The Fixx Is in at Altar Bar; Bright Side of Life With “Spamalot” at Benedum (CPs Tues., 7/29/14)

1) Remember when MTV was actually about the music? British rock outfit The Fixx does. Back in the early 80’s, the new wave quintet rose to prominence in the States in large part because of the airplay their two hit videos, “Red Skies” and “Stand or Fall,” received on the fledgling network. Unlike MTV, however, The Fixx is still pumping out quality tunes three decades later. While they haven’t hit the top of the charts since 1989’s “Driven Out,” the band has continued to produce albums, their latest,  Beautiful Friction,  arriving in 2012. The current lineup includes four original members—Cy Curnin on lead vocals, Adam Woods on drums, Rupert Greenall on keyboards, and Jamie West-Oram on guitar—though bass player Dan K. Brown has effectively been with the band for their entire run, joining in 1983. The Fixx will be at Altar Bar for a 7:30 p.m. show. Steelesque, The Truth, and Fiveunder open the show. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District.

2) In the medieval kingdom of Camelot, they ate ham and jam and spam a lot. They also used coconut-wielding menservants instead of horses and received supreme executive power from watery tarts. Such was the quality of English history as taught by British comedy troupe Monty Python in 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  These lessons and more were revived in 2004’s Spamalot. The Tony Award-winning musical was lovingly ripped off from the movie script by original Python cast member Eric Idle. It features singing, dancing, and no small amount of silliness. While on Broadway, the cast featured legendary comedic actors Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce, and Hank Azaria in place of the now largely retired Pythons, and while Pittsburgh CLO’s production will be less star-studded, the hilarity will live on. Tonight’s performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Benedum Center with additional performances through Aug. 3. 803 Liberty Ave., Cultural District.

3) Andora Restaurant opened its Fox Chapel location in May 2012. The building, which previously housed the Cross Keys Inn, dates back to the 1850s. When the owners were looking to sell in 2012, Andora co-owner Greg McFarlane, who had eaten at Cross Keys in his youth, knew that it was time to expand current operations beyond their original Sewickley establishment. To say the refined Italian menu has been a good fit in the homey atmosphere of the new building is an understatement. Guests can enjoy perfectly prepared calamari and crab cake appetizers on the large back patio or in the well-appointed dining room. They can follow that up with any of several pasta, fish, or meat entrees, all of which can be perfectly pared with a selection from Andora’s extensive wine cellar. The Fox Chapel location is open daily for lunch and dinner. 599 Dorseyville Rd., Fox Chapel.

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Daniel J. Dombrowski

Daniel J. Dombrowski is a freelance writer and editor living and working in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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