Bonnie Pfister

It’s baa-aack: the contest for the National Hardware Cup makes a three-peat in Pittsburgh this year, with the regional competition returning to TechShop in East Liberty on Thursday, Feb. 21.

The contest is brainchild of Pittsburgh’s own AlphaLab Gear, a leading product accelerator, and TechShop, the nation’s premier “maker” facility providing tools and know-how for do-it-yourselfers. The AlphaLab Gear National Hardware Cup aims to find the top ideas in hardware (that is, tangible products, as opposed to software or services) across the nation. This year. teams will compete in Los Angeles, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, Washington D.C., Chicago and Austin, with the grand finale playing out here in Pittsburgh in mid-April.

The winning team in each city will take home $3,000 cash, a year-long license for 3-D design software SOLIDWORKS and other prizes. The national winner — which will be decided back here in Pittsburgh — will earn $50,000 from Startbot VC.

Watch six Pittsburgh teams make their four-minute pitches to local venture capitalists and hardware CEOs from 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 21 at TechShop. Admission is free, but space fills up quickly, so reserve your seat today!

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Looking for a job? ImaginePittsburgh.com‘s got ‘em — more than 25,000 open positions on our powerful, 10-county job search aggregator, updated nightly.

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On the heels of Zagat’s proclamation in December that Pittsburgh is America’s No. 1 food city, The New York Times recently weighed in:

“Everybody seems so young. And everybody’s talking about restaurants. If there are scholars who hope to study how a vibrant food culture can help radically transform an American city, the time to do that is right now, in real time, in the place that gave us Heinz ketchup.”

The full essay by Jeff Gordinier, “Pittsburgh’s Youth-Driven Food Boom,” is below and here (along with a photo slide show from Pittsburgh-based photographer Jeff Swensen).

PITTSBURGH — It hits you as soon as you get to town.

There’s the purple-haired free spirit at the Ace Hotel who gives you the lowdown on outlaw poetry gatherings and killer pizza. There are the art kids offering tips at the Andy Warhol Museum, and the tyro entrepreneurs strategizing over cocktails at the Tender Bar & Kitchen in Lawrenceville, the neighborhood along the Allegheny River that is shifting from a desolate zone where your laptop might get stolen to the place where butcher paper in the windows signifies a bumper crop of new restaurants. There’s the 25-year-old Uber driver who shoots you a crucial heads-up: “The best bartender in the world is working tonight.”

Everybody seems so young. And everybody’s talking about restaurants. If there are scholars who hope to study how a vibrant food culture can help radically transform an American city, the time to do that is right now, in real time, in the place that gave us Heinz ketchup.

In December, Zagat named Pittsburgh the No. 1 food city in America. Vogue just went live with a piece that proclaimed, “Pittsburgh is not just a happening place to visit — increasingly, people, especially New Yorkers, are toying with the idea of moving here.”

Kelly Sawdon, an executive with the Ace chain, said the company spent years trying to raise money to convert a torn-and-frayed Y.M.C.A. into a hip hotel because the “energy” of the city suggested a blossoming marketplace. Food, she said, has been the catalyst.

For decades, Pittsburgh was hardly seen as a beacon of innovative cuisine or a magnet for the young. It was the once-glorious metropolis that young people fled from after the shuttering of the steel mills in the early 1980s led to a mass exodus and a stark decline.

“We had to reinvent ourselves,” said Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh’s mayor.

And they have. Over the last decade or so, the city has been the beneficiary of several overlapping booms. Cheap rent and a voracious appetite for culture have attracted artists. Cheap rent and Carnegie Mellon University have attracted companies like Google, Facebook and Uber, seeking to tap local tech talent. And cheap rent alone has inspired chefs to pursue deeply personal projects that might have a hard time surviving in the Darwinian real estate microclimates of New York and San Francisco.

