What to do that week, from the Pittsburgh Shorts and Script Competitors to Mild Up Night time

What’s going on this week in Pittsburgh, November 15-21? Find out here.

Be sure to pack your mask and visit each organization’s website and social media for updated Covid safety protocols. Know of a cool event? Email us.

Monday, Nov. 15 through Wednesday, Nov. 17: Three Rivers Film Festival
Various times
Three Rivers Film Festival is underway with 32 features screening at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Hollywood Theater, Tull Family Theater and Waterworks Cinema. Highlights include a revenge thriller starring Native American boxing world champ Kali Reis, an uplifting story about 12 young musicians from Uganda’s slums and Zora Iman Crews’ mockumentary about her experiences being the only person of color in a theater production. Don’t miss seeing the 20th-anniversary screening of the locally made film, “The Bread My Sweet,” along with cast and crew members. 3RFF also includes virtual screenings and Q&As with nine directors. View a schedule and buy tickets.

Now Return Us to Normal, Leslie Koren. Film still courtesy of Film Pittsburgh.

Monday, Nov. 15: Brandon Victor Dixon at the Greer Cabaret Theater
7 & 9:30 p.m.
The TRUST Cabaret Series continues its ninth season with a celebrated star of the stage and screen. On Broadway, Brandon Victor Dixon recently portrayed Aaron Burr in the smash hit, “Hamilton.” Acclaimed for his Tony Award-nominated performances, the NYC-based actor, singer and producer is also co-founder of WalkRunFly Productions. Buy tickets.

Tuesday, Nov. 16: Summer: The Donna Summer Musical at the Benedum Center
7:30 p.m.
It’s safe to say we could all use a Donna Summer musical right about now. Let your heart soar — and sing along — as you follow the “girl from Boston with a voice from heaven who shot through the stars from gospel choir to dance floor diva.” Featuring 20 of Summer’s classic hits — from “Love to Love You Baby” to “Bad Girls” — the electric production also explores how the star broke down barriers to become a cultural icon. Buy tickets.

Donna Summer Musical

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Tuesday, Nov. 16 through Thursday, Nov. 18: Magee-Womens Summit at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Various times
For three days, this summit will convene powerhouse scientific and clinical innovators virtually and in person. The premier conference aims to drive cross-disciplinary innovation, pave the way for new generations of research and transform women’s health in the 21st century. From preparing for the next pandemic to emerging telehealth technologies to pregnancy’s impact on wellness, this year’s themes are healthy beginnings, shaping metabolism and healthy mind through transitions. Highlights include advocacy and research sessions, clinically focused keynote talks, panel discussions, and the announcement of the $1 Magee Prize. Register here.

Wednesday, Nov. 17: Exhibition Openings at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center
3-8 p.m.
Enjoy a double-header of art exhibitions, opening today Downtown. Derrick Adams will present his exhibition, Sanctuary, inspired by “The Negro Motorist Green Book” — a Black American road-trippers reference publication from the Jim Crow Era which identified businesses and destinations that were nondiscriminatory and welcoming. With Sanctuary, Adams “reimagines safe destinations for the Black American traveler” via his mixed-media collage and sculpture. In the 1839 Gallery, Jessica Gaynelle Moss’ exhibition is open to people who identify as Black, African American, African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx or of the African diaspora. The “multi-disciplinary examination of Black space in a broad cultural context” includes sound installations, illustrations, concept maps, and virtual discussions with Black Pittsburgh-based artists and scholars. Learn more.

Wednesday, Nov. 17: Ladies Headlamp Hike in Frick Park
6:30 p.m.
Light up the night with fellow nature lovers during this organized hike led by 3 Rivers Outdoor Company. Don your headlamp for a nocturnal trek to experience the forest at night just before November’s full moon arrives. Covering 3 to 4 miles, the moderate hike aims to provide women with a shared sense of participation and security. Buy tickets.

Thursday, Nov. 18: PA Mental Health and Wellness Virtual Conference
8 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
NAMI Keystone’s timely virtual conference examines the impact of the pandemic. It’s a key opportunity for peers, caregivers, advocates and mental health professionals to experience a one-of-a-kind conference for learning, sharing and networking. Breakout sessions and 12 workshops will cover critical topics such as wellness, telehealth, substance use disorder, family crisis planning, and more. A virtual expo will showcase exhibitor resources and attendees can interact in real-time with participating organizations. Register here.

Photo courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh.

Thursday, November 18: Lifeway Kefir Immersive Yoga at Lighthouse Artspace
8:15 a.m.
Find your flow while being immersed in some of history’s most iconic paintings. The new Immersive Van Gogh exhibit is teaming up with Lifeway Foods to offer yoga inside the city’s newest art attraction at 720 E Lacock St. — where 500,000 cubic feet of animated projections highlight 40 Van Gogh masterpieces. The multi-sensory sessions are choreographed in tandem with the exhibit’s sounds, lights and moving images. Participants will receive a Lifeway Kefir and are invited to spend time in the exhibit following the class.
Buy tickets.

