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Cornbread’s 97th, Keith Haring at WAC, Homeboy Sandman: This Week’s Best Events

Plus Art in Bloom, Fred Armisen, and last call for the Saint Paul Art Crawl and MSPIFF.

Clockwise: One Liner Madness, Art in Bloom, Keith Haring, Homeboy Sandman

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

One Liner MadnessPromo pic


One Liner Madness

Turf Club

This one sounds like a helluva good time: Locally launched comic/writer Ben Katzner and L.A. comic/writer Emily Winter will oversee 64 (!) fellow comics competing in a bracket-style contest that will reveal the ultimate one-liner joke. Winners of this traveling tourney receive cash prizes and, crucially, a trophy. Winter co-created the One Liner Madness concept almost a decade ago, and wastes no words while explaining her inspiration for it. “I started this show because I love jokes, contests, and camaraderie,” she says. “One Liner Madness more than covers all those bases.” Sure does! Adds Katzner, who has previously co-hosted an OLM event in NYC: “It’s 90 minutes of controlled chaos; it'll be like herding extremely sensitive cats who are all doing their best Mitch Hedberg impression and will take it personally if they lose. This is going to be unlike anything Twin Cities comedy fans have ever seen.” $15-$20. 7 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Hamilton Nolan

East Side Freedom Library 

A long, long time ago, major U.S. newspapers maintained entire beats dedicated to covering unions. These days labor reporters are in desperately short supply (shoutout to Minnesota Reformer’s Max Nesterak, our only local example), and Hamilton Nolan (Gawker, In These Times, How Things Work) might be the most prominent national journalist documenting the labor movement. At the East Side Freedom Library, Nolan will discuss his just-released book, The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor. Rather than stab blindly at what inspired him to write it and what he hopes readers take from it, we asked the author himself: “The book was really inspired by the gap between the incredible potential of the labor movement and its kind of disappointing reality. The pandemic radicalized tens of millions of workers, unions are more popular than they've been in 60 years, and yet the portion of Americans who are union members keeps going down every year. The book, which is reported all over the country, can hopefully be a rallying cry for all of us who want the labor movement to become the force it can be.” Can’t get enough Nolan? He’ll also be speaking at a special Trader Joe’s United fundraiser Wednesday at Black Hart St. Paul. Free. 7 p.m. 1105 Greenbrier St., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Art in Bloom, presented by Friends of the Institute.


Art In Bloom

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Mia’s annual celebration of flowers is turning 40 this year. The event tasks florists with interpreting pieces in the museum—including paintings, sculptures, and tapestries—through fresh flowers, ferns, moss, and other greenery. The results are delightful, capturing each artwork’s color, composition, and shape in inventive ways. This year will boast over 160 arrangements by local florists, plus 20 larger scale installations from groups and organizations. Pieces will be on display throughout the weekend (though it’s best to get there earlier before the wilting begins), and admission, as always, is free. Find more details here. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. Through Sunday—Jessica Armbruster

Cornbread's 97th B-Day Party Extravaganza

Hook & Ladder

Somebody oughta write a damn book about James Samuel "Cornbread" Harris Sr.—and, in fact, somebody has. Former City Pages music editor Andrea Swensson’s Deeper Blues: The Life, Songs, and Salvation of Cornbread Harris is due out this summer. The one-man Minnesota music institution is, remarkably, still tearing up local stages with regularity, and tonight he’ll do what he does best while surrounded by friends, collaborators, and well-wishers. If you’re reading this far and are somehow unfamiliar with Cornbread, you should know that he’s credited with co-writing our state’s first rock ‘n’ roll recording (1955’s "Hi Yo Silver," with Augie Garcia), basically inventing the storied West Bank blues/jazz scene, and fathering another local legend (James Samuel "Jimmy Jam" Harris III). I saw Mr. Harris perform in the heat last summer at the State Fair amid the hunky firemen, and can confirm he has still got it. $15-$25. 6 p.m. 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller 


Saint Paul Art Crawl: Week Three

Various Locations

While Art-A-Whirl in Minneapolis packs everything into three days, sleepy St. Paul takes a more chill approach, spreading its big crawl across multiple neighborhoods over several weekends. Now in its 33rd year, this celebration of creatives features open studios, parties, performances, tours, demonstrations, and more at over 40 galleries, collectives, and pop-up spaces, showcasing over 350 artists working in just about every medium imaginable. The final week is an outright blowout, with things planned throughout downtown, Lowertown, Como, Payne-Phalen, and Raymond Station. Whew! It’s all free, and while hours vary by venue, in general each weekend they are: 6-10 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Find more details at ​​ Through Sunday—Jessica Armbruster 

Keith Haring


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. Friday’s opening party is sold out, but there's a free talk this Saturday, April 27, at 2 p.m., and there are other free events for kids and teens planned in the coming months. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through September 8—Jessica Armbruster