No one can pinpoint whether it was the artists or techies or chefs who got the revitalization rolling. But there’s no denying that restaurants play a starring role in the story Pittsburgh now tells about itself. The allure of inhabiting a Hot New Food Town — be it Nashville or Richmond, Va., or Portland (Oregon or Maine) — helps persuade young people to visit, to move in and to stay.

Recent census data shows that Allegheny County’s millennial population is on the rise. People ages 25 to 29 now make up 7.6 percent of all residents, up from 7 percent about a decade ago; the 30-to-34 age group now comprises 6.5 percent, up from 6 percent.

Years ago, local boosters proposed a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign starring a mascot called Border Guard Bob, who would dissuade young people from abandoning the city’s Rust Belt remains. “That has changed dramatically,” said Craig Davis, the chief executive of Visit Pittsburgh. He said the median age in Pittsburgh is 32.8, well below the national figure, 37.7.

That’s good news for tourism; 2,800 hotel rooms have been added in Pittsburgh since 2011. “We’re really using the food scene as a driver of that,” Mr. Davis said. “There’s a reason to come to the city.”

It is also good news for business and culture leaders who seek out young employees and customers. When job candidates arrive, the new wave of restaurants is brandished as a selling point.

“The food scene in Pittsburgh is actually responsible for our landing some best-in-the-world types of people,” said Andrew Moore, the dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon and a founder of Google’s first office in the city.

Google’s presence has since expanded considerably — and almost in sync with the restaurant surge. Pittsburgh’s mayor said the food boom had played a pivotal role in restoring neighborhoods, evidence of an “entrepreneurial attitude throughout the city.”

“Ten years ago, you had some visionaries, some young people who had a dream of owning their own restaurants,” Mr. Peduto said. “They took a risk — they really did believe the place had this amazing potential.”

One of those pioneers was Domenic Branduzzi, who opened a spot calledPiccolo Forno in the Lawrenceville area 11 years ago as a way to showcase the specialties that his family had brought to western Pennsylvania from Tuscany.

“I’m an O.G.’’ — an original gangsta — “in the neighborhood,” Mr. Branduzzi said on a recent afternoon as customers filled the cocktail bar atGrapperia, a second Lawrenceville spot of his, which was celebrating its first anniversary. “If I ever want to be transported to my grandmother’s kitchen when I was a kid, I taste one bite of the lasagna.”

In the early days of Piccolo Forno, Mr. Branduzzi was warned that Pittsburghers weren’t likely to take a chance on old-school items like rabbit or wild boar. “People thought it was crazy and that it would never sell,” he said. “And now I can’t take rabbit off the menu.”

Being shielded from crushing rent increases allows Pittsburgh chefs to take risks and cook the way they want to cook without constantly fretting about going under.

“Pittsburgh is the land of opportunity for chefs,” said Justin Severino, another Lawrenceville pioneer whose Cure, which he opened on a dingy stretch of Butler Street in 2010, has won national accolades. He’s got a second baby in Lawrenceville now, too — a brand-new Basque-style pintxos restaurant called Morcilla.

A veteran of the acclaimed Manresa, in Northern California, Mr. Severino, now 38, fled the Bay Area when he realized that he couldn’t even afford a beer and a sandwich with friends, let alone a vacation or a house. In Pittsburgh he saw the capacity for ownership, and change. “While the rest of the country was floundering, Pittsburgh stood on the gas and reinvented itself as a city,” he said.

This is not to say that creating Cure was easy. Lawrenceville still has its fair share of graffiti and abandoned storefronts, but “you should’ve seen that neighborhood five years ago,” Mr. Severino said. “I got to know the prostitutes who worked the corner. I got to know the drug dealers who hated my guts.” He was always calling the police; thieves broke into Cure repeatedly.

Through it all, he stuck to his philosophy: “I’m just going to do what I want to do without regard for what people say they want.”

Early adopters like Mr. Severino, Mr. Branduzzi, Sonja Finn of Dinette,Kate Romane of e2, and Richard DeShantz of Meat & Potatoes proved that chef-driven cuisine could flourish alongside steel-town fixtures likeTessaro’s and Primanti Brothers. The next generation is grabbing that message and running with it.

