October conjures sensations of leaves crunching underfoot, illuminated jack-o’-lanterns, spiked cider, and of course, pumpkin in everything from beers to lattes. Here at NEXTpittsburgh, October means 31 days filled with fall festivities—from zombies and zines, to two very cool dudes (read: Andy Warhol and Jeffrey Lebowski). Don’t miss these 11 Pittsburgh events.
1. Next 3 Days in Troy Hill: October 2, 3 & 4
You might know it for its steep hills, world-famous relics and stunning city views. One of the best ways to get to know the affordable, walkable neighborhood of Troy Hill is during the first-of-its-kind Next 3 Days (N3D) event. Join residents, business owners and Troy Hill Citizens, Inc. as they open up their vibrant community to the city for three days packed with food, art, music—and the still-a-bargain housing options.
The weekend-long festivities include a Friday night mixer at Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse and Garden, a free Saturday street festival and a Sunday welcoming Open House showcasing residential and commercial real estate opportunities. Highlights include local comedians Missy Moreno and Connor McCanlus–known as babyGRAND Comedy Duo–hosting a rousing and fun Bingo on Friday; and on Saturday look for the Tour de Troy Hill (yes, on bike!), tours of the world famous St. Anthony Chapel, a bake-off judged by Rick Sebak, live music by Brewer’s Row and Gypsy Band, children’s arts and crafts led by Assemble, lawn games at the GTech booth, food and drink from Scratch, Pear and the Pickle Café and Market, and Penn Brewery, a sidewalk sale and book launch at Spaces Corners and much more. Explore historic Troy Hill via interactive tours and activities (don’t miss the Self-ie Guided tour!), a live storytelling booth, photography exhibitions and live tweet interviews by Missy Moreno.
An innovative event series created by the URA, the Office of the Mayor of Pittsburgh and NEXTpittsburgh, N3D will spotlight Pittsburgh’s under-the-radar neighborhoods that are overlooked. Get the inside track on our neighborhoods and learn more about N3D here.
2. Pittsburgh Zine Fair at the Union Project: October 4
Still have copies of Flipside gathering dust in your attic? Looking to channel your inner maker this back-to-school season? Power up those xerox machines, reload those staplers and head to the one-of-a-kind Pittsburgh Zine Fair (PZF). For its fifth annual chapter, the PZF returns to the cozy Union Project to host an afternoon packed with pages of art, literature, hands-on ‘zine- and button-making activities and birthday party vibes. This year’s fair will feature 46 vendors, zine collections from Mr. Roboto Project and Carnegie Library, food and drink from Black Forge Coffee House, the Pgh Taco Truck and Randita’s and rocking sounds by WRCT 88.3FM.
See why print matters at this diverse gathering of local and regional artists, writers, activists, publishers and collectives who will sell, share and demo their creations. Don’t miss the kickoff mixer at Bunker Projects on October 3rd, featuring a preview of readings and performances by exhibitors. View a complete list of PZF vendors and a schedule here.
Want more zines in your life? Don’t miss Pittsburgh’s first Feminist Zine Fest, taking place October 15 – 18. The four-day fest will include a film screening, dance party, zine making workshops, vendors and readings at multiple locations—all celebrating feminist expression and issues. View a list of vendors and a schedule here.
3. FUSE@PSO: Beethoven + Coldplay at Heinz Hall: October 6
Ready to meet the lovechild of Ludwig van Beethoven and Chris Martin? Well, sonically speaking of course. Ninteenth-century symphonic sounds and alternative Brit rock will collide at the next installment of FUSE@PSO. A genre-smashing new series of early evening concerts conducted and conceived by Steve Hackman, FUSE@PSO presents re-imagined classical masterworks that honor their source music while also moving boldly in new sonic directions. (Trust us: the last one was sensational.)
Audiences will be treated to a never-before-heard hybrid featuring Beethoven’s legendary “Eroica Symphony” and songs from the Coldplay catalog, including material from A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002) and Mylo Xyloto (2011). Fans of both classical and modern music alike will experience the music in entirely new ways (read: remixing and mashups), and are sure to come away inspired. With the ever creative Hackman at the helm, the production will culminate with a stirring rendition of Beethoven’s “Finale: Allegro molto,” which will incorporate Coldplay’s 2008 single, “Viva la Vida.”
