Allegheny City Talking Docubox Drills Into ‘Groundswell Rising’

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On the third Thursday of each month, Allegheny City Talking Docubox provides screenings and discussions of important and timely documentary films at the Pittsburgh public-access station, PCTV. On February 18th, the program will present Groundswell Rising, a film about the fight against fracking.

The new documentary from Emmy Award-winning Resolution Pictures captures the passion of people engaged in a David and Goliath confrontation. They stand together, challenging a system they believe promotes profit over health. The film presents mothers, fathers, scientists, doctors, farmers and people from all sides of the political spectrum taking a hard look at energy extraction techniques not proven to be safe. With the Oil and Gas industry’s expansion of fracking seen as a moral issue, this provocative documentary tracks a people’s movement, a groundswell rising towards reason and sensitivity, to protect life, today and tomorrow.

The Groundswell Rising Allegheny City Talking Docubox screening will take place at 7 p.m. and includes a discussion led by activist and former Pittsburgh City Councilman, Doug Shields, and his wife, Bridget Shields. The event is free and open to the public.

Afronaut(a) 3.0 Lifts Off At Kelly Strayhorn Theater

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The Afronaut(a) salon series returns to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater with a selection of thought-provoking films and videos from Pittsburgh and from around the globe. Curated by Pittsburgh-based interdisciplinary artist Alisha B. Wormsley, the selections include sci-fi and supernatural-influenced short and feature works from artists and filmmakers representing a diverse array of racial, sexual, and national identities and perspectives. The program also offers live performances, artist talks, and more. See schedule and details below:

February 14th

Talk and performance by BOOM Concepts founder and artist D.S. Kinsel and jazz vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield

Robots of Brixton (dir. Kibwe Tavares)

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Brixton has degenerated into a disregarded area inhabited by London’s new robot workforce – robots built and designed to carry out all of the tasks which humans are no longer inclined to do. The mechanical population of Brixton has rocketed, resulting in unplanned, cheap and quick additions to the skyline. The film follows the trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment. When the Police invade the one space which the robots can call their own, the fierce and strained relationship between the two sides explodes into an outbreak of violence echoing that of 1981.

Last Angel of History (dir. John Akomfrah)

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This cinematic essay posits science fiction (with tropes such as alien abduction, estrangement, and genetic engineering) as a metaphor for the Pan-African experience of forced displacement, cultural alienation, and otherness. Akomfrah’s analysis is rooted in an exploration of the cultural works of Pan-African artists, such as funkmaster George Clinton and his Mothership Connection, Sun Ra’s use of extraterrestrial iconography, and the very explicit connection drawn between these issues in the writings of black science fiction authors Samuel R. Delaney and Octavia Butler.

Touch (dir. Shola Amoo)

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Jessica and George meet in an open field at a specific time and place everyday. George is in love – but unbeknownst to him, Jessica hides a devastating secret. As Jessica’s feelings for George grow, she must make an important decision that will change her life forever.

Afronauts (dir. Frances  Bodomo)

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Afronauts tells an alternative history of the 1960s Space Race. It’s the night of July 16th 1969 and, as America prepares to send Apollo 11 to the moon, a group of exiles in the Zambian desert are rushing to launch their rocket first. They train by rolling their astronaut, 17-year-old Matha Mwamba, down hills in barrels to simulate weightlessness. As the clock counts down to blast off, as the Bantu-7 Rocket looks more and more lopsided, Matha must decide if she’s willing to die to keep her family’s myths alive. Afronauts follows the scientific zeitgeist from the perspective of those who do not have access to it.

February 21st

Talk and live performance of excerpts from Ricardo Iamuuri’s stage show A BRAND NEW WORLD: kill the artist

The Secret of Selling the Negro Market (1954)

The Secret of Selling the Negro Market is a 1954 film financed by Johnson Publishing Company, the publisher of Ebony magazine, to encourage advertisers to promote their products and services in the African-American media. The film showed African-American professionals, housewives and students as participants in the American consumer society, and it emphasized the economic power of this demographic community

Watermelon Man (dir. Melvin Van Peebles)

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The tables turn on a bigoted white insurance salesman when he wakes up transformed as a black man (a dual performance by Godfrey Cambridge) in this satirical 1970 comedy from blaxploitation director Melvin Van Peebles.