At Whitfield, the new restaurant inside the Ace Hotel, Brent Young, a native son who had helped build the Meat Hook butcher shop in Brooklyn, lobbied passionately for a job conceiving the whole-animal-fixated menu, and brought in the locally grown chef Bethany Zozula and the pastry chef Casey Shively to run the kitchen. Whitfield opened in December; reaction was quick and unexpected. “On New Year’s Eve, we had a line around the building,” Ms. Zozula said.

In the Strip District, the marketplace zone that Mayor Peduto referred to as “the heart of western Pennsylvania’s food culture,” Ben Mantica and Tyler Benson, two 20-something entrepreneurs who met in the Navy, are bringing the model of a tech incubator to the food world. Their Smallman Galley consists of four kiosks in which different chefs showcase their cooking for 18 months. The chefs pay no rent; the hope is that they’ll build a following and create their own restaurants.

Mr. Mantica and Mr. Benson see Smallman as a way to cater to the tastes of the young employees of Apple, Uber and Google who are starting to occupy new apartments in the area. “We’ve seen this huge demographic shift in Pittsburgh, and now it’s a matter of, ‘What do those people want?’” Mr. Benson said.

To the northeast of Smallman Galley, in Lawrenceville, the chef Csilla Thackray and the restaurateur Joey Hilty, both in their 20s, are trying to carve out their own slice of the marketplace with the Vandal, a casual restaurant that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Mr. Hilty grew up near Pittsburgh, and said he had plans to leave for New York or Oregon after college, but “I had too much debt. So I slowly figured out what my contribution would be to the city.” He is glad he stayed. Lawrenceville, he said, is “very youthful and it’s full of unbridled enthusiasm for this stuff.”

But there is ambivalence as well. Young restaurateurs know how gentrification works; they’ve witnessed it in Brooklyn and San Francisco. Rents rise. People get squeezed out. “We all see where it’s going to be in five years,” Mr. Hilty said. “The barrier to entry’s going to be so high.”

Ms. Thackray added, “It’s really cool — and then the bubble bursts.”

Like winning the lottery, being crowned a Hot New Food Town can complicate things. Despite his trailblazing, Mr. Severino has noticed how Lawrenceville’s newer inhabitants view him as something of a square. “Most of those hipsters hate me,” he said with a laugh. “They’ll go out of their way to tell me what a yuppie I am.”

Some of the more thoughtful leaders of Pittsburgh’s cultural youthquake find themselves vexed — worrying that the city they wanted to live in could turn, over time, into its glossy and expensive opposite, a place that evicts older residents and prices out younger ones.

“Look, I like good coffee, I like good bread, I like good food,” said Adam Shuck, 29, who writes an e-newsletter called “Eat That, Read This” and is developing The Glassblock, a web magazine about the city. “I’m torn. I love this stuff, and I’m not going to say I don’t. I welcome and applaud this changing Pittsburgh.”

On the other hand, “there’s also a part of Pittsburgh that has been left out of this excitement,” Mr. Shuck said in an email. “Poverty, food deserts and lack of opportunity and access in historically marginalized communities are big problems in Pittsburgh, and all of the praise and celebration can ring a bit hollow when you consider these realities. Nitro coffee and slow bread are not at the top of your list when you can’t even get to a grocery store.”

The present is exciting in Pittsburgh. The future? That depends.

“We just have to stay vigilant in how Pittsburgh’s redevelopment takes place,” Mr. Shuck said, “fostering the conversation and pressuring government and private capital to work together to do it right.”

If You Go …

Ace Hotel 120 South Whitfield Street; 412-361-3300; acehotel.com/pittsburgh.

Cure 5336 Butler Street; 412-252-2595; curepittsburgh.com.

Dinette 5996 Centre Avenue; 412-362-0202; dinette-pgh.com.

e2 5904 Bryant Street; 412-441-1200; e2pgh.com.

