Queer Prom, block parties at Pryes and Mississippi Market, Zenon's final performances: A-List 6.12

Zenon Dance Company performs "Pink Martini" by Mariusz Olszewski.

Zenon Dance Company performs "Pink Martini" by Mariusz Olszewski. Photo by Steve Niedorf

Here's our top picks for this to do this week.


Rell Battle
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

“Something you may not know by looking at me,” comedian Rell Battle tells an audience, “is I was raised by both my parents, which was the end of my rap career. It’s hard to be a gangsta rapper when there’s a positive male role model in the home.” Battle grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, and his neighborhood has changed since he moved away. “It’s been gentrified, and my friends are mad. ‘They kicked us out and moved us across the street from rich people,’” a friend told him. “I’m like, ‘Mike, you rob people for a living, they moved you across the street from rich people. Now you can walk to work. That’s an easy commute.’ God closes one door and opens another.” Comedy fans may also recognize Battle from the sitcom Superior Donuts, on which he had a recurring role as Sweatpants, the roommate of Franco, one of the show’s two main characters. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through 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

Middleditch & Schwartz

Middleditch & Schwartz Image courtesy event organizers


Middleditch & Schwartz
Historic State Theater

The improvisational comedy of Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz offers no space for performance security, relying entirely on their synchronized wits to conjure amusing riffs from the capricious prompts of the crowd. Eschewing such comedy crutches as visual projection, interactive backdrops, and oversized props, the duo put their creativity to the test night after night, making each performance is unique. In fact, the only predictable aspect of a Middleditch and Schwartz performance is the procession of peculiar characters (alternatively portrayed by the pair) populating a series of absurd scenarios amid a nonstop volley of hilarity. The duo’s ability to inhabit eccentric personas won’t come as a surprise to those who know the two from their television roles: Middleditch found acclaim portraying Richard Hendricks, the socially inept software designer on HBO’s Silicon Valley, and Schwartz became a fan favorite for playing incompetent schemer Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on Parks and Recreation. Even these breakout roles barely hint at comic inspiration sure to materialize when these two charismatic performers unleash their improvisational skills at the State Theatre. 8 p.m. $34-$49. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. —Brad Richason

Zenon Dance Company: The Final Performance
The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts

After 36 years, Zenon Dance Company is saying goodbye to the Cowles Center. Since its inception, the modern- and jazz-dance troupe has presented new works from emerging choreographers, toured locally and around the world, and won quite a few City Pages Best Ofs. This week’s performances will be their last, as the dance company has suffered budget cuts from corporate and foundation funders (the organization’s dance school will continue). Each evening will feature a unique performance. They include the female rallying cry “Molten Substance” by luciana achugar; “Song Awakened” by Danny Buraczeski, set to Creole-Portuguese soul music; Daniel Charon’s “Storm,” City Pages’ Best Dance Performance of 2012; “Wine Dark Sea” by Wynn Fricke, which explores humanity’s attraction to the ocean; and Colleen Thomas’ journey through loss, “Catching Her Tears.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $38-$100. 528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-206-3636. Through Sunday —Jessica Armbruster

Michelle Wolf
Acme Comedy Co.

A few months after her last visit to Minneapolis, Michelle Wolf recorded and released her critically acclaimed special, Nice Lady, on HBO. Shortly after that, she hosted the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, drawing the ire of some in the media. Her opening line that night: “Like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with a Trump, ‘Let’s get this over with.’” The Washington Post called the monologue “downright nasty,” while many rushed to her defense. “The oh-my-stars-and-garters reaction of various journalists, sundry critics and, now, the association itself, seems misplaced,” Variety wrote at the time. Speaking of correspondents, Wolf was one for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and hosted the Netflix talk show The Break with Michelle Wolf. Among her many fans is comedian Jay Leno. “When I watch Michelle Wolf now I’m seeing a comic in her prime,” he gushed on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast last fall. “I’m seeing her burning white-hot, and she has such fun. I love watching a comedian who enjoys performing. She’s got that big smile; she’s laughing at her own jokes, but in a good way.” It’s not all politics, though, as she also talks about social issues, celebrity culture, dating, and the environment. 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $33. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

