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MN State Fair, 2D Con, Queer History: This Week’s Best Events

Plus beer, mead, and a party supporting butterflies.

people walk below the sky ride at the state fair
Em Cassel

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


Toasting Twin Cities Historic Queer Nightlife


One of the more unique features at Twin Cities Pride is the history pavilion, which honors the rich history of queer culture both here in Minnesota and around the world. (“There are Prides where you don’t hear the word ‘Stonewall’ or read it anywhere,” Land of 10,000 Loves: A History of Queer Minnesota author Stewart Van Cleve told me earlier this year.) But that history is important, and, often, super fun. The latter willl likely be the case at this live recording of This Queer Book Saved My Life! podcast, with host J.P. Der Boghossian and OutFront Minnesota’s policy and organizing director James Darville chatting about The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s, by local writer Ricardo J. Brown. The memoir tells the tale of Kirsmer’s, the first St. Paul bar that started to draw an LGBTQ crowd back in the 1940s. Quatrefoil Library will be on hand too, with a table full of books you can buy. 6-8 p.m. Free. 990 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis. More info here.—Em Cassel 

Things I enjoyed at the Fair last year.
Things I enjoyed at the Fair.Jessica Armbruster


Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fairgrounds

Love it or hate it, the Minnesota State Fair is a pretty big deal here. At Racket, we’re all lovers, and we’ve got plenty of reasons why you should love it, too. The food is epic, whether you want to go for classic eats like fried cheese curds, foodie finds like ahi tuna bowls, miscellaneous meats on sticks, healthy eats (yes, they exist!), or the truly weird. There will be baby animals and giant beasts. Sometimes they get dressed up real fancy (hey there, llama people). There will be a variety of rides, from the thrilling (and practical!) sky rides to the joyfully silly giant slide to disorientingly spinny offerings in the Midway. Free music includes Caitlyn Smith, Dire Straits Legacy, The Family Stone, The Jayhawks, Durry, and Gully Boys. The Grandstand features the kind of nostalgia shows you want to see after a day in the sun eating fried cheese: Bush and Alice in Chains, Iggy Azalea and Pitbull, Diana Ross, Counting Crows and the Wallflowers, and, uh, Portugal.The Man. Don’t forget to wander through some buildings. The Fine Creative Activities building offers a variety of wonderful (and sometimes very weird!) offerings, as does the Ag-Hort Building and Pet Pavilion. Find more info at $15-$17. Daily gate hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Labor Day. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651-288-4400. August 25-September 5 –Jessica Armbruster

2D Con


2-D Con: Simulation

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

This three-day Con is focused on gaming. We’re talking about just about every kind of gamer out there: tabletop gamers, arcade gamers, esports gamers, and video gamers, whether you’re all about old-school Atari or the latest on PS5. For the price of admission, gamers will be able to play whatever they like for as long as they want, be that Magic the Gathering sessions, LAN parties, or trying out new and indie games from small developers. There will be spectacle as well, with folks rocking cosplay getups, experts trying to break speed-run records, and live music from the likes of Nur-D, the Masters of Unlocking, and Do a Barrel Roll. There will be a panel talk featuring spicy fanfiction, karaoke for all, and tournaments in over a dozen games (Pinball! MarioKart! Yu-Gi-Oh! Dance Dance Revolution!). Find tickets and more info at $15-$20 kids; $40-$45 adults; $150 VIP passes. 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Through Sunday–Jessica Armbruster

Psalm One Book Launch 

Public Functionary

“It'd be nice to have a few vaginas onstage,” rapper Psalm One told City Pages in 2015, just ahead of Rhymesayers Entertainment’s 20th anniversary blowout at Target Center. At the time, the real-life Cristalle Bowen was the only woman rapper ever signed to the hugely popular Minneapolis label, and she used that interview to unload on misogyny in the music scene—at RSE in particular. In her brand-new memoir, Her Word is Bond: Navigating Hip Hop and Relationships in a Culture of Misogyny, the Chicago-based MC takes readers on a deeply personal, career-spanning ride that includes major wins, big-time setbacks, and, as any woman entertainer can surely relate, no shortage shitty men in powerful positions. Tonight, Psalm will be joined by locals Dionne Sims and Christin Crabtree to talk about creating safer spaces in the Twin Cities music scene. Free. 7-9 p.m. 1500 Jackson St. NE #144, Minneapolis; find more info here.–Jay Boller 

