Pizza Lucé Block Party Returns, Nershfest, Acro-cats at HOTB: This Week’s Best Events
Plus PokéCON Mini, Fringe Fest week two, and a punk market at Palmer's.
11:49 AM CDT on August 7, 2023
Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond.
Northern Fire Dynamic
Oh my god, they’re having a fire… show! (Do Arrested Development references still hit with folks in 2023? Let us know in the comments.) Tonight in Powderhorn Park, Northern Fire Dynamic will perform the production they’ve spent the last six months rehearsing, with the theme of “Animalia.” The family-friendly show kicks off with a few trial runs around 7 p.m., and performances start at 8:15 and 8:45. Are you panicked about the fire, or are you being brave for everyone else? It’s a fire show—hopefully you’re having an absolute blast. This event is free, but cash donations are appreciated. 7 p.m. Find them at the corner of 35th Street & 15th Avenue South, Minneapolis.—Em Cassel
Fringe Festival, Week 2
Since 1994, the Fringe Festival has brought thousands of artists to the stage for hundreds of productions that have entertained millions. Artists local, national, and international come to town each summer to present theater in pretty much every format, genre, and topic imaginable. You should be able to find pretty much anything your heart desires here via their online show finder, be it a pop-culture comedy, a one-woman monologue, a queer romcom, a political satire, a dystopian sci-fi, or a comically bad piece you can’t escape fast enough. Hey, there’s a lot of stuff here, so there will be duds with the delights–that’s half the fun. (And most shows hit around 40-ish minutes, so if you end up at one of those, at least it will be over soon.) Plan your Fringe by checking out the schedule at minnesotafringe.org. This year’s venues include Crane Theater, the U of M, Augsburg College, Mixed Blood, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Hook & Ladder, and others. Through August 13—Jessica Armbruster
The Amazing Acro-cats
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre
If your cats are anything like mine, they while away their days with some combination of sleeping on the couch, sleeping on chairs, and sleeping on the bed, giving them the energy they need to do wind sprints through the house beginning at around 1 a.m. The Amazing Acro-cats—a troupe of trained house cats who were all once rescues or strays—defy feline expectation not only by performing circus tricks and live music, but by appearing at 7 p.m. sharp all week long (with an extra afternoon show on Saturday and Sunday). Watch as they play rock music and jazz and dazzle you by doing exactly as many tricks as they feel like doing (they’re still cats, after all). $35-$60; add on $5 for the meet-and-greet. 7 p.m. 1500 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; find tickets and more info here. Through Sunday—Em Cassel
This 27-year-old Navy vet is the kind of popular phenomenon that heartens music lovers who worry over whether mass success can still occur outside the constrictions of the pop machine. Bryan’s 34-song major label debut, American Heartbreak—two-hours of melodically ambient and vulnerably macho country-folk that never distracts you from more pressing matters with such tawdry concessions to pleasure as radio-friendly hooks or contemporary beats—hit the top 10 on its release in 2022. Sure Billboard’s chart methodology favors overlong albums, but even so this Oklahoma boy’s aesthetic (unrelenting heartland fatalism as singalong mood music) hit home with a not insignificant fan base. Personally, I wish he wouldn’t prove his upstanding downhome decency by regularly presenting himself as the wronged party when it comes to love. But he seems like a good dude, as such things go—his live album is called All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster, and he’s taken steps to protect his fans from jacked up prices. With Charles Wesley Godwin. Sold out. 8 p.m. 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris
The National and the Beths
Matt Berninger is a damn menace. Whether insisting that his soon-to-be ex keep their Afghan Whigs CDs or that his mate’s optimism is driving him even deeper into depression, the moody baritone does what he does best on the National’s latest, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, makes middle-aged male despair not just emotionally affecting but kinda sexy. In some ways, the new National album is a retreat from its predecessor, I Am Easy to Find, which opened up the claustrophobia by incorporating a series of female vocalists. (Guest appearances here from Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift here don’t quite count.) But what justifies Berninger’s melancholy is his writing, which always roots his dejection in some concrete life situation, and a quality in his voice that suggests (to this despairing middle-aged male, anyway) that he’d rather not feel this way. Note that this is the same night as the Zach Bryan show—how are area saddos to choose? As for show openers the Beths, I’ve waxed euphoric plenty about them in the past. $57 and up. 7:30 p.m. 500 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris
Mia en Plein Air: ReVisión
Minneapolis Institute of Art
This Thursday, Mia is throwing a chill hang on the lawn inspired by “ReVisión: Art in the Americas,” a gallery show of over 130 items exploring America’s history, people, and culture, from 100 BCE to 2023, via Latin American artists. During festivities, folks will be invited to listen to tunes from DJ QueenDuin and make art with the folks at the Textile Center. Eats will be provided by El Jefe, a food truck specializing in made-from-scratch Mexican treats with drinks from Agua Culture. Folks who plunk down $20 for “ReVisión” can also sign up for one of the evening’s special tours. Free. 5-9 p.m. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster
Lakeside Guitar Festival
Como Lakeside Pavilion
We’re sure tedious pieces about the death of the guitar exist, considering the recent three-decade affinity for bleepy/bloopy music that persists in popular music. (Confirmed, they do exist.) The noble six-string is alive and well at the Lakeside Guitar Festival, however, a three-day, 17-act celebration of all things shreddable. Friday features local blues-rock institution Charlie Parr; Saturday will see genreless New Jersey guitar ace Marc Ribot headline (Minnesota's Last Waltz keeps the party going with a ticketed event afterward); and Ribot will return Sunday for a ticketed afterparty at the Turf with John Medeski, Carrie Rodriguez, and Klezmerson. Throughout the Music Mission-organized event you'll find a guitar pedal swap, silent auction, and, on Saturday morning, a community "strum along/sing a song." Free. Friday through Sunday. 1360 Lexington Pkwy. N., St. Paul; find a full schedule of events here.—Jay Boller
Nershfest was once a collection of friends who, loosely inspired by Bill Nershi of the String Cheese Incident, crafted Spotify playlists to blast from stages in their backyards. Nowadays, the party has grown into a first-rate Twin Cities block party featuring live music from local psych-rock standouts Night Moves, Mae Simpson, Arts Fishing Club, Foxgloves, and China Rider. Guests are encouraged to "nosh while you Nersh” at food trucks like KCM Eggrolls, Jamo’s New Zealand Pie Co., and Tacos Los 4 Carnale. Will there be rivers of beer, vendors, a silent disco, and, crucially, "ADDITIONAL FUN"? The titular Nersh, appearing on fest posters as some sort of demonic party animal, wouldn't have it any other way. Free. Noon to 10 p.m. 701 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Pizza Lucé "Back on the Block” Party
Downtown Pizza Lucé
After three years off, the Pizza Lucé Block Party is back, just like the name this year says. The long-running block party, which returns for the first time since 2019 on August 12, is being touted as a celebration of the local pizza chain’s 30th anniversary this year, and it’s presenting a solid lineup of Twin Cities musicians. Among them is Dua Saleh, the charismatic Sudanese-born, St. Paul-raised rapper who, unless we missed something, hasn’t performed locally in a bit. (Appearing on Netflix’s Sex Education might have something to do with that.) Indie poppers Bad Bad Hats, who just celebrated the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough EP, It Hurts, will also perform, as will Vial, who just did a fun cover of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings.” Rounding out the announced acts are moody synth-poppers Graveyard Club and friendly local punks Supportive Parents. Obi Original & Ozone Creations, Cactus Blossoms, and headlines Morris Day and the Time round out the lineup. Sadly, the days of free Lucé block parties are long behind us: Tickets can be purchased online for $23 ($69 if you go VIP). 2:30-10 p.m. 119 N. Fourth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris
Punk Rock Flea Market