March 6th

Mamma Said (dir. Scott Andrew)

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The follow-up to Andrew’s film A Girl Called Dusty – an expansion on his previous installation of the same name that explores the tragic events in the life of Dusty Springfield – provides further investigation into a character loosely based on Springfield with a stylistic affinity for Pebbles Flintstone and all the Cheetah loving grandmas in the world. The screening includes a talk with Andrew.

TBD – Jacolby Satterwhite

Snow White (dir. Pyuupiry)

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Artist Pyuupiry’s 2008 video installation.

She Gone Rogue (dir. Zachary Drucker and Rhys Ernst)

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An unnamed transgender protagonist (played by Drucker) attempts to visit her “Auntie Holly” but instead falls down a rabbit hole, encountering trans-feminine archetypes that are in turn confounding, nebulous, complicated and contradictory. Legendary performers Flawless Sabrina, Vaginal Davis, and Holly Woodlawn play feisty fairy godmothers, fighters and survivors of erstwhile eras who illuminate the unsung historical chronology of queens and trans women. Darling’s narrative journey mirrors Drucker’s artistic collaboration with each real life performer, enacting a trans-generational dialogue that is as disparaging as it is hopeful.

What’s The Love Making Babies For (dir. Ryan Trecartin)

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Video artist Trecartin’s speculates in vivid animation about reproduction, sexuality, and contemporary moralities.

March 20th

Talk with artist Ingrid LaFluer

Crumbs (dir. Miguel Llanso)

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In post-apocalyptic Ethiopia, strange-looking scrap collector, Gagano (Daniel Tadesse), has had enough of collecting the priceless crumbs of decayed civilization, including the most valuable: merchandise from Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan. When a spaceship that has been hovering high in the sky for years starts showing signs of activity, Gagano has to overcome his fears – as well as a witch, Santa Claus and second-generation Nazis — to discover things aren’t quite the way he thought.

April 3rd

Native Sun (dir. Blitz the Ambassador and Terrance Nance)

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This short film from music artist Blitz the Ambassador – which serves as a visual companion piece to his album of the same name – follows a bright young boy in Ghana as he searches for his father.

Ornette: Made in America (dir. Shirley Clarke)

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Ornette: Made In America captures jazz musician Ornette Coleman’s evolution over three decades. Returning home to Fort Worth, Texas in 1983 as a famed performer and composer, documentary footage, dramatic scenes and some of the first music video-style segments ever made chronicle his boyhood in segregated Texas and his subsequent emergence as an American cultural pioneer and world-class icon.

Walk to Fieldwork gallery to view Ian Johnson’s work and short talk

Afronaut(a) 3.0 begins at 2 p.m. each day. Doors open at 1 p.m. All seats are donation only and guests are encouraged to pay what makes them happy.

Weekly Movie Roundup: February 8th – February 14th

February 9th

Film Kitchen

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The latest edition of Film Kitchen at the Melwood Screening Room will spotlight Pittsburgh’s growing comedy scene with shorts by local filmmakers. Selections include Andy Kelemen and Mike Rubino‘s 30-minute documentary The Comedy Confluence, works from the all-woman sketch troupe Frankly Scarlett and Hustlebot, as well as many others. The event begins at 7 p.m. with a reception, followed by screenings at 8 p.m. All seats are $5.

February 11th

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – Hollywood Theater

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Cinema 412 returns to the Hollywood Theater to present a kid-friendly screening of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The 2005 stop-motion animated film follows pest-controller Wallace and his dog, Gromit, as they try to stop a giant rabbit from destroying the town‘s crops. The event will take place at 7 p.m. and includes a poster reveal and beer from Hitchhiker Brewing Company. Tickets cost between $10 and $50 and are available for purchase at Showclix. All proceeds will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh and the Hollywood Theater.

February 12th – February 18th

Row House of Romance – Row House Cinema

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Row House Cinema will get in the Valentine’s Day spirit with a week of movies about falling in love. Selections will include the 1959 rom-com Some Like It Hot, the 2004 period drama The Notebook, and the fanciful 2001 French favorite Amelie. Showtimes and tickets are available on the Row House website.

