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Pride Parties, Chalk Fest, and Unicorns: This Week’s Best Events

Wow! What a week for magic, friendship, and rainbows!

Chalkfest, Erik Greenawalt

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


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 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 (Ninth and Nicollet), Minneapolis. Through August 29—Jessica Armbruster

Wavves, promo


Wavves, Cloud Nothings

Fine Line

Two indie-rock lifers are coming to town to make some tuneful noise. L.A.'s Nathan Williams released Wavves' seventh album, Hideaway, in 2021. I sometimes wish the lyrics offered more of a sense of why he goes about fashioning catchily abrasive songs, besides his being an indie-rock lifer and needing to vent. But I do appreciate the way the title track flips a self-help slogan into an excuse for being antisocial: "Today could be anything I want it to be/And that's gonna be a reflection of me/So I should be careful of everyone I meet/'Cause I don't want your dark cloud around me." Steve Albini’s production articulates the songs on Cloud Nothings' ninth album, The Shadow I Remember, till they ring out with the clarity of a ’92 DGC audition: guitarist Chris Brown’s pin-prick leads make themselves heard without being pushy, drummer Jayson Gerycz’s forward tumble contributes urgency until time comes to dramatically punctuate a chorus or bridge in unison with T.J. Duke’s bass. The frenzy’s all so tuneful that Dylan Baldi sounds consistently energized rather than overwhelmed, whether he’s posing timeless questions like, “Does anybody out there really need me?” and “Am I older now, or am I just another age?” or setting boundaries with a reasonable sentiment like “I need to make time for me, for me.” Who says self-care isn’t punk rock? With Ultra Q. $24-$39. 8 p.m. 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Jo Firestone

Amsterdam Bar & Hall

Like most people in the entertainment biz, Firestone is likely a multihyphenate out of necessity. (Solidarity with the striking WGA workers and, likely soon, their SAG counterparts.) The St. Louis-born comic, whose very good standup recalls Mary Mack and Mitch Hedberg, is also a podcast host (Dr. Gameshow), actor (Joe Pera Talks with You, The Chris Gethard Show, Shrill), and even a tabletop game inventor (Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers). In her latest Peacock special, 2021’s Good Timing, she teaches a comedy workshop for the elderly, with simultaneously hilarious and heartwarming results. If you dig Pera’s weird yet wholesome distillation of Midwestern quirkiness, and we know Racket readers do, you’ll love Firestone. $20. 7 p.m. 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

The Cure

Xcel Energy Center

When Ticketmaster costs and rampant scalping overwhelmed their fans, Taylor Swift handed matters over to the feds, Bruce Springsteen shrugged and essentially said “Them’s the breaks,” and Beyoncé? Well, she was unreachable in Dubai. But the Cure’s Robert Smith, bless his obsidian little heart, not only took steps to limit ticket resales, but actually negotiated the behemoth down to save his fans money after they slapped their usurious fees on tickets for the band’s current tour. The “Songs of a Lost World Tour,” which hits North America after its current European leg, is named for a new album that didn’t materialize as planned before the band hit the road, but the Cure have been beginning and ending their sets with two new songs, “Alone” and “Endsong,” that will presumably surface on the album when it finally drops. The rest of the night is given over to material from the band’s—get this—nearly 50-year career, including the long lugubrious stuff you diehards cherish and the college-radio synthpop preferred by poseurs like me. With the Twilight Sad. Sold out. 7:30 p.m. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Wild Nights at the Minnesota Zoo

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

"Unicorn Art Show"


Unicorn Art Show: A Fantasy Art Show

Artspace Jackson Flats

Of all the annual/biannual art shows to make it through the plague, we’re not surprised to see that the “Unicorn Art Show” continues to thrive. They are magical creatures, after all. This weekend, Otherworldly Arts Collective brings us more unicorn-themed art from a variety of Twin Cities artists. There will be sparkly ponies, neon creatures, and more subtle works of unicorn inspiration. Come as you are or dress in your unicorn best. This event is free, but donations are encouraged to support the artists. 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 901 18 1/2 Ave. NE, Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Modist Brewing celebrates Pride.


Pride or Die

Modist Brewing Company

Pride Month is on, baybee! And with it comes a month of hangs and parties. One such banger is Pride or Die at Modist. The day will feature two free, family-friendly drag shows at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., as host the Other Jeannie Retelle leads the way with performances from Betty Bang, Andre 1000, Raven Nevermore Ninja, Arágidi, Cariño, and Oblivia Nukem Jun. A ton of Pride-themed beers will be released today, and each will benefit a good cause: There’s Light Up The North, a golden ale made in collaboration with the Gay Softball World Series; grapefruit golden ale DeLUSHious supporting the LUSH Legacy Fund; and Hello, My Pronouns Are, a fruited berliner weisse made for Avenues for Youth (the can comes with stickers so you can add your preferred pronouns—super cute!). There’s also a new THC bubbly: Rainbow Rush, a tangerine/raspberry/lemon concoction in collab with Granny’s Edibles. Potters Pasties and Wrecktangle Pizza will be serving eats. Free. 2-7 p.m. 505 N. Third St., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Uptown Theater Kickoff Party

Uptown Theater

Late last year, Racket provided Twin Cities readers the scoop on the Uptown Theater being transformed from a vacant 950-seat movie theater into a 2,516-capacity live performance space. For some context, that capacity puts the place in line with the Northrop (2,700), the Orpheum Theatre (2,579), and St. Paul's Palace Theatre (2,500), per this handy venue-size infographic. No concert space of that size exists south of downtown Minneapolis, meaning the Uptown neighborhood—whose life and/or death is breathlessly debated—is receiving a major nightlife adrenaline boost as its namesake theater reopens. Local trio Yam Haus will smash an indie-pop bottle upon the reimagined venue’s hull at tonight’s celebration, which, if nothing else, offers an affordable chance at snooping around the new space. Bonus: The $5 ticket reportedly goes to charity. Landon Conrath opens. Upcoming Uptown Theater gigs include *tugs collar nervously* Prof (June 23-24), the Mars Volta (September 13), Parliament Funkadelic with George Clinton (September 16), and Owatonna's Duluth-loving Owl City (October 21). $5. 6 p.m. 2900 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

