What to do this week, MLK Day events at City Theatre’s The Medium

What’s happening this week in Pittsburgh, January 17-23? Find out here.

Be sure to pack your mask and visit each organization’s website and social media for Covid safety protocols. Do you know of a cool event? Email us.

Monday, January 17: Park Champion Cleanup with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Various times
Combine conservation with civic action with a safe act of service during today’s MLK Day holiday. Nature lovers are invited to roll up their sleeves and honor the life and leadership of Dr. King by participating in solo or small group cleanups of local parks. Register here. For more ways to volunteer on MLK Day, visit the Repair the World website.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Parks Convervancy.

Monday, January 17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Mark the historic contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with programs throughout the museum.
Get on the mic to read speeches from civil rights activists at SLB Radio’s King for a Day event. Watch local artist Trenita Finney create a pop-art mural and catch live performances by Jacquea Mae and Byron Nash. To buy tickets.

Monday, January 17: Spirit Everlasting: A Tribute to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
1 p.m.
Join the August Wilson African American Cultural Center online for this special event honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day as part of the BUILD residency program. The moving celebration will include readings and musical performances by DEMASKUS Theater Collective, opera and gospel singer Calesta Day, actor Okema T. Moore and many more. Free registration.

Monday, Jan. 17: Give Me Liberty: East Liberty Celebrates MLK Day at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater
1 p.m.-4 p.m.
There are many impactful ways to celebrate MLK Day in Pittsburgh, from public celebrations to personal experiences. A must-see event is this vibrant community celebration co-presented with BOOM Concepts that empowers citizens to use their own voices and stories to transform society and achieve justice. Inspired by the multitude of ways civil rights activists work for equality, the engaging event includes family-friendly activities and performances. To buy tickets.


Photo courtesy of Kelly Strayhorn Theatre.

Monday, January 17: Pittsburgh Jazz: Home of Innovators
7 p.m.
Explore Pittsburgh’s rich jazz scene from the 1960s through today during this Doors Open virtual storytelling program. Presented by renowned musician, composer and educator Nelson Harrison, the talk will cover the groundbreaking art form, the language of jazz, the importance of mentorship, highlights from the Crawford Grill and more. To buy tickets.

Monday, January 17: MLK/FBI screening and discussion at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall
7-9 p.m.
If you haven’t seen the critically acclaimed “MLK/FBI” documentary yet, don’t miss this screening and discussion as part of the library’s social justice series. Directed by Emmy-winning director Sam Pollard, it’s the first film to fully examine the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of MLK. Based on recently discovered and declassified files, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting black activists. Free registration.

Wednesday, January 19: The Tipping Point by Corningworks at 25 Carrick Avenue
7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Corningworks’ latest interdisciplinary production was created in collaboration with Doctors Without Borders and a family of Kurdish refugees from Syria. Reimagining the critically acclaimed traveling exhibition, Forced From Home, the intimate work combines layered movement, immersive experiences, thought-provoking screenings, and a diverse cast of dancers, actors, and resettled refugees. Created for intimate groups of 20 people, the work spans two floors of the former Birmingham United Church of Christ in Carrick. To buy tickets.

From Thursday 20 January to Saturday 22 January: Radical Victorians: Race, Labour, Identity
The Frick Pittsburgh is partnering with CMU and Yale University to host this major virtual conference examining its new exhibit, Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement. Sharing cutting-edge research into Victorian art, design and theory, the event offers new answers to questions raised by the exhibition, challenges conventional narratives and encourages audiences to ‘rethink Britain Victorianism from decolonial, feminist and queer perspectives”. Sessions will delve into ideas about art and race, the environmental impact of industrialization, radical figures in Victorian culture, early art exhibitions and more. The conference papers will be complemented by a musical event, keynote lectures and more. Free registration.

LR: Kate Elizabeth Bunce, Musica, ca. 1895–97; John Everett Millais, The Blind Girl, 1856; Frederick Sandys, Medea, 1866-1868. All © Birmingham Museums Trust. Courtesy of the American Federation of Arts.

Thursday, January 20: Bruce Ledewitz in the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall
6 p.m.
For its next Made Local event, Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures welcomes Bruce Ledewitz. A professor at Duquesne Law School, Ledewitz will speak and read excerpts from his new book, “The Universe is on Our Side: Restoring Faith in American Public Life.” To buy tickets.

Thursday, January 20: Hasan Minhaj: The King’s Jester at the Benedum Center
7 p.m.
Creator of Netflix’s comedy show “Patriot Act,” Hasan Minhaj uses his unique comedic voice and authentic storytelling approach to tackle modern culture and the contemporary political landscape. A former correspondent for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and winner of the Peabody, Emmy and Webby Awards, Minaj brings her new one-man show to the Cultural District for one night only. To buy tickets.

