Ohio River Boat Tour
Photo courtesy of Doors Open Pittsburgh.

What’s going on this week in Pittsburgh, May 15-21? Find out here. Visit each organization’s website and social media for Covid protocols. Know of a cool event? Email us.

Thursday, May 18: Momentum Festival of New Plays at City Theatre
Various times

Contemporary theater is gaining momentum on the South Side. The four-day festival features three staged readings of in-progress plays, a community story circle — and for the first time ever — a film screening. It’s a rare chance to get an inside look at the play development process. Kicking things off is “Bar Jokes Tales,” a one-man show written and performed by Martin Giles. Inda Craig-Galván’s imaginative play, “Berth Breach, Breach Birth,” follows “a pregnant large animal vet as she connects with one of her pregnant patients.” Tami Dixon’s “South Side Stories Revisited” invites audiences to share their own neighborhood experiences, while the documentary, “When My Sleeping Dragon Woke,” follows the creation of Sharon Washington’s world premiere, “Feeding the Dragon.” View a schedule and register for free.

POWER Purple Party
Photo by Rose colored Creative.

Thursday, May 18: POWER Purple Party at the Energy Innovation Center
6-9 p.m.

Pittsburgh’s first sober celebration is popping up in purple. Dance the night away and celebrate recovery with performances by DJ Femi, Colicchie, Element Dance and No Bad JuJu. Strike a pose on the purple carpet donning your regal purple attire, sip creative mocktails and specialty coffees and nosh on purple sweets. This year’s gala honors POWER CEO Rosa Davis and alumni. Buy tickets.

“Boys on Car on Easter. Southside, Chicago, Illinois,” 1941. Russell Lee. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Thursday, May 18: Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America at Heinz History Center
6:30 p.m.

Now open at the Strip District museum, The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition examines the guide that helped Black travelers navigate the country safely during segregation in the U.S. Developed in 1936 by Harlem postman Victor Green, “The Negro Motorist Green Book” provided African Americans with a directory of restaurants, gas stations and stores that welcomed Black travelers — including 30-plus businesses in Western PA. Go beyond the galleries with award-winning author and photographer Candacy Taylor, who will discuss her trailblazing book with Pittsburgh radio legend Elaine Effort. Buy tickets.

“it’s Okay to be Different.” Photo by Todd Parr courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Friday, May 19: EQT Children’s Theater Festival in the Cultural District
Various times

Where can kids watch clowns trying to drink a glass of water, meet a koala who has a loud case of the hiccups and make noise in a musical instrument petting zoo? Bursting with 50 free attractions, the 37th annual festival turns Downtown into a nonstop fun zone. Along with award-winning international theater, families can take in pre- and post-show activities, pop-up performances, craft stations, chalk and balloon art, and larger-than-life games. View a schedule and buy tickets.

Friday, May 19: Stop the Violence Black Tie Honors Gala at the Sheraton Hotel
6-11 p.m.

It’s a milestone year for Stop the Violence Pittsburgh, which celebrates one decade of producing Juneteenth events and year-round programs in Western PA. To add to the excitement, it’s also the 50th anniversary of hip hop, so the organization is bringing legendary Nola rapper and producer Mannie Fresh to perform. The festivities at the hotel’s grand ballroom will be packed with entertainment, dinner, speakers and awards, celeb guests and more. Buy tickets.

Millvale Music Festival. Photo by Scott Gacek.

Friday, May 19 & Saturday, May 20: Millvale Music Festival
Various times

Millvale is the place to be this weekend to experience 300 musical, comedy and spoken word acts across 26 stages. For its sixth edition, the community-centric fest is expanding to add yoga, wellness hubs, a Redfishbowl stage and a silent disco with beats from Attic Records and Pittsburgh Open Decks. There will also be food trucks, activities led by the Positive Painting Project and more. The free fest runs from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday and all day on Saturday starting at noon. Make a plan using the mobile app and view a schedule here.

Friday, May 19: New Works Showcase at Bill Nunn Black Box Theater
7 p.m.

After a three-year hiatus, Alumni Theater Company reignites its New Works Showcase to amplify the voices and experiences of young Black creators. Premiering bold multidisciplinary work presented by the company’s professional ensemble, the three-day festival explores “human connection viewed through many different lenses” at the organization’s new HQ. View a schedule and buy tickets.

Friday, May 19: Anniversary Party at Bottlerocket Social Hall
7 p.m.-2 a.m.

