Cat Video Festival draws the feline freaks to CHS Field: A-List 8.2-8.8

Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune

Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune

This week in A-List we have the epic Fringe Festival, beer parties of the science-y and fruity varieties, and the return of the Cat Video Festival. Come take a look.  


Circus Juventas: Nordrsaga
Circus Juventas
The largest performing youth circus in North America is right here in town. This summer, talented kids and teens will take to the big top for Nordrsaga, a piece where vikings, valkyries, and gods race against each other in the land of Asgard in search of Thor’s hammer. As the story unfolds, there will be feats of strength, acrobatics, and balance, including a giant ship that swings to and fro. Tickets sell out quickly for these programs, so be sure to check out for more info. 7 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, plus Wednesday, August 2; 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $17.50-$40. 1270 Montreal Ave., St. Paul; 651-699-8229. Through August 13 —Jessica Armbruster

Arj Barker
Acme Comedy Co.
“I started a DIY channel on YouTube,” Arj Barker reports. “I decided to learn how to work with wood, and I thought I might as well film it and make use of it. It’s called Do It Myself.” Not a straight-on parody, like Henry Phillips’ cooking videos, Barker says the humor in his series just flows naturally out of his attempt to complete a given project. “Ultimately, I’m far from an expert, and don’t know what I’m doing,” he adds. “I pretend I’m an expert, and sometimes I’ll flat out admit I’m not.” Most episodes are shot around his house in Australia, where he’ll return at the end of this tour. “I always want to make time for my favorite clubs, and Acme is certainly one of those,” he says, “that’s why I’m delighted to have my final week in the United States be spent with you guys.” Barker is currently developing a new hour. “I’m documenting the downside of all the technology we have. Sometimes I’ll mention the perks, but that’s the thesis.” It seems the more automated we are, the less we’re part of the equation. At least, that’s what Barker has noticed. “It’s all comedy and laughs, No. 1,” he assures. “I’m not trying to save the world, I just like to comment on it.” 18+. 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $15-$18. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson


Science of Brewing
Bakken Library and Museum
Thursday’s party at the Bakken is a night of fun, flavor, and science. The Smithsonian-affiliated museum, located just off of Lake Calhoun, is hosting an evening dedicated to the science of brewing. Folks from Fair State, Bauhaus, Tin Whiskers, and Boom Island will be pouring samples and talking about the finer details of making beer. Meanwhile Prohibition (kombucha), Superior Switchel Co. (an all-natural electrolyte drink), and Five Watt Coffee will round out the lineup with delicious non-alcoholic offerings. The happening isn’t just about the samples: Each business will discuss how their ingredients interplay, so you can try your own flavor concoctions at home. Cocktails and snacks will also be served, all with a live Americana soundtrack from Elizabeth Ghandour & the Highburners. 21+. 5:30 to 9 p.m. $15; $20 with tasting pass. 3537 Zenith Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-926-3878. —Loren Green

Fringe Festival
Various locations
It’s been a big year of change for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. For her first year as executive director, Dawn Bentley plans to stay the course. “Understanding how this machine operates is my main goal for this year,” she says. That means that the all-play ticketing system that debuted last year will return, so buying admission for one show means getting a wristband for the day. The festival will be reviving the VIP pass (formerly known as the “ultra pass”) option this year, for super fans who want in on the entire run. Another welcome return: This year the Jungle Theater will be a Fringe venue for the first time since 2010. Republic at Seven Corners will once again be Fringe Central, the official hangout for artists and patrons to quaff a brew and share the scoop on what’s hot and what’s not. With 168 different shows over 11 days, there’s a lot to take in—as Bentley knows well. “I’ve been a Fringe attendee for much of the last 23 years, so I’m very interested in learning the inner workings,” she says. “Next year we’ll be celebrating a quarter-century, which is no small feat for an arts organization that operates, literally, on the fringe.” Plan your Fringe by checking out the schedule at Day passes are $16 weekdays, $22 Saturdays and Sundays ($5 kids); VIP passes are $200. Through August 13 —Jay Gabler

Art, Vino, Calaveras
Solar Arts Building
Join Twin Cities Latinx artists (in case you haven’t heard, many people of Latin American heritage prefer this term to Latino/Latina) at the Solar Arts Building, where you’ll find art, music, and wine. It’s all in support of the annual Festival de las Calaveras, happening later this fall. During the party, Pacha Glaviz will be painting portraits live while local artists—including Savita Bettaglio, Gustavo Lira, Dougie Padilla, Deborah Ramos, and Tina Tavera—exhibit their work. There’ll be ceramics, paintings, prints, photography, and handmade corn paper on display, with tunes provided by DJ Demex. It’s taking place during northeast Minneapolis’ First Thursdays event, so you can wander to other studios during the evening as well. 7 to 9 p.m. Free. 711 15th Ave. NE, Studio 209, Minneapolis; 763-234-5069. —Sheila Regan


Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live
Historic State Theatre
“The big thing was doing Cinematic Titanic live,” says Mystery Science Theater 3000 mastermind Joel Hodgson of the show’s new live stage version. “We did live shows over the course of six years, and that really helped the new MST3K so much in terms of being able to do it live.” Performing the movie-riffing show live presents a unique set of challenges. “The big thing is you have to be on your toes, because you’re editing while the audience is laughing,” he explains. “Sometimes they’ll laugh at a joke real hard that they might not have laughed at that hard the night before, and it could eclipse the setup for the next joke. So, you’re constantly rearranging your material.” It’s that material that made MST3K an American comedy institution back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. “I think what made it unique was we used very Midwestern references, even when the show went national,” Hodgson says. “We would talk about things we knew about and talk about regional things and personalities like Barry ZeVan. We’d often do impressions of him.” Repeat cable showings allowed audiences across the country to sink their teeth into the show and dissect many of those references. “MST3K is known for doing very eclectic Midwestern references at a time when that was not the fashion at all.” There will be two different performances, the first being the film Eegah at 7 p.m., while the 10 p.m. show will a feature a surprise movie complete with different wrap-around sketches. 7 and 10 p.m. $39.50-$49.50. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. —P.F. Wilson

The Holler Sessions
Guthrie Theater
Despite becoming less prevalent to mainstream listeners, jazz has influenced every musical style to arise in its wake. This ingrained influence is explored with irresistible enthusiasm in playwright Frank Boyd’s The Holler Sessions. Patterned as a radio broadcast, this one-man show at the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio finds Boyd channeling a frenetic Kansas City disc jockey who’s infatuated with jazz. Feverishly extolling both the virtues and vices of the form’s most innovative musicians, timeless compositions, and landmark recordings, Boyd plays the role with an evangelical zeal that borders on the fanatical. The character’s emotional fervor applies not just to the music but also to the hardscrabble history of a culture capable of sparking such an impassioned outpouring of musical expression. Rather than academic arguing, the production demonstrates the enduring potency of the music with captivating song selections. Wisely enough, it seems that even the irrepressibly obsessed Boyd knows when to quiet down and let the music speak for itself. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays through August 13; 1 p.m. Sunday, August 20. $9. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224. Through August 20 —Brad Richason

Uptown Art Fair
Uptown Minneapolis
Yes, the crowds can cause irritable congestion; with some 40,000 visitors the Uptown Art Fair is second only to the Minnesota State Fair in terms of overall attendance. And yes, the displayed works can vary wildly in terms of aptitude and originality. But such a wide range is exactly what makes the fair so fascinating. Organized around 12 disciplines, the three-day event highlights an enormously diverse spectrum from over 350 contributing artists. Providing experience for aspiring artists, the Youth Art Fair in Calhoun Square turns the spotlight on works from those between the ages of 8 and 18, while edible inventiveness can be found at the Kitchen Window Culinary Arts Competition. Should the latter induce hunger, over 23 food vendors have enlisted to satisfy cravings, or attendees can opt for the liquid refreshments at the Indeed Brewing-sponsored beer gardens. Meanwhile, the festival’s sister event, Powderhorn Art Fair, will offer a variety of art to peruse as well. For more info, visit Noon to 8 p.m.Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 3001 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Through Sunday —Brad Richason


2017 Square Lake Film & Music Festival
Square Lake
Now in its 15th year, the Square Lake Film & Music Festival is a day filled with local music and short films. Folks who bike to the festival can meet up with crews at the HUB Bike Co-op and Cycles for Change (riding to the event also scores you cheaper admission tickets). During the day, a variety of Twin Cities bands will take the stage, such as supergroup Gramma’s Boyfriend, the folksy Roma di Luna, blues rockers the Black Eyed Snakes, plus Tony Peachka, the Sunken Lands, and Monica LaPlante. Over 50 short films and animations will screen, including a documentary about Duluth violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea. As is tradition with this celebration, a local band will create a live score for a noted silent film. This year, ZULUZULUU is up for the challenge, creating new music to George Melies’ Voyage dans la Lune (Voyage to the Moon) (1902). Tickets and more info can be found at 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.; bike rides meet at 10 a.m. $35; $15 if biking. 13359 Partridge Rd. N., Stillwater. —Jessica Armbruster

2017 Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour
Franconia Sculpture Park
It may already be hot outside, but the artists coming to town for the Hot Metal Pour will be dealing with temps even higher. During the day, they will be working with 4,000 pounds of molten iron as they pour materials into molds. They will use a centuries-old technique, and visitors will be able to get up close to view the process. Take a behind-the-scenes tour, and enjoy rhythmic live music from Savage Aural Hotbed. Noon to 8 p.m. Free. 29836 St. Croix Trail, Shafer; 651-257-6668. —Jessica Armbruster

Here Here 2017: A Live Music and Movement Festival
The Cedar
The composer and choreographer pairings are once again surprising, poetic, and original for this second-annual event of live music and movement. Dance and theater artist Sharon Picasso has teamed up with Queen Drea, a performance artist and maker of soundscapes, promising a boundary-defying amalgam of sensory innovation. Dancer and choreographer Maggie Bergeron and bass pioneer Nicholas Gaudette (the two also curated the evening) will no doubt be revelatory. Mover Margaret Ogas and saxophonist Ivan Cunningham (Jelloslave cellist Michelle Kinney’s son, y’all!) have assembled a quintet that will point out the directions in which a new generation of performing artists is taking us. 7 p.m. $8-$18. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-2674. —Camille LeFevre

