Short List: Oct. 5-12 | This Week's Top Events | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Short List: Oct. 5-12

Mattress Factory turns 40; Pittsburgh Opera does Tosca; Vatic Kuumba at the Kelly-Strayhorn; Doors Open Pittsburgh returns


Fri., Oct. 6 - Art

The Mattress Factory museum really was a mattress factory, once. But the building was vacant when, in 1975, an artist, designer and transplant from Michigan named Babara Luderowski turned it into a North Side art haven. The six-story building housed studios, a gallery, theater groups and more. One day, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate named Michael Olijnyk had dinner in the building’s vegetarian co-op restaurant and, in a way, never left. In 1981, co-directors Luderowski and Olijnyk began focusing on commissioning new installation art — a decision that would ultimately turn the Mattress Factory into an internationally known cultural destination.

Along the way, says Olijnyk, have come 800 artists from around the world — with permanent installations by the likes of James Turrell — and memorable moments like a visiting John Cage cooking breakfast. “It’s so great to be around an artist when they’re making decisions,” says Olijnyk. “For us it’s about collecting the people. The museum has also expanded to neighboring buildings, and hosts much-anticpated events like its annual Urban Garden Party.”

This year marks the Mattress Factory’s 40th anniversary as a nonprofit. The museum celebrates, naturally, by opening a new show. New Installations: 40th Year features artists from throughout the museum’s history, including sculptor Meg Webster (who first exhibited there in 1984), Cuban-born Yoán Capote, painter David Ellis, artist and designer Allan Wexler, and two Pittsburgh-based artists, Vanessa German and David Pohl. Special attraction: a trove of previously unseen works, papers and personal effects from the archive of the late Greer Lankton, who died in 1996, shortly after the Mattress Factory unveiled the pioneering transgender artist’s striking permanent installation “It’s all about ME not YOU.”

Olijnyk says that after 40 years, he and Luderowski don’t feel like they’re slowing down. Constantly re-energized by working with artists, he says, “It feels like we’re starting up again.”

— Bill O’Driscoll

Opening reception: 6-8 p.m. Fri., Oct. 6 (free). Exhibit continues through July 29. 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side. 412-231-3169 or

Thu., Oct. 5 - Stage

It’s Thornton Wilder night in Oakland, as two troupes open their seasons with his work. University of Pittsburgh Stages offers Our Town, the classic that explores what it means to be human. Blocks away, Carnegie Mellon Drama presents Wilder’s The Matchmaker inspiration for the musical Hello, Dolly! — which tells the story of widow Dolly Levi, who brokers marriages in circa-1900 Yonkers while trying to find her own perfect match. Amanda Reed Our Town: 8 p.m. (continues through Oct. 15; Richard E. Rauh Studio Theatre, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland; $12-25; 412-624-7529 or The Matchmaker: 8 p.m. (continues through Oct. 14; Philip Chosky Theater, 5000 Forbes Ave., Oakland; $10-34; 412-268-2407 or

Short List: Oct. 5-12
Art by Kevin Mack

Fri., Oct. 6 - Art

Monthly gallery crawl Unblurred offers venues up and down Penn Avenue full of art, live music and more. Openings include: Colors, Characters, Light & Shadow, a pop-up exhibit at the Irma Freeman Center, with paintings by Kevin Mack, Parvaneh Torkman and Patrica Apuzzo; embodiment, a big juried group show of glass wearables, at Pittsburgh Glass Center; and, at Bunker Projects, TEETH DREAMS, an installation and performance work by Pittsburgh-based King Reld blending visual art, music and fashion with “monstrous teeth grills … custom-made with pearls and tusks.” BO 6-10 p.m. 4800-5500 Penn Ave., Bloomfield/Friendship/Garfield. Free.

Short List: Oct. 5-12
Photo courtesy of David Bachman Photography

Fri., Oct. 6 – Opera

Murder, love and betrayal ensue in the course of 24 hours in Tosca, Pittsburgh Opera’s 79th season opener. Puccini’s classic is set in Rome, where an artist and his lover work to protect a prisoner from a police chief’s wrath. Soprano Leah Crocetto (Mimi in Pittsburgh Opera’s 2014 La bohème) plays the title role alongside Metropolitan Opera veteran Mark Delavan and tenor Thiago Arancam. The first performance at the Benedum Center is tonight. AR 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 15. 237 Seventh St., Downtown. $10-159.75. 412-456-6666 or

Fri., Oct. 6 – Stage

“The concept of race is like money, invented by the powerful to control resources,” contends Vatic Kuumba in one of his spoken-word pieces. Tonight, the Providence, R.I.-based National Poetry Slam competitor hits the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater’s Alloy Theater with a new multidisciplinary stage work, A Furtive Movement. His collaborators are two local luminaries, vocalist Angwenique Wingfield and visual artist and BOOM Concepts co-founder D.S. Kinsel. Together they offer “songs and scenes that explore the challenges of being young, black, ambitious and in love.” BO 8 p.m. 5530 Penn Ave., Friendship. Pay what you wish. 412-363-3000 or

