"American Buffalo" opens Nov. 17 at the Barebones Black Box. Photo by Rieder Photography.

What’s going on this weekend in Pittsburgh, Nov. 16-19? Find out here. Know of a cool event? Email us.

Thursday, Nov. 16: Pittsburgh Robotics Discovery Day at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center
9:15 a.m.-6 p.m.

Move over steel and coal, Pittsburgh is now a robotics mecca. Free to the public, this day is a rare chance to explore the cutting-edge robotics, automation and artificial intelligence ecosystem that’s shaping Western PA. Watch demonstrations, meet tech innovators and discover how robotics is changing how we live and work. Register.

Thursday, Nov. 17-Sunday, Nov. 20: Pittsburgh Shorts at the Harris Theater
7 p.m.

Big things do come in small packages when it comes to this homegrown film festival. November is a cinephile’s dream because just as the Three Rivers Film Festival wrapped last night, Pittsburgh Shorts raises the curtain today. Showcasing 119 “little gems you can’t see anywhere else,” including “Chiller Theater” selections, potential Oscar winners, dramas and comedies, the pint-sized fest packs a punch. Don’t miss opening night featuring interviews with filmmakers on the red carpet and a festive reception. Schedule and tickets.

Thursday, Nov. 16 & Friday, Nov. 17: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at Heinz Hall
7 p.m.

Tap into the fantastical side of the holiday season when the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs Danny Elfman’s Grammy-winning musical score live along with Tim Burton’s iconic film. Find out what transpires when Jack Skellington, Halloween Town’s beloved Pumpkin King, attempts to take over Christmas. Tickets.

Winter Flower Show at Phipps. Photo courtesy of Paul g. Wiegman.

Friday, Nov. 17: Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps
9:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

Before crushing that holiday to-do list, experience a weekend of “winter magic” as part of Phipps’ milestone 130th anniversary. Step into the grand glasshouse to be the first to see the brand-new Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show, running through Jan. 7. Get into the spirit with 21 varieties of poinsettias, a 10-foot red anthurium tree and exquisitely detailed props. Inside and out you’ll be bathed in spectacular lights, including glowing orbs, giant gift boxes and simulated fireworks – all crafted using energy-efficient LEDs. Tickets.

Friday, Nov. 17: Weave-a-Thon at Contemporary Craft
12-9 p.m.

Contemporary Craft is putting a fresh new “spin” on the age-old telethon. During this first-of-its-kind crafty happening, 30 weavers will work in one-hour shifts to complete 90-plus hours of weaving. As the towels are completed, they will be tagged with the weaver’s name and will be finished by volunteer sewers. The dish towels will be for sale in the center’s store starting on Nov. 18, with proceeds supporting the artists and the purchase of a new loom for the center. The event is inspired by the current Climate Awakening exhibition. Stop by to cheer on the weavers or watch the event live-streamed on Instagram. Information.

Friday, Nov. 17: “State of the Sky” at the Mattress Factory
6-8 p.m.

If you spend any time observing the sky in Pittsburgh, you know it shifts often — not only in terms of weather but also due to human impact caused by pollution and climate change. Now, an ambitious new project at the Mattress Factory is exploring changing conditions in the sky. To develop his installation, Luke Stettner worked for over two years with 10 creative collaborators. The result incorporates a range of mediums and processes — including photography, sculpture, poetry and archival materials — to examine the “complicated impact of industry on the environment and community health.” Don’t miss tonight’s free opening reception. Register.

Photo by Lachey Arts.

Friday, Nov. 17: “LABEL•LESS” at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater
7:30 p.m.

If you love him as a member of 98 Degrees or on “Dancing with the Stars,” you can’t miss Drew Lachey’s latest creative endeavor. Lachey and his choreographer wife Lea team up to debut their musical right here in the Burgh. The show spotlights “heartfelt true stories” addressing racism, sexism, mental health and bullying. The choreography is set to contemporary music with songs by Pink, Taylor Swift and Lachey himself. Tickets.

