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Monster Trucks, Flash Tattoos, Madonna: This Week’s Best Events

Plus V-Day fun, an epic cat fest, and fresh-brewed coffee in this installment.

11:23 AM CST on February 12, 2024

Ford Motor Sports Inc.|

Monster Jam

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

TUESDAY 2.13

Madonna  

Xcel Energy Center

Admirably if perhaps futilely, Madonna has long refused to become an oldies act. Her tours have stressed her relevance, which is of course questionable, and her artistic vitality, which really isn’t—anyone who released Madame X would have reason to be proud and an understandable desire to perform that music live. So the Celebration Tour is her long-delayed victory lap, glancing back over her shoulder at what she’s accomplished over the past (gosh) 40 years, even if, like most pop stars, the commercial and artistic peaks are frontloaded. As if to remind us she might not be around forever, a serious bacterial infection delayed this tour (this show was originally scheduled for last July). And as dotty or problematic she might seem to online puriteens, she remains incomparable, if only because we’ve quite simply never seen what a 65-year-old dance-pop superstar can do. With Bob the Drag Queen. $70-$1750. 8:30 p.m. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Willi Carlisle

Turf Club

Damn straight we lefties could use some real battle songs, and on his latest album, Critterland, Carlisle is happy to oblige. “A queer and a Communist” ready to enlist “in the war that's ragin' between the haves and have-nots,” as he puts it on the title track, this folkie looks the contemporary world dead in the eye and refuses to blink, though he might occasionally give a wink and a smile. There’s real darkness here—a friend’s suicide letter that “used too many long words” and baffled the cops, the self-medicated look at mortality “When the Pills Wear Off,” and the seven-minute closer “The Money Grows on Trees,” a true crime ballad about peddling weed with police protection. But there’s hope too: If Carlisle’s ambivalent about the death of his father (“It’s still sad when bad men die”), he looks back on his humble ancestors and declares, “I won’t waste a single moment of the work that brought me here.” Me either, Willi. With Pop Wagner. $15/$20. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Flash art by David Kvam

WEDNESDAY 2.14

Valentine’s Day Tattoo Flash

Sea Wolf Tattoo Company

We love a fun tattoo flash day, don’t we folks? Used to be, back in my day *shakes fist at cloud* every Friday the 13th was a chance to get a spooky and/or silly new tattoo on the cheap. Sea Wolf Tattoo in south Minneapolis is bringing back the carefree flash vibes this Valentine’s Day, with a selection of designs that’ll cost ya between $100 and $200 (don’t forget to tip!). Head to Instagram and check out sneak peeks of the flash from Jewels Idette Lasota, James Gunn, Dusty, and David Kvam, and get there early to secure your place in the queue. Noon to 7 p.m. 3455 Bloomington Ave., Minneapolis; more info here.—Em Cassel

Mia

THURSDAY 2.15

Institute of Hearts

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Remember in grade school how Valentine’s Day could turn into a popularity contest to see who got the most cards? This Mia celebration is kinda like that, without the crushed feelings. That’s because the recipients are works of art. Stop by the front desk anytime through the 15th to pick up a red heart to place in front of your favorite sculpture, painting, textile—whatever—in the galleries. It’s kinda neat to see what pieces get the most love over the course of a week. The lovefest culminates in a fete featuring V-Day shorts from MSP Film Society, a hands-on art activity, and live music from cover band A Little Too Short to Be Stormtroopers. Free. 5 to 9 p.m. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Darlings: A Stand-Up Comedy Show

Zhora Darling

"We're trying to build a space where Twin Cities night owls can come enjoy some laughs and check out something a bit different than what the comedy scene has right now," comedian Ben Katzner tells us ahead of the first-ever Darlings showcase at Zhora Darling. "The bar is also owned by a former New Yorker so, as one myself, it feels like the perfect fit and is very reminiscent of some of my favorite places to do comedy in NYC." Katzner will host the weekly series alongside another local favorite, Ellie Hino. They plan to fill each bill with “local crushers and touring comics,” and leave space for bigger-name comics looking to drop in and work out new material. It’s fun to see Zhora Darling, which we profiled as part of the new generation of Twin Cities music venues, expand its comedy offerings. $5-$6.35. 8:30 p.m. 509 First Ave. NE, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Cup ExchangeTetsuya Yamada

