Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Jennifer Baron

1. Fun-A-Day Art Show at TechShop: Feb. 6 & 7

If you’re like us, you probably incorporate a daily ritual into your life: meditation, juicing or diary writing perhaps. But what about daily art? One homespun project has found the perfect cure for cabin fever—and a meaningful way to build community—through the simple, powerful act of making things. How’s it work? Each year during the month of January, local makers bond together via a creative challenge dubbed Fun-A-Day. That means participants choose one art project to work on every day for the entire month. This year, 60-plus industrious Pittsburghers heeded the call. You can see all of the creative results—from plush dolls and 3D printed objects, to poetry and tattoos—at Fun-A-Day’s culminating exhibition. A staunch grassroots ethos underscores the group’s inclusive welcoming mission: Fun-A-Day is always free, all-ages and un-juried. Now a worldwide phenomenon, the communal project has showcased tens of thousands of works by hundreds of artists in 20 cities around the globe. You can even follow along with this year’s Fun-A-Day artists online. Don’t miss the free opening reception on Sat., Feb. 6th from 6 to 9 p.m.

2. Alternative Souper Bowl at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: Feb. 7

Make time to rock out for a great cause before the big kickoff. Dubbed the Alternative Souper Bowl, WYEP’s signature twist on the football-centric traditions of the day is an all-ages event celebrating independent music and the spirit of giving back.  The free afternoon of live music (noon to 3:00)  at Carnegie Library’s main branch features performances by renowned percussionist and Rusted Root co-founder Jim Donovan, alt-country band City Dwelling Nature Seekers and indie rock quartet Lofi Delphi. Be sure to bring non-perishable food items and household products to donate. For its 16th annual installment, WYEP is joining forces with these local musical luminaries to help tackle hunger, with a donation drive benefitting HEARTH, a North Hills-based shelter that provides services to families experiencing homelessness and fleeing domestic violence.

3. Wigle Whiskey’s Spicy Soiree and Ginger Whiskey Weekend: Feb. 12, 13 & 14

Wigle-Whiskey_750There’s a new culinary sensation in town and you’re invited to its unveiling. If you’ve got a thirst for whiskey and a love of ginger, don’t miss the release of Wigle‘s much-anticipated Afterglow Ginger Whiskey—that means 900 bottles of sweet, spicy Pennsylvania exoticism. The festivities double as a terrific date with that someone special, with three days of ginger-themed fun spanning Valentine’s Day weekend. Get a first sip on Friday, Feb. 12th when the distillery teams up with Brooklyn Brewery to host Spicy Soirée, featuring exclusive Ginger Whiskey samples, spiced beers and tasty tacos from Smoke. Head to the free, family-friendly Ginger Whiskey Weekend Feb. 13 & 14 for ample samplings, Valentine’s Day card-making, DJs, ginger-inspired pizza from Proper and whiskey truffles from Mon Amiee Chocolat. Concocted locally from PA baby ginger grown at Chatham’s Eden Hall campus and The Frick Pittsburgh’s greenhouse—along with a custom blend of pot-distilled multigrain whiskey—Afterglow is brightly spicy, lightly sweet and gently warming. Read: the ideal antidote to frigid February nights.

4. FEAST and LOVE at Carnegie Museum of Art: Feb. 12 & 18

Museums are not just for art anyone. Thanks to an innovative new series spearheaded by Carnegie Museum of Art, visitors can now perfect their sun salute, curate their own private disco, dine with rock star chefs and more—all while surrounded by world-class art.

First, FEAST the night away on Feb. 12th when CMOA kicks off its adventurous new dinner series pairing art and food. Inspired by the current exhibit, The Propeller Group: The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music—which explores South Vietnam’s fantastical funerary traditions—the inaugural FEAST welcomes award-winning New Orleans chef Michael Gulotta who will concoct an epic menu fusing Vietnamese and Crescent City cuisine. The decadent dinner includes cocktails, hors d’oeurves, a family-style meal, and wine/beer pairings. Stay for the cool after-party to celebrate the Vietnamese Lunar New Year with Tết traditions, Vietnamese street fare (pass the Ban Xeo crepes!), music by Pandemic and Raya Brass Band, and performances by Gong Lung (Steel Dragon) Kung Fu and Lion and Dragon Dance. (note: patrons can purchase separate tickets to the after-party).

Next, reserve the third Thursday of every month to get social at CMOA. On Feb.18th, be bathed in LOVE and beats when local nightlife gurus Hot Mass and Pittsburgh Track Authority team up to conjure the vibe of an after-hours disco inside a 12th-century French cathedral. Head into the galleries to be serenaded by PSO chamber musicians, and nosh on bites in the new late-night café. NEXTpittsburgh is a media sponsor.

5. Michael Chow aka Zhou Yinghua: Voice for My Father at The Warhol Museum: Feb. 13

You know him as the brains behind the internationally loved Chinese culinary phenomenon Mr. Chow. Now get to know another creative side of the renowned restaurateur. Michael Chow aka Zhou Yinghua: Voice for My Father marks the first-of-its-kind exhibition for the prolific actor, designer and entrepreneur, who was born in Shanghai in 1939. The show’s title takes inspiration from Chow’s father Zhou Xinfang, one of China’s most prominent actors and a grand master of the Beijing Opera, who was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. Museum-goers will be among the first in the U.S. to see Chow’s debut solo exhibition, which includes vintage photographs of the artist’s father, new paintings, portraits by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Ed Ruscha and screenings of Fei Mu’s 1937 film, Murder in the Oratory. Hear Michael Chow speak about his legendary career, when the artist joins Associate Curator of Art Jessica Beck for a discussion on Feb. 9th at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. And check out The Warhol Store’s windows to see Exposures: Private Spaces / Public Personas, which features Jamie Earnest’s large-scale paintings of the private residencies of both Warhol and Chow.


