8. Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit: Jan. 21 & 22
If you’re looking for concrete ways to help end racism and social injustice — and honor the work of MLK — add your voice to this seminal summit attended by hundreds of community organizers, artists, educators, workers, students, voters, policymakers, and citizens. Held virtually, the daylong event includes workshops and panel discussions led by activists and leaders with expertise working toward racial justice at local, national and global levels. In-depth sessions will examine historical and contemporary racial issues — including social, economic, political and environmental justice — and will investigate the negative impact of white supremacy and colonization on communities of color and indigenous peoples. Learn more and register.
9. The Rose Elf at Pittsburgh Opera: Jan. 22, 25, 28 & 30
What happens when a carefree innocent elf witnesses a heinous crime? Follow the engrossing story when David Hertzberg’s opera premieres the Bitz Opera Factory in the Strip. Starring Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Madeline Ehlinger, “The Rose Elf” is based on the iconic 19th-century fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Opera lovers will be transported to a realm where a tiny elf lives in the petals of a breathtaking rose. A reminder that “not all fairy tales have happy endings,” the story follows the elf on his mission to provide closure and pursue truth following a violent murder. Equal parts haunting and captivating, the work was developed through Opera Philadelphia’s Double Exposure program. See performance times and buy tickets.
10. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District: Jan. 28
If you’re feeling cooped up — or can’t wait to see the giant inflatable rabbits everyone’s been buzzing about — bundle up for a night of free culture crawling from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Slide into new art at 13 Downtown stops (and counting!) during the winter edition of the Gallery Crawl. Sip and mingle at an NFT cocktail bar presented by Creative Drinks, check out live music by The Collective Band, and take in street magic, films and public art. Not to miss is the new Drag Me Downtown series in the Heinz Hall Courtyard featuring performances and music by Luna Skye, Calipso, Alexa Van Cartier and DJ Formosa. Attend art openings at Wood Street Galleries, 707 Gallery and SPACE and visit a pop-up gallery at 820 Liberty Ave. showcasing The Coloured Section Black Artists’ Collective. It’s your last chance to experience the 50-foot illuminated bunnies created by Australia’s Parer Studio that have taken over 8th St. to deliver a prescient environmental message. For an artsy nightcap, stay late for the Crawl After Dark performance by Benji. View a schedule.
11. Calliope’s True Blues at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater: Jan. 29
Pittsburgh’s nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of traditional and contemporary folk music has a lot to celebrate. Calliope is returning to live, in-person concerts, kicking off its 45th season and setting up shop in a brand new HQ. The special evening of music and conversation in East Liberty will “chronicle the extraordinary living culture of the blues and vividly bring to life this crucial wellspring of American music.” Event host is MacArthur genius grant recipient, Corey Harris, a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader. Joining Harris will be harmonica virtuoso Phil Wiggins and four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, accordionist and songwriter Cedric Watson. Buy tickets.
For live music, check out The 20 best concerts for December and January in Pittsburgh.