This weekend in free stuff to do we have a handful of sprawling festival events, including Saint Paul Art Crawl and Independent Bookstore Day. There's also plenty of quirky happenings, such as axe throwing, music classes, and Arbor Day fun. Come take a look.
Spring 2018 Saint Paul Art Crawl
Though Lowertown St. Paul has undergone a remarkable renaissance in recent years, it wasn’t long ago that the area was a ghost town of parking lots and vacant structures. During those years, however, the St. Paul Art Collective made Lowertown its home, building a thriving network of studios within local warehouses. The creative flourishing that followed resulted in the Saint Paul Art Crawl, a tradition that has overgrown its original borders to encompass an enormous portion of the city. The vast setting is necessitated by the 300-plus participating artists, as well as more than 20,000 attendees converging on the city over the weekend. In addition to exhibitions and installations of countless disciplines and styles, the festival features an intriguing range of performance arts, interactive tutorials, and guided studio tours. While such a dizzying array of options can present an organizational challenge to visitors, the Collective has thoughtfully posted an exhaustive guide on www.saintpaulartcrawl.org, and arranged for complimentary transportation via MetroTransit. 6-10 p.m. April 27; 12-8 p.m. April 28; 12-5 p.m. April 29; Free. Lowertown Lofts Artist Cooperative, 255 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. –Brad Richason
With Victory, Assault and Battery, and Empire Down. 9 p.m. April 27; Free. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-3454.
Bad Axe Throwing Open House
Featuring free axe throwing lessons, demonstrations, and axe throwing opportunities, with guests allowed to bring in their own food and drinks. 6-11 p.m. April 27; 2-11 p.m. April 28; 2-8 p.m. April 29; Free. Bad Axe Throwing Minneapolis, 2505 Kennedy St. NE, Minneapolis; 888-435-0001.
Minneapolis Art Lending Library Spring Lending Event
Patrons check-out original artwork for a three-month period. More info at www.artlending.org. 5-8 p.m. April 27; Free. North Commons Community Center, 1801 James Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-370-4921.
On Our Own Terms
A series of plays based on the transgender experience. 7:30 p.m. April 27; 2 p.m. Every Sat. and Sun. from April 28-29; 5 p.m., 9 p.m. April 28; free. Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 4th St. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-6131.
Art In Bloom 2018
Spring wouldn’t be spring in Minnesota without the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s annual dose of gorgeous floral arrangements inspired by the collection. Art in Bloom is a tradition that brings people back year after year because it’s just so rejuvenating (and after the winter we’ve had this year, it’s downright necessary). Thursday through Sunday, guests can see the arrangements during Mia’s open hours, and attend a variety of classes, workshops, and tours. Happenings include the free Flowers After Hours event on Thursday evening, a fashion show/luncheon, and a party that features fragrance samples by Thymes and a performance by the Minnesota Opera. If you have kiddos, you’ll want to come on Saturday morning for storytelling, art activities, face painting, and snacks. Find the complete schedule at new.artsmia.org/art-in-bloom-2018. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Daily from April 26-27; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 28; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 29; Most events are free, some require tickets. Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-3131. –Sheila Regan
FWMN Social Mixer
Free social event presented by Fashion Week MN, with cocktails, wine, and craft beers from a cash bar. Registration and more info at www.eventbrite.com. 5-7 p.m. April 27; Free; registration required. The Lynhall, 2640 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-2640.
Retro Game Show Night
Play classic game shows hosted by local celebrities. 9-11 p.m. Every Fri.; Free. Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 4, St. Paul; 651-925-2261.
The Comedy Corner Open Mic Night
10 p.m. Every Fri.; Free. The Corner Bar, 1501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-339-4333.
The Great Went
With Chub (album release show) and Motari Jaguar. 10 p.m. April 27; Free. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-331-1746.
Group show. Opening reception 6-10 p.m. Fri., Apr. 27, with special events all weekend long as part of St. Paul Art Crawl. Free. Interact Center for the Visual & Performing Arts, 1860 Minnehaha Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-209-3575.
Artworks by Russ White. 6-8 p.m. Friday. Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612-624-4636.
2018 Minneapolis Arbor Day Celebration
Featuring family-friendly activities, food, music, beer garden, fun run, bike ride, and tree planting. 4-8 p.m. April 27; Free. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 4055 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-370-4908.
Gather & Plant: Arbor Day Weekend Event
Featuring tree specialists on hand to discuss tree identification, selection, planting, and care. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 27; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Daily from April 28-29; Free. Tangletown Gardens, 5353 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-822-4769.
7 p.m. April 27; Free. Urban Forage Winery and Cider House, 3016 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 651-235-2726.
Author presents his new book, 'Twisted Prey.' 7 p.m. April 27; Free. Barnes & Noble Galleria, 3230 Galleria, Edina; 952-920-2124.
Foodies & Synesthesia
Group show featuring recipe postcards and illustrative diptics. Opening reception 7-10 p.m. Fri., Apr. 27. Free. Light Grey Art Lab, 118 E. 26th St., Minneapolis; 612-239-2047.
