Five Essential April Events
Beer, birds, a musical trip to the funeral home and more upcoming delights.
photos by john and ben altdorfer
Much as the bear stumbles groggily out of its den after a season of hibernation to blink at the sunlight, so do we Pittsburghers emerge from our assorted living rooms, dens and semi-finished basements to embrace springtime and re-engage with the outside world.
Unless you’ve been following our advice and boldly ignoring the temperatures. Then you’ve been living it up all winter.
But for the recently defrosted and perennially vibrant alike, here are five April events worthy of your immediate attention, even if it does snow again. (I’m sorry I brought that up. But it might. It could on Friday. I’m also sorry I brought that up. You know what, let’s just get to the list.)
April 11-16, Heinz Hall
Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic novel “Fun Home” probably didn’t strike many readers as likely grounds for a Broadway hit; the memoir covers her father’s untimely death, her collegiate sexual awakening and a childhood spent growing up in and around a funeral home. And yet, what really is likely grounds for musical theater, anyway? The show won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2015; it will appear next week in Pittsburgh for the first time. A mere eight performances are scheduled, so get tickets sooner rather than later.
Easter Brunch at the National Aviary
April 16, National Aviary
I’m working on a pun about “two birds, one stone,” here, but it’s just not coming together. In any case: Make this year’s Easter-morning brunch unconventional by dining at the National Aviary. Dine outdoors (under a heated tent, in the event of a chilly spring morn) in the Rose Garden; the quite-reasonable price includes admission to the rest of the Aviary, giving guests the opportunity to visit their favorite feathered creatures after they’ve finished nibbling. Choose from offerings such as seafood quiche florentine and cold-smoked Atlantic salmon (as well as all the brunch staples) while a variety of exotic avians make special appearances. Reservations are required; click here for more info.
Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week
April 21-30, various locations
Once upon a time — not too long ago — there weren’t all that many places to get a wide variety of great beers in the Pittsburgh area. Back then, Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week was your opportunity to get the good stuff all over town; now, you can pretty much always get the good stuff all over town. Which makes the new mission of PCBW to introduce you to brews you haven’t yet tried, including limited-run collaboration beers from local brewers. There are more events than you can shake a growler at, so poke around the featured list on the PCBW website; I’ve got my eye on the breakfast-beer flight and all-you-can-eat pancakes session at Caliente’s Mt. Lebanon location.
April 22, Sen. John Heinz History Center
You can go to dozens of vintage clothiers, antiques shops and gift stores, or you can go to Vintage Pittsburgh — and the latter will be a lot more fun. The History Center’s annual event brings 40-plus vendors of everything from retro furnishings to rare vinyl records to its Strip District home; for throwback inspiration, take a look at the “Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience” exhibition while you’re there. Vintage Pittsburgh is free with admission to the History Center, which is discounted during the event; click here for more info.
“Welcome to Night Vale” Live
April 30, Byham Theater
Most podcasts became sensations via somewhat logical means — celebrity guests, story cliffhangers, plain ol’ humor. The notable exception is Welcome to Night Vale, a show consisting of radio missives from a bizarre small town soaked in mysterious happenings and otherworldly invaders. It’s part humor, part horror, all absurd and generally unlike anything else in any medium. The latest of the show’s popular touring editions arrives Downtown this month with a fresh tale from the show’s cast, live music and general uncanny weirdness; click here for info.