The “Buzz” from Buzzelli – This Weekend’s 5 Fun To-Do’s (9/12-9/15)

The Shaker

Wigle it, just a little bit

Wigle Whiskey is having an Organic Whiskey Bitters Release Party. Go Green; just don’t drink so much that you actually turn green. Wigle releases its organic whiskey to the world Friday, September 13 in two shifts, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Drink responsibly or bring a designated driver over to 2401 Small Street in the Strip District.

For additional details call 412-224-2827 or hit them up at

Ebony and Ivory

If you think whiskey is for the birds, head over to the National Aviary’s Black and White Party.

This fundraiser is for the birds (literally). The Aviary will have fortune-tellers, strolling magicians and more. There’s a cash bar for those of you who are opining for the Wigle Whiskey event but let your girlfriend pick.  If you get a little tipsy, you can dance it off.  DJ Midas will be spinning some solid gold hits.

The National Aviary’s Black & White Party is also Friday, September 13, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the National Aviary, Allegheny Commons West, Pittsburgh (North Side).

For more details, fly over to

Where for art thou, Romeo?

Thou art in Arsenal Park? Come catch the tale of the original star-cross’d lovers, “Romeo and Juliet” in Lawrenceville this weekend. It’s presented by Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks this weekend in Arsenal Park, Arsenal Park, Pittsburgh on September 14 and 15.

Remember to brink a hanky, because there was never a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Get thee to their website at for the details.

Putting the Burger in Pittsburgher

Head down to the River Casino on Saturday, September 14 and taste the best burgers in Pittsburg at the Pittsburgher 2012 Gourmet Burger Competition and Music Festival. Each ticket to the event includes a chance to win an Disney World Getaway, which includes airfare, accommodations, 2 five day Park Hopper passes to Disney World and more.

Find out who makes the best burgers and listen to live music. The event is from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Try your luck at picking the best burger at 777 Casino Drive, Pittsburgh, PA (North Shore). For more information consult the midnight guru herself high atop a mountain, or easy to reach here:

Jazz It Up

Things are getting jazzy in Carnegie. Swing down to Jazz on Third on Sunday, September 15. Be there for the history-making proclamation, whereas Carnegie will declare September 15 Carnegie Celebrates Jazz Day!

The Carnegie Arts Initiative welcomes the The St. John Affair, the Don Aliquo Quartet, Michele Bensen and Friends. There will be silent auctions, raffles and more! There will be some great food from Oasis Pasta, Suzi’s Deli, and A Ward’s Cheesecakes!

Go down to 220 Third Street, Carnegie, PA 15106. All the cool cats are doing it.

You can reserve tickets at or call Bonita Farinelli at 412-331-1047. Be there or be square!

Bonus Track (i.e. shameless self-promotional plug)

After the weekend is over, you can make your Monday a fun day! Come back out to Carnegie for Third on Third’s special event, a live reading of “Shakespeare in Love,”

The critically acclaimed screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard will be read by the cast of South Park Theater’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which wrapped earlier this summer.

Get thee to the art gallery at 220 Third Street, Carnegie, PA 15106 at 7:00 p.m. Monday, September 16 all for the low, low price of $5.00.


– MB

On the Town: Pittsburgh New Works Festival 2013, Opening Night

‘Burgh Vivant sponsored the post-show mingle for last night’s opening of the 2013 Pittsburgh New Works Festival at Off The Wall Theatre in Carnegie.  Host Brian Edward, and contributors Mike Buzzelli and Lonnie Jantsch were on hand to party with the patrons and dish out exclusive ‘Burgh Vivant gift packages.  Notable visitors included actor Bingo O’Malley, Carnegie mayor Jack Kobistek, Carnegie Library & Music Hall Director Maggie Forbes, Kim ElLynne Franks, Randy DeShong, director Naomi Grodin, and recent ‘Burgh Vivant feature, Marlene Smith-Pendleton, among many others.  Award-winning Pittsburgh playwright and New Works board member F.J. Hartland cheerfully greeted guests, and ‘Burgh Vivant had the privilege of cocktailing afterward with several of the program’s performers including Jen Luta and Andy Coleman.  The Pittsburgh New Works Festival runs through the month of September at Off The Wall theatre in Carnegie.  Tickets and schedule available HERE.

actress Jun Luta with 'Burgh Vivant host Brian Edward.
actress Jen Luta with ‘Burgh Vivant host Brian Edward.
Eugene Banks, Brian Edward, Catherine Kolos, Lynne Franks, and Tom Kolos.
Eugene Banks, Brian Edward, Catherine Kolos, Lynne Franks, and Tom Kolos.
Bob Podurgiel, Brian Edward, and recent 'Burgh Vivant feature Marlene Smith-Pendleton
Bob Podurgiel, Brian Edward, and recent ‘Burgh Vivant feature Marlene Smith-Pendleton




The Buzz from Buzzelli: 5 Things to See This Weekend (9/5 – 9/8) –

The Shaker

The Shaker

Every week we shake things up with five fun things to do in Pittsburgh. This week’s list features a lot of local talent. Here are the top recommendations for having fun in the ‘Burgh (with an extra special bonus track).

