Unusual Events & Things Good to Know in Pittsburgh: August

This month: supersized Jenga and Yellow Cab becomes ZTrip.

Painting by Ann Lee



Each month, PM asks contributor Amy Whipple to attend an out-of-the-ordinary happening somewhere in the city.

What: yArt Sale
Where: Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
When: June 26

Raise your hand if you find events the size and scope of, say, the Three Rivers Arts Festival, somewhat overwhelming. Great! Me, too.

Lucky for you and me, The Shop @ Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (center.pfpca.org/the-shop) on June 26 hosted its eighth annual yART Sale. The Shadyside site allowed approximately 80 artists and groups the chance to clear out their collections at discounted rates. 

The event included an acoustic performance by Michael Lindner and a book-signing by Ron Donoughe — an artist who spent a year painting each of Pittsburgh’s 90 neighborhoods — as well as a trio of local food trucks. 

The day coincided with a performance as part of the Bach, Beethoven and Brunch at adjacent Mellon Park (and a perfect day for families to visit the spray park across the street), so it seemed as if everyone from the neighborhood (and beyond) was out and about. 

Though the art available covered everything from knitting to ceramics to glassware to paintings, I found myself drawn to the gentle watercolors of Anne Lee (etsy.com/shop/anneleestudio), which seemed in the moment to be the only medium that didn’t feel a bit oppressive in the blindingly bright summer heat.
The event’s only downside was the location’s tough navigability. Because the booths all were located on the center’s lawn, there are unexpected dips and ruts that make pushing a stroller or wheelchair dicey (ditto if you’re unstable on your feet). But even that was far preferable to more sprawling events for those of us who love the arts in much more manageable doses. –Amy Whipple

photo by neil strebig


Already antsy for more U.S. Open action at Oakmont Country Club? You’ll have to wait a mere nine years: The U.S. Golf Association announced the competition will return in 2025. It will be the 10th Open at Oakmont. –Sean Collier


Takeo Kanade, Carnegie Mellon University’s U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor of Robotics and Computer Science, was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology by the Inamori Foundation. The prestigious award is given to individuals who “have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of humankind,” according to CMU. –SC

Photo by Palermo Photography



Looking for a little mid-day recreation? Head to Market Square from 2-6 p.m. every weekday afternoon to play supersized versions of Jenga, Connect Four, chess and more. There’s no firm end date for the program; the games will continue until the weather gets too sinister. –SC

photo via flickr creative commons


On June 28, longstanding local taxi company Yellow Cab of Pittsburgh formally transitioned into zTrip, an app-driven ride service (while the app has existed for several months, this change represents a full transition of the company’s business model). Responding to the increasing popularity of ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, the more-than-century-old service shifted its focus to a modern model. But what separates zTrip from its competitors? Here are a few key differences. —SC

  • Book in advance. Unlike Uber and Lyft, which only allow riders to request rides in the moment, your trip can be booked via zTrip up to 364 days in advance. That means no worries about whether a driver is nearby when you need to get to the airport (or a football game).
  • No surge pricing. At times of peak demand, some services increase fares dramatically. zTrip’s prices, which will not increase over the Yellow Cab rates, remain the same whether it’s a quiet Sunday morning or New Year’s Eve.
  • Pay with cash or charge. No PayPal account? Don’t want to use a card? Not a problem. Unlike its competitors, zTrip drivers can accept cash to pay your fare.
  • Have a conversation. A live customer-support team will be accessible via phone, email or social media. No more standing on the curb shaking a fist at the sky when something goes awry.


In early 2016, lather. A Pet Bath House (latherbathhouse.com) opened its doors at 5100 Liberty Ave. in Bloomfield. The grooming business offers full-service or self-service options — “The only thing you need to bring is your pet,” their website proclaims — as well as grooming supplies, specialty treats and more. We had to ask, however: What can lather. offer that makes it worth taking Fido on a bathtime excursion rather than scrubbing your pet in the tub? Co-owner Lizabeth Manganello explains: — SC

“They won’t have to mess up their own tubs (that can be a dirty and tiring process!) … [and we] have everything they need to pamper their pet: organic shampoos and conditioners, ear and teeth wipes, top-of-the-line hair dryers … even have aprons for the owners!”


Filmmaker George Romero, the Carnegie Tech (now CMU) grad who filmed the landmark horror films “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead,” among others, in the Pittsburgh area, is among the 2017 class of entertainment-industry icons who will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Locally, calls followed to add a similar honor for Romero somewhere in the city he made the zombie capital of the world. While we’re at it, how about a whole slew of civic improvements in honor of our silver-screen neighbors? 

  • Rename a portion of the new Hays park development “Jurassic Park,” in honor of Jeff Goldblum. Install dinosaur-themed playgrounds, and, if feasible, actual dinosaurs.
  • Establish a minor-league basketball team; name them the Pittsburgh Birdmen in honor of Michael Keaton. Get Keaton himself to serve as the mascot whenever possible.
  • Frances McDormand, although born in Chicago, spent most of her childhood and attended high school in nearby Monessen, Pa. Bold suggestion: rename the whole town “McDormand.”
  • Install life-size holograms of Billy Porter at all sidewalk entrances to the Cultural District. Virtual Porter can welcome guests and plug the evening’s performances.
  • Haven’t we waited long enough for a statue of Gene Kelly hanging from a Downtown streetlight? At this point, we’d like to see one on every Downtown streetlight. —SC



Categories: Things To Do