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MSPIFF, '80s dystopia flicks, alleyway art tour: A-List 4.3

Reaganland at Trylon

Reaganland at Trylon John Carpenter's 'They Live'

Check out these awesome things happening this week.

This year Mack Lecture Series hosts Rukmini Callimachi, Claudia Rankine, Mark Kingwell, and Ed Atkins.

This year Mack Lecture Series hosts Rukmini Callimachi, Claudia Rankine, Mark Kingwell, and Ed Atkins. Images courtesy Walker Art Center

WEDNESDAY 4.3

Mack Lecture Series
Walker Art Center

The Mack Lecture Series is killer this year. The annual program brings writers, thinkers, artists, and innovators into our lives to shake up our perceptions and illuminate our prejudices. Things kick off Wednesday with Pulitzer Prize finalist Rukmini Callimachi, a journalist who documents Al Qaeda and the Islamic State while examining social media and the internet as tools and weapons. Author Claudia Rankine takes the stage next (April 10), reading from her powerful new play, The White Card. Philosopher Mark Kingwell (April 17) muses on boredom and screen addiction. Artist Ed Atkins closes things out on April 24 with thoughts on the digitization of our lives, giving a performance of the poem “The Morning Roundup” by Gilbert Sorrentino. 7 p.m. $25; $12 students. 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; 612-424-5468. Through April 24 —Camille LeFevre

The Memoir of Mona Lisa and Other Poems
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater

Poetry! Dance! Film! Su Smallen Love had a yen to explore the intersection of those three artforms, so she commissioned three veteran choreographers to create dance films inspired by her newest collection, The Memoir of Mona Lisa and Other Poems. To celebrate its publication, she’ll read the poems that inspired the films, screen the films, and talk about making art from art with the choreographers, filmmakers, and performers. Becky Heist’s “Life Drawings” is based on three poems that brought the body into our Minnesota landscape. Christopher Watson’s “between us a fault line” presents abstract reflections of physical and psychological intimacies, with animation by Leila Awadallah and music by Hilary James. Working in collaboration with Awadallah and performer Morgan Veldhuizen, Judith Howard responds to a sonnet sequence in which Mona Lisa reveals her relationship with her husband and her husband’s male lover. Howard’s “Vanishing Point” employs imagery from the poem to create a sensuous counter portrait of Mona Lisa with narrative around a line from the poem: “I would clothe myself with this surface. I would be a man.” 7 p.m. $6-$15 sliding scale. Smallen will also be at Open Book Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-825-3737. —Linda Shapiro

Monroe Martin

Monroe Martin Image courtesy the standup

THURSDAY 4.4

Monroe Martin
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

“I’m talking about being married because that’s all new to me,” says comedian Monroe Martin. “No one really did the marriage thing in my life. A lot of my friends got married, but growing up I lived with a lot of single parents and people who didn’t believe in marriage because it didn’t work out.” Martin grew up in Philadelphia, and spent most of his youth in foster care. For a while, he didn’t talk about that in his set. His new wife’s advice was to put it back in so he and his comedy could continue to grow. She wasn’t much of a standup fan before she met Monroe. “Her friends dragged her to a comedy club, and that’s where we met,” he adds. “She likes me a lot and it’s weird,” he says. As someone who isn’t in the business, she offers a unique perspective. “I know a lot of people who are in relationships and their significant other doesn’t care about what they do for a living, but she really cares. She really thinks I’m funny.” He doesn’t run jokes by her, but if he has an idea she’ll help him get to the funny. “She’ll say, ‘That makes sense, because of X, Y, and Z.’ She’ll help me connect the dots.” 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

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival 2019
St. Anthony Main Theatre

One of the longest-running film fests returns this week. Now in its 38th year, MSPIFF brings an insane number of films to Minnesota. Over 250 flicks will screen; programs include women-made films, animation shorts, horror movies, and documentaries. There will be local productions, plus works from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and pretty much every other corner of the world. There are films about political unrest, films about global warming, and films about people coming of age. Opening night includes a screening of Yuli, which tells the incredible story of Carlos Acosta (known as Yuli), who went from life on the streets of Havana to lead dancer with London’s Royal Ballet. Festival attendees will be invited to enjoy a variety of receptions and parties with actors, filmmakers, and other creatives, and free MetroTransit rides are available online. For tickets and the complete lineup, visit mspfilm.org. $15; $8 kids and students. 115 Main St. SE, Minneapolis; 612-331-4723. Through April 20 —Jessica Armbruster

Christina P.
Acme Comedy Co.

