8. Poetry Unplugged at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center: January 17, 8 p.m.
The life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. serves as inspiration for this night of poetry and music featuring artists from around the U.S. Hosted by Brooklyn-based writer and activist Mahogany Browne, the uplifting presentation will fill Downtown’s August Wilson Center with the voices and ideas of spoken word artists who will honor the Civil Rights leader. Joining Browne to rock the mic and move the crowd will be acclaimed powerhouse poets jessica Care moore and Ursula Rucker. For more ways to celebrate MLK Day and volunteer with community projects, read our top weekly and weekend events. Buy tickets.
9. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District: January 24, 5:30-10 p.m.
Follow a photographic treasure hunt through three centuries of local history — from General Braddock to Manifest Destiny. Step into virtual-reality installations pulsating with imaginary landscapes, interactive sounds, eye-popping pixels and 3D modeling. Wander through a giant, glowing ice palace to encounter towers of kaleidoscopic colors and lights. This and so much more will await you, when 30-plus galleries, stages, storefronts and unique public spaces open their doors to showcase the creativity within Downtown’s vibrant Cultural District. Throughout the 14-block neighborhood, you can also experience spellbinding magic shows, film screenings, cutting-edge dance performances and special Crawl After Dark attractions. Did we mention it’s all free?
10. Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary: January 25, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Honor the work of Martin Luther King Jr., join a vital dialogue with community members and do your part to end racism and social injustice at this seminal summit. Titled “1492-2020: Decolonize Our Histories to Reclaim Our Humanity,” the daylong event will include workshops and panel discussions led by activists and those with expertise working toward racial justice. 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. Facilitators will also provide action steps for attendees.
11. Pittsburgh Opera’s Alcina at CAPA Theater: January 25, 28 & 31, various times
Journey to an enchanted island to encounter the malicious sorceress Alcina, who uses evil spells to trick men into falling in love with her and then turns them into animals and inanimate objects. Intrigued? Don’t miss Pittsburgh Opera’s first-ever staging of George Frideric Handel’s Baroque masterpiece. Within CAPA’s intimate theater, you’ll experience a “climactic showdown” when Alcina falls hard for her latest crush — the chivalrous knight Ruggiero. Conducted by Pittsburgh Opera Music Director Antony Walker, the dramatic production stars Caitlin Gotimer as Alcina and Antonia Botti-Lodovico as Ruggiero. The Opera has teamed up with Chatham Baroque to present “Alcina,” which is directed by Matthew Haney. Buy tickets.
12. Beyond Big Data: AI/Machine Learning Summit at Marriott City Center: January 30, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
How can AI, data analytics and machine learning make life easier and more productive for all? Discover how execs in various industries are harnessing these technologies to empower their companies, solve tough challenges and serve customers better. Join in to explore the opportunities, connect with industry leaders and learn hot trends and best practices. Presented by the Pittsburgh Technology Council and CGI, the summit will feature keynote speakers from top companies, panel discussions on timely topics, a technology showcase and a networking reception. Register here.
Looking for more events and live music? Read our top weekly and weekend events, 12 events you won’t want to miss in January, 13 things for kids to do in January in Pittsburgh and The 17 best concerts in December and January in Pittsburgh.