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Beer Dabblin’, Drag BFFs, and Cécile McLorin Salvant: This Week’s Best Events

This week's events offer a huge variety, from PokéCON to high art.

Cécile McLorin Salvant, 'Ogresse: Envisioned'

Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Trixie and Katya, on tour

WEDNESDAY 2.22

Trixie and Katya LIVE

State Theatre

Anyone who’s watched Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova on their YouTube shows UNHhhh and I Like to Watch, or caught the one and only season of The Trixie & Katya Show on Vice, or seen these queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race (and their subsequent All-Star seasons, when they really shined) knows how funny and weird and untouchably in-sync they are. Now, they’re bringing that wonderful queer chaos on the road for their first ever series of seated theater shows. What’s it gonna be like? Without giving too much away, we’ve heard you can expect “aerial performance, quick-changes and reveals, choreographed numbers with backup dancers,” and more! Tickets start at  $43.50. 8 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.—Em Cassel

The Beths 

First Avenue

New Zealand guitar-pop is indomitable. The island nation is an inexhaustible well of simple-but-smart guitar bands who will continue to jangle, chime, and sing about their very ordinary problems while the rest of us are drinking our own pee to survive. The title track from the Beths’ third and best album, Expert in a Dying Field, lands the relationship analogy of the year, zeroing in on how all your knowledge about a lover, from the intimate to the mundane, becomes instantly useless once you break up. Elizabeth Stokes is a brilliant songwriter whose gift with the phrase and the hook never falters here, and Jonathan Pearce is no slouch on guitar, leaning into a more rocking power pop than the Auckland norm. With Sidney Gish and Hans Pucket. 18+. $25. 7 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Kahlil Robert IrvingPhoto by Attilio D'Agostino

THURSDAY 2.23

Kahlil Robert Irving: Archaeology of the Present

Walker Art Center

St. Louis-based artist Kahlil Robert Irving creates fascinating found-object ceramics that kinda look like a pile of stuff was thrown into a microwave and melted. Through these pieces, Irving is playing the part of an archeologist, imagining, "What happens when we peel back the city street?" What does he find? Layers of Black American history, as well as injustices like segregation, classism, and terrifying instances of police brutality and other hate crimes. During this Walker exhibition, the galleries will become an excavation site, filled with video, sculpture, and site-specific installation. At the show’s opening reception Irving will be chatting with Jerald Cooper, whose Instagram account, @hoodmidcenturymodern, excavates as well, sharing examples of Black folk living in and enjoying Mid-Century aesthetics. Curator Antwaun Sargent moderates. The talk will be followed by a cash bar and small bites. Find required (but free!) tickets in the Main Lobby. 5-9 p.m. Thursday, February 23. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through January 21, 2024—Jessica Armbruster

FRIDAY 2.24

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Ogresse: Envisioned

Walker Art Center

“She falls in love! She eats the guy! She dies!” That’s how Cécile McLorin Salvant describes the plot of her new song-cycle, with “she” of course being the titular Ogresse, a monster who lives, like many fairy tale monsters, in the woods. Salvant has been all but universally acclaimed as the most inventive jazz vocalist to emerge in recent years—on her 2022 album Ghost Song, her idea of “standards” takes in both Kate Bush and that “You’re out of the woods” song from The Wizard of Oz (it’s called “Optimistic Voices”—who knew?). But Ogresse is another level of ambition for Savant. For these world premiere performances, she'll sing the score she composed with the aid of a 13-piece chamber orchestra, arranged and conducted by big band innovator Darcy James Argue. The work also includes projected images Salvant created in collaboration with Belgian animator Lia Bertels. This show is the final installment for 2023's Out There Series at the Walker. $45; $36 for Walker members. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Kate Willett

Camp Bar 

Comedian Kate Willett follows in the estimable raunch-shock tradition of Margaret Cho and Amy Schumer, but does so with a nimble edge that feels built for the smartphone era. The New York City comic (who is, full disclosure, a friend) has gained steady industry traction over the past five years, appearing on Netflix, The Late Show, and, as Twin Cities comedy fans might remember, at last fall’s 10,000 Laughs festival. Willett recently dropped her debut album, Glass Cutter, and debut audiobook, Dirtbag Anthropology, an investigative memoir focused on love, loss, and masculinity. A former local, feature comic David Tveite (additional disclosure: also a friend) once had a closer about DiGiorno Pizza that I still think about a decade later. Local Lily Meyer (never met!) opens. $20-$28. 7 p.m. Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday. 490 Robert St. N., St. Paul; find more info here.–Jay Boller

