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Best of the 'Burgh 2010: Arts & Entertainment

Our editors pick the best of the best in Pittsburgh arts and entertainment.




Artspace 105, located in Homestead, features exhibitions of photography, sculpture, woodworking and mixed media.

Photo courtesy of Artspace 105

Best Band: Perfect performance by every member of a rock band is something we’re woefully unfamiliar with. But the members of 28 North—Mike Lindner, Alex Stanton, Jonathan Colman and Tyler Bond—are masters of their instruments, playing with furious, precise passion. The band’s unique sound often turns out like big ’60s rock mixed with gritty blues (think The Who going down South). It’s irresistible, infectious and infinitely refreshing. 28 North tours nationwide, but Pittsburgh iss home; they’ve become favorites of WDVE, having hosted the radio station’s Christmas party. Go to a show. Now. Concent info: 28north.net. — Sean Collier

Readers' Poll: Best Museum: Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., North Shore; 412/237-8300, warhol.org

Best Viral Video: When Snowmageddon rocked the ‘Burgh in February, most people waited out the storm on their couches, swaddled in Snuggies. But instead of hiberating like the rest of us, seven friends from Mt. Lebanon went “Pittsburgh Urban Skiing.” Led by Colin Sander, a 22-year-old film producer from Los Angeles who had returned home to Pittsburgh to work on the Russell Crowe film “The Next Three Days,” the crew grabbed their skis and a digital camcorder and set out to answer a simple question: “Can we ski down Mount Washington?” More than 100,000 YouTube views later, the answer is, incredibly, yes. Watch the video on YouTube. — Sean Patrick Conboy

Readers' Poll: Best Local Dance: Bodiography Contemporary Ballet Co., 5824 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/521-6094, bodiographycbc.com

fairmont pittsburgh

Photo courtesy of Fairmont   
Pittsburgh   

Best Opening Gala: It was a debutante ball for the youngest and fairest new hotel in town, Fairmont Pittsburgh. And she was dressed up for the big event: Guests stepped gingerly across a temporary walkway that resembled a garden under glass and then made their entrances into the stunning main lobby, which glittered amid a sea of champagne and ball gowns. The evening was rife with surprises: An Andy Warhol lookalike sat at the bar, trapeze artists twirled from the ceiling and a guided tour of rooms featured startled hotel guests (actors!) in bed or bathrobes. The international buffet was fabulous, but the miniature desserts stole the show. Guests left with a hot cup of coffee in a Fairmont travel mug and discovered a breakfast treat in their valet-parked car. 510 Market St., downtown, 412/773-8800; fairmont.com. — Betsy Benson

Readers' Poll: Best Movie Theater: AMC Loews at the Waterfront, 300 W. Waterfront Drive, Homestead; 888/262-4386, amcentertainment.com/waterfront

Best Unexpected Nightlife Combo: Duke’s Station, just outside of South Park, is a surprisingly fun spot any night of the week. Drink specials are generous, the food is cheap and there’s karaoke seven nights a week. This makes for an unlikely double-header on Mondays, though. Local comic Aaron Kleiber hosts a stand-up open mic starting at 8 p.m., leading up to the start of karaoke at 9:30 p.m. In practice, this means up-and-coming comics can bust out their favorite hits on a microphone they used to work out new material 30 minutes ago. Crazy fun. 5981 Baptist Road, Bethel Park; 412/835-0697. — S.C.

Readers' Poll: Best Jazz Venue: Cabaret at Theater Square, 655 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/325-6766,
pittsburghclo.org/cabaret

Best Sunset Picnic Spot: At the top of a hill of broad, sloping lawn at the Schenley Park Overlook, adjacent to the Schenley Skating Rink and Disc (Frisbee) Golf Course, people gather every warm night with blankets and lawn chairs for a spectacular combination of sunset and skyline. With an ideal angle of the sun setting behind downtown in the distance and the Cathedral of Learning and Oakland in the foreground, the Overlook makes for a picture-perfect stage. Bring your camera. Schenley Park Overlook, 1 Overlook Drive, Squirrel Hill; pittsburghparks.org/schenley. — J.W.

