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Food Truck Fest, Aquatennial Fireworks, Beyoncé: This Week’s Best Events

Block party season is in full swing.

Food Truck Fest at the Depot

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

TUESDAY 7.18

Barbara Manning + Buck Campbell

Aster Cafe

Barbara Manning hasn’t played the Twin Cities in 22 years, and it’s fair (if a shame) to say that most indie rock fans who came of age in that span don’t know a lick of her music. Yet back when lists still meant something, the Spin Alternative Album Guide put the San Francisco singer/songwriter’s debut, Lately I Keep Scissors, at No. 82 on its Top 100 Alternative Albums list, edging out Big Black and Sun Ra. (Oh, the ’90s!) Her followup, One Perfect Green Blanket, may be an even better selection of songs, showcasing her direct lyrics, New Zealand-derived strum, and unpolished charm. By 1997 she’d earned her a spot on the Matador roster and an opening slot on a Yo La Tengo tour, but her debut for the label, 1212, underperformed, as bizzers say. After a few years in the early 2000s gigging and recording in Europe with the Go Luckys!, she went back to school and eventually became a high school biology teacher. (This interview fills in a lot of the blanks in Manning’s life and career left by this little blurb.) She’s performing as a duo with Buck Campbell, best known for local ’80s faves Urban Guerrillas, and since, like YLT, she’s got a real fondness for other people’s material (a recent setlist included Rodney Crowell’s “Shame on the Moon” and Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line”) we’re likely to hear an ace cover song or two. $10. 8 p.m. 125 SE Main St., Minneapolis: find more info here.—Keith Harris

Aquatennial Fireworks

WEDNESDAY 7.19

Minneapolis Aquatennial

Various locations

The Aquatennial is back for four days of celebration. Things kick off Wednesday with a variety of events, including family fun in Loring Park, while the Commons will host BIPOC makers, live music, and a screening of Best in Show. Also on Wednesday, the Torchlight Parade returns, with bands, community organizations, dancers, and illuminated creations marching their way from 12th to Fourth Street on Nicollet, starting at about dusk. On Friday, there’s an Indigenous market at Water Works Park, and the Twin Cities River Rats will be putting on a ski show on the Mississippi. Saturday’s big event is Carifest, featuring Caribbean eats and tunes on West River Road. Finally, the fireworks show along West River Parkway on Saturday will light up the sky from a variety of viewing locations along the river starting around 10 p.m. Check out aquatennial.com for more details. Through Saturday—Jessica Armbruster

Beyoncé, "Already"

THURSDAY 7.20

Beyoncé

Huntington Bank Stadium

Beyoncé’s critically adored 2022 album Renaissance is a call to party that’s defined as much by its ambition as its groove—she’s determined to gather unto herself every rhythm from the past 50 years, and to show her work. Dense, with disparate beats and styles grinding up against each other, the mood is less DJ set than club crawl, working the tension between the sweaty reality of a night out and the promised transcendence of the dancefloor. And like after any good Saturday night, tomorrow morning you’ll still remember the best parts: the church girls actin' loose, the “Cuff It” crew fuckin’ up the night, the “revolutionary” (heh, sure) call to quit your job. Her chameleonic vocal shapeshifting remains astonishing, and there’s something (as always) both imperial and empathetic about how Bey incorporates (double meaning intended) her influences into her singular being—she’s every woman. As for how it’ll play live, well, probably no contemporary pop star has a better sense of how to use a stadium. So pretty well, I’d guess. $135 and up. 7 p.m. 2009 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Twelfth Night

Sociable Cider Werks

We’ve seen plenty of Shakespeare in the parks, but what about Shakespeare at a pub? This summer, Sociable’s patio will become a stage, as the Gray Mallard Theater Company will present a free show close to nightly over the next few weeks. You can grab a cider and some food truck eats and enjoy the antics of Twelfth Night, a comedy featuring mistaken identities, love triangles, and twin shenanigans. Click here for the complete schedule. Free. 7 p.m. 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis. Through August 6—Jessica Armbruster

FRIDAY 7.21

Artepils

Utepils Brewing 

The seventh annual Artepils is a whole dang weekend of music, art, and more at Utepils’ sprawling taproom and patio. A bunch of local musicians will perform at this two-day festival, including Show Pony, Sarah Morris & Thomas Nordlund, Twine, and Grunge Unplugged, and participating artists include John Baille, Tex Beltz, Martha Floerchinger, and more. And, of course, there’s lots of beer! Find the whole rundown here. Free. Noon to 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 225 Thomas Ave. N. #700, Minneapolis.—Em Cassel

