Five Essential September Events in Pittsburgh
Songwriter swan songs, stunning scifi and other September soirees.
Summer: A little overrated.
As much as fall sweaters and pumpkin everything are derided as basic, there is no season more insistent upon its own supremacy than summer. Oh, you enjoy when the weather is nice and the most things are happening? What a novel concept.
To the slightly curmudgeonly gadabout, however, summer is almost singularly defined by uncomfortably high temperatures and crowds. Unless you are wearing a bathing suit, a temperature around 65 is always preferable to one around 85. (Yes, you can still sit outside, that is literally the whole purpose of jackets.) And when those unimaginative sunseekers begin retreating inside their dens, the crowds at your favorite everything will thin out a good bit.
September is a good month, is what I’m saying.
“2001: A Space Odyssey”
Sept. 6-13, Rangos Giant Cinema
I’m a longtime Kubrick fan — not only have I seen his little-mentioned war drama “Paths of Glory,” I’ve seen it in a theater — who counts “The Shining” as my favorite film, bar none. (The latter film will hit the big screen again next month at the Manor Theater for a midnight show, by the way.) But I’ve never seen the director’s famed “2001: A Space Odyssey,” mainly because the time hasn’t felt right — a movie this lauded needs an event, right? I think my ship has come in: A new 4K restoration overseen by Christopher Nolan plays on the region’s biggest screen this month.
The slow, steady ascendance of Millvale — occasional floods notwithstanding — into a bona fide hipster neighborhood continues, as Lawrenceville’s cross-river cousin hosts another weekend of alluring events. The 2018 edition of the neighborhood-spanning Millvale Days once again features food trucks and, mainly, music; three days of main stage performances feature top local acts including Wreck Loose, Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors, Andre Costello and more. In this case, “more” includes what the fest’s poster describes as “A Super Special Secret Guest for Realz,” which is quite the promise. Let the guesses begin. I’ve got 10:1 odds on Willie Nelson.
“Last Dance” Closing Party
Sept. 15, Cruze Bar
The redevelopment of the Strip District is ongoing, with some camps celebrating new possibilities and others bemoaning the changes. An unintended consequence is the demise of one of the city’s most storied LGBT-friendly clubs, the vibrant Cruze Bar. A building sale (including the demolition of the bar’s physical space) has brought about the end of the line for the popular club, which will celebrate in wholly appropriate fashion: With a really, really big dance party. Hopefully the new Strip District will host a venue that can carry on Cruze’s legacy.
Sept. 17, PPG Paints Arena
A wave of farewell tours, from artists as divergent as Elton John and Slayer, has been passing over Pittsburgh this year. Word is that the unexpected death of Prince and Tom Petty has pushed older performers to declare an official end of touring rather than continue to push it into their senescence. Next up on the so-long train: Paul Simon, whose “Homeward Bound” farewell tour hits PPG Paints Arena within days of the tour’s three-night closing stint in New York City. While I can’t imagine Simon will cease to hold a guitar after September, seeing what could be one of the final touring dates from a legend of this caliber is not an opportunity to be missed.
The Great Race
Sept. 30, Downtown
Look, I’m going to level with you: This is on the list because I’m running it for the first time, and I need your support. I do highly suggest that you run it as well, as a winding path through the East End and into Downtown is a great way to welcome autumn with open arms; you’ll traverse a long path into the Golden Triangle en route to the finish line, as the city cheers you on. You should run. But if you don’t, you should definitely come out on the morning of and remind me that I’m not going to collapse.