Winter Beer Dabbler

SATURDAY 2.25

Winter Beer Dabbler

Minnesota State Fairgrounds 

Enjoying a beer on a patio, in a backyard, and during a festival? Total blast! Oh, you’re talking about doing it in the dead of winter? Well, we can still make it work. And the folks at the Winter Beer Dabbler have been doing just that for years. This February, head to the State Fairgrounds for a tipsy event offering beer, wine, seltzer, and cider samples from over 100 breweries. Best-case scenario? You find a hidden gem to enjoy year-round. Worst case? You can revisit all your favs in one spot. 21+. Find tickets and more info at beerdabbler.com. $55; $75 VIP; $20 designated driver. 3-6:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. VIP. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul.–Jessica Armbruster

PokéCON

Best Western Plus Bloomington Hotel

It may not be considered “cool” to reveal that 75% of Racket’s staff still play Pokémon. But folks? It’s as true as Ash’s determination to catch ‘em all. PokéCON is more or less a lifestyle event for Pokémon enthusiasts⁠—from old-school Red/Blue-heads to the Scarlet/Violet players of today. The MOA-adjacent Best Western will be hopping like Lopunny with vendors, artists, prizes, card games, video games, and an appearance from actor Jay Goede, the U of M grad who voiced Mewtwo in 1998's Pokémon: The First Movie. By simply registering ahead of time, you’re entered into a drawing for a Pikachu squishmallow pillow that, we can confirm, is cute. $15/$25. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 1901 Killebrew Dr., Bloomington; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Winter Cornhole Classic

Number 12 Cider

Don’t y’all call it “bags” out here in the Upper Midwest? I could swear I’ve been corrected about this before… in any case, the annual Winter Cornhole Classic returns to Number 12 Cider this weekend. It’s an all-day affair, with registration starting at 11 a.m. and the tourney kicking off at noon. One team will win a $500 prize, but each of the top five finishers will take home a cash prize, too. Also worth noting? This is an outdoor event, so bundle up appropriately. Register here to claim your spot. Take us away, Beavis! $40. 11 a.m. 614 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis.—Em Cassel

Viagra Boys

Viagra Boys 

First Avenue

Fun name, right? Also, turns out, fun band! These Swedish weirdos combine the post-punk talk-singing of Art Brut with the darkly comedic absurdity of Primus, resulting in a herky-jerky guitar stew that’s accented by frontman’s Sebastian Murphy’s wailing about wiener dogs and sports. Released in July, the group’s third album, Cave World, is a hit-and-miss satire of alt-right trolls, but even when the words don’t hit, the muscular, unpredictable arrangements veer from dancey synths to funky horns with confident swagger. “A lot of our output is a celebration of being a fuck-up,” Murphy told NME last year. “[It’s about] creating this fucked up fantasy world that I made up in my head, with all the images of dogs, shrimps, spies, and weird shit.” Considering Viagra Boys graduated from Amsterdam Bar & Hall to the Mainroom in under 12 months, it’s clear there’s a vast market for that weird shit. $25. 8 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.–Jay Boller

Tangletown Winter Fest

Fuller Park

As another blizzard looms, the inevitable question of “Why do we even live here?” will arise with varying levels of seriousness. At this risk of sounding like a cornball, Tangletown Winter Fest and stuff like it are among the reasons we’ll never leave this urban tundra. The super-sweet community event features: bonfires, luminaries, s'mores, food trucks (Finer Meats & Eats, Cafe Ena), and the flame-based theatrics of Mr. Fun of Funtime Funktions. ("We've invited the fire performer back!" organizers exclaim.) $5 suggested donation to cover s’more costs. 5-8 p.m. 4802 Grand Ave. S., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Bert Kreischer

Target Center

Who knew this party-boy comic from Florida was big enough to pack an arena? Slowly but surely, Bert “The Machine” Kreischer has built himself up from a famous '90s frat guy to a powerhouse comedic persona. There's obvious suburban/exurban appeal to Kreischer, who orbits in the Joe Rogan comedy realm, but that doesn't mean he isn't funny. The 50-year-old comic’s sensibilities are as mainstream as you get, as evidenced by three Netflix specials (the newest, Razzle Dazzle, arrives in March) and Travel Channel hosting gigs (Bert the Conqueror, Trip Flip). The naming of his current Tops Off World Tour is pretty self-explanatory. $35-$400. 5:30 p.m. 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller 

