Tim McGraw returns to town Saturday, opening up the summer concert season at First Niagara Pavilion.
PSO plays Grieg
After all the piano concerto masterpieces of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and others from "the continent," it is an early work by a Norwegian composer that has become the most iconic of all. Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto's opening cascade of notes is famous, one of those classical music bits that has hit the big and small screens, including cartoons.
This weekend at Heinz Hall you get the chance to go beyond the stereotype to hear the piece performed by pianist Valentina Lisitsa and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Yan Pascal Tortelier, once a regular conductor of the PSO, returns.
He also will conduct a new work by Osvaldo Golijov, "Sidereus," and a lesser-known work by Edward Elgar, "In the South ('Alassio')." Maurice Ravel's passionate "Rapsodie Espagnole" completes the program. Concerts are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $20; 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
Vicki and Mama
Emmy-winning comedienne Vicki Lawrence, from the "Carol Burnett Show" and spinoff "Mama's Family," brings her most famous character to the Palace Theatre in Greensburg today in her new touring production, "Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two-Woman Show."
"My new show will not be a retrospective," she said in a statement. "The show is a mixture of stand-up comedy, music and my observations about real life. I think people will get a kick out of the things Mama has an opinion about. We're creating new material with a more modern and cutting edge. Where Mama is concerned, expect the unexpected. There's really nothing she can't do,"
Along with those TV hits, Ms. Lawrence guest-starred with Tim Conway in "Yes Dear," hosted her own daytime talk show, "Vicki!," and had a recurring role on "Hannah Montana" as Hannah's Grandma Stewart.
Ian Svenonius, best known for D.C. punk band Nation of Ulysses before moving on to Chain and the Gang, The Make-Up and Weird War, will be at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Sound Stage on Friday for a book not a record tour.
He will read from and talk about "Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock 'n' Roll Group," a project that had him conducting a seance to collect wisdom from Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix.
"We talked to these ghosts of deceased rock stars, and they were really interested in talking, but also they had a different kind of perspective," he told the Columbus Dispatch. "They had a geopolitical, social, historic perspective on things that a lot of current rockers probably wouldn't have because they're just too concerned with playing some festival or what blogs they're on."
It begins at 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Party at the library
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's After Hours @ the Library in Lawrenceville is a 21-and-over event with beer from Full Pint Brewing Company, wine from Pittsburgh Winery, cocktails from 1947 Tavern, light bites, live reggae music from The Freedom Band and mildly educational activities.
It's not any old Drive-to-Work day. It's National Bike to Work Day.
It is presented here by Bike Pittsburgh, which will have hydration stations with swag bags from 7 to 9:30 a.m. (unless otherwise indicated) at multiple locations: Federal and General Robinson streets (North Side), Penn and Butler Doughboy Square (Lawrenceville), Chatham University, Carnegie Library Squirrel Hill, Whole Foods (East Liberty, 7-9 a.m.), Duquesne University, CMU (7:30-9 a.m.), Friendship Park, East End Food Coop, Market Square, University of Pittsburgh (8-10 a.m.), South Side (BikePgh Golden Triangle Bike Rental).
The idea, of course, is that you make a habit, saving on fossil fuel and your own parking or bus money while getting needed exercise. Be safe, though (use the trails if you can), and don't forget the baby powder.
Details at bike-pgh.org.
Some more of it
More than a third of the First Niagara Pavilion's season consists of country shows, so it's fitting that it would open Saturday night with one of the guys who made the genre take off in the '90s.
Tim McGraw kicks off the season on his Two Lanes of Freedom 2013 Tour, supported by Brantley Gilbert and Love and Theft. Last summer, Mr. McGraw played Heinz Field with Kenny Chesney, filling his set with such hits as "Live Like You Were Dying," "I Like It, I Love It," "Back When" and "Better Than I Used to Be."
This tour follows the release of his 12th studio album and first for new label Big Machine, led by the singles "Truck Yeah," "One of Those Nights" and the Taylor Swift duet "Highway Don't Care."
"This album marks a new sense of excitement and artistic freedom for me, and I really wanted to extend that same feeling to the tour and create a cool vibe for the fans," he said in a statement. "Let's leave anything that might be weighing us down out in the parking lot and spend a few hours together feeling alive and free. We've started working up new songs from the album, and there's some really cool stuff we'll be able to pull out this summer."
It begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40-$85 via ticketmaster.com.
Ever wonder what's it like to ride a bike?
OK, that might be a bad example. How about kayaking, dragon boating or Capoeira martial arts?
These are just a few of the recreational activities to be sampled for free Saturday at the Venture Outdoors Festival, sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods, at Point State Park.
It runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with biking, kayaking, rock wall climbing, fishing, kite flying, yoga, children's activities and more. Experienced staff and volunteer instructors will provide guidance to people of all ages and skill levels, while explaining how to become members of Venture Outdoors.
Outdoor clubs, organizations and businesses also will be on hand providing information about parks, trails, waterways and outdoor recreation in the region. Local outdoor shops and other vendors will be on hand displaying the latest gear and services.
While you're there you can stop at the Fort Pitt Museum to try your hand at some 18th-century games that were popular in Pittsburgh.
The Senator John Heinz History Center invites visitors to celebrate the sport, beauty and roundness of marbles as part of Marble Mania Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will be a visit by glass expert Dean Six (author of "Popular American Marbles"); demonstrations on marble-making techniques from artist Mike Mangiafico; a display featuring historic marbles and children's games from marble collector Larry Woods; and other marble-themed activities and games.
At 2 p.m. there will be a world premiere of the hourlong documentary "Mibsters: A Marble Story," which follows the journey of three Pittsburgh boys to the National Marble Tournament in Wildwood, N.J.
Marble Mania is free with regular History Center admission -- $15 adults, $13 seniors (age 62+), $6 students and children (age 6-17), and free for children 5 and under.
The Midwife Center presents its annual fundraiser party and cake contest, "Let Them Eat Cake," Saturday at the Pittsburgh Opera with the theme "5001: A Baby Odyssey," in celebration of the arrival of its 5,000th baby since it opened in 1982.
There will be refreshments with open wine and beer bar, espresso bar, a silent auction, a futuristic photo booth, entertainment from DJ Zombo and delicious cakes.
It's at 2425 Liberty Ave., Strip, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. ($45 each in advance/$60 each at the door). VIP Baker's Reception (with purchase of $75 VIP Ticket) from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Information: www.midwifecenter.org or 412-321-6880, ext. 208.
Andrew W.K. is solo for The Human Party Machine Tour, on which the party rocker turns up with "only a microphone, a keyboard and the will to survive," according to his website.
Andrew, who has also been doing shows with Marky Ramone (but not here), promises a similar level of joy that fans would get from a band, and it's hard to doubt the guy.
He plays Altar Bar at 8 p.m. Sunday with Sneaky Mike. Tickets are $20-$22; www.ticketfly.com.
The Oliver Miller Homestead in South Park will present Wool Day on Sunday, with a sheep shearing and members explaining the process of turning the fleece into cloth. The wool will be teased, carded and spun into yarn, and a weaver will turn it into cloth.
Hours are 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., with the last admission at 4 p.m. Admission is $2; www.olivermiller.org or 412-835-1554.
NEED TO KNOW
• Dance troupe The Pillow Project will premiere its latest feature-length work "( )," described as "a piece of physical poetry about what connects us, even if it is the empty space between us." It's 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday at The Space Upstairs in Point Breeze. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $10 for students and artists. Information: www.pillowproject.org.
• If the record stores aren't filling all your needs, check out The Pittsburgh Record & CD Convention XXXVI at the DoubleTree Hotel Greentree Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It features vendors from at least seven states with rare and collectible vinyl, import CDs, posters, music DVDs and more. Admission is free. Call 412-331-5021.
• This month's Culture Club at Carnegie Museum of Art will feature The Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 102nd Annual Exhibition. The evening begins with socializing at 5:30 today. At 6 p.m. a salon-style conversation in the galleries will be led by award-winning exhibiting artists Atticus Adams, Seth Clark and Kara Skylling. Admission, $10, includes museum admission and one drink ticket; 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org.
• Nathaniel Philbrick appears as part of Writers LIVE @ CLP, Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland at 6 p.m. today. Mr. Philbrick, a Pittsburgh native, is a master historian, award-winning New York Times best-selling author of "In The Heart of the Sea" and "Mayflower" and is on tour promoting his latest book, "Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution." The event is free, but registration is encouraged at www.pittsburghlectures.org or 412-622-8866.
• The Frick Art & Historical Center will offer free admission on Saturday as part of International Museum Day. It will offer docent-led tours of Clayton, the restored home of the Henry Clay Frick family. Reservations for tours are strongly recommended at 412-371-0600.
• Australian alt-band Sick Puppies is on the verge of releasing a fourth album, called "Connect." In the build-up to that, the trio, which formed in 1997 and is now based in LA, will play the Rex Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20 through ticketfly.com.