6. Attack Theatre’s One Night Stand at the Ace Hotel Pittsburgh: Feb. 13

@2015 Craig Thompson Photography
@2015 Craig Thompson Photography

Pittsburgh’s newest boutique hotel will provide the perfect stylish backdrop for Attack Theatre’s latest creation—One Night Stand. Grab your sweetie, go stag or gather a group of adventurous friends and make a date with Attack Theatre this Valentine’s Day weekend. Enjoy a One Night Stand for the ages along with fellow dance fans, and party for a purpose in one of Pittsburgh’s most talked about new developments. Attendees will watch intimate performances by dancers Kaitlin Dann, Nile Ruff, Dane Toney, Anthony Williams and Ashley Williams and be roped into plenty of Attack’s cheeky interactive games. One Night Stand will also feature a full bar and sumptuous dinner from The Whitfield. The event marks a special homecoming for Attack, who performed in the former YMCA back in 2011. What to wear? The invite reads: “first-date chic” (we’ll leave the interpretation to you).

7. David Cross at Carnegie Library of Homestead: Feb. 18 (all ages)

Tired of hearing politicians slinging suspect slogans like “Make America Great Again” on the stump? Never fear, here to put his provocative and refreshing take on the clichéd phrase is acclaimed stand-up comedian, actor, writer and voice artist David Cross. Whether you love him best as Tobias Funke, on Mister Show or ranting at the mic, you won’t want to miss him when he rolls into cozy Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead. After five years off the road, Cross has just embarked on a 51-date nationwide tour bringing his latest stand-up sensation, “Making America Great Again!” to eager ears. If there’s such a thing as a rock star comedian, then David Cross would qualify. Celebrated for his standup work, the Emmy Award-winning performer has graced countless stages and screens, big and small. Named one of the “top 100 stand-up comedians of all time” by Comedy Central, Cross is known for incorporating wild skits, elaborate musical numbers, eccentric characters and pop-culture rants into his imaginative shows. In a word, hilarious.

8. Pittsburgh Winter Beerfest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: Feb. 26 & 27

It may seem illogical, but sometimes there’s nothing quite like a cold beer on a frigid winter night. How about 300 beers? Brew buffs will converge on the convention center for 225,000 square feet of craft beer goodness over two tasty nights. One the top 10 largest craft beer festivals in the country, the event will showcase the lovingly crafted libations of 100-plus local, regional and national breweries—all under one downtown roof. Beer aficionados and new tasters alike will enjoy unlimited samplings of fresh craft beers representing all styles from coast to coast. Featured brewers include everyone from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment and Salt Lake City’s Uinta to Pittsburgh’s own Full Pint, Spoonwood and East End. All good beer deserves good food and the 3rd annual Pittsburgh Beerfest has you covered with an array of food trucks and booths from local restaurants and purveyors. Imbibe for a cause, because all proceeds from Beerfest will benefit Animal Rescue Partners and Biggie’s Bullies.

9. The Q Ball at Fireman Creative’s Engine House: Feb. 27

Q Ball. Photo by Shanning Wan.
Q Ball. Photo by Shanning Wan.

If you’ve been lucky enough to experience a Quantum Theatre production, then you’ve had all five of your senses piqued—and maybe even an other-worldly sensation or two. For a quarter century, the local company has been redefining the live theater experience. Now prepare to have your sixth sense activated at the ever-quirky Q-Ball, setting up shop at the newly renovated Engine House in Point Breeze. Each year, Quantum’s founder and artistic director Karla Boos—winner of the 2015 Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Award—designs the signature benefit bash around a distinct theme and collaborates with local artists to make it all happen. Riffing on the suggestive theme of extrasensory perception, The Q-Ball will feature all-night grooves by DJ Nate da Phat Barber, live and silent auctions (trip to Madrid, here we come!), decadent sweets and drinks and plenty of dramatic nooks for taking those selfies. Grab VIP tickets to enjoy an exclusive lounge featuring catering by E2, performances by Geña and Alba Flamenco, tunes by DJ Selecta and creative libations.

10. Lights! Glamour! Action! at the David Lawrence Convention Center: Feb. 28

Forget Silicon Alley, call us Hollywood East. Thanks to the Pittsburgh Film Office, you don’t need to trek to L.A. to rock the red carpet for the Academy Awards.  Here’s your uber-glam chance to celebrate Pittsburgh’s booming role in the film industry with entertainment insiders, local celebs and more. Gala-goers will strike a pose for the Izzazu Glam Cam along Pittsburgh’s longest red carpet—362 feet to be exact—leading to all of the silver screen action. The 16th annual festivities will feature a live telecast of the 2016 Oscars on very big screens, champagne receptions, gourmet food stations, Brown Bag Raffles and live music by Steven Vance Strolling Violins and Renaissance City Choir. Don your own take on Dior or de la Renta as you vie for the chance to win a diamond pendant ($5,500 value) designed by Brilliant Nuevo Diamonds. All proceeds from Highmark Presents Lights! Glamour! Action! will benefit the film office, which has assisted with 135 productions and generated $1 billion in regional economic impact since 1990.

