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Blackout at Ordway, Little Mekong Night Market, Remembering Spider John Koerner: This Week’s Best Events

Plus Yeehawoncé, Chloe Troast, and Modest Mouse.

Little Mekong Night Market

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

TUESDAY 6.18

Janet Jackson

Xcel Energy Center

When I caught Janet at Treasure Island in 2019, she delivered the hits and hadn’t lost a step as a dancer; folks who caught the “Together Again” tour when it first passed through the Xcel last May were even more enthusiastic about her performance. It’s a true career retrospective, packing in 40 songs, including a few deeper cuts and club-forward remixes. Though only dummies ever doubted her place near the center of late 20th century pop, it’s great to see Janet Jackson’s legacy increasingly acknowledged. If nothing else, this show seems to be outselling Justin Timberlake’s Xcel gig on Halloween. With Nelly. $54.95+. 8 p.m. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Blackout Improv FB

WEDNESDAY 6.19

Blackout Improv

The Ordway

Blackout, Minnesota’s first all-Black improv troupe, launched in 2015, and this Juneteenth show finds them on their biggest stage yet—Blackout’s Destiny Davison calls it “a watershed moment” for the group. You can expect the silly, weird, “yes-and” moments that are inherent to improv, but a Blackout show entertains as it challenges you, finding the funny in serious subjects. The collection of comics, musicians, actors, dancers, and educators bring realness and absurdity to the stage in ways that’ll surprise and delight. Free-$104 sliding scale. 7 p.m. 345 Washington St., St. Paul; find more info here.—Em Cassel

Juneteenth at Mia

THURSDAY 6.20

Meet at Mia: Juneteenth Celebration

Minneapolis Institute of Art 

Last weekend was the big one for Juneteenth get togethers around town, now it’s last call at this Mia party honoring the holiday. This one will (hopefully) be outdoors in the museum’s courtyard (they’ll move inside if it gets nasty out). There will be music and performances from poet Tish Jones, soundscape artist Queen Drea, and powerhouse vocalist PaviElle French, plus New Black City will host. Hands-on fun includes freedom collages you can take home, and there will be drinks and food available for purchase. Inside the galleries, folks can explore “American Gothic: Gordon Parks and Ella Watson” before it closes next week. The photo collection follows Ella Watson, a Washington, D.C., resident as she lives her life as a mother, an active church member, and a custodian one summer in 1942. Free. 5-9 p.m. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Colin Quinn

Acme Comedy Co.

Comedians of all stripes voice respect for the tough-talking New Yorker who inherited the anchor desk from Norm Macdonald (RIP) on SNL’s “Weekend Update” in the late ‘90s. At 65, the quintessential comic’s comic isn’t just a comic; his fifth solo off-Broadway show, Colin Quinn: The New York Story, received the Netflix treatment, and we’ve seen him pop up in movies in (Trainwreck) and TV shows (Girls) over the years. The longform storyteller goes long on the hollowness of the digital age in his latest special, last month’s Our Time Is Up. $39.25. 8 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 6 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Pixies and Modest Mouse 

Surly Festival Field

Let me be the first to inform Gen Xers and millennials of a shocking fact: You’re old as shit! As such, stacked nostalgia bills have become the norm, and you could do a whole lot worse than the Pixies and Modest Mouse. The Pixies, alt-rock titans since the term was “college rock,” have been going strong since 1986, though the revolving door at bass continues to spin—the great Kim Deal was replaced over a decade ago by Paz Lenchantin, who has also since left. The group’s latest album, Doggerel, arrived in 2022 to lukewarm reviews. But hey, these motherfuckers made Surfer Rosa and Doolittle, and nobody can take that from ‘em. Modest Mouse are also the makers of all-time rock albums (1997’s The Lonesome Crowded West, 2000’s The Moon & Antarctica), and have also endured lineup shifts; founding drummer Jeremiah Green died in 2022 and founding bassist Eric Judy split in 2012. It’s more or less the Isaac Brock show these days, with the band deciding to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their incredibly unlikely Top 40 album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News. Brock, he of semi-recent conspiratorial inclinations, remains one of the most engaging frontmen out there. Opening is the always wonderful Cat Power, whose Bob Dylan cover album from last year proved faithful and beautiful. With Cat Power. 18+. $65. 4:30 to 10 p.m. 520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Various Locations

