Pole vaulting on a downtown Minneapolis roof: A-List 8.30-9.5

Image courtesy of Brit's Pub.

Image courtesy of Brit's Pub.

Labor Day weekend may be made for the Minnesota State Fair and grilling out on the lawn, but there's plenty of other things to entertain as well. That includes wiener dogs running at Canterbury, a Freddy Kruger double-header, and an underwater light installation at Can Can Wonderland. Come take a look.


Shane Torres
Acme Comedy Co.
“I’m lucky in that I found what I wanted to do,” says comedian and Fort Worth, Texas, native Shane Torres. “I never wanted to be a doctor or anything like that. I wasn’t moved by a particular episode of Scrubs.” While he recalls being funny as a kid, he was never the class clown. “I was more of an aimless goofball,” he says. “I wasn’t dying to entertain everybody. If there was someone funnier I’d be more submissive and let them be the funny person.” When he was 13, he thought he was going to be a musician. “But that requires talent,” he notes. Onstage these days, his set has become a little more observational and a little less biographical. His performance on Conan last year is a good example of the latter. “I love those bits, but that’s not what I do for an hour,” he says. “Now I’m trying to do a little less narrative and little more observation and opinion.” His focus now is more on writing than simply telling “yarns,” as he calls them. “I want to have a perspective outside of my firsthand experience and notice something and learn to write as opposed to reciting a story. That became a goal of mine a few years ago. I wanted to have concepts, not just stories.” 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

2017 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater
These films may be short, but they make an impact. Seven works totaling 95 minutes will screen each Wednesday at Bryant-Lake Bowl for the next three weeks. Some shorts are esoteric, others are parody, and there’s even a naughty cartoon. Highlights include “Night Shift,” which spends a day with a bathroom attendant at a Los Angeles nightclub. “Pussy” is an animated work of one girl’s interrupted attempt at masturbating. “Come Swim” is the directorial debut of Kristen Stewart (yep, that Kristen Stewart). Other films tackle topics like technology, abortion, and high-diving into a pool. Grab a beer and take it all in at the back-room theater. 7 p.m. Wednesdays. $8; $6 IFP members. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-825-3737. Through September 13 —Jessica Armbruster

Chris Redd
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy
Chris Redd was born in St. Louis, but moved to suburban Chicago in second grade and fell in love with the Windy City. He originally set his sights on a career as a rap artist, but soon realized he wasn’t quite ’hood enough. “I always wanted to be a thug,” he tells an audience. “I had a family full of thugs, and I’d chase them around. They never fully accepted me because I spent half my life in the suburbs. It’s not gangster... to commute to the ’hood.” He later performed with Second City before landing the role of Hunter the Hungry in the mockumentary film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. He moved to L.A. at the behest of that film’s producer, Judd Apatow. Along the way, Redd has built a successful standup career. He marvels at L.A.’s weather. “The weather is so perfect all the time,” he says on stage. “I realized how much I love the weather when I went home and was watching a football game with my homies. I realized there is no manly way to ask for a blanket.” 18+; 21+ later shows. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $13-$22. 408 East Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Sunday —P.F. Wilson


Public Functionary
For one night only, artist Lindsay Splichal will show her work at Public Functionary. The pop-up event, titled “Subjective,” is a conversation of sorts about truth, the notion of consensus, and ideas of self. Splichal does this through abstract compositions that find order in chaos, blurring lines of what seems to be real as a way to question what is true. By replicating objects and separating them from context (for example, there’s a crumpled, Xeroxed piece of paper on glass), Splichal uses uncertainty to challenge and explore the rules around us. Following Thursday’s exhibition, Splichal will hold an open conversation on Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. This is the artist’s last show in the Twin Cities before she heads to Detroit to pursue her MFA, so see it while it’s here. 7 to 10:30 p.m. Free. 1400 12th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. —Sheila Regan

