Gogol Bordello Plays Mr. Smalls; Pittsburgh Playwrights Staging ‘East Texas Hot Links’ (Fri., 10/6/17)

1) Gogol Bordello returns to Pittsburgh for a show at Mr. Smalls. The band plays Gypsy punk, which incorporates accordion and violin. Eugene Hütz is the group’s frontman—his mustache and charisma rival Freddie Mercury’s. Hütz, who was born in Ukraine and immigrated to Vermont with his family as a refugee, named his band partly after the writer Nikolai Gogol. Just as Gogol the writer permeated Russia with Ukrainian culture through his art so did Hütz bring Gypsy culture to English-speakers. The band has released seven studio albums, most recently this year’s Seekers and Finders. If one is new to their music, their 2010, Rick Rubin-produced album, Trans-Continental Hustle, is a great place to start. One may also recognize the band members from movies. They have appeared in 2005’s Everything Is Illuminated and 2008’s Filth and Wisdom, which Madonna directed. Lucky Chops open. 8:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

2) Two years ago, veteran actor Eugene Lee visited Pittsburgh to play the role of August Wilson in How I Learned What I Learned, the one-man show about Wilson’s life. This year the attraction is a play written by Lee himself. East Texas Hot Licks has some similarities to Wilson’s Hill District epics, but it’s shorter (about 90 minutes) and set in a small-town bar in Texas. The bar is a gathering spot for local African Americans during the Jim Crow era of the 1950s. As the play unfolds, we get to know an assortment of odd characters whose high-spirited camaraderie evolves into tensions and, ultimately, tragedy. East Texas Hot Licks was staged at theaters across the country after its 1991 premiere, and a revival last year in the Chicago area drew rave reviews from that city’s major dailies. Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company is presenting East Texas Hot Licks here. 8 p.m. Continues through November 5. 937 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

As Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn Avenue gets under way, Jennifer Ross (L) and Julie Crutchman enjoy hoagies from Spak Brothers, accompanied by their dog Auggie.

As Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn Avenue gets under way, Jennifer Ross (L) and Julie Crutchman enjoy hoagies from Spak Brothers, accompanied by their dog Auggie. photo: Martha Rial.

3) Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn features a variety of visual and performing arts at galleries, clubs, and restaurants along Penn Avenue (4800-5500) in the Garfield, Bloomfield, and Friendship neighborhoods. 6 – 10 p.m. Most events are free.

Free RADical Days 2017 Events

Pittsburgh Glass Center
Free admission: 10AM-9PM
Join us for a free day of heat defying acts of art in the flameworking and glassblowing studios, plus the opening of Embodiment, a glass-wearables exhibition co-sponsored by 3 Rivers Glass Beadmakers.
5472 Penn Ave. (Friendship)
near Silver Eye Center – also on October 6th

Silver Eye Center for Photography presents The Notion of Family
Free admission: 6-10pm
The Notion of Family,  a solo exhibition by LaToya Ruby Frazier, is an incisive exploration of the legacy of racism, the working class, and economic decline in America’s small towns, as embodied by her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania.
4808 Penn Ave. (Bloomfield)
near Pittsburgh Glass Center – also on October 6th