The “Buzz” from Buzzelli – Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (12/27 – 12/29)

The ShakerMike Buzzelli

It’s the holiday season, but there are still plenty of things to do in Pittsburgh.   We have things to do from listening to George Bailey to hanging out on Bailey Avenue (on Mt. Washington). Here are Five Fun Things to do this weekend:


Packing them in

The mouse might not be stirring, but the Rat Pack is. If you never got a chance to see Frank, Sammy and Dean live; this is your chance to see them dead. Sort of.  A group of impersonators will be singing their most famous Christmas songs, along with some of their standards. Enjoy the songs they made famous, like ‘Fly Me To The Moon’, ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’, ‘Mr. Bojangles’, ‘That’s Amore’, along with seasonal favorites like: ‘Merry Little Christmas’, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’, ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’ ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Silent Night’, ‘Mistletoe and Holly’, ‘Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Love To Keep Me Warm.’ The Rat Pack will be backed up by the Buelli Sisters and a live 123 piece big band.

You don’t have to fly to the moon, or Vegas, just head down to Heinz Hall and catch all the action.

For more information, go here;


Another Bell Rings

If you’re up north, Butler way, check out “It’s a Wonderful Life: A live Radio Play,” at the Butler Little Theater.  See…wait…Hear…a live version of the Christmas classic (I don’t have to explain the plot of the “It’s a Wonderful Life,” do I?).  Get up there before George Bailey jumps off the bridge.

It’s at the Butler Little Theater, 1 Howard Street, Butler. Call 724-287-6781 for details. Or go here:


Steel City Laughs

Christmas is over and it’s time to laugh. Come out December 28 to Club Café for the Steel City Comedy Tour. Come see local comedians; Chuck Krieger, Mike Wysocki, Carl Schimmel, Ray Zawandi, Tommy Kupiec. The show starts at 7:00 (early for comedians) at Club Café 56 S. 12th St., Pittsburgh, PA.

Call 412-431-4950 or hit the boys up on their Facebook page;


Italy or Bust

If you’re looking to catch a movie during the holiday break, check out “The Great Beauty.” Palme d’Or nominee and Italy’s official candidate for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this dazzling film is a Fellini-esque homage to the city of Rome.  It’s about a writer, Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo, Il Divo), who gets a shock from his past on his 65th birthday. He sees past the glitz to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.

You can find “The Great Beauty” at the Regent Square Theater. Check out Pittsburgh Filmmakers for dates and times here;


Masquerade Ball, Pittsburgh Style

This New Year’s Eve you can go to a classy and exclusive Masquerade Ball at one of the most elegant venues in the city at the Smart House (Peter and Steve’s place; 207 Bailey Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15211). What better way to enjoy your New Year countdown than by sipping champagne while overlooking one of the best views in Pittsburgh?  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Humble House. *Part of ticket proceeds with benefit the Humble House.


And now a Sixth Thing…

Ring in the New Year, Yinz Guys!

There is so much going on New Year’s Eve in Downtown Pittsburgh at First Night, an annual celebration of the holiday. It’s got music, magic, comedy and FIREWORKS (I love fireworks)! Some of the highlights include; Johnny Angel and the Halos singing oldies at the Benedum, Jason Hudy performing magic at CAPA, Player One, the Arcade Comedy Theater’s house team, improvising scenes at (you guessed) the Arcade Comedy Theater,  and a spectacular display of Zambelli fireworks over the city. Party till the ball drops, in Downtown Pittsburgh!

Details and a grid map of all the events can be found here;


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Premieres First-Ever, Autism-Friendly Performance of “The Nutcracker”

The Shaker

PITTSBURGH, PA – Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is preparing to premiere its autism-friendly production of The Nutcracker, the first production by a professional U.S. ballet company to make the magic of the holiday classic accessible to children on the autism spectrum and their families. The autism-friendly performance will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, December 27, 2013 at the Benedum Center.

“The Nutcracker is a holiday staple in ballet companies across the country and an annual tradition for many families here in Pittsburgh, so we are particularly excited to pilot this program with a timeless story that reaches so many people year after year,” said PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. “With this special performance, we want families to know that we are performing with them in mind and welcome them to experience this production in a comfortable and inclusive atmosphere.”

