Sister Hazel Is “All for You” in South Park; “Cats” Creates Memories at Benedum (CPs Fri., 7/18/2014)

1) Sister Hazel is one of those bands that just sounds like the 90’s. Their hit single “All For You” dropped in 1997; it peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Hot Adult Top 40, fueling sales that lead to platinum status for their sophomore album, …Somewhere More Familiar. Hailing from Gainesville, Fla., the band took their name from local missionary Sister Hazel Williams, and their sound, much like their name, is wholesome and upbeat. They were a stark contrast to the grunge rock scene that, for a time, dominated the early 90’s, and they’ve proven to have staying power, releasing a total of eight studio albums, the most recent in 2010. They’ll be at South Park Amphitheater for a free show at 7:30 p.m. Brownsville and McCorkle roads, South Park.

2) When Cats premiered in London’s West End in 1981 and on Broadway the following year, most people probably didn’t think the fantastical story, wild cat costumes, and operatic style had the staying power to shatter modern theater records. Sure, the show won the Laurence Olivier and Tony Award for best musical its first year, but giant cats singing and dancing? Who would have thought that could last. Jump forward to 1997, and Cats assumed the throne of the longest-running Broadway musical in history—a record it held until 2006 when surpassed by another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, The Phantom of the Opera. The show currently ranks as the second-longest running Broadway musical and the fourth-longest running West End musical. Cats is presented by Pittsburgh CLO and continues through July 27 at the Benedum Center. Tonight’s performance is at 8 p.m. 237 7th St., Cultural District.

3) Pauly Shore was born to be a comedy star. His father, comedian Sammy Shore, and mother, Mitzi, opened The Comedy Store along Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, and Pauly grew up around the likes of Robin Williams, David Letterman, and Sam Kinison. Shore was everywhere in the 90’s. In addition to stand-up comedy, he was an early VJ on MTV and the star of a trio of movies that everyone growing up in that decade probably remembers—Encino Man, Biodome, and In the Army Now. He hasn’t slowed down in recent years, either, with multiple mockumentary films to his credit (including the 2003’s Pauly Shore Is Dead, wherein he fakes his own death to see what the reaction will be) and several successful stints on TV. All that, and he still finds time to take to the stage. He’ll be at the Pittsburgh Improv for 8 and 10:15 p.m. shows, with additional performances on Saturday and Sunday. 166 E. Bridge St., Waterfront.

4) Woody Guthrie’s guitar killed fascists—at least that’s what the sticker plastered on it proclaimed. One of the great American folk singer-songwriters of the first half of the 20th century, Guthrie drew inspiration from a childhood spent migrating from Oklahoma to California during the Dust Bowl. His most well-known track, “This Land Is Your Land,” lives on, and musicians Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and John Mellencamp count him as an influence. The Long Live Woodie Guthrie! showcase at Club Cafe will feature classics from Guthrie’s catalog as well as contemporary songs inspired by Guthrie’s legacy. The event will feature local musicians Slim Forsythe, Chet Vincent, Molly Alphabet, Zach Schmidt, Jason Bennett, Matt Charette, Bryan McQuaid, and Broke, Stranded, and Ugly. 9 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side.

5) For the second year in a row, Summer Beer Fest will offer some much-needed relief from the July heat by providing samples of over 200 different beers from more than 70 large and small breweries around the country. Combine that with food from a dozen local eateries and food trucks, live music from The Lava Game, Backstabbing Good People, These Lions, and Friends and Family, and a demonstration by the Butler County Hooping Community, and you can pretty much be guaranteed a good time. The event is organized by Animal Rescue Partners, and proceeds benefit local Pittsburgh-area animal rescue and adoption organizations. If you can’t make it tonight, you’ll get a second chance on Saturday. Begins both nights at 7:30 p.m. at Stage AE. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.

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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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