St. Pat’s Day, Ari Lennox, Trash Film, and a Beyoncé Disco: This Week’s Best Events
So much to see and do, so little time.
11:40 AM CDT on March 13, 2023
Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
When Ari Lennox admits “No dick makin' me stupid” in her light, jazzy coo, she sounds far from dumb, and far from thirsty, too. On her latest album, Age/Sex/Location, released last fall, Lennox demonstrates a clearer sense of what she wants, both musically and sexually, than on her 2019 debut, Shea Butter Baby. But there is no greater self-inflicted cockblock than the wisdom that comes with age. Lennox’s newfound selectivity in dick sure ain’t helping her love life—yeah, she wants to get her hands under your North Face, but when duet partner Lucky Daye tries to hook up with her, she rightly shoots him down. As sexy but straightforward as ”I'm leaking/You got me drippin,” Lennox is also sharp enough to decide, “See, lord knows, I don't need no one (I don't need)/But sure would be sweet.” R&B, like life, is complicated. $39-$75. 6 p.m. 525 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris
Weyes Blood, Vagabon
The forced poesy of the title Natalie Mering selected for her fifth album as Weyes Blood—And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow—sure won’t quell any reservations that you (OK, that I) have about her genteel orchestral parlor-folk. But the songwriting and performances it offers have opened me up to the Feist-ian bargain of her occasionally dolorous Joni-isms and her Mother Jane Misty cosmic orchestrations. Where the track on its predecessor, TItanic Rising, lived or died by the melody, this pandemic-fueled collection probes deeper toward some recognizable human insecurities. Sure, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” would be a slightly more open-armed channeling of our collective malaise if Mering had gone with “It’s Us”; her acknowledgement of political reality, “Children of the Empire,” would be more clear-eyed if she’d sung about “crimes” instead of “sins.” (That Pentecostal upbringing can be hard to shake.) But I’m glad her lyrics are increasingly aphoristic (“If a man can't see his shadow, oh/He can block your sun all day”) and though she doesn’t quite believe it when “they say” that “The Worst Is Done,” but there’s a bit of a jaunt to her “It's a different world and I am a different/I am a different girl” (partial credit to that over a Fleetwood Mac-ish groove). Show up early for opener Vagabon (aka Cameroonian-American singer-songwriter Laetitia Tamko), who has a new album slotted for 2023 (her first since late 2019), and its lead single, “Carpenter,” promises good things. $22/$25. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris
Insight Design Series
Walker Art Center
Graphic design is their passion. Really! For over 30 years, AIGA and WAC have hosted Insight Design Series, an event that invites talented folks from around the world to come to the museum and talk about how design can be transformative, impactful, and radical. Things kicked off last week with multi-disciplinary artist Prem Krishnamurthy. This week, Brooklyn-based studio WeShouldDoItAll will be in town to talk about being tasked with leading the community galleries in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Next week Turkish-born, Portland-based Serifcan Ozcan explores working with clients ranging from Vogue to Nike to Bud Light. Next is Angela Washko, an artist who uses video-game and digital worlds to examine things like toxic masculinity and queerphobia. The series concludes with record shop Extreme Noise Records, which will be taking a look at Twin Cities’ punk history through community art and design. Lectures are $24 each ($10 if you’re a student), while many of the series’ related workshops, classes, and online sessions are free. 7 p.m. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis; find tickets and more info here. Tuesdays through April 4—Jessica Armbruster
Trash Film Debauchery
“What the filmmakers lacked in money they make up for in gratuitous violence,” the Trash Film Debauchery team promises of Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence. What, you’ve never heard of Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence? You’re forgiven—each month TFD unearths some slice of wonderful garbage cinema for viewers at the Trylon. This “hilarious English dub,” directed by Andreas Schnaas, follows two doctors as they attempt to stop an epidemic of zombieism and make a bloody and disgusting mess along the way. $5. 7 p.m. 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; tickets and more info here.—Em Cassel
Strings for Peace
Dakota Jazz Club