For the autism-friendly performance, the entire theater will be reserved for families with individuals on the autism spectrum – and others with intellectual or developmental disabilities – to create a fully supportive audience environment. Autism-friendly accommodations will include designated quiet areas and activity stations in the lobby, relaxed house rules, adjustments to potentially startling light, sound and special effects and opportunities for families and children to familiarize themselves with the production in advance. Throughout the performance, the house lights will remain dimly lit and audience members will be free to come and go from their seats as needed. In advance of the performance, PBT will distribute online an illustrated guide, or social story, to walk audience members through the theater experience from the layout  of the Benedum Center to the characters, scenery and music of  The Nutcracker production.

“This is a performance where families can come as they are and be who they are. Whether they are looking for a new artistic experience, bonding time with their family, or simply an escape into a magical world, we can offer all of that through this performance, “said PBT Education Director Alyssa Herzog Melby, who heads Accessibility Initiatives at PBT. “We hope that we can become a model for other ballet companies across the country to open their doors to people on the autism spectrum, sharing the beauty of what we do with all people in our community.”

Autism Spectrum Disorders affect 1 in 88 children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The effects of autism are unique to every individual, though ASD characterizations usually include difficulties with social interaction and communication.  Many children with autism have sensory sensitivities in response to sounds or sights, which is one of the focused areas of adaptation for autism-friendly productions.

Although autism-friendly productions have begun to establish a foothold in the theater world, autism-friendly performances are relatively new to ballet. This year, for example, New Jersey Ballet presented an autism-friendly version of Pinocchio; but, to date, no other U.S. ballet company has presented an autism-friendly version of The Nutcracker.

“Very few times in our careers as dancers will we get the chance to do something this important. The autism-friendly performance will be one of those defining moments for me,” said PBT Dancer Stephen Hadala, who has performed in all 11 seasons of Terrence S. Orr’s The Nutcracker. “This performance gives us an opportunity to use our art form to do something for the community, and it’s exciting to be able to share ballet with children who might not ordinarily experience a production.”

In order to adapt the ballet, PBT worked with a focus group represented by local autism advocacy groups – including Autism Speaks of Greater Pittsburgh and ABOARD’s Autism Connection of Pennsylvania – parents of children with autism and individuals on the autism spectrum. After watching the production and learning about the characters, music and scenery, the group submitted recommendations to adapt the production to viewers on the autism spectrum or with other sensory sensitivities.

PBT also looked to other organizations as models, including the Theatre Development Fund’s Autism Theatre Initiative, which presented the first autism-friendly performance of a Broadway show in October 2011 with Disney’s musical The Lion King. PBT thanks TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative for serving as an advisor during the planning process. Locally, PBT acknowledges The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for its leadership in establishing best practices and providing Benedum Center staff training for autism-friendly performances. Funding support for PBT’s autism-friendly production of The Nutcracker comes from the Edith L. Trees Foundation, Giant Eagle, Pitt Ohio, The Children’s Institute, and FISA Foundation.


Tickets for the autism-friendly performance are available at a discounted rate to families with members on the autism spectrum. For more information about tickets, please call 412-454-9107 or visit

Featuring more than 200 costumes, 100 colorful characters and Pittsburgh-inspired set design, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s grand-scale production of “The Nutcracker” illuminates the holiday season Dec. 6-29, at the Benedum Center. Tickets start at $25.75, and can be purchased online at, by calling 412-456-6666 or visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.


The autism-friendly performance fits into PBT’s overarching Accessibility Initiative, which made several significant strides during the 2012-2013 Season. 2012-2013 accessibility accomplishments included the introduction of PBT’s Audio Description for Dance program, large-print and braille programs and other accommodations for people with visual impairments and special needs. For more information about Accessibility at PBT, please visit

The “Buzz” from Buzzelli – Top 5 To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (12/12 – 12/15)

The ShakerMike Buzzelli

Here are five fun things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend, December 12 – 15.

Ebony and Ivory

The 10th Annual Theatre Festival in Black & White: Holiday Edition is underway. Catch plays written by black playwrights directed by white directors, while black directors directed white playwrights, ten one-acts in all at the event.  You can see them at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, 937 Liberty Avenue, 3rd Floor, Downtown Pittsburgh.

Well, Well, Well

Come to Carnegie for “Well,” Lisa Kron’s insightful 2006 Tony Award-nominated play.  The play is a serio-comedy about the collision of art and life, exploring the dynamics of health, family and community.

You can find the play at the Off the Wall Theater, 25 W. Main Street, Carnegie. The play runs through December 22.

