The Hot List of things to do this weekend

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Pet place

Does your pet do any stupid tricks, or maybe smart ones?

Take him or her to the 2012 Pet Expo Pittsburgh Friday through Sunday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

Along with more than 150 exhibitors, demonstrations, an adoption area and pet products, there will be Saturday afternoon auditions for "The Late Show With David Letterman" Stupid Pet Tricks and a pet costume contest at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The first-ever Pet Olympics will showcase high-flying dock jumping and diving skills, National Dachshund Races and the Ohio Air Dogs doing stunts set to music.

The exotic reptile exhibit will feature the largest collection of snakes, lizards, chameleons and frogs in the Pittsburgh area.

Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8; for seniors aged 55 and up it's $7, and children 12 and under are free; admission is free on Friday night. Two-dollar-off coupons are available at Pittsburgh area Petco locations. Dogs and other pets are welcome to attend.



Mo blues

Grammy-winning bluesman Keb Mo brings his smooth vocals and guitar work to the Palace Theatre in Greensburg tonight.

Last year, the artist born Kevin Moore released "The Reflection," his first album since 2006. He recently told the Montgomery News, "The blues is happy to me. Sure, it is basically known for being sad. But I look at it as you're gonna do what you're gonna do. Why not enjoy yourself?"

He'll play solo at the Palace and also get backup from his band. The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$35; 724-836-8000.


Future Tenant plays

"Armageddon: 10 Minutes 'Til Doomsday" ... sounds like a load of laughs, right? With that phrase as the tagline, eight comedies were chosen for Future Ten, Future Tenant's annual 10-minute play festival. The judges' picks emerged from a pack of nearly 900 submissions from all over the world.

A quick synopsis of the super-short plays:

• "Effect and Cause" by Damian Synadinos: A scientist makes a huge discovery, then gets lunch.

• "Mrs. Greenblatt's Place in the Universe" by Sharon Goldner: Mom has some news for her daughter.

• "Last Words" by Philip Kaplan: A sibling rivalry comes to light at a somber occasion.

• "Under the Bed" by Christopher Kent: Sometimes it's hard to move on from your imaginary friend.

• "Hamlet Cows" by Ron Burch: It's hard to find good art in the country, unless you know where to look.

• "The Oak Tree" by Jay Koepke: A date gets an unexpected third wheel.

• "Super Fired" by Austin and Cara Steinmetz: Sometimes a superhero just doesn't live up to the title.

• "Journey to the End of the Night of the Titanic Dragon Monsters" by Joe Lyons: A tale of love and life at the twilight of the apocalypse.

The chosen eight of the new-play fete, in its ninth year, are on display at the gallery space at 819 Penn Ave. in the Pittsburgh Cultural District, Downtown, at 8 p.m. Nov. 2-3 and 9-10. Tickets are $10 at

The clock is ticking ...


Son of Earle

Justin Townes Earle has just a little pressure on him with his given name. He has Earle for his dad, Steve, and Townes for Townes Van Zandt.

He hasn't strayed far from the acoustic folk/country/blues genre in which both of those guys worked.

He comes to Mr. Smalls Theater on Saturday, having just released a fourth full-length studio album, "Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now," recorded live with no overdubs over a four-day period at an old converted church studio in Asheville, N.C.

"I think that it's the job of the artist to be in transition and constantly learn more," he has said. "The new record is completely different than my last one, 'Harlem River Blues.' This time I've gone in a Memphis-soul direction."

He'll be joined for the 7 p.m. show by Tift Merritt. Admission is $20 through


Stepping up

The Capitol Steps win the vote for perfect timing, dropping in to the Byham Theater on Sunday, mere days before the presidential election.

The Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series welcomes the award-winning comedic group that began in 1981 when a group of Senate staffers quit their day jobs and set out to satirize the people and places that employed them. Not all current members of the "Steps" are former staffers, but those that were boast a total of 18 congressional offices and represent 62 years of House and Senate staff experience.

The constantly evolving show changes based on the news, with recent examples including songs about Mitt Romney's plea to the GOP ("Help Me Fake It to the Right") and President Obama's class warfare ("If I Tax a Rich Man"). Other titles have included "Obama Mia," "Don't Go Fakin' You're Smart," "Duke of Oil" and "The Hillary-billies."

The performance is 4 p.m. Sunday at the Byham Theater. Tickets are $21-$43 at or 412-456-6666.


• Get ready to pull the lever by sharing a late-night laugh Saturday with the John McIntire Dangerously Live Comedy/Talk Show with Gab Bonesso, plus panelists Councilman Bill Peduto, Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers and Republican-turned-Democrat Kevin Acklin. Politics is the main course at 10:30 p.m. at the Cabaret at Theater Square, Downtown; admission is $5 or free with Cultural Trust ticket stub.

• Family of the Year brings its sunny California pop to the Shadow Lounge at 6 p.m. Sunday. The band, touring on the new album "Loma Vista," has opened for Edward Sharpe & Magnetic Zeroes and Mumford & Sons, and had its songs used in the HBO series "Girls" ("Hero") and an Advil commercial ("ChugJug"). Tickets are $10 through

• On the much heavier side, Florida industrial metal band Genitorturers, claiming to be "The World's Sexiest Rock Band," plays the Rex Theater at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is $14;; 1-877-435-9849.

• The more melodic Dutch symphonic metal band Epica, touring on the new album "Requiem for the Indifferent," plays the Altar Bar at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with Alestorm, Insomnium and System Divide. Tickets are $25 through; 1-866-468-3401.

• Shaler native and Point Park grad John Allen has returned from New York to bring the Jason Robert Brown musical "The Last Five Years" to Off The Wall's new theater space at 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. The show stars John Allen Biles as Jamie and Holly Bryan Scott as Cathy, a couple looking at their relationship from different perspectives. Nov. 1-3 and 8-10 at 7:30 p.m., with a suggested donation of $18 at the door ($12 for students with ID), cash only; reserve seats by emailing

• Two champions will be crowned when amateurs and professional singers descend upon Carnegie Mellon University for two local vocal competitions presented by Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. The finals of the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition for emerging professional opera singers and the Opera Champion of Pittsburgh Competition take place at 2 p.m. at the Carnegie Mellon Institute Auditorium, 4400 Fifth Ave. $25; 412-326-9687 or

theater - lifestyle - music


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