Move to bigger venue means more of everything at Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer
With vinyl record sales on the upswing, the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer is a good place to get in on the trend and stock up on some retro platters.
And it won’t be just LPs available on Nov. 9 at Nova Place in Pittsburgh’s North Side, says organizer Michael Lutz — Whistlin’ Willie will be there, too, with a Victrola and loads of 78-rpm pressings.
Now, that’s vintage.
As the name implies, the biannual event features vendors offering a vast array of vintage and antique goods, from kitschy to collectible. Founded in 2012 by Lutz, Bess Dunlevy and Jason Sumney, the event has continued to grow, necessitating a move to a larger venue.
“We outgrew our former space (in the Lawrenceville Teamsters Hall),” Lutz says. “It became too crowded for our shoppers and for our vendors.”
The move to Nova Place — the former Allegheny Center Mall — provides “three to four times more space,” he says, which will accommodate at least 60 vendors of goods, along with several offering food and beverages.
The move is both exciting and anxiety-inducing for organizers.
“It’s our biggest event ever, but we decided we’re just gonna go for it,” Lutz says. “We’ll have both new and returning vendors and just more of everything. (Nova Place) gives the vendors a lot of interesting, unique spaces to set up.”
The good news for shoppers is that among those vendors will be many who have applied for the mixer in the past but were unable to be included due to space restrictions.
That means more of the vintage fashion, vinyl, comics, toys, furniture, textiles, ceramics and pottery, mid-century modern wares, lighting, barware, artwork and collectibles that fans have come to expect at the event.
Vendors also list such intriguing items as tiki, oddities, ephemera and kitsch.
“Besides Whistlin’ Willie selling 78 records, a lot of our returning vintage mixer sellers will be set up in large, featured spaces throughout the center of the concourse — they’re bringing bigger selections for this show,” Lutz says. “There are also a few special exhibitors that we’re excited to partner with, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s House on Kentuck Knob, Pittsburgh’s Blue Honey Salon and Old Flame Mending, who will be available to do repairs and alterations on vintage clothing on the spot or for pick-up later.”
Over-21 shoppers will be able to sample libations from The Allegheny Wine Mixer Inc. and Wigle Whiskey, while everyone can grab a New York-style savory slice from A’Pizza Badamo or a sweet slice of pie or other dessert from Piebird.
Labor of love
Organizing the mixer is both side hustle and labor of love for Lutz, Dunlevy and Sumney, who all have other full-time jobs. They have a lot of late nights and busy weekends, especially in the month before a mixer date.
“It’s really a lot of fun, and it’s something we’re all really passionate about,” Lutz says. “It’s like a big party with all of our friends, who all love the same thing, that we don’t get to see all that often.”
Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer also has received acclaim on the small screen and in print. It was featured in a 2018 segment of Rick Sebak’s “Nebby” documentary series on WQED. It also is listed in the 2019 edition of “100 Things To Do in Pittsburgh Before You Die,” by Rossilynne Culgan.
Each mixer also has a charitable component. Prior to this fall’s event, organizers collaborated in September with Spirit in Lawrenceville for an “In Bed by Ten” dance party to benefit City of Asylum, a North Side-based organization that provides sanctuary to endangered writers and champions freedom of expression, social justice and community development through writer residencies, publications and literary programs.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .