If you’ve ever wanted to play Twister inside an art museum (while drinking a martini), learn about how urban goats help the environment, see a band perform on The Clemente Bridge or catch 50 films in 10 days, then November is the month for you. So before you succumb to that turkey coma, we suggest you make plans to be at these 11 Pittsburgh events.
1. Crafted at Society for Contemporary Craft: November 6
Maybe it’s the way your fingers slide through its perfectly curved handle, or it’s the design gracing the textured surface. We all have a favorite cup, mug or bowl for daily rituals like that first morning coffee or some homemade soup. Taking inspiration from the form and function of everyday objects, Society for Contemporary Craft invites the public to sip, slow down and savor at its latest exhibition and event series.
A celebration of culinary and ceramic arts, Crafted kicks off with a reception, exhibit and sale of more than 150 one-of-a-kind cups, mugs, bowls, platters and more. Featured pieces, created by 46 different regional, national and international artists, include a mix of porcelain, earthenware and stoneware ranging in price from $10 to $500. Chefs from Bar Marco will be on hand to pair their handcrafted fare with the wares, and to talk with the public about the restaurant’s unique culinary philosophy. Equal parts fundraiser and art exhibit, Crafted opens just in time for the holiday shopping season, and remains on display in the SCC Store—the craft lover’s favorite—through Dec. 28th. Purchase tickets.
2. Wings & Wildlife at The National Aviary: November 6 – 8
Ready to put a bird on it? After a decade-long hibernation, Wings & Wildlife is resuming its flight at the Aviary. A celebration of all things avian, the two-day art exhibition, marketplace and bird-themed benefit returns just in time for holiday shopping. New this year is the jury-based selection for the art show, which features 46 local and national wildlife artists working in a range of media—from watercolors and wearables, to scratchboard engravings and bronze sculpture. Artists—who hail from as far afield Colorado—will share and sell works that explore nature, wildlife and common and rare bird species.
If you’re looking for a statement piece for that bare wall above your couch or a one-of-a-kind wedding gift for that creative cousin, this event has you covered, because all works are for sale, with prices ranging from $15 to $1,000. The event’s featured artist is Johno Pascak, whose vibrant sand and enamel paintings feature some of the Aviary’s most beloved birds. For a bird’s eye view, flock to the Black Tie Soirée and Benefit Auction on Nov. 6th to get a first look at the show and meet the artists.
3. Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer at the Teamsters Temple in Lawrenceville: November 6 & 7
Pickers, thrifters and hagglers will come together under one roof at the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer. Debuting a newly expanded two-day format, the bustling market will feature more than 30 local collectors and indie merchants all peddling quality vintage goods. Shop for authentic vintage fashions, home décor, small furniture, vinyl records, original art, books, toys and more. Whether you’re on the hunt for patterned Pyrex bakeware or flashy polyester threads, don’t miss this convergence of kitsch. Vendors include everyone from Who New Retro and Mod Decor and Highway Robbery Vintage, to KitschTopia and Loch Ness Modster. Providing the throwback soundtrack will be Pittsburgh DJs Smilo, JMalls, Jim Lingo and Jeff Justus. Shoppers can also make buttons, create a vintage look in a selfie station and grab lunch from food trucks.
Forget rising at dawn for the estate sales—serious vintage hunters should head to the Mixer’s new Night Owl preview party. Emceed by drag performer Alora Chateaux, the exclusive Friday night pre-sale will feature live music by the Gothees and cocktails from Allegheny Wine Mixer. Night Owls will score a tote bag with free goodies and a pass for Saturday’s main event. Buy Night Owl tickets.
4. Three Rivers Film Festival: November 6 – 15
A story about a Tamil Tiger soldier fleeing the Sri Lankan civil war. A documentary chronicling the groundbreaking humor magazine National Lampoon. The life of the high priestess of soul Nina Simone. These are but a few of the poignant stories on tap for the 34th annual Three Rivers Film Festival. With 50-plus cinema programs spanning 10 days, this year’s edition has something for every film buff—including Q&As with visiting filmmakers. And just about every single film is a Pittsburgh premiere.
3RFF opens with a quadruple-header on Nov. 6th. At the Harris is Avi Lewis’ This Changes Everything, an epic documentary exploring climate change based Naomi Klein’s bestselling book. Over at Regent Square, Sean Mewshaw’s Tumbledown will tell the compelling story of a young widow in rural Maine in a film starring Pittsburgh native Joe Manganiello. Melwood Screening Room will feature the doc Crocodile Gennadiy, a portrait of war-torn, post-Soviet Ukraine shot by the Pittsburgh production team Animal, while Waterworks Cinemas will host Court, India’s official entry to the 2016 Academy Awards. Following the four screenings, head to Pittsburgh Filmmakers for festive Opening Night Party featuring entertainment, food and libations.