Thursday, Nov. 18: Miniature Railroad & Village Reopening at Carnegie Science Center
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
You love their refreshing ice balls sold in Allegheny Commons Park, now celebrate their brand-new model in the Miniature Railroad & Village. Be among the first to see the Gus & YiaYia’s Ice Ball Cart model when rolls into Carnegie Science Center for the grand reopening of this beloved holiday tradition. Take a walking tour of western PA via the elaborate train display and see replicas of popular landmarks like Primanti Bros., Forbes Field and Kaufmann’s. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center.

Thursday, Nov. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 21: Pittsburgh Shorts and Script Competition Opening Night at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater
7 p.m.
For four nights only, the big screen will spotlight the top contemporary short films from around the globe. Promoting innovative visual storytelling and cultural tolerance, the 11 blocks of short films include dramas, comedies, “Chiller Theater” selections and virtual offerings. It all kicks off tonight with the Be the Change Shorts Block showcasing eight powerful shorts. The festival also includes a script competition with live readings by professional actors and a new conference for local and international filmmakers with workshops, panel discussions, and a keynote address by Academy Award-winning director, Barry Jenkins. View a schedule and buy tickets.

Thursday, Nov. 18: Foederhouse Comedy Series at Cinderlands
7-10 p.m.
Back with its first indoor comedy series since February of 2020, Drinking Partners Podcast will host some of Pittsburgh’s top comedians at the Strip District craft brewery. Hosted by Day Bracey, the kick-off event will feature comedians Tim Ross, Julia Metelsky and Samantha Bentley and music by Arie Cole. Buy tickets.

Thursday, Nov. 18: Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE at the Byham Theater
8 p.m.
The wait is over: fans of this long-running comedy phenomenon can now sit in the same theater with their favorite characters and experience a live event. Following three wildly successful tours, Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE is hitting the road with its newest production. Join host Emily Connor and the world’s greatest (only?) “movie riffing robots” — Tom Servo, Crow and GPC, as they take you on a rollercoaster ride through the 1985 film, “Making Contact.” Buy tickets.

Friday, Nov. 19: Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps
9:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
The holidays just weren’t the same last year without the Winter Light Garden (not to mention every pandemic-related reason). Phipps is pulling out all the stops — and switching on all the lights — to revive its beloved tradition. With new indoor exhibits plus glistening outdoor displays, it’s the perfect place to banish the winter doldrums. Be transported to December 1893 — when Phipps first opened — to see giant ornaments, an 8-foot rotating tree and a chiming music box. Encounter topiary reindeer, watch holiday trees float on a reflective pond and check out whimsical displays inspired by colorful iridescence found in nature. Search for exquisite props, marvel at 1,600 poinsettias and strike a pose in front of a colossal mirrored wreath. New this year is a glowing ice palace in the Discovery Garden pavilion. Buy tickets.

Photo by Paul g. Wiegman.

Friday, Nov. 19: Homestead Live Fridays
5-10 p.m.
See what’s new in the Steel Valley at this First Fridays celebration spanning more than a dozen located throughout Homestead’s Eighth Ave. business district. Check out local performers and live music, grab food and libations from local establishments, tour the exhibition, Memory Scenes: A Kathleen Ferri Retrospective, and much more.

Friday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 21: Horror Realm Convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh South
5-10 p.m.
George Romero launched an entire genre of horror film here (and now his archive has been immortalized locally thanks to Pitt’s University Library System) when he gave birth to the first cinematic zombies. So it’s no wonder that this city is home to its very own long-running Horror Realm Convention. Coming back to life after the pandemic shutdown, the fear fest is setting up shop just south of Downtown. Run by uber-fans, the convention of creep will showcase specialty vendors peddling everything from DVDs, artwork, apparel and collectibles, to movie memorabilia, books, toys and comics. Gore junkies can also play games, meet celebrity guests during Q&A panels, participate in contests and activities, and attend a horror film festival. Buy tickets.

Friday, Nov. 19: Fallingwater + PG&H Maker Program Exhibition at Concept Art Gallery
6-8 p.m.
See how Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater is inspiring makers. The Regent Square gallery’s Annex Space will debut handcrafted products created by nine local makers during the Fallingwater + PG&H Maker Project. Run by Bridgeway Capital’s Creative Business Accelerator, the design residency provides a cohort of regional creatives with exclusive access to the landmark’s architecture, history, grounds and artwork. Meet the participating makers, learn about their creative process and get a first look at the products for sale. The project also supports the integration of artisan-made and small-batch manufactured products into the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Museum Store at Fallingwater. Register for free.