Onstage, Christina Pazsitzky, lately shortened to Christina P., isn’t afraid to get a little silly. That comes from her background writing and doing voices for animation. “It helped me incorporate that silliness into my act and that fearlessness. You have to be fearless voicing animation or it will fall flat,” she says. Pazsitzky was raised in southern California by Hungarian immigrant parents. Living a sheltered life spent in an all-girls Catholic school, she discovered comedy as a way to overcome her self-described dorkiness. “I majored in philosophy,” she tells her audience, “because I heard there was an opening at the Philosophy Company. Then I found out that the head philosopher position was filled... in 1497.” In addition to headlining comedy clubs, she also hosts the popular podcast Your Mom’s House with husband and fellow comic Tom Segura. 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $27.75. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Meg Stuart

Meg Stuart Giannina Urmeneta Ottiker

FRIDAY 4.5

Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods
Walker Art Center

Dance critics and historians have long argued that the American-born, Brussels-based dancer and choreographer Meg Stuart is one of the eminent artists of our time. She developed her signature style through evolving her training in contact improv and release technique, and now her oeuvre includes solos, group works, and installations. This week she arrives with a posse for a double-header, a retrospective of sorts that examines and celebrates her range and her influence. With the body—its vulnerability and its power—as her focus, Stuart performs an evening of solos and duets, and then moves to the gallery with Indonesian visual artist Jompet Kuswidananto for an incandescent evening the following week. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, plus Thursday, April 11. $25-$30. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis; 612-375-7600. Through April 13 —Camille LeFevre

Be More Chill
Illusion Theater

Based on a novel by Ned Vizzini, Be More Chill centers on Jeremy, an ostracized high school junior clinging to the lowest rungs of the social ladder. Desperate to elevate his status and impress the girl of his dreams, Jeremy ingests a pill called “super quantum unit intel processor,” better known as SQUIP, which promptly latches onto his brain for behavior modification. Unfortunately, SQUIP logic runs contrary to Jeremy’s conscience, resulting in a play that works as an imaginative Faustian comedy for the 21st century. Youthful exuberance and irreverent wit are amplified by the raucous score from Joe Iconis and bolstered even further with an energetic book by Joe Tracz. This highly anticipated local premiere has Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha directing a talented young cast headlined by Maxwell Emmett Ward, last seen in Minneapolis Musical Theatre’s adaptation of High Fidelity. 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays; check online for the complete schedule. $29-$35. 528 Hennepin Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-339-4944. Through April 28 —Brad Richason

Reaganland: 1980s Dystopia
Trylon Cinema

While some recall the Reagan presidency as a time of booming prosperity, cultural anxieties ran deep throughout the era, evidenced by this Trylon series. Witness the desolation of humanity in Blade Runner (The Final Cut) (1982/2007), a sci-fi noir involving artificially engineered beings staking a desperate claim on existence, or in 1984 (1984), a disorienting adaptation of Orwell’s depiction of a totalitarian state with no tolerance for independent thought. Cult favorite Repo Man (1984) fuses sci-fi tropes with punk ethos in the pursuit of a Chevy Impala with extraterrestrial mysteries stashed in its trunk, while Videodrome (1983) concerns a man whose obsession with underground broadcasts instigates a harrowing transformation. The Terminator (1984) introduces Arnold Schwarzenegger as an unstoppable cyborg transported into the past to kill the mother of a future leader, They Live (1988) imagines a society infiltrated by nefarious aliens who have narcotized the populace through subliminal messages, and Brazil (1985) prophesizes an absurdly bureaucratic future where lives are spent toiling to maintain monstrous machines. Akira (1988), a crime classic from Japan, pits two bikers against a telekinetic government, while racial tensions are satirized in The Brother from Another Planet when an alien slave hides out in Harlem. Even more mayhem arrives from outer space with The Hidden (1987), featuring a body-swapping extraterrestrial inflicting widespread carnage upon greater Los Angeles. Visit www.trylon.org for the complete schedule. $8. 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; 612-424-5468. Through April 30 —Brad Richason

"The Unicorn Show"