Call 724-873-3576 or visit

Check back here for a review next week!

Nudey Show

You have one last chance to catch some naked men at the December 13 closing party for Ignudi: Drawings Based on the Nude Youths of Michelangelo.  See Richard Claraval’s imitable style in the charcoal drawings. You can find nude men on Friendship Avenue, at the Spinning Plate Gallery, 5720 Friendship Avenue, Pittsburgh, to be more precise. The Closing party runs from 7 – 10 p.m. 12/13/13.

Check out his work here:

Nude Man to Iron Man

If Ignudi is too much for you and you want to put clothes on the man. Check out Future Tenant, where the man in the artwork wears a full suit of armor!  In a group exhibition of 23 works of art, each a desconstruction of a single page of a 1984 comic book issue of “The Invincible Iron Man,” is on display in “Shame of the City: Deconstructing & Reconstructing Comic Narratives.” The opening reception is December 13 from 6 – 9 p.m. at Future Tenant, 819 Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh.

See into the Future at

More Comic Books!

You can check out that very issue of Invincible Iron Man over at the ToonSeum, while catching their show, “All That and a Bag of Chips: The 90s Animation Renaissance.” The show features original production art, sketches, storyboards and more.  The show continues through December 15.

Find it all at the ToonSeum, 945 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh, and tell Executive Director Joe Wos that Burgh Vivant sent you.


And now a Sixth Thing…

Sparkle, Princess!

On Monday, just when you thought it was safe to stop partying and go back to work… The Carnegie Screenwriters and the Carnegie Arts Initiative invites you to celebrate the holidays at the first ever 3rd on 3rd Sparkle Party.  Bring a covered dish to Third Street Gallery  and hear three holiday themed stories;  Stage 62’s revered wunderkind Stephen Santa will read from the David Sedaris book, “The Santaland Diaries,” ‘Burgh Vivant’s biggest bon vivant Brian Edward will read his story, “How the Binch Improved Christmas” and some guy named Michael Buzzelli (see picture above) will read “Bad Santa” from his book, “Below Average Genius.”

By the way, if you don’t want to spend time in the kitchen, bring booze.

Join the festivities at The Third Street Gallery, 220 Third Street, Carnegie.

For more information, hit up the Facebook page




Encore for SOUTH SIDE STORIES at City Theatre


PITTSBURGH, PA (December 11, 2013)—After a sold-out, extended run last winter, City Theatre presents the encore production of South Side Stories, a vibrant, hometown adventure written and performed by Tami Dixon. Directed by Matt M. Morrow, South Side Stories is a City Events special presentation that will run in City Theatre’s Hamburg Studio from January 8–26, 2014, with performances Wednesdays through Sundays.

This one-woman show portrays the dynamism of a neighborhood. Embedded in the concrete of South Side’s city steps are testimonials of teenage mischief, steel mill toil, and townie haunts. This is a neighborhood where parking chairs mark territory and “paradise” is one turn off of 26th Street. Join us for the return of this audience favorite.

“I am interested in stories of survival,” says actor and playwright Tami Dixon. “For over 100 years the South Side was cast in the shadow of The Jones and Laughlin steel mill. The steel helped to build our country, and the mill defined this region, its people, and the culture. Now, with barely a trace of the mammoth structure left behind, the South Side continues to be home to families that descended from this industrial past. Living in the Slopes, I became curious about the neighborhood’s transition. I could feel the mill’s history burning beneath my feet. I could see it in the faces of my neighbors. The stories in this play are theirs—vivid, funny, poignant, and true.”

Tami Dixon’s local theatre credits include, South Side StoriesThe Clockmaker, Marriage Minuet, The Missionary Position, and The Muckle Man with City Theatre; The Hothouse, Celebration, and Rock n Roll with Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre; The Task and El Paso Blue with Quantum Theatre; The Chicken Snake with The Rep; Metamorphoses with Pittsburgh Public Theater; and Midnight Radio, STRATA, Dutchman, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, and Key to the Field with Bricolage Production Company. Ms. Dixon is entering her 9th season as Producing Artistic Director for Bricolage Production Company, which she runs alongside her husband, Jeffrey Carpenter. She is a recipient of a TCG/Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship and was named 2012’s “Performer of the Year” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Most recently, Ms. Dixon received the 2013 Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Emerging Artist Award from The Pittsburgh Foundation.

Tami Dixon and City Theatre are participants in the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships, funded by the William & Eva Fox Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group.

