A flea market, beer parties, and the Picnic Operetta returns: A-List 8.15-21

The Picnic Operetta returns.

The Picnic Operetta returns. Image courtesy event organizers

Check out this week's top happenings.

Rhythmically Speaking

Rhythmically Speaking Bill Cameron


Rhythmically Speaking
The Southern Theater


Jazz dance is alive, well, and evolving in the Twin Cities, and Erinn Liebhard’s dance group is helping to lead the way. In celebration of Rhythmically Speaking’s 10th anniversary, such local choreographic luminaries as Laura Selle-Virtucio, Karla Grotting, and Leila Awadallah, as well as Dallas-based dance maker Brandi Coleman, have created new works for the company. Here is jazz dance infused with a variety of perspectives and movement styles, firmly rooted in the power of emotional resonance and rhythmic intensity. Find tickets and more info at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday. $20-$23. 1420 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis; 612-326-1811. Through Saturday —Camille LeFevre

’Night, Mother
Grain Belt Warehouse

In playwright Marsha Norman’s ’Night, Mother, suicidal Jessie is a divorced 30-something whose daily routine, though admittedly mundane, isn’t inordinately distressing. In fact, simple comforts govern the household in which Jessie lives with her mother, Thelma. Jessie’s matter-of-fact admission of her suicide plans shatters that facade of contentment, leaving Thelma to alternately cajole, bargain, and plead with her daughter to change her mind. As a dramatic work, ’Night, Mother is bracingly intimate, stripping away theatrics to confront the mortal struggle of two characters bound by love but lacking in understanding. In the hands of Dark & Stormy Productions, the play also promises an acting tour-de-force from two of the Twin Cities’ most mesmerizing talents, Sally Wingert and Sara Marsh. Directed by Hayley Finn, associate artistic director at the Playwrights’ Center, this bold staging exposes the loneliness that haunts far too many lives and seeks empathy in the catharsis of understanding. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, plus Sunday and Monday, August 19-20, and Wednesdays starting August 29. $34-$39; $15 if under 30. 77 13th Ave. N. Studio 202, Minneapolis; 612-401-4506. Through September 8 —Brad Richason

Sounds for Silents

Sounds for Silents Walker Art Center

Sound For Silents: Film + Music
Walker Art Center

When the Walker Art Center decides to get in on the movies and music in the park scene, usually there’s nary a blockbuster on the schedule. Instead, the museum goes deep, screening films that time forgot -- but shouldn’t. This summer, they’ll once again screen avant-garde oddities from other eras on their grassy lawn. The lineup includes Walter Ruttmann’s abstract animated film series Lichtspiel: Opus I-IV (1921–25), and Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927). They’ll also share Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand’s Manhatta (1920-21), and The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918), featuring the work of animation pioneer Winsor McCay. Martin Dosh and the Dosh Quintet will play live tunes to certain selections, and food trucks serving up eats will round out the evening. 8:30 p.m. Free. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis; 612-375-7600. --Jessica Armbruster

Ben Roy
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

“I was never really interested in doing standup,” admits comedian Ben Roy. “I think I was kind of an angry kid. I was grumpy and really didn’t feel like I had a place.” The Maine native channeled that teen angst into rock ’n’ roll, joining a band that played covers of songs by groups like Green Day and Weezer when he was 15. A year later, he formed a punk band that did original material. He moved to Colorado as an adult, where he decided to further pursue a music career while his wife got a job at the Comedy Works in Denver. “I tried to talk her out of it,” he recalls, “because I thought comedy sucked. Thankfully, she took the job and altered the course of the rest of my life.” Roy spent a lot of time at the venue hanging out with his wife and her co-workers, where he made everyone laugh. At the behest of the club’s general manager, he tried an open mic. That experience changed his perception of standup. He’s still active in music as a member of the band Spells. Meanwhile, his standup set includes tales about traveling and whatever else is going on in his life. “I like relating everyone’s experience as human beings.” 16+. 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $16-$23. 408 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Sunday —P.F. Wilson

Chris Gethard
Acme Comedy Co.

Standup comedian Chris Gethard’s résumé is eclectic. Many may know him as the host of TruTV’s recently canceled The Chris Gethard Show, an anything-goes variety program that wore its weirdness on its sleeve. His podcast, Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, features phone conversations of painful or funny stories from anyone who happens to call him. These endeavors highlight Gethard’s love of the absurd, but he is a warm, personable performer. His recent HBO special, Career Suicide, focused on his experiences with anxiety and depression. He also has a book about those experiences, Lose Well, coming out in October. But despite all of that on his plate, his upcoming three-night stint at Acme will be straightforward comedy. “No artsy experiments,” he says, “just lock and load, let’s go.” 18+. 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Saturday. $22. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —David Brusie

Your local superheros.