Arrive at 5 for a happy hour in Heinz Hall’s tranquil garden, with pre-concert beats from local DJs, drinks, snacks and mingling with the musicians. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and it’s open seating with drinks allowed. Tickets are only $30, so grab them now. Mark your 2016 calendars for the next FUSE@PSO concerts on January 27th and March 9th.
4. Pittsburgh Abides Big Lebowski Fest at Spirit Lodge: October 9
If you find yourself putzing around in a beige bathrobe, sipping White Russians or muttering out loud: “obviously you’re not a golfer,” then this is the event for you. Move over Mean Joe, Pittsburgh’s got a new hero and his name is the Dude. The region’s only Big Lebowski festival, Pittsburgh Abides will occupy Spirit to celebrate all things dude. Much more than just a movie screening–don’t freak out, it will be shown—the third annual shenanigans are expanding to include themed activities, lively contests and musical performances.
Ready to bowl? Be an achiever and compete in raucous rounds of trivia, ear spitting and ringer toss, take dance lessons and perform your “cycle” onstage. Don your best Dude threads and vie for prizes in cutthroat costume contests, and strike a slacker pose with the Knutsens. Co-star in your own beaver picture, take a thrill ride on a zipline and then peruse the merch table for collectible posters and t-shirts designed by Mike Budai and Commonweath Press.
Both floors of the Lawrenceville hangout will feature video projections and plenty of Lebowski-themed décor. Performing original renditions of CCR songs from the cult Coen Brothers flick will be a local supergroup featuring members of Bastard Bearded Irishmen. Rounding out the soundtrack will be Charlie Hustle and the Grifters and DJ Special Lady Friend—who will spin classic rock jams (read: not the Eagles, man!). Serving up the Lebowski libations will be Rock Bottom Brewery, Maggie’s Farm Rum and Spirit, while Steer & Wheel will sling their take on In & Out-style burgers, and the Second Breakfast truck will offer lingonberry pancakes and pigs in a blanket (natch). Purchase tickets.
5. Reel Q Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at the Harris Theater: October 9 – 17
Over nine days, The Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Festival—dubbed Reel Q—has a lot to celebrate as it turns 30 years young in the Cultural District. Boasting Pittsburgh premieres of top lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cinema, ReelQ30 features 17 full length-films and 3 shorts programs from around the globe—including Chile, India and South Africa–alongside a host of cultural and educational events.
Don’t miss the opening night party and screening featuring Malcolm Ingram’s 2015 documentary, Out to Win, which chronicles the history of groundbreaking LGBT athletes such as WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, baseball’s Billy Bean, basketball’s Jason Collins and tennis icons Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. A post-show Q&A will feature the film’s director, producer and crew. Afterwards, celebrate these iconic athletes at a sports-themed party at Bricolage. Reel Q wraps on October 17th with a special director’s cut screening of 54. The big screen tale about the storied 1970s NYC night club, Studio 54, and its colorful co-founder Steve Rubell (played by Mike Myers)—is told through the eyes of young bartender Shane (Ryan Philippe). After the flick, do the Hustle and don some chic Donna Summer threads at the disco-themed after-party at Arthur Murray Dance Center.
Show your pride for Reel Q at the festival’s 30th anniversary fundraiser on October 8th. Hosted by legendary SF filmmaker Peaches Christ, the fête will feature performances by Vinsantos, Janet Granite and Bambi Deerest followed by a screening of Joshua Grannell’s 2010 horror film, All About Evil, which features Orange is the New Black star Natasha Lyonne and John Waters’ ensemble member, Mink Stole.
6. Maker Faire Pittsburgh at Nova Place: October 10 & 11
Where can you operate a remote control cupcake launcher, listen to a four-string robotic slide guitar and learn to cook meals powered by the sun? Pittsburgh’s legacy is steeped in making and the best place to see the region’s next generation of DIY creators this month is at the inaugural Maker Faire Pittsburgh. Equal parts science fair, county fair and DIY confluence, Maker Faire will bring together some of the region’s most inventive minds—from tech enthusiasts and crafters to engineers and students.
