1) Today marks the opening of the 20th-annual Pittsburgh Blues Fest. It’s hard to believe that the first event—at Sandcastle in 1995—was almost its last. After a mediocre turnout and a lackluster bottom line benefiting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, event organizers didn’t know if a second year was possible. Luckily, public support grew quickly through word of mouth, and the festival has been going strong ever since, eventually becoming large enough to move to its current home at Hartwood Acres. The lineup for Friday starts at 5 p.m. with Mahajibee on the Main Stage, with Billy the Kid on Stage Two at 6 p.m. Norm Nardini & the Pittsburgh Blues Allstars hit the Main Stage at 8 p.m., followed by Bernard Allison at 9 p.m. The fun and music continue throughout Saturday and Sunday. 200 Hartwood Acres, Hampton and Indiana townships.
2) The fifth-annual Seven Springs Mountain Resort Rib and Wing Festival kicks off today for a full weekend of good eats, great beer, local crafters, and live music at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Several BBQ restaurants will be on hand to serve up samples of their specialties, including BG’s BBQ, Smokin Joe’s Hog Wild Barbeque, and Mojo’s Rib Shack. After you hit the grills and smokers, cool off in the beer garden with a brew or two. Entertainment for Friday includes Kardaz and Tres Lads at 5:30 p.m. and Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers at 7:15 p.m. The event runs from 4 – 9 p.m. Friday as well as throughout the day Saturday and Sunday. 777 Waterwheel Dr.
3) Be careful who you talk to on the phone this week. Rickey Smiley is in town. The standup comic and TV and radio personality has made a name for himself in large part because of his hilarious prank phone calls. A fixture on HBO and BET comedy specials in the early 2000’s, Smiley has been broadcasting his talents via radio as of late. He began in 2004 as a morning personality on KBFB in Dallas with a show that blended the latest hip hop music and his trademark phone calls. It wasn’t long before he was getting national attention. You can hear “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” on mainstream urban radio stations across the country now. Smiley will be bringing his brand of clean urban comedy to Pittsburgh tonight and Saturday for four shows at the Pittsburgh Improv. Tonight’s shows are at 8 and 10:30 p.m. 166 E. Bridge St., Waterfront.