Your local superheros. AfreakCON


Pillsbury House Theatre


A few weeks ago, folks gathered at the RiverCentre in St. Paul to celebrate all things geeky. This week’s nerd party is smaller in scale, but is sure to be fun. Like any good con, AfreakCON has a theme, as the two-day happening will be showcasing black excellence in comics, sci-fi culture, anime, and gaming. Come in costume and explore all this event has to offer, including a retro video-game arcade, an artists’ alley, and talks ranging from academic to joyfully silly. Snack on sugary cereal and milk while watching Saturday-morning cartoons, or stay up late for the cosplay dance party. Bring the kids if you got ’em, and make friends with fellow local “blerds” (that’s black nerds for you less cool people). 2 to 8 p.m. Friday; 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Free; $5 suggested donation. RSVP at 3501 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-825-0459. Through Saturday —Jessica Armbruster

Dr. Falstaff and the Working Wives of Lake County: A Picnic Operetta
Various locations

“Where we’re at is where I hoped to be, in terms of the geographical reach of the project and the community around folks who dedicate their summer to coming together to make this work,” says Scotty Reynolds, Mixed Precipitation’s artistic director. There were precedents for shows resembling the company’s picnic operetta—an itinerant blend of classical music, pop songs, and foodie fiesta—but it was still ambitious to imagine that the production would last for 10 summers, as it now has. This year’s inspiration is The Merry Wives of Windsor, an opera composed by Otto Nicolai (1810-1849), with added songs by Bruce Springsteen. A landmark mining case in the Arrowhead Region, where Reynolds grew up, will also play into the plot. Mining can be a hot-button topic, but Reynolds says he’s hoping to take an “even-handed and humorous” approach that evokes “the look and feel of late-’70s, early-’80s northern Minnesota.” That environment, he says, “has been deeply embedded in my soul, my heart.” $10-$20 suggested donation. Make reservations by calling 1-800-838-3006, or visit for locations and info. Through October 7 —Jay Gabler

Drink with friends at Achtoberfest.

Drink with friends at Achtoberfest. Insight Brewing


Insight Brewing

Insight Brewing built its brand on the idea of exploring new customs, cultures, and flavors. This weekend their focus will be everything German. During Achtoberfest, Insight will have a variety of special brews on tap outside: a Märzen-style lager (traditionally served at Oktoberfest), a schwarzbier black lager, a smoked lager, a Berliner Weisse, and their year-round German lager, Royal Nüisance. This Saturday’s parking lot party will also feature live music, games, lederhosen, and frequent stein-hoists. Begin the day with Kramarczuk’s serving up eats from noon to 4 p.m., and stick around for dinner from the Black Forest Inn from 4 to 10 p.m. Patrons can also mix it up inside, where the brewery’s regular menu lineup will be available. All ages. Noon to 10 p.m. Free. 2821 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-722-7222. —Loren Green

St. Paul Food Truck Festival 2018
Mears Park

This weekend, over 40 food trucks will be parking in Mears Park in Lowertown St. Paul to feed the masses. Choose from meaty options (Butcher Salt, New Bohemia), sweets (HomeTown Creamery, Original Hockey Mom’s Brownies), fried cheese (O’Cheeze), or spicy eats (Hot Indian Foods). Or try them all; each truck will have at least one $5 item on the menu to promote multi-sampling. The event will also boast live music and drinks, and could be a fun stop if you have plans in downtown St. Paul that evening. Noon to 10 p.m. Free. 221 E. Fifth St., St. Paul. —Jessica Armbruster

Little Africa Fest
Hamline Park

For the past five years, St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood — also known as Little Africa due to its plethora of African shops, restaurants, and residents — has hosted this festival with the help of the African Economic Development Solutions of Minnesota. Little Africa Fest is a wonderful, day-long event that celebrates African culture with music, food, dance, and poetry at Hamline Park. This weekend you can sample delicious food from different vendors, peruse jewelry and art by local creatives, and participate in lots of different family-friendly activities. A stage will showcase performers from all over the continent, from traditional acts to modern music. Be sure to check out the work of Ethiopian-born Binyam Raba, whose painting series, “Givings of a Global Immigrant,” debuted earlier this year at the Northern Spark Festival. 1 to 8 p.m. Free. 1564 Lafond Ave., St. Paul. —Sheila Regan

