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What to do in Pittsburgh this weekend: May 3-5

A statue in black and white.
Mikael Owunna and Marques Redd
"Nu," a sculpture by Mikael Owunna and Marques Redd, is part of their new show at Pittsburgh Glass Center.

Enjoy Jazz Poetry's 20th anniversary at City of Asylum, check out a visual art exhibit about Pittsburgh's neighborhoods or cheer on the runners at the Pittsburgh Marathon — here's what to do in Pittsburgh this weekend.

JFilm is back, with 11 days of independent, Jewish-themed, feature-length comedies, dramas and documentaries from around the world. Highlights range from the documentary “Remembering Gene Wilder” and culture-clash comedy “No Name Restaurant” to “Listen,” a military drama set amidst the contemporary Arab-Israeli conflict. The fest opens Thu., May 2, with the documentary “Left Alone Rhapsody” at Carnegie Musical Hall, followed by a live performance by its subject, pianist John Bayless. The remaining 15 films screen at the Oaks Theater and Carnegie Mellon’s McConomy Auditorium.

Visual Art
Silver Eye Center for Photography’s Fellowship series turns 24. The annual international juried competition elevates new voices in contemporary photography. This year’s six photographers include Rachael Banks, offering photos of her family in central Kentucky; Vikesh Kapoor, documenting his mother’s work as a small-town OBGYN; and Xavier Scott Marshall, who “reimagines centuries of Christian iconography” in large-format photos “that center Black experience and change perception of religious image-making.” The show opens with a reception Thu., May 2.

Music and Poetry
Over the past 20 years, City of Asylum’s unique Jazz Poetry festival has taken several forms. These days it’s a month-long series of events at the group’s intimate Alphabet City venue, each featuring a 40-minute musical performance and 30 minutes of improvised collaborative performance with that evening’s featured poets from the U.S. and around the world. The 20th-anniversary edition begins Thu., May 2, with acclaimed saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and his quartet, alongside poets including India’s Amit Chaudhuri, Pittsburgh legend Toi Derricotte and City of Asylum writer-in-residence Olena Boryshpolets. Six more performances follow through May 23.

Visual Art
Pittsburgh loves its neighborhoods, and so do many Pittsburgh artists. Organizers of the exhibit “4123: Paint.Shutter.Word” invited artists to submit work reflecting the city’s neighborhoods in photography, painting, mixed media and commentary. The 10 artists and writers whose work will fill Spinning Plate Gallery include Jaime Bird, Tyler Gedman, Suzanne Werder and Michel Demetria Tsouris. The project is also collecting people’s thoughts and memories about their neighborhoods for a compilation. The opening reception is Fri., May 3.

Visual Art
One of Pittsburgh’s best-known artists, Mikael Owunna, and collaborator Marques Redd offer an exhibit of new work at Pittsburgh Glass Center. “Myth-Science of the Gatekeepers” features 16 life-sized glass statues of “Black same-gender-loving men cast as ancient Egyptian deities.” Owunna is known internationally for his large-scale “Infinite Essence” photos of Black people. “Myth-Science” opens Fri., May 3, as part of Penn Avenue’s monthly art crawl Unblurred.

The Pittsburgh Marathon remains one of the city’s biggest occasions for civic festivity, cardio achievement and rolling street closures. In fact, look for road closures Downtown starting at noon Friday, and on the North Side on Saturday, for a series of smaller preliminary races. Closures for the marathon itself begin at 1:30 a.m. Sun., May 5. Some 42,000 marathoners from around the country and the world stride out shortly after sunrise, with numerous street fests along the course.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: