Things To Do This Weekend in Pittsburgh
Top Pick: Autographs, Gifts and Fun at Steel City Con.
OK — if I could assemble a dinner party consisting entirely of guests at this weekend’s Steel City Con, here’s who I would pick.
Easy first pick: Elijah Wood. Famous and successful enough that he must have a bevy of great stories but seems really down-to-earth. Plus, I really want behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the set of “The Good Son.” To complete the former-child-star side of the table, I’d put him across from Mara Wilson, the generally brilliant and charming writer who starred in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Matilda” as a tiny child.
Now, as someone who considers a visit to Universal Studios’ Wizarding World a yearly obligation, I can’t ignore the presence of Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley throughout the “Harry Potter” films. She can discuss intense fandoms with “Stranger Things” star Gaten Matarazzo, whom I’ll seat across the table.
Now, the chaos pairing — don’t ask me why, but Paula Abdul is sitting across from The Undertaker. I just want to know what they would talk about. (The Undertaker is required to remain in character. If he wants dinner, he’s gotta act spooky.)
Finally, let’s invite Jon Heder, of “Napoleon Dynamite” fame, and Thora Birch, best known for “American Beauty,” mainly so I can reflect on my high-school years.
Sadly, I cannot actually make this dinner happen, but you can meet any or all of the above celebs — and a whole lot more — this weekend at Steel City Con. Just as importantly, you can score some remarkable stuff from the convention’s fleet of vendors. Stock up on your own obsessions, or win the holidays with the coolest gifts around.
More This Weekend
Speaking of the impending yuletide, we’ve all got a number of holiday parties on the horizon, from the delightful to the obligatory. Do yourself a favor — this year, have one seasonal fete that’s just for you. Winter Heat, set for Friday night at the Carnegie Museum of Art, will feature a slate of DJs (led by local favorite Arie Cole) spinning in the foyer of the Carnegie Music Hall. The dancing and cookies — yes, there will be a massive, holiday-themed cookie table — are included with your admission, and a well-stocked cash bar will also be available. It’s a chance to dance and unwind in one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic spaces. That’s a lot better than your family white elephant.
If you’ve seen “Purple Rain” — or if you had excellent music taste in the ’80s — you know about Morris Day and the Time, the Minneapolis funk act that played fictionalized versions of themselves and feuded with Prince in the hit film. In reality, Day and Prince were collaborators beginning in their teenage years; The Time has recorded and toured on the back of hits such as “Jungle Love” and “Cool” for more than 40 years. The Time will headline the Friday-night lineup at the fourth annual We Want the Funk Festival, with fellow icons Con Funk Shun taking over headlining duties on Saturday.
Supporting small businesses can, and should, go far beyond one Saturday a year. At The Black Market: Holiday Edition, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership gathers more than 30 Black-owned businesses offering one-of-a-kind goods and services, so you can stuff your stockings in style — and keep your holiday dollar in the community. The event runs from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday at 623 Smithfield St. in the heart of Downtown.
Comedian Ben Wasserman’s show “Live After Death” is billed as “the world’s most chaotic comedy show about grief and loss,” and it has clearly struck a chord; it’s been recommended by the New York Times, Paste Magazine, Time Out, Brooklyn Magazine and more. Wasserman brings the show to Bottlerocket Social Hall Saturday night for one show only.
Is there anyone more Pittsburgh than Joe Grushecky? The blue-collar rocker has toured all over the world, bringing Steel City anthems to eager crowds — and brought his buddy Bruce Springsteen to Pittsburgh time and time again. His longtime bandmates in the Houserockers know how to put on a rollicking show; see them play the hits, and probably a few holiday tunes, Saturday night at Club Cafe.
Looking for more ideas? Check out our full events calendar here.