Can You Feel The Love Tonight?

Get your pride together and head down to the Benedum for “The Lion King.”

The 1994 Disney animated movie made its leap to the stage in 1997 and is now one of the top five longest running shows on Broadway. Thanks to Julie Taymor’s incredible theatrical vision. Be warned: the songs will stick in your head. I had “Hakuna Matata” lodged in my Medulla Oblongata for years.

If you just can’t wait to be king, head down to the Benedum Center between September 3 and 29. The Benedum is located at 719 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh. Call 412-456-6666 or click

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle

If you missed your chance to have a tropical vacation this summer, you can still party in the tropics right in your own backyard. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is hosting “Party in the Tropics.” It’s a hot ticket, and not just because you can dance in a rain forest. Enjoy a cocktail or tour the vast and various rooms of the botanical wonderland.

It’s a lush life Friday night September 6, at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh. Call 412-622-6914 or visit

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Debbie isn’t the only one preoccupied with 1985. Missy Moreno is still spending a lot a time there. She has seen all the classics and knows all the lines. Missy and her friends will perform sketch and improv comedy at the Arcade Comedy Theater, downtown.

Missy is one of the funniest people in Pittsburgh, she will be bringing back Springsteen, Madonna and the rest of our friends from that bygone era in “Missy Moreno & Friends: I Love the 80s.” That 80s show runs September 6 -7 at the Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh. For more info click here.

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame, I want it, I want it

“Make it gay. Make it gay. Make it gay!” The Andy Warhol Museum is celebrating Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community through pictures with Caldwell Linker’s “All Through the Night.” Caldwell Linker, a resident of Pittsburgh since 2007, reveals an intimate portrait of Pittsburgh’s vibrant gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans communities through photography. The exhibit features local drag queens, house parties, and simple afternoons on the porch.

On September 7, Caldwell Linker will be part of the TransQ event at the Warhol. Host Janet Granite will bring out a variety of guests for an evening of queer dance, stand-up, stories, fantasies, music and more for the Dadaist Variety Show. Put Sonny and Cher, Sesame Street, Andy Warhol’s TV, Ernie Kovacs, Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Wigstock in a blender and hit frappe.

Then, after watching that weirdness, head over to the after-party at HONCHO, 1139 Penn Ave. from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

It’s a snap to get over to the Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA. For more information click: and check out their calendar section.

Brand Spanking New

Catch the opening night of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival at Thursday September 5. A bunch of new plays written (mostly) by local writers make their world debut. Meet the playwrights and you have a chance to say, “I knew her (or him) when…” You will also have a chance to meet the creator and contributors to this very website.

Opening night promises to be a hoot and a half with food, drinks and prize packages.

The festival runs all month at the Off the Wall Theater, 24 W. Main Street in Carnegie.  For more information call 412-944-2639.

Bonus Track

If you Combine elements of “The Sandlot” and “A Christmas Story,” mix in Roberto Clemente and the Pirates, and you have “The Great One.” Three of the Pittsburgh area’s finest actresses, Karen Baum, Dana Hardy and Adrienne Wehr will participate in this one-woman show. Each actress will read one of three acts.

Local screenwriter Russ Babines has converted his feature length film script into a play, which incorporates themes of family, friendship, and redemption. The event (Sunday September 8 at 7:00 p.m.) is brought to you by the Carnegie Screenwriters and the Carnegie Arts initiative at the 3rd Street Gallery in Carnegie, 220 Third Street, Carnegie, PA.

For more details go to

– MB.

The “Buzz” from Buzzelli – 5 Things to See This Weekend (8/30/13)

The Shaker

‘Burgh Vivant contributor Mike Buzzelli’s hot picks for this weekend, August 30 – September 1st, 2013:

Hit the Heights

Lights go up on Washington Heights, and you don’t have to be there at the break of day, like Usnavi. You can get down to your favorite bodega and hang out with the colorful residents of a tight-knit urban community, in “In the Heights.”  Front Porch Theatricals and Carnivale Theatrics bring Tony Chiroldes back from Broadway, reprising his role as Kevin Rosario.