Grapperia 3801 Butler Street; 412-904-3907; grapperiapgh.com.

Meat & Potatoes 649 Penn Avenue; 412-325-7007; meatandpotatoespgh.com.

Morcilla 3519 Butler Street; 412-652-9924; morcillapittsburgh.com.

Piccolo Forno 3801 Butler Street; 412-622-0111; piccolo-forno.com.

Primanti Brothers 1832 East Carson Street; 412-325-2455; primantibros.com.

Smallman Galley 54 21st Street; 412-315-5950; smallmangalley.org.COMMENTS

Tender Bar & Kitchen 4300 Butler Street; 412-402-9522; tenderpgh.com.

Tessaro’s 4601 Liberty Avenue; 412-682-6809; tessaros.com.

The Vandal 4306 Butler Street; 412-251-0465; thevandalpgh.com.

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Pittsburgh has jobs: more than 20,000 across 10 counties. Tap into ImaginePittsburgh.com to explore southwestern PA’s trending careers and industries.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.

 

Out of the way, San Jose! Pittsburgh is No.1 in mulitple realms, as the world is hearing on a nearly weekly basis.

Pittsburgh is increasingly a destination of choice for people looking to advance their careers — in tech and otherwise — and build a great life in a hip, affordable region.

Trulia  + LinkedIn’s new Graduate Opportunity Index touts the region for its affordability and wealth of entry-level jobs and educated Millennials. Sales industry intelligence platform DataFox calls Pittsburgh one of the country’s top cities for startups, with an “ecosystem – anchored by its prestigious colleges and universities – helping to prove the city’s upper hand and competitive advantage to most Silicon Valley/New York-esque, fast-moving, consumer-focused entrepreneurial cities.” Plus our restaurant scene is awesome.

Cool jobs. Hot industries. Affordability. And more than 20,000 jobs open today across southwestern PA. You can explore them all here at ImaginePittsburgh.com, the region’s digital hub for information about hot careers, industries and employers.

NEXTpittsburgh

Powered by NEXTpittsburgh / Jennifer Baron

October rocks, with heavy hitters like VIA, Maker Faire and Reel Q, plus tacos galore, the cult of Lebowski, dogs in costume, and even some yinzer gore. It was a challenge to pick just 12, so check out our events section each week for more.

DogtoberFEST
Courtesy DogtoberFEST.

1. DogtoberFEST at The Waterfront: October 1

Whether you’re ready to add a canine companion to your clan or are looking for a festive fall outing for your favorite four-legged friend, head to The Waterfront for an afternoon celebrating all things canine (and some cats too!). Pittsburgh’s largest animal adoption event, DogtoberFEST will feature 64 shelters, breed-specific rescue groups and vendors. Attendees can meet adoptable dogs, shop for pet-themed products and doggie goodies at a specialty vendor market and bake sale, pick up resources from vets and trainers, and more. The free, outdoor festival will also feature live music by The Real Deal, search and rescue demonstrations led by Nosework, and a recreational enrichment trail for pups. If your dog loves to don garb, don’t miss the Pooch Pride Parade Costume The free furry fun is presented by the Coalition to Adopt, Rehome and Match Abandoned Animals and Robinson Animal Hospital.

Smithfield United Church of Christ
Smithfield United Church of Christ. Amy Cicconi Photography.

