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More State Fair, ‘Lebowski’ Party, Water Is Life Fest: This Week’s Best Events

Plus competitive pinball, stand-up comics, Neko Case, and a whole lot more.

MN State Fair|

We love the Fair.

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


Jim Gaffigan

State Fair Grandstand

We’re heard of Pronto Pups at the fair… but Hot Pockets!? In any case, Jim Gaffigan, the rare “clean comic” with sky-high peer respect, should be a hoot at the Grandstand. Gaffigan exploded on the scene in 2006 with a bit about Hot Pockets that would become his signature. The good-natured Midwesterner has since released seven albums (six of which earned Grammy noms) and starred in his own TV Land sitcom (The Jim Gaffigan Show), all while raising five kids and road-dogging across the country doing standup. Likely hilarious, Gaffigan’s current Fun Tour hits on familiar themes like food, family, and self-deprecation. Fans who caught him last October at the State Theatre should know that this leg of the Fun Tour promises “all new material.” $39-$94. 7 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave., St Paul; find more info here.–Jay Boller


Joe Zimmerman

Acme Comedy Co. 

There's a therapeutic vibe to Zimmerman's comedy, which is delivered with deadly, soft-spoken precision. "I don't feel old, but I did recently identify a bird," the New York City-based comic recently said on James Corden. "That can't be good." Zimmerman's droll observations on the mundane have landed him all over late-night TV, plus spots on Comedy Central and Last Comic Standing and opening gigs for Brian Regan and Ricky Gervais. The native West Virginian hosts a podcast, A Great Listening Experience, that "details his questionable attempts to attain infinite knowledge and power." He's very, very funny! 8 p.m. Wed.-Thu. 7 & 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 708 N. 1st St., Minneapolis; find more info here.–Jay Boller

Credit: Courtesy of Neko Case


Three Strike Pinball Tournament

Lakes & Legends Brewing Company

Do you need an excuse to play pinball? Of course not. But there’s a really good reason to play this Thursday at this pinball tournament. The entrance fee is a mere $5, and the competition will take players through three machines—Mandalorian, Deadpool, and GODZILLA—plus a mystery game to be revealed at the event. Prizes will be humble, but solid, and include free beer, cash, and drink cards. There’s no need to sign up early; just get there at 6 p.m. The brewery will also offer DJ tunes and a food truck during the tourney. $5. 6 p.m. 1368 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.–Jessica Armbruster

Cracking Open the Disney Vault


In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Disney was able to rake in the cash by only re-releasing their old movies in theaters or on VHS every few years, keeping the rest “in the vault” until the next cycle. These days, content is king, so somehow Trylon was able to free a selection of flicks from lockdown. This week kicks off with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Disney’s first full-length animated movie. It’s a kinda creepy tale of abusive step parents, exploited disabled minors, and a non consensual kiss. (When they’re not live-action remakes, Disney’s fairy tales actually are pretty dark, after all.) Next week is Bambi, which features Disney’s most traumatic death. Lady and the Tramp, The Great Mouse Detective, and Cinderella round out this series. See the full schedule of showtimes here. $8. 2820 E 33rd St, Minneapolis. Through September 25 –Jessica Armbruster

The Big Lebowski + Costume Party

The Parkway Theater

“Now this a-here story I'm about to unfold took place back in the early '90s—just about the time of our conflict with Sad'm and the I-raqis. I only mention it because sometimes there's a man—I won't say a hero, 'cause, what's a hero? But sometimes, there's a man—and I'm talkin' about the 'Dude' here. Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that's the 'Dude' in Los Angeles. And even if he's a lazy man—and the 'Dude' was most certainly that, quite possibly the laziest in Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the runnin' for laziest worldwide. But sometimes there's a man, sometimes, there's a man. Wow, lost my train of thought here. But, aw, hell. I've done introduced him enough.” (With pre-movie costume contest featuring a killer grand prize: The Big Lebowski Jesus Figurine with accompanying bowling bag). All ages. $9 advance; $12 at the door. 7 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. trivia, 8 p.m. screening. 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.The Stranger, via Em Cassel

