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MN State Fair, Racket’s B-Day Party, a Dance Party for Baddies: This Week’s Best Events

Plus Gary Busey turns into a pomeranian at Grumpy's.

a hand triumphantly hoists a beer in an official Minnesota State Fair plastic cup into the air
Minnesota State Fair

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

Yeah, this is where that meme is from.'Quigley'

WEDNESDAY 8.23

Trash Film Debauchery: Quigley

Grumpy’s NE

Have you ever wanted to watch a Christian dog comedy starring Gary Busey at a dive bar? Well, that is a very specific goal! And I’m very happy to report that your dream is about to come true thanks to Trash Film Debauchery, a group that brings shitty movies to bars where you can drink while you watch. Tonight’s feature is Quigley, a tale as old as time: Busey plays a self-centered billionaire CEO who dies in a car wreck. But he gets a second chance at life when he’s reincarnated as the eponymous fluffy white pomeranian. This little tidbit from the movie’s Wiki entry is kind of incredible: “In an interview with The A.V. Club in 2012, [actor] Curtis Armstrong recalled an incident where Gary Busey disliked the set of heaven since it did not look like the heaven that he saw when he had a near-death experience. Busey also fought with another actor about what heaven really looked like.” Gotta have an accurate heaven in your dog movie! Free. Dusk. 2200 Fourth St. NE, Minneapolis.Jessica Armbruster 

Kari Faux

7th St Entry

If Faux’s 2021 lively breakthrough album Lowkey Superstar (Deluxe) showcased her attraction to L.A. gloss, her latest, Real B*tches Don’t Die (asterisk hers), heads back to her home state of Arkansas and gets real, real country. “Peace to the Black babies born below the Mason-Dixon,” she drawls to start the low-ridin’ “White Caprice,” but she’s throwin’ bows more than she’s making nice here—“I don’t really like y’all” is one of her more polite volleys. The 808s rattle throughout, but the rhythms vary from hype to smooth: On “Me First” (“you know I come first,” and you know what she means) the bass booms, on “Turnin’ Heads,” with an assist from Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T., it pops. And for all Faux’s insinuating bad vibes, she’s not here just to holler; she’s content to speak softly as well, lolling vowels around her mouth and savoring every syllable. With theMind. $20. 8 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

We love the Fair.MN State Fair

THURSDAY 8.24

Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fairgrounds

Held every year through Labor Day weekend, the Minnesota State Fair is the swan song of the summer. But hey, what a way to go out. With great fanfare, the fair has already teased this year's new food and drink offerings, and our boots will be on the ground Thursday to taste test 'em all with the most discerning review crew in town. (Last year, we especially loved the pickle pizza at Rick’s, the vegan corn dog at Daryl’s Dog House, the Mini Donut beer from Lift Bridge, and literally everything at Union Hmong Kitchen.) In between novelty beers, melting desserts, and fried foods on a stick, you can peruse a ton of charming creations in the Fine Creative Activities building, pet the baby animals and giant gentle beasts in the barns, and spot underwear on rooftops while riding the delightful sky buckets. The Midway will be all flashing lights and loud sounds, and free music will abound across multiple stages throughout the grounds, whether you’re looking for a tribute show (Tom Petty! ABBA!) or a great local act (the Gully Boys! Kiss the Tiger!). The (ticketed separately) Grandstand is where the big acts belong; this year’s lineup includes Duran Duran, the Hold Steady, onetime Racket coverboy Yung Gravy, the Chicks (formerly of Dixie), Brandi Carlile, the Black Keys, and, uh, something for kids called “Blippi.” Hey, there’s something for everyone here! Find more info here. $15-$17. Daily gate hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Labor Day. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul. August 24-September 4—Jessica Armbruster

2-D Con

FRIDAY 8.25

2D Con 2023: Another World

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

It’s time for another geek summit! This one is focused on gaming, from novice video game fans to full-fledged esports pros. Over the next three days, guests will be invited to roam, play, and meet friends in the giant all-you-can game arcade. There will be classic titles, brand-new stuff, and even some tabletop sessions for the cardboard-and-dice folks. Outside of gaming there will be lots to see and do, including an artist alley and vendor mart, panel talks with podcasters, cosplayers, concerts, meet-'n'-greets with voice actors, creators, superfans. Find tickets and more info at 2dcon.net. $25-$55; $150 VIP. 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Through Sunday–Jessica Armbruster

