The Furries are here!
Anthrocon, the world's largest convention for fans of anthropomorphics (aka humanlike animal characters), opens today at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, and runs through Sunday.
It will feature artists, animators, writers, costumers, puppeteers and a colorful cast of fans taking part in workshops, panel discussions, an art exhibition and dealers room.
The conference attracts an estimated 5,600 Furries and friends, including voiceover artists Lee Tockar (My Little Pony, Sonic the Hedgehog) and Jim Cummings ("Tigger," Taz and more).
On Saturday, about 1,000 costumed Furries will parade inside the David Lawrence Convention Center, starting in the East Lobby at about 1:45 p.m., when they will pose for a group picture.
There are DJ dances tonight through Saturday. You do not have to wear a costume to attend.
Anthrocon said in a statement that the conference will generate an estimated $7 million in direct spending to Pittsburgh's economy to raise to $34 million spending since the first con here in 2006. The Furries have raised more than $100,000 for local charities in that time; this year, the National Aviary is the beneficiary.
Single-day admission is $30. Find maps, hours, more at www.anthrocon.org.
Arts and Heritage
This is Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival weekend at Twin Lakes Park, east of Greensburg.
Among the performers at the free festival will be The Marcels, Mean Mary, Scott, Rob & Greg of The Clarks, African storyteller Temujin, Flow Band, Neon Swing X-perience, Joy Ike, The Hillbilly Way, Mac Martin & the Dixie Travelers, Steel Clover, and Lovebettie.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 724-834-7474 or www.artsandheritage.com.
The Meadows Casino will host the Greater Washington County Fourth of July Festival this weekend with live entertainment, fireworks, food vendors, a kids zone and more.
Admission is free.
The marquee event is a performance by longtime country group the Oak Ridge Boys at 8 p.m. Saturday ($19.95-$29.95; ticketmaster.com).
Greater Washington County Food Bank is accepting donations. Guests receive $1 of Slot FreePlay for every pound of food donated, up to 10 pounds.
Here are some highlights:
Friday (noon-dusk): Live music throughout the day featuring Gashouse Annie and Michael Christopher Band; Beer Garden; fireworks (at dark).
Saturday (noon-dusk): Live music throughout the day featuring Todd Jones Band and Backwoods Playboys; Oak Ridge Boys (8 p.m.); Emergency Service Education; Charity Corn Hole Tournament (noon); Ring Girl Competition (for July 26 boxing event) 3-4 p.m.; fireworks (at dark).
Sunday (noon-6 p.m.): Live music throughout the day featuring Local and Abilene; Emergency Service Education; Silver Star Hot Dog eating contest 2:30 p.m.
Swans weigh in
"To Be Kind," the new album from Swans, is described as being "as long as a movie and as densely heavy as a Richard Serra sculpture."
If you've seen the one outside the Carnegie Museum of Art, you can vouch for its heft.
"To Be Kind" is the third studio album from the New York noise/no-wave band since it reconvened in 2010 after a 14-year break.
The group now returns to the Rex Theater with frontman Michael Gira leading a lineup that includes original guitarist Norman Westberg and longtime guitarist Christoph Hahn, with drummer Phil Puleo, bassist Chris Pravdica and multi-instrumentalist Thor Harris.
Mr. Gira said of the album, another dark and crushing one from the band, "A good portion of the material for this album was developed live during the Swans tours of 2012/13. Much of the music was otherwise conjured in the studio environment."
The show, with Xiu Xiu, is at 8:30 p.m., all ages. Tickets are $25 at the door. Info at www.showclix.com.
Cardell Collins, the Pittsburgh promoter behind Rock Around the World Entertainment, celebrates his birthday with a concert at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum in Homewood, featuring DJ Kid Capri (rapper and DJ from the Bronx), Raheem DeVaughn (New Jersey neo-soul singer), local rap-rockers Formula 412, Black Alley, Mona Li, Da Brat and Manny Deanda.
"Forty: An All White Celebration" is billed as an all-white attire affair (although that is not required). It begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$250; www.showclix.com.
The summer of '64 roars back into focus as Pittsburgh Filmmakers marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night." A restored version of the movie that includes a soundtrack (featuring eight Beatles songs) that has been remixed and remastered by Giles Martin, son of producer George Martin, at Abbey Road Studios, opens Friday at the Regent Square Theater. For showtimes and more, visit theaters.pittsburgharts.org.
Arsenal of fireworks
Lawrenceville celebrates 70 years of Independence Day fireworks with a festival Saturday in Arsenal Park that includes softball and baseball games, children's races, Citiparks' Art Cart, K.S.W.A. wrestling show, pony rides, a petting zoo, music and entertainment, refreshments and Zambelli fireworks.
It begins at 11 a.m. and highlights include K.W.S.A. Wrestling Show (4 p.m.), The Spuds (4:30 p.m.), Exotic Animal Show (6 p.m.), Shot O'Soul (7:30 p.m.), Puppet Show (7:45 p.m.) and fireworks (9:30 p.m.).
Among the food vendors will be Kelly's Korner, Hambones and Double D's Saloon.
Fitz at AE
Stage AE gets a dose of poppy retro soul Saturday from LA band Fitz and the Tantrums.
The band debuted in 2010 with "Pickin' Up the Pieces" and spent a few years on the road before returning last year with "More Than Just a Dream," featuring the singles "Out of My League" and "The Walker." Recently, the group toured as the opener for Bruno Mars.
Keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna told C-Ville Weekly, "We are not going to let you sit down. ... Every show we do is going to be the highest energy we can give. We leave nothing behind."
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Openers are Max Frost and HOLYCHILD. Tickets are $15; www.ticketmaster.com.
Bring your pics
Carnegie Museum of Art holds A Scanning Day for the public to add photographic images to A People's History of Pittsburgh, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors who bring a hardcopy of a photo for scanning will receive free museum admission. The project is part of the Hillman Photography Initiative and is led by Pittsburgh photographers Melissa Catanese and Ed Panar, cofounders of Spaces Corners bookstore. Submissions to date have ranged from family photographs of the past century to neighborhood and steel mill shots. Information: 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org.
In other Beatles news, Pittsburgh Guitars presents The Big Beatles Show No. 12 with Pittsburgh bands paying tribute to the Fab Four at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Rex Theater, South Side.
The $5 cover benefits Strum Together: The Pittsburgh Guitars Musical Education Scholarship Fund. Information: www.showclix.com.
• The free Citiparks Cinema in the Parks series continues with the 1996 basketball comedy "Space Jam" tonight at Brookline Memorial Park, Saturday at Grandview Park, Mount Washington, and Sunday at Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park.
• "Last Vegas," the buddy comedy starring Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, screens in Riverview Park, Observatory Hill, Saturday.
All screenings are at dusk.
• The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs at South Park Amphitheater at 8 p.m. Saturday and at Hartwood Acres at 8 p.m. Sunday. Led by resident conductor Fawzi Haimor, the concerts feature Bernstein's Overture to "Candide," Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" and more.
• Thomas Wendt plays the Citiparks Stars at Riverview Jazz Series at Observatory Hill, Riverview Park, at 7 p.m. Saturday.
• Citiparks' Bach, Beethoven and Brunch Concert Series continues in Mellon Park, Fifth and Shady avenues, from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday with the West Hills Symphonic Band.
• The Idol Kings play the SummerSounds series in Greensburg's St. Clair Park at 7 p.m. Friday.