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Little Africa Fest, a vampire party, breweries collab at Red Stag: A-List 7.31-8.6

Little Africa Fest

Little Africa Fest Image courtesy event organizers

Do you like art fairs? You have options this weekend. How about extreme sports? Get ye to the X Games. Here's our list of recommended happenings this week.

Gareth Reynolds

Gareth Reynolds Image courtesy the standup

WEDNESDAY 7.31

Gareth Reynolds
Acme Comedy Co.

Many comics from neighboring Wisconsin have migrated to Minneapolis-St. Paul to pursue comedy, but that’s not the case for Milwaukee native Gareth Reynolds. “I started doing standup about 10 years ago in New York,” he says. It was in high school that he realized he didn’t have any marketable skills beyond making people laugh, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Being a comedian also means getting to do cool things, like visiting the Vikings’ new stadium before it opened. “As a Packers fan I know not to talk about my team when I’m there,” he notes. “The guy giving us the tour said we had to wear hard hats. And they had the Vikings logo on them.” Fellow comic Steve Byrne was also there, making fun of Reynolds and taking pictures of him in his Vikings hard hat. “Then, in the distance, I see that glorious green and gold on a hard hat. One of the construction workers would not play ball, and was wearing his Packers hard hat in enemy territory.” 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

X Games

X Games ESPN

THURSDAY 8.1

X Games Minneapolis
U.S. Bank Stadium

For the third consecutive year, the greatest action sports athletes from around the world will descend on U.S. Bank Stadium for the annual X Games Minneapolis. For four days, the very best in skateboarding, BMX, and motocross will compete for gold, while a stacked lineup of acts such as hip-hop legends Wu Tang Clan, rockers Incubus, electronic megastar Diplo, and hometown hero P.O.S take over the nearby Armory. While X Games is classified as a sporting event, it’s way more of a lifestyle festival where hardcore fans and curious onlookers come together to check out elite athletes in their element. You’ll also probably spot some tweens wearing Rockstar energy hats and hoodies in 90-degree weather while Snapchatting all of the insanity to their followers (who are also likely at X Games). Find more info at www.xgames.com. $20-$750. 900 S. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612-338-4537. Through Sunday —Patrick Strait

Fringe Festival
Various locations

The Fringe’s umbrella is steadily expanding to cover programming throughout the year and related projects like the Family Fringe, a curated showcase that’s returning this year. The core Fringe experience is the same, though: an 11-day dive into a deep pool of hour-long shows randomly selected from a weird and wild array of submissions, including clowning, dance, pop-culture parodies, and avant-garde experiments. One thing that’s changing this year: The day-pass wristbands, a controversial innovation in recent years, are being dumped in favor of a return to a version of the former system in which audience members buy single tickets or multi-show passes, which are now also good for Family Fringe presentations. Independent producers are also being welcomed, encouraging Fringe-goers to venture beyond the two core venue hubs in northeast Minneapolis and Cedar-Riverside. Grease up your bike chain and get ready to make some tough choices! Plan your Fringe by checking out the schedule at www.fringefestival.org. Through August 11 —Jay Gabler

Ryan Sickler
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

Once, when he was a boy, Ryan Sickler thought he was in trouble. He snuck downstairs, and saw his father watching the Richard Pryor film Busting Loose. “I got caught laughing,” he explains. “My father said, ‘Get in here. Watch this with me.’” From there, it was more movies and Saturday Night Live, particularly Eddie Murphy. “I imitated all the characters for my family and friends, and that’s when I started to see that drug called laughter and how you can really get people going.” He tried standup a few times when he was 20, then moved to L.A. to study improv with the Groundlings. “Their waiting list can be a year between levels,” he says, “so I decided to just get back onstage myself and do standup.” These days his set is a mix of slice-of-life and observation, mostly in storytelling form. “If you go back to my first album there is some storytelling,” he notes. However, it’s his podcast, The HoneyDew, that has really helped him develop stories and material. “We’ll sit there and say, ‘Are you talking about that onstage? You need to be.’” 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $16-$23. 408 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Grateful Dead Meet-Up
Riverview Theater

