Lights On! Celebrations Begin at Alleg. Overlook with Shemekia Copeland; Brownie Mary at Club Cafe (Thurs., 9/9/21)

Shemekia Copeland, one of the nations top blues vocalists, is a Mainstage performer at this year's Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. (photo: Mike White)

Shemekia Copeland, one of the nations top blues vocalists, performs Thursday night at Lights On! (photo: Mike White)

1) The ghost light has been on at the Cultural District stages since March of 2020. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and their affiliates have filled the void with virtual entertainment performances and outdoor shows. Soon the Cultural Trust will be turning off the ghost light and turning back on the stage lights for in-person, indoor performances, with covid precautions.

To celebrate this momentous time, the Cultural Trust and its affiliates are presenting a cornucopia of entertainment performances of many different genres. The Lights On! festivities kick off Thursday, September 9 at 5 p.m. at the Allegheny Overlook Pop-up park on Ft. Duquesne Boulevard and will run through Saturday, September 11. All events are free to the public thanks to Cultural Trust, the performing arts companies, and Allegheny County RADical Days 2021. Lights On! also marks the official start of RADical days.

Lights On! will open at 5 p.m. Thursday with remarks from Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Terri Bell, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Mayor William Peduto, and Diane Holder, Executive Vice President, UPMC.

The celebration is produced by the Cultural District organizations: August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theater, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Blues-rock singer Shemekia Copeland, who was a headlining musician this summer for the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, returns to Pittsburgh tonight to put some added firepower into the local arts and entertainment celebration. Copeland performs at 9 p.m.


2) Having kids changes everything. Just ask Kelsey Friday. Those present in the Pittsburgh rock scene of the ’90s may recall Friday as the wailing lead singer of downbeat alt-rock band Brownie Mary. Over fifteen years and two pregnancies later, she is now singing about the sun and being happy and why it’s OK to be afraid sometimes, as the leader of the cutely named children’s music outfit Kelsey Friday and the Rest of the Week. She’s not relying on that material tonight at Club Cafe however. She and her former Brownie Mary bandmates will be ripping it up all night—or at least for as long as she could arrange a sitter. Keep on rockin’ Kelsey! 8 p.m. 56-58 South 12th St., South Side. The first show is sold out so tonight is the date of the second show and as of press time tickets are still available.

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Rick Handler

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