Playground at “Carnegie International”; Rex Hosts Black Joe Lewis (Thu., 2/20/2014)

1) One aspect of this year’s Carnegie International that is much more fun than exhibitions past: You can play in it. The Playground Project is a collection of photos and blueprints of playgrounds from around the world, but the exhibit also includes some usable, playable examples on site. There is German sculptor Yvan Pestalozzi’s tubular Lozziwurm on display outside the Carnegie Museum of Art (yes, you can crawl inside) and a playroom full of kickable balloons concocted by Japan’s Tezuka Architects. For those seeking the more traditional, Carnegie International has the usual global selections of sculptures, paintings, photos, drawings, and conceptual pieces that have always been part of this exhibition, the oldest for contemporary art in North America. An especially interesting exhibit is a display of paperbacks sold on the streets of Cairo following the Arab Spring, many of which were banned prior to the revolution.10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Through March 16. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

2) The unflappably cool city of Austin loves anything vintage, and that is one reason why, shortly after the band formed in 2007, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears became the toast of the town. With the mighty Honeybear horn section and Lewis’ chili-pepper-hot vocals, they are the sonic picture of James Brown and the Famous Flames, circa 1971. With hints of Howlin’ Wolf and Sly and the Family Stone also in their musical DNA, they are set to light the Rex Theater on fire today. Seattle-based garage-ish band Pickwick opens. 7 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side.

3) Keith Robinson, who plays the Improv for the rest of this week, often begins his shows with a plea for the audience—particularly the women—not to be offended. “Guys have been making each other laugh since the first grade,” he once added, and then recounted a tale of pretending to put a certain body part in the pencil sharpener to get a rise from his elementary school classmates. Robinson has moved on to more adult material, drawing comedy from his own parenting and from encounters with racist police, in his cool whatever-ish attitude. 8 p.m. Through Sunday. 166 E. Bridge St., Homestead.

4) It’s Thursday, so that means time for Jekyl and Hyde’s hugely popular karaoke night. Come in and egg on your friends as they give their most awesome or most awesomely awful performances of old favorites. 9 p.m. 140 18th St., South Side (412) 488-0777.

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Nick Keppler

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