7. Pittsburgh Abides Big Lebowski Fest: October 8 at Spirit
In August, fans on all continents mourned the passing of David Huddleston, who played the title role in the iconic 1998 Coen brothers film, The Big Lebowski. Here to give 412 achievers their annual fix of the cult flick—while anointing new generations of Dudes—is Pittsburgh’s homegrown take on a quirky festival held around the globe. Slip into that beige bathrobe, mix up a White Russian and spew witty Dudeisms, when Spirit becomes a playpen for everybody’s favorite slacker. More than a movie screening, the 4th annual shindig is bigger than ever with two floors of Dudery hosted by charismatic artist Alexi Morrissey. Be an achiever as you play rounds of ear spitting, ringer toss and trivia, ride a zip line, and compete in a citywide scavenger hunt (bring them a toe by 3 p.m.!). Pitch your Lebowski sequel to actor/director Patrick Jordan, show off your dance moves in a competition judged by Attack Theatre’s Peter Kope and score under par in a mini-golf course designed by Pittsburgh artists. Wash it all down with classic rock performed by the F*cking bEagle Brothers and Charlie Hustle and the Grifters. Buy tickets.
8. Maker Faire Pittsburgh on the Northside: October 15 & 16
Where can you watch a robot sort trash and recyclables and witness a hand-cranked Gatling gun fire off 144 rubber bands? Dubbed “the greatest show-and-tell on Earth, Maker Faire lands on the Northside for two days jam-packed with wondrous exhibits, demos, performances, and activities—spanning every category under the sun, like the Internet of Things, Steampunk, gaming and more. Pittsburgh’s second foray into the Maker Faire phenom will flood Buhl Community Park, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and Nova Place with a melting pot of makers, tinkerers, inventors, techies and beyond. Equal parts science club, county fair and DIY confluence, Maker Faire brings together some of the region’s most inventive minds—from cutting-edge roboticists to kid inventors to commercial entrepreneurs. Delve into the fascinating world of biohacking, play a fun new lawn game handmade in Pittsburgh, and learn basic coding and animation techniques to customize your own Pokémon characters. Step into an augmented reality sandbox to create digital art and interact with colorful projections, topographic maps and photo portraits. View a schedule and buy tickets.
9. FUSE@PSO presents Bartók + Björk at Heinz Hall: October 19
Ready to meet the lovechild of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and Icelandic icon Björk? Musically speaking that is. The synergistic sonic results just may surprise you. If you missed the rousing debut of conductor Steve Hackman’s FUSE@PSO last year, then you have three fantastic chances to catch the cutting-edge series when it returns. Boldly going where most symphonies don’t venture, FUSE pairs contemporary and classical masterpieces to forge bold musical hybrids. For its 2016 launch, Hackman will conjure a vibrant and evocative mashup of Bartók’s 1943 Concerto for Orchestra, and 11 striking songs from Björk’s seminal albums—Debut, Post and Homogenic. The one-of-a-kind concert will showcase the vocal talents of Malia Civetz, Carla Kihlstedt and Kristin Slipp. With Hackman at the helm, the production will explore Bartók’s love of Western art music and eastern European folk music along with the eclectic vision of Björk, which spans pop, electronica, jazz and more. Arrive at 5 p.m. for a lively happy hour in Heinz Hall’s sublime garden, featuring specially-priced drinks, activities, snacks and mingling with the musicians. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and it’s open seating with drinks allowed. Buy tickets. Please note: Due to the current PSO Musicians’ strike, concerts through October 27 have been canceled. For more information, please visit pittsburghsymphony.org and PSOupdate.com.