A huge highlight will be the festival’s wrap party on Nov. 15th, when Boston’s acclaimed Alloy Orchestra performs their live score accompanying a newly restored version of Dziga Vertov’s 1929 Russian masterpiece, The Man with a Movie Camera. Purchase tickets and passes and see a complete schedule.
5. Urban Grange at Spirit Lodge: November 13
Calling all locavores to go home, home on the grange. Grow Pittsburgh brings the farm to the city with the first-of-a-kind Urban Grange. A cornucopia of all things homegrown, the Grange will turn the former Moose Lodge in Lawrenceville into an Autumnal showcase of everything from city goats to CSAs. Grange-goers will mix and mingle with local growers, food purveyors and craft brewers, and sample locally made products from Collefresio Winery, Market Street Grocery, Bar Marco, Steel City Grazers, Garfield Community Farm and Healcrest Urban Farm.
The public can also learn all about Grow Pittsburgh, which runs programs such as edible schoolyards, urban farmer trainings and urban agriculture apprenticeships. Providing the event’s festive fall soundtrack will be country crooner Molly Alphabet, jazz ensemble Hill Jordan & Slide Worldwide and global beats guru, DJ Pandemic. Purchase tickets.
6. Attack Theatre’s Remainder at The New Hazlett Theater: November 13 & 14
Countless rehearsals and auditions go into any production, but in the case of a new world premiere dance by Attack Theatre, the road to opening night represents a unique yearlong planning process. Debuting at the company’s home away from home on the Northside, Remainder has as much to do with process as it does with a final product. What began as conversations with Northside kids ages 8-14 has evolved into a theatrical show that redefines the traditional roles of creator, curator, dancer and spectator.
Using movement to explore themes of neighborhood, community, history and memory—directly inspired by workshops with local youth—Remainder features a series of dance vignettes all set to original live music by Grammy-nominated cellist and pianist Dave Eggar, acclaimed Brooklyn-based percussionist, producer and composer Chuck Palmer and NYC flutist and singer Domenica Fossati. Bringing Remainder to life will be veteran Attack dancers Kaitlin Dann, Dane Toney and Ashley Williams, along with newcomer Anthony Williams. You only have three chances to catch this debut, so grab tickets now.
7. The Chocolate Bar at The Benedum Center: November 14 (sold-out)
Chocolate covered bacon, anyone? Channel your inner Augustus Gloop and Charlie Bucket at this first-of-its-kind Pittsburgh happening, where luscious chocolate and haute couture will flow inside the Benedum’s elegant Grand Lobby. Forget visions of sugarplums, and instead, step into a dessert lover’s paradise populated by artisan candies, hand-rolled ganache truffles chocolate-infused cocktails, decadent milkshakes and Parisian delights. Conjuring all of the confectionary art will be Pittsburgh’s top chocolatiers and restaurants, including The Capital Grille, Sonoma, Grit & Grace, Superior Motors, Cioppino, Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, Braddock’s Pittsburgh Brasserie, Nine on Nine, Meat & Potatoes, Eleven and more.
While indulging in the cocoa creations, attendees can check out chocolate-costumed fashionistas who will be outfitted in couture and accessories designed by Richard Parsakian, Izzazu Salon and Spa & Serata (think headbands made out of chocolate wrappers!). Those lucky enough to score tickets to this sold-out affair, which is produced by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, will also be treated to soaring feats performed by Iron City Aerialists, sugary pop sounds by Delicious Pastries and beats by DJ SMI.
8. Light Up Night downtown: November 20
The best place to get switched on to the festive season is at Pittsburgh’s annual Light Night Up, one of the country’s largest holiday celebrations. Illuminating downtown from dusk to dark, the 55th edition has a few new surprises up its sleeve, including more live music than ever before, an entire Smithfield St. entertainment corridor and plenty of time honored traditions like tree lightings, hands-on children’s activities, horse drawn carriage rides and visits with that holly jolly dude. With a creative new twist on one of Pittsburgh’s most cherished holiday pilgrimages, nine windows in downtown’s iconic former Macy’s building will be decked out and decorated by local arts groups to depict local traditions.
More than 30 musical acts will perform throughout downtown, including national headliners JoJo, along with locals Daya, Beauty Slap, Nevada Color, Joe Grushecky, Jeff Jimerson, Center of Life Jazz Band, The MCG All Stars and more. Be sure to lace up and head to the newly renovated ice rink at PPG, which is expanding by 20 percent.
