April is raining great events—there was no way to stop at just 10. If surfing in Iceland, sampling Guinness cupcakes and impersonating Spider-Man sound good to you, then you’ll love what April has in store.
1. Cocktails and Kryptonite at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: April 7, 7–10 p.m.
Soar, swim or slither your way—in costume if you dare—to this 21+ celebration honoring the universe’s boldest superheroes and most diabolical villains. The drink list is enough to satiate the bravest of beings: Sip “Kryptonite cocktails and Vibranium mocktails,” brews from Full Pint and Rock Bottom, and spirits from Wigle Whiskey, Faber Distilling, Colony Meadery and Pennsylvania Libations. Craft your superhero identity during screen-printing activities with Commonwealth Press, and steel yourself for a friendly smackdown between team Marvel and Team DC. Pop into the photo booth to immortalize your superhero stance, fuel up with gourmet grub from The Pub Chip Shop and Just Good Donuts, and follow clues to reveal the true Library Batman. The nostalgic fun includes button-making, coloring, trivia, and face painting, live music by Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing and Moonspeaker, and a silent auction featuring retro library furniture. Buy tickets.
2. Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival at Row House Cinema: April 7–13, various times
Pittsburgh cinephiles can experience some of Japan’s leading contemporary and historic films when this unique festival returns after successfully debuting last year. Eight featured films—each representing a different genre—will illuminate the richness and diversity of Japanese cinema. Don’t miss opening night featuring two Pittsburgh premieres, Japanese Mochi and Pocky snacks and homemade treats from Yummy Holic and Black Cat Market. In Takeshi Watanabe’s 2014 film, Samurai Cat, viewers will follow Japan’s deadliest samurai who falls in love with the feline he’s hired to kill. Also screening is a short about prolific animators from Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli. The closing night bash will showcase a restored version of Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 animated sci-fi flick, Ghost in the Shell. Buy tickets.
3. Banff Mountain Film Festival at the Byham Theater: April 8 & 9, various times
What’s it like to surf in Iceland? Is it possible to travel from New Zealand to Patagonia in a sailboat? Has anyone ever skied along Russia’s epic Trans-Siberian Railway? These astounding outdoor adventures will explode onto the big screen when the world’s most prestigious mountain festival rolls into town. Showcasing 18 of the best mountain sport, culture and environmental films, the highly-anticipated event is Venture Outdoors’ biggest annual fundraiser. From the Yukon to Iran, you’ll be immersed in adrenaline-pumping action, breathtaking landscapes and cinematic masterworks. Films also delve into ecological and social issues, such as extinction, pollution and indigenous communities. For the perfect cool down, head to the Après Banff party April 8 at the Allegheny Elks Lodge featuring door prizes and live music by The Low Kings. Buy tickets.
4. PGH Vintage Mixer Home Show at the Teamsters Hall: April 8, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Carefully curated by the team behind the popular PGH Vintage Mixer, the Home Show will showcase 30+ vintage sellers peddling something for every corner of your stylish abode. Shop, haggle and dig for everything from mid-century modern furniture, textiles and pottery, to lighting, barware and artwork. Featured purveyors include Technicolor Polyester, Rick Sebak’s Collection, Junk In Public, U’niki An’Tiki, Shindig Alley and many others. The event will also feature an exclusive “Consider your Closet” fashion floor stocked with retro threads for the ladies and gents. Mixers will enjoy vinyl sets by local DJs, food truck fare, Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches, and beverages from Espresso a Mano and Allegheny Wine Mixer. You’ll shop for a great cause because proceeds benefit Proud Haven, which serves homeless LGBTQ youth. Cost: $5.
5. Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo (PIX) at the August Wilson Center: April 9, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Pittsburgh has long served as a mecca for innovative comic book and cartoon artists. The best place to discover this flourishing scene is at PIX— Pittsburgh’s only event focused on promoting individual, self-published and small press creators. Free and open to the public, PIX is moving all of the action Downtown for its sixth annual installment. At the August Wilson Center, PIX-goers can peruse an eclectic assortment of limited-edition works by 60+ exhibitors — most of whom hail from the area. Attendees can explore the creative process behind the scenes during lively artist presentations, panel discussions and hands-on workshops at ToonSeum, while the Comics Workbook Academy will offer sessions at Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. This year’s roster reads like a who’s who of the contemporary comic art scene, including Band for Life creator Anya Davidson and Street Angel artist Jim Rugg, to 11-time Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist Carol Tyler.
6. Pittsburgh Earth Day: Steel to Sustainable: April 20–22, various times
Packed with both free and ticketed events throughout Downtown, Pittsburgh Earth Day is your chance to explore the city’s advancements in sustainability, technology and innovation. Exploring green garments, Earth Day kicks off April 20 with the planetary-themed Ecolution Fashion Show at the Fairmont. Curated by style guru Richard Parsakian, the haute happening will feature hair and makeup by Izzazu Salon, music by DJ Soy Sos, and dance performances by Staycee Pearl. Ready to get down to green tacks? Don’t miss the Sustainability Breakfast and PNC Sustainable Lunch + Learn sessions with local leaders April 21. For more green fun, head to the Solar Powered Food and Fashion Truck Festival, Paint Market Square Green celebration, Sustainable Sips Pub Crawl and more. Earth Day culminates April 22 with the earth-to-table “La Vie en Vert” dinner at Coterie Company.