6. Firelei Báez: Bloodlines at The Andy Warhol Museum: February 17–May 21
Visitors to The Warhol will be the first to see select works by an important contemporary artist that have never before exhibited in a museum. Exploring gender, race, identity politics and the history of social movements in the U.S. and Caribbean, Bloodlines presents a comprehensive look at the large-scale art of Firelei Báez, who was born in the Dominican Republic. Featuring 15 works, the thoughtful exhibit showcases her labor intensive, textured and colorful artistic process. Richly layered works depict textiles, hair designs and body ornaments that explore Caribbean history and folklore from female viewpoints. Female figures are painted with elaborate tignons, or 18th-century headdresses imposed by law for women of color in New Orleans—a form of oppression that became a symbol of power and beauty. Also featured are Azabache gemstones carved into fists and worn in Latin American cultures as protection from evil spirits and panthers—a symbol claimed by the 1960s Black Panther party. Báez will also collaborate with local students to create site-specific wall paintings. A powerful voice on the contemporary art scene, Báez challenges viewers to confront critical social issues that are often ignored in mainstream culture.
7. Duane Michals at Point Park University: February 18, 7 p.m.
Recently showcased in a first-of-its-kind retrospective at Carnegie Museum of Art—which was lauded by everyone from The New York Times to Artforum—groundbreaking photographer and McKeesport native Duane Michals will debut his latest body of work during this unique artist talk and film screening. Co-presented by Silver Eye Center for Photography and Point Park University, the event should not be missed by any fan of contemporary art. Be among the first to see Michals’ newest project, Talking Pictures, which includes 12 short films written, directed—and at times acted in—by the artist. Exploring themes running throughout his prolific career such as identity, homosexuality and counterculture, Talking Pictures reflects Michals’ passion for the history of filmmaking—from the golden age of Hollywood to experimental cinema. Talking Pictures draws inspiration from a wide range of cinematic styles and sources including film pioneers like Charlie Chaplin, Georges Méliès and Kenneth Anger. A highly influential and pivotal figure in 20th-century art, Michaels is acclaimed for his innovative process that uses photographic sequences, multiple exposures, handwritten texts, and manipulated imagery. Register now.
8. Lunar Gala at Carnegie Mellon University: February 18
The countdown to this year’s Lunar Gala is on, and across campus and the city, student designers, models, dancers, videographers and technicians are finalizing their vision for one of Pittsburgh’s largest fashion events. To produce the showcase, students across all disciplines have created original lines that fuse complex materials, wearable fashions, innovative technologies and interdisciplinary cultural themes. Be the first to see 150 fresh looks created by 17 design teams presented alongside performances by Infra Dance Company and Soulstylz. From zip ties and sheet metal to mood-sensing Intel chips, the forward-thinking designs reflect today’s society, technology and current events. For the first time, the haute happening will feature an Alumni Line showcasing fashions from across the U.S., as well as Japanese-inspired designs by NYC’s own up-and-coming streetwear brand Ronin Division. Attendees will also ring in the Chinese New Year with a new theme inspired by the lunar calendar’s Zodiac animal. The Lunar Gala fashion show starts at 8 p.m. at CMU’s Jared L. Cohon University Center. Tickets go on sale Feb. 6th.
9. Pittsburgh Winter Beerfest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: February 24 & 25
It’s a good thing that Dry January is over, because the fourth annual Pittsburgh Winter Beerfest—one of the top 10 biggest craft beer festivals in the country—is back and bigger than ever. That means 225,000 square feet of space flowing with 400 varieties of refreshing craft beers from 125 breweries. From Session IPA, cider and barrel-aged stout, to gose, honey lager and hefeweizen—there’s a brew for all styles and palates. The staggering—and growing—roster of featured brewers includes everyone from San Diego’s Ballast Point and Boulder’s New Planet to Pittsburgh’s own East End Brewing. Showcasing craft beer from just down the street, coast-to-coast and even around the globe, the event will also feature live music, local eats, souvenir mugs and a VIP Connoisseurs Reception. Newly added is a daytime session on Saturday. Pairing craft libations with doing good, this year’s festival is donating proceeds to the local nonprofit Animal Rescue Partners. Buy tickets.
10. The Q Ball at the Union Trust Building: February 25
Whether in art history class or at museums, you’ve likely seen the dreamlike images—often of long-locked women in natural settings—conjured by English painters like William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. At “Painting With Light,” Quantum Theatre invites you to step into the frame and play the part of Pre-Raphaelite muse. Downtown’s ornate Gilded Age landmark will provide an ideal setting for the cutting-edge company’s signature benefit bash. Transforming the iconic 11-story Union Trust Building into an interactive tableaux of 19th-century masterworks, the Q Ball will blend the great cultural traditions of theatre, painting and literature with revelry and dramatic photo opps. Translation: Dress like you’re posing for pioneering 19th-century portrait photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. From 7 to 9 p.m., VIPers will enjoy fab fare catered by chef Kate Romane’s new Black Radish Kitchen, live entertainment and commemorative photos. The fantasia gets groovy at 9 p.m. with tasty desserts and a Digital Dance Party curated by DJ Soy Sos. Buy tickets.
11. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Presents “Lights! Glamour! Action! at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: February 26, 6 p.m.
And the Oscar goes to . . . YOU. Well, at least for one February night when the Pittsburgh Film Office unrolls all 500 feet of the city’s longest red carpet for its signature benefit bash. Whether you’re team Emma, Denzel or Ryan, you can cheer on this year’s nominees and turn on that Tinsel Town panache all without having to trek 2,500 miles to La La Land. Get glammed up and strike a pose to celebrate and support Hollywood East—where television shows like Mindhunter, Outsiders and Downward Dog and films like Fences and Last Flag Flying have recently filmed on home turf. Watch the drama of the 89th Academy Awards unfold live on a massive broadcast screen and vie for cool stuff in the 50/50 raffle. While rubbing elbows with local celebs, entertainment insiders, business leaders and politicians, gala-goers will be treated to live music by Totally 80s, gourmet food stations and premium cocktails. Proceeds will benefit the PFO, which has assisted with 138-plus productions and generated $1.2 billion in regional economic impact since 1990. Buy tickets.
Check out more events every week in NEXTpittsburgh, including these coming up in February:
Fiesta Fiesta dance party at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater: February 3
Attack Theatre’s One Night Stand at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh: February 11
The Warhol Museum’s Vintage Valentines Workshop at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh: February 12
The Book of Mormon at the Benedum Center: February 21—26
Gregory Porter at the August Wilson Center: February 22
Black Bottom Film Festival at the August Wilson Center: February 24—26
Showcase Noir Art Show and Sale at the August Wilson Center: February 24—26