Kamasi Washington 


The brawny tenor saxophonist and expansive bandleader, who’s been more commonly extending the reach of new jazz to unfamiliar audiences via rock clubs and festival dates, takes over the Dakota with his 10-piece band for the weekend. In the seven years since the three-hours-plus The Epic opened ears, Washington has been working with collaborators in hip-hop and electronic music, playing a key role in Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. To hear his band cut loose in a small jazz club should really be something. $50-$80. 6:30 & 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here. Also Saturday—Keith Harris

Amy Schumer


Schumer became one of the biggest comics on Earth—and an inescapable thinkpiece subject—by being a serial button-pusher, whether onstage or on Inside Amy Schumer. Given the name of her current tour, The Whore Tour, you might expect more of the same, but the Emmy/Peabody-winning star of Trainwreck recently told the Hollywood Reporter that her approach has pivoted with the times: “I love playing a monster, just like the worst white woman, but I’m getting further and further away from that [in my act].” As her box-office starpower cools, it’ll be interesting to see whether Schumer, who cut her teeth as a formidable club comic, dives back into standup and, if so, where she takes it. $59.50-$129.50 7 p.m. 84 Church St. SE., Minneapolis; find more info here.–Jay Boller

The Beer Dabbler drinks in St. Paul

Summer Beer Dabbler

Harriet Island Regional Park

For suds-heads, it’s hard to imagine a better use of your waning summertime weekends than the Summer Beer Dabbler. The 13th annual event will bring 130+ brewers to St. Paul’s Harriet Island for a massive sip-a-thon. There’ll be a fleet of food trucks to help you sop up all that beer, as well as live music from local favorites DJ Shannon Blowtorch and rockers Eleganza. Please don’t attempt to try all 400+ estimated beer varieties that’ll be available along the river. $50/$70 early access pass; $20 designated driver ticket. 6-9:30 p.m.; 5 p.m. early access. 200 Dr Justus Ohage Blvd., St. Paul; find more info here.–Jay Boller

Kevin Hart

Target Center

Hart has arguably been the biggest name in standup for over a decade now. As such, he’s the only comic this summer who’s headlining a local sports arena. “New hour of material, new energy, new ways, new love, just embracing the new,” the pint-sized superstar says of his current Reality Check Tour. Will the mega-earning comic address the recent drought violation allegations thrust his way? You’ll have to be inside Target Center to find out, as this is a phone-free event to prevent fan recordings leaking to YouTube. $45-$396. 7 p.m. 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.–Jay Boller

The Rare Perfection of Lucretia Martel


Where my Argentine arthouse fans at? This weekend, the Trylon offers up a Lucretia Martel two-fer, with the films that put the filmmaker on the radar. La Cienega (2001) translates as “the swamp,” and it is indeed a humid portrayal of middle-class summer malaise. The Headless Woman follows a woman’s descent into paranoia after she runs over something (a person? an animal? an object?). $8. Showtimes and more info here. 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis. Through Sunday—Keith Harris

Grand Opening

White Bear Meadery

Do you have the need… the need for mead? Then you’ve gotta get to the grand opening of White Bear Meadery, Minnesota’s first and only mead hall. They opened a few years ago, but recently moved about a mile down the street to a new location. The old-timey-sounding bev is made by fermenting honey mixed with water, along with ingredients like fruits, grains, and spices. At this viking-themed mead hall, they’re serving varietals like Valhalla (traditional mead with Minnesota wildflower honey), Vikings Blød (melomel mead with Michigan cherries and Minnesota wildflower honey), and Fenrir’s Bite (session mead with Aster honey, strawberry, and ginger). And if you’re one of the first 50 people to get to this week’s party, you’ll take home a free tote. Skol! Free. Noon. 1320 County Rd. D Circle, Maplewood. —Em Cassel 