An Evening of Poetry: Melissa Cundieff and Sheryl St. Germain
Poets present their new collections, 'Darling Nova' and 'The Small Door of Your Death.' 7 p.m. April 27; Free. Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-822-4611.
Bitchin*: 2018 Senior Thesis Exhibition
Group show featuring Macalester College's 2018 Art majors. Opening reception 7-9 p.m. Fri., Apr. 27. Free. Macalester Art Gallery, 1665 Princeton Ave., St Paul; 651-696-6416.
Can Can Wonderland Karaoke
Hosted by Silly Miss Tilly. All ages. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Every Fri.; Free. Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 4, St. Paul; 651-925-2261.
Group tap dance lessons. 4-6 p.m. Every Fri.; Free. Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 4, St. Paul; 651-925-2261.
Innova record label showcase, featuring performances by artists in the American Composers Forum, co-presented by Zeitgeist new music ensemble. Lineups and more info at www.facebook.com. 6-10 p.m. April 27; 12-8 p.m. April 28; Free. Studio Z, 275 E. 4th St., Ste 100, St. Paul; 651-755-1600.
MJ & the Groove Machine
8:30 p.m. April 27; Free. Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-4365.
Robert B. Mitchell
Author presents his new book, 'Congress and the King of Frauds: Corruption and the Credit Mobilier Scandal at the Dawn of the Gilded Age.' 7 p.m. April 27; Free. Common Good Books, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul; 651-225-8989.
Reading from this year's recipient of the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry. 7:30 p.m. April 27; Free. University Of St. Thomas Roach Center For The Liberal Arts, 2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul; 651-292-0196.
Independent Bookstore Day 2018
Despite predictions made years ago, Amazon did not kill local bookstores here in the Twin Cities. In fact, the rise of the e-book and the internet has only proven that we still need these businesses in our community. This Saturday, we’ll celebrate Minnesota bookstores that are independently awesome. Some of the events planned around town include an open mic at Magers & Quinn and a reading from Chris McCormick at Milkweed Books. Kickass writer and advocate Nora McInerny will be at SubText, chatting with folks and offering reading recommendations. Moon Palace Books is going all out this year, with readings from over 30 poets, special beer/cider/wine happy hours from 3 to 6 p.m., and freebies and deals for those who bring in receipts from local bookstores. Other participants include Birchbark Books, Rain Taxi, Once Upon a Crime, and Boneshaker—among many others. Pick up a passport and map and visit them all. At each stop you’ll find things like free coffee, sales, and special appearances. You can find more details at RainTaxi.com. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. April 28; Free. –Jessica Armbruster
Funk 'n Flea Market
Vintage vendors taking over the sidewalk include Bearded Mermaid, Artista Bottega, and many more. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Center For Lost Objects, 957 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-504-2356.
Beach House '7' Listening Party
Listening party for the new album from Beach House, '7,' with LP and CD giveaways. 6-8 p.m. April 28; Free. Solid State, 4022 E. 46th St., Minneapolis; 612-916-0990.
With Kal Marks, Another Heaven, and Deleter. 9 p.m. April 28; Free. Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-3454.
Bike ride through Minneapolis, presented by Angry Catfish and Social Cider Werks. Registration and more info at www.eventbrite.com. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 28; Free; registration required. Angry Catfish, 4208 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-722-1538.
With Bobby Peru vs. Golden Thigh. 10 p.m. April 28; Free. 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-331-1746.
Emmett Ramstad: Laying in Wait
Participatory artwork—whether immersive dance/theater productions that invite (aka require!) people to move from room to room while interacting with performers, or mixed-media installations in which viewers are challenged to calibrate their own experiences—haven’t been this popular since the ’60s and ’70s. But today’s practitioners are certainly engaging in some provocative explorations. One of them is Emmett Ramstad. His new piece asks participants to investigate periods of stasis, those moments in which we wait—whether with anticipation, dread, or boredom. In the waiting rooms he’s created, we get to fish for items through a hole in the floor, experience a sense of distortion, and think about what really is happening in the bathroom. Think of it as the re-contextualization of the ordinary—meaning the results could be extraordinary. There will be an artist’s conversation Saturday, April 28, at 7 p.m. Free. Hair and Nails Gallery, 2222 1/2 E. 35th St., Minneapolis; 612-229-0585. --Camille LeFevre
Painting, sculpture, and video by Jim Dryden. Public reception 6-8:30 p.m. Sat., Apr. 28. Free. Form + Content Gallery, 210 N. 2nd St., Minneapolis; 612-436-1151.
8:30 p.m. April 28; Free. Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-4365.
Barriers: Photographs by Christopher Atkins
Artist reception 7-9 p.m. Sat., Apr. 28. Free. The Kolman & Pryor Gallery, 1500 NE Jackson St., Minneapolis; 612-385-4239.
Cars and Caves for Charity
Classic and exotic car and motorcycle show with photo opportunities with replica Batmobile and Scooby Doo van. More info at chanhassenautoplex.com. 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Every last Sat.; Free. AutoMotorPlex, 8150 Audubon Rd., Chanhassen; 612-850-8398.