2. Doors Open Pittsburgh: October 1 & 2

If you’re like us, you’ve strolled the streets of downtown, looked up to spot a carved gargoyle, intricate spire, or green roof and thought to yourself: I wish I could go inside. Now you can. Swinging open the doors to some of Pittsburgh’s most iconic structures, this first-of-its-kind event features behind-the-scenes access at 40 downtown buildings—including historic landmarks and off-the-beaten-path gems. From private clubs to chic hotels—it’s your chance to experience Pittsburgh’s storied structures, rich architectural heritage, and diverse urban landscape. Peer into the magical “forever mirrors” at the Benedum Center, wander through the Allegheny Harvard, Yale and Princeton Club—originally built in 1894 as workers’ row houses—and explore ornate, early-19th-century masterpieces erected by industrialists like Henry Clay Frick. Inside the Flemish Gothic Union Trust Building, you’ll experience the awe-inspiring central rotunda, 10-story atrium and breathtaking Tiffany glass dome. Bask in the Beaux-Arts splendor of The Pennsylvanian, tour an aquaponics site and enjoy rooftop access at the convention center. Don’t just walk past quickly without noticing, look up and go on in. Download the event guide.

Pittsburgh Taco Festival
Pittsburgh Taco Festival.

3. Pittsburgh Taco Festival at Hop Farm Brewing: October 2

The city’s love affair with the small but mighty traditional Mexican dish will be on the front burner at the first of what we hope will be an annual affair. Bringing 20 top taquerias together, the highly buzzed about Taco Festival will feature everyone from Edgar’s and Round Corner Cantina, to La Palapa and Mission Mahi. Boasting one of the largest selections of tacos in the Burgh, the event will also feature a Chihuahua costume contest and a taco-themed mercado. Slinging the goods at Hop Farm Brewing—because nothing tastes better with tacos than beer—the festival offers two afternoon sessions with live music by DJ Mateo and Gavas Beat. The brainchild of Pittsburghers Craig and Bridget McCloud—self-professed taco lovers who operate Popsburgh, a food cart selling handmade Mexican paletas—the event celebrates the couple’s favorite handmade street food. Dig in for a cause because this tasty fest benefits Allegheny CleanWays’ mission to eliminate illegal dumping and littering. Buy tickets now because this foodie fiesta is expected to sell out.

UpPrize
UpPrize finals event. Photo: Erika Gidley.

4. UpPrize networking event at AlphaLab Gear: October 6

Have a grand idea and want to take it to the next level? UpPrize, the social innovation challenge created by The Forbes Funds with partners BNY Mellon and Bridgeway Capital, is back after its stellar debut last year. You’re invited to share your best and brightest solutions and help NEXTpittsburgh launch the latest round during this free networking event. Called “the networking event of the year” by AlphaLab Gear‘s Ilana Diamond, the night will feature great food, local craft beer, and the chance for citizens, cohorts, organizations, and others to envision solutions addressing two challenge areas: access to healthy food and innovative technology. Imagine yourself in a room packed with entrepreneurs, nonprofits, funders and techies—with every chance to talk social innovation and network for all you’re worth—and you’ve got the picture. Applications will be accepted between October 1 and November 30. Each challenge offers a $350,000 award. Finalists will be selected by January 2017.  This is close to being filled so hurry. Learn more about UpPrizeRegister now.

Aye Nako
Aye Nako from Brooklyn.

5. VIA Music & New Media Festival: October 6 – 9 at Ace Hotel

For four days Pittsburgh will be at the epicenter of experimental music and audiovisual culture. It’s fitting that for its 7th ambitious edition, the previously nomadic VIA Festival will make the city’s newest boutique hotel its flagship laboratory for cutting-edge audio and visual presentations. VIA and East Liberty have a collaborative history, with the festival popping up in its formerly vacant urban spaces and running an underground venue at 6119 Penn (RIP). The thoughtfully curated fest features 40-plus artists and 15 main events, highlighting unlikely pairings in sound, new media, performance and technology. Staunchly multi-disciplinary, multi-sensory and multi-format, the star-studded lineup brings together legends and legends in the making—several making their Pittsburgh debut—such as Cannes winner Giant, Rihanna collaborator Sam Rolfes, iconic rapper Rakim, and South Bronx pioneers ESG. Free highlights include a discussion with landmark black female artists, a master class with Brooklyn performance duo Fluct and a hands-on coding and digital drawing game titledExquisite Donut. What sets VIA apart in a sea of festivals? Its commitment to including local artists, and rich opportunities for attendees to be active participants in featured artworks. Projecting out from Ace, VIA also offers satellite events at non-traditional spaces such as pop-up galleries, theaters, libraries, universities and more. View a schedule and buy tickets.