ONGOING

Minnesota Ice Castle

Long Lake Regional Park

Folks, this is the big one. This is the ice castle that has more square footage than your own home. It starts as a single icicle, but by the end of construction it becomes an epic thing you can wander through and enjoy. There are architectural marvels, sparkling caverns, slick tunnels that funnel you to more adventure, and slides made of ice. In addition to the big frozen structure, there’s also an illuminated trail to explore and an ice bar serving up wintery adult beverages. The castle was supposed to be ready in mid-January, but our weather sucks so hard this year that the event was able to open a few weeks early. Lucky us! Find dates, times, and tickets at icecastles.com/minnesota. $11-$15 weekdays; $15-$20 weekends. Wednesdays through Mondays in January; Thursdays through Sundays in February. 1500 Old Highway 8, New Brighton. Now through February 23’ish –Jessica Armbruster

Argentine Noir

The Heights

The amazing thing about film noir is just how damn much of it there is, yet lots of us keep watching the same dozen (admittedly great!) Hollywood examples over and over. That’s where this annual series, now in its fourteenth year, comes in, exposing us to the dark corners of cinematic crime we might otherwise have overlooked. The four movies this year emerge from postwar Peronist Argentina, a time and place whose films I’m sure no expert in. I’m a little tardy bringing this to your attention: The festival began last week with Hardly a Criminal (Apenas un delincuente). But that still leaves us with three more installments, each with suitably noirish titles, none of which you’re likely to have seen before: The Beast Must Die (La Bestia debe morir), The Bitter Stems (Los tallos amargos) and The Black Vampire (El Vampiro Negro). 3951 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights; find prices, showtimes, and more info here. Through February 23—Keith Harris

Funhouse Waiting Room

Rosalux Gallery

Artist Mary Gibney draws inspiration from a variety of sources: dive bars, old circus photography, the Hamm’s sign, old-school matchbooks, a 1959 Wards Catalog. Her latest collection of pieces, featured in “Funhouse Waiting Room,” includes paintings, drawings, collages, and prints filled with bartenders, giant martini glasses, deer heads on walls, and ghost patrons from previous binge drinking expeditions. Her portraits of circus strong men examine  homoeroticism, gender expression, and fluidity (sometimes she swaps the men for cats because, why not?). This joyous exhibition should be a little odd, definitely a good time, and won’t give you a hangover. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, February 4, from 7-10 p.m. 315 West 48th Street, Minneapolis. Through February 26–Jessica Armbruster

Black 2 the Future: An Afrofuturistic Experience

Artspace Jackson Flats

Does the future look bright or is it bleak and dystopian? That glass-half argument is up to the artist, but the future is definitely Black in this group show. Coined in the ‘90s, the term “Afrofuturism” is an art movement that speculates on the future while celebrating Black culture, history, and perspectives, be it through literature (Octavia Butler), movies (Black Panther), music (Janelle Monae), and more. See it in action at this gallery show, which will feature the artwork of Ron Brown, Christopheraaron Deanes, seangarrison, Shae Maze, Christopher E. Harrison, Dio.Mpls, and Jordan Malcom. Futuristic looks are encouraged at the opening reception, so if you have a sexy robot costume, now’s your chance to shine. $10 suggested donation. 5-9 p.m.; artwork will be up through February 29. 901 18th ½ Ave. NE, Minneapolis.–Jessica Armbruster

Astroturf

Gamut Gallery

Seventy years later, mid-century modern still has a hold on us. Why? Is it the promise of a clean, streamlined future? A reaction to the maximalist aesthetics of previous eras? The fact that it can be cheaply mass produced by places like Amazon and IKEA? Let’s be real; it’s probably that last one. But mid-century modern has more in common with our era than furniture. With it came implied consumerism, as these weren’t family heirlooms (though these days they sometimes are). An artificiality comes with it, too, as the style is often paired with plastics or Bakelite, synthetics like pleather, and fake versions of real things (think pink Christmas trees and fake grass). “Astroturf,” Gamut Gallery’s first show of 2023, will explore these aspects of mid-century modern through a variety of mediums, including monoprints (Genie Castro), pool pics and abstract works (Neal Breton), Palm Springs travel photography (Nicole Mueller), and installations using both real and artificial plants (Human Shape Animal). See it for yourself at the opening reception this Friday, February 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $7 presale, $10 door (order them here). 717 10th St. S., Minneapolis. Through March 18–Jessica Armbruster