As always, this year’s Jazz Fest is centered on Mears Park in Lowertown, with multiple St. Paul venues in the area (including the Apostle Supper Club and Metronome Brewery) and a bit further flung (such as Mancini’s and Papa Legba Lounge) also participating. In addition, it’s expanding up to Crooners Supper Club in Fridley for 2024. Mainstage performers include vibraphonist Stefon Harris and his band Blackout, veteran saxophonist Joe Lovano, and a pair of vocalists: Karrin Allyson and the Prince-anointed Kandace Springs. And it’s all free. (I’m restraining myself from making another “free jazz” joke this year.) Free; find the complete schedule here. Through Saturday—Keith Harris

Chloe TroastPromo

FRIDAY 6.21

Chloe Troast

Parkway Theater 

Troast is one of this season’s breakout SNL stars, as past Parkway performer Sarah Sherman was last year. The 27-year-old New Jersey native is a true multi-hyphenate artist, with skills spanning crochet work (buy her stuff here) to singing (she describes her character Pepper Slit as “the living relic of the Broadway stage and the silver screen”) to comedy (her “Little Orphan Cassidy” SNL sketch with Timothée Chalamet has racked up almost 2 million views). On the YouTube page for the “Cassidy” video, the top comment reads “It's always so great to see a cast member have their breakout sketch.” Amen, brother. $20-$25. 6:30 p.m. 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Yeehawoncé: A Cowboy Carter Dance Party

Turf Club

Yeehawoncé: It’s fun to say, and it’ll be fun to celebrate when this Cowboy Carter dance party takes over the Turf Club. This ain’t Texas, but you can expect lots of iconic country and Southern rap/trap on the DJ OMGigi-curated playlist, along with classic R&B, and, of course, songs spanning the career of Beyoncé herself. And you can probably even recycle the outfit you wore to Orville Peck last week! With Lady Cummeal, Priscilla Es Yuicy, and Cariño. 21+. $15. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here.—Em Cassel

Hassan Minhaj

Pantages Theatre

The New Yorker’s odd, seemingly misguided takedown of Minhaj may have cost him The Daily Show hosting gig, but he’s still commanding top dollar at 1,000-seat theaters. “I’ve made it: I got a real old scandal…a dorky scandal” he said during a recent performance, clarifying that it didn’t involve child molestation or porn stars. “I got caught embellishing for dramatic effect.” (Click here for a rigorous breakdown of the whole to-do.) The 38-year-old Californian is best known for his Emmy-winning political material on Netflix’s Patriot Act, though post-scandal Minhaj has emerged a different type of comic; writes critic Jason Zinoman at the New York Times: “It repositions him less as a righteous political comic than a more self-questioning, personal comic, a move he had already begun to make; this scandal may have accelerated the shift.” $59.50+. 6 p.m. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Little Mekong Night Market

SATURDAY 6.22

Little Mekong Night Market

Little Mekong Cultural District 

Did you miss the Asian Street Food Night Market earlier this month? Well, you’re in luck, because St. Paul has not one but two Asian night markets these days, which means we now have even more chances to enjoy super delicious eats. This weekend’s Little Mekong is the original: We’re talking egg rolls, noodle dishes, those super fluffy pancakes, halo halo, street meats, takoyaki, bentos, and cotton candy loaded with sprinkles. This is a market, though, so it’s not just about food. There will also be vendors and local artists offering things like Hmong-language children books, kawaii stationery, and glittery pho earrings. Expect live entertainment, too, from traditional dance to modern K-pop hits. Find more details at littlemekong.com. Free. 5-11 p.m. Sat.; 3-9 p.m. Sun. Little Mekong Cultural District, University Avenue West between Mackubin and Marion Streets in St. Paul. Through Sunday—Jessica Armbruster