King Cobra
King Cobra, Justin Kelly (2016).

6. Reel Q Film Festival at the Harris Theater: October 6 – 15

Get ready to strike a pose at Reel Q. Boasting standout performances from Madonna to James Franco to Isabella Rossellini, Pittsburgh’s annual presentation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cinema returns for its most star-studded festival in Reel Q history. Spanning film, television and Broadway, this year’s festivities bring 10 days of diverse programming to downtown’s Cultural District. We all know about the Material Girl, but what about the talented male dancers who performed with the pop icon? Reel Q kicks off with a bang, presenting the behind-the-scenes story of the dancers who performed with Madonna during her legendary 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour. Don your 1980s-era garb, because the film will be followed by a Madge-themed after-party at Bricolage. Reel Q wraps with a stellar pairing of Oscar-nominated actor James Franco and Golden Globe winner Christian Slater, who star in Justin Kelly’s 2016 film, King Cobra—a gripping true story about a murder scandal that rocked the adult entertainment industry. Reel Q also features themed shorts, French cinema, 20th-anniversary classics, a closing party and more. View a scheduleBuy tickets.

Pittsburgh Abides
Courtesy Pittsburgh Abides.

7. Pittsburgh Abides Big Lebowski Fest: October 8 at Spirit

In August, fans on all continents mourned the passing of David Huddleston, who played the title role in the iconic 1998 Coen brothers film, The Big Lebowski. Here to give 412 achievers their annual fix of the cult flick—while anointing new generations of Dudes—is Pittsburgh’s homegrown take on a quirky festival held around the globe. Slip into that beige bathrobe, mix up a White Russian and spew witty Dudeisms, when Spirit becomes a playpen for everybody’s favorite slacker. More than a movie screening, the 4th annual shindig is bigger than ever with two floors of Dudery hosted by charismatic artist Alexi Morrissey. Be an achiever as you play rounds of ear spitting, ringer toss and trivia, ride a zip line, and compete in a citywide scavenger hunt (bring them a toe by 3 p.m.!). Pitch your Lebowski sequel to actor/director Patrick Jordan, show off your dance moves in a competition judged by Attack Theatre’s Peter Kope and score under par in a mini-golf course designed by Pittsburgh artists. Wash it all down with classic rock performed by the F*cking bEagle Brothers and Charlie Hustle and the Grifters. Buy tickets.

Grindhouse Wetware
Courtesy Grindhouse Wetware.

8. Maker Faire Pittsburgh on the Northside: October 15 & 16

Where can you watch a robot sort trash and recyclables and witness a hand-cranked Gatling gun fire off 144 rubber bands? Dubbed “the greatest show-and-tell on Earth, Maker Faire lands on the Northside for two days jam-packed with wondrous exhibits, demos, performances, and activities—spanning every category under the sun, like the Internet of Things, Steampunk, gaming and more. Pittsburgh’s second foray into the Maker Faire phenom will flood Buhl Community Park, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and Nova Place with a melting pot of makers, tinkerers, inventors, techies and beyond. Equal parts science club, county fair and DIY confluence, Maker Faire brings together some of the region’s most inventive minds—from cutting-edge roboticists to kid inventors to commercial entrepreneurs. Delve into the fascinating world of biohacking, play a fun new lawn game handmade in Pittsburgh, and learn basic coding and animation techniques to customize your own Pokémon characters. Step into an augmented reality sandbox to create digital art and interact with colorful projections, topographic maps and photo portraits. View a schedule and buy tickets.