February 13th

The Rocky Horror Sci-Fi Show – Hollywood Theater

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The Junior Chamber of Commerce Players will host their first sci-fi themed shadowcast of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Hollywood Theater. Guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite sci-fi characters and participate in a costume contest. The event will take place at 11:45 p.m. Tickets cost between $5 and $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

February 14th

The Man Who Fell to Earth – Regent Square Theater

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The Regent Square Theater will pay tribute to the late David Bowie with a screening of the 1976 sci-fi film The Man Who Fell to Earth. In his feature acting debut, Bowie plays a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to collect water for his dying planet, a task that becomes sidelined when he succumbs to human vice and greed. Showtime is 8 p.m. Another screening will take place on February 21st.

Row House Spins Pittsburgh Premiere Of ‘Stretch And Bobbito’

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Bobbito Garcia and Adrian “Stretch Armstong” Bartos were major contributors to hip-hop culture with their influential New York-based radio show. On February 13th, Row House Cinema and Round Corner Cantina will pay tribute to the legendary DJ duo with a special screening and music event.

Row House Cinema will host the Pittsburgh premiere of Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives, a documentary about the legacy of the Stretch And Bobbito Radio Show. During the 1990s, Stretch and Bobbito introduced the world to an unsigned Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, and Big Pun, as well as an unknown Jay Z, Eminem, and the Fugees. The total record sales for all the artists that premiered on their show exceed 300 million. The late-night program had a cult following in the art/fashion world and prison population as well. All would loyally tune in for the offbeat humor just as much for the exclusive tunes. Stretch and Bobbito brought a unique audience together, and created a platform that changed music forever.

After the screening, Stretch and Bobbito will make a rare appearance at Round Corner Cantina to spin some tunes for the monthly Classic Material: Sound Corner Series. The evening will also include sets from Smi Swigart (SMI), James Scoglietti (Selecta), Phillip Bigphill Thompson (Big Phil), Adam Nugget Kulik (DJ Nugget), Edgar UmVince Gancia (Bamboo), and Austrian Crossbow

Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives will screen at 7 p.m. A Q&A and meet and greet with Stretch and Bobbito will also take place. The afterparty will begin at 9 p.m. Tickets cost between $12 and $17 and are available for purchase at the Row House website. Admission to the Round Corner afterparty is $5 with movie ticket, $10 without.

CLP Honors Press Pioneers With ‘Soldiers Without Swords’

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On February 10th, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Homewood will screen the PBS documentary The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords. Presented as part of the Heinz History Center‘s From Slavery to Freedom Film Series, the film from director Stanley Nelson focuses on the little known origins and legacy of African-American journalism.

Since the early 1800’s Black newspapers have existed in almost every major city in the U.S. Collectively, these papers – such as the Pittsburgh Courier – contain the most detailed record of African-American life in existence. Soldiers Without Swords is the first documentary to provide an in-depth examination of the history and contributions of African-American newspapers, once was this nation’s strongest voice for the African-American community. From facilitating the migration of Southern Blacks to northern cities; to recording the social and political events affecting the lives of African Americans; to providing a showcase honoring Black soldiers in World War II, the Black press documented life for millions of people that were otherwise ignored.

The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords will screen at 5:30 p.m. in the Homewood Library Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Weekly Movie Roundup: February 1st – February 7th

February 2nd

The Power of One Voice – Hollywood Theater

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The Hollywood Theater and Venture Outdoors will present a screening The Power of One Voice: A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson, a documentary that examines the conservationist’s legacy and the continuing implications of her environmental work. The documentary pulls insights from a variety of speakers at the 50th anniversary celebration of her groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, held at Chatham University and the National Aviary in 2012. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. A post-screening Q&A with the film’s director, Mark Dixon, and executive producer, Patricia DeMarco, will follow. Tickets cost $10 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

February 5th

Carol – Hollywood Theater

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The Hollywood Theater will screen the critically acclaimed drama Carol. The latest from director Todd Haynes follows the relationship between two very different women in 1950s New York. A young woman in her 20s, Therese (Rooney Mara), is working in a department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, moneyed marriage. Their lives begin to unravel with Carol becoming more fearful of losing custody of her daughter in the case of separation when her husband threatens her competence as a mother because of her previous affair with her best friend, and new relationship with Therese. Carol will open on February 5th.