Setting up shop at Nova Place—future home of Faros Properties’ $100 M redevelopment project turning Allegheny Center into a tech and innovation hub—the event will feature 200-plus makers, hands-on workshops and presentations, an artists’ market and much more. From coding to concrete, Faire-goers will participate in make-and-take activities using recycled materials, vinyl cutters and electronics, and will learn how to use 3D printers for customizing toys and accessories, and see student-designed robots that can play sports. See custom-built power wheels-sized race cars built by HackPittsburgh and check out small low-temperature engines that can run on body heat alone!
The all-ages festival of invention and creativity—one of 13 nationwide—will spill over into Buhl Community Park and the former Carnegie Library. Maker Faire will also showcase groundbreaking startups from around the region and include a Market @ The Faire featuring vendors selling locally made wares. Purchase tickets.
7. Hops & Hopper, Hopper Stories & Museum of Horror at Carnegie Museum of Art: October 10 & 29
High art, hops and horror will transform Carnegie Museum of Art into a savory and spooky October destination. If you have yet to visit the museum’s new CMOA Collects Edward Hopper exhibition, these are two fantastic reasons to get there.
First on tap is Hops & Hopper on Saturday, October 10th from 6 to 8 p.m. What better way to raise a glass to the renowned American painter Edward Hopper than with some of Pittsburgh’s top breweries. Art and beer fans will savor locally produced libations from seven brewers—served in collectible pub glasses featuring Hopper imagery—and will explore the artist’s iconic work in the galleries. Four Hopper etchings will adorn the pint glasses, which visitors can purchase at the recently expanded CMOA Design Store. After the hopfest, stick around for Hopper Stories, a screening of fictional films by Mathieu Amalric, Sophie Barthes, Dominique Blanc, Sophie Fiennes, Valerie Mrejen, Valerie Pirson, Hannes Stohr and Martin de Thurah. Purchase tickets.
Head back to CMOA on October 29th for an eerie edition of Culture Club. Not-to-miss at Museum of Horror is a screening of the 1922 cinematic classic, Nosferatu. Among the greatest horror films of all time, F. W. Murnau’s silent film adaptation of Dracula will be set to a live score penned and performed by guitarist George Sabol, who will lend his classical, modern, metal and gothic melodies to the striking film.
Then get ghoulish at the CMOA’s highly anticipated Halloween bash. Don a costume inspired by your favorite work of art and vie for prizes in a competition judged by the ghosts of Pittsburgh’s past. Monster Mash the night away with spooky tunes spun by DJ Zombo, snap pics with a life-size Nosferatu and sip witches’ brew if you dare. Become undead with the help of the talented make-up crew from Kennywood’s Phantom Fright Nights, and explore the museum’s galleries along with zombie tour guides from Hundred Acres Manor. Purchase tickets.
8. Night of 1,000 Andys at The Warhol Museum: October 17
Ready for your 15 minutes of fame? Don that silver wig, black turtleneck and round sunglasses—not to mention that deadpan stare—and strut over to The Warhol Museum for an enchanting Autumn night. This year the Northside museum’s signature annual fundraiser and community celebration invites the public to indulge in a festive Night of 1,000 Andys. Yes, that means you come as the inimitable King of Pop Art and enjoy exclusive access to the world-class cultural destination along with hundreds of other Andy acolytes.
Whether you prefer Andy as the serious 1950s art student, the hipper-than-thou 1960s cool cat or the maturing 1980s prep, you’re not going to want to miss this. Gala-goers will be treated to sets by DJ duo Neal Medlyn and Sophia Clearly of The Champagne Club, performances by Champagne Jerry and disco-inspired dancing in the Underground Studio 54. Andy attendees can sit for their very own Screen Test, visit all seven floors and shop for iconic Warholian items such as wigs and glasses.
Be among the first to see the museum’s brand new exhibition, Warhol By the Book, which runs through January 10th. A comprehensive showcase of Warhol’s prolific book work, the unique exhibition features 131 works including early student illustrations, commercial art, iconic Pop Art pieces, underground films, photography, manuscripts and more. Purchase tickets.
9. Pittsburgh Zombie Fest in Millvale’s Riverfront Park: October 17
The apocalypse might be televised. Ever since the first zombie crawled out of a rural western Pennsylvania cemetery in George Romero’s 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead—literally spawning a new genre—Pittsburgh has had a love affair with horror films. In fact, we often wonder of the zombie might one day replace the parrot, pierogie or panther as a local mascot.