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

9. FUSE@PSO presents Bartók + Björk at Heinz Hall: October 19

Ready to meet the lovechild of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and Icelandic icon Björk? Musically speaking that is. The synergistic sonic results just may surprise you. If you missed the rousing debut of conductor Steve Hackman’s FUSE@PSOlast year, then you have three fantastic chances to catch the cutting-edge series when it returns. Boldly going where most symphonies don’t venture, FUSE pairs contemporary and classical masterpieces to forge bold musical hybrids. For its 2016 launch, Hackman will conjure a vibrant and evocative mashup of Bartók’s 1943 Concerto for Orchestra, and 11 striking songs from Björk’s seminal albums—DebutPost and Homogenic. The one-of-a-kind concert will showcase the vocal talents of Malia Civetz, Carla Kihlstedt and Kristin Slipp. With Hackman at the helm, the production will explore Bartók’s love of Western art music and eastern European folk music along with the eclectic vision of Björk, which spans pop, electronica, jazz and more. Arrive at 5 p.m. for a lively happy hour in Heinz Hall’s sublime garden, featuring specially-priced drinks, activities, snacks and mingling with the musicians. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and it’s open seating with drinks allowed. Buy ticketsPlease note: Due to the current PSO Musicians’ strike, concerts through October 27 have been canceled. For more information, please visitpittsburghsymphony.org and PSOupdate.com.

Wigle Whiskey
Courtesy of Wigle Whiskey.

10. Walkabout Apple Whiskey Weekend: October 21, 22, 23

Where can you bob for apples and drink them in your whiskey? Channel the spirit of Johnny Appleseed—who introduced apple trees to Pennsylvania—celebrate the fall harvest season and be among the first to taste Wigle‘s new cider-infusedwhiskey at this weekend-long festival. At Wigle‘s Strip District distillery and Northside barrelhouse, Walkabouters will sample the new release, sip autumnal cocktails, grab grub from food trucks, bob for apples, and take selfies with Johnny Appleseed. Free and family-friendly, the festivities will include presentations by the Apple Whiskey development team, apple-themed games with City of Play and live music by The Lonely Lights and Chris Hannigan. Created in collaboration with Chatham University’s Food Studies Program, Wigle’s newest concoction is a base of rye and wheat whiskey hand-blended from 15-gallon casks. Savor the robustly-flavored results for yourself as you enjoy this custom blend of hearty apple cider and subtle sweetness on a crisp fall day. For more whiskey, check out the Pittsburgh Whiskey & Fine Spirits Festival October 28 at Rivers Casino.

El Vez
El Vez, photo by Randall Michelson.

11. Night of 1,000 Elvises at The Warhol Museum: October 22

Warhol turned repetition into a global art phenomenon using everyday objects and pop icons. You’ll see much more than double at the museum’s signature fundraiser, back with a creative new twist riffing on one of the Warhol’s favorite subjects. Whether you prefer him as a guitar-slinging Army sergeant, rockabilly bad boy or 1970s lounge crooner, it’s not too early to start crafting your over-the-top Elvis ensemble for this glittery tribute to all things The King—and King of Pop. Channeling the Tupelo tornado will be the self-proclaimed “Mexican Elvis,” El Vez (aka singer-songwriter Robert Lopez), who has not performed locally since 1998. Attendees can get marked with Elvis-inspired temporary tattoos, swing their hips Memphis-style during DJ sets and shop for iconic Warholian wares. Elvises will have access to the museum’s seven floors, and will be the first to see the new exhibition, Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body. Featuring 200 artworks, the first-of-its-kind show explores Warhol’s focus on the human body—abstracted, tormented, sculpted and idealized—and delves into his personal struggles with physical appearance. VIPers will have access to an exclusive underground “Viva Las Vegas” lounge featuring casino games, unlimited drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Buy tickets.

Bricolage
Artwork by Joe Mruk, Red Buffalo Illustration.