Already making a list and checking it twice? Head to the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square to score one-of-a-kind stocking stuffers and handmade holiday gifts. Featuring 30 vendors selling international and handcrafted goods, the charming European-style holiday market is open through Dec. 23rd. At 9:30 p.m., make your way to The Warhol Bridge and direct your eyes to the skies for the exhilarating Zambelli fireworks display.
9. Mad Men & Martinis at Carnegie Museum of Art: November 20
If you’re still mourning TV’s loss of Dan, Peggy and Sally, then don’t want miss CMOA’s next installment of Culture Club. Bust out those floral polyester frocks and grey flannel suits, because the monthly art mixer is turning on the retro flair. Dubbed Mad Men & Martinis, the swinging Sixties salon celebrates the the new exhibition, Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk—the first retrospective to showcase the career of the groundbreaking German designer who established one of the country’s top design firms right here in Pittsburgh. Creating the oh-so-hip-it-hurts aura will be a Mad Men-themed cocktail party, live music by surf rockers the Hi-Frequencies and even 1960s-era games (drunk Twister might be a thing).
Relive the golden era of modernism when kitchen appliances, cars and even pencil sharpeners were designed with an impeccable sense of design, craftsmanship and detail. Clubbers will be the first to see Muller-Munk’s renowned designs—from his streamlined Normandie pitcher to the timeless skyscraper-inspired Waring blender, as well as period ads, cameras, radios, cocktail shakers, and immersive environments for gas stations, corporate headquarters and mass transit. We suggest wearing nothing made before 1970. Purchase tickets.
10. Grand Opening Celebration at the Frick Pittsburgh: November 21
One of Pittsburgh’s top cultural destinations is getting a substantial facelift and you’re invited to celebrate. Marking the completion of a $15 million expansion and renovation project—and the most ambitious expansion project in the site’s history—the Frick Pittsburgh invites the public of all ages to a free opening day for its three new facilities.
Be among the first in Pittsburgh to see the Frick’s expanded Car and Carriage Museum and new Education and Community Centers. Explore the collections of 19th-century art via interactive media in the stunning, light-filled new Visitor Center and get a head start on your holiday shopping at the spacious new Frick Museum Store. Pop into the new state-of-the-art Education Center for an open house featuring printmaking activities and technology demonstrations, and then take a docent-led tour of the new exhibition, Forbidden Fruit, which features fantastical porcelain works that Johnstown artist Chris Antemann made at Germany’s Meissen artCAMPUS. Always wanted to see what’s not on view at a museum? Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Frick’s collection storage spaces and learn more about museum preservation.
11. Soup N’at at The Union Project: November 22
There’s no shortage of creative ways to seek funding for great ideas in Pittsburgh—from micro-grants from Awesome Pittsburgh and The Sprout Fund, to local twists on the wildly popular crowdsourcing model. One of the most innovative ways is a homegrown recipe of community, cooking and creativity: Soup N’at returns to host its 14th installment at The Union Project, which now runs the event with New Sun Rising. You’ve heard of the Soup Nazi, but what about a Soup Santa? Since its inception in 2011, Soup N’at has provided mini-grants to 20-plus Pittsburgh artists throught the age-old act of breaking bread.
How does it work? Attendees donate $10 and receive a nourishing meal of fresh homemade soups, bread, dessert and a ballot. Diners will sample soups, enjoy live music, hear presentations from artists and cast a vote for the most impressive proposals. Winning proposals are funded directly from proceeds raised at the door, and grants typically range from $500 to $1,000. The event often sells out at the door, so arrive early—and hungry! Want to help the cause? Soup N’at is seeking donations of bowls, mugs, glasses and spoons.
Because all good lists must come to an end, we give you our not-to-miss honorable mentions for November:
Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert: November 2 – 7
Pittsburgh Speaker Series presents Sanjay Gupta at Heinz Hall: November 4
Sunset Baby at City Theatre Company: November 7 – December 13
Pittsburgh Home Movie Day at the Carnegie Library in Oakland: November 7
Sync’d 7 at Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center: November 7
Ailey II at the August Wilson Center: November 10
Pittsburgh Society of Artists’ 50th anniversary exhibition at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts: November 13 – January 17
John Cage’s Twenty-Three performed by the University of Pittsburgh Orchestra and Roger Zahab at CMU’s Miller Gallery: November 19
barebones productions’ Small Engine Repair in Braddock: November 19 – December 6
I Made It! Market at Nova Place: November 27 & 28
8th Annual Suite Life at The Kelly Strayhorn Theater: November 28