Neko Case

First Avenue

The alt-country powerhouse and sometime New Pornographer hasn’t released a full-length of new material since Hell-On in 2018, but it’s been a few crazy years since then, hasn’t it? And she hasn’t exactly been slacking: Earlier this year, Case released a greatest hits collection, Wild Creatures, as one often does usually long before you hit the two-decade mark as a recording musician as she has, and just like the rest of us, she’s got a Substack. So much for the newsier, factual stuff, but you don’t really need me to tell you why she’s worth seeing live. As I said in my unlinkable (thanks, Strib) City Pages review of Hell-On: “Voices this forceful are rarely this cool, so analytical, so untinged with pain—rather than flaunting her power, Case luxuriates in an appreciation of consonants, and the restraint she’s developed over the years is more important than the clarion force, an effect she captures in the line “I’m too much for people, so I gauge / And shout my thoughts at you from a distance.” With Disq. $36. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis. More info here.—Keith Harris



Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

Yes, the Hyatt is hosting back-to-back cons. Last week was 2D Con, an event dedicated to every type of gaming and this week it’s partying it up at MetaCon, a con that’s all about sci-fi, comics, and anime. Here you’ll find the tried and true con staples, including an artist alley, karaoke stages, cosplay contests, a maid cafe, and plenty of gaming. But there will also be more unique offerings. Guests talks include voice actors SSSSGregman (Dragon Ball Super, Danganronpa) and Kiba Walker (My Hero Academia), binge watching sessions that range from bad-ass goofy (Ace Attorney) to bad-ass goofier (Naruto), and tickets score you all-you-can-eat ramen, rice, and soda. Meetups for fans, friends, and folks looking for love are also planned. Take a look at the complete schedule at $30 one-day pass; $40 all-weekend pass. 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Through Sunday–Jessica Armbruster

Credit: Franconia Sculpture Park


Film @ Franconia: 5 Minute Film Fest

Franconia Sculpture Park

For months, organizers at the region’s best damn outdoor sculpture park fielded submissions from Minnesota and Wisconsin directors working in the realms of “video art, film, documentary, animation, or experimental media.” Now it’s up to three jurors to pick the top mini movies, resulting in fabulous cash prizes for their creators—$100 for third place, $250 for second, $500 for the champ. The real champ (in non-cash terms) will be you, the viewer, who gets to bask in the charm of ammeter film while outdoors in the St. Croix River Valley. Free. 9 p.m. 29836 St Croix Trl. N., Shafer; find more info here.–Jay Boller

The Saloon 45th Anniversary

The Saloon

HBD, Saloon! The downtown gay club is looking fab, fit, and flirty at 45. You can celebrate with a drag show from Hot Pink, followed by tunes spun by "internationally recognized" DJ Hector Fonseca. (We checked, and he meets the “has-a-Wikipedia” threshold of fame.) The Facebook event claims this party’ll go to 3 a.m.—aka one hour past bar close—so you know it’s gonna be wild. Free. 7 p.m. 830 Hennepin Ave.; find more info here.–Jay Boller


Water Is Life Festival

Bayfront Festival Park

Looks as though this distinctive Duluth arts and music festival, spearheaded by longtime indigenous activist Winona LaDuke’s Honor the Earth org, is now an annual event: Congrats on year two, folks. As befits its eco-friendly bent, the lineup leans folkish, but more on the rough and impolite than the genteel side, with Ani Difranco and the Indigo Girls the big veteran names, along with hometown heroes Low providing plenty of electricity. Also onboard are a slew of mostly but not exclusive Minnesotan performers, including Allison Russell, Tia Wood, Dessa, Joe Rainey Sr, Keith Secola, Annie Humphrey, David Huckfelt, Corey Medina, Gaelynn Lea, Thomas X. You don’t need an excuse to hop up to Duluth, especially on the cusp of autumn, but here’s a good one, with politics that are hard to discount: What kind of psycho doesn’t love water? All ages. $40 advance/$50 day of show/kids under 10 free. 1 p.m. 350 Harbor Dr., Duluth; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Credit: MN State Fair


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

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

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

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