Eighth Anniversary Block Party

InBound BrewCo

InBound, has it really been eight years? Well, according to the framing of this party, which we assume is backed up by Secretary of State business filing dates that reflect the year 2016, yes! The North Loop brewery is celebrating its anniversary in style with a day full of DJs (Omaur Bliss, Grant Jones, and Kirkabee) that culminates with a performance from Pleezer, the Upper Midwest’s preeminent Weezer cover band. This party functions as a de facto food truck fest, too, with the following chow wagons rolling up to the brewery: Amazing Momo, KCM Egg Rolls, Cuchillo, Philly Xpress, Soul to Soul BBQ, Wha’ Jamaican, Thai Thai Street Food, iPierogi, and Hopper’s Mini Donuts ("Let one bite change your life," reads Hopper’s Garden State-evoking promo copy). Free. 11 a.m. to midnight. 701 N. 5th St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Nicki Minaj

Target Center

With her ever-shifting array of daffy personae, her refusal to distinguish between pop and rap, and her giddy delight in world domination, Nicki Minaj redefined the possibilities for women in hip-hop a decade and a half ago. That’s just a fact. Too much social media drama and too many petty beefs with other equally deserving women later, that can be hard to remember, and despite its memory-jogging title, her latest album, Pink Friday 2, doesn’t quite recall the glory days of its 2010 predecessor. Tracks swipe hooks whole from (in decreasing order of effectiveness) Junior Senior, Lumidee, Rick James, Blondie, and Cyndi Lauper; her references are dated (Christopher Reeve and Kelly Bundy are mentioned on the same track, and on one of the good ones, too). But when she simply prances past the haters, rather than trading bitter barbs (barbz?), or looks back at her childhood, or forward to her son’s, that’s when you’ll remember the old Nicki. She may no longer be the aspirational figure she first emerged as, but I bet she still puts on a hell of a show. With Monica. $79.50 and up. 8 p.m. 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris 

Homeboy SandmanPromo image

Homeboy Sandman


“I drop a monumental album every couple of months,” boasts 43-year-old Queens rapper Angel Del Villar on I Can't Sell These Either, the most recent of his three 2023 releases. (He also put out an album, Rich, that clocked in under a half hour, and a holiday record, 12 Days of Christmas & Dia de Los Reyes that maybe I’ll get to this December if I’m not distracted by the other material Homeboy Sandman will certainly send our way before then.) If anything, rappers are too prolific these days—Future and Metro Boomin released over 150 minutes of music this month, in two playlisty slabs, and surely that’s at least, oh, 10 to 15 minutes too much? But Homeboy exercises quality control, and he works small-scale; where so much mainstream rap feels like someone just turned the content spigot to full blast, his EPs and brief full-lengths feel like short, insightful dispatches from a friend. If he’s got too much to say for his output to ever be flawless he’s too level-headed to ever feel less than welcome; in the skills department, it helps that he’s in it for the rhymes as much as for the self-expression. And he does drop a monumental album every couple of years. (Not months, but you know how rappers exaggerate.) With fellow Queens MC E-Turn and local notable Carnage and Medium Zacc. $15/$20. 8 p.m. 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul; find more info here.Keith Harris


Underground Music Venue

What a night for underground hip-hop, eh? If anything the prosaically named Mike is even more of a miniaturist than Homeboy Sandman. The New York rapper’s March 2024 album, Pinball, recorded with producer Tony Seltzer, wedges 11 tracks into 21 minutes, but never feels rushed or incomplete. Even better was Mike’s late 2023 full-album collab with Wiki and The Alchemist, highlighted by “Mayor’s a Cop,” which cut through Eric Adams’s absurdist sideshow to express the essential truth about him. (And really, what mayor isn’t a cop?) Like his kindred spirit and sometimes collaborator, Earl Sweatshirt, Mike’s not always big on articulation, but he gets his point across, and he’s not into forced tough guy routines either. He just demands that you meet him on his turf. With 454, Niontay, and El Cousteau. $27.12. 6 p.m. 408 N. Third Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris


Fred Armisen: Comedy for Musicians But Everyone Is Welcome 

The Fillmore

If you’re wondering what to expect from Fred Armisen’s lengthily named ongoing tour, his 2018 Netflix special Standup for Drummers should give you a pretty good idea—or maybe you’ve seen him get behind a drum kit or pick up a guitar on any number of late-night shows. For a little more, the comedian and former SNL-er sat down with Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express last week to explain the origins of Comedy for Musicians But Everyone Is Welcome: "I sometimes imagine it like if I went to go see a comedian/chef do a show about the restaurant world,” he tells Jamie Lee Rake. “I don’t know anything about cuisine, you know, the details and inside references, but I’d want to see that. I’d want to hear about that world.” The idea is that the jokes will have everyone laughing, it’s just that the musicians among us might laugh a little harder as Armisen riffs—both musically and comedically—on one of his great passions. All ages. $59+. 6 p.m. 525 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; tickets and more info here.—Em Cassel

