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PSO gamers

The Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra still plans to hit "play again," as the orchestra show "Video Games Live" returns to Heinz Hall for a bonus round of music from popular video games. Tonight's performance has been canceled due to bad weather preventing PSO members from returning home from New York's Carnegie Hall in time, but Friday's 8 p.m. show is still scheduled.

With the PSO in full force, audiences who play "Final Fantasy," "Halo," "Sonic the Hedgehog," "Mass Effect" "Assassin's Creed" and other games will get more audio than they ever did sitting in front of their screens at home. There also will be an interactive "Guitar Hero" segment and interviews with well-known game composers.

Game composers Jack Wall (conductor) and Tommy Tallarico (host) lead the concert. And come early for video game competitions and demos, a costume contest and prizes. Tickets are $30-$75; call 412-392-4900 or visit PSO www.pittsburghsymphony.org. Patrons who purchased tickets for tonight's concert are being notified of the cancellation and instructed to call the Heinz Hall Box Office.

All together now

Carnegie Mellon University's Collage Concert, which combines musicians from six genres performing with theatrics and lighting, will be held at 8 p.m. Friday at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland. Baroque, classical, contemporary, vocal, jazz and musical theater will intertwine in direction by CMU's Gregory Lehane in dynamic fashion. Among the works are a Steve Reich clapping piece and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from "The Sound of Music." Several faculty members will join the students for solos, including violinist Cyrus Forough, pianist Enrique Graf and singer Laura Knoop Very. Tickets: $10-$15; http://music.cmu.edu or 412-268-2383.


Syndicated cartoonist Michael Jantze will speak at the ToonSeum, 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown, Friday at 6 p.m. Mr. Jantze, creator of the comic strip "The Norm," has a background in both print and film, including as visual effects art director for Industrial Light + Magic. He is founder of Jantze Animation Studios. He'll talk about how his company converts the traditional printed comic strip or book into new media shorts and animation, and about the present and future of the medium. The talk is included with ToonSeum admission: $4 adults, $3 students, free for ToonSeum members. Information: 412-232-0199.


Rad Radiohole

The Warhol's Off the Wall Series and the New Hazlett Theater give us two nights of Radiohole in "Whatever, Heaven Allows." Known for its radical and reckless theatricality, avant-garde Brooklyn-based Radiohole's newest work is a meta-melodrama inspired by film director Douglas Sirk's 1950s films and Milton's epic "Paradise Lost." Performances are 8 p.m. at the New Hazlett Theater, North Side. Tickets: $20 ($10 for students and Carnegie Museums members); 412-237-8300 or www.ticketweb.com.


Not baroque

Haydn, Mozart ... Beethoven? Typically, these are at the center of any classical music organization. But they are personae non grata for most early music groups such as the Renaissance & Baroque Society of Pittsburgh. Not anymore. Saturday at 8 p.m. at Synod Hall, Oakland, the R&B welcomes the Axelrod Quartet. That in itself is news, because the string quartet genre didn't exist until after the end of the baroque period (generally seen as 1750).

But add that the Axelrod will perform string quartets by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven and you have yourself an early-music scandal. Well, not really. In recent years, performance practice -- using similar instruments and techniques to try to re-create how music originally sounded -- has moved to later periods. Considering that the Axelrod Quartet will examine how these three composers wrote fugues in their work, the evening isn't so far out. After all, the fugue is a baroque form.

Tickets: $10-$35; www.rbsp.org, or 412-361- 2048.

Parents' Night Out

Not being able to find a baby sitter will no longer be considered an excuse to not go out for Valentine's Day.

Carnegie Science Center is offering Parents' Night Out Saturday. Parents can bring their youngin' to the Science Center at 5 p.m. Saturday and return for pick-up at 10 p.m. While the adults are enjoying a night sans offspring, the kiddos are enjoying dinner, an Omnimax film, a laser show, science activity and all the cool exhibits. Parents' Night Out will also be available March 20 and May 15.

Designed for kids ages 6-12. Cost per kid is $35 for members, $40 for nonmembers. Pick-up time is 10 p.m. Pre-registration required. Call 412-237-1637.

Genesis project

One of the tricks of putting together a viable Genesis tribute band is finding someone who can sing even remotely like Peter Gabriel.

Judging from the YouTube clips, Josh Gleason, with a full array of costumes, seems to do a pretty reasonable job of it in the Rochester, N.Y., band The Waiting Room, playing Diesel on Saturday.

The band also features guitarist John Covach, who teaches music at The University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music and has written the book "What's That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History."

"We do stay mostly with Gabriel-era stuff. We also do a few tunes from the other '70s albums, but no '80s Genesis," the guitarist says.

The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 1-877-435-9849.


Valentine's skate

Ice skating is traditionally a cute date, but throw in roses, salsa dance lessons, chocolates and massages and voila! You've got a perfectly sweet Valentines Day night.

Citiparks' "Valentines on Ice" includes all of the above plus hot drinks, puck shooting contest, keepsake photo and raffles.

The romance is held from 7-11 p.m. at Schenley Park skating rink. Cost is $4 per couple -- the first 250 couples will receive a rose and chocolates.

'Vespers' in Shadyside

In the tradition of the Catholic Church, the hour of vespers is a time of reflection in the evening. But Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi's "Vespers" (1610) caused quite a commotion. They involved huge and varied performing forces for the time, from operatic-like solo works to choral motets to elaborate use of supporting instruments.

But the real issue was that Monteverdi, one of the greatest musical minds ever, was advancing a new style of music while also showing he was a master of the older style. Four hundred years later, we matter-of-factly see these two styles as the baroque and the Renaissance, but it is fascinating to realize just how contentious the change was. Monteverdi got a lot of hate mail.

You have a chance to hear this living history at Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside, at 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; call 412-661-0120, ext. 20, for more information.


• Knitters looking for a bit of color among all the white outside will find it at the sixth annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival Saturday and Sunday at the Four Points Sheraton in Marshall. The festival features classes, demos, exhibits, charity knitting and more. Admission: $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Information: www.pghknitandcrochet.com or call 412-963-7030.

• Title Tracks, featuring former members of Q AND NOT U, hit the Brillobox in Bloomfield Sunday in support of "It Was Easy," an album of "broody power pop" influenced by The Replacements and Guided By Voices.

• On Saturday at Carnegie Lecture Hall, Calliope welcomes Cheryl Wheeler, a folk artist known for wit and poetic songs. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 (advance), $40 (door) at 412-394-3353 or www.proartstickets.org.

• Ed Ochester, whose recent poetry collection, "Unreconstructed," is published by Autumn House Press of Pittsburgh, reads his poetry Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Father Ryan Arts Center, 420 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks. He's the second reader in the new Pittsburgh Poetry Series. Tickets: 412-298-7373.


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