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Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Brian Conway

What is this, June? February is supposed to be a slow month for shows, but there are top-notch concerts all month long, from country to rock, hip-hop to jazz, and a lot of post-punk.

Kid Cudi. Photo courtesy the artist.
Kid Cudi. Photo courtesy the artist.

Kid Cudi

Friday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.

Stage AE – 400 N Shore Dr.

$39.50 adv; $42 d.o.s.

Kid Cudi’s last album, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, was something of a head-scratcher. It wasn’t as bad as, say, Lil Wayne’s attempt at rock (at least Andre 3000 liked this one), but between all the acoustic guitar and bizarre (if hilarious) sketches of Beavis and Butt-Head tripping on mushrooms, you can see why Pitchfork started their review of the album by asking, “Is Kid Cudi serious?” Still, it’s rare when a top tier rapper comes to down, so we’re willing to overlook this misstep in hopes of a killer live show.

 Sound Scene

Sound Scene Express Best of 2015 Concert, feat. Nevada Color, The Commonheart and more.

Saturday, Feb. 6 at  9 p.m.

James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy – 422 Foreland St.


Pittsburgh doesn’t have nearly as many music blogs as it deserves. Pittpunk has been on hiatus, Hughshows is scaling back in favor of a TV show, and the guy that did Pittsburgh Music Report has some other gig now. Fortunately, Sound Scene Express is picking up the slack–and then some. From concert photos, to album reviews, interviews and more, Randy and crew has Pittsburgh’s indie rock scene on lock. This year, their annual “Best of” awards is making the leap to IRL, with live performances from Nevada Color, The Commonheart, Ballon Ride Fantasy and Chase the Monkey, hosted by Danny Rectenwald, of Bastard Bearded Irishmen.

Tuesday, February 9. 7 p.m.

Cattivo – 146 44th St.


If you’re bummed that the Explosions in the Sky tour is skipping Pittsburgh, this Caspian gig is just what you need. That’s not to say that all post-rock bands sound the same, but those signature guitar swells work best in smaller venues, like Cattivo, where you can be completely enveloped by the sonic assault. The Massachusetts sextet is touring in support of their latest album, 2015’s Dust and Disquiet. Opening is O’brother, who you might remember as openers from when Minus the Bear played Club Cafe in late 2014. Here’s a taste of what to expect from Caspian:


Protomartyr, w/ Priests, The Gotobeds

Thursday, February 11. 9:30 p.m.

Brillobox – 4104 Penn Ave.

$10 d.o.s. (No presale)

If your eardrums aren’t already blown out from Caspian and O’brother, they will be after this one. Three of the best punk and post-punk bands in the country join together at Brillobox for an early “show of the year” candidate. Pittsburgh’s The Gotobeds will set the tone by blasting through 9 or 10 songs in about 30 minutes, at which point you’ll say, oh, that’s why that major label signed them. Then, from DC, it’s Priests, only 2 EPs into their career and attracting all types of hype, thanks to frontwoman Katie Alice Greer’s snarl and stage presence. Finally, the new kings of Detroit punk, Protomartyr, with a spoken-word delivery and wit as sharp and cutting as the guitar work. There’s no presale, so get there early to snag a ticket. Doors are at 9.
Stretch & Bobbito

Saturday, February 13. 9 p.m.

Round Corner Cantina – 3720 Butler St.

$10 ($5 w/ movie screening ticket)

Source Magazine called The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show the best hip-hop radio show of all time. Airing on 89.9 WKCR, out of Columbia University, Stretch & Bobbito was where many of the best MCs of a generation first gained attention, from Nas, to Big Pun, to Jay-Z and more. The pair are touring the country in support of a new documentary, Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives, directed by “Bobbito” Garcia. Catch the movie at Row House Cinema at 7 p.m., followed by a post-screening Q+A. Then, make your way over to Round Corner Cantina for the after-party, where the duo will join local DJs on the ones and twos.

Kurt Vile

Monday, February 22. 8 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.


Long before anyone really knew who Kurt Vile was, he started billing himself as “Philly’s constant hitmaker” as sort of a joke. Turns out the joke was more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. With his latest album, B’lieve I’m Goin Down, Kurt Vile is unequivocally a rock star. Vile performed lead single “Pretty Pimpin’” on The Late Show with J Mascis, then went off to perform in Europe and Australia for two months. The new album is softer than his previous album, the fuzzed-out Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze, but it has always been Vile’s lyrics – self-deprecating and tongue-in-cheek – that set the constant hitmaker apart from the pack.

Tuesday, February 23. 8 p.m.

Andy Warhol Museum – 117 Sandusky St.

$15 ($12 students/members)

From Chicago, Disappears performs dark, driving garage rock, reminiscent of Krautrock bands and Joy Division. The band will be performing two sets: The first set features their own material, including songs from their 2015 release, Irreal, and for the second set the band will perform David Bowie’s album Low, which they first recorded live at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in fall 2014. Pittsburgh native Noah Leger (formerly of the Karl Hendricks Trio) is on drums.


An Evening with Savion Glover and Jack DeJohnette

Friday, February 26. 9:30 p.m. (7 p.m. session sold out)

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild – 1815 Metropolitan St.

$27 – $52.50

Now for something different, Jack DeJohnette, one of the best jazz drummers of all time, performs with Savion Glover, one of the most well-respected tap dancers alive. DeJohnette was the primary drummer on Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, and he toured with Davis for a number of years before setting off on his own. The event page on the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild site promises “multigenerational phrasing of elevated frequencies that propels sound to the fourth dimension and beyond,” and a “journey of melodies extracting unprecedented and beautiful music living within two masterful souls.” Who can resist?


Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue

Saturday, February 27. 7:30 p.m.

Stage AE – 400 N. Shore Drive.


Sorry Carrie Underwood, but if you see just one country singer-songwriter in Pittsburgh this month, make it Kacey Musgraves. Probably the only musician to be on the cover of both Redbook and The FADER, Musgraves pens clever, classic country gems that fans of both Katy Perry and Loretta Lynn can enjoy. Her major label debut, 2013’s Same Trailer Different Park, won the Grammy for Best Country Album, and the follow-up, 2015’s Pageant Material, is nominated for the same.



Friday, February 27. 8 p.m.

Mr. Smalls – 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.


This show will be exactly one year and one week from the last time Ramble Jon Krohn visited Mr. Smalls. Since 2002, with the release of his first album, the instrumental hip-hop masterpiece Deadringer, RJD2 has never stayed complacent, remixing his musical style as often as most artists change labels. He’ll be at Smalls in support of his new album, the soul-heavy Dame Fortune, which won’t be released until March 25th. Here’s the first single off of that album, “Peace of What”:


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Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Viriginia Phillips

For her show at Concept Gallery, The Ordinary Sacred, featuring her famous Black Madonnas, Vanessa German led a foot procession from her Homewood studio to Regent Square where she recited her poetry and sang.

If you know Vanessa German, you know it was not to be missed. And if you know art galleries in Pittsburgh, you know they aren’t what they used to be.

Things have changed in the art world and buyers have more choice than ever in where they buy—not just on the Internet but at big shows like Art Basel in Miami which is attracting buyers of all kinds.

That might be why, more than ever, the local scene deserves your support. And why we’re presenting these four wonderful, long-established galleries in Pittsburgh that are well worth a visit, even if you’re not in the market to buy art. It’s a treat just browsing. And if you can take in a performance or art exhibit opening or a fun party, all the better.

David Lewin’s Samaki, kiln-formed glass and metal at Morgan Contemporary Glass.
David Lewin’s Samaki, kiln-formed glass and metal at Morgan Contemporary Glass.

Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery

Step into Amy Morgan’s jewel box of a gallery, the first in the region dedicated to contemporary studio glass, and marvel at the one-of-a-kind, stunning pieces made by glass artists.

In her beautifully arranged space on Ellsworth, you’ll find an astonishing collection, from majestic scale pieces to pocket-sized.

Among the space-dominating pieces: martial, somber-hued columns by American-born Czech artist Wesley Rasko. Equally powerful are curved basins in matte translucent peach, perches for dark sculpted birds and twigs by Hiroshi Yamano.

Midsize works abound for home or office. Consider textures: Cheryl Wilson Smith’s craggy folds mimicking rock or rosy coral and Jen Elek’s playful orbs in wet paint colors.

There’s a knitting project of glass yarn with needles, Jen Blazina’s frosted glass purses and picture frames with retro themes, along with Luke Jacomb’s pure-hued airborne birds—perhaps a flock—which can be screwed into a wall.

If you’re looking for a knockout gift, this could be the place, from teapots in all their anthropomorphic charms to tons of gorgeous jewelry in several media, not just glass.

Mark Leputa’s weighty, crystalline mortars and pestles in saturated colors—a lime mortar, say, with a cerulean pestle—would make a fabulous wedding present.

The Morgan Gallery opened in 1997, after a “try-out year” in Steve Mendelson’s gallery, when he was on a sabbatical in Paris. “Who knew from pop-ups then,” Morgan says.

Morgan, once the owner of a PR business and a former model, fell early for American glass art. Now a grandmother who was widowed three years ago, she’s a recognized expert and a major player in Pittsburgh’s enviable studio glass presence. The center of that scene is the highly-regarded Pittsburgh Glass Center which draws world-class teachers.

Her advice for collectors: “Buy what makes your heart flip-flop” and “If you love it, find a way to afford it.”

Drop in on Amy, Tuesday through Friday afternoons for a free education. She’ll coach you on how to choose work by artists who she thinks might be going all the way.

Flatbed collage by Steve Mendelson.
Flatbed collage by Steve Mendelson.

Mendelson Gallery

Lounging at his own dining room table, along with his affectionate cat and a primitive carving, is gallery owner Steve Mendelson, coffee cup in hand.

Behind him is a 1980s Keith Haring panel. “Haring spray-painted it on a construction wall enclosing the PPG site, and I rescued it,” he says. Below that is a similarly salvaged Man Ray poster. “I have tons of Haring and Man Ray,” he notes. And above dangle whimsical chandeliers, made by Mendelson.

A few steps down is a work by internationally renowned artist Louise Bourgeois, known to Pittsburghers for her Katz Plaza fountain and signature “eye-benches.”

Pittsburgh artists abound at this Ellsworth St. gallery, from 90-year-old wood sculptor Thad Mosely and 93-year-old architect and artist David Lewis to mid-career pop artist John Chamberlain and abstractionists Emil Lukas and Mark Gualtieri.

Boundaries melt between living space and exhibition space. “It’s all connected,” says Steve. “I don’t see art as a commodity. It’s a living work of art, an expression of art by an artist that is (often) a friend of mine. Most of my artists I’ve known for decades.”

In the small bathroom of the house he shares with longtime companion Toni Chiappini, art vies with construction clutter. Steve has called in chips from painter Mark Gualtieri, to help him install a spectacular shower stall they had to wrestle upstairs in pieces.