“American Buffalo” opens Nov. 17 at the Barebones Black Box. Photo by Rieder Photography.

Friday, Nov. 17: “American Buffalo” at Barebones Black Box
8 p.m.

Don’t miss this rare chance to experience the gripping work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet in barebones productions‘ intimate Braddock theater. Audiences will be confronted by “three small-time hustlers who want a bigger cut of the American dream” — played by barebones Artistic Director Patrick Jordan, along with his longtime friend and collaborator David Whalen. Rounding out the trio is barebones newcomer Brendan Peifer. Directed by Melissa Martin, Mamet’s classic work marks the culminating show in the company’s 20th anniversary season. Tickets.

Neapolitan presepio at Carnegie Museum of Art
Neapolitan presepio. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

Saturday, Nov. 18: Carnegie Trees and Neapolitan presepio at Carnegie Museum of Art
10 a.m.-5 p.m.

This weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the holidays all around town. One cherished local tradition that’s a spectacle to behold will be unveiled on Saturday at Carnegie Museum of Art. Wander into the Hall of Architecture to encounter towering Fraser fir trees illuminated and trimmed with baubles, snowflakes and glistening snow. Since 1961, the installation has been the signature event of the museum’s Women’s Committee. This year’s theme is Wintry Days & Frosty Nights. Next, step up to the Neapolitan presepio — one of the world’s finest nativity scenes. This year, visitors will see the cherished tableau in a new context next to Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces such as “The Nativity” and “The King and the Shepherd” by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. Tickets.

Light Up Night. Photo by Emery Meyer for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Saturday, Nov. 18: Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh
3-10 p.m

Did you know the city’s first Light Up Night was held Downtown on Nov. 21, 1960, and was reported to be the first of its kind in the country? Produced by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Highmark Light Up Night returns on a Saturday for its 62nd edition as a part of an expanded celebration. The fun kicks off early with family programming starting at 3 p.m. A major highlight that will make Downtown glow will be when 600,000 new LED lights on the city’s Sister Bridges are dramatically switched on at 8 p.m. The Peoples Gas Holiday Market boasts more vendors than ever with cozy wooden chalets stocking local, handmade and international gifts. Hit a high note during Merry Karaoke and rock out to musical entertainment on four stages and glide around The UPMC Rink at PPG Place. The Fifth Avenue FREEZE attraction will shimmer with live shows by award-winning ice carver Rich Bubin. Snap photos with The Grinch and Barbie, see the mouth-watering Gingerbread House Competition Display and cap off your revelry at the Grand Finale  Fireworks Spectacular. A main attraction since 1999, the colossal Pittsburgh Crèche is the only authorized replica of the nativity featured in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Schedule.

Mumu Fresh. Photo courtesy of the August Wilson African American Center.

Saturday, Nov. 18 & Sunday, Nov. 19: “A Passion: Considering Matthew Shepard” at the Bitz Opera Factory
7:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.

For its newest season, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh presents a series titled “Solace” that uses the power of music to “provide comfort or cheer in a time of distress or sadness.” The series kicks off this weekend with “A Passion: Considering Matthew Shepard,” under the leadership of Bach Choir Artistic Director and Conductor Thomas W. Douglas. Featuring members of the Academy Chamber Orchestra, the concert created by Craig Hella Johnson mines the tragic and brutal murder of Matthew Shepard 25 years ago in Wyoming as a point of reflection, awareness and healing. Tickets.

Saturday, Nov. 18: Mumu Fresh at August Wilson African American Center
8 p.m.

Get into a groove when the Downtown center kicks off its next Soul Sessions event with Mumu Fresh. In addition to her powerhouse vocals, the Grammy-nominated Afro-Indigenous singer is also an emcee and an audio engineer who has collaborated with everyone from The Roots, Anderson .Paak and Femi Kuti, to Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran and Common. Beyond the stage, Mumu Fresh uses music as a force for activism, mentoring and community-building. Avoid FOMO and get tickets now.

Find more things to do in Pittsburgh, including outdoor recreation, live music, festivals and family activities

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.