Cup Exchange

Walker Art Center

Does anyone own a complete coffee cup set? If you open the cabinet in most homes, you’ll find a hodgepodge of chaos. My collection? A few pastel pink mugs from IKEA, a giant Christmas mug from my Mom, a handmade mug by a local artist, and a novelty mug about “working for the weekend.” Today, you can trade one of your mugs for a new one made by local ceramicist Tetsuya Yamada. For the exchange, Yamada is asking that you bring your most banal, ordinary mug to trade for one of the pieces featured in his current Walker exhibition, “Listening.” Folks are asked to form a line in the Cargill Lounge at 5:45 p.m., with the trade beginning at 6 p.m. Free. 5 p.m. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour

The Main/The Heights

Each year in Bologna, Italy, Il Cinema Ritrovato screens hundreds of rare and restored films, many of which were thought lost or available only in the most degraded conditions. Now, for the second year, the local org Archives on Screen presents Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour, a curated selection from the Bolognese event. The 13 movies screening over this four-day fest range from silent comedies to works that grapple with the colonial experience of West Africans and Arabs. On opening night, you can sample a few shorts for free, including some proto-music videos from French film pioneer Germaine Dulac, followed by the Japanese avant-garde film A Page of Madness. Ernst Lubitsch’s silent production of Lady Windemere’s Fan, with live, original accompaniment from the Poor Nobodys, will close things out at The Heights on Sunday. In between, I’m looking forward to David Schickele’s Bushman, about a Nigerian immigrant trying to make sense of the U.S. in the ’60s; Leila and the Wolves, which explores the role of women in Arab liberation; Italian neorealist Vittorio De Seta’s Bandits of Orgosolo; the pre-revolutionary Iranian film The Ballad of Tara; Senegalese cinema master Ousmane Sembène’s Ceddo… OK, I’m just listing movies now and that’s way too many semicolons, so I’ll stop, but for real: If any of these sound at all interesting to you, I can all but guarantee they will be. Find dates, times, prices, and other info here. Through Sunday—Keith Harris

Brian Posehn 2024Promo

FRIDAY 2.16

Brian Posehn 

Parkway Theater

Fans of Mr. Show, Just Shoot Me!, and The Sarah Silverman Program know Posehn has remained hilarious through the decades. One of the early '90s pioneers of alt-comedy, the towering standup, now 57, has carved out niches in several nerd-adjacent subcultures, including comic books, heavy metal, and D&D. On Posehna Non Grata, his latest special released via YouTube, Posehn is as sharp as ever, comparing “MAGA dipshits” to ICP fans and revealing that his “doofus sasquatch” physique still alarms his wife of several decades. The top commenter nails it: “His shows are like catching up with your funniest friend.” That funny friend just warned us of low ticket levels at the Parkway, so grab ‘em now. $25-$35. 6 p.m. 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller 

Space Fest 2024: Celebrating Our Star

Bell Museum 

The final frontier becomes fun and accessible for the whole family at Space Fest, the sixth annual intergalactic celebration at the U of M’s beautiful Bell Museum. Things launch (spaceship term) Friday night with a “Star Party” that’ll feature planetarium screenings of The Incredible Sun, a short film dedicated to everyone’s favorite star. The weekend’s worth of activities continues with appearances from an honest-to-god astronaut (Col. Tom Akers), an astrophysicist (Tatiana Niembro Hernández), and an author (Sun! One in A Billion writer Stacy McAnulty). Organizers encourage you to “Get creative by making your own aurora!” which honestly sounds like a Lana Del Rey lyric, but we’re sure promises kiddo fun IRL. Free Friday; regular admission applies Saturday and Sunday. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 2088 Larpenteur Ave. W. St. Paul; find more info here. Through Sunday—Jay Boller

There's a lot to unpack here.Cat Pop

SATURDAY 2.17

POP Cats

Union Depot

Rally your feline-loving friends and leash up your furry family members: It’s the second-annual POP Cats at Union Depot in St. Paul. Cosplay? Encouraged. Adoptable cats? They’ll be there. Temporary tattoos in the “cattoo parlor”? You betcha. All that plus a cat wand-making workshop, merch marketplace, vintage video games, and more. And it’s a BYOC—bring your own cat—affair. (Tangentially related: Did you know the Criterion Channel has a whole collection of cat movies right now?) $10-$18; $45-$55 special bundle passes. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul; find tickets and more info here. Also Sunday—Em Cassel

Craft Coffee Fest

Lift Bridge Brewing Co.