The Chicks 

State Fair Grandstand

Natalie Maines sounds plenty more pissed—and so, plenty more engaged—on the rechristened trio’s 2020 comeback, Gaslighter, than she did on Taking the Long Way in 2006, back when she, Martie Maguire, and Emily Strayer were nursing their wounds in the aftermath of a culture war against them. Thank (if that’s the right word) Maines’s ex-husband Adrian Pasdar, who was so worried by her breakup songs he wanted a court to determine if they violated the confidentiality clause in their prenup. (Good thing that never happened or we might not ever have gotten the lyric “My husband's girlfriend's husband just called me up/How messed up is that?” not to mention the very specific “Tights on My Boat.”) Sure you’ll probably show up for the oldies, but with much maligned, ubiquitous producer Jack Antonoff contemporizing their sound, the new stuff holds its own. With Wild Rivers. $77-$197. 7 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave., St. Paul; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Music & Movies: Ka Lia Universe and Grease

Lake Harriet Bandshell

Now look, I don’t work in public relations for the Star Tribune Media Co. (I tried working in alt-weekly news there, but they canned my ass!) Point is, each year the Strib curates a top-notch August concert/film lineup, and, each year, it’s woefully underpublicized. Five people have RSVP’d to this installment! And that’s no fault of Ka Lia Universe, the 26-year-old local musician who has taught herself songwriting, guitar, piano, ukulele, and sound engineering since she began recording as a teen. “Oh my!” Racket’s scandalized Keith Harris wrote of her June single, “One Last Fucc,” “St. Paul's Hmong pop star gets raw on this one, cooing singsong invitations over diaphanous synths and trap beats. And yes, the video is just as sexy.” (Speaking of sex, Racket’s Jerard Fagerberg spoke with Universe in 2021 about her work on OnlyFans.) Summer lovin’ will be in ample supply with Grease, the 1978 musical about a nice Australian girl who is inspired by a friend's pregnancy scare to slut it up for a local hoodlum. Free. 6:30 p.m. 4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller 

Material Gworl: A Dance Party for Baddies

Fine Line

Are you now or have you ever been a baddie? If you hafta ask what that means, you’re almost definitely not, but we believe in educating the masses at Racket, so here’s Ice Spice breaking it down for you. (We won’t insult your intelligence by explaining that “material gworl” is a Spicy Santana reference; that’s just household knowledge.) Local luminary, Beyoncé expert, and sometime Racket contributor Gigi Berry, aka DJ OMGIGI will be hitting you with the likes of Megan Thee Stallion, Doechii, and Flo Milli—you know, some of the baddest rap and dance music to hit your ears in recent years. (This playlist will give you a sample of what’s in store.) She’ll be joined by three remarkably named drag queens: Lady Cummeal Cassadine, Priscilla Es Yuicy, and Frozaen Pissás. And you don’t have to be a baddie or a material gworl to attend. However, I do hear that they are enforcing a strict “No Munches” policy. $12-$30. 9 p.m. 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

The Racket team—Jessica Armbruster, Em Cassel, Keith Harris, and Jay Boller—at Racket's 1st bday party last year at Fair State Brewing. Unknown photo credit—who took this?

