Altar Bar in the Strip is usually booked pretty heavily, but this weekend it seems particularly lively.
• It starts tonight with up-and-coming country band Parmalee (from Parmele, N.C.), responsible for last year's party song "Musta Had a Good Time," which details a "Hangover" kinda night. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $17.50-$20.
• On Friday night it's Flyleaf, a long-running alt-rock band from Texas that released its third album, "New Horizons," in October and then introduced new singer Kristen May (formerly of Vedera), replacing Lacey Sturm. The co-headliner is another Texas band, Drowning Pool, best known for the controversial 2001 song "Bodies," which was sometimes interpreted as being about 9/11 (the band says it's about moshpits) and was used as a torture device at Guantanamo Bay. Drowning Pool is currently on its fourth singer, Jason Moreno, who replaced Ryan McCombs in July. The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25-$28.
• On Saturday, a brutal Pittsburgh hardcore band, Those Who Fear, plays a CD release show for its new album, "Unholy Anger," joined by Belie My Burial, Improvidence and She's In Pain. It begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $12.
• The Sunday headliner is Hinder, the old Nickelback touring mates who broke big in 2006 with the power ballad "Lips of an Angel." The Oklahoma City band is touring on its fourth album, "Welcome to the Freakshow." Nonpoint opens the show at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25.
Pittsburgh Opera's resident artists take a step away from Verdi, Mozart and Wagner and get all bawdy and campy on us, according the website's description of "Cabaret 2013," a showcase in which resident artists partake in novelty songs, show tunes "and, as always, hilarious surprises."
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets to the revue at the Opera's Strip District home, 2425 Liberty Ave., are $59, $69 at the door, for general admission seating plus two drink tickets and light snacks. Tickets and details at culturaldistrict.org or 412-456-6666.
New Horizon's 'Pearl'
New Horizon Theater presents "Black Pearl Sings!," a Depression-era musical play about a song collector and researcher for the Library of Congress who forms a bond with Texas inmate Pearl, who possesses a treasure trove of folk songs dating back to the earliest days of slavery.
The play by Frank Higgins and directed by Linda Haston opens tonight and runs through March 3. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, plus 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, at The Kingsley Association, 6435 Frankstown Ave. Tickets: $20 (discounts for seniors and students) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-431-0773.
• Point Park University's Conservatory Theatre Company performs the Cold War-era musical "Chess" tonight through March 3 at Pittsburgh Playhouse's Rockwell Theater in Oakland. Scott Wise directs the show by Richard Nelson (book), Tim Rice (lyrics) and ABBA guys Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson (music). Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $18-$20 (see site for discounts) at 412-392-8000 or pittsburghplayhouse.com.
• Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama presents Tony winner "Spring Awakening" tonight through March 2 at the Philip Chosky Theater in CMU's Purnell Center, Oakland. Tome Cousin directs the fusion of 19th-century German text by Frank Wedekind and Steven Sater's modern sensibilities with angsty pop songs by Mr. Sater and Duncan Sheik. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays. Tickets are $27-$32 (see site for discounts) at www.drama.cmu.edu.
• University of Pittsburgh's Pitt Rep has launched the musical high school fairy tale "Zanna, Don't!," playing through March 3 at the Stephen Foster Memorial's Henry Heymann Theatre, Oakland. Robert C.T. Steele directs the show by Tim Acito and Alexander Dinelaris. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $12-$25 at www.play.pitt.edu.
Bon Jovi, which broke the Consol Energy Center capacity record last time in town, rolls in with its new album, "What About Now," still on the way.
The New Jersey band is set to play a mix of old favorites and a preview of the new songs, like the single "Because We Can."
"Jon really is out there singing it, so he comes up with a set list," keyboardist David Bryan said in a recent teleconference. "We have like a master list of how many songs that we have, and he comes up with the list when we get to the show, and we get handed the list, and there you go. And then there's like extra ones on the side that he'll call, so we're always ready. We never do the same set twice."
Show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $19-$199.50 at ticketmaster.com.
Paula Poundstone will take the stage Friday at Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall, which is appropriate as the comedian happens to be a national spokeswoman for The Association of Library Trustees Advocates Friends & Foundations and she is partnering with libraries on her tour.
