Otoboke Beaver, Fried Chicken Sandwich Wars, Bruce Springsteen: This Week’s Best Events
Don't let the March slush get you down, get out and have some fun.
11:26 AM CST on February 27, 2023
Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
At 18 songs in 21 minutes, this exuberantly noisy Kyoto punk quartet never outstays its welcome. But without tempering their raucous levity or brevity, Otoboke Beaver are, well, honing their craft: On their latest, Super Champon, some songs have sections so memorable you could call them choruses, and clever little guitar bits emerge from the bash ‘n’ clang, which has always been more precise than a quick listen might reveal. If, like me, you don’t speak Japanese, you’ll only get half the joke live. So I suggest, at the very least, checking out their tracklists. You still won’t know if the hilarious guitar tantrum you’re hearing is “You’re No Hero Shut Up Fuck You Manwhore” or “Dirty Old Fart Waiting for My Reaction.” But knowing it could be either is funny enough. Local punks Scrunchies are the perfect openers. $22-$40. 8:30 p.m. 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; more info here.—Keith Harris
Claire Wahmanholm’s Meltwater Launch Party
Hook & Ladder
Nothing could be more suitable for wildcard Minnesota March weather than Claire Wahmanholm’s forthcoming poetry volume about climate change. Will the daytime temperatures break records above 70 degrees? Will the snowfall measure seven to 10 inches? What icy depths lurk beneath sidewalk puddles? Meltwater, indeed. As humanity comes to terms with the bleak future that feckless fossil fuel consumption has wrought, Wahmanholm’s books, Redmouth, the award-winning Wilder, and now Meltwater, feel necessary and urgent. And comforting. At least the poets are paying attention to the heat domes and extreme storms while industry leaders abdicate responsibility, governments stagnate, and newspaper headlines complain about the price tag of keeping Earth habitable. As Wahmanholm writes in “Glacier,” her Montreal Poetry Prize-winning poem, “I am trying to say it’s too late without making them too sad.” At this week’s launch party, Wahmanholm will read bits from the book, along with poets Sarah Green, Michael Prior Su Hwang, Elizabeth Tannen, and Chris Santiago. This event is free; register here at Milkweed. 6 p.m. [This blurb originally appeared in our “8 Books by Minnesota Authors We’re Excited for in 2023” feature; read our other picks here.] 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis.—Deborah Copperud
Fried Chicken Sandwich War
Graze Provisions + Libations
In August of 2019, Popeyes quietly launched a new fried chicken sandwich—a move that would create a ripple effect throughout the fast food industry. Over the next year and a half, chains from Zaxby’s to Chick-Fil-A to McDonald’s introduced new fried chicken sammies of their own to compete with the Popeyes original; eventually more than 20 chains got into the feathery fray. (Check out this nifty timeline from Restaurant Business.) The phenomenon became known as the Chicken Sandwich Wars, a marketing trend so powerful it’s been enshrined in crispy history with its own Wikipedia page. This week at Graze in the North Loop, six new vendors will attempt to add their names to the clucking annals of history with a Fried Chicken Sandwich War for a new era. All six vendors—The Fabled Rooster, Avocadish, Union Hmong Kitchen, Two Mixed Up, Viva Taco, and Soul Bowl—will compete, and you can try all six and a half sandwiches (and get two drinks) with a $75 ticket, or try any solo sandwich at each individual stall. 4-8 p.m. 520 N. Fourth St., Minneapolis; tickets and more info here.—Em Cassel
Scream It Off Screen
What if Rotten Tomatoes came to life, and boasted real-time, mob-rule power? That’s sorta the premise of Scream It Off Screen, the monthly film party where audience members wield Gong Show-like editorial powers via their hoots/hollers. This month, 15 short films that’ve been “randomly drawn from a very complicated lottery system” will test their merits inside the Parkway, competing for the opportunity to reach completion and, if so, cash prizes. We’re big, big fans of SIOS—don’t miss it. As always, the cinefile chaos is streamed live on YouTube. $10/$13 at the door. 7 p.m. 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Haute Dish Dance Party
It’s easy to forget that, at 440-capacity, the Uptown VFW is one of the biggest small venues in town—bigger than the Turf! And we’re pleased to see it’s now home to one of the biggest regular, local dance parties. Hosted by rapper Purple Queen, the Haute Dish Dance Party features three killer DJs—Shannon Blowtorch, Izzie P, and Miss Britt—spinning far-flung jams well into the night. Bonus: This edition of Haute Dish promises a cameo from Dwynell Roland, the Twin Cities hip-hop star who once spoke with Racket about how, exactly, the fuck local musicians make money in the streaming age. $10/$15 at the door. 10 p.m. 2916 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Born With Teeth
Fancy some alternative history? In this work by playwright Liz Duffy Adams, Kit Marlowe and William Shakespeare secretly meet in a backroom of a pub to write a play together, flirt, and protest the totalitarian regime of Queen Elizabeth I. Marlowe is a fiery personality, an established playwright who’s also moonlighting as a royal spy. Shakespeare, meanwhile, is an introverted up-and-comer, focused on his writing and hiding that he is–gasp!–secretly Catholic. There’s a lot going on here, but this award-winning play, which had its world premiere at Austin’s Alley Theatre in 2022, makes it work. “[Born with Teeth] can’t decide if it is about literature, history, political intrigue, religious persecution, or the wide varieties of love, and that’s a good — no, make that glorious — thing,” writes a reviewer for The Courier. “The play grabs them all and squeezes them into a trim, tight, electric production.” $30-$80. Find tickets and more info online. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis. Through April 2—Jessica Armbruster
