Sweet Earth and Moment Being to Jam James Street; The Public Staging ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ (Sat., 12/10/16)

1) Don your favorite holiday sweater and get ready to jam. It’s a holiday sweater jam party at James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy featuring Pittsburgh’s two funkiest instrumental groups. Sweet Earth pride themselves on being a power trio that uses no samples or loops. Just guitar, bass, drums. Who is playing what can be anyone’s guess as the band members will sometimes switch instruments. Such antics are sure to keep the audience on its toes. The trio has played festivals as close as Johnstown’s Flood City and as far as Arizona’s Gem and Jam. They’ve also shared a bill with the likes of Papadosio and The Werks. Sweet Earth were based in Los Angeles, where they recorded and released a self-titled LP in 2014, but they’ve since returned home much to their longtime fans’ appreciation. They count Moment Being as funk friends. A power trio too, they take their name from the idea of “being in the moment—alive to what’s happening now with love, intelligence, and compassion.” Arguably no better motto could serve a jam band. 9 p.m. 422 Foreland St., North Side. (CM)

Lulu (Christina Nieves) and Junior (Bryant Bentley) are made for each other. But is that good?

Lulu (Christina Nieves) and Junior (Bryant Bentley) are made for each other. But is that good?

2) Stephen Adly Guirgis has won a rep for writing plays that leave you laughing, shuddering, and amazed. His works include The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, an epic fantasy set in Purgatory, where Judas is on trial, and the dark 12-step comedy The Motherfucker with the Hat. Pittsburgh’s smaller theater companies have staged those two and others, and now The Public, the city’s largest company, is doing Guirgis’ winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Between Riverside and Crazy. Your friendly EC theater writer has not seen this one, but it is said to display Guirgis’ signature touches: surreal humor and tense personal drama springing from extreme characters placed in bizarre situations. The central character is a black ex-cop who retired from the NYPD after an incident in which he was shot several times by a white fellow officer. He’s haggling over a lawsuit for damages while dodging eviction from his Riverside Drive apartment, which is peopled by an odd crew ranging from the ex-cop’s son (an ex-con not yet cured of his criminal ways) to a spiritual/sexual healer called Church Lady. Therefore the action unfolds Between Riverside and Crazy.  See our new review. 2 and 8 p.m. Performances through December 11. At the O’Reilly Theater, 621 Penn Ave., Cultural District. (MV)

3) “This must be the place,” David Byrne of Talking Heads fame once sang. You’ll be singing the same tune upon entering Sienna Mercato. The restaurant’s first floor, Emporio, offers four different gourmet meatballs—classic beef, spicy pork, vegetarian, and chicken—and nine sauces, ranging from marinara to gluten-free spinach-almond pesto. You can have your meatballs alone or on a bun, and with or without cheese. The second floor—Mezzo—features pastas and wood-fired pizza. Pizza varieties include traditional margherita as well as more exotic fare, like clams. Mezzo also has desserts and charcuterie (plates of cured meats, artisan cheeses, and preserves). Il Tetto, the rooftop beer garden, caps off  the Sienna Mercato experience. The garden has 30 beers on tap, cocktails, and smaller dishes. Whether it’s sunny or snowing, patrons can always appreciate Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers, thanks to the garden’s retractable glass roof (awesome, right?). Don’t worry, an elevator is provided should all that food and drink impede mobility. 942 Penn Ave., Cultural District. (CM)