The Hot List: Cultural events this weekend

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A PSO premiere

Gianandrea Noseda is gaining in stature worldwide as a spectacular conductor of the entire repertoire, but he will again affix audience attention on his home country of Italy in his latest appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Even if it is from the point of view of a German: Richard Strauss' "Aus Italien (From Italy)."

He also will lead the premiere of former PSO conductor Victor de Sabata's "The Night of Platon." Finally, Benjamin Hochman will perform with one hand tied behind his back when he solos in Ravel's Piano Concerto for left hand. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Hall, Downtown. Tickets start at $20. 412-392-4900 or

Cafe music

No big surprise, but Club Cafe on the South Side is the place to be this weekend for the WYEP Triple-A crowd.

• It starts tonight with a rare appearance by Freakwater, the female-led group that helped get the alt-country ball rolling back in the early '90s with its early albums on Thrill Jockey. See Page W-8.

• On Friday, Karl Mullen, who fronted Carsickness/Ploughman's Lunch and used to book the shows at Club Cafe, returns to town with his new folk-based band, The Wandering Rocks. See Page W-9.

• The Saturday show is headlined by Rhett Miller, frontman for Texas alt-country fave The Old 97's, who has been here many times as a solo artist. Last year he released his fifth studio album, "The Dreamer." He is joined by Portland, Ore., bluegrass band Black Prairie, which features three members of The Decemberists: Chris Funk (dobro), Nate Query (bass) and Jenny Conlee, with singer-violinist Annalisa Tornfelt (Bearfoot and The Woolwines) and guitarist Jon Neufeld (Dolorean). It begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 through; 1-866-468-3401.


Adult night

Leave the kids at home this time and enjoy a night of your own at Carnegie Science Center and Highmark SportsWorks, which will be for adults only from 6 to 10 tonight for "21+Sports."

For $10 in advance ($15 at the door), adults ages 21 and up can enjoy SportsWorks features including a 25-foot rock wall, a bungee-harnessed trampoline, a roller coaster simulator and sports challenges. The evening includes access to science center exhibits and hula-hooping in the Works Theater. Also on the bill is a performance by alt-country band Dan Getkin and the Masters of American Music and presentations by Bike Pittsburgh and REI. There will be a cash bar, and snacks will be available for purchase.

To register, call 412-237-3400 and press 7, or visit


Follow-up to information below: Note on the ToonSeum website says Jan. 19 evening with Jim Shooter is being reschedule - stay tooned.

A Marvel at ToonSeum

The ToonSeum will host "An Evening With Jim Shooter," comic book writer and editor from DC to Marvel to his own imprints (Valiant, Defiant and Broadway Comics) and a Pittsburgh native. The Saturday event will begin with a 6 p.m. VIP reception at the Downtown venue, followed by an interview at 7:30 and a Q&A session conducted by Wayne Wise, the ToonSeum's comics historian.

In 1965, at age 13 -- that's not a typo -- Mr. Shooter began writing "Superboy," "The Legion of Super-Heroes," "Superman" and other DC Comics. In 1976, he became editor of Marvel's color comics and plotter/layout artist on the "Amazing Spider-Man" syndicated strip. In 1978, he became editor-in-chief and introduced royalties and benefits to attract a cadre of talent to Marvel.

He is the editor-in-chief of Illustrated Media, a custom comics company.

Tickets for "An Evening With Jim Shooter" are available at at $25, or $20 for ToonSeum members. VIP tickets (meet-and-greet, signed comic and admission) are $50/$40.

Just Peter

Peter Yarrow, of the legendary trio Peter, Paul and Mary, visits Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oakland, on Saturday as part of the Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society series.

The 74-year-old singer-songwriter co-wrote the group's signature song, "Puff, the Magic Dragon," and the group had hits with "The Wedding Song (There Is Love)," "Day Is Done," "Light One Candle" and "The Great Mandala."

He is also a founding board member of the Newport Folk Festival and an activist for peace, equal rights, the environment and homelessness, among other causes.

He is joined by special guest Mustard's Retreat at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 (advance), $44 (door), $20 (student rush w/ID). Call 412-361-1915 or visit


'Seminar' at City

Previews begin at City Theatre at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday for "Seminar," the play about writing and writers by "Smash" creator Theresa Rebeck. Daniel Gerroll takes on the role of Leonard, a novelist who unleashes his wit during an exclusive workshop for four aspiring writers.

The play on the South Side theater's Main Stage has its official opening Jan. 25; times are 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 5:30 and 9 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Sundays. For tickets and details: $35-$55, or 412-431-CITY (2489).


Let Freedom Sing!

The Pittsburgh Gospel Choir and spoken-word artist Vanessa German celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s mission with two free concerts, "bring[ing] together black communities and white communities, city neighborhoods and suburbs, and young and old participants and audience members in the spirit of Dr. King's vision."

The music and oratory take place at 7 p.m. Saturday at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in East Liberty and at 7 p.m. Monday at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville. After its own set, the Gospel Choir joins with Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church Choir, Franklin Regional High School Chorus, Greater Pittsburgh Unitarian Universalist Church Choirs, McKeesport High School Choir, Norwin High School Choir and Wilkinsburg High School Choir. Folk singer Ellen Gozion (Saturday) and jazz singer Carolyn Perteete (Monday) also perform. Information: 412-512-0589 or


• Arizona pop-rock band Gin Blossoms, which went Top 40 in 1993 with "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You," plays Jergel's Rhythm Grille, Marshall, at 8 tonight. Tickets are $35-$50;

• Stephane Wrembel, the French-born New Jersey-based "gypsy jazz" guitarist who composed the theme music for Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," performs at the Thunderbird Cafe, Lawrenceville, at 8 tonight. Tickets are $20; 412-682-0177 or

• Jenny Owen Youngs will be coming to Altar Bar as part of the Revival Tour on April 3, but you can catch the New Jersey singer-songwriter headlining the Brillobox, Bloomfield, at 10 p.m. Saturday with Paul Luc. Go to

• Don't go to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall on Friday looking for Maze featuring Frankie Beverly and El DeBarge. The show has been moved to the Benedum Center on March 3, with Ginuwine. It will be at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $58.50 and $68.50 at Theater Square Box Office, Dorsey's Records, Stedefords, A For The People Insurance, or charge by phone at 412-456-6666. If you purchased tickets for the Friday show, contact your point of purchase for more information.

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