The original staged reading of South Side Stories was produced by City Theatre during MOMENTUM: new plays at different stages on June 4, 2011 with funding provided in part by The Fine Foundation, The Hillman Foundation, and generous donors to City Theatre’s Artistic Excellence Fund.

The world premiere of South Side Stories was commissioned and produced by City Theatre, November 10 – December 16, 2013, and enjoyed an extended run the following January.

The creative team for South Side Stories includes Tony Ferrieri (Scenic), Sylvianne Shurman (Costume), Andrew David Ostrowski (Lighting), Nathan Leigh (Sound), David Pohl (Projection), Carlyn Aquiline (Dramaturgy), and Sheila McKenna (Dialect).


South Side Stories

Written and performed by Tami Dixon
Directed by Matt M. Morrow

When: January 8–26, 2014

Wednesdays at 7pm

Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm

Saturdays at 2pm and 5:30pm

Sundays at 2pm

Where: City Theatre, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 (South Side)

Tickets: $35 to $55

Box Office: 412.431.CITY (2489) or

South Side residents receive $10 off by phone or at the Box Office. Must present valid ID with 15203 zip code. Tickets will be held at Will Call. One ticket per ID.

Season subscribers may purchase $30 tickets by phone or at the Box Office.

Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts.  Call Kari Shaffer at 412.431.4400 x286.

City Events is City Theatre’s annual series of limited engagement special presentations.

City Theatre
is now in its 39th season. Located on Pittsburgh’s historic South Side, City Theatre specializes in new plays, commissioning and producing work by playwrights including Adam Rapp, Jeffrey Hatcher, Theresa Rebeck, and Christopher Durang. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Tracy Brigden, Managing Director Mark R. Power, and a 45-member Board of Directors, City Theatre’s mission is to provide an artistic home for the development and production of contemporary plays of substance and ideas that engage and challenge a diverse audience.

12 Peers Theater presents the Pittsburgh Premiere of Glen Berger’s UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL

publicity shots Randy Kovitz Underneath the Lintel

photo by Craig Thompson

“Would you know a miracle if you saw one?”

The Librarian in Glen Berger’s Underneath The Lintel doesn’t merely ponder this question, he is confronted by it – in the form of a library book returned 113 years overdue.

Randy Kovitz, as The Librarian, leads us through an existential detective story, an obsessive search for the library offender that takes him out of his orderly, insular world and on a globe-trotting, possibly quixotic quest. In the process, The Librarian discovers a string of “evidences,” some dating back thousands of years, finding connections to mysteries and myths, past and present, as well as his own dormant spirit.

Variety praised Underneath The Lintel, calling it “A theatrical miracle . . . a cosmic puzzle that makes The Da Vinci Code seem like a game of hide-and-seek” and “powerfully human and ultimately sublime”

Kovitz saw the author do a reading of it in New York in 2009, and knew immediately that he wanted to make it his own.

“The play spoke to me on a deep level as both an actor and a human being.  The central questions of life and death, purpose versus futility, are universal.  But the artistry of the writing makes it exciting and accessible.”


Underneath the Lintel performs February 5 – 26, 2014

At Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater,

937 Liberty Avenue, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA  15222

Show dates:         Wednesday –Saturday, February 5 – 8, 8 p.m.

Thursday – Saturday, February 13 -15, 8 p.m.

Monday & Tuesday, February 17 & 18, 8 p.m.

Monday – Wednesday, February 24, 25 & 26 8 p.m.

*Monday, February 17 is industry, pay what you can night.

$15 / $10 with student ID at the door.

Tickets & Info:


About the Performer

Underneath The Lintel is a solo show, but it is hardly Kovitz’s first time alone on a stage. Pittsburgh theatregoers might remember his well-reviewed 2007 music and spoken word performance, Happy to Be Here and its 2009 follow up, Still Happy to Be Here.

In Los Angeles in the 1990’s, he fronted the spoken word band, Lies Like Truth, a legacy of his earlier one-man show, Grizly Cargo.

Kovitz grew up in California, but his Pittsburgh connections are strong. He attended Carnegie Mellon University and worked in several productions at WQED, appeared in Dawn of the Dead and Knightriders for George Romero, and was a member of the resident company City Players, now known as City Theater. After many years working in New York and Los Angeles, he returned to Pittsburgh in 2005, working in over 20 local productions in his first three years here.

