Rusalka runs Sept. 17, 20, 23 and 25 at the Benedum Center. Photo courtesy of David Bachman Photography for Pittsburgh Opera.

The NEXTpittsburgh event guide is underwritten in part by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.

What’s going on this week in Pittsburgh, Sept. 12-18? Find out here. Visit each organization’s website and social media for changing Covid protocols. Know of a cool event? Email us.

Monday, Sept. 12- Friday, Sept. 16: United Way’s Week of Caring
Various times
Looking for ways to give back to the community? United Way’s Week of Caring is underway so roll up your sleeves and choose from hundreds of volunteer projects throughout five counties. A great way to help today is by volunteering at the Veterans Leadership Program’s Military Share Food Distribution from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Strip District.

Mon., Sept. 12: Compassion and the Natural Mind: A Meditation and Discussion at Phipps
9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
The shift into autumn is the perfect time to explore nature, healing and self-awareness. Offered virtually and in-person, the morning includes a guided meditation led by Buddhist monk Dr. Barry Kerzin — who has served as personal physician to the 14th Dalai Lama since 1988 — and a joint presentation with Phipps President and CEO Richard Piacentini. Donations will be accepted for the Altruism in Medicine Institute which is relocating to Pittsburgh.

Karim Nagi
Karim Nagi. Photo courtesy of Chamber Music Pittsburgh.

Monday, September 12: Karim Nagi at the Pittsburgh Playhouse
7:30 p.m.
Don’t miss this chance to see Egyptian musician and folklorist Karim Nagi when he opens Chamber Music Pittsburgh’s MainStage season. Blending instrumental performance and storytelling, Nagi shares the rich traditions of Arab culture at the organization’s new venue. Buy tickets.

Negroni Week
Photo courtesy of The Commoner.

Monday, September 12: Negroni Week in Pittsburgh
Various times
According to libations legend, it was invented in Italy in 1919, when Count Camillo Negroni asked a bartender to strengthen his favorite drink with gin rather than soda water. You have seven delish days to imbibe the richly-hued cocktail at local hotspots like Station, The PA Market and Scratch & Co. The Commoner gets creative with concoctions like Negroni for Nana, Serenity Now and What the Fizz? Sip generously, because proceeds support Slow Food.

Monday, Sept. 12-Sunday, Sept. 18: Pittsburgh International Literary Festival at Alphabet City
Various times
City of Asylum’s 10-day LitFest is underway with participants from 15 countries and cross-cultural programs exploring identity, marginalization and literature in translation. This week’s impressive lineup features Penobscot writer Morgan Talty, Woman’s Prize nominee and Pittsburgh-based author Angie Cruz (Dominican Republic), New York Times bestselling author Gary Shteyngart (Russia) and Neustadt Prize winner Dubravka Ugrešić (Croatia). Weekend highlights include a discussion about youth literature and the launch of the Pittsburgh Live/Ability e-book and audio anthology. View a schedule and register for free.

Steel Pulse
Steel Pulse. Photo courtesy of the Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival.

Wednesday, Sept. 14 & Thursday, Sept. 15: Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival at Highmark Stadium
Various times
For the next two days, the Burgh is the place to be for all fans of blues and roots music — from iconic to iconoclastic and everything in between. Featured performers include New Breed Brass Band, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Steel Pulse, Fantastic Negrito, Ranky Tanky, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Shemekia Copeland and more. Buy tickets.

Thursday, Sept. 15: Pittsburgh Opens on 6th Street
4:30-8:30 p.m.
Spend happy hour — and magic hour — at the Pittsburgh Opens summer finale. Spanning 6th Street between Liberty Avenue and Fort Duquesne Boulevard, the free block party features live music by The Bill Henry Band, food and drink service from Downtown eateries and gift card giveaways. You can even try axe throwing, play jumbo Connect Four and ham it up in the 360-degree selfie station.

Thursday, Sept. 15: The Big Remake Bash at New Hazlett Theater
6:30 p.m.
What began in 2007 when a handful of educators shared ideas about the future of learning is now a network thousands strong. Join Remake Learning to celebrate 15 years of innovative, engaging and equitable learning experiences for young people throughout the region. Reconnect with friends and colleagues, enjoy performances, audio-visual storytelling and participatory activities, and toast the next 15 impactful years. Register for free.

