The Fitz goes 'Back to the Future' (and other things to do this week): A-List March 15-21

'Back to the Future'

'Back to the Future'

This week we have a few free happenings that are pretty neat, as well as where to celebrate St. Paddy's Day. Come take a look.


Films at the Fitz: Back to the Future

Fitzgerald Theater


You don’t have to wait until summer movies in the parks to watch retro flicks for free. In celebration of MPR’s 50th anniversary, the crew is hosting a handful of free movie nights at the Fitz. This installment features the iconic ’80s classic Back to the Future. Michael J. Fox stars as a time-traveling teen who has to get his parents together with the help of a kind-but-crazy scientist played by Christopher Lloyd, before zapping himself back to the future... in 1985. The cheesy but joyful flick also stars Crispin Glover in one of his few non-creepy roles, along with Minnesota’s own Lea Thompson. Audiences are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters from the trilogy, and beer, popcorn, and other treats will be available. Sarah White will provide R&B/funk tunes for all. Registration and more info can be found at 6 p.m. Thursday. Free; registration required. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651-290-1200. —Jessica Armbruster


Carmen Lynch

Acme Comedy Co.

Six-foot-tall Carmen Lynch is done with online dating. “Now I date the old-fashioned way: I just walk outside and hope,” she says. When she does date, men in their 40s are her new favorite demographic. “They’re halfway to death and they know it.” In her act, Lynch covers the evergreen single-lady issues: taking Plan B (“If you’re spending $54 on the morning-after pill, you hope you’re pregnant so it’s not a waste of money”), envying a friend’s breakup weight loss, and reading corny online quotes to stave off sadness. As the daughter of an American military man and a Spanish nurse, Lynch can do comedy in two languages. Her 14-year career has included performances for U.S. troops abroad and appearances on the late-night shows of Conan, Letterman, and Colbert. She recently starred in a short film directed by Chloë Sevigny, and her new comedy album, Dance Like You Don’t Need the Money, was released last month. “I hope you liked my jokes,” she told one audience at the end of her set. “If you didn’t, my therapist told me I’m not responsible for your feelings.” 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 —Erica Rivera



Open Eye Figure Theatre

In the early ’90s, Tim Miller, as part of the NEA Four, sued the federal government for taking away grant fellowships due to the content of his work. They won. These days, Miller continues to be unswayed. He’ll be visiting Open Eye Figure Theatre this week to present Rooted. The piece uses June 26, 2013, the day that the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned, as a jumping-off point to examine hidden histories, social change, and the future of America. In the piece, he plunges into a genealogical research project to discover the unspoken histories of his family while commenting on trouble the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities face under the current administration. Miller is also the founder of Performance Space 122 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, California. 7:30 p.m. $12-$18. 506 E. 24th St., Minneapolis; 612-874-6338. —Sheila Regan


Sean Donnelly

Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

“New York made me better faster,” says standup Sean Donnelly. While he could have started in Long Island, where he grew up, and worked his way toward the city, he didn’t see the point. “I could go up several times a week in the city and audiences can be tougher there, so you build that muscle faster.” Being in New York, one of the nation’s most expensive cities, meant still having a day job six years into doing comedy. At first, he talked about standup with his co-workers. “I’d tell anyone that would listen, because I wanted them to come see my shows.” He stopped that practice at his final job, as he became annoyed with all the same old questions and requests to tell jokes. “Now when I travel and I get in a cab, I lie,” he says. “I lie my face off. I tell people I’m in insurance. No one wants to ask you questions about insurance.” 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 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Sunday —P.F. Wilson





Walker Art Center

When does the ecstasy of influence become the ennui of second-rate imitation? Philip Bither, Walker Art Center’s curator of performing arts, parries that question with the bold choices he has made in commissioning new works to be part of the Walker’s current mega exhibition, “Merce Cunningham: Common Time.” Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener were two of the most compelling dancers in Cunningham’s final company, and Charles Atlas is a visual-media artist and longtime Cunningham collaborator. The three were asked to create a work honoring Cunningham’s exploratory spirit — but different from his oeuvre. The result is Tesseract, a hybrid featuring seven dancers and 3-D video that weaves together movement, sci-fi narratives, and live film segments edited in real time by Atlas. Expect exuberant disorientation and some really terrific dancing. 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. $28. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-375-7600. Through Saturday —Linda Shapiro