You don’t have to be a Sen. Cory Booker-level java freak to appreciate what’s going down Saturday inside Lift Bridge’s jumbo taproom. At the first-ever Craft Coffee Fest, you can expect appearances from five local roasters and an assortment of artists/vendors/makers. Milly's Kitchen Madness from St. Paul will be slingin’ baked treats, plus Girl Scout cookies will be on-hand. The brewery is dialing up special beers (Fireside Flannel brewed with Big Watt Coffee, an Irish coffee stout, and espresso martini slushies), and singer-songwriter Clyde Hatch will provide live music later in the afternoon. Free. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1900 Tower Dr. W., Stillwater; find more info here.—Jay Boller

'A Garden Wedding,' CC Mercer Watson

Untitled 18

Soo Visual Arts Center

Now in its 18th year, “Untitled” is a curated gallery show where any artist is welcome to submit, regardless of medium, career level, or experience. What results is a curious collection that’s a joy to explore. This year’s show will feature 30 artists, all selected by curator Danielle Krysa. “For me, the connecting element is this: Whether the work is on the floor, suspended from the ceiling, or hanging on the walls, everything in this show makes me want to touch it,” she says of her selection process here. “I won’t, but I want to. You’ll see what I mean—there’s just so much TEXTURE." There will be an opening reception this Saturday, February 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. 2909 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis. Through March 24—Jessica Armbruster

Rudos Promotions’ Lucha Libre

Waterbury Studios

The Twin Cities metro is blessed with abundant independent pro wrestling groups, but there’s only one focused on authentic lucha libre: Rudos Promotions. “I want to show a new audience what lucha is all about,” says longtime luchador/founder Jesus De La Torre. “We want to invite the community to come and bring their kids, so that they can learn about lucha libre. And I want to bring lucha libre to the Anglo community, too.” What to expect? Masked characters, a different style of movement/pro-wrestling, and cheering crowds. For tonight’s show, a monthly taping event for Speak MPLS Channel 17, revelers will be treated to five big fights. That includes Psicosis and Cocoliso versus Rudos State Champion Apostol 13 and El Aventurero, and CelticDeathRage (Celtic Wolf and Muerto Gonzalez) versus South Dakota duo The Shelly Brothers. You can learn more about Rudos and what they’re doing in the Twin Cities in this Racket profile. $25/$30 at the door; $15/$20 at the door for kids 10-17; free for kids under 10 (limit one child per one paid adult admission). 5 p.m. Find tickets and more info here. 1101 NE Jackson St., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster 

Monster Jam

U.S. Bank Stadium

Time to put on your Grave Digger T-shirt and yell at the big trucks: Monster Jam is back at U.S. Bank Stadium this weekend. They’ve got the one that looks like a shark, the one that looks like Scooby Doo, the one that looks like a mean old bull… you know the drill. Watch ‘em all fly off jumps and do backflips and whip shitties in the dirt for as little as 15 bucks. Never been to a Monster Jam before? Check out this compilation of the best Monster Jam moments (it’s mostly crashes and explosions), fall in love instantly, and then get your tickets here. All ages. $15+. 5 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis. Through Sunday—Em Cassel

"The Other Four"Alison Hiltner

ONGOING

The Fifteenth Film Noir Series: Neo-Noir

Trylon & The Heights

Noir is a pretty expansive genre to begin with, and neo-noir can be even more capacious. The 18 films that make the Trylon’s 15th annual noir festival seem chosen to highlight this genre’s elasticity. The series began last night with William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A., which continues through Tuesday, and wraps up on February 29 (oh hey, 2024 is a leap year) with the unconventional Steve Martin musical Pennies From Heaven. The other selections stretch back to 1967 for the New Hollywood jumpstarter Bonnie and Clyde and Seijun Suzuki’s avant-yakuza flick Branded to Kill; the most recent film is Bi Gan’s slow cinema landmark Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Chinatown, maybe the most perfect neo-noir of ’em all, and the Coen Brothers’ Irish gangster flick, Miller’s Crossing, will show at the Heights. Don’t miss Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday (British gangsters are so grubby). Or Kathryn Bigelow’s sci-fi tale of police brutality, Strange Days. Or—dammit I knew I shouldn’t have started making recommendations, now it’s hard to stop. 2820 E. 33rd St, Minneapolis; find times, dates, prices, and more info here. Through February 29—Keith Harris

Multiple Realities: Experimental Art in the Eastern Bloc, 1960s–1980s 

Walker Art Center

What does subversive art look like when the artist knows the government is watching? For a sampling of the creativity that arises under oppressive circumstances, take a cruise through “Multiple Realities,” an exhibition spanning two decades of work by artists from East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. The collection, not commonly seen in the U.S., includes underground club photography, found objects turned into statements, witty scribbles, and images from performances with heavy nods to queer life, ironic humor, political dissonance, and, perhaps most important here, interpretative deniability. The exhibition opens on Friday with a Walker After Hours Party, followed by a free opening-day talk with pop-up performances in the galleries on Saturday. For a complete schedule of related events, check online. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through March 10, 2024—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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