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Bad Bunny, Black and Funny Fest, and More: This Week’s Best Events

Plus comic book artists, goth ceramic food, and two local Hmong authors publish new books.

Photo by C. Michael Menge, art by Jacqueline Tse, promo image|

Black and Funny Improv Fest, “Edible” at Northern Clay, and Bad Bunny.

Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond. 

"Edible" at Northern Clay Center.Clockwise top left: Anika Hsiung Schneider, Jacqueline Tse, Jennifer Ling Datchuk

MONDAY 3.18

Edible

Northern Clay Center

This ongoing exhibition at Northern Clay finds Asian-American artists incorporating the aesthetics of food into their (inedible) ceramic works. “Our relationship to what we eat is the most intimate possible: the food we consume literally constitutes our bodies, and the ways we consume it link us to each other, our loved ones, and our ancestors,” the organizers of “Edible” write. See artists explore that relationship in their work, from Brooklyn-based ceramicist Jacqueline Tse’s skull-studded porcelain desserts to Minneapolis-based multimedia artist Anika Hsiung Schneider’s dumplings and bai cai. Participating artists also include Ling Chun, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, and Cathy Lu. 2424 Franklin Avenue E., Minneapolis; find more info here. Through April 21—Em Cassel

Black and Funny Fest's John Gebretatose and Jada Pulley.C. Michael Menge

THURSDAY 3.21

Black and Funny Improv Festival 

HUGE Theater

Chicagoans Del Close and Charna Halpern get most of the credit for shaping modern improv, but guess what? Brave New Workshop founder Dudley Riggs also helped pioneer the art form right here in Minneapolis beginning way back in the '50s, making our town a fitting setting for the Black and Funny Improv Festival. This stacked eighth-annual blowout aims to “raise the profile of improv as an art form, uplift Black voices, and give people good reason to laugh,” say event organizers, and it’s taking over the new HUGE HQ for four days of yes-and yuks. Troupes from Canada, Texas, Philly, and Baltimore will join local improvisers for shows, workshops, and Sunday’s free matinee jam, which is intended specifically for a BIPOC-only audience. "I think that white people, and other people of color, even, have a lot to learn from Black performers," event co-director Jada Pulley told us last year while stressing the inclusive nature of the fest. $20 per show; $150 fest pass. 2728 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; find more info and the complete schedule here.—Jay Boller

Cornbread's 97th B-Day Party Extravaganza (Correction: This event isn't until April 25... we must've gotten too excited and missed the actual date; Viraluae regrets the error.)

Hook & Ladder

Somebody oughta write a damn book about James Samuel "Cornbread" Harris Sr. (Update: Somebody has; ex-City Pages music editor Andrea Swensson’s Deeper Blues: The Life, Songs, and Salvation of Cornbread Harris is due out this summer.) In any event, the one-man Minnesota music institution is, remarkably, still tearing up local stages with regularity, and tonight he’ll do what he does best while being celebrated by friends, collaborators, and well-wishers. If you’re reading this far and are somehow unfamiliar with Cornbread, you should know that he’s credited with co-writing our state’s first rock ‘n’ roll recording (1955’s "Hi Yo Silver," with Augie Garcia), basically inventing the storied West Bank blues/jazz scene, and fathering another local legend (James Samuel "Jimmy Jam" Harris III). I saw Mr. Harris perform in the heat last summer at the State Fair amid the hunky firemen, and can confirm he has still got it. $15-$25. 6 p.m. 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Candida Gonzalez, 'Underwater'

FRIDAY 3.22


Blood Memory: Candida Gonzalez

Public Functionary

How do you connect to your ancestors when you live thousands of miles away? In “Blood Memory,” south Minneapolis-raised artist Candida Gonzalez brings Puerto Rico to them via food, music, jewelry, and everyday objects. For this P-Func show, they’ve created six multimedia installations featuring collage, photography, and audio elements. Each section is dedicated to a different room of the home, including the kitchen and the bedroom, with participatory altars to help you invoke personal memories along the way. There’s an opening reception scheduled this week on Friday, March 22, from 6 to 10 p.m. (masks are required the first hour). Otherwise, you can check out the show during open hours Thursdays through Saturdays. Be sure to bring earbuds for your phone; this is an exhibition meant to be heard as well. 1500 Jackson St. NE, Studio 144, Minneapolis; more info here. Through April 13—Jessica Armbruster

Danny Brown

Varsity Theater

Brown had a helluva 2023, a banner year even for a guy who’s had plenty of ’em since kicking his career into gear in 2010. Spitting rhymes like “I wanna rock right now/Hittin' whippets and eating halal/Get to clippin' while whippin' these sounds/You get hit, you gon' sing like Bilal” on Scaring the Hoes, his collab with JPEGMAFIA, the Detroit rapper’s whine cuts through the clutter and clatter of that producer’s glitchy funk like the sirens and horns that topped the Bomb Squad’s sampled cacophony on classic Public Enemy records. He followed up that noisemaker with the introspective Quaranta, an often regretful look back at the past 42 years of his life, particularly the 12 since he entered his fourth decade with his second album, XXX. His main theme? “This rap shit done saved my life/And fucked it up at the same time.” Here Brown recalls his early years as an ex-con, tries to keep his bearings in a gentrifying Detroit, and mourns a relationship, all with the insight he hadn’t yet developed a decade ago. There’s a myth that rappers inevitably get less relevant as they get older. Quaranta suggests that’s maybe because most rappers aren’t talented enough, but it’s certainly because they’re not honest enough. $28.50-$97. 7 p.m. 1308 SE Fourth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Kao Kalia Yang, Pao Houa Her