Itching to join the walking dead? The best place to show off your scars and gather with your brethren is at Pittsburgh Zombie Fest. Gashes, gore and all, zombies of all ilks will occupy scenic Riverfront Park in Millvale—and we can think of no better setting for this convergence of creep than along the mighty Mon. Taking the zombie action right to the water’s edge, with dramatic river and city views, the outdoor setting will also provide the public with eerie views of the spectacle as thousands are zombies take over the park’s natural environs, pavilion and nocturnal surroundings.
Held in a different location each year, the fright night will feature six live bands, 50 vendors and ghoulish activities for the undead masses. Producers of the cult classic TV program, The It’s Alive Show, will be on site taping their 10th anniversary special featuring interviews with local zombies. As the sun sets on the city of champs, the undead will begin their annual zombie walk. Zombies are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
10. Margaret Atwood at Carnegie Library Lecture Hall: October 21 (sold-out)
Her brand new novel is not even out yet, but the internet has been aflutter since news of Margaret Atwood’s appearance first broke in late August. Those lucky enough to score tickets—the event sold out in seven hours—will be treated to a special evening at the 583-seat Carnegie Library Lecture Hall. A multigenerational audience of Atwood fans—including those who grew up reading her books, are reading them in modern American lit classes on college campuses around the world or those of us who borrowed our mom’s copy of The Handmaid’s Tale—will gather to hear the iconic author read from and discuss brand new novel. Set for release on September 29th, The Heart Goes Last (Positron), is called “a wickedly funny and deeply disturbing novel about a near future in which the lawful are locked up and the lawless roam free.”
Atwood, who has not appeared in Pittsburgh since 2005, is in town as part of Authors on Tour, new collaboration between Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that presents writers embarking on national publicity tours for new hardback or recent paperback releases. A book signing and wine & cheese reception will take place in Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s first floor reading room after Atwood’s talk. Ticketholders will receive a signed copy of Atwood’s new novel.
11. Global Links’ Dia De Los Muertos Celebration: October 24
Ready for a bone-shaking bash? The cervezas, costumes and candles will come out in full force for a great local cause at Global Links‘ Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. Celebrating the traditions of the Mexican holiday—which honors and remembers departed loved ones—the homegrown Dia De Los Muertos invites the public to party inside Global Links’ decked out Green Tree facility for an evening of food, art, cocktails and live entertainment.
The deadly details? Have your face painted Dia de los Muertos-style, sit for astrological readings with Judi Vitale and tarot card readings with Angel and enjoy spirited performances by Attack Theatre. Go full tilt playing fortune telling and haunted pinball machines from the Pennsylvania Coin Operated Hall of Fame and Museum, pop into the Selfie Studios booth to make memories and dance the night away to an all-vinyl soundtrack from DJ Wayne Smith. Revelers will dine on delicious Latin-inspired street fare from Edgar’s Tacos, La Palapa, El Burro, Gabrielle’s Empanadas, Mad Mex, Cinco de Mayo Salsas and Popsburgh.
Pro style tip: don’t even think about showing up in dull threads. Dig out that extravagant costume or bright frilly frock to celebrate the signature Dia de los Muertos colors (think: orange, red, white, yellow, purple or pink!). Proceeds from the seasonal and signature will benefit the Pittsburgh-based medical relief and development organization, which promotes environmental stewardship and improves health in resource-poor communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Purchase tickets.
Because all good lists must come to an end, we give you our 10 not-to-miss honorable mentions for October:
StepTrek on the South Side: October 3
Stoop City in Bloomfield: October 10
The Masked Ball: A Pittsburgh Fashion Story at Cavo: October 10
King Michael: A Glorious Tribute to the King of Pop at Hillman Center for Performing Arts: October 17
Hollywood Theater Halloween Party hosted by Joe Bob Briggs: October 17
ReelAbilities Film Festival at Rodef Shalom: October 22 – 29
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s season opener at the Benedum Center: October 23 – 25
The Westmoreland’s Grand Reopening Weekend: October 24 & 25
The return of the Evaline Halloween Party: October 31
Looking for live music? Check out our Sound Picks: 10 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in October feature.
Looking for family activities? Read our Top Family Adventures this October in Pittsburgh feature.