The 10 best things to do in Pittsburgh in March.
Photo courtesy of Sean Jones
ZoSo: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience
Well-known fact: “ZoSo” is one of the symbols associated with Led Zeppelin and its breakthrough album, IV. Lesser-known fact: “ZoSo” is also a nickname for Jimmy Page, lead performer of Led Zeppelin, as well as the symbol he chose to represent his name for the album cover of IV. Very obscure fact: ZoSo is the also name of an ultra-realistic Zeppelin cover-band that’s playing at Stage AE this month. Oh, sure, the real Zeppelins broke up in the early 1980s, but for fans too young to attend a real concert, ZoSo plays with all the costumes, vocals, songs and longhaired pizzazz of the original. Billed as the “Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience,” ZoSo is a tribute to end all tributes.
(400 North Shore Drive, North Shore; 8 p.m.; $39-41; tickets & info: 412/229-5483, promowestlive.com)
March Mad Dash
Is 5 miles a long way or a short way? Some would say it’s just right. For amateur runners who have stayed inside all winter, the March Mad Dash is a chance to hit the pavement, marathon-style. And for serious runners addicted to races, the Dash is another congregation of friendly-yet-competitive peers. The weather might be grisly, but this fun little jaunt around North Park will get the blood flowing again. It’s natural to atrophy during the colder months, but spring is near, and there’s no time like the present. Proceeds benefit teen service projects, thanks to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Walkers can try the 5K or the 10-mile race.
(North Park Boathouse, Pearce Mill Road, McCandless Township; 9 a.m.; registration & info: marchmaddash.org)
Row Your Boat
OK, you’ve decided to take the plunge and learn kayaking. But the rivers are still a little chilly. That’s where Venture Outdoors comes in: At the Intro to Kayaking class, you can learn basic balance, paddling and Eskimo-rolls — all in the safety of an indoor swimming pool. Instead of a murky, debris-filled river (let’s face it, the Mon looks pretty ugly in mid-spring), you can maneuver your craft in the clear, chlorinated waters of the Sarah Heinz House. The registration fee covers one day of training plus access to a kayak and life preserver. And one day is all you’ll need — after you’ve mastered your strokes, you’re pretty much ready for a summer’s worth of rivers, creeks and open lakes.
(1 Heinz St., North Side; $18-24; tickets & info: ventureoutdoors.org)
Henry Rollins has lived about 20 different lives. He fronted the punk band Black Flag. He’s written more than 20 books. He appears in movies. He once palled around with Black Sabbath, and he’s hosted multiple TV shows. Not to mention he’s widely known as a “spoken word artist,” having performed his works all over the world. It’s probably no wonder that Rollins, now 51 years old, is doing a lecture tour called “Henry Rollins: The Long March.” Just as muscular and tattooed as ever, Rollins has a lot of wisdom to divulge. And he’ll discuss his life and work at the Carnegie Lecture Hall. Rock on.
(4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 8 p.m.; tickets & info: 412/237-8300)
Once upon a time, St. Patrick’s Day was a somber religious holiday in honor of St. Padraig, the patron saint of Ireland. But those olden days are long over. Now St. Patrick’s Day is a daylong extravaganza of green beer, foam hats, Irish flags and ridiculous behavior. Yet despite the anarchy, one tradition remains pure: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, still one of Pittsburgh’s happiest morning marches. You’ll see pipers, reelers, floats, Irish flags, Irish dance, Irish rowers and footballers — plus, the princess of all St. Patrick’s Days, “Miss Smiling Irish Eyes.” Before chaos ensues in South Side pubs, families can enjoy a full morning of Celtic pride — because on March 17, everybody’s Irish.
(Downtown; 10 a.m.; free; info: pittsburghirish.org)
Pittsburgh Bridal Showcase
There’s nothing duller than flipping through a wedding catalog. There are so many
options, yet the glossy pages aren’t going to help you one bit. That’s why the Pittsburgh Bridal Showcase is such a panacea — you can peruse thousands of dresses, tuxes, cakes and place settings. This one-day event offers more ideas than a library full of bridal magazines, and you can collect all the business cards and free samples you can handle. For 23 years, the Bridal Showcase has helped couples plan their perfect day.
(David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd., downtown; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; tickets & info: pghbridalshowcase.com)
Spirit of Uganda
Their stories are remarkable. Their talent is unbelievable. And their bright disposition is uplifting. Empower African Children, a nonprofit that aims to educate Africa’s youth, brings its touring ensemble to Pittsburgh with “Spirit of Uganda.” Its young performers (ages 8-18) serve as representatives of their less-fortunate peers, spreading the message through lively, colorful shows. You’ll want to get up and dance with them. Bottom line: You haven’t seen anything like this. So get to the Byham. Seriously.
(101 Sixth St., downtown; 4 p.m; tickets & info: 412/456-6666, trustarts.org, empowerafricanchildren.org)
Vanessa German is among the most intense, powerful and celebrated young poets in Pittsburgh. Sean Jones is an internationally acclaimed trumpeter and one of the most notable faculty members of Duquesne University. What happens when you mix brilliant jazz and acrobatic spoken word? Magic. The one-night show is called Duets: Jazz & Poetry, and it will likely be a landmark collaboration. If you have been looking for an excuse to visit the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, this is it: Between German’s lyricism and Jones’ improvised harmonies, you will think you’ve time-traveled to San Francisco, circa 1955.
(980 Liberty Ave., downtown; 7 p.m.; $25; tickets & info: 412/338-8742, trustarts.org)
For 78 years, the Bach Choir has performed all kinds of choral music. This group doesn’t accept just anybody; even talented singers have to audition to join. To celebrate another successful season (and to help continue its exceptional programming), the choir presents “BACHDay Bash,” a fundraiser that also pays homage to the great German composer (born March 21, 1685). Enjoy food, libations, a silent auction and the Smart House’s majestic view of Pittsburgh. You can also learn about the choir’s final performance of the season, “Contradiction,” on April 28 and 29. What’s more, the choir promises a drink called the “BACHtini.” Now that’s music to the ears.
(207 Bailey Ave., Mt. Washington; 7 p.m.; $75-125; tickets & info: 412/394-3353, bachchoirpittsburgh.org)
Dance the Night Away
Yes, Van Halen is coming to town. This is the real, re-reunited band — including David Lee Roth, Wolfgang, Eddie and Alex Van Halen — and they will rock out at the CONSOL Energy Center. Will the vibration of their electric basses reduce the nearby Mellon Arena to rubble? Anything’s possible. For millions of classic rock fans, Van Halen is rock and roll, from the shrieked high-notes to the mad fashions and complicated rider contracts (they were famous for requiring a bowl of M&M’s, minus the brown ones, in their dressing room). If you’ve ever yearned to see Van Halen live, now might be the time. The band is currently recording an album with Roth — their first group release in 28 years!
(1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown; 7:30 p.m.; $29.50-149.50. tickets & info: 800/745-3000, consolenergycenter.com)