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Lego Cities, Downtown Rollerskating, Meadiversary: This Week’s Best Events

Plus Fashion Week MN, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Fest, parties for Nintendo and smashburgers, and so much more!

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Clockwise: No-No boy, Smashfest, City Skate, Bumbling fools Mead

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


Maria Bamford

Pantages Theatre

Marc Maron, who visited the Pantages last week, has repeatedly described Minnesota’s Maria Bamford as one of the greatest comics ever, and he ain’t wrong. The Duluth native’s wildly creative act blurs the line between standup and performance art, with characters bubbling up to offer commentary on depression, suicide, and lighter topics like the aggressive Midwesterness of her family. (Revisit this love letter she wrote via Racket to the Dunn Bros. on London Road in Duluth.) At 53, Bamford has checked every box of a remarkable career in comedy: TV (Lady Dynamite), movies (The Comedians of Comedy), and specials galore, including one conducted from her parents’ living room. Last fall she made her debut as an author with Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult: A Memoir of Mental Illness and the Quest to Belong Anywhere, which drew praise for her financial oversharing, among many other things. Bamford is simply the best. $34.50-$59.50. 7:30 p.m. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Wow! Shooting the duck AND taking off his shoe?! Folks at a City Skate event in Rice Park


City Skate

City Center

Wanna feel old? A full 20 years ago, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady mused, “Now City Center's over/No one really goes there.” Here we are, two decades later, and Minneapolis’s Downtown Improvement District refuses to let it die, which is how we’ve ended up with… actually pretty fun-sounding outings like this evening of free roller skating! They’ll have skate-related games and music from DJ Presto, and if you don’t have wheels of your own, skates will be available for rent. Free. 6-9 p.m. 651 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; more info here.—Em Cassel

Marc Ribot: The Jazz-Bins


Marc Ribot is a player who loves a concept. As a bandleader, the guitarist has adapted his spiky lines to Cuban montuno and John Zorn compositions over the years, and that’s not even counting his many gigs as a sideman. (You may have heard him on Tom Waits or Elvis Costello records without knowing his name.) He last came through town in June 2023 with Ceramic Dog; almost a conventional rock band by Ribot’s standards, if not by anyone else’s, the trio gives voice to Ribot’s righteous lefty indignation. Now, belatedly inspired by a stint in the ’70s touring with Brother Jack McDuff, Ribot’s formed a jazz organ trio with Hammond B-3 ace Greg Lewis and powerhouse drummer Joe Dyson. Ribot says he’s always thought that McDuff’s music had an affinity with the punk being shaped in New York City at the time, and this is his chance to explore that common ground. $35-$45. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris  

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Fest

The Main Cinema

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 in with Racket on Wednesday for Keith’s feature on the fest. 115 SE Main St., Minneapolis. Through April 25—Jessica Armbruster

No-No BoyPromo


No-No Boy

Cedar Cultural Center

The child of Vietnamese refugees, raised in Nashville, Julian Saporiti is drawn to cross-cultural collisions, like the Japanese-American jazz band that made a WWII Wyoming internment camp feel a little more like home or the immigrants’ son who names his Chrysler after Ho Chi Minh. Saporiti’s 2021 album as No-No Boy, 1975, set carefully researched historical stories (the project was part of his Brown doctoral thesis) to solid, unflashy melodies; his show at the Cedar the following year was even better. Expecting at least a little academic stiffness, I was unprepared for what a relaxed performer and storyteller Saporiti was. Last fall, Saporiti released a new No-No Boy album, Empire Electric, which is a bit more adventurous musically, combining samples of Asian instruments like koto and guzheng with banjos and lap-steel. Lyrically, it’s a bit more abstract than the direct narratives of 1975 were, but there’s a payoff on songs like “Little Monk,” which I think is about the tension between zen and hypocrisy. Maybe glance at the lyrics sheet and review Saporiti’s sharp liner notes before the show—you always get more out of class if you do the reading. With the Umamies. $23/$28. 8 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Mountain Goats

Palace Theatre

How do you even approach the vast footprint of the Mountain Goats in blurb-form? The cliffnotes version goes like this: Head Goat John Darnielle began the project with scratchy, lo-fi boombox recordings that featured his gleeful lyrical proclamations and stories over simple acoustic guitar. (“Golden Boy” and “Snow Owl” are two of my personal faves from this stretch.) When I first experienced the Mountain Goats, at the 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival, I’d never heard or seen Darnielle, but it became clear right away that this geeky singer-songwriter was special. By then, he’d moved on to more fully fleshed records like 2002's All Hail West Texas and 2005's The Sunset Tree, the latter of which centers on the abuse he suffered as a child, and had constructed a spider-web network of characters and codes. Unlike many contemporaries from that indie era, the irrepressible Darnielle hasn’t slowed down; over the past 10 years there’ve been eight Mountain Goats releases, many of which take big stylistic and thematic swings because JD has nothing left to prove and, obviously, a lot left to say. Last fall’s Jenny from Thebes, the 22nd MG LP, serves as a spiritual successor to fan-favorite All Hail. Whew! OK, that’s my primer on the incredible, prolific Goats. Now go see ‘em live—Jon Wurster’s on drums! $45-$65. 7 p.m. 17 W. 7th Place, St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Saint Paul Art Crawl

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. This week offers events across four neighborhoods (Summit-Grand, West Side, Merriam Park, Little Mekong Cultural District), the following week keeps it relatively simple with happenings along West Seventh and Cathedral Hill (including the Schmidt Spring Art Crawl), and the third 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 April 28—Jessica Armbruster 