Friday, Nov. 19: 18+ Night: Team Design Challenge at Carnegie Science Center
6-10 p.m.
Celebrate Friendsgiving at this adults-only night featuring spirited friendly challenges. From working together to protect an egg from an 18-foot drop to constructing the tallest, skinniest tower ever — you and your BFFs can test your collective mettle by competing in team design challenges. Discover the science behind cantilevers, enjoy live music, food and libations and check out the “Pink Floyd Laser Show.” After-hours fun means “deeper science content, riskier experiments and party games.”
Buy tickets.

Friends & Family Photo Studio at CMOA. Photo by Bryan Conley.

Saturday, Nov. 20: Holiday Programming at Carnegie Museum of Art
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Make Carnegie Museum of Art your go-to spot for getting in the holiday spirit locally this season. A new series of art-filled festive events for all ages kicks off tonight with the Friends & Family Photo Studio. Have your own artful holiday portrait taken by a local professional photographer using a festive selection of backgrounds from iconic spaces and places in the museum. Treasured annual exhibitions are returning earlier than usual — like The Presepio and Carnegie Trees — so you can kickstart your holiday socializing. Upcoming holiday events will include a Gift-Making Workshop, Out of Office Party and Sounds for the Season live musical performances. View and schedule and book a portrait.

Saturday, Nov. 20: Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh
12-9:30 p.m.
Back on a new day of the week, Light Up Night returns to celebrate its milestone 60th anniversary in person. Launching the city’s holiday season on a Saturday will help eliminate some of the Downtown parking and traffic congestion from previous Friday night celebrations, plus add the opportunity for bonus fun the night before. Pittsburgh’s official kickoff to the holiday season will burst with activities and attractions, including the opening of the cherished Peoples Gas Holiday Market and the debut of the Merry Karaoke Team Tournament. Almost every building in Pittsburgh’s skyline will be illuminated, providing a dramatic backdrop for holiday tree lightings, live music, handcrafted foods, family activities and more. All the excitement will of course be topped off with a fireworks finale from Zambelli Internationale.

Saturday, Nov. 20: Holiday Lights at Kennywood
5-10 p.m.
Deck the halls and hop on the rides. Spanning 24 nights with one million lights, Pennsylvania’s Tallest Christmas Tree, seasonal snacks, and family favorite rides and attractions, this holiday tradition makes a bright return to Pittsburgh’s beloved amusement park. Marvel at a 100-foot-tall tree, enjoy light shows around the Lagoon, meet and eat with St. Nick and enjoy special live entertainment. The festivities will also feature a massive model train display, a petting zoo, North Pole letter writing activities, a traditional Christmas dinner and more. Weather permitting – the Jack Rabbit will open to become the first Kennywood coaster to operate in winter. Buy tickets.

Photo by Heather Schur courtesy of Kennywood.

Saturday, Nov. 20: Artist Talk at Opya Studios
6-9 p.m.
This new series aims to spark important conversations about mental health in Pittsburgh’s art industry. It launches tonight on the South Side with live music by Joziah Council and PK Delay, and multimedia art by Sierra, Social Living, Directed by Yash and Patience. The artists’ selections will reflect personal and creative mental health journeys. Curated by Niplids founder Sydney Davis, proceeds benefit Hope For The Day. Tonight’s event will also include appetizers by Pittsburgh-based Haitian-American chef Claudy Pierre, music by DJ Femi and a mental health conversation circle.  Buy tickets.

Saturday, Nov. 20: Art for Change at THIS IS RED
6:30 p.m.
After replacing its signature benefit bash with a virtual stream-a-thon during the pandemic, one of the region’s most significant art auctions is returning in a setting perfect for the occasion. Within a venue that is itself a work of art — the former St. Michael’s Slovak Roman Catholic Church in Munhall — gala-goers will bid the night away on 150 original pieces. Curated by Judy Barie from the Chautauqua Institution, the auction includes fine art in a diverse range of media, fab jewelry and unique experiences. Proceeds support the Persad Center‘s mental health services for the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV/AIDS. Live performances and entertainment will pop up throughout the immersive evening. Buy tickets.

Sunday, Nov. 21: Sharon Draper Virtual Lecture
6 p.m.
For the next edition of its Words & Pictures series, Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures welcomes New York Times bestselling children’s author, Sharon Draper. A five-time Coretta Scott King Award winner, Draper was named the 1997 National Teacher of the Year and has been honored at the White House six times. The longtime high school English who is back with “Out of My Heart,” the sequel to her acclaimed 2010 novel. Buy tickets.

For more things to do, check out 13 November events not to miss in Pittsburgh.

For live music, read 18 best concerts in Pittsburgh this November, from Bob Dylan to Bad Religion.

For family events, see Top 10 events for Pittsburgh kids in November.


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