Groundhog Day – Oaks Theater

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The Oaks Theater will celebrate everyone’s favorite furry forecaster with a double screening of Groundhog Day. Directed by the late Harold Ramis, the 1993 film stars Bill Murray as a cynical weatherman who gets stuck in a time loop that forces him to relive Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The film will screen at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Guests can also enjoy Groundhog Day drink specials and a free beer tasting with Hop Farm Brewing. Tickets cost between $7 and $10 and are available for purchase at the theater’s website.

Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts – Melwood Screening Room

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The Melwood Screening Room will present an annual program showcasing the latest Oscar nominees in the Documentary Short Film category. The selections include Body Team 12, A Girl in the River: The Price of ForgivenessLast Day of Freedom, Chau, Beyond the Lines, Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah. Check the theater website for showtimes.

RiffTrax Road House – Row House Cinema

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Things will get rowdy at Row House Cinema when they present the RiffTrax version of Road House. The 1989 film stars Patrick Swayze as a bouncer who crosses a corrupt businessman while trying to clean up a notorious roadside bar. Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase on the Row House website or at the door. RiffTrax Roud House is part of the theater’s Tight Pants Week and includes another showing on February 7th.

February 6th

The Mask You Live InAllegheny Unitarian Universalist Church

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The Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church and Girls Coalition of SWPA will host a screening of the documentary The Mask You Live In. Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. The film ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men. The screening begins at 6 p.m. A post-screening panel discussion moderated by Chris McAneny of 3Enow will follow. Tickets cost $10.

Best Limited Releases Coming To Pittsburgh: February 2016 Edition

45 Years – Manor Theatre

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Written and directed by Andrew Haigh, 45 Years is based on a short story by David Constantine and follows Kate and Geoff Mercer (Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) in the week leading up to a party to celebrate their 45th anniversary. But when the body of Geoff’s first love, Katya, is found in a Swiss glacier where he lost her 50 years earlier, it brings up some long buried insecurities about the foundation of their relationship. 45 Years opens on February 5th at the Manor Theatre.

Janis: Little Girl Blue – Harris Theater

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Janis Joplin is one of the most revered and iconic rock & roll singers of all time, a tragic and misunderstood figure who thrilled millions of listeners and blazed new creative trails before her death in 1971 at age 27. With Janis: Little Girl Blue, Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis) examines Joplin’s story for the first time on film, presenting an intimate and insightful portrait of a complicated, driven, often beleaguered artist. Janis: Little Girl Blue opens on February 5th at the Harris Theater.

Son of Saul – Regent Square Theater

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October 1944, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish, and offer the boy a proper burial. Son of Saul opens on February 12th at the Regent Square Theater.

Aferim! – Harris Theater

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Eastern Europe, 1835. Two riders cross a barren landscape in the middle of Wallachia. They are the gendarme Costandin and his son. Together they are searching for a gypsy slave who has run away from his nobleman master and is suspected of having an affair with the noble’s wife. While the unflappable Costandin comments on every situation with a cheery aphorism, his son takes a more contemplative view of the world. On their odyssey they encounter people of different nationalities and beliefs: Turks and Russians, Christians and Jews, Romanians and Hungarians. Each harbors prejudices against the others which have been passed down from generation to generation. And even when the slave Carfin is found, the adventure is far from over. Aferim! will open on February 26th at the Harris Theater.

Citiparks Celebrates Black History Month With Film Exhibit

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In celebration of Black History Month, Citiparks will present A History on Film: A Tribute to African American Contribution to Film, a collection of photographs honoring 20 influential actors and actresses, writers, producers and directors with Pittsburgh roots. On February 1st, Citiparks will kick off the exhibit, which will reside in the lobby of the City-County Building, with an opening reception.

The event will include remarks by Mayor William Peduto, as well as appearances by two subjects featured in the exhibit, actress-turned-skin care entrepreneur Kimmarie Johnson and Najaa Young, writer-director of Blood First, a locally-produced film about two half-brothers whose love and loyalty to each another is tested by the code of the streets.

