Call him Mr. Earle
Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society hits a little harder Saturday night with one of the leading lights of alt-country Steve Earle playing the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland with opener Charlie Mars.
The singer-songwriter, who came along in 1986 with "Guitar Town," followed on the promise of that debut, among others, with the blockbuster "Copperhead Road," the stripped-down "Train A Comin'," the bluegrass-heavy "Mountain" and the politically charged Grammy winner "The Revolution Starts ... Now."
Last year the Texan, who now lives in Brooklyn, released his T-Bone Burnett-produced 14th studio album, "I'll Never Get out of This World Alive," inspired by the Hank Williams song of the same title. It included the song "This City," which has garnered both Emmy and Grammy Award nominations, and which he performed and wrote for the HBO series "Treme."
He told No Depression magazine, "I really left what it sounded like to T-Bone, which was sort of the point. I really wanted to concentrate on the songwriting. I wanted to push the poetics as hard as I could. So, I wanted to write and rewrite and rewrite right until I'd committed stuff to the actual recording. I think I accomplished what I wanted to artistically on the songs. I'm really, really proud of these songs."
The album was accompanied by a novel of the same name, which imagined the troubled life of Doc Ebersole as he is haunted by the ghost of his former patient and friend, Hank Williams.
The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45/$49 (door), $25 (student rush); www.calliopehouse.org.
Pianist Lang Lang is the centerpiece of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's annual gala that precedes the opening of the 2012-13 season. The PSO is billing it as the "Year of the Dragon," a double meaning because 2012 is the Chinese "Year of the Dragon" and because Lang Lang will play selections from his CD, "Dragon Songs." He will complement that collection of Chinese music by soloing in Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1.
Music director Manfred Honeck conducts the PSO in the typically grand party whose tickets range from $30 to $150. That's worth it for Lang Lang's passionate fan base, but $750 gets you "valet parking, a pre-concert cocktail hour, preferred concert seating and a post-concert formal dinner catered by the Duquesne Club, followed by a dessert reception with Honeck." It is a fundraiser, after all.
The concert begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at Heinz Hall, Downtown, and includes music by Verdi, Mendelssohn, Wagner and Stravinsky. Information, tickets: 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
The Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze will ride out the season with a summer Saturday of physical activities and creative expression for its Let's Move Family Fun Day.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., families can "Hop, Skip and Jump Through Time across the Frick's 5.5 acres of tree-shaded lawns using the Frick-produced activity guide based on first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative."
They can also have a "vintage" photo taken, step lively with Pittsburgh dancer Tracie Yorke and tour Clayton, the historic home of the Henry Clay Frick family.
The event is free and presented by UPMC Health Plan. Information: TheFrickPittsburgh.org or 412-371-0600.
New Dimension Comics will play host for the first Pittsburgh Comic and Collectibles Show at its location in the Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer.
Guests include artist Scott McDaniel (known for Nightwing, Batman, Static Shock, Daredevil and more), Josh Blaylock of Devil's Due Publishing, who has written nearly 100 comics, including Mercy Sparx, Voltron and G.I. Joe vs. The Transformers.
Dr. Who impersonators will host a trivia game complete with prizes, and vendors will have thousands of comics.
It runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; www.ndcomics.com.
The Wurlitzer is called a theater organ, hence the name of the local enthusiast group, the Pittsburgh Area Theatre Organ Society. But the instrument might as well be a keyboard orchestra in so far as how many sounds it can produce. In fact, the Society refers to it sometimes as the Mighty PATOS Wurlitzer Unit Orchestra. Fun and powerful.
Saturday, the organization presents organist Bob Ralston. He's a Wurlitzer wiz who has appeared here 22 times. The concert starts at 2 p.m. at Keystone Oaks Auditorium, Dormont. Tickets $15-$20; 412-241-8108 or www.theatreorgans.com/patos.
NEED 2 KNOW
• Veteran ska-punk band Less Than Jake, celebrating two decades together as a band, plays Altar Bar on Friday with A Wilhelm Scream and Junior Battles. In February, the band released "Season's Greetings From Less Than Jake," a new five-song EP that will be combined with another EP and two brand-new songs into an album titled "Greetings and Salutations," in October. The show is at 8:30 p.m. $18-$20; www.ticketmaster.com or 1-800-745-3000.
• Kishi Bashi, the Of Montreal collaborator who played strings on the band's latest album, "Paralytic Stalks," arrives at the Shadow Lounge on Saturday touring in support of his debut solo album, "151a," an avant/electro-pop record written primarily on violin. He uses looping to re-create it live a la Andrew Bird. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10; 412-363-8277.
• Throughline Theater Company celebrates the opening of "The Miser," Moliere's raucous satire about an avaricious father, with a preshow party Friday at Lawrenceville's Grey Box Theatre. For $25, guests can enjoy appetizers and an open bar before seating begins at 7:30 p.m. The rest of the schedule is 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 1 and 5:30 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 22. Tickets are $15 at throughline.showclix.com or at the door.
• Baltimore indie duo Wye Oak -- Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack -- just wrapped up a tour with the Dirty Projectors and is back on the road for a show at Mr. Smalls at 8 tonight. NPR Music said that Wye Oak, which released its third album, "Civilian," last year, plays "fierce and arresting rock music and gives particularly memorable live performances." The show is at 8 p.m. $13. 1-866-468-3401.
• Loudon Wainwright III brings his witty folk to the Rex Theater, South Side, 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25.
• While "Becky's New Car" varooms on the main stage at Little Lake Theater, the kids can spend quality time with their favorite aardvark. "Arthur's Halloween," a musical based on the books by Marc Brown and the animated TV series, opens at 1:30 p.m. Sunday and runs most Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 28. Tickets are $14; $12 for ages 15 and under. Check littlelake.org or 724-745-6300, as the schedule varies.