Readers' Poll: Best Local Comedian: Gab Bonesso, gabbonesso.com

Readers' Poll: Best Local Artist: Daniel Teadt, danielteadt.com

Best Underground Art Space: Shhh. Let me share a secret: Sometimes, the most engaging art galleries aren’t the ones with cheese plates and French wine. If you don’t want to be distracted by sterile hobnobbing and pretension, visit Artspace 105 in Homestead for exhibitions of photography, sculptures, woodworking and mixed media that brim with youthful energy and ethnically diverse subjects. 105 E. Eighth Ave., Homestead; 412-480-7246, steelvalleyarts.org. — S.P.C.

Readers' Poll: Best Classical Music Venue: Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave.; 412/392-4900, pittsburghsymphony.org

fort pitt museum

Photo by Chuck Beard   

Best Pitt Stop (and Start): If you don’t know about Fort Pitt (and its fortified predecessors) and the genesis of our history at the forks of the Ohio, then how can you understand our city and region? Fortunately, there’s the Fort Pitt Museum, which is the Pittsburgh 101 course for everyone, especially newcomers to the region. The museum reopened this spring with such familiar attractions as the incredible scale model of Fort Pitt and its environs, as well as refurbished exhibits and some new ones, too, making the point that everything old (even really, really old) can be new again. Point State Park, downtown; 412/281-9285, heinzhistorycenter.org. — Mike May

Readers' Poll: Best Pop Music Venue: Mr. Small's, 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale; 412/821-4447, mrsmalls.com

Best Place for a Halloween Party: The Evaline Party is not just the best Halloween party in town—it’s one of the most creative parties ever thrown. Hosted by the residents of 426 Evaline Street in Bloomfield, this one-night event converts an ordinary Victorian mansion into a thematic madhouse. In the past, the cellar became a submarine with a fully functional periscope, used to spy on people upstairs. A bedroom served as a mini-planetarium. And last year, the party found inspiration in 2001: A Space Odyssey and featured a full-sized replica of the movie’s space-pods. In the house’s expansive yard, there’s even a functional rollercoaster, homemade by the Evalinians. There’s only one hitch: The line to enter this party stretches around the block. 426 S. Evaline St., Bloomfield. — Robert Isenberg

Readers' Poll: Best Performing Arts Venue: The Benedum Center, 803 Liberty Ave., downtown; 412/456-6666, pgharts.org

pittsburgh banjo club

Photo by Chuck Beard   

Best Free Entertainment: The Pittsburgh Banjo Club gathers every Wednesday night around 8 p.m. at the Elks Club on the Northside’s Cedar Avenue. Where else can you find 20 or more banjo players strumming along to golden oldies like “Heart of My Heart” and “Carolina in the Morning?” This is not the five-string bluegrass banjo of “Deliverance” and “Hee Haw.” The Pittsburgh Banjo club celebrates the four-string banjo and a repertoire that goes from the Gay ‘90s through the Roaring Twenties. They’ve been entertaining audiences of all ages for more than 20 years in Pittsburgh and raising money for local charities. Wednesdays are supposed to be rehearsals, but it looks and sounds like too much fun to be work. The full band plays until 11 p.m., but stick around for an after-hours jam around the piano. Allegheny Elks Lodge #339, 400 Cedar Ave., Northside; 412-321-1834. — Chris Fennimore

Readers' Poll: Best Theater Company: Pittsburgh Public Theater, 621 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/316-1600, ppt.org

Best Eccentric Holiday Celebration: A Festivus Party requires three major rituals: First, the raising of a Festivus Pole; second, celebrants “air their grievances;” finally, they demonstrate “feats of strength.” Ever since that legendary “Seinfeld” episode, urban hipsters have thrown Festivus parties on Dec. 23. In Pittsburgh, this tradition is revived now and again—last year by the Scoot’n Yinzer Scooter Club and in 2006 by the Quiet Storm. It’s just the kind of weird, secular holiday that disaffected youth can get behind—even if the main activities are arm-wrestling, paper-football and lots of loud griping. If everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, then Festivus makes us all a little Costanza. — R.I.