'Through the Glass Eye' by Chango Cummings at Northern Spark 2018

'Through the Glass Eye' by Chango Cummings at Northern Spark 2018 Sean Smuda


Northern Spark 2019
Various locations 

Festival founder Steve Dietz envisions Northern Spark as an inspiring demonstration of how art can transform public spaces, utilizing multimedia installations, interactive workshops, and experimental performances to bring together communities. In the divisive atmosphere of our current era, such unifying propositions are more important than ever, as reflected in the 2019 theme, “We Are Here: Resilience, Renewal, and Regeneration.” This subject will be reflected in works throughout the festival grounds: the Commons and the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis, and the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul. Even as he steps away after 2020, Dietz should be pleased to know that his progressive night vision will continue to evolve through a welcome range of creativity. Find locations and more info at 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Free. Through Saturday —Brad Richason

Stone Arch Bridge Festival
Stone Arch Bridge

Each Fathers’ Day weekend, the Stone Arch Bridge area plays host to a huge three-day festival featuring a variety of fun. Things kick off on Friday at Father Hennepin Park with a free concert in the evening headlined by Tom Petty cover band All Tomorrow’s Petty. Saturday and Sunday are packed with food vendors, artist booths, and a car show highlighting a variety of sparkly rides. A beer tent will offer a sampling of local brews for those who are 21 and over, the ugly tie 5K may entice early risers, and a series of makers’ workshops provide opportunities to create essential-oil mixes, decorate coffee cups, and work with metal stamps. A vintage and vinyl market rounds out the event. For more info, visit 6 to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 212 SE Second Ave., Minneapolis. Through Sunday —Jessica Armbruster

Pryes Anniversary Block Party
Pryes Brewing Company

For Pryes’ anniversary block party, the crew is moving the party outside for two days that take full advantage of the business’ river-facing property. There will be beers like Miraculum IPA, Dublin Dry Stout, and Main Squeeze, a citrusy summer blonde. The musical lineup is packed each day, with the 4onthefloor, Jaedyn James & the Hunger, Seaberg & the Black Velvet Punks, Battlerat, and Electric Feel on Friday, followed by Black Market Brass, Nooky Jones, Gully Boys, Black Widows, Ahem, Gentleman Speaker, Mae Simpson, and DJ Shannon Blowtorch on Saturday. Whew. In addition to the beer garden and grilling on both days, there will be a few pop-up shops on Friday, and mini golf and a full-on makers’ market on Saturday. Wristband sales will benefit Habitat for Humanity. Need to get out of the sun? There will also be beer and entertainment inside. 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday. Free; $4 wristbands to drink. 1401 W. River Rd. N., Minneapolis; 612-787-7937. Through Saturday —Loren Green

Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant
Park Square Theatre

Local playwright/composer Keith Hovis’ Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant presents a perverse perspective in which thwarted ambition can be traced to one catastrophic event: the cessation of a small-town’s children’s talent competition. Having been a contender for the coveted tiara of Junior Champion prior to the event’s shuttering (due to a contestant dying onstage), Frannie Foster Wallace has spent the past two decades lamenting her stolen glory. When she’s presented with a chance to revive the contest with the surviving adult competitors (who are now in their 30s), Frannie seizes the opportunity. Such is the farcical narrative that made its debut in an abridged form at the 2017 Fringe Festival. In reimagining the work as a full-length musical, Hovis has not only added a compelling score, but deepened the characterizations to better empathize with the absurd efforts to escape from frustrating routines. Reuniting the original Fringe cast under the direction of Laura Leffler, this rollicking blend of satire and sentiment might just take the crown for the most original musical of the summer season. The show is in previews through June 20. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, plus June 18-19 (no July 4 show); 2 p.m. Sundays. $25-$60; $.99-$37 preview shows. 20 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul; 651-291-7005. Through July 28 —Brad Richason

