Juneteenth, Stone Arch Bridge, Wrestlepalooza Does Pride: This Week’s Best Events
It's another stacked summer week, y'all!
11:58 AM CDT on June 12, 2023
Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Northern Fire Dynamic
Here’s something we only get to type about once a year: free fire. That’s what you’ll experience at this annual performance at Powderhorn Park, and yes, we promise that’s a good thing. Northern Fire Dynamic is a local fire arts group that has hopes of returning to Burning Man again this summer, where they’ll add to its ambience using gasoline and flames. Tonight, they’ll be in the park doing a full-blown performance to record for their fest audition. They’ll do two rounds of their 20-minute show without fire, then, at 8 p.m., they’ll set the whole thing alight and do two more fully flammable pieces for you to enjoy. Free; donations are welcome. 8 p.m. 3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster
Lord do I hope that no one over 20 really believes that reactionary leaders inspire great music anymore, not after the years following 9/11 spewed up American Idiot, the Rock Against Bush comps, and an Enya revival. But the swing toward permanent war and social neglect did tone up James McMurtry’s lyrics. After a decade-plus as a fair-to-good singer/songwriter (and yes, his dad is novelist Larry, if you were wondering), McMurty dug in and came up with “We Can’t Make It Here Anymore,” an unsparing look at the U.S. in decline. He’s kept in that vein since, mixing acute social realism with songs of unrooted, aging love. On “Canola Fields,” the standout track from his 2021 album, The Horses and the Hounds, he hooks up with a woman he’s had a crush on for three decades and observes, “You can’t be young and do that.” Something to look forward to! With Betty Soo. $25. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W.; find more info here.—Keith Harris
Leaving Your Mark: Stories in Wood
American Swedish Institute
Can wood carving be punk rock? That is the title given to Claes Larsson, a Swedish punk-rock woodcarver with a street art past. He uses wood as a means to explore history, make political statements, and play with the past. Think looming octopi, screaming heads, and killer waves. “As a kid I used to have ‘painting Fridays’ with my dad. He got a beer and I got something with a lot of sugar,” says Larsson of his early creative years. “We listened to rock ‘n’ roll and painted all night.” In addition to his work, pieces from ASI’s collection, stuff from local artists, and art from Swedish woodcarver Herman Rosell will also be on display. Larsson will be in town this week to give talks and demos, including the museum’s Midsommar celebration this Saturday, June 17 (find tickets here). 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis. Through October 29—Jessica Armbruster
Stylistically, lyrically, and conceptually, Childers has been an especially ambitious country traditionalist (don’t dare call him Americana!) since he cut his first record at 19. He closed his otherwise instrumental bluegrass album, A Long Violent History, with a title track that addressed the past and present of racism. For his fifth album, he went gospel—and how. Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? repeats eight songs in three different versions: A “Hallelujah” version recorded with his band the Food Stamps, a "Jubilee" version that brings in horns and strings for a near-Dixieland feel, and a "Joyful Noise" version of remixes that incorporates samples. He doesn’t skimp on the theology either: “The Triune God” gets a titular shout out, and Childers revisits his old track “Purgatory,” where he hopes the Catholics are right that there’s a third option for the afterlife because otherwise he’s bound for Hell. As for the title track, Childers lets some kindly proselytizers know that if he can’t bring his pooches along to the hereafter, that’s a dealbreaker for this hunter. With Marcus King. $189+. 7 p.m. 500 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris
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. Tonight, we’ve got Creeping Charlie, whose Gen Z take on Pavementy soundz were delightful when I caught them at Loring Park earlier this month, and ferocious rock ‘n’ rollers Kiss the Tiger, whose glowing Racket profile you can read here. 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.—Jay Boller
Did you know Bargatze, who 10 years ago was opening for Marc Maron, had become such a big, big star? Motherfucker is playing six Ordway shows in three nights! But you won’t hear the Nashille comic, 44, dropping MF’ers willy-nilly like the delinquents at Racket; his comedy specials, including this year’s Hello World, are all clean, instead relying on slightly drawled, deadpan, minutia-heavy storytelling that’s ruddered by airtight tight material. “Whenever I let myself daydream about success, it was playing [Nashville’s] Bridgestone [Arena],” Bargatze told his hometown newspaper in April. Not only did he play it—that stop of his current Be Funny Tour broke the damn venue’s attendance record. $49-$202. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday; 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 345 Washington St., St. Paul; find more info here. Through Sunday—Jay Boller
Much Ado About Nothing
Classical Actor’s Ensemble is heading back to the parks this summer to bring free Shakespeare to the unwashed masses, as it was originally intended. This year’s production is Much Ado About Nothing, a 1600s romcom that pulls out all the greatest hits: mistaken identities, unwanted flirtations, masquerade shenanigans, raging small town gossip, and, ultimately, love. Sorry to spoil it for you, but we all know these things usually end in marriage (if it’s a comedy) or mass death (if it’s a tragedy). The plot: A group of rowdy soldiers end up in a small Sicilian town. Will the evil Don John succeed at cockblocking? Find the list of dates and locations at classicalactorsensemble.org. Through July 16—Jessica Armbruster
Payne Ave Fest
The Treasury and Caydence Records