Bumbling Fools Mead



Bumbling Fools Mead

Noah Stein and Skot Rieffer only opened the doors to their cozy mead tasting room last April, but their mead-making adventures began many years ago—which has helped them win a lot of awards over those years. "Yes, mead is very easy to do: Put honey, water, and yeast in the right ratios, and ignore it for several months," Stein told us last year. But like beer and wine, there’s more than just the basics: "And I'm a huge nerd, so I did." To celebrate their first year in the 2010 East Hennepin building, they’ll be launching their mug club and releasing “mystery experiments” each hour. There’ll be board games, a Mario Kart tournament, and trivia, if the event description is to be believed. Free. 3-11 p.m. 2010 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; more info here.—Em Cassel


Insight Brewing 

Is this... the unofficial kickoff to block party season? The Racket Action Weather Desk is forecasting temps in the low 70s with plenty of sun, and Insight has recruited a fleet of smashburger food trucks (Angry Line Cook, Finer Meats & Eats, Butcher Salt, Private Sector Provisions) and bluegrass bands (Cole Diamond, the Penny Peaches, Brotherhood of Birds, Roe Family Singers) for a "friendly burger competition" featuring smashes—arguably the ultimate burger varietal. Also: fire pits, an art market, a devilish promise from organizers that “we can't wait to get smashed with you”... folks, it’s really springtime in the city. Free. 1-10 p.m. 2821 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Minnesota Brick Convention

Minnesota Brick Convention

Eagan Civic Arena

Who woulda thought that tiny little plastic bricks could inspire so much creativity? A lot of us, apparently. For nearly 90 years folks have been coming up with crazy things to do with ‘em, from chaotic creatures to larger-than-life installations. This week the versatility of these little toys will be on full display at the Minnesota Brick Convention, a super-popular event featuring lots of hands-on activities and displays. And yes, those displays show off just about every kind of Lego feat. There will be Lego mosaics, Lego cities, Lego Star Wars installations, Lego train villages, Lego floral displays, and iconic, life-sized characters made from Legos. Watch experts build live, meet professional Lego artists, and shop for retired kits. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to keep your shoes on at all times. We all know why. $14.99 (presale only; no tickets at the door). 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sat.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun. Sign up for a time range and find more info at 3870 Pilot Knob Rd., Eagan.—Jessica Armbruster

Nintendo Day

Boom Island Brewing Co.

Folks, it’s NintenDO not NintenDON’T and, really, what more of a persuasive argument do we need to lay out than that? Alright, here are a few more breadcrumbs to get you over to Boom Island: The brewery has partnered with two fan conventions—MN Pokecon and 2D Con—to bring a boatload of decade-spanning Nintendo consoles and games to the taproom, all free to play. And like the Zelda franchise, this gamer blowout just keeps on giving with DJs spinning Nintendo tunes and a damn classical outfit, Bards Quartet, riffing on video game soundtracks. Nintendo-themed board games will be set up while vendors sell geeky nicknacks; Boom Island will be serving beers with Nintendo branding. Free. Noon-10 p.m. 5959 Baker Rd. #320, Minnetonka; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Fashion Week MN


Fashion Week MN

Various Locations

After taking the fall season off to regroup and reorganize, Fashion Week MN is back with a runway-focused series this spring. That includes I AM FABULOUS, an all-caps evening featuring stylish models age 60 and up on the catwalk; Man Down, celebrating menswear and benefitting local men’s mental health groups; Into the Studio, a showcase of local lines working in slow, sustainable fashion (think organic fabrics, equitable wages, upcycled materials, and other eco- and human-friendly approaches); and emerging Minnesota designer showcase La Rotonde. The celebration kicks off on Thursday with a West End party featuring sustainable fashion brand Citizen-T and closes out next week with Evolve, a pop-up shopping event at Star Bar + Bistro. Ticket prices vary per evening, but tend to fall in the $30-$75 range. Find more details and the complete schedule online. Through April 20—Jessica Armbruster


Blood Memory: Candida Gonzalez

Public Functionary

How do you connect to your ancestors when you live thousands of miles away? In “Blood Memory,” south Minneapolis-raised artist Candida Gonzalez brings Puerto Rico to them via food, music, jewelry, and everyday objects. For this P-Func show, they’ve created six multimedia installations featuring collage, photography, and audio elements. Each section is dedicated to a different room of the home, including the kitchen and the bedroom, with participatory altars to help you invoke personal memories along the way. There’s an opening reception scheduled this week on Friday, March 22, from 6 to 10 p.m. (masks are required the first hour). Otherwise, you can check out the show during open hours Thursdays through Saturdays. Be sure to bring earbuds for your phone; this is an exhibition meant to be heard as well. 1500 Jackson St. NE, Studio 144, Minneapolis. Through April 13—Jessica Armbruster


Northern Clay Center

This ongoing exhibition at Northern Clay finds Asian-American artists incorporating the aesthetics of food into their (inedible) ceramic works. “Our relationship to what we eat is the most intimate possible: the food we consume literally constitutes our bodies, and the ways we consume it link us to each other, our loved ones, and our ancestors,” the organizers of “Edible” write. See artists explore that relationship in their work, from Brooklyn-based ceramicist Jacqueline Tse’s skull-studded porcelain desserts to Minneapolis-based multimedia artist Anika Hsiung Schneider’s dumplings and bai cai. Participating artists also include Ling Chun, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, and Cathy Lu. 2424 Franklin Avenue E., Minneapolis; find more info here. Through April 21—Em Cassel

Joyful Riders

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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