Lou Castelli

Lou Castelli, Director of External Affairs for Pittsburgh Public Theater, shares his packed itinerary for the week of June 9th in NEXT Up.

I’m meeting Deb Bell, my marketing counterpart from the Pittsburgh Opera, to compare notes and hopefully come up with some cross-promotions for next season. I have been dying to try Gaucho Parrilla Argentina on Penn Ave. in The Strip, because I have heard nothing but great things about their food. Argentine barbecue sandwiches? Yes, please!

I am lucky to be having lunch with Scott Roller, another wonderful nonprofit marketing colleague (Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy) and one of my favorite people. We’re going to Noodlehead, on Highland Ave. in Shadyside. Their Thai is spicy and delicious, and their pork belly steamed buns have to be tasted to be believed. Yum.

Since my week appears to be all about eating way too much, I’m also going to make time post-work for a yoga class at Yoga Hive, on Penn Ave. in Garfield. The room is hot, the instructors are amazing, and body, mind & soul all get an ideal workout.

I’m going to be 50 today, so you better believe I’m going to celebrate. My fantastic work colleagues are taking me to lunch and for a stroll through the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. As far as birthday lunch goes, I was hoping we would go to Bluebird Kitchen for take-out to enjoy in Market Square. We’re regulars there and love the owner, Liz. The food at Bluebird is always fresh and fun. I’m praying for great weather so we can take it all in.

Birthday dinner is with my family at E2 on Bryant St. in Highland Park. E2’s atmosphere is so welcoming, it seemed like the perfect place to have a party.  Of course their food is the main draw. I especially enjoy the fried Brussels sprouts and the Gorgamess. I’m going to eat and drink enough to warrant a vacation day on Friday (and I’ll have a designated driver).

A vacation day means quality time with my best friend, T.J. He’s only five, but he’s great company. Yeah, he’s a dog – specifically a boxer/pitbull/who-knows-what-else mix. We’ll take a long walk in one of Pittsburgh’s gorgeous parks to start the day. His favorites are Highland Park and Schenley Park. I think the park system in Pittsburgh is one of the region’s greatest assets.

To get Pittsburgh Pride kicked into high gear, I’m joining friends to see the one and only Sharon Needles host and perform at Pgh Bro Club. The party’s at Cruze Bar in the Strip District, and DJ Edgar Um will make sure everyone’s dancing through the night.

It’s time for a little bit of work in the midst of all of the fun. But this is fun, too – it’s pre-show Saturday Brunch at the matinee performance of NOISES OFF at The Public: donuts, bagels and coffee (the perfect meal to enjoy after a night on the town, by the way) followed by an outrageous on-stage comedy. Sounds like a good Saturday afternoon to me.

That night, it’s the main event of this year’s Pittsburgh Pride celebration – Chaka Khan, performing at Pride on the Street on Liberty Avenue, Downtown. I’ll be there with my friends, taking in all of the sights and sounds, and celebrating a momentous year for equality in our community. There’s lots to be proud of these days, so this is not-to-be-missed.

What better way to wind down than another birthday party? My friends Tim Komen and Damian Ruyechan are hosting a brunch at their home, and when they entertain you know it’s going to be the cherry on the party sundae. I’m sure to be on the couch that evening, hanging with T.J., catching up on dvr’ed TV, and recovering from an action-packed week.

It’s back to reality and back in the office for me. I’ll need to stop by Espresso a Mano on Butler St. in Lawrenceville on the way into work to make sure I’m properly caffeinated and ready to face the week. I think they have the best coffee in town.

And if I’m smart, I’ll make it to the gym on the way home. My go-to for a great workout is The Fitness Factory on Highland Ave. in Shadyside. They’ve got the latest equipment, the people are friendly, and it’s always clean (which is so nice when you’re a neurotic guy like me).

Photo by  Elliott Mower.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / 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...