Darlene Westgor
The Joke Joint Comedy Club
“Life is pretty good; I’m very happy,” says Darlene Westgor. America’s quintessential mom comic (fans will recall she won [email protected]’s Search for the Funniest Mom in America), she is now an empty-nester and loving it. “I’m becoming a shut-in and l love it. My friends are concerned, but it’s easier to write now that my kids have moved out.” One son has moved to Los Angeles and works for American Idol while the other is in New York running a craft brewery. She talks to them often—when they’re stuck in traffic. Raising two sons taught her a lot. “I understand men more than I ever would have,” she says. “I realize all the mistakes women make with their expectations versus what the reality is.” Onstage, she breaks down how being a mom helped bring all that together. “Every neighborhood had a mom like me, with a house where all the kids hung out,” she says. “A little wine in the coffee cup and shot on the counter.” Most of what she discusses in her set are things that go through her head in the course of a day, both memories and new observations. “I have a lot to talk about,” she says. “But I don’t talk about work, because no one cares about that. That’s only funny if you’re at a work party.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $14-$26. 801 Sibley Memorial Hwy., Lilydale; 651-330-9078. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson


Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
There are a lot of conventions that celebrate various aspects of nerd life. Comic cons, horror cons, and anime cons have all come through the Twin Cities at different times this past year. But there’s only one convention that brings together all the nerdiest and geekiest subcultures for one super convention. MetaCon, taking place this Friday through Sunday, unites sci-fi, music, video games, steampunk, and a whole lot more in what will be like the all-star game of geekdom. They’ve got tons of unique panels and exhibits no matter what you’re into, whether it’s Mario Kart or Marvel heroes. There’s even a talk titled “Gunpla 101: Your Guide to Plastic Giant Robots.” If that’s not enough, they’ll have free autograph signings with animators, artists, and voice actors, and nighttime events like a nerdcore hip-hop show, standup comedy, and a Voltron sleepover party. Basically, if you’re into anything creative, unique, fun, and geeky, you’re going to find something you’ll like. Tickets start at just $30—which is way more affordable than some conventions—making this the most fun and economical con to kick off your fall. For tickets and more information, visit $30 day pass; $40 three-day pass; $150 platinum admission. 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Through Sunday —Patrick Strait


Illuminated Reef
Can Can Wonderland
Since its debut at the 2016 Northern Spark Festival, the Illuminated Reef has been a shining light of art and science. It’s all brought to you by the Illuminated Reef Collective, a group born out of a 2014 Barebones production, Metamorphosoup, that featured an undersea landscape scene. The artists decided to expand on the concept during Northern Spark, and have enjoyed wild success since, including a spot at Indianapolis’ IN Light IN Festival. Filled with lantern-lit sea creatures that guests can “pilot” through the reef, this interactive installation now holds court at Can Can Wonderland, St. Paul’s delightful artist-designed mini-golf course and playground. Made from repurposed materials and lit by UV lights, the Reef will come alive again during Labor Day weekend, providing spectacle underneath the water tower outside. Become a part of the performance as you “swim” your creature around the reef, accompanied by music. 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday. $10-$20 donation requested. 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 4, St. Paul; 651-925-2261. Through Sunday —Sheila Regan

A Nightmare on Elm Street Double Feature
Parkway Theater
Freddy Krueger has been messing with minds for over three decades now. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the third installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Psychotronic Film Society is teaming up with the Parkway for a double feature loaded with special treats. The evening will start out with the original recipe, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Here Robert Englund stars as a dead child murderer who now haunts the dreams of teens in town. (There’s also a pretty weird scene where a pre-fame Johnny Depp is consumed by a bed.) That classic flick will be followed by A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, in which Englund continues to camp it up, this time taunting psych-ward kids with sleeping issues. The film also stars Patricia Arquette and features an appearance from a young Laurence Fishburne. During the party at the Parkway, a Freddy Krueger impersonator will be on hand to throw dirty and ominous quips your way, and old Nightmare trailers, toy commercials, and music videos will screen as well. 7 to 11 p.m. $10. 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; 612-822-2104. —Jessica Armbruster

