Xtaza Hosts Four Chord Music Festival; ‘Scared of Sarah’ and ‘Our Lady of 121st Street’ on Local Stages (Sun., 12/13/15)

1) Named after an Ataris song, “Four Chord Wonder,” the Four Chord Music Festival is a one-day pop-punk and ska bonanza. Rishi Bahl, a member of local pop-punk group The SpacePimps, began the festival last year. His band, along with many other local acts, will be playing the festival. Also on the bill are punk rockers Anti-Flag, who began in Pittsburgh but have since toured as far as Russia. The band recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of their acclaimed album The Terror State, which was produced by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. This May, they released American Spring, their ninth studio album. Yellowcard headline this year’s Four Chord Music Festival. The pop-punk group was launched to international prominence with its fourth studio album, 2003’s Ocean Avenue. The title track was an MTV hit and fans were especially taken by Sean Mackin and his wild violin stylings. They’ve released five albums since then, most recently 2014’s Lift a Sail. The album adds a sprinkling of electronics while still keeping the hooks that fans love. The Four Chord Music Festival takes place at Xtaza, formerly Club Zoo. 9 p.m. 1620 Smallman St., Strip District. (CM)

Sarah (Sarah Silk) and Sam (Shaun Cameron Hall) try to build a connection in "Scared of Sarah."

Sarah (Sarah Silk) and Sam (Shaun Cameron Hall) try to build a connection in “Scared of Sarah.” photo: Heather Mull.

2) Off the WALL Productions is the women’s theater company in our region. The company specializes in new and recent plays written by women, and while some of the plays deal primarily with women’s issues, others have themes that resonate across the genders. Scared of Sarah is about autism. The play also delves into parenthood and sibling relationships, with a setup as follows: A pregnant woman and her husband start to worry that their first child may inherit autism. Their fear is stoked by the woman’s autistic older sister, Sarah, who’s managed to become an independent, employed adult but has always been a stranger in the so-called normal world, very difficult to get close to.

Scared of Sarah is by playwright/actress Laura Brienza. The production is supported in part by The Arts for Autism Foundation of Pittsburgh, and performances include post-show talk-backs with representatives of the group. 3 p.m. Performances through December 19. At Carnegie Stage, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie.

3) The title character in the dark comedy Our Lady of 121st Street is a nun. Well, actually, a dead nun. One who drank herself to death. And whose body has been stolen from the funeral parlor, by pranksters who also stole the pants of a mourner. As the plot unfolds from this opening situation, there can be no doubt that you’re watching a Stephen Adly Guirgis play. Guirgis, one of today’s most intriguing American playwrights, has the gift of writing stories that operate on many levels at once. His plays are obscenely irreverent but also deeply spiritual, and his characters do crazy things but they are not merely buffoons; Guirgis conveys their underlying humanity. Our Lady of 121st Street is set in Harlem. It opened off-Broadway in 2003 in a production directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. 2 p.m. Ends today. Point Park University’s Conservatory company presents Our Lady in the Rauh Theatre at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland.