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CONvergence heads to Minneapolis, a semi-nude bike ride, and more: A-List 7.3

Red, White, and Boom

Red, White, and Boom Star Tribune

Here's this week's top happenings.

WEDNESDAY 7.3

Greg Coleman
Acme Comedy Co.

Greg Coleman wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and hoped one day to play in the NFL. However, he had a slightly different game plan. “I was going to play for a few years and then move into TV,” he says, “but a few concussions and a broken foot later, I decided to start telling jokes.” He made this choice during his years in college. In the locker room, he was a bit of jokester. “Every pre-game I’d interview my teammates and try to get them to laugh,” he says. “Some of them liked it; some of them were like, ‘Man, what’s wrong with you?’” At practices, he sometimes got in trouble for trying to lighten the mood. After a stint as a cast member on the Tony Fly morning show on B96, he started doing standup. On stage these days, he talks about his life, current events, and sports. “I have jokes I can tell 10 times in a row, but each time it will be a little different,” he says, “but mostly I like to have a structured conversation with the audience.” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Friday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $15-$18. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Freedom From Pants Ride

Freedom From Pants Ride Star Tribune

THURSDAY 7.4

Freedom From Pants XIII
Hennepin Bridge on Nicollet Island

There’s not a lot to celebrate about America right now. But a holiday is always a good excuse to spend time with people you love doing something memorable. On the Fourth, the Freedom from Pants crew rides once more. People will meet under a bridge on Nicollet Island, and toast to body positivity, semi-nudity, and friendship before hitting the streets en masse. The route is usually kept secret until the day of, but typically includes stops at parks and beaches. Requested attire for this event is whatever you want: Many will be nearly nude/down to their skivvies, while others may ride fully clothed. The choice is yours. Don’t, however, choose to be an ugly American. Leave the fireworks and squirt guns at home, and don’t even think about telling someone to take off more clothes. We all still have the right to choose (for now, at least, in Minnesota). 6 p.m. to midnight. Free. 2 Merriam St., Minneapolis. —Jessica Armbruster

CONvergence
Hyatt Regency Hotel

Now that the niche realms of science-fiction and fantasy have been embraced by mainstream audiences, fan conventions have followed suit, offering enthusiasts the chance to cosplay their favorite characters, seek out vintage collectibles, and gather autographs from celebrity guests. While these elements remain an integral part of CONvergence, the longstanding local convention has retained geek credibility by championing the more cerebral and eclectic aspects of their genres of choice. For example, the CONvergence guest roster is as likely to include groundbreaking scientists as it is Hugo Award-winning authors. Even so, CONvergence goers aren’t averse to cutting loose, as evidenced by the gaming rooms, movie screenings, costume contests, spoken-word sessions, live music performances, and late-night raves. Throughout it all, CONvergence emphatically rejects any trace of toxic fandom, promoting an atmosphere of intergalactic inclusivity. Check www.convergence-con.org for tickets and a complete schedule. $35-$125. 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Through Sunday —Brad Richason

Red, White, and Boom 2019
Various locations

There are plenty of places to see fireworks for the Fourth. But if you’ve never seen them on the downtown Minneapolis riverfront, you’re missing out. In addition to the live explosions, there will be food trucks, plus two stages of live music. That includes old-school ska by the Prizefighters, classic-rock fusion from Yesterdawn, pop-folk from Sawyer’s Dream, and country music by Tre Aaron. If that’s not enough face-melting Americana, the night before you can catch Solo: A Star Wars Story at Boom Island Park, making it a double-decker event free of charge. As for Independence Day, fireworks will start promptly at 10 p.m. and the crowds will be massive, but the display is equally massive so you can catch them from almost anywhere in the city. Other related activities this weekend include a half-marathon, a 5K fun run, and family activities. 6:30 p.m.; fireworks at 10 p.m. Free. 65 SE Main St., Minneapolis. —Patrick Strait

"Curio"

"Curio" Katherine Kuehne

FRIDAY 7.5

Curio
Light Grey Art Lab

Light Grey Art Lab’s newest exhibition, “Curio,” consists of eight mini-shows, put together by a team of artists who recently traveled to Iceland and Norway through the gallery’s residency programs. Since 2014, Light Grey has programmed residencies in those countries as a way of learning and inspiring the creative practices of the artists who participate. This year’s pieces include ghosts, magic fire, and “vatn,” the Icelandic word for water. There’s also a Nordic runes collection, curated by the Norway Creative Residency team, which explores iconography, gods, and the messages of the 24 runes, dating back thousands of years. With illustrations, screenprints, watercolor postcards, buttons, pins, and zines, the exhibition bursts with inspiration from the Nordic region. At the opening reception on Friday, July 5, there will be food, refreshments, music, and a chance to meet the artists from 7 to 10 p.m. 118 E. 26th St., Minneapolis; 612-239-2047. Through September 6 —Sheila Regan

18th Annual Dances at the Lake Festival
Lake Harriet Rose Garden

Shakespeare in the park is a common offering during the summertime, but how often do you get to see an outdoor dance performance? For the past 18 years, Dances at the Lake Festival has been bringing local dance groups together for a variety show at the Rose Garden. Presented by the Ray Terrill Dance Group, the evening will feature all kinds of movement from all kinds of movers. There will be student groups, kids, and professionals. You’ll see flamenco, African drum and dance, a Bollywood-style set, and modern dance. Troupes include Christoper Watson, Jawaahir, and Freshwater, among many others. Plan to picnic, or take a stroll through the gardens before the show. 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Free. 4124 Roseway Rd., Minneapolis. Through Saturday —Jessica Armbruster