Readers' Poll: Best Summer Festival: Three Rivers Arts Festival, artsfestival.net

leaf & bean pittsburgh

 Photo by Chuck Beard   

Best Place to Spend a Few Quiet Hours: You don’t need to smoke cigars or drink coffee to fall in love with Leaf & Bean in the Strip District. The vibe is so deliciously mellow and the space so wonderfully stuffed with an eclectic mish-mash of vintage décor that you’ll come for the caffeine but stay for the atmosphere. Best part: The air quality is reasonable, even when several customers are puffing away. If only Leaf & Bean had evening hours. The schedule varies, but most days, the shop closes by 6 p.m. If you use Google to find the establishment’s website, don’t be confused—several coffee houses around the country are named Leaf & Bean but have no relation to this Strip District favorite. 2200 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/434-1480. — Melissa Rayworth

Readers' Poll: Best Walking/Riding Trail: Montour Trail, montourtrail.org

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Celebrating 5 Pittsburghers Who Built Careers Behind the Bar

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How to Pamper Yourself in Pittsburgh

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Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

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Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

Andrew McCutchen: Thanks for the Memories

It's hard to overemphasize McCutchen's impact on the Pirates and its fan base.

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

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Downtown is booming as plans develop for yet another new apartment building.

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Reviews of "The Post," "I, Tonya" and "The Commuter," plus local movie news and notes.

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

The bar, which hosted a bizarre incident involving a top Steelers coach, is fine enough for the post-collegiate set.

Researchers and Pittsburgh Dad Agree - The ‘Man Flu’ is Real

There is now science to challenge the popular notion that men are wimps when sidelined by a cold.
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New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

New series ‘$1’ to be filmed in Pittsburgh

The mystery thriller is latest to cash in on the city’s filming opportunities.

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Andrew McCutchen: Thanks for the Memories

Andrew McCutchen: Thanks for the Memories

It's hard to overemphasize McCutchen's impact on the Pirates and its fan base.

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All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

Miss Pusadee's Garden? We Have Some Good News.

The Tongee family now operates Burgh Thai in Verona.

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Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Bitter End’s Chicken Dinner Fundraiser

Chefs Becca Hegarty and Rick Easton to cook comfort food to help Hegarty’s mother.

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Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

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Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

Meet the Winner of Our 2017 Cutest Pet Contest

The winner received the most votes among five dogs, four cats and a bunny.

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Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

Tequila Cowboy: Fine For Some, Apparently a Bad Idea for Others

The bar, which hosted a bizarre incident involving a top Steelers coach, is fine enough for the post-collegiate set.

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Five Essential January Events in Pittsburgh

Five Essential January Events in Pittsburgh

Country crooners, unsung pop icons, on-ice acrobatics and more winter warmers.

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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.
Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Steelers' No. 1 Problem Makes Others Pale in Comparison

Until they solve it, the Steelers are more of a Fantasy League team than they are a Super Bowl team.

Comments

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

Steelers Must Avoid ‘Captain Ahab’ Approach to the Jaguars

The Patriots are to the Steelers what Moby Dick was to Captain Ahab and that kind of obsession can backfire.

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The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

The Post is Quite Good, I, Tonya is Even Better

Reviews of "The Post," "I, Tonya" and "The Commuter," plus local movie news and notes.

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Documentary Week at Row House Brings Fresh, Invigorating Films

Documentary Week at Row House Brings Fresh, Invigorating Films

Reviews of "Rat Film" and "Big Sonia," plus local movie news and notes.

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Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

How to Make a Mt. Washington Wedding Proposal Even Better

A lot of grooms-to-be propose on Mt. Washington. Not many decorate beforehand.

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These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

These Elaborate Proposals Were Sure to Get a “Yes”

Thinking of popping the question? Take a note from these grooms-to-be who set the bar high.

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Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Former Art Institute Housing to Be Converted into Condos

Downtown is booming as plans develop for yet another new apartment building.

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Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Lesson Learned: How Design Changed a North Allegheny Classroom

Frustrated by his sterile white classroom, teacher Greg Geibel earned an A+ from students when he transformed the space into something resembling a modern coffeehouse.

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