Crash the Decks
Photo courtesy of Crash the Decks: Drummer vs DJ Battle, May 13 at Spirit.

What’s going on this week in Pittsburgh, May 8-14? Find out here. Visit each organization’s website and social media for Covid protocols. Know of a cool event? Email us.

Monday, May 8: Jazz Poetry Month at City of Asylum
7 p.m.

Jazz Poetry Month is underway on the North Side and online with 50 artists premiering artistic collaborations. Kick off your week tonight with Swiss-Albanian singer Elina Duni, Nigerian-British poet Ben Okri and City of Asylum writer-in-residence Jorge Olivera Castillo. Head back on Sunday for a lively collection of performances. Bringing her sultry Brazilian sound to the Alphabet City stage, Brazilian-American singer-songwriter Alexia Bomtempo will be joined by literary trailblazers Eileen Myles, Hiromi Itō, Rachelle Escamilla and Olena Boryshpolets. Register for free.

Norm Lewis. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Monday, May 8: Norm Lewis at O’Reilly Theater
7:30 p.m.

If you need motivation to go out on Monday night, Norm Lewis it is. The Emmy, Tony and SAG Award nominee — who stars in Spike Lee’s 2020 film “Da 5 Bloods,” and in the FX series, “Pose” — brings his vocal gifts to the Trust Cabaret series. In 2014, Lewis made history as the first African-American actor to play the lead role in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. Buy tickets.

Artist rendering of artwork for Fern Hollow Bridge courtesy of John Peña.

Wednesday, May 10: In the Field at the Office for Public Art
5:30-7 p.m.

What does it take to create public art? Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the process during this new series. For the inaugural season, artist John Peña will share his work on the pedestrian enhancement project for the reconstructed Fern Hollow Bridge. During three in-person sessions held at different locations, Peña will share insights about his research, designs and final results. Buy tickets.

Terrell Halsey
Photo by Terrell Halsey, exhibiting at the Siver Eye Center for Photography.

Thursday, May 11: Fellowship 23 Opening Reception at Silver Eye Center for Photography
6 p.m.

For two decades, Silver Eye has nurtured “vital new voices in contemporary photography” through its international juried competition. Don’t miss tonight’s free opening reception showcasing this year’s Fellowship and Keystone winners, where you can enjoy drinks and join a conversation with Samantha Box, Trent Bozeman, André Ramos-Woodard, Dominick McDuffie, Terrell Halsey and Karen Lue. Register now.

Artwork by Ryder Henry, who will be featured at Solarpunk Future. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Thursday, May 11: Solarpunk Future at the Energy Innovation Center
5-9 p.m.

The future is here and it’s solar. With a positive, creative and forward-thinking twist on the cyberpunk movement, Pittsburgh’s newest festival reimagines our region as a place that “embraces clean energy and green jobs” and is animated by shared creativity. Equal parts community festival and career fair, the free event is packed with four hours of interactive engagements — from singing plants to painted bikes to geek art. Hear a keynote presentation by Ecotone Renewables; see a 6-foot-tall octahedral sculpture; color your own future with screen-printed posters; and take an immersive musical journey. Register for free.

Friday, May 12 & Saturday, May 13: May Market at Phipps
9 a.m.-7 p.m. & 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

If you have a green thumb, then this is the planting paradise you’ve been waiting for. It’s a quintessential way to reconnect with Mother Earth right in your own backyard and get pro tips from Phipps horticulturists. From organic herbs, seedlings and succulents, to perennials and landscaping supplies, there’s a staggering selection of 50 vendors.

Andy Warhol, Nico (Hershey) [ST246], 1966 © The Andy Warhol Museum. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 12: The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions at The Andy Warhol Museum
10 a.m.-10 p.m.
When the Warhol Museum announced the “discovery and digitalization of the rare master tapes of the Velvet Underground’s debut album,” the news galvanized fans and shed light on the band’s groundbreaking debut album. Released in 1967, “The Velvet Underground & Nico” features an iconic peel-away banana cover designed by Warhol, who served as a co-producer. This first-of-its-kind exhibit features master tapes of nine tracks from the band’s first recording sessions at NYC’s Scepter Studios in 1966. Also on view is never-before-seen footage of the band performing, 30 Warhol Screen Tests and 100 copies of the album that launched generations of bands.

Crisis Center North
Canine advocates Penny and Ari. Photo courtesy of Crisis Center North.

Friday, May 12: Cocktails & Cuisine at The Woodlands
6-10 p.m.

Join foodies to raise money for survivors of domestic violence during Crisis Center North’s signature benefit bash. Sip and graze at the outdoor Bradford Woods venue as you sample dishes, drinks and desserts crafted by 24 chefs and beverage purveyors. Join the exciting live bidding led by auctioneer Geoff Cowan, watch spirited food judging contests and enjoy live jazz by Lisa Bleil, Benny Benack, Jr. and John Burgh. Emceed by Court TV’s Julie Grant, a member of the center’s Paws for Empowerment advisory board, the gala marks the center’s 45th anniversary. Buy tickets.