Midtown Blues & Funk Fest

SATURDAY 7.22

Midtown Blues & Funk Fest

Dual Citizen Brewing

Last Friday, KARE 11 asked Racket about the plight of Twin Cities music festivals, particularly the under-attended TC Summer Fest at Target Field. And ya know what? The apparent success stories continue to be free, community-driven events like the Midtown Blues & Funk Fest (fka the Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest). You’re not gonna get mega-dollar talent like the Killers here, but you will get a killer lineup that features blues guitar great Walter Trout of Canned Heat fame, Corey Stevens, Mick Sterling, Prince’s pal Jellybean Johnson, and Kendra Glenn plus Lisa Wenger. It’s family friendly, there’s great beer lineup, and you’re listening to gratis live music outside in the greatest metropolitan region on Earth—what more could you possibly want? Free; VIP options available. Noon to 10 p.m. 725 Raymond Ave., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

7th Annual St. Paul Food Truck Festival

Union Depot

Food trucks are where you can get some of the best eats around town. This summer, the Depot is hosting a super big gathering of wheel-based food, as over 60 trucks will be parking in their lot from brunchtime through the late-night snack hour. A few items mentioned on the menu: lobster rolls, gourmet donuts, birria tacos, papaya salad, ribs, hand pies, fancy pizza, and deep fried ice cream. The trucks won’t be limited to food, however, as vintage fashion trucks, vinyl record trucks, and a photobooth truck will also be stopping by. Giant lawn games, rock bands onstage, and a lot of beer (pick up a free wristband at the gates) round out this tasty event. Find more details and the official lineup of trucks here. Free. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 390 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul.—Jessica Armbruster

Rondo CLT's 30th Anniversary Block Party Bash

Rondo Community Land Trust

That’s riiight, folks who quietly stew about the fact we under-cover St. Paul events: Here’s another prime Saturday option in the capital city. Organized by the housing advocacy nonprofit Rondo Community Land Trust, this bash will provide free food tickets to the first 150 attendees; they’ll get to choose from the two tasty, BIPOC-owned food trucks who’ll be on site—West Indies Soul Food or Jones n' Your Bones BBQ. The block party will also feature a beer garden, interactive art projects, vendors, and live music from the likes of Tarli & the Tribe, Big Kiaa, Solana, and Panasueco. Free. 1-4 p.m. 1041 Selby Ave., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

F1rst Wrestling

SUNDAY 7.23

Pryes Free-For-All

Pryes Brewing Company

Bauhaus’s Blood, Sweat, and Beers will always have a special place in our hearts, but we’re all for any event that brings F1rst Wrestling to a local brewery for an outdoor squared circle face-off. Plus, this brewery brawl is free! Pryes Free-For-All returns Sunday, so put on your Atomic Super ThunderFrog shirt and get ready to watch your favorite F1rst Wrestlers while sipping a Miraculum (sounds kind of like a cool wrestling name, when you think about it) and enjoying Pryes’ wood-fired pizzas. Find more info here. Free. 4 p.m. 1401 West River Rd. N., Minneapolis.—Em Cassel

ONGOING

Funniest Person in Minneapolis

Sisyphus Brewing

Acme Comedy Co. has thrown its Funniest Person in the Twin Cities contest for decades, but it appears the newer comedy room at Sisyphus is only focused on the younger, better, bigger city for its contest. (Come at me St. Paul subscribers—it’s my birthright to talk this trash!) In any case, this month-long standup throwdown will feature 10 to 12 contestants performing three-minute sets that might advance ‘em in the tourney. At month’s end, a scrappy upstart will emerge from the heap with the titular honorific as their prize. Sisyphus is also booking nightly headliners to ensure this won’t be a total amateur hour. Arrive early to ensure you snag a seat at this no-cover event. Free. 8-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 712 Ontario Ave. W. #100, Minneapolis; find more info here. Through July—Jay Boller     

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 Utepils and Wabasha Brewing Co., 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. Thursdays through August 24, excluding June 29 and July 6—Jay Boller

