Barring things like the Minnesota State Fair and the St. Paul Winter Carnival, not many events here in town make it past the 20-year mark. Balls, the beloved Saturday-night open-mic cabaret, is an exception to that rule. Over the decades a variety of performers — from very green, to emerging, to seasoned pros — have taken to the stage to entertain. What you'll see on any given night varies wildly, and may include folksy local musicians, anarchist poets, musical-theater students, or award-winning storytellers trying out new material. The event, hosted by Leslie Ball, is censor-free, although first timers are required to take in a show before they are allowed to sign up and give it a whirl. Balls is also a sober event, which can be a refreshing change for those tired of drunken open-mic sets or the late-night last-call scene.