Friday, May 12: May Day Green Soiree at Allegheny Riverfront Park
7 p.m.

Keep your May Day festivities going and help improve the health of our region at Women for a Healthy Environment‘s signature soiree fundraiser. Along the Allegheny, you’ll enjoy delicious food and live entertainment, music by The Franchise Band and some of the best views in town. WHE provides education and advocacy about environmental risks to human health with work focused in environmental justice communities. Buy tickets.

Saturday, May 13: Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community at Acrisure Stadium
7:45 a.m.

Lace up and get active while supporting Pittsburgh’s health and human service agencies. Join walkers across the Keystone State for this effort that has the collective potential to raise some $17.6 million for 500-plus nonprofits. Register for free.

Saturday, May 13: Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Debuting a new centralized format, this locally produced festival is back for its second chapter with 60-plus featured creators. Featured writers include Jeannette Walls, Ross Gay, W. Bruce Cameron, Leon Ford and J.D. Barker. New this year is a partnership with United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh. The free fest also offers activities for kids, including workshops, storytimes, and hands-on demonstrations. Registration is encouraged.

Attack Theatre
Photo courtesy of Attack Theatre.

Friday, May 12: “Some Assembly Required” at Lolev Beer
6:30 p.m.

Attack Theatre is not only reprising one of its crowd favorites, but it’s also moving the production to a nearby brewery. Merging movement, music and conversation, the collaborative experience invites viewers to help create the show. The event features music by Simon Cummings of Cello Fury and dance by Isabella Bergamin, Lydia Clinton, Miranda Nichols and Sarah Zielinski. Buy tickets.

Saturday, May 13: World Collage Day Extravaganza at the Morningside VFW
10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Put down that phone and pick up a pair of scissors. Cutting, pasting and community-building will merge as collage enthusiasts experiment with a variety of DIY and digital techniques and materials at Pittsburgh Collage Collective’s first-ever World Collage Day Extravaganza. The event connects makers across global borders and elevates a medium that “excels at bringing different things together to create new art forms and ways of thinking.” Tickets include lunch, workspace, activities, demonstrations and raffle prizes.

Christy Culp
Pottery by Christy Culp. Photo courtesy of Union Project.

Saturday, May 13: Mother of All Pottery Sales at Union Project
11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Pittsburgh’s pottery hub opens its doors for a day of ceramics, creativity and community in Highland Park. The region’s largest ceramic art sale is the ideal place to score a statement piece for your dining room table, a one-of-a-kind gift for Mother’s Day or a functional piece of beauty to enjoy every day. The indoor-outdoor event showcases 30 ceramicists, clay demonstrations and Raku firing. New features include the Early Bird Shopping Hour and Coil Pot Contest.

Photo courtesy of Pittonkatonk.

Saturday, May 13: Pittonkatonk at the Schenley Park Vietnam Veterans Pavilion
1-1 p.m.

Honk, stomp and cheer your way into summer when one of Pittsburgh’s coolest events turns 10 years young. Pittonk will fill the bucolic green space with merry-making, community-building and local acts alongside national and international performers. This year’s lineup spans euphoric music from Burkina Faso, Congo, Ukraine, Morocco and beyond. Honkers can fuel up with local food purveyors and the communal potluck.

Read more about the local music scene.

Saturday, May 13: Crash the Decks: Drummer vs DJ Battle at Spirit
7 p.m.

After a five-year hiatus, this one-night-only showcase of virtuosic skill and improvisational style returns to rock the 412. Be awestruck as the world’s largest drummer vs DJ battle happens right before your eyes. Hosted by Make Sure You Have Fun, the night features four pairs of DJs and drummers competing for the ultimate bragging rights. Buy tickets.

Etna Riverfront
Photo courtesy of the Etna Community Organization.

Sunday, May 14: Jazzy Brunch at the Etna Riverfront Park
10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Add some pizzazz and jazz to your Mother’s Day tradition. What could be better than savoring an outdoor brunch from La Gourmandine and Oakmont Bakery while listening to Brazilian jazz music performed by the Lilly Abreu Quintet? Even better is that by attending, you and your mom also be helping Etna raise funds for its future library. Buy tickets.

5 last-minute Mother’s Day brunch ideas in Pittsburgh

Sunday, May 14: Neighborhood Flea at The Stacks at 3 Crossings
10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Marking its 10th Burghiversary, the fab flea is like having dozens of garage sales all in one place. Pickers, thrifters and hagglers will love perusing everything from vintage goods and upcycled clothing to housewares, collectibles and artisan wares. Animating the open-air market will be live painting, food trucks, music and hands-on workshops. New for 2023 is a free booth for small business owners based in East Palestine, Ohio.

Find more things to do in Pittsburgh, including public events, live music and family activities, here.

Jennifer BaronEvents & Jobs Editor

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.