Patrick Stickles, the road warrior punk-poet force behind Titus Andronicus, was shackled by the burden of his masterpiece album, The Monitor, more than a dozen years ago. Excluding 2018’s A Productive Cough, each of the subsequent five Titus LPs have been solid to stellar, but you got the sense Stickles was striving to recapture the grandiose magic of his sophomore release, one that so many critics likened to Springsteen-goes-punk. (Bruce, famously a fellow New Jerseyan, plays down the road tomorrow.) On his most recent album, this past fall’s The Will to Live, Stickles sounds more at ease than ever, churning out no-nonsense classic rock that’s undergirded by his scratchy lyrical gold. Loyal fans, this one included, will always make the pilgrimage to catch Titus, fists pumping and smiles plastered for the shout-along refrain of “You will always be a loser.” Country Westerns open. $18-$20. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller
We asked Morril via text, which he solicits via Instagram, to pitch folks on why they should see his razor-sharp set at Pantages. Never heard back, but the New York City comic is definitely worth checking out. The youngish-yet-gruff standup is a joke-writing machine who treats punchlines like jumpshots, as explored in this recent Vulture interview. “I’ve also put out three specials in the last three years. I’m fucking tired,” Morril said when asked why his latest special, Netflix’s Same Time Tomorrow, is a mere 45 minutes instead of an hour. Expect the crowd work ace to go longer at these back-to-back Pantages shows. $34-$44. 7 and 9:30 p.m. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Edward Yang, Giant of Taiwanese Cinema
Let’s say you can only see one of the four films by this key figure in the Taiwanese new wave that the Trylon is screening this month. You might go with A Brighter Summer Day (1991), showing this Sunday. A sprawling tale of teen gangs, social upheaval, and U.S. pop culture modeled partially after Goodfellas; it’s commonly recognized as Yang’s masterpiece. Or you might go next week for Taipei Story (1985), which looks at changes in Taiwanese culture as they’re reflected in the increasingly strained relationship between a baseball player and an upwardly mobile developer. The following Sunday, there’s Yi Yi (2000), the nuanced and engaging three-hour family drama that’s Yang’s best known film, and the last he made before the colon cancer that sidelined him for years eventually led to his death in 2007. And wrapping it all up there’s Yang’s first feature film, That Day on the Beach (1983), which is the hardest to find on streaming. Am I saying you can’t go wrong no matter which you choose? Yes. Am I also saying you should go see ’em all? Hm, guess so. 2820 E 33rd St, Minneapolis; find showtimes and more info here.—Keith Harris
Xcel Energy Center
The Boss, obviously, has nothing to prove. He could spend his days gabbing on podcast mics with President Obama, taking tequila shots with fans atop his motorcycle, and generally living the laidback rich-guy lifestyle he has earned. But the New Jersey icon is wired differently, as we learned in great psychological detail throughout his memoir, so he still feels compelled to sweat out two-hour-plus marathon concerts for his diehard fans. I saw it first-hand during his last North American tour, a front-to-back celebration of The River in 2016, and, as a casual fan, can attest to the power that old rock ‘n’ roll war horse is able to summon. Springsteen’s latest album, a collection of old soul covers called Only the Strong Survive, is only managing lukewarm reviews. But you, the curious concertgoer, shouldn’t give a shit. As a showman, Springsteen is as generous and fan-forward as they come; there’ll be a tidal wave of impassioned hits. $200-$370. 6:30 p.m. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Black 2 the Future: An Afrofuturistic Experience
Artspace Jackson Flats
Does the future look bright or is it bleak and dystopian? That glass-half argument is up to the artist, but the future is definitely Black in this group show. Coined in the ‘90s, the term “Afrofuturism” is an art movement that speculates on the future while celebrating Black culture, history, and perspectives, be it through literature (Octavia Butler), movies (Black Panther), music (Janelle Monae), and more. See it in action at this gallery show, which will feature the artwork of Ron Brown, Christopheraaron Deanes, seangarrison, Shae Maze, Christopher E. Harrison, Dio.Mpls, and Jordan Malcom. Artwork will be up through February 29. 901 18th ½ Ave. NE, Minneapolis.–Jessica Armbruster
