November beckons with beer in a steel mill, a luscious chocolate bar at the Benedum, a 21st-century Festivus, and a hometown Harry Houdini.
1. Crafted at Contemporary Craft: November 4, 6 p.m.
We all have one—a favorite mug, bowl or vessel for enjoying a jolt of java, homemade soup, or for holding old pens. Inspired by everyday objects—and kicking off the holiday shopping season—Contemporary Craft invites you to slow down, sip and savor at its signature sale of handcrafted ceramic tableware. Showcasing culinary and ceramic arts, Crafted kicks off with a free reception featuring 29 talented ceramic artists and 100-plus pieces of fabulous and functional ceramics, Crafted features stoneware, porcelain, wheel-thrown objects and hand-built pieces, including works intricately decorated with etchings, drawings, glazes, and paint. Be among the first to peruse handmade tableware for sale, ranging in price from $35 to $800. Crafted is your chance to shop and consume sustainably, while reflecting on relationships between the food we consume and the objects that hold it.
2. Wings & Wildlife at the National Aviary: November 4, 5, 6
Creativity and conservation will soar to new heights at the Aviary’s Wings & Wildlife weekend. Spanning three days, the event kicks off with a Friday night opening soirée and benefit auction and continues with a two-day art show. Honorary artist is gifted photographer Dave DiCello, who is known to perch on rooftops, wade in icy rivers, or shoot from a moving helicopter—all to get that great shot. The Pittsburgh native—acclaimed for his striking views of city skylines, natural landscapes and wild animals—will unveil a new series of work documenting Colorado’s majestic Rocky Mountains. Emceed by Sally Wiggin, Friday’s kick-off features silent and live auctions, heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, strolling violinists, live folk music, and meet-and-greet opportunities with the artists. The avian affair continues with a juried exhibition of new work by 34 artists. You can meet the artists and shop for nature-inspired paintings, photography, jewelry, ceramics, and sculpture—with prices ranging from $10 to $2,000. Buy tickets.
3. Beers of the Burgh Winter Warmer at Carrie Furnaces: November 5, 4 p.m.
While Pittsburghers anxiously wait for the Beer Museum to open, we can all enjoy the next installment of this brew-tastic series. The blast furnaces may be silent, but come November, the Mon Valley’s titans of industry will be warmed by mouth-watering, seasonal offerings from 35 of Western PA’s top breweries. Think dark and malty, a hint of sweetness and a high ABV—in brews hailing from Zelienople to Lawrenceville. Amidst the iconic National Historic Landmark, the one-of-a-kind fest will showcase an unprecedented variety of inventive local takes on traditional, spiced, pumpkin and other seasonal ales all conjured by established brewers and new craft purveyors alike. Fill up your keepsake tasting glass, because proceeds benefit Variety the Children’s Charity, which supports kids with disabilities. Keeping the warmer vibes flowing will be live music by local reggae band Truth & Rites, and hot food truck fare from Pittsburgh Smokehouse, Voodoo Foodoo, Proper Brick Oven and Berlin Street Food. VIPers can beat the crowds and get first access to all the brews starting at 3 p.m. Buy tickets.
4. Houdini 100 at Liberty Ave. and Wood St.: November 6
Did you know that on November 6, 1916—the day before President Woodrow Wilson was re-elected—the one and only Harry Houdini performed his death-defying upside-down straight jacket escape high above downtown Pittsburgh as 20,000 onlookers watched in astonishment? Now we’re all invited to see history in the (re)making when nationally-touring magician Lee Terbosic attempts the same act at the identical location. Between 10 a.m. and noon, the 34-year-old Pittsburgh-based magician will be placed in his straight jacket by a special guest and lifted into the sky by Lomma Crane & Rigging. Named Magician of the Year by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities, Terbosic is a sought-after performer who’s entertained Hollywood stars like Johnny Depp and Aaron Paul, appeared on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and is beloved for his local Bamboozled show. Dubbed Houdini 100, the free event takes place in conjunction with the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler, and will feature music by DJ Scottro, remarks by Rick Sebak, and an after-party at Ten Penny. Run to see this one!
5. PGH Brewtal Beer Fest at Spirit: November 6, 2 to 8:30 p.m.
What do you get when you mix four breweries with four heavy metal bands? If you’re in Pittsburgh, you get Brewtal—the city’s first-of-its-kind beer and music festival. The heady brainchild of local husband-and-wife brewing duo extraordinaire Meg and James Evans—she’s at Rock Bottom and he’s with Spoonwood—Brewtal marries the couple’s passion for all things metal, punk and beer. Across beer-loving planet Earth, musicians are teaming up with brewers to forge frothy goodness, and Brewtal is here to put a Burgh spin on the concept. Collaborating to create Brewtal’s first run of unique limited-edition brews are: Vermithrax and Spoonwood, Greywalker and Penn Brewery, Natural Causes and East End Brewing, and World’s Scariest Police Chases and Rock Bottom. All four bands will also perform, and Brewtalers can enter to win a Beardly Customs bass guitar. Headlining Brewtal is Detroit-based band Child Bite, formed by guitarist/vocalist Shawn Knight. VIP ticketholders will be rocked by an exclusive set by Dethlehem—and will receive a meal voucher and festival t-shirt. Buy tickets.