Head up to the Hilltop to help Allentown’s newest nightspot turn one year young. The birthday bash sounds like one for the record books with some of the club’s favorite acts spanning comedy, music and more. Featured performers include Speedy Ortiz, String Machine, Mekki Leeper, Rick Sebak, Formosa, Ron Mist and others. Buy tickets.

The Sleeping Beauty ballet dancers
“Sleeping Beauty.” Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Friday, May 19: “The Sleeping Beauty” at the Benedum Center
7:30 p.m.

Don’t miss Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s season finale when the company’s brand-new Artistic Director Adam McKinney stages and directs his first full-length ballet here. Considered the gold standard for classical ballet, the majestic production includes Tchaikovsky’s thrilling score performed live by members of the PBT Orchestra. Audiences will be enchanted by the updated version showcasing tour de force choreography, glittering costumes, immersive sets and romantic storytelling. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of the Allegheny County Parks Foundation.

Saturday, May 20: Park ’til Dark and Pour at the Park at South Park
7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Make it a doubleheader day outdoors as you help protect our county’s nine beautiful parks. Party from sun up to sun down while supporting the Allegheny County Parks Foundation. Start the day with sunrise yoga, take a tour of the South Park Theater Garden and join the park rangers for a stroll during the free daytime festivities. Stay later to cap off your Saturday with Pour at the Park, the foundation’s signature fundraising event featuring local brews and bites, music by Shelf Life String Band, and raffles. Buy tickets.

Saturday, May 20: Regent Square Yard Sale
8 a.m.

Why traipse around the region chasing down deals when you can visit the grandmother of all yard sales in one walkable neighborhood? This beloved event boasts sales at 100-plus houses, where residents cheerfully peddle goods of all kinds in their yards and garages. Visitors come from all over the area to stroll the tree-lined streets, browse for bargains and socialize with fellow thrifters. The event includes food trucks and specials at neighborhood businesses. Check the website for an event map. 

Saturday, May 20: Community Day at Contemporary Craft
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Spring is the ideal time to channel your inner crafter at this free community day. Check out live artist demonstrations, make your own work in the studios and join a scavenger hunt exploring the new “Self” exhibition. The festivities include snacks and a showcase of this year’s Teen Apprentice in Craft and Technology program.

Saturday, May 20: Secrets of the Ohio Boat Tour with Doors Open
11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Doors Open takes the “nebby” fun from terra firma to the rolling rivers. Hop aboard for their boat season kickoff to explore a seldom-seen stretch of the Ohio River. Led by engineer and bridge expert Todd Wilson and architectural historian Justin Greenawalt, the tour shares the secret history behind Brunot Island, Western Penitentiary and the river’s bridges. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Princess.

Saturday, May 20: “@1minworld” at The Andy Warhol Museum
8 p.m.

Pop culture, opera and social media will collide when Princess presents the world premiere of its “Instagram video opera cycle.” For the museum’s Sound Series, the interdisciplinary performing arts duo known as Princess (aka Alexis Gideon and Michael O’Neill) debuts the eye-popping “One Minute World” and accompanying vinyl LP. Juxtaposing brightly-hued bubblegum visuals with thought-provoking thematic content, the performance explores the “discontents of our social media age: filter bubbles, surveillance capitalism and shortened attention spans.” Buy tickets.

People doing Pilates excerises
Photo courtesy of Pilates Day Pittsburgh.

Sunday, May 21: Pilates Day Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Studios
8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

If you’ve been wanting to try Pilates, this is the place to start. Dubbed a “community celebration of movement as medicine,” the event brings together enthusiasts of all levels to experience the benefits of the popular fitness method. Spark Motion Body Studio, Pilates Method Alliance and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre team up to offer classes, workshops and demonstrations led by top area instructors. The event includes health and wellness vendors, raffles and classes for children. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Bradford Mumpower and Latika Sewell .

Sunday, May 21: Mini Greens 2 Opening Reception at the Carrie Blast Furnaces
12-3 p.m.
Experience the Carrie Furnaces site like never before when the National Historical Landmark is transformed by site-specific installation art. Join Rivers of Steel for the opening reception of a new large-scale project created by Bradford Mumpower and Latika Sewell. Learn about how Mumpower and Sewell disassembled and upcycled hundreds of yards of fabric into 1,500 tiny greens jackets. Strung like flags along a mile of cord through the site’s Iron Garden, the “mini greens” feature colorful decals depicting imagery from Rivers of Steel’s archives. Be among the first to see the evocative installation, chat with the artists about its meaning, and enjoy snacks. Register for free.

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

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.