Nothing Is Still
New paintings by Jeff Leonard. Opening reception 3-6 p.m. Sat., Apr. 28. 3-6 p.m. April 28. Free. Circa Gallery, 210 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-332-2386.
Celebrating with Purpose: A Food Drive Benefit Show
Benefit for the Food Group, featuring live music by Pleezer, Trompe le Monde, Doug Collins and the Receptionists, Bill Patten Trio, the April Fools, Trailer Park Queen, and Helm Matthews. 1-9 p.m. April 28; Free; bring non-perishable food item to donate. Grumpy's Northeast, 2200 4th St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-789-7429.
Monthly residency with a different featured artist each month. 9 p.m.-12 a.m. Every last Sat.; Free. Dubliner Pub, 2162 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-646-5551.
Darren Tesar: Rough Sleeper
Solo show. Opening reception 7-10 p.m. Sat., Apr. 28. Free; hours by appointment. Sadie Halie Projects, 3653 25th Ave. S., Minneapolis.
Mill City Winter Market
Indoor marketplace featuring local food, ceramics, jewelry, art, music, and home products. More info at millcityfarmersmarket.org/visit/winter-market. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. April 28; Free. Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis; 612-341-7555.
Syed Hosain, Amanda Hamilton, Mary Gibney
Three dynamic shows launch SooVAC’s spring exhibition series, all with arresting perspectives on damage (cultural, societal, and personal), darkness, and a sense of reinvention. Syed Hosain’s abstractions suggest the crumbling of civilizations, the beauty inherent in ruins, and the sorrow of lost homelands. Amanda Hamilton’s paintings delve into the sensations created in darkness, with a rich material palette that includes volcanic black salt, dust, mica, powdered graphite, and charcoal. Meanwhile, Mary Gibney will undertake a five-week residency during which she’ll create an onsite exhibition, exploring layers of self, that is infused with voyeurism and spectacle. Opening reception 6-9 p.m. Sat., Apr. 28. Free. Soo Visual Arts Center, 2909 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-871-2263. –Camille LeFevre
Kids and adult ukulele instruction led by Joshua Espinosa, with ukuleles on hand to learn on. RSVP and more info at www.approachablemusic.com. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 28; Free. Fairmount Avenue United Methodist Church, 1523 Fairmount Ave., St. Paul; 651-699-1335.
MSP Airedale Meet Up
Monthly meet up of local airedales, wire fox terriers, wheatens, and welshies. Saturday, noon to 1:30 p.m. Andy’s Bark Park, 11664 Dale Rd., Woodbury.
20th Annual Glass Art Show
Group show. Closing reception 12 p.m. Sat., Apr. 28. Free. Glass Endeavors, 2716 E. 31st St., Minneapolis; 612-721-9553.
Pop Culture Collectibles Show
Featuring vintage, rare, and current music, comics, books, toys, and memorabilia, presented by Sound+VisionMN. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 28; Free. Valley Creek Mall, 1750 Weir Drive, Woodbury; 651-739-9433.
Chuck U Print Release & Popup Shop
Shop includes new limited edition art prints of the Bulldog mural art. Sunday, 3-9 p.m. The Bulldog Downtown, 1111 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-0638.
Cliche's Presents: Crosswalk
Indoor and outdoor fashion show and in-store shopping event. Part of Fashion Week MN. More info at fashionweekmn.com. 3 p.m. April 29; Free. Cliche, 2403 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-0420.
The Pretty Little Liars actor signs copies of his new photography book, 'Hollywood.' 1 p.m. April 29; Free. Mall of America Best Buy Rotunda, 365 N. Garden, Bloomington; 952-883-8800.
Songkran Uptown Block Party 2018
Thai New Year celebration featuring performances, food, drinks, music, traditional dance, contests, and family friendly activities. Outdoors on Hennepin Ave., between Lake St. and 31st St. More info at www.songkranuptown.com. 12-8 p.m. April 29; Free. Amazing Thailand, 3024 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-822-5588.
Arctic Market: A Winter Pop-Up
Featuring handmade goods from local vendors, specialty beers, tacos by Flagsmash, and music by Solid State Vinyl. 12-5 p.m. April 29; Free. Lakes & Legends Brewing Company, 1368 LaSalle Ave, Minneapolis; 612-999-6020.
150th Anniversary Concert
Choral and organ concert followed by a reception. 4 p.m. April 29; Free. Church of St. Louis, King of France, 506 Cedar St., St. Paul; 651-224-3379.
7-11 p.m. Every Sun. from Jan. 11; Free. Schooner Tavern, 2901 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-4365.
Can Can Wonderland Bingo
12-2 p.m. Every Sun.; Free. Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave. N., Ste. 4, St. Paul; 651-925-2261.
Royal Comedy Theatre’s Open Mic
8 p.m. Every Sun.; Free. Royal Comedy Theatre, 809 Mainstreet, Hopkins; 612-666-0809.