By Susan Constanse

I am looking forward to touring the cultural landscape in Pittsburgh next month. From the cozy reading room at the Carnegie Library to the stages of the Cultural District, our purveyors of the arts are populating that landscape with local talent and national touring groups.

Whether you are looking for an intimate poetry reading, seeking the boundaries between art and technology, or an evening of musical entertainment, here’s a selection of what is being offered in the ‘Burgh in March.

ASPIRE: A Retrospective of Young Talent

Pittsburgh Glass Center
March 2 – May 20, 2012
Opening reception: Friday, March 2 6 to 9pm
5472 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Hours: Tuesday thru Thursday: 10 am – 7 pm; Friday thru Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm

Over the last seven years, the Pittsburgh Glass Center has hosted twenty-two newly graduated students in a program that will take them through the operations of a professional glass studio. The Technical Apprentice Program is a combination of practical maintenance of a studio, with time for the apprentices to pursue their own artistic vision.

The Aspire exhibit opens during March’s Unblurred on March 3. Many of the apprentices have gone on to pursue their own practice, working as assistants in production studios, and exhibiting their own work. The exhibit includes works from all of the following artists: Jess Amarnek, 
Jason Bauer, 
Jon Capps
, Zach Compton, 
Brian Engel
, Daneal Ferraro Hansel,
 Kaley Finegan, 
Jason Forck
, Elizabeth Fortunato, 
Billy Guilford, 
Everett Hirche, 
Chris Hofmann, Laura Konopinski
, Janice Larko, 
Ashley McFarland
, Scott Percival
, Liz Potenza, Travis Rohrbaugh
, Becky Smith
, and Steve Stens.

Armitage Gone! Dance in Three Theories

Presented by: Pittsburgh Dance Council
Saturday, March 3, 2012, 8:00 PM
Byham Theater
101 Sixth Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Tickets: $19; $25; $36; $45

Designated the “Punk Ballerina” in the 1980’s, Karole Armitage continues to push the boundaries of dance, emphasizing speed and athleticism in her choreography. Her works are abstract, expressing concept rather than narrative.

In Dance in Three Theories, Ms. Armitage explores cosmic theories through the medium of dance. The work is inspired by 20th Century theoretical physics (quantum mechanics, string theory). Electric and energetic, the work is a moving interpretation of highly complex theory. Catch it while you can; it is scheduled for one night only.

The Monster in the Hall

March 10 – April 1, 2012
City Theater Mainstage
1300 Bingham St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Tickets: start at $30

An irreverent look at a serious situation, The Monster in the Hall is the story of a girl in the unenviable position of caring for her MS-stricken father. When he wakes up one morning with no vision, 16-year-old Duck faces the prospect of being removed from their home by heartless social service goons.
Not exactly the stuff typically considered comedic; but playwright David Greig has a talent for making you laugh at his characters. Sharing the stage with the actors is a motorcycle, giving color to Duck’s dad Duke, an ex-biker with a penchant for heavy metal and pizza.

La Cage Aux Folles

March 13 – March 18, 2012
Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
719 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

If there is such a thing as a traditional drag revue, then La Cage Aux Folles is it. From its inception as a play in 1973, through its first film adaptation, and its reincarnation as The Bird Cage, La Cage has been brought back to the stage in a new musical adaptation. The characters remain the same; sophisticate Georges’ and his partner, the impetuous Albin, navigate a path through love to assure their son a happy marriage to the girl of his dreams despite the shock of her conservative parents.

Sunday Poetry and Reading Series: Elizabeth Hoover

Sunday, March 18, 2012, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Quiet Reading Room, First Floor
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Pittsburgh native, Elizabeth Hoover will be reading from her works for the Sunday Poetry series. Her poetry has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Poetry Northwest, Fourth River , Cimarron Review and Asheville Poetry Review. This year, Ms. Hoover participated in the newly minted Flight School project. She is currently working on biographies of Suzanne Collins and Robert Hayden.

Conversations with Light, Sound and Architecture: HC Gilje

January 27 – April 8, 2012
Wood Street Galleries
601 Wood Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Hours: Wed to Thurs 11 am – 6 pm; Fri to Sat 11 am – 8 pm; Sun11am – 5pm

Known for presenting works that exemplify practitioners of art and technology, Wood Street Galleries is exhibiting an installation by Norwegian artist, HC Gilje. Mr. Gilje works primarily with installations, live performance, set design and single channel video.

Gilje’s exhibit Conversations with spaces explores how audiovisual technology can be used to transform, create, expand, amplify and interpret physical spaces. The effects are achieved through projection of video, using it as a light source.

The work is subtle and beautiful, shifting color throughout the gallery space. The Wood Street Galleries US Debut of HC Gilje’s Conversations continues through April 8.