Top 10

Review our list of the 10 best things to do in Pittsburgh during this first month of 2014.




Call of the Wild

Ongoing
The flightless Guam rail disappeared from its eponymous island in the 1940s, chased out by an invasive tree snake. A flock of survivors lives at the National Aviary, where the birds are part of “Canary’s Call” with several other species. A hallway behind the Tropical Rainforest now hosts 178 backlit LED displays tracking encroachments into avian life by overpopulation, pollution, habitat loss, invasive species and overconsumption. Like the canary in the coal mine, our feathered friends offer warnings about the health of the planet. The highlight of the aviary’s permanent exhibit is a group of Malayan Flying Foxes (or mega bats).

[700 Arch St., North Side; 412/323-7235, aviary.org; photo by Chuck Beard]
 

Well Done

Jan. 11
Larry the Cable Guy
is known for saying “Git-r-Done” — which is apt when you consider what he has accomplished. First it was the iconic Blue Collar Comedy Tour and three certified gold comedy albums. Later, it was voicing the role of Mater in Pixar’s “Cars.” Now, he’s moved on to three seasons of the History Channel travelogue “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy” and a line of boxed dinners. Expect the sleeveless stand-up comedian to bring some class to this Heinz Hall Presents engagement.

[600 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/392-4900, pittsburghsymphony.org]
 


The Other Steve

Jan. 29
Here’s a theory: Everybody is part Steve Jobs and part Steve Wozniak; of course, those two are best known as co-founders of Apple Computer Inc. The Steve Jobs part wants to amaze and profit. The Steve Wozniak part wants to deliberate and assist. Wozniak built the Apple II, and Jobs built the company that launched the personal computing revolution. Most everyone knows what happened to Jobs, but Wozniak took a different route, devoting his time to creating technology and bringing it to elementary classrooms worldwide. He’ll describe this and more in his Pittsburgh Speakers Series talk, presented by Robert Morris University.

[Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., downtown; subscription required; 412/392-4900, pittsburghspeakersseries.org]
 

The Sound of Movies

Jan. 23-26
If you grew up after Watergate, John Williams probably composed scores for your childhood fantasies. The kids running around their backyards pretending to be in “Star Wars,” “E.T.” or “Harry Potter” hummed Williams’ movie themes, while the tykes using a broom handle as a vaulting pole found inspiration in his rousing Olympic Fanfare. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is devoting four nights to the Oscar-nominated composer with “The Music of John Williams” at Heinz Hall.

[600 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/392-4900, pittsburghsymphony.org]
 


A Walk on the South Side

Jan. 8-26
When Tami Dixon moved to the South Side, the actress/director was drawn to the neighborhood’s scraggly strength. Smelling an artistic opportunity, she spent years interviewing residents. The result is “South Side Stories,” her one-woman show of sidewalk vignettes — including bits from a former steelworker bragging at the bar and a Florida transplant acclimating to her husband’s hometown. The characters are vibrant in this popular production that chronicles an ebbing way of life.

[City Theatre, 1300 Bingham St., South Side; 412/431-2489, citytheatrecompany.org]
 

I’ll Drink To That

Jan. 23-Feb. 23
It seemed like a sign of the times when Stephen Sondheim announced that an upcoming revival of “Company” would turn the main character Bobby from straight to gay. The tale of a single guy juggling girlfriends in swinging Manhattan signaled a cultural upheaval when the musical debuted in 1970. A revision would recapture those vibes, but leaving the production alone frees the characters from cultural symbolism. Pittsburgh Public Theater is producing the original version, with such classic songs as “Being Alive.”

[621 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/316-1600, ppt.org]
 


Stuck Together

Through Jan. 19
With a yarn-bombed Andy Warhol Bridge and a giant rubber duck in the Allegheny River, Pittsburgh is getting accustomed to epic displays of childhood ambition. The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh picks up the trend with TapeScape, an indoor landscape made from lots of clear packing tape — 168 rolls to be exact. The result resembles a series of translucent black holes. Minnesota architect Eric Lennartson uses his interactive sculpture to introduce children to the possibilities for use of form and materials as well as the basics of engineering.

[10 Children’s Way, North Side; 412/322-5058, pittsburghkids.org]
 

Revved Up

Jan. 11-19
Our narrow streets and fierce possessiveness over curb space might make owning a recreational vehicle in Pittsburgh seem like an unimaginable luxury — but just consider the automobile a parking chair on wheels. With 8.9 million households on board, RV ownership is at an all-time high, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. The 2014 Pittsburgh RV Show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center brings together recreational-vehicle retailers, boat vendors and ancillary exhibitors eager to keep you from ever having to take another plane ride.

