Altar Bar Hosts Reliant K; PBT’s “Nutcracker” Comes Alive Tonight; Uncle Joey (Dave Coulier) on Stage at Pittsburgh Improv (CPs Fri., 12/5/14)

1) Relient K is a Christian punk rock band that achieved mainstream success when its 2004 album, Mmhmm, debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and included the single “Be My Escape.” The band is celebrating the 10th anniversary of that album with a fall tour, which has a SOLD-OUT stop at Altar Bar. For those lucky enough to have tickets, be sure to check the merch table after the show for the re-release of Mmhmm on “coke bottle clear” vinyl. The vinyl release includes a CD copy of the album, complete with bonus tracks. The past 10 years have offered little rest for the Canton, Ohio, group, whose name comes from  guitarist Matt Hoopes’ old Plymouth Reliant K. They’ve toured incessantly and released three more studio albums, a covers album, and a Christmas album. The band’s newest release, 2013’s pop-y Collapsible Lung, continues the band’s success, debuting in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 chart. Blondfire and From Indian Lakes open. 7:30 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District.

2) The Nutcracker by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa opens tonight and runs through Dec. 28. It’s the ballet that even non-ballet fans enjoy. A holiday staple in cities across the U.S., the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre production is a grand one that pulls out all the stops. Choreographed to Tchaikovsky’s music by PBT artistic director Terrence S. Orr, this Nutcracker has a “traditional” feel but includes many custom features you won’t find in other versions. As the story moves from an old-time Christmas party into the realm of fantasy—with the Nutcracker doll coming to life and leading a cast of 170(!) adult and child dancers through a visit to the Land of Enchantment—there are dazzling special dances, amazing magic tricks, and breathtaking stage effects. 7 p.m. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District.

3) Many people will remember actor and comedian Dave Coulier as Uncle Joey from the highly rated “Full House” TV series that ran on ABC from 1987-95. He was also the host of ABC’s “America’s Funniest People” for four seasons. Coulier is a sought after voice-over talent—having lent his expertise to such classics as “Scooby-Doo,” “The Muppet Babies,” and “The Real Ghostbusters.” He prides himself on being a comedian that the whole family can watch. Pittsburgh Improv, 8 and 10:30 p.m., continuing through Sunday. 166 E. Bridge St., the Waterfront, Homestead.

4) On most game days, the city of Pittsburgh is united in the belief that the Steelers, Penguins, and, more recently, Pirates are the greatest in their respective sports, that whatever team they’re up against is a pathetic band of sad sacks, and that if the opponent doesn’t suffer a humiliating beat-down, they just got lucky. Today’s sports match-up is a bit more complicated as the Pitt and Duquesne basketball teams face off at Consol Energy Center in the City Game. You might want to take heed of the college bumper stickers on coworkers’ cars before the usual anti-other-team trash talk at the water cooler. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.


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Rick Handler

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