Scream It Off Screen
The Parkway Theater

See democracy in action at Scream It Off Screen this holiday weekend. For each installment, local filmmakers submit 15-minute shorts to screen at the Parkway. Audiences watch the first three minutes, then they collectively vote on whether or not to watch the rest of the film. If you’re voting “nay,” you’ll start screaming. If the vote is “yay,” then you remain silent. Films that get majority screams will be gonged and booted from the competition. In the end, the top filmmaker walks away with a sweet $101. You’re going to see some weird-ass stuff at this event. Some of it will be amazing, some of it will be lame. You decide what you scream for. These films aren’t pre-screened; entrants simply need to be one of the first 15 to submit a flick earlier in the week at Turtle Bread. So you never know what you’re going to get. 18+. 7 p.m. $8. 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; 612-822-8080. —Jessica Armbruster

Transmission: The Upside Down
First Avenue

In celebration of the new season of Stranger Things on Netflix, Transmission is hosting another ’80s dance party with a creepy edge. During the event, your host DJ Jake Rudh will spin tunes and screen videos. We suspect that there will be appearances of spooky tunes like Beatfreakz’s “Somebody’s Watching Me,” the Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” and hits from the Ghostbusters soundtrack. Stranger Things attire is encouraged; if you’re rocking a shaved head this summer, you’re already halfway there. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. $10-$13. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. —Jessica Armbruster

Jeeves Takes a Bow
Theatre In the Round

The farcical nature of Jeeves Takes a Bow, Theatre in the Round Players’ latest take on the works of English humorist P.G. Wodehouse, becomes clear with just a glance at the character sheet, featuring such names as Binky Binkersteth, Ruby LeRoy, and Knuckles McCann. Subtlety has seldom been on tap for the screwball misadventures of absentminded dandy Bertie Wooster and his virtuoso valet, Jeeves, here skillfully adapted by Margaret Raether. This particular episode finds the two Londoners vacationing in Midtown Manhattan, circa the roaring 1920s, as they’re approached by Binky, one of Wooster’s oldest and dimmest acquaintances. The slumming aristocrat has adopted Wooster’s name as an alias, aspiring to walk on the wild side by acting in a musical alongside the capricious ingenue Ruby LeRoy. All of which would have been harmless enough if the possessive gangster Knuckles McCann hadn’t already been smitten with Ruby. Cue a rollicking sequence of ludicrous mishaps and slapstick showbiz shenanigans. Audiences witnessing the madcap mischief will have a perfectly unflustered guide in the ever competent, sensible, droll Jeeves. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. $18-$22. 245 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-3010. Through July 28 —Brad Richason

Agostino Zoida
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

Agostino Zoida didn’t have to move to L.A. to become a standup comic; he was already living there. “I’m from Sherman Oaks, born and raised,” he says. However, growing up in Los Angeles, he didn’t have any more of an understanding of show business than a kid in, say, the Midwest. “I was homeschooled and pretty isolated,” he says. “I watched older movies, like Jerry Lewis films, and loved the art of comedy and film. When I discovered standup, I fell in love.” At 18, he worked a steady run of day jobs with the notion of maybe doing comedy. “If I didn’t feel like going to work, I’d tell them I had a show. And I wasn’t even a comic yet.” After getting laid off, he decided to use the situation to his advantage. He set a date and gave himself a month to write material for his first open mic while he collected unemployment. “These days, my set is about my marriage, my family, and a lot of storytelling,” he says. “You’re going to hear a lot about my wife and my thoughts on life.” 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $16-$23. 408 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Sunday —P.F. Wilson

Little Mekong Night Market

Little Mekong Night Market

SATURDAY 7.6

Little Mekong Night Market
Little Mekong

Twin Cities residents love their farmers markets in the morning and their block parties in the afternoon. Fortunately, night markets have popped up in recent years to fill evenings. It’s impossible to discuss Little Mekong Night Market without focusing on the variety of foods offered from southeast Asia, whether it’s fried egg rolls and dumplings, savory sausages, sweet fruit, or ice cream desserts. Let loose while the belt gets a little bit tighter. In addition to the food, you’ll find vendors and displays creating an inclusive, diverse event that showcases Asian roots and the fusion of American and Asian cultures. All of this is done with a street-culture vibe—meaning it’s affordable (and often crowded). Performances include traditional dancers and a breakdancing competition. Expect to overeat and to see something you haven’t seen before. More info can be found at www.littlemekong.com. 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday; 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Free. 422 University Ave. W., St. Paul. Through Sunday —Loren Green

Strider Cup Minneapolis
The Commons

This weekend, downtown Minneapolis’ Commons area is hosting the cutest freakin’ bike event of the summer. During this mini-fest, kids ages two to six will be racing against each other on a variety of tracks. Cheer them on and enter your little one into a race. There will also be a practice area open to all tykes, and winners take home giant trophies. Sign up your kid and find more info at striderbikes.com. 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Free to watch; $32 to race. 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-339-0910. —Jessica Armbruster

Canoeing at Loring Park

Canoeing at Loring Park

MONDAY 7.8

Free Canoeing
Loring Park

For those looking for a downtown activity that is a little off the beaten path, consider taking a canoe tour. Mondays during the summertime months, Loring Park hosts free canoe rides for anyone interested. A naturalist will hook you up with a canoe, life vest, and paddles, and teach you tips on paddling while discussing local wildlife and waterways. Then you’ll be welcome to explore the area and practice your techniques. 5 to 7 p.m. Free. 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis. —Jessica Armbruster