Steve, a lithe 64, has been switching out the contents of his intimate gallery/home for 40 years.

Early on and after dropping out of the University of Michigan after a year, he ventured to India where he drew on a gift for connecting with every sort of person. In Paris he ran a gallery for several years, paying the bills as a mime and street entertainer. He was colorful enough to be featured in Italian Vogue.

He is a maker—of flatbed photo collages like the one in the photo above—as well as a collector and consummate storyteller.

“I am always complaining,” he says, in a run-up to how the art world has changed. At its best, he says, a gallery “should be an enriching experience, letting people who want to buy art meet the artists, put their trust in the gallery owner’s expertise, and support both artist and gallery.

“If I hadn’t bought good art and put my faith in artists, I probably wouldn’t be in business today,” says Steve, who has exhibited Warhol, Mapplethorpe and Rauschenberg.

“Though I run things more as a private gallery now, I am open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I love to consult if people really have questions,” he offers. Call him on his cell at 412.654.7864.”

There is no charge for the stories, which are being assembled in a memoir. Ask him to tell you the one about dinner with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Warhol (“being his normal boring self”) and Margaux Hemingway, who drank so much he had to carry her down the stairs.

James Gallery


James Gallery in the West End Village is a beautiful modern space, encompassing two historic buildings with an adjoining outdoor sculpture garden, complete with a sizable pizza oven that is often put to good use. Owner James Frederick moved his gallery from Dormont in 2003 and renovated the turn-of-the-century horse stable with his partner, Gayle Irwin.

He has been matching art and clients for 40 years with a wide range of offerings by artists who exhibit widely and work in many media. Frame Foundry is part of the gallery, known for finding, framing and hanging art for corporate clients as well as residential.

The gallery is also known for great parties—from exhibition openings to the preview party for the International Jazz Festival this past year with renowned musicians wowing the crowd. “We try to look at art in a different way,” says Gayle, “pairing it with entertainment and music and food. It should be fun and educational.”

Concept Art Gallery

At Concept Art Gallery, a second-generation family enterprise owned and operated by Sam Berkovitz, you’ll find paintings by a dozen or more modern, established artists, many local.

Look for Vanessa German’s satirical figures of racial injustice, city views by Spanish artist Félix de la Concha known for One a Day: 365 Views of the Cathedral of Learning, a series that he painted every day during one year while staying in Pittsburgh, the knife-textured abstract oils of Pittsburgh’s Joyce Werwie Perry, and more.

Interspersed among the paintings are decorative arts pieces—furniture, silver and objets d’art.

Doug Cooper was featured in a recent exhibit at Concept Gallery in Regent Square.

A recent exhibit, Graphic Pittsburgh, featured three Pittsburgh artists, including Doug Cooper, CMU architecture professor, whose rollicking graphite murals feature a retro Pittsburgh, seen from on high.

What you see on the walls is only one dimension. Another way to explore Concept’s scope is to live-stream their auctions featuring contemporary or antique (prior to 1950) painting and sculpture, and furniture and jewelry.

“The auction is also a great way to buy furniture,” Sam adds. “Bids usually remain local since shipping is expensive. So people downsizing can sell extra household things. And those at the other end of things can outfit homes very reasonably.”

And while the gallery also offers museum caliber framing, sometimes the hardest part for people is hanging art they already have.

“People call all the time for that. Our art handler will help at $75 an hour. You can call and schedule an appointment.”

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Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Written by Jennifer Baron

After the last verse of Auld Lang Syne fades, it’s time to don an Elizabethan cape and learn to play Mölkky. A new year beckons, packed with everything from an urban recreational lodge to a silent disco.

Comedian Todd Glass
Comedian Todd Glass

1. Todd Glass at Arcade Comedy Theater: January 7 — 9

You might already know that Pittsburgh’s comedy scene is generating national buzz (see our recent feature to find out why). Whether you missed his sold-out appearance at last year’s Pittsburgh Comedy Festival—or you love his new book hilariously subtitled, A Bunch of Lies about My Personal Life and a Bunch of True Stories about My 30-Year Career in Stand-Up Comedy—you’ll want to grab tickets now to see Todd Glass. The Philly native—who got his start doing stand-up on Comedy Central—has attracted an international fan base via his popular podcast, The Nerdist Network, and stints on Tosh.0, Louie, Conan and Last Comic Standing.

Every Glass show is different, blending elements of improv, personal anecdotes and signature Glass witticisms. Packed with irreverent satire, explosive routines and plenty of squirm-in-your-seat audience interaction, Glass’s Arcade Comedy shows will be accompanied by Pittsburgh musicians James Rushin (piano) and Ross Antonich (drums). Make sure you’re in the audience for the hilarity, because Glass is working on new material for an upcoming comedy special to air in 2016.

Courtesy of Chatham Baroque
Photo Courtesy Chatham Barque

2. Chatham Baroque’s Twelfth Night Gala at The Ace Hotel: January 9

Can you say happy quadricentennial? Mark the end of 2015, the death of the Bard and Chatham Baroque’s 25th anniversary at one very chic and musical soirée. Don that “funereal cocktail attire” (think black netted chapeaus, sleek cloaks and wild wigs) and party like it’s 1599 at the group’s grand Twelfth Night Gala. For its 17th annual edition, the benefit bash adds a festive literary flair, paying tribute to the influence that William Shakespeare continues to have on the arts and culture since his death 400 years ago.

Kick off the winter night from 6 to 8 p.m. with a nod to Midsummer Night’s Dream during the VIP Oberon’s Feast catered by The Whitfield, followed by main event festivities from 8 to 11 p.m. Revelers will be treated to performances by Chatham Baroque and can bid on artwork in a silent auction curated by Jessica Beck of The Warhol Museum—all set against the backdrop of Pittsburgh’s newest boutique hotel. Performing locally and around the globe, Chatham Baroque features Andrew Fouts (baroque violin), Patricia Halverson (viola da gamba) and Scott Pauley (theorbo and baroque guitar) who bring technical prowess, period instruments and vibrant interpretations to 17th- and 18th-century music. Purchase tickets.

3. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: January 11 – 17

Courtesy Pittsburgh Restaurant Week
Courtesy Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

Zagat just named Pittsburgh a #1 food city and this is your chance to see why. For its winter installment, Pittsburgh Restaurant Week celebrates “New Dishes for the New Year” with a kickoff party on January 7th, preview weekend January 8-10 and 50-plus dining destinations spanning seven days and the entire city—from Paris 66 to Avenue B. Helping to boost the local restaurant economy during a slower time of year, diners will enjoy special multi-course menus, cleverly priced $20.16 specialty items and prix fixe meals from area eateries—all while experiencing Pittsburgh’s eclectic neighborhoods and taking in the city’s dining landscape without breaking the bank.

Highlighting Pittsburgh’s numerous and diverse dining options, PRW also brings residents from the city and surrounding ‘burbs together to stroll the streets and see what delicious new dishes are on our gastronomical horizon. Get a first taste at Pittsburgh Glass Center during the PRW kickoff bash featuring festive cocktails conjured by Prairie, free samples from participating restaurants, charity raffles and tunes by DJ Digital Dave. View a complete schedule and a restaurant map.

Photo by Bryan Conley.
Photo by Bryan Conley.

4. Third Thursdays: BOOM! at Carnegie Museum of Art: January 21

Have you ever wanted to curate your own private disco inside a Parthenon-like hall surrounded by historic sculpture, giant plastic casts and installation art? This month, thanks to Carnegie Museum of Art’s (CMOA) creative new Third Thursdays series, you can do all of this and much more. Teaming up with artists from Garfield-based BOOM Concepts, the Oakland destination will dim the lights, turn up the volume and keep the galleries open late for a night of music and merriment amidst the museum’s world-class spaces. And NEXTpittsburgh is a proud media sponsor.

A huge hit in Korea, Brazil and Japan, the wireless headphone clubbing phenomenon dubbed “Silent Disco” is making its way to the Burgh. Don a set of headphones, tune into a channel, choose beats by DJs Christo (of Wiz Khalifa production fame) and EyeJay and dance the night way throughout the museum’s ornate Hall of Sculpture. Be among the first to see the new Teenie Harris exhibition, Great Performances Off-Stage, and take an “unconventional gallery tour” led by Sean Beauford, Joi Rogers, D.S. Kinsel and Julie Mallis. In between grooving and gallery roaming, check out the museum café’s new late-night menu. Register now.

Elizabeth Rudnick, You’re Not Real, I’m Real.
Elizabeth Rudnick, You’re Not Real, I’m Real.

5. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District: January 22

For its first Gallery Crawl of 2016, The Cultural Trust’s quarterly showcase features a fun, free and jam-packed night of immersive art, music, performance, film and hands-on activities at 30 venues between 5:30 and 9 p.m. There are slew of art openings to hit, so we’ve got some not-to-miss highlights.

At Wood Street Galleries, Pastoral Noir features British artists whose immersive installations explore nature, haunted science and rural myths. Pop into SPACE to check out The Mountain and the Bumblebee, a group exhibit of contemporary art and poetry focused on the theme of landscape. At 707 Gallery, curator Sean Beauford presents Poison, a powerful look at relationships between drugs and urban communities, while Elizabeth Rudnick’s You’re Not Real, I’m Real uses cutting-edge and conventional media to explore anxiety and desire in the digital age. 709 Penn hosts Fran Flaherty’s Post-Erotica, which explores motherhood, along with Red & Green and Other Colors, an audio-video exhibit by Herman Pearl and Isabelle Strollo that dissects and distorts commercial images to reveal hidden mysteries. View a complete schedule.

Courtesy of The Rec Room
Courtesy of The Rec Room

6. The Rec Room: Winter Games at Spirit Hall: January 24

Winter Games

Move over Pyeongchang, there’s a new winter games in town. The perfect way to escape the cold, cure cabin fever and rethink Sundays (without having to trek out to Hidden Valley) is at this new bi-weekly, indoor game series cooked up by Weather Permitting, Pandemic, City of Play, Sweetwater Beer and Schell Games. For its inaugural edition at Lawrenceville hangout SpiritThe Rec Room features live music by Andre Costello and the Cool Minors and DJ Miss Mungo.

Games rotate each week, and will include unique parlor sports such as Bally, GaGa, Mölkky and Bucket Pong, plus new hybrid physical-digital games. Joust to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, steal blocks without getting caught in the light, scale the highest mountain around—which happens to resemble a sidewalk—and more. Enjoy music, beer, pizza and good-natured fun. You might even nab a cool award badge. While games are intended for adults, parents and children are welcome to attend together. Cost: $10.

FUSE@PSO. Photo by Wade Massie.
FUSE@PSO. Photo by Wade Massi

7. FUSE@PSO at Heinz Hall: January 27

Been hearing the buzz about FUSE but have yet to catch one of the hip hybrids at Heinz Hall? The fresh new can’t-miss series returns to kick off 2016 with a mash-up concert exploring American identity through music. The “Dean of American Composers” meets introspective indie folk when FUSE merges the sounds of Aaron Copland and Bon Iver. For its latest installment, series creator and PSO conductor Steve Hackman will reinvent Copland’s renowned 1944 orchestral suite, Appalachian Spring, alongside the contemporary music of Justin Vernon’s Grammy Award-winning indie folk group, Bon Iver. The unique sonic landscape of pastoral, textured and contemplative music will also feature the PSO and guest vocalists Avery Leigh Draut, Will Post and Keren Tayar.

Ramping up the energy will be a special guest appearance by Pittsburgh’s own Beauty Slap, who will perform special arrangements of their songs with the symphony and wrap up the night with their beat-and-brass heavy electronic dance music. The PSO is also debuting its new FUSE+ package offering select classical concerts and post-show experiences. Arrive at 5 for a happy hour in the tranquil garden, with pre-concert beats from local DJs, discounted drinks, snack fare and mingling with musicians and fellow music-lovers. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and is open seating with drinks permitted inside Heinz Hall. Check out Hackman’s blog to get a behind-the-scenes look at the conductor’s innovative artistic process and follow along as he develops upcoming concerts. NEXTpittsburgh is happy to be a media sponsor.  Purchase tickets.

8. Dada Masilo’s Swan Lake at The Byham Theater: January 30

Dada Masilo. Photo by John Hogg.
Dada Masilo. Photo by John Hogg.

Tchaikovsky’s 19th-century masterwork—one of the most popular ballets of all time—has been adapted by George Balanchine, inspired a Japanese anime flick and is the focal point of Darren Aronofsky’s chilling 2010 movie Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman. But on January 30th, ballet lovers will experience Swan Lake as they never have before. Reimagining the iconic ballet through a focused South African lens, the electrifying work showcases Masilo’s unconventional choreography and raw physicality, while frankly exploring intense emotions, scathing humor and issues of gender, sex, homophobia, apartheid and AIDS.

In Masilo’s world, the traditional and the contemporary collide, bursts of Tchaikovsky merge with African rhythms, a gay prince and barefoot male dancers in tutus populate the story and stereotypes are smashed. An explosive fusion of classical and African dance, the work showcases Masilo’s unique high-speed style while offering a refreshing new take on the venerated dance form of ballet. A star on the international dance scene, Dada Masilo grew up in the impoverished Johannesburg township of Soweto, studied dance in South Africa and Brussels and founded her own company in 2008. Contains nudity. Purchase tickets.

Courtesy of The Great Pittsburgh Spelling Bee.
Courtesy of The Great Pittsburgh Spelling Bee.x

9. The Great Pittsburgh Spelling Bee at The Irma Freeman Center: January 30

Quick, can you spell antediluvian? Dust off your dictionaries, brush up on those affixes and channel your inner Akeelah Anderson because The Great Pittsburgh Spelling Bee is back. A celebration of the age-old art of spelling words—before the days of Autocorrect and Siri—the homegrown bee is calling all wordsmiths and budding etymologists to join fellow language lovers for an evening of good-natured competition and community spirit. You’ll be spelling for a great local cause since all proceeds benefit the Gay and Lesbian Community Center and Irma Freeman Center for Imagination. Reviving the beloved pastime are organizers Mark Sepe and Erin Oldynski, who are also judging the bee along with Peter Kosloski.

Spellers will vie for a top prize of $50 while second and third place winners will receive special awards. With a sliding scale entry fee of $5-$10 for participants, this bee is accessible to all budgets. Have the chops to compete? Register as a speller today (note: the bee is primarily for adults, but all are welcome to participate). Not the best speller, but want to watch the fun? The event is free for audience members and refreshments will be served.

Courtesy of the Heinz History Center.
Courtesy of the Heinz History Center.

10. Yoi! Remembering Myron Cope at the Heinz History Center: January 31

Practice your best yoi!, double yoi!—and even a resounding triple yoi!—grab that Terrible Towel and head to the History Center to celebrate the life and legacy of the one-and-only Myron Cope. The Strip District destination is calling all Cope devotees to an afternoon of all things Myron. Learn all about this true Pittsburgh original during a multimedia presentation featuring rare archival material donated by Cope’s family and hear a talk by legendary New York Times sportswriter and Squirrel Hill native Murray Chass. Count down to Super Bowl 50 and honor the “voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers” on the heels of what would have been Cope’s 87th birthday. Event emcee is famed sports broadcaster Bill Hillgrove, who will share his favorite Myron Cope stories.

If you were a child in Pittsburgh during the 1970s and 1980s, you likely have the four short words “Myron Cope on sports” etched in your brain. Cope’s distinctive, inimitable Pittsburgh accent—heard ’round the world—was paired with a level of enthusiasm rarely seen in the broadcast booth. Along with names like Heinz, Strayhorn and Warhol, Cope is a larger-than-life figure beloved by locals and the Pittsburgh diaspora alike. Née Myron Sidney Kopelman in 1929, Cope attended Taylor Allderdice and Pitt and became the first football announcer inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. The event runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and is included with museum admission (free for members).

Because all good lists must come to an end, we give you our not-to-miss honorable mentions for January: 

Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.
Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

The Galaxy Ball at the August Wilson Center presented by True T Entertainment and The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force: January 16

Pittsburgh Speaker Series featuring Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Heinz Hall: January 20

Some Brighter Distance at City Theatre Company: January 23 – February 14

Architecture lecture by Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group at Carnegie Museum of Art: January 28

Cesar Millan at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts: January 28

Looking for live music? Check out NEXTpittsburgh’s 10 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in January feature.