SATURDAY 8.26

Racket’s 2nd Birthday Party

Fair State Brewing

Happy birthday to us! Two years ago, Racket published its first story: "24 Hours in Uptown," for which the four of us fanned out through Minneapolis's most over discussed not-a-neighborhood and noted what we saw, heard, and endured over the course of a day. We've grown a lot since then. Not staff-wise—there's still just the four of us. But in terms of our readership (you!) and the features we offer, we're no longer the squalling, red-faced infant we once were. We are a squalling, red-faced toddler, thank you very much. Since debuting, we’ve managed to slowly build our little newsroom almost entirely by word of mouth. Paying subscribers make the enterprise possible, and, at press time, 3,600 of 'em are pitching in to help make our dream of an alt-weekly-style Twin Cities news, arts, and culture publication a reality. In ways that are not depressing, we’ve hosted the same low-key reader hangout at Fair State for our launch and our first anniversary, so it should come as no surprise that’s what’s going down Saturday: Grab some union-brewed beer, snag a seat on the patio, and chat with us about all the stuff you loved and/or hated about our two years as a local news publication. Will the Salsa Collaborative food truck be slingin' their elite smash 🍔 right next to the patio? You better believe it. Arrive with a better fundamental understanding of Racket by checking out our year-two report, but the point isn't to give you homework. The point is to have some fun! Free. 6-9 p.m. 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; RSVP here.—Staff 

Celebrate Little Mekong

Springboard for the Arts

The name Little Mekong was hatched in 2012, though the business/cultural district it represents—located between MacKubin and Marion streets along University Avenue—has been a vibrant hub of St. Paul’s Asian community since the ‘70s. Today’s mission? Celebrate it with an arts ‘n’ crafts fair, live music and dancing of the traditional and modern varieties, book readings, spoken-word poetry, communal mural painting, and loads of killer food from places like Thai Garden, Wonders Ice Cream, and Peking Garden. Free. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 262 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Minneapolis Solidarity Festival

Moon Palace Books

Who are we to quibble with the concept of solidarity? Great concept! And you’re encouraged to celebrate it at this second annual block party organized by City Council Member Robin Wonsley. More specifically, per the event details: “A common theme at the 3rd Precinct listening sessions this spring was that the city of Minneapolis is once again failing to listen to residents on public safety… We're bringing people together to create a vision for what public safety could look like in Minneapolis.” The backdrop of the charred 3rd Precinct will provide a stark visual reminder of that, but today’s fest is mostly about having fun via live music, food trucks, and family-friendly entertainment. Free. 3-5 p.m. 3032 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller  

SUNDAY 8.27

Boyz II Men, Chaka Khan

State Fair Grandstand

Nostalgia has a way of flattening the subtleties of history. Last long enough and you’re an oldies act, whether you’ve been around for 20 years or 50. So while a pairing of Boyz II Men and Chaka Khan might seem a little anachronistically wack—the group debuted a full 18 years after Khan’s first single with the group Rufus—the hits from each will blend into a joyful soundtrack of days gone by. Softening new jack swing with sweet harmonies, Boyz II Men made superstardom possible for the gentrifying white boy bands to follow. Ms. Khan is a queen who has proven herself equally comfortable with jazz, disco, R&B, pop, and funk, and I guess I gotta mention the local angle: Prince not only wrote her biggest hit, “I Feel for You,” but signed her to NPG Records for a bit and brought her on tour in 2000. You’ll excuse me for being corny enough to say that there ain’t nobody does it better. Promising local newcomers Nunnabove will open. $34-$68. 7 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave., St. Paul; find more info here.—Keith Harris

ONGOING

Romeo and Juliet: A Pickup Truck Opera

Various Locations

For the past 15 years, Mixed Precipitation has brought accessible opera shows to parks, community gardens, and wineries throughout the metro and beyond. (The “pickup truck” in their name is a nod to the 2011 Ford Ranger Pickup that serves as their ride and, often, as part of their stage.) This year, they’re reimagining Romeo and Juliet via Vincenzo Bellini’s 1830 opera, I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) for the modern day. In 2023, Juliet is a social media guru, helping folks live their best lives with DIY videos, recipes, and reviews while banished Romeo is sharing his carefully curated van-life from the road. Will the two manage to elope without creating a wave of murders and suicides? (We all know how this thing ends.) Despite the name, this isn’t an opera-only operation: Tunes will include hits from the Fugees, the Pixies, and Fleetwood Mac. Make reservations at mixed precipitation.org. $10-$20 suggested donation. July 29-September 10—Jessica Armbruster

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. This week, that means local rockers Flamin' Oh's with Chemistry Set and Two Harbors. 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—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. Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 901 Nicollet Mall (9th and Nicollet), Minneapolis. Through August 29—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

Various Locations

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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