How good at guitar is St. Louis Park native Sharon Isbin? In 1989, the three-time Grammy winner founded Juilliard's guitar department. And Isbin’s Strings for Peace collaborator, 77-year-old Amjad Ali Khan, “is to the sarod... what the late Ravi Shankar was to sitar,” writes Star Tribune music critic Jon Bream. High praise. "The music Amjad Ali Khan has composed for guitar and sarod is sheer genius, and I don’t use this term lightly," says Isbin in an artist’s statement. "In an amazing way, [Strings for Peace] interweaves our varied musical, spiritual and artistic traditions with mystical beauty, creativity, grace and great emotion.” At the Dakota they'll be joined by Khan's sons, classical sarod aces Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash. $50-$70. 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
St. Patrick’s Day
Cue the Onion meme! In the interest of reader service, I’ll spare you any riffs and japes on the alcohol appetites of my ancestral people. Instead, we’ll simply kick to the parades—in Minneapolis and in St. Paul. And, of course, there are the tavern-based festivities: Two days of tunes at The Dubliners; St. Patrick Swayze's Day Party at Bauhaus Brew Labs; Green Matcha cider release, live music, and drag brunch at Sociable Cider Werks; The Belfast Cowboys at The Hook & Ladder; Feed the Dog's "Shamrock Shakedown" at The Cabooze; a whole lotta live music at Morrissey's Irish Pub; Gus the Bardic Troubadour at O'Donovan's Irish Pub; a more cultural, less shit-faced observation at Landmark Center; bands galore at Kieran's Irish Pub; killer game/pizza deals at Up-Down; and, of course, the St. Pawddy's Fest dog leprechaun costume contest at Lakes & Legends Brewing Co. on Saturday. Not satisfied by our boozy link roundup? The city of Minneapolis tourism department has a nice one, as does the city of St. Paul’s. Whew! Have fun out there, and stay safe.—Jay Boller
DISCONCÉ⏤A Beyoncé Disco
7th St. Entry
This is a Beyoncé disco, but it’s also much more than a Beyoncé disco. It’s a beyond-cé disco, if you will. At DISCONCÉ, DJ OMGIGI and special guests/muses Lady Cummeal Cassadine, Priscilla Es Yuicy, and Cariño will be spinning funk, soul, disco, R&B, and trap. It’s a celebration of all the sounds that influenced last year’s Renaissance (as well as the six Bey records that preceded it), and a celebration of the Black and Latinx and queer pioneers who created and refined the many genres of dance and club music Beyoncé seamlessly weaves together on her latest record. You know you need a night out like this—the Renaissance World Tour won’t hit the Twin Cities until July (and those ticket prices!). 18+. $10 in advance; $12 at the door. 9 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find tickets and more info here. —Em Cassel
“It’s dumb just come have fun.” So reads the promotional pitch for Shrek Rave, a dance night themed around everyone’s favorite Scottish ogre. For irony-soaked millennials who spend too much time online (hello!), the 2001 animated film has sprouted a cottage industry of memes and in-jokes, a phenomenon that L.A. host/artist Jordan Craig first translated into a rave two years ago. “When people say there’s a Shrek rave, where else are you going to go?” 28-year-old raver Nick told the New York Times last July. “I found out about this a day and a half ago. I wish I knew earlier, I would have brought earwax.” In what trippy, bass-throbbing ways will Shrek, Donkey, Lord Farquaad, and the gang manifest in the Mainroom, which’ll be rebranded as “The Swamp” tonight? You gotta see for yourself—where else are you gonna go? (P.S. Did you know the late, great Chris Farley was originally planned to voice Shrek? Check out these fantastic early recordings.) $22-$37. 9 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller
Dru Hill, Case, Shai
You better get decked out good for this throwback showcase of '90s R&B—though if you’ve already got tickets you probably don’t need me to tell you that. The Baltimore-spawned group Dru Hill is touting this tour as a celebration of their 25th anniversary (though it arrives here two years too late to earn its title). And for all their occasional histrionics, their brief heyday (six years, three R&B No. 1s, and eight top tens) adds up to a legacy that shouldn’t be overshadowed by the pop success of Sisqó (who we are obligated to mention, once again, lives in Maple Grove). And if you’re wondering “Who exactly is in Dru Hill these days?”—the group’s size and personnel shifted regularly over the years—know that seven of its eight members will perform tonight. Soulfully masculine Case is Dru Hill’s rough contemporary; sensitive harmonisers Shai peaked before they came on the scene. If you’re too young to recognize any of these names, you may just have been conceived to their music. 8 p.m. $59-$129. 910 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris
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
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. Through March—Keith Harris
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
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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