Driveway Tour Theater

Various Locations

In the summer, theater troupes take to the parks, lawns, and lakes of the cities to perform free shows for the sunburned masses. That includes productions for kids, thanks to Open Eye Theatre, which heads to your neighborhood driveways, backyards, and front lawns each year. The 2023 lineup will feature two plays: Tucker’s Robot (June 10-July 16) tells the tale of a kid facing his fears thanks to a time-traveling mechanical friend, while Molly and the Magic Boot (July 19-August 27) is about tech-free adventures on a farm. Open Eye estimates that they visited around 51 communities in 2022, and that number continues to increase. Locations vary from week to week; this weekend they’ll be popping up at Dancing Bear Chocolate on the north side and Arbeiter Brewing in south Minneapolis. Do you have a rad backyard? You can even sign up to host a show. All events are free and open to the public (donations are accepted). You can find the complete schedule at openeyetheatre.org/driveway-tour. Through August 27–Jessica Armbruster

The Nicollet xChange

Nicollet Mall

Our city leaders really want us to go to work in downtown from Tuesday through Thursday. Who knows if that’s going to happen; it’s ultimately up to your corporate overlords. But, if you are one of those people who has to sit at a desk in downtown for money, it’s nice to know that this cool weekly event is returning for the summer. Every Tuesday, the Nicollet xChange will turn the Mall into a mini street fest, with a focus on swapping goods and selling sustainable fashion and home items. Bring things to trade, from art to sports equipment, and take something new (to you, at least) home. There will also be live music, a market featuring local makers, freebies, and food trucks lining the Mall. Free. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 901 Nicollet Mall (9th and Nicollet), Minneapolis. Through August 29—Jessica Armbruster

Wild Nights at the Minnesota Zoo

Minnesota Zoo

Imagine a zoo with nary a child, one where you can sip wine and watch animals do their thing as the sun sets. Impossible, you say? Nope! We’re talking about Wild Nights at the Minnesota Zoo, a summer series for grownups. During these events folks can explore all the trails and exhibits until 8 p.m. (hilariously, they note that food and drink is not allowed in the Llama Trek walk-through exhibit). Each installment will feature a variety of concerts, all themed that night around a specific genre–country, hip-hop, blues, ‘80s New Wave, etc. Tonight’s music is brought to you by Malamanya, which will play old-school Afro-Caribbean tunes. Upcoming highlights this summer include Chastity Brown (June 22), the Cactus Blossoms (July 6), Joyann Parker Band (July 20), Nur-D (August 3), Information Society (August 17), Frogleg (August 31), and Kat Perkins (September 14). Find tickets and more info online. 18+. $40. 6-10 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley. Through September 14—Jessica Armbruster

Skyline Mini Golf

Walker Art Center

Are we a mini-golf town? Signs point to yes, as we have trendy bar mini golf (Puttery, Arts + Rec), campy mini golf (Can Can, Betty Danger), old school mini golf (Big Stone, Golf Zone), and, yes, museum mini golf. For over 15 years, the Walker’s Mini Golf has been a sign of spring, whether it’s popping up in the sculpture garden or its more recent home on the skyline terraces. This year’s installation features 10 holes total; highlights include a Hmong textile-inspired hole created in collaboration with the Asian American Organizing Project’s Youth Action Team, and two holes from Native Youth Arts Collective. Returning hits include the hot dog hole, the one where you have to bounce off of ping pong paddles, and the one where you become the obstacles and hazards. Find more info at walkerart.org. $12. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through October 1—Jessica Armbruster 

Open Streets Minneapolis

East Lake Street

Summertime road closings kinda suck… unless we’re talking about Open Streets, where the lack of traffic just means there’s more room to party. This season’s installment will feature five neighborhood locations where the main drags will be closed to cars, but open to people on foot, on bike, or on other non-motorized modes of travel. Along the way you’ll find a variety of stuff to see and do, including parking lot concerts, sidewalk sales, middle-of-the-road yoga sessions, and pop-up beer gardens. Things kick off Saturday, June 10, on East Lake Street, followed by Glenwood (July 16), Cedar Riverside (August 20), West Broadway (September 16), and Lyndale Avenue (October 8). Free. All events begin at 11 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. Find more details at openstreetsmpls.org. East Lake Street, from 2nd Avenue South to 22nd Avenue South, Minneapolis. June 10 through October 8—Jessica Armbruster

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