Sugar in Our Wounds

Penumbra Theatre

Set in the antebellum South just before the start of the Civil War, Sugar in our Wounds tells the tale of queer love between Black slaves Henry and James. Henry is new to the plantation, sold and separated from his family (“Instead of hanging us, they tear us apart. That feels worse than being hanged, I imagine.”) It’s a tear-jerker of a play, but it also allows space for surrealism (there’s a singing tree), humor, and queer joy. Written by Donja R. Love, Sugar is the first in a trilogy, with other installments covering the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter. Find tickets and more info online. 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. Through March 19–Jessica Armbruster

Out There 2020: Sarah Michelson, /\ March 2020 (4pb)

Walker Art Center

For nearly 20 years, U.K.-born, NYC-based performer Sarah Michelson has created pieces often performed outside of traditional stages, tumbling about the Walker’s galleries and even the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. She works hard to create movements that may look impromptu or off-the-cuff, but are typically planned and practiced down to the breath. But her latest work, “Sarah Michelson: /\ March 2020 (4pb),” is an exhibition, not a performance piece. Here guests will be able to peruse a variety of ephemera, all laid out with the Walker in mind (the pieces are now part of the museum’s permanent collection). At the opening reception, which will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. during the Walker’s weekly Free Thursday Nights party, Michelson will discuss her work with Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder of the two-woman dance troupe HIJACK. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through April 23–Jessica Armbruster

Message from Our Planet: Digital Art from the Thoma Collection

Weisman Art Museum

Good news, everyone—it’s spring. At least at the Weisman, whose spring 2023 exhibition, “Message from Our Planet: Digital Art from the Thoma Collection,” opens this week. Inspired by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was used as a repository of human culture on Earth, the idea is to offer a sort of time capsule from artists working in digital media to the people of the future. To that end, the exhibit gathers the work of 19 artists who use software, video, and light technology as their media. Among those featured are Hong Hao, Jenny Holzer, Lee Nam Lee, Christian Marclay, Tabita Rezaire, and Robert Wilson. The opening night party from 7 to 11 p.m. this Thursday, February 9, will include ambient projects, DJ tunes, and food from Vinai Bites at Union Hmong Kitchen. Tickets are $25; admission is otherwise, as always, free. 333 E. River Pkwy, Minneapolis; find more info here. Through May 21–Keith Harris

Fluidity: Identity in Swedish Glass

American Swedish Institute

Glass artist Jo Andersson doesn’t just want you to gaze upon her works. She wants you to experience them as a meditative tool for self reflection. “Being is a light installation which is intended to help bring individuals into the present moment,” she says via artist’s statement. “I wanted to create a safe space where viewers could lose themselves and fully experience the work as well as their responses to the work.” So, what does that entail? At ASI, you’ll enter a dimmed room full of glass sculptures filled with water. You’ll be encouraged to use camera phones to illuminate pieces and place with the lighting. From there? Take some time for self reflection. (If nothing else, this show should make for some good visual ASMR.) In addition to Andersson’s ambitious installation, the exhibition will also showcase pieces by female glass artists from the museum’s permanent collection. Friday’s opening night party will feature an artist’s talk, live music, an outdoor glass and fire installation, and a hands on glass activity from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25. 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis.Through May 28–Jessica Armbruster

Paul Chan: Breathers

Walker Art Center

Can those inflatable tube guys used to drive people to sales be art? If it’s in the Walker Art Center then, yes, it can. But that would be oversimplifying the work of Paul Chen, a Hong Kong-born, Nebraska-raised, NYC-based writer, publisher, and artist. In the ‘90s and ‘00s, Chan garnered attention releasing videos, animations, fonts, and more, often for free on his website, nationalphilistine.com. These pieces explored pleasure, war, politics, and human interactions. But by 2009, he had burned out, tired of looking at a screen. Relatable. Five years later, after a brief, you know, “breather,” he found a new way to explore movement and meaning without a computer, instead using physics, fabrics, and fans to create shapes that move about in interesting ways (and, thankfully, won’t try to sell you a car).  You can see these kinetic sculptures at the Walker; the show will also include some video installations as well as pieces from his publishing company, Badlands Unlimited, which releases poetry, erotica, artists’ writings, and more. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through July 16, 2023—Jessica Armbruster

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