Navigating an Impossibly Packed Weekend

Among the fantastic events taking place, I'll definitely check out the Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Oaks Theater's Moonlit Matinee series, and more. I also would love to, you know, find some time to eat.
oaks theater

The Oaks Theater, located in Oakmont, plays host
to the Moonlit Matinee series beginning Friday.

Photo by Kaitlyn Johnston   

I genuinely fear larger cities than this one.

Sometimes, this is for a legitimate reason, like memories of getting most of my worldly belongings stolen out of my car (like I did in Baltimore), or just plain aversion to the traffic and inhospitable layout of some cities (like Philadelphia).

Occasionally you get to a bigger city and find that you can no longer afford anything (NYC), and, sometimes, the culture seems surprisingly foreign (Los Angeles). Sometimes, there are just too many hipsters (Washington, D.C.).

But mainly, it’s this: there is more than enough to fill one’s time, every day, right here at home. I could never do everything I want to do in Pittsburgh. Why bother switching to a city where there’s even more stuff I’ll never do? I’ve still got plenty of home left to cover.

Yes, this is partially a rationalization as a result of a low vacation budget, but seriously—there is a ton do around these parts. This week, for example, I’m struggling to fit everything in.

I know that I’ll be heading to the Three Rivers Arts Festival at least once this weekend because there’s no way I’m going to miss the set by Tom Tom Club on Saturday night. The funky, genre bending outfit grew as an extension of the incomparable Talking Heads in the mid-80’s, and influenced everything from pop to hip-hop to alternative in a profound way. I can’t think of a better band to bring a feel-good party to the Point, especially paired with the awesome food, omnipresent art, and constant general revelry of the festival. Dollar Bank Stage, Point State Park near Commonwealth Place, downtown. Saturday, 7:45 p.m. Free. Info:

And I’ll definitely be heading out to the fabulous Oaks Theater. This will be my first trip to this year’s Moonlit Matinee series, the annual collection of cult favorites, blockbusters of the past and generally fun flicks that the Oaks trots out late Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer. This weekend is David Lynch’s tremendous Mulholland Drive—simultaneously his most mind-bending film and, in many ways, his most accessible. It’s now 10 years old and worth a second look. I’m a huge Lynch fan, and his films work best in the theater. There’s just something about being trapped in the dark that’s really fantastic when it comes to the bizarre auteur. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to catch Mulholland Drive on the big screen. Oaks Theater, 310 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont. Friday, 10 p.m, and Saturday, midnight. $8; students and seniors, $6. Info: 412/828-6322,

I’ve also gotta eat, a fact which rarely escapes me. And I just can’t stop going to NOLA on the Square, the fantastic Cajun oasis in the middle of Market Square. I am very much not a food writer, but if I were, most of my columns would be about how everything is better with a little creole in the mix. As such, NOLA is instantly my new favorite restaurant. The food is unbelievable, and it all has that curious New Orleans quality where you just want to keep eating all day and all night and stay full forever. This is to say nothing of the drinks—all the real N.O.-style cocktails, a great beer list and wine for every taste. Oh, and they have live jazz. Pittsburgh, meet the real big easy. 24 Market Square, downtown. Closed Sundays. Info: 412/471-9100,

And somewhere between eating, dancing and still trying to figure out what the hell Mulholland Drive is all about, I’ve gotta get to the August Wilson Center. Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater, the new go-to spot for great interpretations of Wilson’s work, is moving from their usual digs at 542 Penn Ave. to the AWC for King Hedley II, opening on Friday. Their production of Jitney last year was pitch-perfect and packed the tiny space on Penn every night, leading to rave reviews and several extensions. Hedley and its all-star cast are only scheduled for seven performances, so get ‘em while you can. 980 Liberty Ave., downtown. June 2-12. $20-$30. Info and tickets: 412/349-3353,

Categories: After Dark