10. Walkabout Apple Whiskey Weekend: October 21, 22, 23
Where can you bob for apples and drink them in your whiskey? Channel the spirit of Johnny Appleseed—who introduced apple trees to Pennsylvania—celebrate the fall harvest season and be among the first to taste Wigle‘s new cider-infused whiskey at this weekend-long festival. At Wigle‘s Strip District distillery and Northside barrelhouse, Walkabouters will sample the new release, sip autumnal cocktails, grab grub from food trucks, bob for apples, and take selfies with Johnny Appleseed. Free and family-friendly, the festivities will include presentations by the Apple Whiskey development team, apple-themed games with City of Play and live music by The Lonely Lights and Chris Hannigan. Created in collaboration with Chatham University’s Food Studies Program, Wigle’s newest concoction is a base of rye and wheat whiskey hand-blended from 15-gallon casks. Savor the robustly-flavored results for yourself as you enjoy this custom blend of hearty apple cider and subtle sweetness on a crisp fall day. For more whiskey, check out the Pittsburgh Whiskey & Fine Spirits Festival October 28 at Rivers Casino.
11. Night of 1,000 Elvises at The Warhol Museum: October 22
Warhol turned repetition into a global art phenomenon using everyday objects and pop icons. You’ll see much more than double at the museum’s signature fundraiser, back with a creative new twist riffing on one of the Warhol’s favorite subjects. Whether you prefer him as a guitar-slinging Army sergeant, rockabilly bad boy or 1970s lounge crooner, it’s not too early to start crafting your over-the-top Elvis ensemble for this glittery tribute to all things The King—and King of Pop. Channeling the Tupelo tornado will be the self-proclaimed “Mexican Elvis,” El Vez (aka singer-songwriter Robert Lopez), who has not performed locally since 1998. Attendees can get marked with Elvis-inspired temporary tattoos, swing their hips Memphis-style during DJ sets and shop for iconic Warholian wares. Elvises will have access to the museum’s seven floors, and will be the first to see the new exhibition, Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body. Featuring 200 artworks, the first-of-its-kind show explores Warhol’s focus on the human body—abstracted, tormented, sculpted and idealized—and delves into his personal struggles with physical appearance. VIPers will have access to an exclusive underground “Viva Las Vegas” lounge featuring casino games, unlimited drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Buy tickets.
12. Night of the Living Dead N’at: October 27 – November 12
Ever since the first zombie crawled out of a western Pennsylvania cemetery in George Romero’s 1968 seminal cult classic, Night of the Living Dead—literally spawning a new genre—Pittsburgh has nurtured a love affair with horror films. With the spooky season upon us, Bricolage is breathing new life—and death—into the cinematic classic, updating it with a raucous yinzer twist. Bricolage’s longtime fan favorite Midnight Radio Series returns to dish out a comedy-laden revamping of the flick complete with a contemporary “yinzerized” script adapted by the company’s producing artistic director, Tami Dixon. Paying homage to the Godfather of Zombies, the spine-tingling show will be augmented by the eerie live music of classical rock powerhouse Cello Fury. Via its trademark 1940s radio format, Midnight Radio will also showcase live Foley sound effects, commercial spoofs, and a dub over the film screening using Dixon’s clever script. For added gore, don’t miss the pre-show Happy Half-Hour and The Brains N’at Ball on Halloween. Buy tickets.
Check out more events every week in NEXTpittsburgh, including these coming up in October:
StepTrek in the South Side Slopes: October 1
Esperanza Spalding presents Emily’s D+Evolution at the August Wilson Center: October 7
Weird Reality Symposium at Carnegie Mellon: October 6—9
Quantum Theatre’s The River at Aspinwall Roverfront Park: October 7—30
Patti Smith lecture at Carnegie Music Hall: October 10 (sold-out)
Tig Notaro at Carnegie Library of Homestead: October 14
Pittsburgh Zine Fair at the Union Project: October 16
Third Thursday: EDEN at Carnegie Museum of Art: October 20
ReelAbilities Film Festival: October 20—November 2
Global Links’ Dia de los Muertos fundraiser: October 22
Hometown-Homegrown at the Heinz History Center: October 22