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The Thrival Music + Innovation Festival is finally here

September 13-14, 12PM
The Thrival Innovation + Music Festival made a splash last September in its first incarnation, popping up to host a day long music festival on the rocky crags of the Bakery Square 2.0 construction site. East Coast rap legends De La Soul, Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit and instrumental hip-hop maestro RJD2 made for an interesting, eclectic set, allowing attendees to listen to a lot of very different music while consuming craft beer and the goods of some of Pittsburgh's best food trucks.

The event itself was sponsored by Thrill Mill, a non-profit incubator that's gotten a ton of praise for working toward bridging the gap between private and public investment throughout the city. Thrival itself grew out of Thrill Mill founder and CEO Bobby Zappala's involvement with the Shady Side-based wildly successful fundraiser/block party Baller BBQ, and now its grown into the second of Pittsburgh's hometown music festivals along with the VIA New Media and Music Festival.

Preceding the festival itself, Thrival will be hosting innovation workshops covering a wide range of topics all week, including an entrepreneuer showcase, the future of video gaming and a social venture workshop.

The music festival has broadened its scope considerably for 2014. Now covering two days, the line-up has nearly tripled, with the curation setting up Saturday to be more indie rock based, while Sunday leans toward electronic music acts. Saturday's highlights include local scene stalwarts 1,2,3, who we 
profiled earlier this summer on the eve of their sophomore album release show, as well as heavy-hitting headliners such as Chicago hip-hop legend Talib Kweli, noodly art rock jam band Phosphorescent, and the glammy indie rock of Portugal.The Man.

Sunday's line-up will please any fans of Pittsburgh's electronic music scene, plucking local house music innovators Pittsburgh Track Authority for an afternoon set while relying on the sample smith beats of Z-Trip, Green Velvet's kaleidoscopic Ibiza-infused dance music and Moby's classic 90's techno to round out the evening.

The food vendors have grown sizably since the year before as well, as concert goers can nosh on meals from the PGH Taco Struck, Union Pig & Chicken, Station Street Hot Dogs, and grilled cheese extraordinaires Oh My Grill.  

The Thrival Innovation + Music Festival has built up steam in just the 12 months since we experienced its first iteration, and it’s safe to say that its organizers are growing more and more comfortable programming an eclectic, one of a kind experience for Pittsburgh music lovers. For ticket and lineup information, stop by 
www.thrivalfestival.com. (East Liberty, Bakery Square)

Reyna Foods hosts 3rd annual Pepper Farm Festival

September 13-14, 10AM
As far as Latin American cuisine goes in Pittsburgh, we are lucky to have restaurants, groceries and cantina-style taco stands we can be proud of, but compared to the Southern and Western parts of America, the city's Hispanic community in is relatively small but rapidly growing.

Reyna Foods is the gold standard of Mexican groceries/wholesalers/taco stands in Pittsburgh and they appear to take that distinction very seriously, especially considering they were the first Mexican grocery to open in the area when they set up shop in the Strip District in 1988. With that in mind, Reyna Foods is hosting their third annual Pepper Farm Festival at White Oak Farm in Allison Park. It’s notable because in general, the motto of many local growers and sustainability-conscious restaurants is “farm to table.” Reyna has opted for a different approach.

Once a year, Reyna sends their purchasing team to New Mexico to haul back a literal truckload of produce acquired at the world renown Hatch Green Chile Pepper Festival. Hatch, a small rural town in the southern part of New Mexico with a population of 1,639, is considered the chile pepper capital of the world, and over 30,000 people attend their chile pepper festival each year.

The bounty of chili peppers the folks at Reyna Foods bring back to Pittsburgh is a peerless treasure amongst the region’s culinary scene. Add in live music, a local farmer's market, a host of wine, liquor, and beer tastings, and local chefs and food vendors offering you every permutation of Hispanic food imaginable, and Reyna Foods third annual Pepper Farm Festival cannot and should not be missed by any self-respecting Pittsburgh foodie. (3314 Wagner Road, Allison Park, White Oak Farm)

The Detroit Cobras bring their Motor City garage rock to Club Cafe

September 16, 10PM
As someone who absorbs and analyzes a lot of music, it's easy to turn the whole endeavor into a pretty unfulfilling academic examination. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with critically appraising art, it's just that sometimes music is best experienced when your lizard brain is stimulated first and foremost. Motor City garage rock legends The Detroit Cobras aren't appealing to the lowest common denominator or anything, but their work, even on record, thrives because of its visceral impact and elemental Rock and Roll lineage. Their guitars snarl and chug along with ancient Bo Diddley rhythms, while tambourines slam emphatically over hi-hats and lead singer Rachel Nagy howls about things like the lord forgiving her for trying to steal some chickens in Alabama, as she did on arguably their most famous track "Shout Bama Lama."

It's telling that the Cobras were formed in Detroit's esteemed Cass Street Corridor scene; the same crucible The White Stripes emerged from to become the rock and roll saviors of America in the early aughts. The bands of Cass Street were subject to a gold rush around the turn of the century thanks to a chart invasion of "The 'The' bands" like The Strokes, The Hives, and of course the aforementioned White Stripes. Detroit groups like The Von Bondies, The Dirtbombs, The Henchmen, and The Electric Six were suddenly and viciously courted by major labels, and the music press tossed around headlines like "Is Detroit the New Seattle?" The Cobras never signed to a label with corporate holdings, kicking around on smaller shops like Detroit's Sympathy for the Record Industry, Chicago's Bloodshot Records, and London's entrenched tastemaking label Rough Trade.

Nowadays, they are about seven years removed from their fourth full-length album Tied & True, but it doesn’t really matter. Their music has always thrived because of their fevered zealotry at the altar of rock and roll revivalism, and their live show, without hyperbole, is the stuff of legends. They stop by Club Cafe to play the late slot at 10:00 PM on Tuesday and have nothing too new to promote but their own stellar back catalog. So don’t miss a chance to catch one of the most incredibly underrecognized rock bands of the past twenty years while you still can. (56 South 12th Street, South Side, Club Cafe)


TransPride Pittsburgh National Conference

September 12-14, 5:30PM
Since the summer of 2012, TransPride Pittsburgh has focused on hosting trans positive events in conjunction with the greater activities of Pittsburgh Pride, insuring, as their mission states, that the "T in LGBTQ does not remain silent...while seeking to strengthen existing communities of gender non-conforming, Trans* individuals as well as create sustainable networks through cooperative educational, social programs and events."

Especially in light of Pennsylvania's landmark decision to remove the ban on gay marriage, having a large community of LGBTQ allies is more vital than ever, and now TransPride Pittsburgh has grown from holding events in conjunction with Pride, to hosting their own national conference.

The inaugural 2014 TransPride Pittsburgh National Conference will host a series of panels covering topics like homelessness in the trans* community, HIV in the trans* community, legal issues in the trans* community and the history of the gender queer community. Keynote speakers Dr. Drai, a local trans* friendly OB GYN and national television personality, OutServe Magazine, The New Civil Rights Movement, Queer Mental Health columnist Brynn Tannehill and Gender Rights Maryland Executive Director Dana Bayer will be appearing throughout the three day conference, with working lunches and meet and greets spread out between speakers. For more information and a full schedule of the conference, visit  www.transpridepittsburgh.org.  (5401 Centre Ave, Shady Side, First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh)
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2100 Smallman St