1) Just as assuredly as Pittsburghers can expect tailgating at the Stillers game, fries on their sammiches, and backups at every tunnel, they can expect The Clarks to keep playing solid working-class rock. The group gained a strong local following in the early ’90s gigging at clubs like Graffiti (remember Graffiti?), and has remained together and active long after nearly every other band on the scene during that era called it quits. After 25 years, nine albums, countless gigs and zero line-up changes, The Clarks have gone from being a regional favorite to a local institution. And the band members, who formed at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, have never forgotten their home turf. There latest album is Feathers & Bones Tonight they are playing a benefit for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Laurel Region at The Palace. 7 p.m. 21 W Otterman St., Greensburg.
2) The Pittsburgh area has been transformed from a high-octane hub of heavy industry to an epicenter of arts and culture. Today, this change will be turned into metaphor with The Pillow Project’s The Jazz Furnace. The dance company is putting on a spectacle of dance, video projection, jazz music, and chalk art at the Carrie Blast Furnaces, once a major producer of iron and now among the world’s most spectacular post-industrial ruins. The show will be sorta spontaneous and The Pillow Project will perform it in two five-hour installments, a day shift and night shift. The furnaces haven’t been the site of a workday that fiery and exhausting since their pre-union days. Noon-5 p.m. and 7 p.m.-midnight. Ohio St., Rankin.
3) Clarence Greenwood, a.k.a. Citizen Cope, is a one-man musical juicing machine. The Washington, D.C.-based singer/songwriter takes an assortment of styles—soul, funk, rock, hip-hop, and occasional folk and blues—and blends them together, and the mixture is always as a fine and silky as a smoothie. Tonight at Mr. Small’s Funhouse, Cope will be playing songs from across his six-album discography in a solo, unplugged show. 9 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale.
4) Local rock legend Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers are jamming at Altar Bar tonight. Rolling Stone contributor Jimmy Guterman says of Grushecky, “There’s Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, Springsteen, maybe a few more. He’s on that level.” Come hear some new songs as well as your old favorites. Opening is The Igniters and Wreck Loose. 8 p.m. 1620 Penn Ave., Strip District.
5) Even though he has positions as an instructor at the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Carnegie Mellon University, saxophonist Ben Opie has never stopped being in bands and gigging. Tonight at Club Café, the local jazz scene staple and his six-piece band Flexure will hold a release show for their new LP Insert Title Here. (No, that’s not an error on our part; that’s the actual name of the album.) Class will not be dismissed until late. 10:30 p.m. 56-58 South 12th St., South Side.
6) Oktoberfest, the 16-day celebration of food, beer, and sexy peasant outfits, has been held in Munich for 203 years. If there is one place locally that knows how to do things in an old-fashioned and German way it is Old Economy Village, a colony and worksite established by a German-born religious order and preserved today as a historic site. It is holding an Oktoberfest fundraiser complete with beer, Burke’s Bavarian Band and dishes that end in “kraut” or “braten” or “wurst”! 6 p.m. 270 16th St., Ambridge.
7) Fort Ligonier Days commemorates the battle of Fort Ligonier, fought in 1758 as part of the “French and Indian War.” The three-day festival (running through tomorrow) features a plethora of history, food, crafts and entertainment. At the Fort itself you’ll find reenactors in an encampment recreating military life from 1758 including: Redcoats, Highlanders, Native Americans, French troops and frontier men and women. A reenactment of “The Battle of Fort Ligonier” will commence at 2 & 4 p.m. At 11 a.m., a large community parade winds down Main Street. Artillery demonstrations, 1:30 & 3:30 p.m. Food and craft booths, sidewalk sales, church fundraising meals, ongoing period and contemporary entertainment, 9 a.m. until the fireworks display starts at 8:45 p.m. Ligonier. NOTE: George Washington spent time at Fort Ligonier in 1758 as a British officer.
8) Also in the Laurel Highlands today is Seven Springs Resort’s “Autumnfest” with fine arts & crafts bazaar, chairlift rides, pumpkin patch portraits and the Zany Umbrella Circus, The Enchanted Wagon and several bands and performers, plus sumptuous buffets and many other events and activities. This is Chili and Chocolate Weekend with a chili cook-off benefiting local fire companies and plenty of opportunities to eat chocolate. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Seven Springs.
9) Today’s Allegheny County RADical Days include free events at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust: Sketch Crawl. For more information visit the RADical Days Web site.