Zammuto shelves The Books
After 10 years and four albums of electro-acoustic sound collage, The Books called it quits earlier this year, with Nick Zammuto expressing his regrets and stating that "it still feels strange to me that such an odd little project moved people like it did."
With cellist Paul de Jong out of the picture, he has moved on to a quartet called Zammuto, which will perform at The Andy Warhol Museum, North Side, tonight as part of the Sound Series.
Zammuto finds Nick on guitar and vocals and his brother Mikey on bass, with guitarist/keyboardist/violinist Gene Back and drummer Sean Dixon. Together, they create experimental pop with precise rhythms and vocal effects.
Recently, he was asked by Pitchfork if he considers himself a songwriter in the traditional sense. "A year ago I would have said no, since the songwriting [in The Books] was so collaged and conceptual," he said. "But despite myself, I've started to find a more direct voice while making this record and have started to understand the power in that."
Lymbyc Systym, an instrumental duo composed of brothers Jared and Michael Bell, opens the 8 p.m. show. For tickets, $15, $12 for CMP members and students, www.warhol.org or www.ticketweb.com or 412-237-8300.
Going to 'The Other Place'
Off the Wall Productions opens the doors to a new home and a new season Friday with the drama "The Other Place," on stage at the Off The Wall Theater, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie.
"The Other Place" by Sharr White hits Broadway with previews starting in December and a Jan. 10 opening night, but you can get a first look of the show Variety calls "a haunting drama" in the new Off the Wall venue. The play -- about a biophysicist on the verge of a breakthrough in dementia medication when her life takes a disorienting turn -- is directed by Melissa Hill Grande and features Erika Cuenca, Virginia Wall Gruenert, Mark C. Thompson and Ricardo Vila-Roger.
The show runs through Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $5-$35 at www.showclix.com or 1-888-71-TICKETS.
The Fall Flower Show opens Saturday at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with a display of nearly 3,000 chrysanthemums in hues of harvest-inspired deep purples, bright greens, brilliant yellows, bold reds and warm oranges
Among the highlights will be smoke-breathing dragon fountain heads with oak leaf scales, and more than 100 Chinese lanterns in the Sunken Garden; a Serpentine Room display illustrating the autumnal color changes of plants; and an under-the-sea East Room exhibit with "coral reef" beds, "jellyfish" baskets and wind sock "fish."
Also, the Garden Railroad in the South Conservatory will make its seasonal debut, inviting guests to travel back in time to 1893, the year Phipps opened.
The Fall Flower Show runs through Nov. 4 and will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors (age 62 and older), $11 for students (with valid ID), and $9 for children (ages 2-18). Members and children under 2 enter for free. Information: phipps.conservatory.org or 412-622-6914.
Renaissance man ... and son
Step inside the mind of a composer trying to write the perfect choral work, or something like that, when the Pittsburgh Camerata stages "Apollo Unbound."
The choral group led by Rebecca Rollett commissioned playwright and Pittsburgh native Patrick Shaw to pen a lighthearted look at a bumbling Renaissance-era composer and his "unsatisfactory adolescent" son trying to write a masterpiece. They push and pull the choir to get the sound they want, although the music is actually that of a dead composer, Robert Parsons.
The comedy, starring actors David Santiago and Adam Hagenbuch and directed by Michelle Sutherland of CMU's School of Drama, opens Saturday at 8 p.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Highland Park, and then plays at 8 p.m. Oct. 19 at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church and 8 p.m. Oct. 20 at Sixth Presbyterian Church in Squirrel Hill. Tickets are $5-$20; 412-421-5884 or www.pittsburghcamerata.org.
"At half past 12 p.m., in a frame building at the corner of Second and Ferry streets, the tiniest tongue of flame whispered from a stove like a rumor ...." So begins a musical account of the devastating fire of April 10, 1845, that burned more than a square mile of Pittsburgh. Saturday, the Washington Symphony will premiere Kyle Simpson's "They Stepped Through the Fire," at 8 p.m. at Trinity High School in Washington, Pa.
It's part of a Halloween-themed concert, including the music of "Psycho," Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," Camille Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre" and more. But Mr. Simpson, an assistant professor of music at Washington & Jefferson College, did not fill his symphonic work with only fire and brimstone. It is just as much an homage to how the city's citizens rebuilt the city and charged forward, their vigor bookending the account of the blaze. Yugo Ikach conducts. $15-$20; 724-223-9796.
Bach Choir on 'Time'
The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, one of the city's most innovative ensembles, opens its season in that same vein with a thoughtful look at that devastating disease, Alzheimer's. Its program, "Time Remembered/Time Forgotten," features composer Robert Cohen's "Alzheimer's Stories," a "touching oratorio that captures the memories of families, friends and individuals affected by the disease." The concert is rounded out by a timely performance of Howard Hanson's "Song of Democracy," which sets Walt Whitman's poetry. Performances are 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at Eastminster Church. Tickets are $10-$30; www.Bachpgh.Showclix.com, 1-888-718-4253 or www.BachChoirPittsburgh.org.
Maria honors Minnie
Maria Muldaur, best known for the 1974 hit "Midnight at the Oasis," turns up at Moondog's in Blawnox, having just released her 40th album, "... First Came Memphis Minnie," a tribute to the pioneering blues woman that features special guests like Rory Block, Ruthie Foster, Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow and Koko Taylor.