Break the Bubble

Venn Brewing

Perhaps you’ve heard that it can be hard to make friends in Minnesota. You’ve almost certainly experienced that it can be tough to make new friends as an adult. That’s where Break the Bubble comes in. BTB isn’t a professional networking event and it’s not a speed dating thing; the focus is really on friendship, which the group helps facilitate with events at local coffee shops and breweries. Just show up, put on a name tag, and introduce yourself to someone new—Break the Bubble organizers will also have themed questions to get the conversation flowing. Free. 9 a.m. to noon. 3550 E. 46th St. Suite 140, Minneapolis; more info here.—Em Cassel

Spider John Koerner FB

SUNDAY 6.23

Celebrating the Life and Music of Spider John Koerner

Cabooze

I don’t think we’ve said it on Racket yet, so here goes: A heartful RIP to the great "Spider" John Koerner, a West Bank Minneapolis music legend who died last month at 85. Musicians from around the state mourned Koerner, as did national figures like friend/collaborator Bonnie Raitt. “We got to enjoy a lifetime of fun, great music, and meaning,” Raitt wrote. “John will be remembered as one of the most beloved and important revivalists of the great folk and blues song tradition.” And, this afternoon, local friends/collaborators like Charlie Parr, Paul Metsa, Jack Klatt, Liquor Pigs, Pop Wagner, and the Cactus Blossoms will honor Spider in the most appropriate fashion: with lots of wonderful live music followed by a potluck dinner at Palmer’s Bar. In semi-related news: The Strib’s Chris Riemenschneider has this nice piece about venues Cabooze and Myth coming back from their respective financial brinks. Free. 1-4:30 p.m. 913 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Tetsuya YamadaWalker Art Center

ONGOING

Tetsuya Yamada: Listening

Walker Art Center

As performers from around the world will be heading to the Walker for its annual Out There Series, the galleries will be staying local, showcasing the work of ceramicist Tetsuya Yamada. For this survey, the Japanese-born, Minnesota-residing U of M prof will share over 65 pieces, including drawings, notes, and many, many everyday examples of ceramics–plates, vases, coffee mugs, and more. The title of the exhibition, “Listening,” refers to the instinctual choices an artist makes along the way to creating something. “The process might take me to places I didn’t imagine initially,” he explains. “This is the fundamental of studio practice for me.” ​​725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through July 7—Jessica Armbruster

Twelfth Night or What You Will

Various Locations

At one time, theater was entertainment for the masses. And this may be most apparent in one of Shakespeare’s most soapy works, Twelfth Night. The hallmarks of great trash TV are all here: mistaken identities, twins, forged love letters, romantic overtures. When twins Sebastian and Viola are separated via a shipwreck, Viola opts to disguise herself as a gent and the women (and men) come calling. Throw in the antics of a drunk uncle and you have yourself a 400-something-years-old romcom. This summer you can see it in the parks of the Twin Cities and surrounding ‘burbs thanks to Classical Actors Ensemble’s free summer series. Find times and locations at classicalactorsensemble.org. Through July 14—Jessica Armbruster

The Long Take

Trylon

This series brings you just what it says: movies featuring long, uninterrupted takes. And fittingly, it’s a long series, running throughout the summer. But though they all include at least one bravura sequence, these films offer much more than just flashy technique. Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (showing again tonight and tomorrow) got things rolling over the weekend, and in the weeks to come you’ll get a chance to check out international arthouse champs like Tarkovsky and Antonioni, modern Asian greats like Hong Kong action master Johnnie To and Park Chan-wook, and movies you can never see too often, like Children of Men and Goodfellas. Let me put in a special word for the elegant The Earrings of Madame de…, directed by the incomparable Max Ophuls, a man so in love with long takes that James Mason once wrote a poem about him that began *extremely James Mason voice* “A shot that does not call for tracks/Is agony for poor old Max.” 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; find complete showtimes and more info here. Through August 27—Keith Harris