Recently he has been active in film and television, appearing on Parks and Recreation, Supah Ninjas, The Fault In Our Stars and a number of homegrown projects, including his own short film Lightweight, which has won awards at several film festivals.

As a fight director, Randy stages violence for many theaters in town, as well as in film and video projects. Randy also teaches acting at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and leads intensive private acting workshops.

About the Playwright

Glen Berger is a prolific, Emmy and Ovation award-winning playwright, known most notably as Julie Taymor’s co-writer for the Broadway Musical adaptation of Spiderman. Lately he has been in the news for his tell-all book The Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History.

About the Company

12 Peers Theater was founded in 2011.  Taking the name from the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne, its mission is to provide challenging and engaging theater for Pittsburgh audiences. 12 Peers Theater highlights social, political, and ethical issues in classical and contemporary works exploring myth and cultural identity, endeavoring to open a dialogue with the audience.

12 Peers Theater presented a reading of Underneath the Lintel with Kovitz in June 2012.  On the strength of that reading and audience responses, Founding Artistic Director Vince Ventura and Producing Artistic Director Sara Fisher decided to include it this year in their third full season.


Award-winning Café Phipps Welcomes New Executive Chef

The Shaker

Amy Tyner selected to fulfill sustainable mission of public garden’s Green Restaurant Certified® eatery.

Pittsburgh, Pa.Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is pleased to welcome Amy Tyner as Café Phipps’ new executive chef. Nestled inside the public garden’s LEED® Silver Welcome Center, this Green Restaurant Certified® and Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability award-winning establishment is committed to serving fresh, healthy food that is good for both people and the planet.

Having more than 15 years of professional cooking and management experience, Tyner brings to Café Phipps a wealth of qualifications. A chef since the age of 17, she has cooked for presidents and celebrities at top-ranked hotels and restaurants in Detroit, Columbus and Pittsburgh, working most recently as executive chef and director of food and beverage for Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North. She is also a Michigan Restaurant Association silver medalist and has served as a board member for Hocking College, The Pittsburgh Culinary Institute and the Columbus chapter of The American Culinary Federation.

“Amy is a passionate advocate for healthy eating and sustainable food practices, which makes her a great fit for Café Phipps,” says Phipps Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini, “With our commitment to responsibly sourcing ingredients and serving nutritious meals, we are always looking for ways to raise the bar. We look forward to working with Amy as we continue to innovate and reach our goals.”

Drawing on the best flavors of the season, Tyner has just launched an inspired winter menu with highlights like the Smoked Salmon Salad made with an artisan greens blend, marble rye bagel chips, goat cheese and caper vinaigrette; and a Grilled Halloumi Plate with pickled vegetables, beluga lentils, scallions, lime and currants. An equally delicious and wholesome children’s menu features such instant favorites as Almond Butter and Berry Sandwiches and gluten-free Quinoa Pasta with Chicken Meatballs.

Lunch and dinner at Café Phipps is served from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday through Jan. 12. Tickets for the public garden’s popular Brunch in Bloom events are rapidly selling out but seats are still available for Dec. 29 and Jan. 5 and 12 at the cost of $28.95 for adults and $13.95 for children five-12, with admission to Winter Flower Show included. Advance reservations for sittings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. are required and can be made by calling 412/651-5281.


About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more:

TONIGHT: 21+ Holiday Party at Carnegie Science Center

The Shaker

All those who have ever wanted to enjoy Carnegie Science Center without having to elbow 8-year-olds out of the way for a chance to compete against the Air Hockeybot or peer at the seahorses, will not want to miss 21+ Night at Carnegie Science Center.

It’s holiday party time! Listen to live music by the Nevin James Band or have a drink from our cash bar while you explore four floors of exhibits and our extra holiday-themed activities. We’ll be using poinsettias to measure acidity, creating fake snow out of polymers, making eggnog in the Kitchen Theater, and exploring circuits with Christmas lights. Wear your ugliest holiday sweater, check out the trains, and enjoy a holiday martini. For a few dollars more, watch the holiday classic The Polar Express on Pittsburgh’s biggest screen.For the special event price of just $10 if purchased by noon the day of the event ($15 if purchased later), adults ages 21 and up will have access to all four floors of exhibits, including SpacePlace, SeaScape, roboworld™, the Earthquake Café, the weather station, and scientific demos. There will be a cash bar, and snacks will be available for purchase.