Malls are dead; long live markets. On any given weekend in the Twin Cities you will find at least a dozen pop-up markets at bars and brewpubs. Vintage markets. Plant markets. Witchy markets. Makers’ markets. Eighties markets. This Saturday, you’ll find a less common market at Palmer’s: a punk-rock market. Hell yes. Twenty-five vendors will be stopping by, selling books, clothing, vinyl, art, and more, all while shoppers enjoy drink specials, eats from food trucks, and DJ sets. Stay after for punk tunes on the patio featuring the Slow Death, Loss Leader, Close Talker, and Flintlock. Free. 1-5 p.m. 500 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster
Best Western Plus Bloomington Hotel
It may not be considered “cool” to reveal that 75% of Racket’s staff still play Pokémon. But folks? It’s as true as Ash’s determination to catch ‘em all. (Did you know Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise ever, with estimated total revenue exceeding $88 billion?) PokéCON is more or less a lifestyle event for Pokémon enthusiasts—from old-school Red/Blue-heads to the Scarlet/Violet players of today. The MOA-adjacent Best Western will be hopping like Lopunny with vendors, artists, prizes, card games, video games, and a live viewing of Japan’s Pokémon World Championships. $15-$25. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. 1901 Killebrew Dr., Bloomington; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Less Than Jake
Let me bore you with my two vivid LTJ memories. The first: Sulking around my family’s old cabin on my 13th birthday, depressed in a vague early teenage fashion, and finding slight solace in the Florida ska-punk band’s 1996 CD Losing Streak, which I’d acquired as a sad little b-day gift to myself. The second: Interviewing said band years later as a clueless college journalist; one unnamed member ripped a bong and made out with his girlfriend on the tour bus as I fumbled through one of my first-ever interviews. That’s a roundabout way of saying Less Than Jake, who’ve ridden the third-wave ska movement since ‘92, will be tootin’ and upstrokin’ through every last note of their very fun 1998 album Hello Rockview tonight at the Varsity. Gone is co-founder/drummer/lyricist Vinnie Fiorello, who jumped ship five years ago, though LTJ keeps chugging along, having released their ninth LP, Silver Linings, in 2020. This 25th anniversary celebration of Hello Rockview includes a superb opener in NYC ska greats the Toasters. (Barely-related: I recently enjoyed this “Teens React” video on ska.) $29-$154. 6:30 p.m. 1308 SE Fourth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Fat Beach Day
It’s time for the next installment of Fat Beach Day, a body-positive hang for all hosted by Cake Plus-Size Resale. Expect a casual, low-key social gathering—no formal RSVP or ticket necessary, BYO everything—where you can hang out with Cake’s staff and a whole bunch of fat babes while soaking up some sun or cooling off in the shade. While we’re at it, keep an eye on the body-positive consignment and thrift store’s website and/or Facebook to keep up with their other events, whether it’s the virtual “Fat Chats” series or their bi-weekly live sales. Free. 1-4 p.m. 1400 Phalen Dr., St. Paul.—Em Cassel
Romeo and Juliet: A Pickup Truck Opera
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
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 nine-piece Caribbean orchestra Salsa Del Soul and Ecuador Manta. 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
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
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. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 901 Nicollet Mall (9th and Nicollet), Minneapolis. Through August 29—Jessica Armbruster
Wild Nights at the Minnesota Zoo
Imagine a zoo with nary a child, one where you can sip wine and watch animals do their thing as the sun sets. Impossible, you say? Nope! We’re talking about Wild Nights at the Minnesota Zoo, a summer series for grownups. During these events folks can explore all the trails and exhibits until 8 p.m. (hilariously, they note that food and drink is not allowed in the Llama Trek walk-through exhibit). Each installment will feature a variety of concerts, all themed that night around a specific genre–country, hip-hop, blues, ‘80s New Wave, etc. Tonight’s music is brought to you by Malamanya, which will play old-school Afro-Caribbean tunes. Upcoming highlights this summer include Chastity Brown (June 22), the Cactus Blossoms (July 6), Joyann Parker Band (July 20), Nur-D (August 3), Information Society (August 17), Frogleg (August 31), and Kat Perkins (September 14). Find tickets and more info online. 18+. $40. 6-10 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley. Through September 14—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
East Lake Street
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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