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

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Check out three versions of the goal that sends the Penguins to the Stanley Cup final for a sixth time. (Hint) We think we saved the best for last.
Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Eighteen life-like, animatronic dinosaurs will spend the summer in the Steel City.
He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

In the 45 years since coming up with Mr. Yuk, Dr. Richard Moriarty, now 77, has met many grateful parents who told him he saved their kids’ lives.
Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Technological innovators present what could be “the next big thing” at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homewood.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

A small group of dedicated residents sees the restoration of their church in Tarentum as a window to the potential rebirth of their once-booming community in suburban Pittsburgh.
Remembering Henry Hillman

Remembering Henry Hillman

Reflecting on the impact of the businessman, civic visionary and philanthropist.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Check out three versions of the goal that sends the Penguins to the Stanley Cup final for a sixth time. (Hint) We think we saved the best for last.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Bartenders Give Back By Keeping Time

Pittsburgh Bartenders Give Back By Keeping Time

The Pittsburgh chapter of the USBG partners with Campari USA to create a calendar that will benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

The third outpost of local distillery Wigle, found in the Omni William Penn Hotel, is an instant destination for cocktail fans.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

A win will send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals for a second year in a row and re-write team history.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
If Only the Baywatch Team Could've Saved Us From Jack Sparrow

If Only the Baywatch Team Could've Saved Us From Jack Sparrow

Reviews of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "Baywatch," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

Pennsylvania native Jaclyn Jordan brings her newest collection to the Blanc de Blanc Bridal Boutique in Carrick.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Explore lavish homes and gardens with the West Allegheny Historic District’s annual Tour and Tasting, or go on the hunt for hidden treasure during The Great Mexican War Streets Yard Sale.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Explore Your Future with Point Park University

Explore Your Future with Point Park University

The university will host three summer workshops for high school students from July 17-20.

Comments