Cost: Just $10 in advance, $15 day of event.
Get $15 in free slot play at Rivers Casino (just a short walk away!) when you register. You’ll receive a coupon upon check-in while supplies last.  

‘Burgh Vivant will be there – we hope you will be too!


The “Buzz” from Buzzelli – This Weekend’s Top Five To-Do’s (12/5 – 12/8)


The ShakerMike Buzzelli

Here are five fun things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend, December 5 -8

Curly-Toed Toe Tag

Looking for a darker holiday experience? How about a murder-mystery with a Christmas theme? That’s “Elf’ed!” Christmas is underway at the North Pole, but when a newly hired toymaker is murdered everyone at Santa’s workshop is a suspect, including Mrs. Claus! I would bet my Christmas money that there will be a sleigh/slay joke in there somewhere.

Grab your flying reindeer and head over to “Elf’ed” at Gaetano’s Restaurant, 1617 Banksville Road, Pittsburgh, or go here:


Two Handed

Two pianists (hee hee. Pianists) vie for the same goal, concert pianist stardom in “2 Pianos 4 Hands.” It’s Ted and Richard’s excellent adventure.

You gotta hand it to artistic director, Tracy Brigden for NOT doing a holiday-themed show. Check out the “2 Pianos 4 Hands” at the City Theatre, 1300 Bingham Street, South Side.

For more information call 412-431-2489 or visit


Frick’n Christmas

Come down to the Frick Art & Historical Center and see an old-timey Christmas at the Clayton Holiday Tours – A Pittsburgh Christmas. Artifacts displayed in Clayton evoke the family’s celebrations, archival & newspaper materials will give an idea of seasonal activity in & around the city.

You can find the Frick Art & Historical Center at 7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh.


A Lost Christmas Eve

Want your jingle bells to really rock this Christmas? Catch the holiday spirit with some laser light shows and the fusion of rock and classical at the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas concert here in Pittsburgh.

You can see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the Consol Energy Center, 1001 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh.


Are we all Lit?

There’s a bright spot in Oakland this winter, literally and figuratively, at the Winter Light Garden and Flower Show at the Phipps Conservatory. Phipps is presenting a magical world of glass, light and blooms. With glowing evergreens, festive poinsettias, illuminated glass installations and their stuffing outdoors, Winter Light Garden, Phipps will sparkle and shine like never before.

You can find Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh PA, or hit them up at their website at


And now…a Sixth Thing,…

Open Up

If you’re wanting a bit more diversity in your life, head down to the “Open Mind, Open Mic Night” at the  GLCC, 210 Grant Street, Pittsburgh. The GLCC (Gay & Lesbian Community Center) is offering a host of comedians, musicians and spoken word performers to its stage on December 5 at 7:00 p.m. Hosted by comedy’s tallest toddler Abby Denton (Last Comic Standing – third place, Pittsburgh edition). Denton said, “The Open Mind Open Mic is an attempt to make a safer space for young performers, queer performers, performers of color, and anyone else who might not feel welcome at other mics. We want to foster new voices.”

And that’s a wrap people. Come back next week for more fun things to do in Pittsburgh.

– MB

The “Buzz” from Buzzelli – Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (11/28 – 12/1)

The ShakerMike Buzzelli

Christmas is in the air, and the local theater scene is putting the happy in Happy Holidays.

Elf off the Shelf

There’s a misfit in Toyland and his name is Buddy. He’s the elf that isn’t really an elf, but a human raised in the North Pole by one of Santa’s senior managers. Buddy goes off to America to find his real family and falls in love with a real girl. The movie is brought to stage (with added music) in “Elf – the Musical.”

Look for it at the Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh.

Get on the nice list and take the whole family! For more information go here;


You want a Frosty with that?

Midnight Radio is back on the list. The Bricolage presents “Midnight Radio: Animated Holidaze,” a “Fractured Fairy Tale” version of your favorite animated Christmas Classics.  Grinch, Frosty, Charlie Brown and friends aren’t safe from clutches of Tami Dixon and Jeffrey Carpenter and their troupe of talented radio (not on the radio) stars.

Jump on Santa’s sleigh and head down to the Bricolage, 937 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, or, you know, take the bus or something. You can learn more at



It’s inevitable. You can’t deny it. You’re going to see at least one version of Charles Dickens’ miserly curmudgeon who undergoes a massive spiritual rebirth on Christmas Eve. You might as well see, “A Musical Christmas Carol.” Ebenezer himself might warm to this version at the Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh.

