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May the 4th, Cinco de Mayo, and Kentucky Derby parties: A-List 5.1

Kentucky Derbatante at Betty Danger

Kentucky Derbatante at Betty Danger Image courtesy event organizers

Check out this week's great happenings.

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson Image courtesy the standup

WEDNESDAY 5.1

Craig Robinson
Acme Comedy Co.

Craig Robinson is probably best known for his roles in the TV series The Office, on which he played warehouse worker Darryl Philbin, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He has also appeared in films such as Pineapple Express and Hot Tub Time Machine. However, Robinson is also a talented standup comedian. Onstage, he is known for his low-key demeanor and the funny stories he tells about his life experiences. “I’m a very romantic person,” he tells an audience. “I love to be in love when I can, and I believe that there is someone out there for everybody. But the more I date, the more I realize that my person died at birth or something.” A former elementary school music teacher, he often sits at a keyboard and accompanies many of his jokes and tales with music. His easy-going, often deadpan delivery isn’t far removed from that of the characters he’s played. 18+. 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. $30. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

'Raising Arizona'

'Raising Arizona'

THURSDAY 5.2

The Coen Brothers: The Men Who Weren’t There
Trylon Cinema/Heights Theater

The genre-upending films of St. Louis Park natives Ethan and Joel Coen tend to feature deeply flawed figures instigating ill-conceived plans destined to unravel in disastrous fashion. This common link runs through The Coen Brothers: The Men Who Weren’t There, the latest retrospective co-hosted by the Heights Theater and Trylon Cinema. The Heights lineup includes Fargo (1996), a Minnesota-set tale of criminal mishaps; Raising Arizona (1987), the most uproarious depiction of baby abduction every filmed; O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), in which three prison escapees are beset by troubles while searching for a stashed fortune; The Big Lebowski (1998), a stoner spoof of hardboiled detective yarns; and No Country for Old Men (2007), which traces the horrific path of a psychotic hitman. The Trylon offers The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), a simmering tale of escalating crimes; The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), a screwball skewering of corporate malfeasance; Barton Fink (1991), a taut study of an unraveling screenwriter; Miller’s Crossing (1990), a crime thriller entangling feuding gangsters; Blood Simple (1984), a tale of betrayal and violence; and A Serious Man (2009), a profile of a professor who’s devastated by an endless series of misfortunes. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays at Heights; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, plus 3 and 5:30 p.m. Sundays at Trylon. $8-$10. Trylon Cinema, 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; 612-424-5468. Heights Theater, 3951 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights; 763-789-4992. Through June 2 —Brad Richason

Candy Box Dance Festival 2019
The Southern Theater

Choreographer Mathew Janczewski gets that it takes a village to nurture a dance community. His Candy Box Dance Festival, now in its third season, showcases artists through a variety of performances and workshops. This year’s featured talents cover a range of impulses and aesthetics. Chris Schlichting offers structuralism and sensuality in his efforts. April Sellers’ “Patriot Erector” deconstructs acts of nationalism, from marching in the streets to singing the national anthem, exploring both celebration and protest. Darrius Strong of STRONGmovement contributes two hip-hop works, “Authentic Minds” and “Numb,” as he focuses on unique voices, personal friendships, and community. Happy Hour offerings include sessions with Janczewski’s company ARENA, Brenna Mosser Dance Works, Blake Nellis, Non Edwards, and Taja Wills. All in all, this festival offers exhilarating dance with some of the area’s most provocative artists. Check southerntheater.org for Happy Hour and workshop schedules. Featured artist shows are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday. $20; many performances are sliding scale. 1420 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis; 612-326-1811. Through May 4 —Linda Shapiro

Paul Mecurio
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

Comedian Paul Mecurio always has an interesting project or two going. Lately, he’s found success on Broadway with his one-man show, Permission to Speak. “I bring audience members onstage and have them tell stories from their lives,” he explains. “I also tell stories about my life. It’s all about understanding and connecting—but not in a sappy way.” Each show is different, of course. In one, Mecurio spoke to 70-year-old newlyweds who had met on an S&M website. “They were the cutest couple,” he insists. “They seriously looked like anyone’s grandma and grandpa.” In addition to the one-man show, Mecurio still works on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and continues to log appearances on multiple cable news shows commenting on current events. On the standup stage, he’s talking about how indifferent people have become toward each other. “Everyone thinks their opinion matters all the time, and I think that’s because of social media,” he says. “People think they can say whatever they want and put it out there and that it matters, but it doesn’t. People don’t always give a shit.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 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