There may not be “Hundreds of Stories” in Washington Heights, but this is by far the best one. Tony award-winning is down at The New Hazlett Theater through September 1.

Tickets and more information are available by calling (888) 718-4253 or visiting or

The Other Side of Pittsburgh Dad

You might not know this but Pittsburgh Dad, Curt Wootton, is not just Yinzer with a ‘tude, he’s also a fine actor. You can see for yourself in Duquesne University’s production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Justin Sines directs one of Tennessee Williams’ finest plays.

Find out why Maggie (Cassandra Hough) is as prickly as…well…a cat on a hot tin roof.

Catch the “Cat” August 29-31, at 8:00pm in the Peter Mills Auditorium at Duquesne University. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. More information can be found at

Collegiate Hop

All the kids are back in school and they’re showing off. You can hop over from Duquesne to Point Park and watch Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” directed by the playwright’s son, Robert A. Miller.

Joe Keller (Philip Winters) is having a more ups and downs than an elevator salesman. One son is about to propose to his girlfriend and the other is presumed missing in the war. Did I mention that the aforementioned patriarch is harboring his own dark secret?

“Sons” runs from now until September 22 with a “Pay what you will” performance at 2:00 p.m. Saturday September 7, and a special “Talk Back” Session after the 2:00 p.m. Saturday September 14 performance.

For more information call the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office at 412-392-8000 or online at

Saturday Night Special

If you’re looking for laughs, head downtown for “The John McIntire Dangerously Live Comedy Talk Show.” Saturday McIntire presents, “Carlos Danger: The Rise and Fall of Anthony Weiner,” where the comedian will not only roast Weiner, but he will be discussing political sex scandals both past and present with special guests Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers, therapist Natalie Bencivenga, and mayoral candidate Bill Peduto’s press secretary Sonya Toler. All this for a mere sawbuck (five dollars) or FREE if you have a ticket stub from a same-night Cultural Trust event.

The late night talk show starts at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night at the Cabaret Theater, 655 Penn Ave., Downtown. For more chatter about the chat show call 412-325-6769 or visit

And now for something completely different…

Summer is almost over, but before the community pools are drained of their beautiful blue, albeit chlorinated water, you have a chance to throw your pet into the deep end at the Labor Day Doggie Dip at the Dormont Pool.

Take your dog for a swim at 4:00 p.m. September 2, treat them to an ice ball or soft pretzel and enjoy some fun in the sun with man’s best friend. Dormont Pool and the Western PA Humane Society cohost the fifth annual Doggie Dip.

For more information contact

Bonus Track

Here’s a special sixth fun thing to do in the ‘Burgh this weekend. Join Stacey Keene, Davon Magwood, Tim Ross, Zach Simons, Tim Sommers, Todd Shaffer and some other guy (ME!) at the True Story Beach Party at the Arcade Comedy Theater on August 30th.

The storytellers will be making waves on stage, because the show’s theme is “Making Waves.” You can also hear DJ Zombo spin some surf rock music. The event is BYOB, so liquor up and come on down to the Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Downtown.

For more information surf over to

– MB

The Dietrich / Pittsburgh Connection

Marlene Dietrich in "Pittsburgh"
Marlene Dietrich in “Pittsburgh”

Silver screen legend Marlene Dietrich is discussed (and perhaps even scandalized) in this week’s episode of ‘Burgh Vivant.  Did you know that Dietrich starred opposite John Wayne in a 1942 film entitled “Pittsburgh?”  And it was partially shot on location here in our fair Steel City!  The film is worth a look – especially to see how the city has transformed (not to mention, cleaned up) since then.

– B.

REVIEW: The End of The World Show, Arcade Comedy Theatre


by Michael Buzzelli, ‘BURGH VIVANT Contributor

The end is near. It actually came and went, but you have another chance to catch the end of the world at “The End of The World Show” at the Arcade Comedy Theater.

Director Brian Gray’s premise is inspired. A ragtag group of humans sneak into an alien council meeting. The aforementioned aliens are about to blow up the Earth, but our heroes have 45 to sixty minutes to save the world (Okay Madonna and Justin Timberlake can probably do it in four minutes, but it wouldn’t be much of a show, would it?).

Our stalwart humans have to teach the aliens about our culture, our lives, and our humor to prove that we’re worth saving. That’s where the audience gets involved. The audience gets to be the aliens. As comic strip creator Walt Kelly would attest, “We’ve met the enemy and he is us.”

