Hot Picks: Jill Scott, Marlene Dietrich Revival, Grace Potter

Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 13, 2008 | Go to article overview

Hot Picks: Jill Scott, Marlene Dietrich Revival, Grace Potter


Soul: Keeping it 'Real'

Among the new generation of soul singers, truly great voices are hard to find. But as the name of her show indicates -- "The Real Thing Tour" with Jill Scott -- there's nothing about her that isn't authentic.

The Philly-based poet/singer has the powerful, chandelier- rattling pipes and R-E-S-P-E-C-T-demanding personality of the greats, but she usually prefers to wrap her voice around warm, laidback soul-jazz grooves. Her gritty, real-world lyrics and readiness to collaborate have made her a favorite among hip-hop's smart set, and she recently won her second Grammy for a collaboration with jazz artists George Benson and Al Jarreau.

Scott usually keeps a low profile, but that's about to change -- she's the star of Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella's new TV series "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," about a female detective in Botswana, based on the best-selling novel by Alexander McCall Smith.

Scott doesn't often get to this side of the state, so her Wednesday night show at the Benedum Center is a rare treat. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $51 to $81. Details: 412-456-6666.

-- Michael Machosky

Rock: Pair of rock sets

Just 10 days after Bon Jovi's sellout concert, the band is returning for a second round on Saturday night at Mellon Arena. The multi-platinum rock band, which has been putting out hits since the early '80s, sings about two dozen songs at each stop on its Lost Highway Tour. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Details: 412-323-1919 or www.mellonarena.com.

The Guess Who, a Canadian rock band with hits from the '60s and '70s, will be coming Friday night to the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse in Burgettstown. The band's best-known hits in the States include "Laughing," "No Time," "Share the Land" and "Clap for the Wolfman." The dinner show begins at 7:30 p.m., and doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $49-$79. Details: 412-323-1919 or www.ticketmaster.com.

-- Kellie B. Gormly

Art: Exhibit from the African continent

Few are aware that Chatham University has one of the most significant collections of African art in the region. The Cheryl Olkes Collection, given to the university in 2001 by Dr. Cheryl Olkes (class of 1970) who lived among the Songhay culture of Niger in the late 1970s and early 1980s, includes more than 600 works she gathered from Africa.

Recently, a group of undergraduate students in the class "ART 378: Curating the Visual Arts," part of Chatham's new Art Museum Studies minor program, were given the task of organizing an exhibit of some of the material. This afternoon, "Material Realities: The Diverse Media of African Art" opens with a free public reception from 4 to 6 p.m.

Containing a vast array of masks, fetish objects and sculpture, the show is one of the most culturally significant in our region at the moment and not to be missed. It continues through March 28 in the Chatham College Art Gallery, Woodland Hall. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and on weekends by appointment.

Details: 412-365-2714.

-- Kurt Shaw

Comedy: Putting the hue in humor

Who needs Skull and Bones when you have the Purple Crayon?

When native Pittsburgher and 2005 Taylor Allderdice High School grad Axel Schmidt attended Yale University, he joined an improvisational troupe named after a children's book, "Harold and the Purple Crayon," by Crockett Johnson. Composed of fellow Yale undergrads, The Purple Crayon specializes in an elaborate long- form, improvisational technique pioneered by Second City Alumni and Merry Prankster Del Close. They perform at 8 p.m. Friday at Slapstick's Comedy Loft in Bethel Park. David Kaye opens the show. Slapstick's Comedy Loft is at 2660 Library Road above the Royal Palace Restaurant in Bethel Park. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Details: 412-920-5653. …

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