August 29, 2008

Hot Picks: Blues on Call, Gospel Music


Blues on call

It doesn't seem like it's been 10 years since Indigenous appeared to be the next great blues act. Bonnie Raitt was among those championing the band, and Mato Nanji was touted as the next great guitarist.

What happened? The vagaries of contemporary music, that's all.

The band has toured constantly, released some fine albums. Nanji still is one of the finer guitarists performing today, and a new album, "Broken Lands," lyrically pays homage to the bands Dakota Nation heritage. The music still is stinging blues, a la Stevie Ray Vaughan, but there is a slight tilt toward soul and R&B.

Indigenous performs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Rex Theatre, South Side. Tickets are $20-$25.

Details: 412-381-6811

-- Regis Behe


The art of gospel music

Deryck Tines says "the gospel according to Pittsburgh" will ring out Friday night at Heinz Hall at an event called "Pittsburgh Spirit and Soul" that he organized as part of Pittsburgh 250.

The concert features a 100-voice choir that is ecumenical, multi- ethnic and drawn from churches in Western Pennsylvania. Performing at Heinz Hall is important, Tines says, because he believes gospel "has been relegated to churches and not respected as an art form."

The music was all written or arranged by local musicians and includes such favorites as "We Shall Overcome,""The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "God Will Take Care of You." The concert is supported by the Afro-American Music Institute and the Heinz Endowments.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is $25 to $75.

Details: 412-392-4900.

-- Mark Kanny


A one and a one and a ...

Pittsburgh New Works Festival serves up a second helping of staged readings this Sunday.

The annual festival is dedicated to fostering the development of original one-act plays. Each September it debuts a dozen original one-act plays each produced by a different theater company. A different trio of plays is performed during each of the festival's four weekends.

An additional half-dozen plays receive staged readings in two three-play programs performed on two Sunday evenings in late August.

Beginning at 7 p.m. this Sunday the festival will perform staged readings of:

"The First Brood," by Anna McGee, produced by The Pittsburgh New Works Festival

"Blur in the Rearview," by Aleks Merilo, produced by Caravan Theatre of Pittsburgh

"Davy Crockett Hates America," by Sloan MacRea, produced by Phase 3 Productions

All plays in the festival will be performed at Open Stage Theatre, 2835 Smallman St. in the Strip District.

Admission is free, but seating is limited and reservations are strongly recommended.

Details: 412-881-6888 or online.

-- Alice T. Carter



After a successful exploration mission, photographer Corey LeChat's capsule has returned to Earth. And it's a time capsule, no less. Featuring candy-colored prints of macro-photos LeChat shot of vintage space toys with a 35mm camera (so retro!), LeChat's solo show "Candy Dreams of Spacemen" at moxie DaDA gallery in the North Side will close with a free public reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

With his lens trained on rocket ships and astronauts, LeChat's latest series of photos launches the viewer on a journey through space and time. So, come "back to the future" with LeChat. We promise, you won't burn up upon re-entry.

moxie DaDA is at 1416 Arch St., North Side.

Details: 412-682-0348 or online.

-- Kurt Shaw


Looking at history

The Senator John Heinz History Center has unveiled a display that chronicles the history of key Pittsburgh anniversaries. The "Pittsburgh at 250" celebrates the anniversaries of 1858, 1908, 1958 and 2008, when city leaders and residents celebrated Pittsburgh's founding.

The display includes a 5-foot, commemorative quilt with 25 squares honoring Pittsburgh firsts from the past 250 years. It also includes commemorative medals and souvenirs, books and more.

"Pittsburgh at 250" will be displayed in the Strip District Center's Great Hall through early next year. Details: 412-454-6000 or online.

-- Kellie B. Gormly

Originally published by The Tribune-Review.

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