Winter Guide 2014 

A selection of local happenings that should provide entertainment, edification and exercise this season

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It's the 30th iteration of Wrestlemania this year, and not just any Lycra-clad bruiser can go. At the WWE Royal Rumble, see more than two dozen pro wrestlers compete for a spot at the Big Dance. This is a pay-per-view event, so you know there will be plenty of action — and likely, controversy. Sat., Jan. 21. Consol Energy Center, Uptown. www.consolenergycenter.com

If it's too cold or wet to play outside, let the gang at the NFL Play 60 Training Camp show the kids how to get an hour's worth of exercise indoors. The event kicks off at the Heinz History Center with football-themed activities including: 40-yard dash, healthy-food demos and a touchdown-dance contest. Feb. 1. Strip District. www.heinzhistorycenter.org

When the days are dark and gloomy, the prescription might be some controlled destruction. No country on Earth rivals America for monster trucks, and at Monster Jam, you can watch these 12-foot-tall, 10,000-pound behemoths drive over and through all kinds of obstacles. Feb. 14-16. Consol Energy Center, Uptown.www.consolenergycenter.com

Kids might not totally get the joke in The Teacher From the Black Lagoon's amusing title, but there will be plenty for them to latch on to in this hour-long musical revue. In this Theatreworks USA production, characters learn to be courageous when confronting scary things. Feb. 16-23. Various venues. www.pghkids.org

ART: stock art of campfire

Beat the winter cold, and be the star of future campfires. On this Venture Outdoors hike for kids 8-18, learn how to build a fire — from collecting wood to lighting it and, most importantly, extinguishing it properly. This is just one of many themed hikes Venture Outdoors leads during the season; see website for full list. March 1. Riverview Park. www.ventureoutdoors.org


If you've flirted with the idea of writing a memoir, let Joseph Bathanti help you get started. The Italian American Collection Scholar-in-Residence leads Where You Live: Writing About Yourself and Your Family, a workshop designed to get participants thinking about their identities vis-à-vis their ethnic heritage and memories. Jan. 25. Heinz History Center, Strip District. www.heinzhistorycenter.org

click to enlarge Hilton Als at Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series
  • Hilton Als at Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series

Though best known as a longtime theater critic at The New Yorker — and a slashingly insightful one at that — Hilton Als is also an accomplished author and culture critic at large. His latest book is the provocative essay collection White Girls. Als gives a free talk courtesy of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series. Jan. 27. Oakland. 412-624-6506 or www.pghwriterseries.wordpress.com

click to enlarge Sonia Sotomayor at Carnegie Music Hall - PHOTO COURTESY OF ELENA SEIBERT
  • Photo courtesy of Elena Seibert
  • Sonia Sotomayor at Carnegie Music Hall

Sonia Sotomayor's remarkable journey has taken her from the tough streets of the Bronx to the U.S. Supreme Court; she even presided over the New Year's Eve ball-drop in Times Square last month. She attends the Pittsburgh Arts & Lecture Series to discuss her recent memoir, My Beloved World, with University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. Feb. 4. Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. www.pittsburghlectures.org

Walter Mosley's calling card might be his dozen Easy Rawlins mysteries, like Devil in a Blue Dress. But Mosley has another 30 titles to his credit, including science fiction, and he's among our more politically outspoken writers. On the heels of the latest Rawlins book, Little Green, Mosley speaks at the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series. Feb. 6. Frick Fine Arts Center, Oakland. 412-624-6506 or www.pghwritersseries.wordpress.com

Colum McCann has explored everything from New York's homeless population to Roma culture in Europe. The Ireland-born, New York-based author's 2013 novel TransAtlantic was inspired by the first trans-Atlantic flight, but ranges widely throughout history. Hear the critically hailed author at Monday Night Lectures. March 10. Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oakland. 412-622-8866 or www.pittsburghlectures.org




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