She said in a statement, "It's funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women. The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed. If you haven't been to your library lately, you're over-due."
Ms. Poundstone, who has been doing standup for more than 30 years, has a multifaceted career that now includes being a regular panelist on NPR's weekly news quiz show, "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me," blogging for Huffington Post and writing the followup to "There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say."
The show is at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $29.50-$37 advance; $5 more on day of show. Call 412-368-5225 or go to www.librarymusichall.com.
Zombies invade History Center
Things will be pretty dead at the Senator John Heinz History Center this weekend.
The museum is commemorating the 45th anniversary of "Night of the Living Dead" with a special movie screening at 7:15 p.m., a 7 p.m. "Pittsburgh's Best Zombie Contest" (hosted by the ScareHouse and House of the Dead), snacks and refreshments, including alcoholic beverages, popcorn and retro 1968-era candy.
As part of the event, the History Center will offer free docent-led tours of the new "1968: The Year That Rocked America" exhibition from 5 to 7 p.m.
It is free with regular museum admission ($15; $13 seniors 62+; $6 ages 6-17, although the movie is not recommended for children). Information: www.heinzhistorycenter.org.
Chris Tomlin sings
It was a slow sales week, but still, in January, Chris Tomlin became the fourth contemporary Christian artist in history to enter the Billboard 200 charts at No. 1 with his album "Burning Lights," an album that was marketed through churches.
The New York Times called the record "heavy on broad, anthemic choruses and straightforward praise."
On Saturday, the Atlanta-based Grammy-winning singer-songwriter brings the Burning Lights Tour to Consol Energy Center where fans can expect a mix of new material and such Mr. Tomlin worship songs as "How Great Is Our God," "Holy Is the Lord" and "Jesus Messiah."
The concert is at 7 p.m. with Louie Giglio and Kari Jobe. Tickets are $26-$37 through www.ticketmaster.com.
A slick city guide called Urbanist that lists 152 mostly independent restaurants, cafes, bakeries, pubs, cocktail and wine bars, galleries, yoga and beauty salons and stores has landed in local businesses as another way to promote interesting places in city.
It's part of a publishing venture that started in San Diego in 2009 and was brought here by Mt. Lebanon native Michael McAllister, founder of Epic Development, a local economic development and strategy firm. The guides will be published annually over the next five years.
A launch party for the guide is scheduled 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday at SPACE gallery, 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Tickets are $25; www.showclix.com/event/urbanistpghlaunchparty. More information about the guide at www.urbanistguide.com.
It's not easy finding things to do with the kids on these February days.
The 13th annual Kidapalooza family festival, Saturday at the David Lawrence Convention Center, features Mike the Knight live on stage (11 a.m., 1 and 4 p.m.), meet and greets with Mike the Knight, Curious George and Little Nutbrown Hare, indoor rides and inflatables, Princess Pavilion, Sportz Zone drills and clinics, healthy eating and nutrition, karaoke and more.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $9; $6 kids 3-11; www.showclix.com/event/3738986.
NEED TO KNOW
• This is the last call for Pittsburgh Public Theater's entertaining "1776," in which the earliest American Congress finds ways to compromise and sing a few songs, too. The smart spirited production has seven performances in its final four days at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown: 2 and 8 p.m. today; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $29-$60 (discounts for students, 26 and under and seniors) at ppt.org or 412-316-1600.
• Singer-songwriter Keller Williams did some touring last year with The Travelin' McCourys and The Keels. On Saturday, he returns to Mr. Smalls as the one-man jam band. The show is 9 p.m. Tickets are $22 through i.ticketweb.com; 1-866-468-3401.
• The Point Park Conservatory Dance Company will celebrate the accomplishments of its faculty in performances showcasing their work. Choreography by Nicolas Petrov, Kiesha Lalama, Peter Merz, Ron Tassone and Garfield Lemonius will be featured. It's 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 3 at the George Rowland White Performance Studio at Point Park University, Downtown. Tickets: $18-$20 at www.pittsburghplayhouse.com or 412-392-8000.