March is shaping up to be one of our most event-packed months. From three distinctly different film festivals to eating locally for very good causes, there is plenty to do while counting down the days to the Vernal Equinox.

Photo by Luke Bruehlman
B.U.S. Photo: Luke Bruehlman.

1. B.U.S. 11 at Bricolage Production Company at the August Wilson Center: March 4 & 5

Forget The Who’s Magic Bus; it’s time to hop aboard the Bricolage B.U.S. If you have yet to experience this adrenaline-fueled version of extreme theater, you’re in for a treat. For its 11th edition, Bricolage has assembled a mad talented cast and crew of nationally recognized playwrights and rising stars, plus a special appearance by drag star Bunny Bixler. Ready for a long strange trip? BUS riders will watch as 40 of the Burgh’s top theater artists race against the clock to write, cast and direct a 10-minute play in only 24 hours—all inspired by a PAT bus ride. The lineup of daring directors features Reginald Douglas, Monteze Freeland, Linda Haston, Adil Mansoor and Bria Walker. Among Pittsburgh’s most off-the-wall fundraisers—B.U.S. also demystifies the theatre-making process, supports Bricolage’s ambitious mission and blurs boundaries between producers and spectators. At Friday’s kick-off, B.U.S. riders will get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the creative process during a VIP reception and live actor exhibition. Saturday features a pre-show VIP gala catered by Bistro-To-Go and a culminating toast and dance music jam. You only have two nights to ride this B.U.S., so grab tickets today.

Courtesy Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival
Photo by Sebastian Voth

2. Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet and Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: March 4, 5 & 6

Fiber art fanatics will converge on downtown when these two crafty festivals merge into one giant hands-on happening. The one-of-a-kind celebration of all things fiber features classes, workshops, vendors and displays. If you’ve ever wondered how the products you see at local craft fairs are made, then don’t miss this event. Attendees can learn every technique under the sun, with a staggering 110 classes offered in knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning, felting, sewing, quilting, embroidery, rug hooking, basketry, beading and more. New this year is the Creative Open Studio, where festival-goers can try out the latest machinery and equipment, and experiment with new techniques along with experts. In a playroom-like format, attendees can use sergers, long-arm quilters, state-of-the-art sewing, embroidery and felting machines and cutting tools. Don’t leave without making your own 12-inch quilt block to be used in future public art installations.

Courtesy of the HUMP! Film Festival.
Courtesy of the HUMP! Film Festival.

3. HUMP! Film Festival at the ACE Hotel: March 4 & 5

There are film festivals dedicated to everything from cats to mustaches, so it’s no surprise that there’s one celebrating sex. Whether you call it amateur porn or DIY erotica, HUMP! is 11 years strong and seeing no signs of a slowdown. After an unfortunate dust-up at the Hollywood Theater and its Pittsburgh debut at Row House, Dan Savage’s signature flick fest is settling into its larger new home at the swanky Ace Hotel for two cozy nights. The latest internationally touring edition of the playful porn phenom features 22 new films with such evocative titles as Hotels and Haircuts and It Kind of Feels Like. The brainchild of author, media pundit and LGBT activist Dan Savage—acclaimed for his advice column, Savage Love, and for co-founding the It Gets Better Project—HUMP is staunchly committed to celebrating “sexual diversity, positivity and expression.” Representing all body sizes, ages, colors, sexualities, genders, kinks, and fetishes—featured films are equal parts outrageous, heartwarming, provocative and artsy. So grab a date, go stag or bring a posse and ge­t set to laugh, gasp and squirm in your seat.

Conductor Steve Hackman
Conductor Steve Hackman

4. FUSE@PSO: Stravinsky’s Firebird: Remix | Response at Heinz Hall: March 9

Rap music, Russian fairytales and remixed sounds will heat up your Wednesday night at the next installment of the fresh new FUSE@PSO series. Turning the experience of a classical concert into a cultural happening, creator and conductor Steve Hackman is upping the ante for the March mashup with a bold dramatization of Stravinsky’s iconic 1911 ballet, The Firebird. Equal parts live remix, concept album and classical masterpiece, the concert will feature 12 original songs inspired by the magical myth of the Firebird—the glowing creature that can be both a blessing and a curse to its owner—along with contemporary DJ and electronica techniques. To create the first-of-its-kind production, Hackman teamed up with Louisville-based rapper Jecorey “1200” Arthur, award-winning singer Malia Cievtz, NYC-based drummer and percussionist Gabriel Globus-Hoenich and a 15-person female choir. FUSE is also remixing the concert-going experience with a pre-show social at 5 p.m. featuring DJ Pete Butta, drink specials, snacks and free samples from Hop Farm Brewing and Arsenal Cider. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and is open seating with drinks permitted inside Heinz Hall. NEXTpittsburgh is happy to be a media sponsor and yes, we will be there! Purchase tickets.

Be Steadwell, photo by Jonathan Timmes.
Be Steadwell, photo by Jonathan Timmes.

5. SUNSTAR Festival at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater: March 10, 11 & 12

If you’re looking to ignite your music career, network with like-minded artists and leave empowered by visionary leaders, then SUNSTAR is for you. Back with renewed focus after a hiatus, the three-day confluence is more than an arts festival—it’s a thoughtful showcase of female producers, entrepreneurs and community activists. Exploring diverse perspectives and disciplines, SUNSTAR is packed with performances, talks, workshops, film screenings and parties. Featured speakers include Amy Novak—the most senior ranking woman in Google’s Pittsburgh office—and Sage Crump, from the New Orleans-based National Performance Network. Attendees will learn about local projects such as Bekezela Mguni’s pop-up library of Black women’s literature dubbed the Unicorn Reading Room, and Joy KMT’s alternative currency and marketplace. Don’t miss the debut of Aria Lynn Copeland’s streaming talk show highlighting Black trans women, and live performances by Be Steadwell, Christiane D., Jacquea Mae and Anqwenique Wingfield. Festival-goers will channel their inner pop icon during the “I Am A Star Beyonce Karaoke and Dance Party” led by DJ Ratchet Ivy League. Added bonus? SUNSTAR offers “Pay What Makes You Happy” admission.

Photo by Bryan Conley.
Photo by Bryan Conley.

6. Third Thursday: REMIX at Carnegie Museum of Art: March 17

Pop into Carnegie Museum of Art these days and you just might see hundreds of people practicing their warrior pose, dancing to their own private disco, and dining with a rock star chef. And now you can become one of the works on view. Crafting a 21st-century Night at the Museum, CMOA is teaming up with VIA to present REMIX, a mashup of digital and IRL fun offering exciting new ways for the public to see, experience and make art. Head into the galleries to select paintings for a face and background, and then duck into the #ARTFACE booth to create a print to take home. REMIXers will be the first in Pittsburgh to watch the premiere of Ways of Something—a contemporary remake of John Berger’s iconic 1972 BBC documentary Ways of Seeing—. Sit back—while noshing on popcorn and Great Lakes brews—as your eyes take an epic ride through animated GIFs, 3D animation and webcam performances made by 100 digital artists. Providing the night‘s other-worldly soundtrack will be local musicians Derider, Good Dude LoJack, Jacquea Mae, David Edmunds and Dubravka Bencic. Watch NEXTpittsburgh’s Facebook page for the chance to win free tickets.

Jennifer BaronEvents & Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.