Looking for family activities? Read its Top Family Adventures this January in Pittsburgh feature.

Bonnie Pfister

Christopher Heinz — heir to the famous ketchup fortune, son of a senator and stepson of a secretary of state — will move to Pittsburgh from New York City by fall 2016.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sunday that the 42-year-old investment advisor is house-shopping in the East End for himself, his wife and their children, ages 5 and 2.

Heinz told the newspaper that he wanted “a better life for my kids” in a city that “offers a lot of what I’m interested in: a financial sector, a nonprofit sector and great sports.”

Heinz was born and raised primarily in Washington D.C. where his father, H. John Heinz III, served as a congressman and U.S. senator for 20 years until his death in a small aircraft crash in 1991. Sen. Heinz was a noted philanthropist and environmentalist who played a leading role in bringing the Andy Warhol Museum to Pittsburgh. Chris Heinz’s mother, Teresa, later married John Kerry, a former U.S. senator who became U.S. Secretary of State in 2013. Both mother and sons were active campaigners during Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.

HHC resized
The Heinz History Center in the Strip District is just one regional venue where the ketchup-making family’s philanthropic legacy continues.

Chris Heinz and his brothers spent summers at Rosemont, the family estate in Fox Chapel (which played host to Michelle Obama and other international leaders’ spouses during the 2009 G-20 summit here). He visits frequently for meetings of The Heinz Endowments, one of the family’s charitable foundations. (Learn more about Chris Heinz in the P-G story here.)

In Pittsburgh as everywhere, the Heinz name is synonymous with ketchup. But through philanthropy, the family’s name has made a mark throughout the community, including the nearly-hundred-year-old concert hall that was saved from the wrecking ball in the late 1960s by preservationists and funders lead by H.J. “Jack” Heinz II (Chris’s grandfather). Jack Heinz helped drive creation of what is now called the Cultural District, a once-blighted area downtown Pittsburgh between Liberty Avenue and the Allegheny River. A generation later, it’s recognized by economic development experts worldwide for having set the stage for rehabilitation of the city core and providing vitality that draws visitors, inventive restaurateurs and, increasingly, residents.

Other examples of the family legacy include the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District (a Smithsonian affiliate), the public policy college at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh’s memorial chapel – a highly sought-after venue for weddings of Pitt alumni. Visible from North Side highways just up the Allegheny River from Heinz Field are several of the original factory buildings dating from 1912 that are now luxury loft apartments, as well as the original Sarah Heinz House, a Boys & Girls Club.

H.J. Heinz began with a horseradish recipe in 1869 in Sharpsburg, about five miles northeast of downtown. (Ketchup came along seven years later, according to the Heinz website.) The headquarters has been in Pittsburgh since soon after the company’s founding, although most of its local food production has been sold to other companies for more than a decade.

Pittsburgh is home to about 800 local employees of today’s Kraft Heinz Company, which resulted from the July merger with Chicago-based Kraft Food Group. The Heinz family is not involved in the business; Teresa Heinz Kerry sold most of her inherited stock in the mid-1990s.

As our friends over at PittsburghTODAY point out, southwestern Pennsylvanians in general have much to be thankful for this year. (PittsburghTODAY compares the region with  14 other U.S. metropolitan areas and regions in 11 quality-of-life categories.) Here are a few reasons to appreciate the region in which we live that they’ve highlighted, with links for additional information.

1. Safer than most

If being safe from crime is important – and who doesn’t think it is – then be thankful you live in southwestern Pennsylvania. Crime rates vary by neighborhood. But, overall, our region’s rate of major crimes is the lowest of the 15 regions PittsburghTODAY benchmarks. And be thankful you don’t live in Indianapolis, where the overall crime rate is 85 percent higher than ours.

2. A home of our own

Nearly seven out of 10 homes in the Pittsburgh region are occupied by their owners, giving Pittsburgh the second highest homeownership rate among our benchmark regions. Only Minneapolis has a higher rate. High Homeownership rates indicate neighborhood stability and correlate with higher levels of educational attainment.

3. And it’s worth more

Homeowners in the region have even more reason to give thanks—the value of their homes has risen consistently in the past 10 years. Pittsburgh has the second highest housing appreciation rate among our benchmark regions over that period. Only home values in Denver have risen more.

4. Fewer are impoverished

Poverty in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area fell over a year’s time from 12.8 percent of the population to 12.4 percent. That’s fifth lowest among our benchmark regions. While the national rate stood at 11.3 percent in 2000, even a short-term decline in the number of people living in poverty is reason to give thanks.

5. Good sports

Yes, we are. According to our new Sports Town Index, we’re one of the best sports towns of our benchmark region, ranking fourth when total team winning percentage, championships, franchise support and other factors are considered. And we’re closing in on Philly for third.

6. More money in our pockets

In the past year, the Pittsburgh region has had the largest year-over-year percent increase in average weekly wages of all our benchmark regions — extra money in the bank to pay for the turkey on the table or on Black Friday sales.

7. Good vibes

Pittsburgh has been bathed in positive vibes on Twitter. We have the fourth-most positive tweets so far this year among the 15 cities ranked in our Positivity Index, which measures such things. Yes, the ranking owes a lot to happy talk about entertainment and our sports teams. But it also reflects a relative lack of ill will toward the city and its people. And for that, we’re thankful.