Before the show, you get a chance to get dolled up in alien attire (thanks to Cassie Brehmer, manager at Artist and Craftsman Supply in Squirrel Hill). There’s make-up, jewelry, antennae, etc. As you enter the theater, you join the alien council led by their evil overlord, Brett Goodnack. Brett’s character, sporting a curly blue wig, high bedazzled collar and other alien accoutrement enters and gets this party started. His character is part Mork, part Mathesar (Enrico Colantoni from “Galaxy Quest”) and all evil. Goodnack is a ray gun of awesome, he shoots off some of the best zingers in the show. Unfortunately, the Evil Overlord sits in a large recliner at the back of the theater. Audiences had to crane their necks to see him deliver said zingers. He’s worth the potential neck strain (here’s hoping Gray moves the recliner to the side of the stage in future performances).

When thin, gangly, improvisational actor Krish Mohan spouts off a line of dialogue, Goodnack retorts, “Is anyone else annoyed by the little one?” Goodnack later pointed at Mohan and said, “I’m going to throw you like a javelin.” The banter was brilliant, and Mohan’s reactions were worth the price of admission.

After the premise is set up, the rest of the show follows a pretty standard Improv format. Goodnack takes suggestions from the other members of the alien council (i.e. the audience) and runs the troupe through their paces.

Some games were standard faire (games you would see on “Whose Line is it, Anyway?”). Games such as “Change,” where the actors have to make a new choice each time the group leader (or alien overlord in this case) shouts out “Change.” Members of the talented cast pulled it off with aplomb. Special shout outs to Mohan and Tessa Karel for their rapid fire wit. Another special mention should go to George Aivaliotis, a last minute replacement who slid into the team deftly.

The show could be improved with a little more elucidation. Audiences unfamiliar with improvisational games could have used the standard speech, “These guys are going to show me how they would eat break up with a lover, fire an employee, or eat spaghetti in space.”

At the end of the show, audience members with smart phones are instructed to vote on the fate of the world using an App. The votes are tabulated on a graph ala the ask-the-audience question on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” with animation provided by Spencer Diaz and Nico Zevallos.  On opening night, the ruthless alien overlords decided to “thumbs down” the globe. You may have missed the earth-shattering KABOOM, but you have a few more chances to save the planet with three performances left; Aug 30, Sept 6, & Sept 13 at 10:00 p.m. at the Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. You may be our only hope!

THE MAIN EVENT at Off The Wall Theatre – featuring ‘Burgh Vivant contributor Mike Buzzelli

‘Burgh Vivant contributor Mike Buzzelli, emcees THE MAIN EVENT, a unique performance starring Ingrid Ullrich and Josh Himes at Off the Wall Theatre in Carnegie this weekend.

Ingrid Ullrich is your ultimate overall entertainer.

Her spicy and sassy appearance on stage whether in dancing, singing, acting, or modeling can light up an audience anywhere.  Josh “Handsome Hitman” Himes is a nationally ranked Cruiserweight Champion boxer, and is said to be the future of boxing.

They combine their talents, putting on a knockout performance! Come watch this extremely funny and highly entertaining comedy of an Italian marriage sharing their lives as a dancer and a boxer. They both get to showcase their talent and swap places with one another. This swap allows them to discover what a dynamic duo they make despite their differences, and just how powerful their love truly is.

Ingrid has traveled throughout the world for various production companies including her most recent, Royal Caribbean International. She can also be seen in various magazines, including features in FHM and Maxim.

Ingrid explains her journey throughout the industry in her newly published book, ‘Ocean Dancer,’ available for purchase on Amazon and select bookstores. The significance of ‘Ocean Dancer’ is that it tells the story of how she came up with creating her own show, ‘The Main Event,’ which is her newest and ongoing production featuring top boxer, Josh Himes, her fiancee and vocals by Jewel Ullrich, her sister.

It is an experience not to be missed!  Performances are this Friday and Saturday August 23rd and 24th, 8pm at Off the Wall Theatre, 25 West Main Street, Carnegie PA.  Minutes from downtown with plenty of free parking.

For tickets, visit:

“The Buzz” from Buzzelli: 5 Things to See This Weekend

Get out and Play

Pittsburgh is busting out with entertainment. Every weekend in the ‘Burgh you can find dance, art, theater and comedy.  Here are five fun things going on this weekend in the ‘Burgh.

Take a Peek with Pappas

Get a jump start on the Pittsburgh Public’s exciting new season with a Summer Happy Hour and Sneak Peek at the O’Reilly Theater downtown. Producing Artistic Director and all-around great guy Ted Pappas will host a party for the new line-up. There are chances to win tickets and prizes. There will be beer, wine, munchies and music all for only ten smackers!

