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Five Essential May Events

Comics (the kind on paper), comics (the kind with microphones), cats and more upcoming delights.

comic-book photo by neil strebig

Do not allow the lure of your favorite summertime activities to distract you from all the fun and frivolity there is to be found in May.

Indeed, our long-awaited fine weather — ignoring the several stretches of this winter when it was more than warm enough to de-tarp the patio furniture — has many of us eager to reclaim the sun-soaked traditions: flaming grills, morning jogs and hot dogs at the ballpark. By all means — do these things! Enjoy the warm weather in whichever ways you are most accustomed.

But also do some other stuff, however. Because this month — like all month in our increasingly activity-laden city — we’ve got no shortage of picture-perfect activities, both indoors and out.


Free Comic Book Day
May 6, various locations
For those curious about contemporary comics (and perhaps without a clue about where to begin), Free Comic Book Day is the surest path to finding favorites. Comic-book shops nationwide stock healthy supplies of dozens of titles available at no charge, provided by publishing houses eager to introduce readers to new titles; plan to fill a bag and have a gargantuan supply of new titles to peruse. Already an aficionado? Most local shops offer deep discounts in celebration of the annual event. Click here to find participating stores nearby.


Lex-Fest I
May 6, Club Cafe
Comedian Norlex Belma, featured in WQED’s documentary “The Comedy Confluence,” honed his craft on local stages. The Brooklyn native made his name on the city’s stand-up circuit while attending Carnegie Mellon University before returning to New York; fortunately for us, he makes regular trips back to the Steel City. Starting May 6, those journeys are set to include regular installments of his own “Lex-Fest,” wherein Belma will host lineups split between Pittsburgh regulars and visitors from Gotham. This first edition features imports Matt Pavich and Christina Galston alongside ’Burghers Alex Homyak, Ossia Dwyer and Mike Sasson.


Meat Puppets and Mike Watt
May 17, Mr. Smalls
Groundbreaking alternative-punk pioneers the Meat Puppets, founded in 1980 in Arizona, may be better known as influencers than their own act; the grunge movement of the early 1990s has large chunks of Meat Puppets DNA in its genetic code. (The group’s best-known song, “Lake of Fire,” still receives radio play — as covered by Nirvana.) Don’t think of them as a nostalgia act, however; they’ve released five studio albums since reforming in 2000. They’ll be joined by a fellow titan of the genre, longtime Minutemen frontman Mike Watt. Click here for tickets.


Lawrenceville Cat Crawl
May 20, various locations
You know shopping? Like, the activity? K, now — you know cats? The animal? Stay with me on this: What if you went shopping, and there were cats there. I know, I know; it’s perfect. The annual Lawrenceville Cat Crawl, organized by and benefitting Animal Friends, deposits adorable and adoptable cats and kittens at shops and cafes throughout the neighborhood; register in the parking lot of the PNC Bank on Butler Street and visit more than 15 establishments offering you both discounted wares and feline companionship. If you go home with a full stomach, a one-of-a-kind gift and a feisty kitten, you did it right. Details here.


Pittsburgh Pirates FanJam with Flo Rida
May 26, PNC Park
I don’t know how I feel about ubiquitous hip-hop star Flo Rida. His songs are repetitive earworms; you’ll never feel particularly fond of them (okay, “Low” and “Right Round” are fine), but they’ll be in your head for a week. He’s probably not someone I’d ever make a point of seeing in concert — but that’s the beauty of the Pirates’ FanJam shows. You’re really just going to a baseball game (in this case, a Friday-evening tilt with the New York Mets), then sticking around to see Flo Rida afterwards because, well, why not? If nothing else, this is the most relevant artist ever to appear for free after a Pirates game, so good for the club. If you want to investigate for yourself, just buy tickets for that night’s game as usual.


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