Mai Khoi
Mai Khoi. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Thursday, Sept. 15: “Bad Activist” at Pittsburgh Playhouse
7 p.m.
She’s been dubbed the “Lady Gaga of Vietnam” and now singer, artist and political activist Mai Khoi is presenting her world premiere, “Bad Activist” Downtown. Living in exile in Pittsburgh after her music was banned in her homeland — Khoi has received prestigious awards for her courageous defense of free speech and human rights. Audiences will be the first to see the fully realized multimedia production which tells the artist’s remarkable story and displays her extraordinary musicianship. Buy tickets.

Thursday, Sept. 15: Abdulrazak Gurnah at Carnegie Music Hall
7:30 p.m.
Next up to take the mic at Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures’ Ten Evenings Series is 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Abdulrazak Gurnah. His new novel, “Afterlives,” is called “a sweeping, multi-generational saga of displacement, loss and love, set against the brutal colonization of east Africa.” Buy tickets.

Samara Joy
Samara Joy. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival.

Friday, Sept. 16-Sunday, Sept. 18: Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival at Highmark Stadium
1-10 p.m.
Jazz fans have been counting down the days to the 12th annual edition of this locally produced festival. Highlights include two powerhouse legends of the jazz bass — 2022 NEA Jazz Master Fellow Stanley Clarke and three-time Grammy winner and Guinness world record-holder Ron Carter. With 14 shows spanning the many dimensions of jazz, the fest welcomes Nate Smith, Vanisha Gould, Buster Williams, Laurin Talese and many others. The action kicks off tonight with the Taste of Jazz Party at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. View and schedule and buy tickets.

Friday, Sept. 16-Sunday, Sept. 18: Oktoberfest at Penn Brewery
Various times

What could be a more perfect place to ring in beer month than Pittsburgh’s oldest and largest brewery?
Head to the North Side for this beloved tradition spanning two weekends. Pair award-winning German-style craft beers with Bavarian staples like wurst, potato salad, pretzels, pierogies and strudel. There will be plenty of outdoor patio seating and live bands all weekend.

Art on Fire
Glass Trash, Matt Eskuche, 2021.

Friday, Sept. 16: Art on Fire at The Maverick
6 p.m.
The temperatures might be starting to dip, but it’s always 2,000 degrees in the creative cauldrons at Pittsburgh Glass Center. The Garfield-based facility sets up shop in East Liberty for the first time for Pittsburgh’s only glass art auction with 100 one-of-a-kind objects — from glass trash to a glass octopus to glass jewelry. Get fired up to support the center’s free public programs. In addition to live and silent auctions, the unforgettable experience features entertainment and abundant beverages and bites. Buy tickets.

Friday, Sept. 16: 5Point Adventure Film Festival at 3 Rivers Outdoor Company
6 p.m.
Enjoy adventure films on the big screen and under the stars when 3ROC, ASCEND and SurfSUP Adventures join forces to present this outdoor party. Watch eight short adventure films, join the corn hole tournament, and get a sneak peek of ASCEND’s new Point Breeze location. Buy tickets.

Friday, Sept. 16: Whiskey Rebellion Dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe
6 p.m.
Whiskey runs deep in the roots of Western Pennsylvania. Hosted by the Bradford House Historical Association, this spirited soirée features whiskey flights, a sit-down dinner, whiskey rag, a silent auction and dessert. Buy tickets.

Friday, Sept. 16: Art in Conversation: Around the World, Across the Table at the Mattress Factory
6-8 p.m.
Three artists featured in the museum’s newest exhibition, Pop-Aganda: Iconography & Revolution, host a panel discussion moderated by cultural exchange professional Susan Katz. Curated by Tavia La Follette, Pop-Aganda is the fourth iteration of the museum’s Sites of Passage series. The casual conversation will continue over snacks and music by intc. Register for free.

HUMP Film Festival
Film still courtesy of the HUMP Film Festival.

Friday, Sept. 16 & Saturday, Sept. 17: HUMP Film Festival at Row House Cinema
7 p.m. & 9 p.m.
The steamy cinematic phenomenon is back and you won’t be able to avert your eyes when this 17th annual festishistic fest lights up Lawrenceville. With provocative titles like “Celestial Bodies,” “Cravings” and “Hornicopia,” this year’s lusty lineup of 22 brand-new films embraces all body shapes, ages, colors, sexualities, genders and kinks under the sun. Equal parts hot and hilarious, the sex-positive film fest is curated by relationship and sex advice guru (among other things!) Dan Savage. Buy tickets.

Friday, Sept. 16: Avant-Garde in the Classroom at Eberle Studios
8-10 p.m.
Experience the “wilder side of films made by, about and for children” at this screening of rarely-seen shorts from the 1960s and 1970s. Culled from the Filmmakers Cooperative archives, the celluloid selection includes movies directed by DeeDee Halleck, Yvonne Andersen, Doris Chase, Tippi Comden Norman McLaren. The free event also includes selections from Flea Market Films, refreshments and a discussion led by Olivia Devorah Tucker and curator Steven Haines.