TU Dance

TU Dance Michael Slobodian

FRIDAY 5.3

TU Dance
O’Shaughnessy Auditorium

In the 15 years since Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands launched TU Dance at the University of Minnesota—initially with a longer, more complicated name—the company has nurtured dancers who have moved on to further greatness; brought an aesthetic of grace, humility, and exceptional technique to the Twin Cities; opened a renowned school; performed nationally with Bon Iver; and transformed our expectations of dance, its power, and possibility. This anniversary concert includes works by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (“Walking with Pearl... Africa Diaries,” a tribute to dance anthropologist Pearl Primus) and Ron K. Brown (“Where the Light Shines Through,” a story of solidarity and perseverance). Enough said. Just go. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $24-$34. 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651-690-6700. Through Sunday —Camille LeFevre

I Am Kindness Gallery Show 
Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill District

This sweet art party invites revelers to purchase art not with money, but with acts of generosity. Each year, event organizer Sarah Edwards and crew round up a fabulous group of artists who are willing to give their art to patrons if they complete the task of their choosing. An artist could ask a client to spend time at an animal shelter, or invite them to volunteer at a food shelf, or to help a nonprofit organization for the afternoon. Participating artists include Alec Soth, Kate Iverson, Terrence Payne, Amina Harper, Shelly Mosman, and many others. The celebration will feature cocktails from Prairie Organic Spirits and Douglas & Todd Bourbon, gifts from local businesses, live music from the Mississippi Hot Club, and free valet parking. I Am Kindness also serves as an opening party for Canopy, so you can use this as an opportunity to check out the new space. Adam Levy and his band, Sunshine Committee, will kept the party going afterward. Visit eventbrite.com to reserve a spot on the guestlist. 6 to 9 p.m. Free; RSVP requested. 708 Third St. S., Minneapolis; 612-332-0696. —Jessica Armbruster

"First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom"

"First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom" Steven LaBoe

SATURDAY 5.4

First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom
Minnesota History Center

As First Avenue prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020, festivities are beginning to ramp up throughout the Twin Cities to pay homage to Minnesota’s greatest music venue. The Minnesota History Center is celebrating all things First Ave with a sprawling new exhibit, “First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota’s Mainroom,” showcasing the music, musicians, and legendary moments that have made the club an internationally recognized landmark. Drawing inspiration from Chris Riemenschneider’s recent book, First Avenue: Minnesota’s Mainroom, the collection will include images, artifacts, staff stories, fan experiences, hands-on interactive displays, and a striking recreation of First Ave’s iconic star-filled walls. The opening reception on Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will feature DJ sets from local luminaries, such as Lazerbeak, the Current’s Andrea Swensson, and Transmission’s Jake Rudh, as well as live music from Faith Boblett and Prairie Fire Lady Choir. There will also be book signings from MNHS Press authors and art activities where you can make your own First Avenue star and buttons. Included with museum admission. 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651-259-3000. Through March 29 —Erik Thompson

The Twin Cities Bloody Mary Festival
Union Depot

No weekend morning is complete without a bloody Mary. This Saturday, you can kick it up a notch by sampling as many bloodies as you wish during the Bloody Mary Festival. Over a dozen bars will share their fabulous concoctions, including takes from Pat’s Tap, the Happy Gnome, Can Can Wonderland, Tailgate, and Tongue in Cheek. This isn’t a one-trick party, however. Miss Myra and the Moonshiners will provide a swinging soundtrack, and revelers can sample products from T-Rex cookies, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, White Claw, Du Nord, and other artisan makers of food and drink. There are two separate sessions: one at 11:15 for the a.m. crowd, and another at 3:45 p.m. for those who prefer to start the party after lunch (VIP admission to each session starts 45 minutes earlier). Find tickets and more info at www.thebloodymaryfest.com. 21+. 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. $45-$60. 214 E. Fourth St., St. Paul; 651-202-2700. —Loren Green

May the 4th Be with You
Dangerous Man Brewing Co.

The big holiday this weekend is Cinco de Mayo. But if you’re a Star Wars fan, you might also be celebrating May the 4th Be with You. This Saturday, Dangerous Man will turn into a galactic cantina, welcoming Jedi, sith lords, hutts, and more for fun. The party kicks off as many Jedi evenings do: with a lightsaber battle led by Saber Legion. Costumes are encouraged, and could score you a prize, as will correct answers during the trivia session. As for the menu, you’ll see many treats, including Tatooine Sunset Beer and Blue Milk (also a beer) on tap. DJ Jake Rudh will spin tunes to get the dance floor moving, and flash tattoos, a photobooth, food trucks, and T-shirt printing round out the night. Find tickets on www.eventbrite.com. 7 p.m. to midnight. $20; $30 scores you two limited-edition glasses. 1300 Second St. NE, Minneapolis. —Jessica Armbruster

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Star Tribune

Cinco de Mayo
Cesar Chavez Street

This Saturday, St. Paul celebrates Cinco de Mayo with all-day festivities. Things begin with a parade featuring a sea of colorful costumes and floats as they make their way along Cesar Chavez Street from Wabasha to Aida. Afterward, stroll through the area to discover food trucks, performance stages, and wares from small businesses. There will be areas boasting history exhibits, health screenings, and family activities. The Car, Truck, and Bike Show is ever-popular, and offers the type of tricked-out vehicles that look like they belong on Pimp My Ride. Categories include lowriders, mini-trucks, and unique wheels. Find more info at www.cincodemayosaintpaul.com. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Cesar Chavez Street, from Wabasha to Anita, St. Paul. —Jessica Armbruster