12. Night of the Living Dead N’at: October 27 – November 12

Ever since the first zombie crawled out of a western Pennsylvania cemetery in George Romero’s 1968 seminal cult classic,Night of the Living Dead—literally spawning a new genre—Pittsburgh has nurtured a love affair with horror films. With the spooky season upon us, Bricolage is breathing new life—and death—into the cinematic classic, updating it with a raucous yinzer twist. Bricolage’s longtime fan favorite Midnight Radio Series returns to dish out a comedy-laden revamping of the flick complete with a contemporary “yinzerized” script adapted by the company’s producing artistic director, Tami Dixon. Paying homage to the Godfather of Zombies, the spine-tingling show will be augmented by the eerie live music of classical rock powerhouse Cello Fury. Via its trademark 1940s radio format, Midnight Radio will also showcase live Foley sound effects, commercial spoofs, and a dub over the film screening using Dixon’s clever script. For added gore, don’t miss the pre-show Happy Half-Hour and The Brains N’at Ball on Halloween. Buy tickets.

Check out more events every week in NEXTpittsburgh, including these coming up in October:

VIA
VIA visual artist Chris Coleman.

StepTrek in the South Side Slopes: October 1
Esperanza Spalding presents Emily’s D+Evolution at the August Wilson Center: October 7
Weird Reality Symposium at Carnegie Mellon: October 6—9
Quantum Theatre’s The River at Aspinwall Roverfront Park: October 7—30
Patti Smith lecture at Carnegie Music Hall: October 10 (sold-out)
Tig Notaro at Carnegie Library of Homestead: October 14
Pittsburgh Zine Fair at the Union Project: October 16
Third Thursday: EDEN at Carnegie Museum of Art: October 20
ReelAbilities Film Festival: October 20—November 2
Global Links’ Dia de los Muertos fundraiser: October 22
Hometown-Homegrown at the Heinz History Center: October 22

Looking for live music? Read our Everything you need to know about Pittsburgh concerts in October feature.

Looking for events for families and children? Check out our 10 great family adventures in Pittsburgh this Septemberfeature.

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Looking for a job? ImaginePittsburgh.com‘s got ‘em — more than 20,000 open positions on our powerful, 10-county job search aggregator, updated nightly.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.

ImaginePittsburgh.com

Uber’s driverless vehicles — the first to hit American roadways — have begun picking up passengers in Pittsburgh.

In a race with Google and Tesla to bring autonomous vehicles to market, Uber is poised to leap ahead thanks in part to the talented engineers that emerge from Carnegie Mellon University, Bloomberg News, Forbes and others have reported.

A few of Uber’s modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicle began appearing on Pittsburgh streets around Labor Day, with a fleet of 100 to be rolled out by year’s end. Cars in Pittsbugh will have safety drivers and co-pilots.

Uber began operating in Allegheny County in early 2014, and recently expanded service to several adjacent counties. In February 2015, the San Francisco based company partnered with CMU to create the Uber Advanced Technologies Center just off campus, foucsing on developing long-term technologies. The partnership includes collaboration between Uber and the National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville around mapping, vehicle safety and autonomy technology.

Check out the Bloomberg’s video here, and read the full article here.

 

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Pittsburgh has jobs: more than 20,000 across 10 counties, including at Uber. Tap into ImaginePittsburgh.com to explore southwestern PA’s trending careers and industries.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.

 

ImaginePittsburgh.com

RemakeLearning RallyRemake Learning Week concluded on May 13, with snacks and entertainment at PNC Park. Participants at the free event tried  out virtual reality gear, program robots that make art, designed and created doo-dads on a 3D printer, used circuitry and LEDs to bring jewelry to life, broadcasted their voices on internet radio and more.

Rally attendees also heard a recap of some of #RemakeDays panels, workshops and parties from the week-long Remake Learning Days, which featured more than 150 future-ready, hands-on, relevant and engaging educational experiences for kids and their families, caregivers and educators across the Greater Pittsburgh Region.

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Wondering about your career future? Check out ImaginePittsburgh.com to explore southwestern PA’s trending careers, industries and the more than 20,000 jobs open now on our custom-built aggregator, updated nightly.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.