Edina-reared lyricist Craig Finn once stated: “Payne Avenue lives up to its name/Some nights it's painful and strange.” Expect cheerier vibes in the St. Paul neighborhood for Payne Ave Fest, the inaugural multi-venue music festival. Over two days, a stacked lineup will perform inside two venues, The Treasury and Caydence Records & Coffee, bringing a 30-act sample platter of genre-spanning live local music. Headliners are emerging hip-hop star Nur-D (on Friday) and indie rocker Lydia Liza with Big Cats (on Saturday). Weekend passes run $40-$50; one-day passes are $25-$30. 5-10:15 p.m. Friday; noon to 10:15 p.m. Saturday. 900 Payne Ave., St. Paul; find more info and the complete lineup/set times here. Through Saturday—Jay Boller
Minneapolis Public Art Bike Tour
Pryes Brewing Company
Don’t show your boss this, but we here at Racket highly endorse playing hooky on a summer Friday to take a bike ride. Why not use a bike ride to check out some public art? Led by local artist and landscape architect Greg Ingraham, this two- to three-hour ride takes you on 10 miles of flat terrain (90% of it dedicated bike trail), beginning and ending at Pryes Brewing along the Mississippi. You’ll head toward Northeast, then ride along the river towards the U of M, eventually scooting back to Pryes, where you can grab a pint and a pizza. Along the way, you can take in and discuss works of public art—many of which are new, in case you’ve taken this Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota-supported tour before. 10 a.m. $22-$30. 1401 West River Rd. N., Minneapolis; find more info and tickets here.—Em Cassel
Stone Arch Bridge Festival
Stone Arch Bridge
Father’s Day weekend means the return of the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, a multi-day event featuring art, food, and music. This year, over 200 artists will be featured at the juried show, with jewelry, pottery, woodwork, paintings, and more for sale and on display. There are also three separate makers’ markets to explore: the Black Market, featuring Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs; the Vintage and Vinyl Market, where you can dig through history for cool finds; and the Culinary Arts Market, where local artisans are serving up delicious foods, condiments, coffees, and other stuff for your kitchen. Bailame Dance Festival will host a social-dance party with tunes from DJs (find them at Portland and the River Parkway), and the car show will be the prettiest parking lot ever, with vintage cars, modded oddities, and more. Two stages of live music will feature mostly local acts, including Guante, Bethany Larson & the Bee’s Knees, Night Jobs, Brasszilla, Dan Israel, and many more. For more info, visit stonearchbridgefestival.com. Free. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 212 SE Second Ave., Minneapolis. Through Sunday—Jessica Armbruster
Looking for something free and family-friendly to do on Juneteenth? This event at Alliance Field, organized by the Anika Foundation, looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Onstage will be a variety of performances, including a hip-hop retrospective and community griots. There will be all kinds of African foods, from Somali treats to U.S. soul food eats. A kids’ fun zone will keep ‘em busy, and a marketplace will showcase Black vendors. Wellness screenings and other services will also be available, as will financial resources. Add in some art and history exhibits, and you have a wholesome community driven celebration for all. Free. Noon to 4 p.m. 400 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul.—Jessica Armbruster
Michael Ian Black
Cedar Cultural Center
The smart-ass sketch rascal from The State, Stella, and countless VH1 shows has become a formidable standup over the past decade. And if you’ve not revisited the punishing anti-comedy of Stella in recent years, I can not recommend doing so enough. It’s more than a little funny that the corpse-humping character from that cult-loved show has become a darling of the NPR crowd; his 2020 memoir, A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son, was certainly targeted toward that demo. But no matter how you arrived at the 51-year-old comedy multihyphenate, you can be assured his smarmy, quick-witted stage persona is as sharp as ever. Eleven years ago, when Black brought opener/eventual superstar Jerrod Carmichael to Coffman Memorial Union, he was spotted dining (by my wife) on the Seven Corners Chipotle patio—could there be a repeat meal there tonight? $25. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Wrestlepalooza Pre-Pride Party
The kids who called you “gay” in elementary school for liking wrestling? Well… at the end of the day, they may have had a point. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! You can ask them—wrestling is “super queer now,” with indie performers from coast to coast embracing their identity in the ring. Local promoters F1rst Wrestling have always said that wrestling is for everyone, and they’re once again bringing a big-time Pride party to First Avenue. Read our 2021 profile of badass, boundary-smashing local wrestler Devon Monroe here, and then snag your tickets and find more info here. With musical guest Mega Ran. 18+. $30+. 6 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis.—Em Cassel
All Hail Parker Posey
Parker Posey’s dominance of a very particular slice of ’90s film defined an era as strongly as any non-star could, as this four-movie series shows. It begins with Party Girl, a glimpse of pre-gentrified Manhattan in which Posey is forced to work as a librarian (the shame!) after an illegal rave she organized gets busted. (The movie was shown online before it hit theaters, a pretty big deal for 1995.) That’s the only movie here fully centered on Posey. She could make her mark with just minutes of screentime in memorable character roles, whether terrorizing freshman girls in Richard Linklater’s classic hangout flick Dazed and Confused, or wielding a sword and wearing a huge curly blonde wig in Greg Araki’s The Doom Generation, which Ebert famously gave 0 stars for its nihilism. And she practically steals Waiting for Guffman away from the rest of the brilliant ensemble as a DQ worker dreaming (ever-so-vaguely) of success in New York. Oh, and we’re helping to sponsor this series, so tell ’em Racket sent ya. $8. 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; find showtimes and more info here. Through June 27—Keith Harris
The Nicollet xChange
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
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
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 Pl., Minneapolis. Through July 16, 2023—Jessica Armbruster
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