Alison Hiltner: It Is Yesterday

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Artist Alison Hiltner is a science-fiction fan. It’s evident in her sculptures, which fuse media (in the form of video games, film, and television) with outlandish technology. Hiltner’s work is at once preposterous and strangely feasible, something you might see in a futuristic film but that might not be that far off from becoming reality. Her new exhibition, “It Is Yesterday,” opens at the MAEP Gallery at Mia on Thursday. The large-scale installation is based on a previous work, It Was Tomorrow, a Seussian structure of suspended latex bags, rubber tubing, and pumps. Microalgae bubble in the bags as they respond to carbon dioxide levels in the gallery. Viewers can influence the rate of the pumps by breathing into sensor boxes. “Inspiring curiosity through spectacle is an effective way to encourage people to investigate the world around them to become more engaged in ecological realities or even the sciences,” she says. Hiltner received her MFA from the University of Minnesota. She lives and works in Minneapolis. The opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 16; and an artist’s talk will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 18. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-3131. Through June 25 —Erica Rivera


Jose Sarduy

The Joke Joint Comedy Club

“I wanted to be an astronaut,” says comedian Jose Sarduy. That doesn’t sound like an unusual aspiration for a kid, but Sarduy seriously pursued that goal. He came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1980 as part of the Mariel boatlift. He was just three years old when his family settled in Miami. Like many kids his age, he grew up listening to comedy albums and watching standup on TV, but he still had passion for the space program, and joined the Air Force in order to eventually become an astronaut. “I found out it’s really hard,” he says. “It’s incredibly competitive, and I didn’t make it through all the gates you have to cross to be an astronaut.” Sarduy flew bombers and cargo planes, and applied to fly spy planes. However, as he got older, he realized time was running out. “I could either send the packet in to go to school to fly spy planes, or I could try standup. I went with entertainment.” Today, he is a lieutenant colonel in the reserves. On stage, he talks about his life and his heritage. “I tell people I’m a veteran,” he says. “I used to say I was an Air Force pilot, but that confused people. ‘They let Cubans fly our planes?’” 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


Third Thursday: At Home with Monsters

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Guillermo del Toro knows what scares us. The filmmaker — whose work includes Crimson Peak, Pacific Rim, and Pan’s Labyrinth — has brought his collection of horrors to Mia for an exhibition, and has received rave reviews from both fans and art critics alike. The show includes concept drawings, monster recreations, special-effect pieces, and other creepy items that have inspired him over the years. This Thursday, those who sign up for free tickets online can save themselves $20 and see everything for free. Even if you don’t score passes, there will be plenty of fun to be had. Darla Edin will be giving special-effects makeup demonstrations that may spark ideas for your next Halloween costume (cosplayers in attendance may do so as well). There will also be geeky gallery talks, live music from goth-pop group Graveyard Club, and plenty of creepy hands-on art activities. Order up a beer or wine from the cash bar and face your fears. Costumes are encouraged, but be sure to keep it museum-friendly. That means no masks, weapons, or tails. Book your tickets to the show online at or call 612-870-6323. 6 to 9 p.m. Free. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-3131. —Jessica Armbruster




Morgan Thorson: Still Life for the Cowles Center

The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts

In her first iteration of Still Life at the Weisman Museum, Morgan Thorson built suspense, wove calibrated dance with serious fun, and gave urgent animation to the stationary life of a museum. Now she’s taking the work to the Cowles Center as a site-specific ensemble performance designed for the Goodale Theater. She’s trimmed it down from five-hour marathons to a shorter excursion into the unknown, where dancers are invited, as Thorson puts it, to “kill the choreography.” Dancers as theatrical terrorists? Esthetic assassins? Thorson has given license to such fierce and unpredictable performers as Kristin Van Loon (of Hijack), Valerie Oliveiro (an interdisciplinary artist), and Sam Johnson (of SuperGroup) to interrupt, undermine, and even inject their own movement. Integral to the dance is the cutting-edge work of lighting designer Lenore Doxsee, and a sound score performed live by composer Sxip Shirey. No doubt inspired chaos will reign, and the decorous Goodale Theater will never be the same. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. $25. 528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-206-3636. Through Sunday —Linda Shapiro


She Went to War

Guthrie Theater

For those serving on the front lines, the gulf between harrowing first-hand combat experience and civilian impressions of war can feel vast. Recognizing the vital importance of communication in coping with trauma and facilitating understanding on the home front, the Telling Project was founded as an outlet for veterans and their families to share deeply personal accounts of the toll taken by battle. Hosted by the Guthrie Theater, She Went to War presents the autobiographical accounts of four female veterans. Though the specifics of their experiences differ, the speakers are unified by their bravery and candor, voicing hard-earned insights that cut deeper than any editorial. The participants also underscore the innumerable obstacles women encounter in the military, the commitment needed to overcome daily challenges, and seasoned perspectives on the value of personal sacrifice. She Went to War presents combat not as an abstract concept, but a devastating reality with consequences that continue to be felt long after the final shots are fired. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 1 p.m. Sundays. $9. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224. Through April 2 —Brad Richason