[1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd., downtown; 412/325-6074, pittrvshow.com]
 

Panther Lairs

Through Jan. 17
The Pitt Panthers football squad went 0-1 in its first season, losing to Shadyside Academy. It was 1889, nearly two decades before Western University of Pennsylvania changed its name to the University of Pittsburgh. It was also before the team adopted the noble panther as its mascot; experienced eight undefeated seasons; welcomed some of its legendary coaches and players; and moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference. The university is honoring the team with “Pitt Football: Through the Years,” a photographic history at Hillman Library.

[3960 Forbes Ave., ground floor, Oakland; documenting.pitt.edu]
 

Rock of Ages

Jan. 25
The Pixies
last came to Pittsburgh in 2005 during the triumphant early days of a profitable and now-legendary reunion. They arrive at the Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland this month looking more vulnerable; bassist Kim Deal left the band last summer, so Kim Shattuck of the Muffs is filling in on tour. The American alt-rock band also is promoting EP1, its first collection of new recordings since 1991’s “Trompe le Monde.”

[4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 800/745-3000, druskyentertainment.com]


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Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

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PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

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It only takes one person, one jagoff, one childish, attention-seeking, discourteous jerk to send a woo through PNC Park.
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The 412

5 Reasons PyroFest Will Light Up Your Memorial Day Weekend

5 Reasons PyroFest Will Light Up Your Memorial Day Weekend

PyroFest will also include live music, food, a Kids Zone and more.
8 Things You Might Not Know About Kennywood’s Jack Rabbit

8 Things You Might Not Know About Kennywood’s Jack Rabbit

When you compare what it cost to build the coaster in 1920 to what it would cost today, it's obvious Kennywood's owners got their money's worth.
Second New Restaurant Moving into Union Trust Building

Second New Restaurant Moving into Union Trust Building

The upscale seafood eatery is expected to open in late 2016 or early 2017.
Local Filmmaker Celebrates Pittsburgh Food

Local Filmmaker Celebrates Pittsburgh Food

Artist David Bernabo creates a series of films that track various aspects of Pittsburgh's food culture.

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Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

Six Pittsburgh Chefs Who Are Outstanding in Their Field

In addition to awarding Best Restaurant honors this year, our Independent Restaurant Review Panel also voted to recognize six chefs for their contributions to Pittsburgh’s culinary community in 2015.
Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

Citizen Artist: Vanessa German

German blends a collage of community activism and soul-searching artistry.
PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

PittGirl to Wooers: ‘Not Today Satan, Not Today’

It only takes one person, one jagoff, one childish, attention-seeking, discourteous jerk to send a woo through PNC Park.
Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Daytripping: Canonsburg is a City of Antiques

Nearby Canonsburg is a rare find for antiques collectors.
U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

U.S. Open at Oakmont: Will The Town Finally Be a Player?

The U.S. Open is returning to Oakmont — and unlike previous tournaments, this one could make the community a vital part of the action.
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On the Blogs


5 Reasons PyroFest Will Light Up Your Memorial Day Weekend

5 Reasons PyroFest Will Light Up Your Memorial Day Weekend

PyroFest will also include live music, food, a Kids Zone and more.

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Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

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All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

Richard DeShantz Plans Two New Restaurants at Salt of the Earth Building

DeShantz owns three other Pittsburgh restaurants and is about to open a fourth.

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Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

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Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

Highmark Stadium Pub Wants Your Attention

The in-house tavern at the Riverhounds' home stadium is now welcoming guests during weekdays. But is it worth a dedicated stop?

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Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Resurrected Penguins Writing Their Story Their Way

Resurrected Penguins Writing Their Story Their Way

These Penguins have been downright unrecognizable, individually and collectively, on the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

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Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Flip the Switch: Industrial-Style Lighting Made in Pittsburgh

Flip the Switch: Industrial-Style Lighting Made in Pittsburgh

An electrician by trade, designer Thomas Verscharen creates custom lighting out of repurposed pieces.

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Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The X-Men Would've Done Better in Wonderland

The X-Men Would've Done Better in Wonderland

Reviews of "X-Men: Apocalypse," "Alice Through the Looking Glass," "A Bigger Splash" and "Love and Friendship."

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Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Get with the (Wedding) Program

Get with the (Wedding) Program

Have you ever considered making programs for your wedding guests? If not, think again and get creative.

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The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

A Tiny House that's Big on Energy Savings

Spread out across the city for these upcoming events, including a “Tiny House” exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center displayed by the FIY Network.

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The hottest topics in higher education
Duquesne University to Host Small Business Networking Event

Duquesne University to Host Small Business Networking Event

The event will connect hundreds of small business managers and owners and provide useful information to help them take their enterprises to the next level.

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