Insight Fruit Jamboree
Insight Brewing
Beer releases are like block parties with souvenirs. This weekend, Insight is bringing back its popular Doe Eyes saison, a late-summer seasonal that’s brewed with, on average, a pound of cherries per pint. They’ll sell limited supplies of the beer in take-home bottles, and other fruited beers will be on tap throughout the day, including Strawberry Wit, Peach DankBot, Oaked Doe Eyes, Raspberry Hell Chicken, and Grapefruit Trollway. Meanwhile, the ’90s will come to life via five different themed cover bands: Trompe Le Monde (Pixies), Fistful of Datas (’90s alternative), Pleezer (Weezer), Alive (Pearl Jam), and Lithium (Nirvana). Hit up eBay for a vintage Lollapalooza shirt and come get in line for six distinct fruit-forward beers. A portion of the $2 entry fee goes toward educational nonprofit Sunny Day Earth Solutions. Noon to 10 p.m. $2. 2821 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-722-7222. —Loren Green


Red Stag Block Party: In Cahoots
Red Stag Supperclub
The local beer scene is a tightknit community with plenty of camaraderie. There’s also competition. At Red Stag’s annual block party, you get both of these things, as seven beers are pitted against each other in a friendly bout where fans vote for their favorites. Each variety is a collaborative effort between two local breweries. This year’s teams are Modist/Dangerous Man, Fulton/Bad Weather, Schell’s/Indeed, Surly/Steel Toe, Bang/Fair State, Bauhaus/Sociable Cider Werks, and Bent Paddle/Able. All seven beers are unique to the event, and the team results are often hard to predict. What will happen when a cidery works with a German-inspired brewery? How will the outspoken Surly collaborate with the quiet-natured Steel Toe? There are many questions, and the answers can only be found in a plastic cup outside at the Supperclub. Music is another highlight of the fest. Get down to the likes of Catbath, RLGDPPL, Graveyard Trio, Black Market Brass, the Blind Shake, 4onthefloor, and Epitome No Question. A portion of beer sales go to a charitable cause selected by the winning brew team. 2 to 8 p.m. Free. 509 First Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-767-7766. —Loren Green

Over the Rainbow: Last Days of Nye’s
Corner Store Gallery NE
Who wouldn’t want one last chance to drink in an eyeful of Nye’s shenanigans? Photographers Mike Madison and Steven Cohen clearly did. The result is a lively show of Nye’s Polonaise Room’s last days as one of the last authentic drinking, community, and polka experiences in town. If you blinked during Art-A-Whirl this year, you might have missed this exhibition’s opening, so a special closing reception is being held this weekend. The World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band (the house band at Nye’s for decades) will be on hand to enliven the activities. Take a look, reminisce, maybe even weep as you dance your partner round and round. 5 to 10 p.m. Free. 501 22nd Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-788-1294. Now through Sunday —Camille LeFevre


Laurie Penny
Magers & Quinn Booksellers
Laurie Penny is a British journalist, essayist, and activist whose informal, entertaining, and passionate style often succeeds in making radical ideas seem both reasonable and realizable. Her new book, Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults, is a collection of pieces written between 2013 and 2016, “usually under savage deadline pressure,” as she states in the introduction, “under the full glare of online scrutiny.” In other words, the pieces weren’t necessarily written for the ages, but they speak incisively to the present, whether making a classically socialist case for the reduction of work, showing how an inborn romanticism can flourish when loosed from “the confines of the traditional, monogamous, nuclear family,” or more generally trying to plot a post-Trump, post-Brexit course “between the exhaustion of perpetual outrage and the numbness of normalisation.” 7 p.m. Free. 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-822-4611. —Dylan Hicks


Cat Video Festival 2017
CHS Field
Summer in Minnesota just isn’t complete without a shitload of cat clips. Since 2012, the Cat Video Festival has drawn thousands of crazy cat people and celebrities alike (Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub have both attended in past years) to the Walker, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, and the festival’s current home, CHS Field. The evening is exactly as advertised: a celebration of cat videos. Funny, awkward, and just plain adorable, the festival’s mix includes classic feline shorts along with brand-new films nominated by local cat enthusiasts. Cats are (ironically) not allowed inside the festival grounds, because the evening will feature fireworks and other activities that will likely make your pets lose their minds. In addition to the main attraction, there will also be live music, a special kids’ zone, an artists’ alley, and concessions. The cat video screenings will kick off right around 8 p.m. Don’t forget to wear your finest cat sweatshirt or, if you’re a real cat person, just wear whatever because it’s all covered in cat hair anyway. Tickets and more info can be found at Gates open at 6 p.m. $10; $75 VIP. 360 N. Broadway St., St. Paul. —Patrick Strait