Two Rivers Gallery

This evening at Two Rivers Gallery showcasing Native American artists is part exhibition, part performance. See the work of local artists, including Aza and Palas Erdrich, Maggie Thompson, Rory Wakemup, Isabella LaBlanc, and Carolyn Anderson. Their pieces will be showcased alongside photographic portraits by John Ratzloff. Performances this evening include a bit from the New Native Theatre Company’s National Ten Minute Play Festival. Here Rhiana Yazzi has collaborated with filmmaker Keri Pickett, sound designer Jason Takahashi, and producer Charlie Thayer. 6 to 8 p.m. Free. 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-879-1780. —Jessica Armbruster

St. Patrick’s Day

Downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul

In the U.S., St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are a mix of heritage pride and an excuse to indulge in pints of green beer. Both will abound at the parade in St. Paul. At noon, musicians, firefighters, police, politicians, and more will march along Fifth Street East, from Wacouta to Washington Street. Afterward, consider heading over to the Landmark Center, which will be hosting a family-friendly festival with traditional dance, music, crafts, and more. Admission is $5 to $7, and the event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (some performances are scheduled Saturday as well). If you’re looking for Irish bars in St. Paul, O’Gara’s is a good place to start, as it will be hosting its “World’s Shortest Parade” (it’s basically a lap around the bar) at 3:30 p.m., and there will be free music throughout the day. Dubliner Pub also has some live music planned. Other Irish spots sure to be hopping are Emmett’s Public House, Half Time Rec, and Patrick McGovern’s Pub. Meanwhile, the party starts much later in Minneapolis, as its parade launches at 7:30 p.m., traveling on Marquette Avenue from Sixth Street to 11th Street. Head out early for happy hour; Irish pubs nearby include the Local, Kieran’s Irish Pub, and O’Donovans. During the evening, from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., all Metro Transit buses, Metro lines, and Northstar rides are free. Plan a backup, however, as some transportation will be at full capacity. For more info on the parades, visit and —Jessica Armbruster




Free Ink Day

Highpoint Center for Printmaking

Since 2002, Highpoint Center has been opening up its studio and gallery spaces for Free Ink Day. So if you’ve ever been curious as to what making print art entails, this Saturday is your chance to give it a go for free. During the afternoon, artist Carolyn Swiszcz and Highpoint volunteers will be helping folks make their own mono prints to take home using their vast resources and collections of materials. This activity is open to all ages, so bring the kids. Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting messy, and plan to spend at least 30 minutes working on your creations. Noon to 4 p.m. Free. 912 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-871-1326. —Jessica Armbruster


The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin

History Theatre

Despite the opposition to the attempts to ban select ethnicities from our shores, Trump’s efforts do recall such regrettable immigration restrictions as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, an especially xenophobic piece of legislation that wasn’t officially repealed until 1943. As recounted in The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin, written by Minneapolis-based playwright Jessica Huang, the decades spent living under this patently racist act gave rise to the widespread demonizing of an entire culture. Huang shines a light on this history by telling the true story of Harry Chin, a Chinese national who managed to remain in the United States through a loophole. Chin’s experience, however, was far from carefree. As he coped with his longing for the home he left behind, normalized bigotry loomed over any hope of being accepted as equal in his new homeland. Directed by Mei Ann Teo, this History Theatre production offers a timely reminder of the threats to our most celebrated ideals. The show is in previews March 16-17. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. $25-$40; $15 students. 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul; 651-292-4323. Through April 9 —Brad Richason




Kidd Pivot/Electric Company Theatre


Seven years ago, Crystal Pite (who danced with ballet’s premier deconstructionist, William Forsythe, in his Ballet Frankfurt) made her U.S. debut with her company Kidd Pivot at the Walker Art Center. Mind-bogglingly brilliant, arrestingly dark, and gorgeously intelligent, the Canadian dancer/choreographer and her company left indelible kinesthetic impressions on the minds and bodies of attendees. (Read Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed, a brilliant and hilarious reimagining of The Tempest, for a vivid description of Kidd Pivot’s incisive performance.) Pite returns this week, this time to Northrop, with Betroffenheit, created with Jonathon Young and his Electric Company Theatre. Puppetry, spoken text, salsa, and contemporary movement combine to tell a story of disaster, trauma, refuge, PTSD, and survival. Be enlightened, not afraid. Post-performance discussions will be conducted by experts in trauma, spirituality, and healing. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. $25-$50. 84 Church St. SE, Minneapolis; 612-625-6003. Through Wednesday, March 22 —Camille LeFevre