The opening reception for A History on Film: A Tribute to African American Contribution to Film will take place at 6 p.m. in the City-County Building lobby. In addition to the guest speakers, attendees can also enjoy refreshments and a performance by Bobby Short. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit will then be on view through February 29th, and will showcase subjects such as bandleader and actor Billy Eckstine, actor Bill Nunn, actress and writer Cherie Johnson, award-winning multi-hyphenate Billy Porter, and Pop Up Premieres founder Njaimeh Njie.

Weekly Movie Roundup: January 25th – January 31st

January 26th

A Better Life – Carnegie Mellon University

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The Carnegie Mellon University Humanist League will host a screening of the documentary A Better Life. Directed by Chris Johnson, the film presents subjects from around the globe and from all walks of life who challenge the false stereotypes of atheists as immoral and evil. Johnson will introduce the film and stick around for a post-screening Q&A and discussion. Guests can also enjoy free pizza. The event will begin at 5 p.m. and will take place in Room 1212 of CMU’s Doherty Hall.

January 28th

Brew Cinema: Groundhog Day – Hollywood Theater

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The monthly Cinema 412 fundraiser screening, Brew Cinema, returns with a special presentation of the comedy Groundhog Day. Directed by the late Harold Ramis, the 1993 film stars Bill Murray as a cynical weatherman who gets stuck in a time loop that forces him to relive Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the film starting at 7 p.m. The event includes an original poster reveal by artist Matt Ryan Tobin and beverages from Dancing Gnome Brewery. All proceeds benefit the theater and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. Tickets cost between $10 and $50 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

January 29th

2016 Oscar-Nominated Shorts – Regent Square Theater

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Regent Square Theater will present two programs of Oscar-nominated short films. The animated shorts program will include Pixar’s Sanjay’s Super Team, Don Hertzfeldt‘s World of Tomorrow, the Chilean Bear Story, the graphic UK selection Prologue, and others. The live-action shorts will include Ava Maria, Shok, Everything Will Be Okay, Stutterer, and Day One. Both programs will continue through February 11th. Check the theater’s website for showtimes.

Brooklyn – Hollywood Theater

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Hollywood Theater will screen the acclaimed period drama Brooklyn. The Oscar-nominated film tells the story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. Showtimes will continue through February 3rd.

David Lynch Week – Row House Cinema

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Row House Cinema will kick off a week of films from offbeat auteur David Lynch. The selections include his disturbing 1977 debut Eraserhead, as well as Lost Highway, Wild At Heart, and Mulholland Drive. Showtimes will continue through February 4th. Additional details and ticket prices are available on the Row House website.

January 30th

Rocky Horror Picture Show – Hollywood Theater

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The Junior Chamber of Commerce Players return for another Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight shadowcast screening at the Hollywood Theater. The event will include a coat and blanket drive to help homeless LGBTQ+ youth. The show begins at 11:45 p.m. Tickets cost between $5 to $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix.

January 31st

Psycho – Regent Square Theater

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Regent Square Theater will conclude its January Sunday Night Hitchcock Classics Series with the director’s celebrated 1960 film Psycho. The masterful thriller, which is known for its iconic shower scene, became a major influence on modern horror with its tale of a woman on the run (Janet Leigh), a fateful motel vacancy, and an innkeeper (Anthony Perkins) with major mommy issues. The screening begins at 8 p.m.

Hollywood Theater Suits Up For Sci-Fi Indie ‘Lazer Team’

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In 2014, Rooster Teeth, the creators of the long-running web series, Red vs Blue, smashed crowdfunding records during the IndieGoGo campaign to back their feature debut, Lazer Team. This month, the Hollywood Theater will bring the sci-fi comedy to Pittsburgh for its local premiere.

When four small-town losers stumble across an alien crash site containing an incredible battle suit, they soon find themselves responsible for the fate of the entire planet. With this new alien equipment genetically bound to them, and the government hot on their heels, the foursome have no choice but to work together as one to save humanity. All they have to do is learn to use a strange alien device meant for only one-person, train for a battle against an omnipotent enemy, and not kill each other in the process.

Lazer Team will open at the Hollywood Theater on January 29th. Tickets cost between $5 and $8 and are available for purchase at Showclix or at the door.