Brit’s Pub Vault
Brit’s Pub & Eating Establishment
The only thing better than day drinking? Day drinking and pole vaulting! For the fourth year, Brit’s is bringing together this perfect marriage of booze and athletics. Competitions will be taking place throughout the day, with divisions ranging from student to professional. Watch vaulters fly through the air for your boozed-up enjoyment. Admission is free, but if past years are any indication this event will fill up quickly. While there will be plenty of great pole vaulting during the day, there is over $5,400 in prize money up for grabs in the professional category, which means the best men and women from all over the country will be converging on the rooftop lawn for the final session around 8 p.m. For those of us who should probably keep our feet planted, the bar will be offering drink specials. All ages. 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free. 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-3908. —Patrick Strait


State Theatre
Rejecting rigid adherence to the conventions of musical theater, the proudly Mexican stage spectacular known as Aventurera will be making a one-night stand at the State Theatre. Based on the 1950 Mexican cinema classic, the story revolves around a desperate young woman named Elena who, seeking a better life in Juarez, instead finds herself dancing in a sordid establishment that doubles as a brothel. Naturally enough, this nefarious den of showgirls and gangsters leads to a series of intriguing encounters and deceptive deeds, each ushering Elena deeper into the criminal underworld. Despite the noir narrative, playwright Carlos Olmos’ adaptation puts the emphasis on dazzling pageantry, offering a cavalcade of sequined dancers shimmying seductively against zoot-suited mobsters, pausing only long enough to deliver a comic monologue before the propulsive beat of a rhumba kicks in and the mesmerizing choreography begins anew. Aventurera kicked off a tradition of stocking its cast with popular figures from telenovelas and sports, a novelty that continues to this day. The results have proven wildly popular and remarkably enduring, rising from an inauspicious 1997 debut at the Teatro Blanquita to become Mexico’s longest-running musical. True to its roots, this touring production is performed entirely in Spanish, and features an immersive cabaret set design with a cast of Mexican stars (including the widely revered Carmen Salinas). 6 p.m. $69-$104. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. —Brad Richason


Wiener Dog Wars
Canterbury Park
Dachshunds can’t cover ground as quickly as horses can, but the frantic effort they put in at Canterbury’s annual wiener dog race is part of the fun. This Labor Day, these majestic (and stubby) creatures will take to the track to race against each other. There can be only one champion, so 72 canines will square off in seven different heats to determine who’s top dog. In addition to buffets and bars inside Canterbury, Monday will be especially family-friendly, with face painting, pony rides, and a petting zoo open until 6 p.m. 12:45 to 6 p.m. $7.25; kids 17 and under are free. 1100 Canterbury Rd. S., Shakopee; 952-445-7223. —Jessica Armbruster


Donte Collins and Danez Smith
Black Dog Cafe
Everyone confronts their mortality at some point, but few do so as poetically as Danez Smith. In the new book Don’t Call Us Dead, the black queer poet from St. Paul unravels his thoughts and feelings on the page after being diagnosed HIV-positive. “look, i’m not going to manufacture/any more sadness. it happened./it’s happening,” he writes in “every day is a funeral & a miracle.” The virus isn’t the only enemy, however; being black can be just as life-threatening in this country. Smith critiques American culture without preaching; in “dinosaurs in the hood,” the poet imagines a “Jurassic Park meets Friday meets The Pursuit of Happyness” action movie where “no one kills the black boy.” Indignation is juxtaposed with tender love poems like “bare”: “if love is a room/of broken glass, leave me to dance/until my feet are memory.” He’ll be reading pieces along with his mentee, Donte Collins, who will share poems from his new book, Softer. 7 p.m. Free; $10-$26 VIP. 308 Prince St., St. Paul; 651-228-9274. —Erica Rivera