NE Brewers Block Party

NE Brewers Block Party Image courtesy event organizers


2018 NE Brewers Block Party
Sociable Cider Werks


When Minnesotans think of beer, northeast Minneapolis probably springs to mind. This Sunday, beer lovers can try a variety of brews from the brewery-heavy neighborhood in one location. Sociable Cider Werks is hosting the special celebration, which will boast offerings from 11 different breweries, including Insight, Indeed, HeadFlyer, Fair State, Dangerous Man, Bauhaus, and Able. Music will be provided by Viva Knieval (rock covers), New Primitives (reggae), and Radiochurch (R&B), with food trucks like Anchor Fish & Chips, Bark and the Bite, Cafe Racer, Red River Kitchen, and MN Nice Cream. There will also be an artists’ market with Solid State Vinyl Records and folks from Minneapolis Craft Market. A $5 wristband is required to drink, with part of those proceeds going to SACA Food Shelf & Thrift Store. All ages. 2 to 8 p.m. Free; $5 for a drinking wristband; $60 VIP. 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-758-0105. —Loren Green

Autoptic 2018

Print is still alive in 2018. If you need proof, this weekend more than 100 artists from the world of comics, poster art, and other print-based work will come together for the annual Autoptic arts festival. This Sunday, you’ll have the chance to check out the goods from special guests like British cartoonist Gabrielle Bell; artist and humorist Jessica Campbell, who recently released the hilarious book XTC69, featuring a crew of women searching for men to breed with; and Chuck Forsman, whose comic The End of the Fucking World was recently adapted into a Netflix original series of the same name. In addition to the main happening at Aria, the festival will also feature satellite events on Friday and Saturday. These include a kick-off gallery show and reception at Light Grey Art Lab, plus a panel discussion on “What’s next for YA comics” and a Craig Thompson spotlight (BlanketsSpace Dumplings) at Moon Palace Books. It’s all free to attend, and the main gig will be packed with comic and print fans. Find more info at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. 105 First St. N., Minneapolis; 612-342-2742. —Patrick Strait

Japanese Obon Festival

Japanese Obon Festival Star Tribune

Japanese Obon Festival
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Japanese arts, performance, and traditions will help create a beautiful day in the park in St. Paul. Entertainment at the Japanese Obon Festival will range from bad-ass to zen, with martial arts demonstrations, taiko drumming, traditional dance performances, and lots of live music. Take in a workshop on bonsai art, listen to tunes in the Japanese garden, and meet with local organizations and businesses. Delicious food will be plentiful, with shaved ice, sushi, teppanyaki, and octopus fritters on the menu. As the sun goes down, small lanterns will be lit and cast upon the waters of the park, celebrating the Japanese Obon holiday, where the dead visit the living and return to the spiritual world using the lights to guide their way. 3 to 9 p.m. $3-$5. 1225 Estabrook Dr., St. Paul; 651-487-8201. —Jessica Armbruster

3rd Annual Flea Market
Five Watt Coffee


Sunday afternoons are made for the following: brunch, bottomless mimosas, the New York Times, and farmers and flea markets. This week, you can try to score something cool, retro, or odd at Five Watt’s all-day flea market party. Check out up-cycled threads, locally made art, old vinyl, quirky furniture, and ceramics while downing some iced coffee. Vendors will include Twin Town Guitars, Wanderlust Vintage Market, and the Center for Lost Objects. You might discover some awesome crap, or a valuable gem, but you won’t know what you’ll find until you dig in and explore. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. 3745 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-259-7519. —Jessica Armbruster


Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue
Turf Club

Have you ever spent a Tuesday night watching people eat fire, swallow swords, and walk on hot shards of broken glass with their bare hands? Now you can. You’re guaranteed a real-life freak show when the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue rolls into the Turf Club this week. The group has appeared on America’s Got TalentThe Gong Show, and The Steve Harvey Show, performing insane tricks like shooting a man in the neck with a flaming arrow. They’ve got a crew that includes the “world’s smallest midget escape artist,” expert knife throwers, people seemingly immune to pain, and Hellzapoppin’s creator and stuntman, Bryce Graves. Illusions, beds of nails, and acrobatic stunts will all be on display, but without all of the annoying blood and pain that usually comes with it. It’s the perfect date-night show, or round up your co-workers for a late evening of relaxing cocktails and watching a dude drill directly into his sinus cavity. 21+. 9:30 p.m. $15. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-647-0486. —Patrick Strait