Since the death of founding member and iconic figurehead Jerry Garcia in 1995, fans of the Grateful Dead have sought various means of keeping the communal spirit of the band and its music alive. While band members have sporadically reunited for tours, and archival recordings continue to surface, many Deadheads have sought out their fix at the cinema, thanks to the annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies. The celebration started in 2011 with a national simulcast of the documentary The Grateful Dead Movie (1977). Its popularity has expanded as subsequent years brought rarely seen concert performances to the big screen. The ninth-annual event, timed to coincide with Garcia’s birthday, takes the endeavor international with screenings held at theaters throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. The 2019 Meet-Up screens the previously unreleased, professionally recorded (complete with surround sound and a visually immersive multi-camera edit), full concert performance from June 17, 1991, at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium. The concert featured a surprising setlist and contributions from relatively recent bandmates Bruce Hornsby and Vince Welnick. Tonight’s screening should be an ideal chance to bond over musical fellowship. 7 p.m. $10. 3800 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-7369. —Brad Richason

Whyyyyyyy?

Whyyyyyyy? 'Super Mario Bros.'

FRIDAY 8.2

Super Mario Bros.
Lake Harriet Bandshell

The vast majority of movies based on video games are total bombs. This legacy of crap began in 1993, when Super Mario Bros. was released into theaters, laying a curse on the genre like a Pandora’s box that can never be closed again. The film stars Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, plumber brothers living their lives in Brooklyn. When Luigi goes on a date with Daisy, an NYU student looking for dinosaur bones under the Brooklyn Bridge, the couple, along with Mario, find themselves falling through a portal to another dimension where Bowser (Dennis Hopper) rules a bunch of suit-wearing dinosaur creatures with beady eyes and tiny heads. He’s trying to get his hands on some magic rock, because... power? It’s all really stupid and nonsensical, and it’s pretty obvious that the producers and scriptwriters involved knew nothing about Nintendo’s flagship video game. But that’s part of its charm, and its curse. See it for yourself at Lake Harriet this week. Black Market Brass will warm up the crowd with music. 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Free. 4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Minneapolis. —Jessica Armbruster

Floyd’s
Guthrie Theater

Commissioned by the Guthrie, Lynn Nottage’s socially incisive comedy Floyd’s expands upon themes introduced in her critically acclaimed Sweat, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2017. Like that earlier work, Floyd’s is set in an economically depressed section of Reading, PA, a city that has struggled to recover from a collapsing industrial sector that has left a sizeable portion of its population unemployed and without prospects. For recent parolees, jobs are even harder to come by, a situation that makes the titular truck-stop sandwich shop something of a sanctuary in that it not only provides employment for ex-cons, but offers hope that their futures need not be defined by their pasts. These aspirations are expressed through the artistry of sandwich-making, as eccentric acolytes perform their line cook duties under the exacting tutelage of Zen Master Montrellous. Marking a reunion of sorts for the core talents behind SweatFloyd’s features the return of director Kate Whoriskey, joined by acclaimed performers Johanna Day, John Earl Jelks, and Reza Salazar. Rounding out the cast are Obie Award-winners Dame Jasmine Hughes and Andrew Veenstra, both of whom are making their Guthrie debut. The show is in previews through August 1. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 p.m. Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays. $29-$78. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224. Through August 31 —Brad Richason

Uptown Art Fair 2019
Uptown Minneapolis

Originating in 1964 as a means of fostering support for the neighborhood’s artistic enclave, the Uptown Art Fair now draws an attendance surpassed only by the Minnesota State Fair. But ven with a crowd expected to exceed 35,000, the prevailing vibe remains art-based, showcasing over 320 artists working in 12 different mediums, including paint, glasswork, sculpture, jewelry, and multimedia compositions. Patrons can anticipate a wealth of discoveries, including new contributions from Chuck U, the fair’s 2019 featured artist. The prolific illustrator is known for his distinct label designs for Indeed Brewing, and his work will also be seen on cans of the brewer’s specially crafted Art Fair, a variation on its Hibiscus Shenanigans. Further refreshments can be found among the 25 food and beverage vendors, plus there’ll be the imaginative cuisine served up by the Culinary Arts Competition and the caffeinated concoctions unveiled by baristas at the first ever Latte Art Throwdown. Another new feature sure to attract attention is a designated marketplace where visitors can support the local purveyors of artisanal goods. 11 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