"The Unicorn Show" L-R: Angel Hawari, Ali Kahlert, Kao Lee Thao

SATURDAY 4.6

The Unicorn Art Show
Artspace Jackson Flats

Now in its fifth year, “The Unicorn Art Show” has brought artists and art lovers together through the magic of the fairy realm. For this installment, more than 100 artists will be sharing works featuring creatures from faraway lands. Some pieces are super cute, some are beautiful, and some are a little terrifying (fantasy worlds often include dragons, wolves, and other beasts, after all). The opening-night party will be spellbinding, with attendees encouraged to come in their best attire as princesses, wizards, fairies, or other mythical beings. The event will also include tarot sessions, fire dancing, face painting, food-truck eats, and beer and cocktails from 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 6. There is a $5 suggested donation. 901 18 1/2 Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-333-9012. Sundays through April —Jessica Armbruster

5 Year Anniversary Party
Burning Brothers Brewing

The time sure flies when you’re drinking beer. It’s already been five years since the owners of St. Paul’s Burning Brothers Brewing stopped breathing fire at the Renaissance Fair and started making gluten-free beer. For Saturday’s celebration, they’ll tap eight special selections, each chosen by a staff member, including Blueberry Pancake Ale, Imperial Stout, and a German ALT beer. They’ll also be serving up their core lineup, and the citrusy summer hit Parched Lime Shandy will return. There will be three gluten-free food trucks dishing eats and raffle prizes include a private beer party, free beer for a year, and more. Noon to 10 p.m. Free. 1750 W. Thomas Ave., St. Paul; 651-444-8882. —Loren Green

Shawn McNulty, Duane Ditty

Shawn McNulty, Duane Ditty

Elixir: Duane Ditty & Shawn McNulty
Rosalux Gallery

Two remarkable painters in a fantastic pairing: That’s Duane Ditty and Shawn McNulty at Rosalux. Both are rich in abstraction and materiality. McNulty’s layers of textural color—applied with shoe palette knife, brooms, and other tools—are exciting innovations in gesture and color. Ditty’s quiet explorations illuminate the spaces in between line, form, and brushstroke. Both create supremely contemplative paintings, and you may find yourself staring for minutes into the finer recesses of the work. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, April 6, from 7 to 10 p.m. 1400 Van Buren St. NE, Ste. 195, Minneapolis. Through April 28 —Camille LeFevre

Field Trip! Art In Alleyways Bicycle Tour
Hennepin History Museum

Unless you’re a racoon or a dumpster diver, you probably don’t spend a lot of time exploring alleyways. But a casual stroll through the other side of your neighborhood can make for some fun sightseeing. You might discover secret gardens, adorable patios, or garage murals that you never knew existed. This weekend, Christian Huelsman of Minneapolis Alley Initiative for Neighborhood Stimulation will lead a guided bike tour of some of the public art to be found in Whittier, Lyndale, Powderhorn, and Phillips alleyways. This ride will be a relatively chill one, accessible to most levels, covering around 10 miles. Come with a bike and a helmet; you can sign up at BrownPaperTickets.com. Noon to 3 p.m. $12. 2303 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-1329. —Jessica Armbruster

Ballet Co.Laboratory: Gentle Human
The Cowles Center

When artistic director Zoe Emilie Henrot was fired from St. Paul Ballet last August, it was the beginning of a journey both for Henrot and the former SPB ensemble members who quit in protest. They formed a new company, Ballet Co.Laboratory, which makes its Cowles Center debut this weekend. Gentle Human reflects on the events that led to the new company’s formation, and uses poetry from Nikita Gill’s Wild Embers. A London-based British-Indian poet, Gill has become popular on Instagram for her feminist verse. The company is founded on tenets of collaboration and exploration, while also pushing against tropes of what ballet is supposed to be. 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $24-$36. 528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-206-3600. Through Sunday —Sheila Regan

Ken Jeong

Ken Jeong AP

 

SUNDAY 4.7

Ken Jeong
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

It almost feels like a rule that if you make a bro-comedy movie, you have to include Ken Jeong. From his role as Leslie Chao in all the Hangover movies, to his appearances in Pineapple ExpressRole ModelsKnocked Up, and Crazy Rich Asians, Jeong is one of those people you know you can count on for a laugh. Long before he was pantomiming jacking off on the big screen, however, Jeong began his career as a standup comedian, winning competitions and performing regularly in clubs all over the country. With the recent release of his first Netflix comedy special, Jeong is hitting the road again and returning to his standup roots. His stories about growing up as a South Korean immigrant in North Carolina, his former career as a practicing physician, and his ascent to Hollywood mega-stardom make Jeong’s show equal parts standup and A-list stories. You’ll get the behind-the-scenes dirt on some of his uber-famous co-stars and find out how may jokes he can make about his wife’s last name (Ho). 8 p.m. $29-$55. 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake; 800-262-7799. —Patrick Strait