Lowertown Sounds

Mears Park

Proper, functioning cities should rock. With the annual, free, weekly, outdoor Lowertown Sounds program St. Paul is privy to this in ways Minneapolis could really learn from. When this year’s lineup was announced, organizers noted that over half of the acts are new this summer. Non-musical offerings include great beer from Wabasha Brewing Co., Dual Citizen Brewing Co., Utepils Brewing, and MetroNOME Brewing, plus wine from Alexis Bailly Vineyard and a rotating cast of 20 food trucks. Free. 6-9:30 p.m. 221 5th St. E., St. Paul; find more info here. Weekly through August 29—Jay Boller

TC River Rats

Mississippi River

What is Ratagascar? It’s not a place (we checked); it’s not a movie about a vermin chef (we think). It’s this summer’s thematic show from the Twin Cities River Rats, the local water skiing crew that has been carving up the Mississippi River since 1979. Specifically, the Rats say, “Ratagascar is filled with adventure, including high-flying jumps, tall pyramids, powerful balancing acts, and barefoot tricks.” Hm, sounds a lot like all River Rats shows, but there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that. As always, this team of rivertop tricksters performs for free and for the whole family. Bring some chairs and blankets, buy some concessions, and enjoy a Minneapolis summertime institution. Free. 6:30 p.m. 1758 West River Rd. N., Minneapolis; find more info here. Thursdays through August—Jay Boller 

Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody

Walker Art Center

Keith Haring was a hugely influential artist in the 1980s and, whether you know it or not, he still is today. The Pennsylvania-raised, NYC-based artist first gained notoriety in the early ‘80s for his subway graffiti art, adorning unused black ad space with crawling babies, barking dogs, and UFOs. A year or two later, he would emerge with projects above ground, including a billboard in Times Square, a mural on the Lower East Side, and the covers of Vanity Fair and Newsweek. His friends and collaborators included Madonna, Grace Jones, and Jean-Michele Basquiat. Regardless of his meteoric rise, Haring wanted his art to be approachable, accessible, and affordable, so he kept most of his pieces in the public sphere. Though his work was crowd pleasing, it was also political, whether it was celebrating queer love, calling for an end to apartheid in South Africa, or promoting safe sex. Though Haring died in 1990 from complications from AIDS, his prolific collection and enduring messages live on. For “Art Is for Everybody,” over 100 works and archival pieces will be on display at the Walker, including ephemera from his 1984 residency at the museum. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through September 8—Jessica Armbruster

Skyline Mini Golf

Walker Art Center

Speaking of stuff to do on rooftops, Skyline Mini Golf is also back this week. While some putt-putt courses aim for putting green realism others go full spectacle. At the Walker, it’s all about the latter, with holes featuring giant hot dogs, mirrored surfaces, tiny odes to the cities, and wacky opportunities to become an obstacle for putters yourself. Don’t expect to work on your handicap here; this course takes mini golf almost to the point of parody as you’ll find yourself testing your skills at ping pong, pool, and Plinketto. Just roll with the chaos–that’s part of the fun. $12 ($10 Walker members and ages 7-18); free for ages 6 and under with paid adult. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through October 6—Jessica Armbruster

Warehouse District Live

Downtown Minneapolis

Every weekend a part of First Avenue will be closed to cars—and not just for construction reasons. Described as “an enhanced pedestrian zone,” Warehouse District Live will offer things that big cities normally have in their downtown areas: food trucks, extended seating areas, and more public bathrooms. Wow! So do some bar-hopping, sit outside and eat, walk in the middle of the street, and wonder why so many exurban Twitter users are so scared of downtown. Free. 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fri.-Sat. First Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth Streets, Minneapolis; find more info here. June 7 through October —Jessica Armbruster

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