Pittsburgh Urban Farm Tour
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Urban Farm Tour.

Saturday, Sept. 17: Pittsburgh Urban Farm Tour
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Get inspired by the urban farm movement during this self-guided tour of 12 local farms and gardens. Discover how these vital sites impact our food system, local economy and environment and see firsthand how urban farmers grow crops, mitigate pollution, provide access to fresh food, and convert disinvested areas into productive green spaces. Attendees will receive an informational booklet and interactive map. Ticket proceeds benefit the Urban Growers Scholarship Fund.

Saturday, Sept. 17: Beers of the Burgh’s Rocktoberfest at SouthSide Works
12-10 p.m.
Look out Pittsburgh, there’s a new brew fest in town. Take the quintessential elements of Oktoberfest — crisp fall weather, layered clothing (lederhosen optional), outdoor socializing, live music and fresh beer — add in local flavor, and you’ve got Rocktoberfest. Featured breweries include Golden Age, Cinderlands, Dancing Gnome, Mindful, Old Thunder, Pittsburgh Brewing and Arsenal Cider. Buy a Rocktoberfest stein to get 4 extra ounces with each pour! Buy tickets.

Film still courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Saturday, Sept. 17: Three Stooges Festival at the Harris Theater
7:30 p.m.
Get ready to ROFL with the trio who invented the term decades before there was a thing called texting. It’s a rare chance to watch six of the Stooges’ best short films on the big screen — and embrace these giants of physical comedy — including “Grips Grunts and Groan” and “Fright Night.” Join Larry, Moe and Curly for trivia, prizes and an audience poll. Buy tickets now to get a free kazoo to use throughout the festival!

Saturday, Sept. 17: “Rusalka” at Pittsburgh Opera
8 p.m.
Move over Ariel, it’s time for Rusalka to step into the spotlight. If you love the Hans Christian Andersen story or the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid,” you can’t miss Pittsburgh Opera’s first performance of “Rusalka” and the company’s first show sung in Czech. Running for four nights, the production kicks off the opera’s 84th season with Dvořák’s version of the popular fairy tale. Find out if true love prevails when a water sprite falls in love with a human prince in the opera featuring a libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil. Buy tickets.

Saturday, Sept. 17: PSO Opening Night Gala at Heinz Hall
8 p.m.
One of the planet’s most celebrated violinists returns to the Cultural District for one dazzling night. Violinist Joshua Bell will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” — along with works by additionla leading composers — for PSO’s largest fundraising night of the year. Buy tickets.

Sunday, Sept. 18: Polish Hill Arts Festival
12-8 p.m.
Moving to a new month, this grassroots arts festival is the perfect segue into autumn. Spanning Brereton and Dobson streets, the lively day features 30 artists in an eclectic marketplace, live music from 8 bands who call the neighborhood home and food vendors, including the pierogi grandmas from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. From the moment you see the cheery “Witamy Do” sign, you’ll feel the welcoming vibe.

Sunday, Sept. 18: Millvale Daze Hangover at Millvale Riverfront Park
4-8:30 p.m.
Call it a hair of the dog, a fond summer farewell or a chance to keep the energy of Millvale Days going. Unwind in the park for the inaugural Millvale Daze party with bands, drag performances, raffles, food and beverages. Proceeds from the family-friendly Sunday funday support Millvale Youth.

Ardal O'Hanlon
Ardal O’Hanlon. Photo courtesy of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh.
Ardal O’Hanlon. Photo courtesy of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh.

Sunday, Sept. 18: Ardal O’Hanlon at the Priory
8 p.m.
If you love him as Eamonn in Lisa McGee’s brilliant show “Derry Girls” and as Father Dougal McGuire in “Father Ted,” don’t miss Ardal O’Hanlon’s stand-up routine at the elegant Northside venue. Regarded as a “godfather” of contemporary Irish comedy, O’Hanlon is co-founder of Dublin’s groundbreaking Comedy Cellar and was the first Irish comedian invited to do a half-hour special on Comedy Central. Ticket proceeds benefit the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh.

For more things to do, check out our Weekly Event Guides and 13 Pittsburgh events you can’t miss in September, from the Carnegie International to Rocktoberfest. For live music, check out 22 best concerts in Pittsburgh this September from Elton John to Snail Mail. For family events, see Farewell summer: 10 September events for kids in Pittsburgh.

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.