Grab your yoga mat, camera and a pint glass, and open your ears, eyes and taste buds, because January is filled with fantastic ways to buck the winter blues.
1. Trevor Noah at Heinz Hall: January 5, 7:30 & 10 p.m.
Fans of South African television host Trevor Noah will rejoice because a second show has been added to his Heinz Hall appearance. The 7:30 show is expected to sell out soon, so don’t put off buying tickets. Noah’s meteoric rise to the comedic canon was cemented when he became John Stewart’s successor as host of Comedy Central’s Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Daily Show” in 2015. Noah is the subject of David Paul Meyer’s award-winning documentary, “You Laugh But It’s True,” which chronicles his remarkable career in post-Apartheid South Africa. Pittsburgh fans will get to see the renowned comedian before he his newest comedy special, “Afraid of the Dark,” debuts February 21 on Netflix.
2. Beyond Microtonal Music Festival: January 11-13
Take your ears to the cutting edge at this first-of-its-kind Pittsburgh festival. Exploring music that uses pitch and tuning systems other than the standard 12-note equal temperament, Beyond features concerts, premieres, symposia and panel discussions. Renowned microtonal musicians and composers representing diverse backgrounds will come together to celebrate cultural roots and connections found in global music today. Featured artists include Iraqi oud player Rahim AlHaj, NYC-based ensemble Loadbang and famed clarinetist David Krakauer. Also showcased will be Palestinian-American percussionist Issa Mallu, and composers Julia Werntz, Taylor Brook and Zhong Juncheng. Local ensembles like Alia Musica, Nat 28 and Kamraton are also performing. A kickoff concert by the Beyond Festival Orchestra takes place January 11 at Carnegie Music Hall. On January 12 at 7:30 p.m., head to The Warhol Museum for performances of music by pioneering composer, theorist and instrument inventor, Harry Partch. The festival culminates that night with a finale at The Warhol. The concert will start with contemporary and traditional Iraqi music, and then David Krakauer’s legendary Ancestral Groove klezmer band will lead a lively dance party. Buy tickets.
3. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: January 15-21
After all the turkey basting and cocktail shaking, it’s time to let Pittsburgh’s rock star chefs cook for you. On the menu for the 13th bi-annual Restaurant Week will be inventive meals inspired by the perfectly-timed theme of “New Dishes for the New Year.” For one week, you’re invited to take a seat at some of Pittsburgh’s hottest restaurants to savor fixed-price, multi-course meals and $20.18 specials. Discover why everyone from Anthony Bourdain to Zagat is showcasing Pittsburgh’s food scene as you eat your way through the city. There’s a taste for every palate, with featured eateries spanning Pittsburgh’s wide variety of dining options. From Le Lyonnais and täkō, to Muddy Waters Oyster Bar and DiAnoia’s Eatery, you can experience the city’s award-winning dining scene without breaking the bank.
4. Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal at PPG Paints Arena: January 17-21
Navigating unchartered territory, the Cirque du Soleil is taking to the ice to shatter the boundaries of performance. Within a fantastical frozen playground, elite skaters and acrobats will perform stunning feats that defy gravity and the imagination — from trapeze soaring to extreme skating on ramps. Making the magic happen are 300 artisans, 16,000 objects, 31 miles of fabric and 1,200 pairs of shoes. Follow eccentric misfit, Crystal, as she wanders onto a frozen pond and falls through the ice into an underwater universe. Glide into Crystal’s color-drenched subconscious to experience vivid projections, large-scale choreographic storytelling and 3D origami. On the ice and in the air, gymnasts and skaters will encounter giant pinball machines, massive mazes and fierce hockey games. Buy tickets.
5. Third Thursday, Photography at Carnegie Museum of Art: January 18, 8-11 p.m.
The act of photo-taking is dominating social media feeds and infusing the art form with innovative new techniques. You’re invited to have fun on both sides of the lens at Carnegie Museum of Art’s popular Third Thursday series. “Snap to it and shake it like a Polaroid” as you explore the power of photography — from the first picture-making inventions in 1841 to that mobile device in your pocket. Join curator Dan Leers to explore the new William Henry Fox Talbot exhibition featuring 30 works by the British, Victorian-era “gentleman scientist” who combined many fields of study to invent the paper-based “calotype” process. Discover forms of “magic-making” that characterized early photography and see rare, fragile works exhibited in Pittsburgh for the first time. Pop into the Polaroid booth to strike a pose with Keep Pittsburgh Dope style guru, Chancelor Humphrey, and warm up during the STRANGEWAYS dance party. Meet archivists from the groundbreaking Teenie Harris collection, and grab late-night grub at The Café Carnegie. Buy tickets.