2Do this week, March 17-23: Cultural events in Pittsburgh

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Paula McLain discusses her novel "The Paris Wife" as part of the Literary Evenings, Monday Night Lecture Series at Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland, at 7:30 p.m. Narrated by Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife, the book tells the tender yet heartbreaking tale of their relationship set in Jazz Age Paris. Ms. McLain received a master's of fine arts in poetry from the University of Michigan. Her early years were spent in foster care with her two sisters in the Fresno, Calif. area, the subject of her memoir, "Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses," published in 2003. In addition, Ms. McLain has authored two books of poetry and a novel, "Ticket to Ride." She lives in Cleveland with her family. Tickets: $15-$35, www.pittsburghlectures.org or 412-622-8866.


The Slask Polish Song and Dance Ensemble of Poland will bring a program of colorful costumes and folk music to the Byham Theater, Downtown, as part of its 60th anniversary tour at 7:30 p.m. The group specializes in secular folklore and includes a choir, ballet and orchestra. The ensemble has produced 12 albums and performed more than 6,000 shows. For tickets, $23 to $48, www.trustarts.org or 412-456-6666.


City of Asylum/Pittsburgh presents visiting writer-in-residence Vijay Nair, a Fulbright fellow researching the impacts of the decline of the steel industry, at 330 Sampsonia Way, North Side, at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Nair's program, "A Tale of Two Cities," will feature selections from his poetry, prose and drama, including a work-in-progress set partly in Pittsburgh and partly in Jamshedpur, the "steel city" of Jharkhand state, India. Mr. Nair will be joined by guest readers Josh Barnes, T.J. Murphy and Sandhya Krishnan.

Doors open at 7 p.m., with the reading beginning at 7:30. The event is free, but seating is limited and a reservation is required; to make a reservation email ehutton@cityofasylumpittsburgh.org or call 412-323-0278.


The Blue Stocking Babes at the Steel City Improv Theater, 5950 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside, perform at 9 p.m. They're Pittsburgh's first all-girl long-form improvisational comedy troupe. Tickets for the 18-and-older show are $5 at the door. Info: www.steelcityimprov.com.


The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's composer of the year is electronic-influenced composer Mason Bates. This week he returns to Heinz Hall, Downtown, to perform electronica in his orchestral work "The B-Sides." On the more traditional side, Grammy Award-winning pianist Emanuel Ax performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25, and Leonard Slatkin conducts Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $20; 412-392-4900 or www.pittsburghsymphony.org.


Sean Jones Presents ... DUETS: The Blues featuring Vanessa German at the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown, at 8 p.m. Ms. German, Pittsburgh's own poet, visual artist and former August Wilson Center Fellow whom Huffington Post recently named one of 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know, joins Mr. Jones in a night of explosive lyrics, rhymes and rhythms. Tickets $25: www.awc.org, www.trustarts.org or 412-456-6666.


Now Ensemble performs new chamber music at The Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., North Side, at 8 p.m. as part of the museum's Sound Series. The composer/performer collective will premiere Patrick Burke and Emily Pinkerton's "Rounder Songs." The program also includes works by Judd Greenstein, Mark Dancigers and Sarah Kirkland Snider. Tickets: $15 general/$10 members and students in advance, $20 general/$15 members and students at the door; www.warhol.org or 412-237-8300.


Pianist Awadagin Pratt took the classical music world by storm in 1992 as the first black person to win the Naumburg International Piano Competition. Two years later, he landed an Avery Fisher Career Grant and performed around the country with major orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, a sort of return. He was born here, but soon after his family moved to Illinois.

Now a professor at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, he still performs although has embarked on a conducting career, too.

The Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania, with support from the Adams Foundation, presents him in a recital of Schubert, Liszt, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and more at Kresge Theatre on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University, Oakland, at 3 p.m. $5-$15. www.sswpa.org or 412-922-0903.

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