Throw open your window and throw a schilling down to a boy in the street and get him to buy you tickets for the whole Cratchit family, or get tickets online here;


Baby Jesus, Three Wise Men and a Cast of Hundreds

Every Christmas, at this time, the Carnegie Museum puts up its big crèche, the Neapolitan Presepio. The Nativity scene features more than 100 human and angelic figures, along with animals, accessories and architectural elements.

You don’t have to follow the star to find the newborn king; you can just go to the Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Oakland. For more information, go to


Bah Humbug!

Not in the holiday spirit? You can do the Truffle Shuffle over at the “Live Read: The Goonies.” It’s just like the movie, but read out loud by local actors and comedians. Chris Preksta (“Pittsburgh Dad,” “Mercury Men,” and much more) directs the live reading of the action/adventure comedy screenplay. These events usually sell out, so get your tickets early!

You can find the fun at the Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh.

And that’s a wrap people. Come back next week for more fun things to do in Pittsburgh.



Carnegie Science Center reopens miniature railroad Nov. 29th with new addition

 – Carnegie Science Center, a mecca for train lovers during the holiday season for two decades, is supercharging the family fun this year with Lionel Days, Nov. 29 – Jan. 1.

Lionel Days, presented by Lionel, is a month-long festival of trains. At the heart of all the railroad fun is the Science Center’s Miniature Railroad and
, a favorite of families throughout the region for generations. The Miniature Railroad reopens on Nov. 29 with a brand- new exhibit: the Allegheny County Mortuary Building. The Allegheny County Mortuary, designed by Frederick Osterling, is a fortress-like stone building completed in 1902, with skylights over the surgery rooms. In 1929, the building was moved approximately 297 feet to its current location, to make room for the County Office Building. The model shows not only the building itself, but the building in the process of the move: a team of tiny horses walk in a circle to turn a winch that pulled the morgue along steel rails atop massive cribbing. The railroad is free with general admission. Visitors who purchase a copy of the On Track gallery guide can participate in a very special scavenger hunt. The guide describes some infamous Pittsburgh crimes from yesteryear and visitors are encouraged to find “clues” in the railroad layout.

Throughout Lionel Days, visitors will enjoy special train displays featuring models from Lionel’s own archives, spanning its 113-year history. This temporary exhibition marks the first time these artifacts have been on public display. Lionel has also provided a classic model railroad layout and train decorations on the grand holiday tree. On weekends, special themed activities keep the fun on track. Young train enthusiasts will enjoy visits from Lenny the Lion, the Lionel mascot, and the Lionel Kids Zone, where children can put together model trains.

The centerpiece event of Lionel Days is Locomotion Weekend. On Dec. 14 and 15, the Science Center will host a rail yard filled with guest train
displays by local hobbyists. Visitors can bring their own model trains for a free checkup by the “Loco Doctor” and enjoy special themed activities.
Locomotion Weekend is free with general admission. Locomotion Weekend is also sponsored by Isaly’s and WISH 99.7.

Lionel Days also encompasses Breakfast Express. This annual favorite features a piping-hot breakfast, then Conductor Mike shouts “All aboard for the Polar Express!”  The “train” of children and grownups proceeds to the Rangos Omnimax Theater for a visit with Mr. McFeely and a screening of The Polar Express: An IMAX Experience. The morning ends with time in the Miniature Railroad & Village.  Breakfast Express, sponsored by Lionel, is offered Dec. 7, 14, and 21 and costs just $30 for adults and $25 for children and seniors. Members of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh get a $5 discount off these prices, and the cost for all children age 2 and younger is just $10. Registration is now open by phone, at 412.237.3400, then press 7.

Visitors who love looking at locomotives won’t want to miss the Science Center’s special Omnimax offerings. Rocky Mountain Express and The Polar Express: An IMAX Experience are back on Pittsburgh’s biggest screen! Eat ‘n Park is the local sponsor of The Polar Express, and Rocky Mountain Express is sponsored locally by Baierl Subaru.

If a ticket to the film isn’t enough, the Science Center will host the Polar Express Sleepover on Dec. 14. Guests will enjoy The Polar Express as well as special activities, before bedding down in one of the exhibit galleries. The sleepover includes a snack, continental breakfast, and general admission to the Science Center the following day. Cost is just $35 per person, and advance registration is necessary by calling 412-237-1637; registration closes Dec. 9.