St. Paul Pride Festival

Rice Park

Happy Pride month! Remember exactly 10 years ago, when gay marriage became legal in Minnesota and some naively thought the fight for LGBTQ+ acceptance was all but over? Currently, a frothing, fascist cohort has become increasingly fixated on demonizing those populations, making events like St. Paul’s small-but-mighty Pride Festival more important than ever. The mission is simple and noble: "a future without discrimination where all people have equal rights under the law and in the hearts and minds of each other." The stacked, exciting, and diverse all-day music lineup includes: NUNNABOVE, Cameron Wright, Mikko Blaze, JD Steele & the MacPhail Youth Choir, Bdot Croc, Kelese, the Culture, Enzy Rose, and Tahjer. You can also expect an early afternoon kiddo stage plus youth activities, food trucks, and merch vendors, as well as drinks from MetroNOME Brewery and Gambit Brewery. Free. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 221 Fifth St. E., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

The Bad Plus, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog

First Avenue

This is a rare chance to catch the locally spawned jazz outfit in the Mainroom. The simple title of The Bad Plus's 2022 album, The Bad Plus (a title shared by their 2001 debut), makes sense, since the group is at the most radical stage of reinvention yet. It's the first that the rhythm section of Reid Anderson and Dave King recorded a pianoless combo in their career, with new members saxophonist Chris Speed and guitarist Ben Monder. The playing is more wide open, with the sax often restating melodies and riffs throughout and guitar churning away underneath, though both newcomers occasionally cutting loose into wilder forays. Guitarist Marc Ribot made his name contributing slightly avant-garde touches to the music of (slightly) alternative singer-songwriters like Tom Waits and Elvis Costello; for the past 15 years he's dedicated most of his time to Ceramic Dog, an improvisational but certainly rock trio with Shahzad Ismaily and Ches Smith. The group’s latest album, Connection, is due out this summer, with its ornery and catchy-despite-itself single already streaming. With Alan Sparhawk. $30/$35. 7:30 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

A Night With the River

Upper Landing Park

Last January, Northern Spark announced that it was sunsetting due to financial projections. But in honor of the event, which featured nighttime art installations all over the Twin Cities, Northern is hosting one-last mini-fest. During the evening, guests will be invited to explore  installations by artists Bayou Bay and Studio Strange, as well as a Northern Spark memory station reflecting on over a decade of nighttime fun. Visitors are also encouraged to bring a blanket, sit, and chill. Find more info, including where to park, here. Free. 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. 180 Shepard Rd., St. Paul.—Jessica Armbruster

Richard Anderson

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 East Lake Street, from 2nd Avenue South to 22nd Avenue South, Minneapolis. June 10 through October 8—Jessica Armbruster

Chalkfest Maple Grove

Downtown Maple Grove

Chalk art is hella cool. Every summer, folks from around the globe come to the suburbs of Minnesota to show us that this very temporary form of art can be so much more than a simple sidewalk scrawl. We’re talking about hyper-realistic nature pieces, “3-D” optical illusion that make for great Insta sharing, and stuff that looks like it walked out of a beautiful children’s book. You can watch artists’ create these pieces live during the weekend, and, in some cases, they might even invite you to help out. Otherwise, Sunday is when the crazy photo ops of finished pieces begin. Find a map and more details at Free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Main Street, from Elm Creek Boulevard to Arbor Lakes Parkway, Maple Grove.—Jessica Armbruster


Solace at the Palace

Moon Palace Books

We love a parking lot party in the summer, and this community-minded one from the Longfellow Community Council looks like it’s going to be a good one. During the day, 20 vendors will be selling their wares, which includes beaded jewelry, vintage amulets, vegan and gluten-free baked goods, stickers, and print art. There will also be a few really cool workshops, whether you’re looking to learn more about needle felting, upcycled journal decorating, or leatherworking. Live music, art activities for kids, and food trucks (Tacos! Momos! Shaved ice!) round out the event. Sign up for workshops here; they appear to be filling up fast! Free. Noon to 6 p.m. 3032 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

'Party Girl'


All Hail Parker Posey


Parker Posey’s dominance of a very particular slice of ’90s film defined an era as strongly as any non-star could, as this four-movie series shows. It begins with Party Girl, a glimpse of pre-gentrified Manhattan in which Posey is forced to work as a librarian (the shame!) after an illegal rave she organized gets busted. (The movie was shown online before it hit theaters, a pretty big deal for 1995.)  That’s the only movie here fully centered on Posey. She could make her mark with just minutes of screentime in memorable character roles, whether terrorizing freshman girls in Richard Linklater’s classic hangout flick Dazed and Confused, or wielding a sword and wearing a huge curly blonde wig in Greg Araki’s The Doom Generation, which Ebert famously gave 0 stars for its nihilism. And she practically steals Waiting for Guffman away from the rest of the brilliant ensemble as a DQ worker dreaming (ever-so-vaguely) of success in New York. Oh, and we’re helping to sponsor this series, so tell ’em Racket sent ya. $8. 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; find showtimes and more info here. Through June 27—Keith Harris

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 $12. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through October 1—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, 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 Pl., Minneapolis. Through July 16, 2023—Jessica Armbruster

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