rock." The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $21 in advance; $25 day of show. 412-381-6811 or 412-323-1919.
• The Senator John Heinz History Center celebrates the region's cultural diversity with the first annual Heritage Holiday Weekend with live ethnic music and dancing, delicious food samples and hands-on activities from more than 20 Western Pennsylvanian ethnic groups. While you're there you can check out the History Center's new blockbuster exhibition, "Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation." It's free with admission Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Cat Chow, the Chicago fashionista of "repurposed materials" who made such a big impression last time she was in town, will give a free talk about creating wearable and installation art, and do a performance piece, at 6 p.m. today at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, 1815 Metropolitan St., North Side. A reception afterward will open the exhibition "Altered Meanings," featuring works by Chow and by Jesse McLean. Call 412-322-1773 or visit www.manchesterguild.org.
• The Conservatory Dance Company will celebrate its own "Pittsburgh Connections" this weekend and next, Fridays through Sundays, at the new George Roland White Studio on Point Park University's Downtown campus. Five choreographers, including faculty members Susan Stowe, who will set a work by Ruth Leney-Midkiff, and Jason McDole and alumnae Kristina Fluty, Francesca Harper and Sherry Zunker, will show their Pittsburgh dance perspectives. Tickets: $18-20; 412-621-4445 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com.
• "PREDRIVE: After Technology," an exhibition of new installations by international artists Antoine Catala, Brody Condon, Takeshi Murata, Paperrad, and Gretchen Skogerson, opens with a reception beginning at 8 p.m. Friday at the Mattress Factory Annex Gallery, 1414 Monterey St., North Side ($10, members free). Call 412-231-3169 or visit www.mattress.org.
• The first annual Kids Festiva is Saturday at the Carnegie Science Center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with hands-on activities, interactive food demonstrations in the Kitchen Theater and live performances by Kelsey Friday and the Rest of the Week. There will also be free tickets to a special screening of Coral Reef in the OMNIMAX Theater at 2:15 p.m.