Mixed Culture

Mixed Culture Kadi Kaelin


Mixed Culture 2019
Fair State Brewing Cooperative

When it comes to craft beer festivals, there are two approaches to the menu: either the more the merrier or a heavily curated selection. Mixed Culture is in the latter category. Sure, Fair State and roughly 20 additional breweries will pour several of their own beers in the cozy Northeast beer garden. But even with those numbers, this is a carefully put-together event that showcases what a mixed-culture beer can be. It’s an opportunity to highlight some of Fair State’s interesting techniques, and a chance to try beers not typically found in Minnesota from the likes of Half Acre, Threes, and Burial. Many of these beers spent half a year or more in barrels to get their funky, fruity, and tart notes. After three hours, they will be gone. 21+. Session one is from noon to 4 p.m.; session two is from 5 to 9 p.m. $55-$65; $15 designated driver. 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-444-3209. —Loren Green

Queer Prom 2019
The Bird Rocks

Folks looking for a good LGBTQ party need look no further: It’s prom time at the Bird Rocks, a venue that frequently hosts dance nights and performances featuring queer artists. There’s no dress code at this shindig, so rock a glitter beard and mega-fluffy tulle dress, or just show up in kicks, jeans, and a T-shirt. Bring a date or go stag; the welcoming dance floor will be hopping with tunes from DJ AriAtari. There will be a prom-themed photobooth for those who would like a keepsake (or a reminder, if you plan on hitting the bar hard). Other performances and fun will round out the evening, which benefits 20% Theatre Company. 18+. Find tickets at 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. $10-$20 sliding scale; $50 for prom sponsors. 1612 Harmon Place, Minneapolis; 612-767-9495. —Jessica Armbruster

Midsommar Celebration 2019
American Swedish Institute

The American Swedish Institute’s annual Midsommar celebration is a day of music, games, and pole-dancing—Midsommar pole dancing, that is, as the iconic midsommarstång will be raised as the centerpiece for the festivities. This is a Swedish tradition that goes back centuries, as Midsommar probably has roots as a Pagan fertility ritual (the pole might be a hint). Don’t worry, through. It’s all very PG at ASI, with family activities such as storytime and games like Seek and Find. Swedish musical groups will perform throughout the day, in addition to sets by the TC Swedish Folk Dancers and the Cloudberries Choir. There’s a pop-up shop planned, where you’ll find Scandinavian goodies like clogs, rugs, jewelry, and more. You’ll also be able to take a peek at ASI’s “The Vikings Begin” exhibition in the Turnblad Mansion and the Osher Gallery. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free with museum admission ($6-$12). 2600 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-871-4907. —Sheila Regan

40th Anniversary Block Party
Mississippi Market

Natural food co-op Mississippi Market is turning 40 this weekend. The St. Paul grocery shop is throwing a birthday party at its West Seventh location. Food trucks will be serving eats, including Gerhard’s Brats, and Reverie Mobile Kitchen will have gluten-free and vegan options on the menu. Beer will be served from local brewmasters Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative, and, as at any good market party, you’ll find lots of sampling and freebies, here from Izzy’s Ice Cream, Peace Coffee, Organic Valley, Ferndale Market, and Brake Bread. An artists’ tent will showcase works from staffers, and music will be provided by Chris Koza and Seasaw. Kids will be kept busy with arcade games, face painting, and a bouncy castle. 3 to 7 p.m. Free. 1500 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-690-0507. —Jessica Armbruster

Hazeltine Golf Course

Hazeltine Golf Course Star Tribune


2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Hazeltine National Golf Club

Minnesota has hosted some major sports tournaments in recent years, including the X Games, the NCAA Final Four, and the Super Bowl. Now we’re welcoming over 150 pro golfers from around the world to Chaska. As far as sports fandom goes, golf-watching is unique in that it’s a zen experience that also manages to be a workout. Aside from the occasional cheer or polite clap, things are very quiet. People speak in hushed voices, and in some situations you might even be asked to stand still for a moment. At the same time, if you plan to follow a particular athlete or explore the course, you’re going to easily get your 10,000 steps for the day. Tickets that allow you to wander the grounds range from $20 to $35 depending on the day, or pay $100 for all-you-can-walk access for the entire week. Find tickets and more info at $20-$35; $100 all-week pass; special packages are also available. 1900 Hazeltine Blvd., Chaska; 952-556-5400. Through June 23 —Jessica Armbruster