Kentucky Derbatante 2019
Betty Danger’s Country Club

A good sports party brings people together to experience communal joy. So while the Kentucky Derby basically amounts to a two-minute blast of adrenaline, it’s also a brief moment shared by all kinds of people around the world. One place to experience that magic is at the Kentucky Derbatante. Now in its fifth year, this party at Betty Danger’s continues to bring some southern flair and pomp to Minnesota. An event ticket not only offers a chance to revel in the excitement via live screening, it also scores guests entry into the outrageous hat contest, access to Derby-themed mini-golf and games, and the chance to meet real ponies, who will be hanging out over by the amusement park-themed bar. The Derby may last for only two minutes, but DJ Strangelove will be spinning tunes to keep the party going all day long. Find tickets on www.eventbrite.com. 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. $29.95/$34.95 at the door (if available). 2501 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-315-4997. —Loren Green

La Traviata
Ordway Theater

After La Traviata’s disastrous opening in 1853, composer Giuseppe Verdi wrote to his friend, conductor Angelo Mariani, about the so-called fiasco: “Am I wrong or they? I myself believe that the last word on La Traviata was not heard last night.” More than 150 years later, Verdi is still getting the last word. La Traviata is an undisputed candidate for greatest opera of all time. The story of Violetta, an ailing woman who plans to party away the remainder of her days until an encounter with nobleman Alfredo leads her to ponder a different life, is the kind of rich tragedy for which opera was invented. Verdi created the score at the height of his powers; Act One’s “Brindisi” (aka “The Drinking Song”) remains one of the most revered pieces of music in the Western world. Nicole Cabell and Cecilia Violetta Lopez alternate performances as Violetta, while Jesus Leon and Stephen Martin trade off singing Alfredo in director Louisa Muller’s production. Violetta’s relatively modern insistence on controlling her own fortune invites evolving interpretations of the character, meaning the last word on Traviata may not be written yet for a while—but the verdict is in. 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, Thursdays, plus Tuesday, May 14; 2 p.m. Sundays. $25-$200.345 Washington St., St. Paul; 612-333-6669. Through May 19 —Bryan Miller

MayDay Parade and Festival

MayDay Parade and Festival Max Haynes

SUNDAY 5.5

45th MayDay Parade and Festival
Powderhorn Park

Get ready for a mega-dose of joy, puppets, and community as In the Heart of the Beast hosts its annual MayDay Parade and Festival. With art bikes, giant puppets, stilt dancers, marching bands, costumed characters, flowers, and glitter, this is Minneapolis’ quintessential spring celebration. So find a spot on Bloomington Avenue for the parade, make your way to the Tree of Life Ceremony afterward, and stay for a festival filled with peace and love at Powderhorn Park. MayDay is a must-see event, and a chance to revel in beauty, wonder, and social activism. This year, with news of HOBT’s financial struggles, you definitely won’t want to miss the party. If you can, be sure to give a donation to ensure this lovely event continues for years to come with help from the community. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. The parade starts at the corner of 25th Street East and Bloomington Avenue South, travels south on Bloomington to 34th Street East, and ends at Powderhorn Park (3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis). —Sheila Regan

TUESDAY 5.7

Dan Savage’s Very Best of HUMP! Film Festival
St. Anthony Main Theatre

For the past 10 years, Dan Savage (of Savage Love fame) has invited people to share their homemade, sex-positive adult films on the big screen. At each installment, the DIY works have flowed in from around the world, featuring people who are proudly letting their freak flags fly, regardless of fetish, gender identity, sexuality, or body type. For this edition of his traveling film fest, Savage has selected a few of his favorites. Think of this as a greatest-hits collection for kinksters. Showtimes vary; check online for the complete schedule. $20. 115 Main St. SE, Minneapolis; 612-331-4723. Through May 9 —Jessica Armbruster

The Play That Goes Wrong
Orpheum Theatre

The Play That Goes Wrong is an unhinged manifestation of an epic theatrical catastrophe. Originating in London, this farce of a murder mystery won the coveted Olivier Award for Best New Comedy before transferring to Broadway for a popular run. Now Twin Cities audiences hankering for anarchic absurdity need look no further than the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, the hilariously inept, entirely fictional troupe staging the equally fictitious The Murder at Haversham Manor, a clichéd whodunit incompetently cribbed from the works of Agatha Christie. Even in the midst of merciless spoofing, however, it’s clear that the show’s creators have a tremendous fondness for the subject matter, applying insightful wit to a production in which murder is the least of the complications. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. $29-$105., 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. Through May 12 —Brad Richason