Ms. Muldaur notes in the bio, "Memphis Minnie was one of the few figures to make the successful transition from the rural, acoustic guitar-dominated blues of the 1920s to the urban nightclub styles of the '30s, '40s and '50s. She was tough, determined, talented, and courageous enough to defy and overcome all the racial, social, economic, and gender barriers that existed in her time, forging the life she envisioned for herself on nothing but her own terms!"
The singer will be accompanied by her Red Hot Bluesiana Band for a show focusing on songs from the new album, the previous album "Steady Love" and more. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Call 412-828-2040.
Mini-musicals for kids
Reading is elemental, but it's lots of fun when you can watch books, too. Children will have the chance in the first offering of the year from the Pittsburgh International Children's Theater.
A visiting theater troupe will perform mini-musicals from the books: "You Give a Mouse a Cookie," "Amazing Grace," "Borreguita and the Coyote," "Imogene's Antlers," "Master Man," "Math Curse" and "Owen."
The 60-minute show, recommended for ages 3-10, runs Sunday through Oct. 21 across the region: 2 p.m. Sunday and 10:15 a.m. Monday at the Byham Theater, Downtown; 7 p.m. Wednesday at Gateway High School, Monroeville; 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Marshall Middle School; 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at Moon Area High School; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at Mellon Middle School, Mt. Lebanon; and, 2 p.m. Oct. 21 at Seneca Valley Senior High School, Butler County. $9.50-$11; www.trustarts.org/kids; 412-456-6666.
Dog lovers can enjoy a fun day together at South Park on Sunday for the fourth annual Pooch Parade & Picnic, benefiting the Myasthenia Gravis Association of Western Pennsylvania. This family-friendly event features a one-mile fun walk on a paved trail beginning at the Dog Park at South Park.
All registered participants will receive morning refreshments, a goody bag, a sweatshirt, and a bandana for their dog. The event features a costume contest with prizes for best dog and best dog/owner combo costumes. The raffles include gift baskets, Steelers tickets and a Myrtle Beach vacation. A variety of vendors will be on hand to provide information and products of interest to dog lovers. Registration begins at 9 a.m., followed by the parade at 10 a.m. and a picnic at noon. Hot dogs and beverages will be provided, and attendees are asked to bring their own picnic basket or a covered dish to share.
For more information, call 412-566-1545 or visit www.mgawpa.org.
NEED TO KNOW
• Chatham Baroque explores the musical connections between European baroque music and the folk music of Appalachia. Along the way it jams with folk musicians Mark Tamsula (banjo, fiddle) and Ellen Gozion (vocals, banjo). The program, "Say, Darlin' Say," calls on the folk music of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina. The concerts are at 8 p.m. Saturday at Synod Hall, Oakland, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Laughlin Music Center on the campus of Chatham University. $10-$30; 1-888-71-TICKETS or chathambaroque.org.
• Happy anniversary to Hatebreed. The band is celebrating a decade of hard-core metal with its "10 Years of Perseverance," which references the title of the Connecticut band's major-label debut. Hatebreed is in the process of finishing up a new album, about which guitarist Wayne Lozinak says, "Every song is heavy, straight and to the point, in keeping with the traditional HATEBREED sound. Can't wait to put some of these songs in the set and start playing them live!" Whitechapel, All Shall Perish and Deez Nuts open the show at Stage AE tonight. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are $23. 1-800-745-3000.
• Boston's Converge -- one of the bands that helped define the metalcore genre -- turns up at Altar Bar on Sunday, having just released its eighth studio album, "All We Love We Leave Behind." It was recorded and mixed by guitarist Kurt Ballou, who noted, "There's no artificial distortion, triggers, or Auto-Tune on this album. It's all organic, it's real sounds that capture the way the band performs live." The song "Aimless Arrow" was recently named a "Best New Track" by Pitchfork. Torche opens the show at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$17; ticketfly.com; 1-877-435-9849.
• Clannad, which helped put contemporary Irish folk-pop on the map, performs Sunday at Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead in Munhall. The family band, which won a New Age album Grammy in 1999, dates back to 1970, when it formed in County Donegal, Ireland, becoming pioneers in their use of harmonies and New Age atmosphere. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45-$55; www.showclix.com; 1-877-435-3849.
• Earl Klugh, the Detroit native and Atlanta resident known since the late 1970s for playing jazz finger-style on a classical guitar, plays two solo shows on Friday at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild's Jazz Hall, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $56.50. Call 412-322-0800.
• Carnegie Science Center will host its final superhero-themed Science Sleepover of the year, starting 6 p.m. Friday. Kids and adult sidekicks explore the science behind flying, X-ray vision and super strength while creating their own unique superhero character. The Sleepover includes an Omnimax movie, planetarium show, late-night snack, continental breakfast and general admission for Saturday. Fee is $35 per person; at least one adult chaperone is required for every eight children. More at 412-237-1637 or CarnegieScienceCenter.org. Themed stays for kids continue through the Polar Express Sleepover Dec. 14-15.
• Duquesne University's Red Masquers celebrate their 100th season by showcasing new works, including the season-opening farce "Be Our Guest," about a couple concealing their marriage from wacky family members. The show runs 8 tonight through Saturday and Oct. 18-20. Admission is $5 for children, $10 for adults or free for Duquesne and Carlow students at the door to the Peter Mills Auditorium, Rockwell Hall. More info: redmasquers.blogspot.com.