Sat., Oct. 7 – Tour

Feed your edifice complex as the greatly expanded Doors Open Pittsburgh returns for its second year. Today and tomorrow, take guided, self-guided or docent-assisted tours of some 70 buildings Downtown, on the North Side and in the Strip District (up from 40 Downtown buildings last year). The Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, the NRG Energy Center steam plant and dozens of banks, office buildings and artist studios are yours to peruse. Also new are special, separately ticketed “insider” tours, with cultural or architectural themes. BO 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Also 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun., Oct. 8. $8 (one day), $12 (two days), and free (but ticket required) for under-18s and seniors.

Sat., Oct. 7 - Outdoors

The South Side Slopes has 5,447 public steps — more than any other neighborhood in Pittsburgh. However, each of the two courses of Pittsburgh StepTrek includes only about half that many, so the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association is expecting you for the 17th annual version of its self-guided, self-paced tour, featuring spectacular views, lots of history and, along the route, poetry, music, dance and art by Steppin Stanzas. BO 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Meet at 21st and Josephine streets, South Side. $13 in advance (free for kids under 12).

Short List: Oct. 5-12
Photo courtesy of Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Tue., Oct. 10 - Talk

Not too many accomplished writers are also internationally recognized performance artists. Then there’s Malik Gaines. The professor of performance studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts writes about performance theory and practice, black representation, and queer social tactics in works including 2017’s Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left. He’s also performed around the world with the group My Barbarian. Gaines speaks tonight as part of Carnegie Mellon University School of Art’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series. BO 6:30 p.m. Kresge Theatre, CMU campus, Oakland. Free.

Short List: Oct. 5-12
Art by Tsun Ip Patrick Chow

Tue. Oct. 10 – Art

The Photographic Society of America holds its annual conference this week, but you don’t have to be a member (or a photographer) to enjoy the award-winning work in tonight’s International Photography Exhibit. The show, at the Marriott City Center, includes more than 1,000 images from around the world, and admission is free. The conference includes other free public events; see the website for details. BO Exhibit opening: 7-10:15 p.m. 112 Washington Place, Uptown.

Tue., Oct. 10 - Stage

YouTube personality Markiplier — a.k.a. Mark Fischbach — comes to Heinz Hall tonight with his first-ever tour, titled You’re Welcome. With more than 17 million subscribers and some six billion video views, his is among the top 25 channels on YouTube, where he focuses on game-play commentary, animation, sketch comedy and vlogs. Expect improv games, sketches and characters. YouTubers LordMinion777, Muyskerm, Tyler Scheid and CrankGameplays join Markiplier on the road. AR 8 p.m. 600 Penn Ave., Downtown. $29.50-125. 412-392-4900 or

Tue., Oct. 10 – Talk

Tonight’s a rare Pittsburgh appearance for Steve “The Woz” Wozniak. The Apple co-founder visits for an on-stage conversation at Carnegie Music Hall with Andrew Moore, Carnegie Mellon University’s dean of computer science. Wozniak, a philanthropist and chief scientist at Primary Data, is also a New York Times best-selling author for his 2006 autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon. In 1985, he received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The event kicks off the American Middle East Institute’s 10th annual conference. AR 8 p.m. 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. $25-65. 412-622-3131 or

Wed., Oct. 11 – Music

Award-winning accordionist, contemporary classical composer and Pitt alumnus Guy Klucevsek returns to his alma mater to play original works including “Ratatatatouille” (2009) and “Flying Vegetables of the Apocalypse” (1988), accompanied by the University of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Klucevsek, known world-wide, has played or recorded with artists including Laurie Anderson, Anthony Braxton, the Kronos Quartet and John Zorn. Also on the program: Stravinsky’s Concerto in D for string orchestra. The orchestra is directed by Roger Zahab. AR 8 p.m. Bellefield Hall Auditorium, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. Free. 412-624-4126 or

Short List: Oct. 5-12
Photo courtesy of Heidi L. Lewis

Thu., Oct. 12 – Words

Journalist Lynda Schuster reads from her new book, Dirty Wars and Polished Silver: The Life and Times of a War Correspondent Turned Ambassatrix, tonight at Alphabet City. The memoir chronicles Schuster’s life abroad as a foreign correspondent and, later, as the wife of a U.S. ambassador. Heartbreaking in some places and humorous in others, it’s a story of self-discovery, loss and keeping one’s limbs intact. Schuster now lives in Pittsburgh. A moderated discussion with Carnegie Mellon University’s Sharon Dilworth and an audience Q&A follow the reading. AR 8 p.m. 40 W. North Ave., North Side. Free. 412-435-1110 or