Soda Fest

Soda Fest Star Tribune

SATURDAY 8.3

2019 Minnesota Soda Festival
Blue Sun Soda Shop

This weekend, Blue Sun Soda Shop is hosting the Minnesota Soda Festival, an all-day event with over 100 sodas available for sampling, plus games for kids and adults. Visitors can try a variety of sodas for a quarter each, or invest in a VIP package ticket, which is a great way to try some of the many locally made beverages all at once. Also happening at this event: bounce houses, a soda factory tour, a vintage 1950s bus, and six food trucks (Auntie M’s, Bacon Me Crazy, Elevation 5280, El Tapatio, Grill Works, and Signature on Wheels). If you want to go VIP, purchase a ticket at www.ticketor.com. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free; $25 VIP. 1625 Cty. Hwy. 10, Spring Lake Park; 763-432-0704. —Loren Green

Powderhorn Art Fair 2019
Powderhorn Park

The Powderhorn neighborhood hosts its biggest event of the year this weekend. Over 200 artists—working in mediums like digital art, leather work, glass firing, clay, and more—will demonstrate, sell, and showcase their wares. Highlights include special collections from the community, including artwork from folks in the neighborhood as well as local youth. There will be plenty to eat, with over 20 businesses serving foods ranging from super meaty to very vegan. This year will also feature a wine garden where imbibers can try a variety of drinks. Check the events official website, ppna.org, for free MetroTransit bus passes to the festival. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis. Through Sunday —Jessica Armbruster

Little Africa Festival
Hamline Park

Now in its sixth year, the Little Africa Festival brings together Twin Cities’ African communities for a celebration of culture, food, and creativity. Things kick off on Saturday with a parade along Snelling Avenue, ending at Hamline Park. On Sunday, the fun continues all afternoon and evening with performances, storytelling, music, and kids’ activities like face painting and a petting zoo. There will also be food of all kinds to enjoy, and community organizations. Hosted by the Little Africa Business & Cultural District of Minnesota, the weekend celebrates all African communities living in Minnesota, as well as the thriving Little Africa district. Check online for a free bus pass via MetroTransit at littleafricafest.com. 4:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Free. 1564 Lafond Ave., St. Paul. Through Sunday —Sheila Regan

Third Annual Vampire’s Ball
Loring Bar & Restaurant

While many Minnesotans love to bask in the sun during the summer months, others prefer to hunt for fun in the moonlight. If you’re part of the latter crowd, you’ll find your people at Loring Bar this Saturday at the Vampire’s Ball. Now in its third year, this event features macabre spectacle, a makers’ market, and performances. On the dance floor, DJs Grant and PRSPHNE will spin goth, electronic, and other tunes while Time Squid creates trippy visuals. An artists’ mart will showcase creepy dolls, leather gear, and other dark arts. Dress in your gothic best; winners of the costume contest will go home with secret prizes. Revelers will want to be sure not to miss the midnight blood sacrifice, performed onstage by Mistress Salem and Miss Bat. 18+. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. $10-$20. 327 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612-378-4849. —Jessica Armbruster

In Cahoots Block Party

In Cahoots Block Party Eric Melzer

SUNDAY 8.4

In Cahoots Block Party
Red Stag Supper Club

Each year, Red Stag challenges breweries to work together in teams of two for a collaborative competition that yields truly unusual beers. What happens when Bent Paddle makes something with Sociable Cider Werks? Will Modist and Forager produce something revelatory? Will Fulton and Surly have a major IPA breakthrough together? You can find the answers to these questions this Sunday, as 12 breweries have been paired up to create six pints that you’ll only be able to try at the festival. Vote for your favorite; a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the top team’s charity of choice. Live music will include a lot of rock: There will be yacht rock from the Lonesome Losers, surf rock from Black Widows, and straight-up rock from Kiss the Tiger and headliners the Bad Man. Vintage lovers will want to visit the Golden Pearl’s back alley sale, just around the corner, where Shop Country Club, Paper Unicorn Vintage, and AudreyRose Vintage will be stopping by with discounted threads. 2 to 8 p.m. Free. 509 First Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-767-7766. —Jessica Armbruster

'Best in Show'

'Best in Show'

MONDAY 8.5

Best in Show
Loring Park

Is Best in Show a good movie? Or is it the best movie ever created? Let’s just say it’s a highly re-watchable Christopher Guest masterpiece co-written by the great Eugene Levy. All of your favorites from the Guest movie crew shine in this one, including Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Parker Posey. Follow these quirky, neurotic, and fabulous characters as they vie for the titular prize with their pups. Bring your friends, grab a picnic blanket, and enjoy a summer evening. There aren’t many days of summer left; we can’t think of a better outdoor movie selection. 8:35 p.m. Free. 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis. —Sheila Regan