Gamut Gallery

Perfectly manicured lawns are overrated. Pollinator gardens are where it’s at these days, and for good reason: Not only do they create a party zone for bees, butterflies, beetles, and birds, but they are also great for our ecosystem overall. The Melinda Vaughn School Pollinator Fund hopes to bring more of these delightful (and educational!) gardens to Minnesota schools. The org’s launch party/benefit at Gamut’s outdoor courtyard will feature works from 12 Minnesota and Wisconsin artists inspired by pollinators (all of which will be up for auction online before the party). Tickets include two drinks (wine, soda, sparkling water) and light snacks. You can purchase tickets here. 7-9 p.m. 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis.–Jessica Armbruster

A New Adventure: Prairie School Architecture Tour

Multiple locations

Racket's favorite architectural guru, Preserve Minneapolis's Richard Kronick, will lead up to 25 vaccinated fans of the Prairie School style through two historic Lake of the Isles homes. Expect plenty of history, wine, charcuterie, and conversation as Kronick and Mia curator Jennifer Komar-Olivarez explore the local work of William Purcell, George Feick Jr., and George Elmslie. $45 via Venmo (@styleplayground) or check. 9:30 a.m. 1635 W. 26th St. Minneapolis.–Jay Boller

Renaissance Festival


Renaissance Festival

Festival Grounds

Huzzah! Ren Fest doth returneth to Shakopee, land of Valleyfair, Canterbury, and this historically accurate 15th-century village. Spending the day at the Fest is a choose your own adventure kind of thing, with plenty to see, do, and explore. Theater ranges from pun-tastic comedy to full-on Shakespeare, while a variety of bards will take the stage to play tunes of yore. Jousting is always a must-see, and you can try your own athletic skills at the archery booth. Folks looking for a real metal sword, viking hat, cosplay items, or really nice pottery peruse a variety of shops. Theme weekends are worth considering as well, as many offer special events like free wine and beer tastings. And yes, this fest sells beer and wine, so bust out your drinking horn if you got one. Find tickets and more info at $15.50-$23.95 advance/$17.95-$26.95 at the gate; $63.95-$104.95 season pass. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, plus Friday, September 5. 12364 Chestnut Blvd., Shakopee. Through October 2–Jessica Armbruster

The Magic Flute: A Pickup Truck Opera

Various Locations

For the past 14 years, Mixed Precipitation has brought accessible opera shows to parks, gardens, and wineries throughout the metro and beyond. They used to go by “A Picnic Operetta,” but have rechristened themselves “A Pickup Truck Opera” as a nod to the 2011 Ford Ranger Pickup that serves as their ride and part of their stage. This year, they’ll be presenting their take on The Magic Flute, Mozart’s last production before he kicked it. The (modernized) plot follows a few young professionals facing burnout in their bullshit jobs, and explores the principles of Freemasonry. (Mozart was in the illuminati, y’all!) In addition to 18th century bangers, expect a few hits from Deee-Lite and Bjork. Make reservations at $10-$20 suggested donation. Through September 11 –Jessica Armbruster

Artist Designed Skyline Mini Golf

Walker Art Center

Now in its 15th year, Artist Designed Skyline Mini Golf returns to WAC for another season of putt putt played in the sky. No really: You’ll be heading up to the museum’s rooftop to play these 10 holes, which means you’ll see gorgeous city views in addition to the spectacle of the quirky course. The new hole this year, ​​Always Have Been Sewn, was designed by Asian American Organizing Project’s Youth Action Team, and was inspired by Hmong “story cloth,” a.k.a. a paj ntaub. Mini golf aficionado Tom Loftus also has two holes featured this year. $10. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday–Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through September 25 –Jessica Armbruster

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