Pump up for Theater Season at the O’Reilly from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m Thursday, August 22.

For more additional details check out, you’ll be glad you did.

War and Roses

When suave lothario Don Juan marches into war, he returns a changed man. After years of abstinence he’s no longer the synonymous sexplorer he used to be. Award-winning playwright Duncan McMillan  adapts Odon von Horvath’s gripping tale of isolation in the aftermath of the Great War in “Don Juan Comes Back from the War.”

The play runs till August 30th at the Stephen Foster Memorial Theater, just below the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland, 4301 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

For additional details contact the Pittsburgh Irish Classical Theatre (PICT) for more information at or call (412) 561-6000.

Butterflies are Free (with the price of admission)

It’s time to come out of your cocoon (or chrysalis) and check out the Butterfly Forest at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Every day until September 2nd, a variety of butterflies will flutter by among cheerful tropical blooms in the aforementioned Butterfly Forrest. Catch the Monarchs and Zebra Longwings while you can (don’t literally catch them…bringing butterfly nets to the conservatory is highly discouraged).

All the action is at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Scheneley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Come to the Cabaret, Old Chum

Come to the cabaret, old chum, for a little bit of late night fun for Burghlesque.

Madhouse Moguls Joe Nickel and Chad Robert bring you this rocking and rollicking show. Burghlesque is a  desconstructed burlesque show featuring singers, dancers and drag queens. Oh my! Pittsburgh’s First Lady of Drag, Kierra Darshell will be your hostess with the most-est (padded most-est). Hear Kelsey Purcell and Lindsay Leigh Pingor belt it out (Heard them, love them). See drag divas Sasha Nolan, Divauna Diore and Lady Diamond. Laugh with the hilarious Gab Bonesso (soon to be known as the First Lady of Pittsburgh Comedy). Be amazed by the moves of the Madhouse Dance Troupe.
Burglesque (sing it with me) is One Night Only! Saturday, August 24 at the Cabaret Theater in Theater Square downtown at 10:00 p.m.

Check them out on Facebook for additional details.

It’s the End of the World As We know it, but I feel fine!

That’s great! It starts with an earthquake! An earthquake of laughter! When aliens take over the planet, laughter will be the only thing to save us. That’s probably why Lenny Bruce is not afraid.  Serve your own needs, and serve yourself a Hurricane at a BYOB event at the Arcade Comedy Theater in downtown Pittsburgh.

The fate of the earth, rests in the hands of a group of improvisational performers, Brett Goodnack, Tessa Karel, Dillon Diatlo, Laurel George, Tami Ross, Krish Mohan, Jamison Linz, Joceyln Hillen, Marcia Craig, and Erin Kelly. They must make our new evil overlords laugh or the human race is curtains! Personally, I think we’re safe! It’s a hilarious new group of players at the Arcade.

You’ll feel better than fine at the End of The World Show. Friday’s at 10:00 p.m; August 23 & 30, September 6  & 13 at the Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. For additional details go to

The Marvelous Mr. Frederick and “The Burning Man”

The James Frederick interview is not only significant because it was officially the first filmed episode of ‘Burgh Vivant, but because it provided me the long overdue opportunity to catch up with an old friend.

James and I had worked together on numerous projects “back in the day” when I was an art curator.  As soon as I walked through the gallery doors, the years that had gone by became minutes, and we immediately began recalling great stories from the past, of working with Laurier Dubé of Paris, and of the three of us cooperating to stage an exhibition of the works of James Coignard, marking the artist’s first U.S. appearance in over a decade, and the last before his passing in 2008.

Coignard and Mr. Dubé were merely a sample of the cavalcade of artists that I would be introduced to through collaborations with the James Gallery.  In Mr. Frederick’s interview (and with more detail in the podcast), you will hear mention of artist Paul Chojnowski and see a brief example of one of his works.  As remarkable as it may sound, Mr. Chojnowski creates stunning landscapes and cityscapes by burning paper.  I first discovered his work during my time in the Berkshires, and later had the opportunity and privilege to include him in a Pittsburgh area exhibition in 2004.  Since then Mr. Chojnowski has been a mainstay at the James Gallery in Pittsburgh’s west end, creating “burnt” cityscapes of Pittsburgh during his many visits.  The result is breathtaking – a depiction of the Steel City born of fire; a harkening to its gritty industrial roots; captivating, compelling, and beautiful.  Treat yourself to a viewing at The James Gallery.  And let me know what you think!  You’ll find the staff welcoming, the surroundings inviting, and the art most certainly worth the trip.

– B.