Charlie Musselwhite in Concert at AWAACC; Mountain Playhouse Has ‘5/31/1889: The Flood’ (Sun., 9/20/19)

1) While reviewing the John Van Hamersveld pop art exhibit recently at Greensburg’s The Westmoreland, one of the rock concert posters had Charlie Musselwhite on it. I had heard a little bit about him previously, but wasn’t overly familiar with him. Then I saw that he will be performing at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center this month and decided to find out more about the musician. Musselwhite is a virtuoso blues harmonica player who rose to prominence in the 1960s. Living in Chicago during the time of the great blues scene there, he became good friends with John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, and even knew Muddy Waters. In the late ‘60s he moved to San Francisco and was part of the city’s exploding music scene. Musselwhite supposedly was the inspiration for the character of Elwood Blues in The Blues Brothers film. He is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame. Ben Harper and Musselwhite recorded an album together in 2013 titled, Get Up! One of the tracks is “I’m In I’m Out And I’m Gone.” 8 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. 

When the Johnstown Flood swept away this house and skewered it with a tree trunk, the people somehow survived. Many were not so fortunate. (photo: archived by Ron Shawley, Executive Director, Laurel Highlands Historical Village. Shared under CC License 3.0 Unported.)

2) The Johnstown Flood of 1889 still ranks as one of the most deadly disasters in U.S. history. Re-enacting what it was like to live through the ordeal, Mountain Playhouse of Jennerstown stages Rob Barron’s play 5/31/1889: The Flood. Decades before the flood, a dam was built above Johnstown on the Little Conemaugh River, to form a not-so-little reservoir for the canals that served Pennsylvania’s early economy. After railroads replaced canals, a group of wealthy Pittsburghers (led by Henry Clay Frick) bought the reservoir for vacation use as a private lake. Normally the stream coming out of it descended gradually through a winding valley. When record rainfall swelled the lake and broke the dam, the wall of water thundering down equaled the volume of the Mississippi at its largest, killing more than 2,000. Playwright Barron is chair of the Theatre and Speech Department at City College of New York. Mountain Playhouse commissioned and first presented his Flood play in 2004; this year’s edition marks the 130th anniversary of the calamity. 3 p.m. Continues through September 29. 7690 Somerset Pike, Jennerstown. (MV)

3) Pittsburgh’s Exhalations Dance Theatre is a company for dancers and choreographers who’ve chosen other careers but wish to keep practicing their art at a professional level. Members audition to join, then work hard creating new performances for the public. The latest Exhalations show is Time: Unbound, a collection of original dances related to the title theme, which should appeal to anyone interested in unbinding time rather than managing it. You’ll see pieces danced to music by Twenty One Pilots, Zammuto, and others. Choreographers for Time: Unbound include the directors and members of Exhalations along with guest choreographer Kelsey Bartman of Texture Contemporary Ballet. 5 p.m. Last day. At the Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial, 4301 Forbes Ave., Oakland. (MV)

4) Performance artist and writer Kim El has been a multitalented presence on the Pittsburgh-area arts scene for years. Not saying that she’s old—just experienced—and much of her work includes reaching out to people in the community, whether through teaching or through dramatic pieces that convey their experiences. This month brings a stage production of Kim El’s The Sunday God Gave Me. The play is about domestic violence, its effects on children in the home, and the healing and renewal that can follow. Kayla Edmunds and Tanisha Shaw are featured. 3 p.m. Ends today. New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side.  (MV)

Sunday, September 22 Free RADical Days Events

Andy Warhol Museum Free Admission: 10am – 5pm
Bring the whole family to the Warhol for a unique day of art and fun. While you’re here, visit The Factory to create your own work of art and don’t forget to make your own screen test while you are here to share with friends and family.
117 Sandusky Street (North Side) |
Carnegie Science Center Free Admission: 10am – 5pm
Get your hands on some fun! Interact with robots, visit river animals, test your bravery on a ropes course, make your skeleton dance, and see an explosive demonstration!
One Allegheny Ave. (North Shore) |
Prime Stage at CLP-Main (Oakland) Free Admission: 1 – 2pm
See a preview of Prime Stage’s 23rd Season, themed: “See Me For Who I Am” with readings from the three scripts (The Scarlet Letter, The Outsiders and the regional premiere of Mockingbird based on the National Book Award-winning novel about a girl with Asperger’s syndrome) and discussions with the actors and directors.
CLP – Main (Oakland) – Reading Room, 1st Fl. | 4400 Forbes Ave. |
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main (Oakland) Free Historical Tours: 1pm & 3pm
Join experienced staff and volunteer docents as we take you on a guided tour through Andrew Carnegie’s Main Library. You’ll get a look at the wonderful art and architecture that created this historic landmark, as well as how the building’s interior has changed over time. Tours will take place on Sundays at 1 PM and 3 PM and Wednesdays at 11 AM and 1 PM. All tours will meet in the front lobby of the Main Library. Registration is strongly suggested, but not required. Click here to register.
4400 Forbes Ave. (Oakland)

Union Project NOTE: This event is now at capacity.
Free Admission: 2 – 5pm
Free, drop-in, all-ages ceramics workshop in the studio. Pre-registration requested at Building is wheelchair accessible via the side/Stanton Ave. entrance.  Space can accommodate up to 25-30 people at a time.
801 N. Negley Ave. (Highland Park) |
Tuesday Musical Club Free Admission: 2pm
Scholarship Winners Recital
Winners of the 2018-19 Tuesday Musical Club Scholarship in concert representing music schools from all across the country. Bring the entire family to see these young musicians in action. A delightful free concert with a free reception and a chance to meet the scholars!
Rodef Shalom Congregation – Levy Hall – 4905 Fifth Ave. (Oakland) |
Pittsburgh Opera Rising Stars Concert Free Admission: 6-8pm
Meet Pittsburgh Opera’s 2019-20 Resident Artists in this free concert! You’ll be up close and personal in the intimate George R. White Studio at Pittsburgh Opera headquarters. Online reservations recommended.
2425 Liberty Avenue (Strip District) |
Youth Chamber Connection Pop-Up Concerts with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Members of the Youth Chamber Connection, Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras, and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra will perform LIVE for library visitors in neighborhoods throughout the city including East Liberty, Homewood, West End, South Side, Oakland, and the North Side. Click here for the schedule.

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Rick Handler

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