Hassan Minhaj

Hassan Minhaj. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Thursday, January 20: Treasures in the Archives with the Heinz History Center
7 p.m.
If an archive could talk, what stories would they tell? Tune in to see highlights from one of Western AP’s largest collections of historical documents at this signature event presented by Detre Library and Archives. Archivists will share seldom-heard stories about their favorite treasures and provide exclusive access to unique and valuable photographs and documents. You might hear tales of local boxers, butchers, saloons, famous families, and even the lost history of a notorious house for ex-offenders. Free registration.

Friday, January 21: Phipps Environmental Film Series: Seasons
7 p.m.
Famous filmmakers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud turn their lens to the verdant forests and megafauna that emerged across Europe after the last ice age. Boasting exceptional imagery of animals in the wild, “Seasons” is “an awe-inspiring and thought-provoking account of the long and tumultuous shared history that inextricably links humanity to the natural world”. Watch the film, then join a discussion moderated by Phipps’ Dr. Maria Wheeler-Dubas. Free registration.


“The seasons”, Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, 2015.

Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22: Pittsburgh Virtual Racial Justice Summit
7 p.m.
If you’re looking for concrete ways to help end racism and social injustice – and to honor the work of MLK – add your voice to this founding summit attended by hundreds of community organizers, artists, educators, workers, students, voters, policy makers and nationals. Held virtually, the two-day conference includes workshops, fireside chats, wellness sessions and panel discussions led by activists and leaders with expertise actively working to achieve equity and racial justice at local, national and global levels. Learn more and register.

Saturday January 22: Story Saturdays: Abuela’s Weave at the Carnegie Museum of Art
Take a seat in the CMOA galleries to enjoy a reading of Omar S. Castaneda’s book, “Abuela’s Weave.” Hear a story of family tradition and hope that follows Esperanza, a young girl who works at the loom with her grandmother, Abuela, a skilled weaver of traditional Mayan tapestries. Afterwards, children aged 12 and under will participate in a maker activity. Free registration.

Saturday January 22: The Medium at the City Theater
5:30 p.m.
You’ve probably heard or used the phrase “the medium is the message” coined by Marshall McLuhan in 1964. Now explore the groundbreaking Canadian communication theorist’s writings in bold new ways when City Theater reconstructs a work created in 1996. Created and Performed by SITI Company, the timely piece has become even more relevant by focusing on the impact of media on the human experience. Directed by Anne Bogart, “The Medium” features costumes and soundscapes from award-winning designers. This is an “Alice in Wonderland trip” not to be missed. To buy tickets.

Saturday January 22: Phat Man Dee at the First Unitarian Church
7:30 p.m.
For the next edition of his SongSpace series, the intimate sanctuary of Shadyside Church will be filled with the eclectic music of singer and multi-instrumentalist Phat Man Dee. Dubbed “cosmic jazz cabaret singer and social justice agitator,” Mandee will be joined by pianist Victor Garzotto, drummer Dennis Garner and saxophonist Tony Campbell. The concert is also available online. To buy tickets.

Sunday January 23: Snow Tubing at Boyce Park
The best way to experience snowy slopes is to let gravity do its thing while rolling down the slope in a slippery inner tube. The Boyce Park tubing area is now open for the season, along with the clubhouse, concessions, restrooms and equipment rentals. To buy tickets.

Works on the south side

Photo by Rose Colored Creative.

Sunday January 23: Winter skating rink at SouthSide Works
Winter has finally decided to make an appearance in western Pennsylvania, so why not embrace it with some outdoor activities? The city’s newest rink is open with skate rentals, special discounts and giveaways, community days and more. The rink is located in North Lot on S. Water St. next to Hyatt House. To buy tickets.

Sunday, January 23: Botanical Ballet Virtual Dance Class: Peter Pan
12 p.m.-1 p.m.
Kids ages 3-7 and their favorite adult dance partners are invited to get active together and enjoy foot tapping and tapping activities during this fun virtual class inspired by the timeless tale of “Peter Pan”. Join Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Phipps, and Let’s Move Pittsburgh to dance to Neverland, learn ballet basics, admire breathtaking orchids, and master Peter Pan-inspired dance steps. To buy tickets.

For more things to do, read 10 Can’t-Miss January Events for Kids in Pittsburgh (Plus One for Moms).

For live music, check out The 20 Best December and January Concerts in Pittsburgh.

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