Paddle Bridge’s The Great Gear-Up & Gather

Saint Paul Brewing

Look, we all have gear taking up space in our garage/storage unit that we just don’t use anymore. At this sports gear swap, you can get rid of that stuff and take up space with things you’ll actually use. So pile your kayaks, cross-country skis, extra tents, and mountain bikes, and set up shop to sell or swap your wares. Big stuff will be welcome, but you’ll want to reserve a parking spot beforehand if you’re trying to unload bulky stuff, otherwise check in with event organizers about a planned communal shop space for smaller items. It’s free to peruse or trade on the floor, and there will be beer, of course. In addition, local nature orgs and sporting groups will be on hand with resources and other fun things to see and do. For those looking to go big, there will be a boat auction too. Find more details at Free; $35 for a parking lot sale space. Noon to 5 p.m. 688 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul.—Jessica Armbruster

"The Other Four"Wendy Fernstrum, 'Common Scents'


Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Fest

The Main

Now in its 43rd year, some say MSPIFF is the Cannes of the Midwest. (OK, I don’t know if anyone else says that, but I do.) This spring, Minnesota’s biggest film fest returns with over 200 screenings at the Main Cinema and other venues around town. There will be panel talks, cocktail parties, book signings, and, yes, films. There will be new Hollywood releases, locally made flicks, movies by Indigenous artists, documentaries, family-friendly fare, LGBTQ-focused works, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Highlights include festival opener Sing Sing, starring Colman Domingo as a man who organizes a theater group while in prison; festival closer, Kelly O'Sullivan’s Ghostlight, is about an emotionally distant man who joins a community theater production of Romeo & Juliet (I’m sensing a theme here). Cinematographer Roger Deakins will also be giving a talk following a screening of Fargo, a little Minnesota film he shot in 1996. Check out the complete fest schedule online and check Keith’s feature on the fest for a more in-depth look. 115 SE Main St., Minneapolis. Through Thursday—Jessica Armbruster

30 Days of Biking


The premise is simple: For the month of April, hop on your bike once a day and go somewhere. It doesn’t have to be a big deal—once around the block counts—but the idea is to get into the habit of riding and enjoying the world around you via bicycle. The 30-day challenge started as a Minnesota thing, but quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, with folks from around the globe pledging to participate. Here in town, there’s usually a variety of events throughout the month, including weekly rides with the Joyful Riders Club. Watch the org’s Facebook page for updates on group rides, and sign up for the challenge at Through April 30—Jessica Armbruster

The Other Four

Weisman Art Museum

Have you ever come across a tactile-looking piece of art at a gallery and wished you could reach out and touch it? Well, you can at the Weisman’s new group exhibition. “The Other Four” asks guests to rely less on sight and more on smell, taste, touch, and sound. So museum etiquette be damned, you’re welcome to sniff, listen, and grope these pieces to your heart’s content. (We’re not sure how taste plays into this show, but according to the press release that’s on the table as well.) The collection features 16 multimedia works by 21 contemporary artists, and that includes pieces exploring technology, performance, experimentation, and interactive play. “Most of us are so accustomed to the dominance of our sense of sight that we often forget it is operating… sometimes causing one to drift off into thought and miss the moment,” notes local artist John Scheurman, curator of the show. There will be an opening party this Thursday, February 8, from 7 to 10 p.m. with music, apps, and a cash bar (tickets are $20/free if you’re a U student). A free artists’ roundtable is also scheduled for 6 p.m Thursday, April 3. 333 E. River Pkwy., Minneapolis. Through May 19—Jessica Armbruster

Arctic Highways: Unbounded Indigenous People

American Swedish Institute

This winter, ASI is showcasing the work of 12 Indigenous artists from Sápmi, the Sámi people’s name for the arctic land they inhabit and travel, ranging from Alaska to Scandinavia to Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia. That may sound like a huge swath of land, but the connections are stronger than the miles here. “We are indigenous peoples who live in different countries and on different continents, and yet regard ourselves as peoples with kindred spirits,” the collective artist statement explains. “With this exhibition we want to tell our own story, through our own experiences, using our own forms of expression.” Pieces include photography, textile work, sculptures, and duodji handcrafts. The museum’s “first look” party this Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m. features live music, live reindeer, and hands-on art making. Tickets are $30 for the opening party, otherwise the show is free with admission ($6-$13). 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis. Through May 26—Jessica Armbruster

Tetsuya Yamada: Listening

Walker Art Center

This winter, 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.” There will be an opening reception this Thursday, January 18, with free admission from 5 to 9 p.m. and an artist’s talk at 7 p.m. (Stop by the Main Lobby Desk for tickets.) ​​725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through July 7—Jessica Armbruster

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