Reel Q
Signature Move, Jennifer Reeder, 2017. Courtesy Reel Q.
The Chocolate Bar
Courtesy Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

6. The Chocolate Bar at the Benedum Center: October 14, 8 p.m.

Ever wanted to be Veruca Salt for a night? (minus the grimy garbage chute expulsion, of course). Surrender to temptation at The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s third annual soiree of sweetness. They had us at Chocolate Bar. Step into a fantastical carnival environment within the Benedum’s opulent lobby to experience the “darker side of chocolate.” Decorate your own masquerade mask using cirque-inspired colors and rich chocolates, sway to ambient music by DJ SMI and watch immersive performances by Staycee Pearl Dance Project. On this night of mischief and intrigue, chocolate is the inspiration for every sensuous detail — from cuisine to couture. Savor chocolate-infused inventions (read: Burnt Orange Manhattan Truffles and live chocolate sculpting) handcrafted by Pittsburgh’s finest chocolatiers, including A519 Chocolate, Mon Aimee Chocolat, Sarris, Sinful Sweets, and Milk Shake Factory. Watch models rock dessert-inspired fashions curated by Richard Parsakian, Amanda Wright and Izzazu Salon. New this year are the Pittsburgh Chocolate Awards, where you can vote for your favorite decadent delicacies. Buy tickets.

Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie. Photo by Lee Towndrow.

7. Sherman Alexie at Carnegie Music Hall: October 16, 7:30 p.m.

Fresh on the heels of publishing his latest work — “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” — National Book Award-winning author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie will share his authentic voice and creative process with readers. The Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-American writer — whose renowned book, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” was adapted into the award-winning 1998 film, “Smoke Signals” — often writes about his experiences and ancestry with several tribes. Reflecting on his mother’s death at 78, Alexie’s riveting new memoir features 78 poems, 78 essays and intimate family photographs. After the lecture, Alexie fans can have books signed and can purchase titles from Classic Lines. Want more Sherman Alexie in your life? He will also appear October 15 as part of the all-ages “Words & Pictures” event. Buy tickets. 

George Takei
George Takei. Courtesy University of Pittsburgh.

8. George Takei at Soldiers and Sailors: October 17, 7 p.m.

Calling all Trekkies and Vulcans to Oakland! He’s beloved around planet earth for his pioneering role as Starship Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek. Mashable ranked him the #1 most influential person on Facebook. There’s even an asteroid named after him. But did you know that George Takei and his family were forced into a Japanese internment camp during WWII? Don’t miss this special chance to hear the award-winning actor, activist and social media phenom share his remarkable life story in an intimate setting. Takei will speak about his family’s struggles with displacement and racism, and his experiences as a gay Asian man throughout a 50-year acting career. Weaving his signature blend of wit, eloquence and charisma, Takei will touch upon everything from politics to pop culture. Hear personal insights about Takei’s meteoric rise to Sci-fi icon status, his inspiring journey as social media influencer, his passionate fight for LGBTQ rights, and his perspectives about a seemingly forgotten part of American history. The event includes a VIP meet-and-greet reception with Takei. Live long and prosper! And buy tickets.

Harry Belafonte
Charles “Teenie” Harris, Harry Belafonte posed in interior, c. 1957, Carnegie Museum of Art.

9. Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Music Hall, October 20, 8 p.m.

Spend an evening with an American icon when Harry Belafonte comes to Pittsburgh for this very special night. With a prolific career spanning varied disciples, the multitalented singer, songwriter, actor and activist will present a talk and participate in a Q&A moderated by August Wilson Center CEO and president, Janis Burley Wilson. The first Black performer to win an Emmy — and the first recording artist to sell more than a million copies of an album — the Harlem-born star has recorded everything from blues to gospel and show tunes. Dubbed the “King of Calypso,” Belafonte has also starred in numerous films, and his accolades are abundant: three Grammys, Kennedy Center Honors, a National Medal of Arts. Beyond the stage and screen, Belafonte has long been a passionate and articulate advocate for political and humanitarian causes — from serving as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s confidant to co-organizing the pivotal 1985 Grammy-winning song, “We Are the World,” while fighting to end apartheid in South Africa. Buy tickets.

The Frick Pittsburgh
Wicker dress by Dolce & Gabbana, Spring/Summer 2013. Photograph by Victor Virgile /; Brassiere, ‘Moonlight’, designed by Kestos, c.1953, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Dress by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2012. Photograph by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho /
Wicker dress by Dolce & Gabbana, Spring/Summer 2013. Photograph by Victor Virgile /; Brassiere, ‘Moonlight’, designed by Kestos, c.1953, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Dress by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2012. Photograph by Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho /

10. Undressed: A History of Fashion in Underwear at The Frick Pittsburgh: October 21 — January 7

Be the first to see the year’s most revealing exhibition, when The Frick Pittsburgh becomes the exclusive North American venue for the blockbuster exhibition, “Undressed: A History of Fashion in Underwear.” From corsets to Spanx, discover the fascinating stories behind underwear design spanning the 1700s to the present. Peruse 200-plus objects — everything from brassieres, bodices and girdles, to hosiery, luxury lingerie and loungewear — as you discover how undergarments reflect society’s shifting ideas about the body, morality, gender and sex. View 18th-century stays made by working women in England, an 1860s petticoat from Ireland and a WWI-era austerity corset made from paper. Explore the intersection of corsets and women’s health and view x-rays showing the internal effects of tight lacing. See how avant-garde fashion designers like Vivienne Westwood, Elie Saab and Alexander McQueen have shaped trends showcasing undergarments and view hot pieces worn by celebs such as Kate Moss and Gwyneth Paltrow. Sure to be the fashion event of the year will be the “Undressed” gala on October 19.

Check out more terrific events every week, including these coming up in October in NEXTpittsburgh:

The Magic of Mentoring at PPG Paints Arena: October 5
VIA Weekender at the Ace Hotel: October 6, 7, 8
Hometown-Homegrown at Heinz History Center: October 7
Pittsburgh Zombie Fest at Mr. Smalls: October 7
Bricolage Production Company’s DODOOctober 13 – November 19
Gear Fest in Schenley Plaza: October 14
Maker Faire Pittsburgh on the North Side: October 14 & 15
Third Thursday at Carnegie Museum of Art: October 19
Attack Theatre’s Down & Dirty Dance Party at Spirit: October 20
The Hollywood Theater’s Halloween Party: October 21
Pittsburgh Shorts Festival at the August Wilson Center: October 25 — 29
Yelp’s Haunted History event at the Heinz History Center: October 26

For live music, check out The best concerts and music festivals rocking Pittsburgh this fall.

For family events, read Top 10 family events in Pittsburgh this October.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.