Last Day for the Pittsburgh Folk Festival; Sienna Mercato Continues to Please (Sat., 5/16/15)

1) The 59th Annual  Pittsburgh Folk Festival ends today. An interesting international festival that showcases the rich diversity of Pittsburgh’s ethnic cultures through foodmusicdance, crafts and exhibits.  Some of the nationalities represented include Ukraine, Caribbean, India, Peru, Syria, and Vietnam. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monroeville Convention Center, 209 Mall Plaza Blvd., Monroeville. Adjacent to the Monroeville Mall.

2) “This must be the place,” David Byrne of Talking Heads fame once sang. You’ll be singing the same tune upon entering Sienna Mercato. The restaurant’s first floor, Emporio, offers four different gourmet meatballs—classic beef, spicy pork, vegetarian, and chicken—and nine sauces, ranging from marinara to gluten-free spinach-almond pesto. You can have your meatballs alone or on a bun, and with or without cheese. The second floor—Mezzo—features pastas and wood-fired pizza. Pizza varieties include traditional margherita as well as more exotic fare, like clams. Mezzo also has desserts and charcuterie (plates of cured meats, artisan cheeses, and preserves). Il Tetto, the rooftop beer garden, caps off  the Sienna Mercato experience. The garden has 30 beers on tap, cocktails, and smaller dishes. Whether it’s sunny or snowing, patrons can always appreciate Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers, thanks to the garden’s retractable glass roof (awesome, right?). Don’t worry, an elevator is provided should all that food and drink impede mobility. 942 Penn Ave., Cultural District.


3) Pitch Perfect 2 – As the poster has it, “We’re Back Pitches!” The sequel to the surprise summer hit of 2012. We’re reunited with the college women’s a cappella group “The Barden Bellas.” Though they triumphed at the first film, they may have bit off more than they can chew when they compete on an international level. What the hell … it’s better than watching cars explode. Anna Kendrick returns as Beca and Rebel Wilson is back as “Fat Amy.” Interestingly, this is the feature film directorial debut of Elizabeth Banks … who you may know as Effie Trinket in the Hunger Games series. Check Fandango for screens and times.

Christie had an air of mystery even when young.

Christie had an air of mystery even when young.

4) There have been more prestigious writers, but in terms of sheer popularity none come close to Agatha Christie. She is the best-selling author of modern times by far, with total book sales of more than 2 billion. Christie also wrote plays, of which her murder mystery The Mousetrap owns a record that may never be broken. It opened in London’s West End in 1952 and is still running there 63 years and over 25,000 performances later. You cannot see a movie version. Christie, now long deceased, stipulated that no film be made until the initial run closed. 8 p.m. Continues through May 17. You can, however, discover the secrets of The Mousetrap by attending Prime Stage Theatre’s production at the New Hazlett. 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side.

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Rick Handler

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