Seventy years later, mid-century modern still has a hold on us. Why? Is it the promise of a clean, streamlined future? A reaction to the maximalist aesthetics of previous eras? The fact that it can be cheaply mass produced by places like Amazon and IKEA? Let’s be real; it’s probably that last one. But mid-century modern has more in common with our era than furniture. With it came implied consumerism, as these weren’t family heirlooms (though these days they sometimes are). An artificiality comes with it, too, as the style is often paired with plastics or Bakelite, synthetics like pleather, and fake versions of real things (think pink Christmas trees and fake grass). “Astroturf,” Gamut Gallery’s first show of 2023, will explore these aspects of mid-century modern through a variety of mediums, including monoprints (Genie Castro), pool pics and abstract works (Neal Breton), Palm Springs travel photography (Nicole Mueller), and installations using both real and artificial plants (Human Shape Animal). 717 10th St. S., Minneapolis. Through March 18–Jessica Armbruster
Sugar in Our Wounds
Set in the antebellum South just before the start of the Civil War, Sugar in our Wounds tells the tale of queer love between Black slaves Henry and James. Henry is new to the plantation, sold and separated from his family (“Instead of hanging us, they tear us apart. That feels worse than being hanged, I imagine.”) It’s a tear-jerker of a play, but it also allows space for surrealism (there’s a singing tree), humor, and queer joy. Written by Donja R. Love, Sugar is the first in a trilogy, with other installments covering the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter. Find tickets and more info online. 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. Through March 19–Jessica Armbruster
Out There 2020: Sarah Michelson, /\ March 2020 (4pb)
Walker Art Center
For nearly 20 years, U.K.-born, NYC-based performer Sarah Michelson has created pieces often performed outside of traditional stages, tumbling about the Walker’s galleries and even the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. She works hard to create movements that may look impromptu or off-the-cuff, but are typically planned and practiced down to the breath. But her latest work, “Sarah Michelson: /\ March 2020 (4pb),” is an exhibition, not a performance piece. Here guests will be able to peruse a variety of ephemera, all laid out with the Walker in mind (the pieces are now part of the museum’s permanent collection). At the opening reception, which will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. during the Walker’s weekly Free Thursday Nights party, Michelson will discuss her work with Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder of the two-woman dance troupe HIJACK. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through April 23–Jessica Armbruster
Message from Our Planet: Digital Art from the Thoma Collection
Weisman Art Museum
Good news, everyone—it’s spring. At least at the Weisman, whose spring 2023 exhibition, “Message from Our Planet: Digital Art from the Thoma Collection,” opens this week. Inspired by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was used as a repository of human culture on Earth, the idea is to offer a sort of time capsule from artists working in digital media to the people of the future. To that end, the exhibit gathers the work of 19 artists who use software, video, and light technology as their media. Among those featured are Hong Hao, Jenny Holzer, Lee Nam Lee, Christian Marclay, Tabita Rezaire, and Robert Wilson. 333 E. River Pkwy, Minneapolis; find more info here. Through May 21–Keith Harris
Fluidity: Identity in Swedish Glass
American Swedish Institute
Glass artist Jo Andersson doesn’t just want you to gaze upon her works. She wants you to experience them as a meditative tool for self reflection. “Being is a light installation which is intended to help bring individuals into the present moment,” she says via artist’s statement. “I wanted to create a safe space where viewers could lose themselves and fully experience the work as well as their responses to the work.” So, what does that entail? At ASI, you’ll enter a dimmed room full of glass sculptures filled with water. You’ll be encouraged to use camera phones to illuminate pieces and place with the lighting. From there? Take some time for self reflection. (If nothing else, this show should make for some good visual ASMR.) In addition to Andersson’s ambitious installation, the exhibition will also showcase pieces by female glass artists from the museum’s permanent collection. Friday’s opening night party will feature an artist’s talk, live music, an outdoor glass and fire installation, and a hands on glass activity from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25. 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis.Through May 28–Jessica Armbruster
Paul Chan: Breathers
Walker Art Center
Can those inflatable tube guys used to drive people to sales be art? If it’s in the Walker Art Center then, yes, it can. But that would be oversimplifying the work of Paul Chen, a Hong Kong-born, Nebraska-raised, NYC-based writer, publisher, and artist. In the ‘90s and ‘00s, Chan garnered attention releasing videos, animations, fonts, and more, often for free on his website, nationalphilistine.com. These pieces explored pleasure, war, politics, and human interactions. But by 2009, he had burned out, tired of looking at a screen. Relatable. Five years later, after a brief, you know, “breather,” he found a new way to explore movement and meaning without a computer, instead using physics, fabrics, and fans to create shapes that move about in interesting ways (and, thankfully, won’t try to sell you a car). You can see these kinetic sculptures at the Walker; the show will also include some video installations as well as pieces from his publishing company, Badlands Unlimited, which releases poetry, erotica, artists’ writings, and more. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through July 16, 2023—Jessica Armbruster
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