Northrop Auditorium

We’ve got a double book-release party coming to us this week, and this one’s extra special because both authors are trailblazing local Hmong artists. Kao Kalia Yang’s memoirs, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir and The Song Poet, take readers through one her family’s journey, from fleeing their war-torn home of Laos and spending time at a crowded Thai refugee camp before eventually making it to America and adjusting to a new life here. Her new book, Where Rivers Part, focuses on the experience from the perspective of her mother, Tswb. Meanwhile, Pao Houa Her also tells the stories of her elders, of immigration, and making a new home in the U.S. via photo series in My grandfather turned into a tiger… and other illusions. Hear both of them talk about their latest work tonight, with California-based Hmong poet Mai Der Vang in town to lead the dialogue. Free. 6-8 p.m. 84 Church St. SE, Minneapolis; more info here.—Jessica Armbruster

Bad BunnyPromo image

SATURDAY 3.23

Bad Bunny

Target Center

It’s hard not to talk about Benito Ocasio in superlatives these days. He first established his name as the biggest star in Latin trap, but in recent years he’s leapfrogged over that title to become the world’s biggest pop star en español period. He hasn’t been to Minnesota in six years, back when he was enough of a fledgling that he could still play a smaller venue like El Nuevo Rodeo. And with his 2022 smash Un Verano Sin Ti, he began to dominate the anglo world as well. His October release, Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana, is less stylistically diverse, but for a “back to basics” record, it still mixes up its beat plenty, with tastes of Jersey club, drill, and house. Since I shamefully no habla, I’m hardly the guy to catalog Bad Bunny’s strengths, but even across the language barrier I can hear a swagger in his voice, and I often get a laugh or two from his lyrics when I check out the English versions. And while I don’t believe that music is a universal language, the beats sure don’t get lost in translation. $151.95-$685.95. 8 p.m. 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.Keith Harris

Sleater-Kinney

Palace Theatre

I prefer to think of Little Rope, released in January, not as the band’s second post-Janet Weiss album but their first post-post-Janet Weiss album. Not because capable new drummer Angie Boylan defines the band’s new sound any more than do the occasional synths that fill out the mix, but because after making the most of their new freedom on The Path to Wellness, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker seem to have accepted specific roles within their partnership. Little Rope simmers more than it explodes, with targets maybe more allusive (“The thing you fear the most will hunt you down” and “Hell is just a place that/We can't seem to live without”) than you’d hope in this fraught moment, and its aim less steady when they do zero in on the enemy (“You’re burning all the books in this town”). Yet Brownstein’s guitar virtuosity continues to evolve in unexpected ways, here inflected by grief for a mother and stepfather who died in a car accident last year. And Tucker’s enormous voice remains more nuanced than almost any full-throttle rock belter you can name. At its best (I pick “Untidy Creature”) their outrage sounds as fresh as when they were first redefining rock feminism 30 years ago, but with the perspective of middle-age refining their analysis. Oh, and they still rock. That’s just a given. With Black Belt Eagle Scout. $39.50-$75. 8 p.m. 17 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Rochester Thaw Music Fest

Various Venues

Get in the fraudulent hyperloop, losers: We’re going to rock out in Rochester. Similar to May's Mid West Music Fest in Winona, this fest takes over a southern Minnesota town with a lineup that serves as a killer sample platter of Twin Cities music. Headliners include funk/soul belter Mae Simpson, indie-rocker Monica LaPlante, and hip-hop star Nur-D. To see all 30+ performers you’ll have to zigzag across six downtown venues, with the Chateau Theatre serving as festival homebase. Will there be a food truck alley, paychecks for all the artists involved, and the presence of a band called Space Monkey Mafia? You better believe it. $55-$65. Find more info and the complete schedule here.—Jay Boller

Makenzi Johnson

SUNDAY 3.24

Giganticon

Odd Mart

Lyn-Lake’s Odd Mart isn’t just a place to get bubble gum and T-shirts; its backroom features vintage items and makers’ work while the side room is all about comics. This Sunday, the latter fully takes over for Giganticon. Artist Zander Cannon will be celebrating the final installment of Kaijumax, a series about giant monsters set in space prison. Other local comic creators stopping by include Peter Wartman (Avatar: The Last Airbender), Madeline McGrane (The Accursed Vampire), and Lupi McGinty (Rick and Morty). Minnesota comic dealers will also be bringing you some deep cuts, rare finds, and indie publications for sale. $.25. Noon to 5 p.m. 2520 Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Lord of the Rings Night

Boom Island Brewing

If we know one thing about hobbits, it’s that those hairy-footed lil fuckers love their ale. (And wine, and food, and a toke of the ol’ halfling’s leaf.) Tonight at Boom Island, you can celebrate all things Middle Earth at this Lord of the Rings get together. Enjoy Shire-like live folk music from Gus the Bardic Troubadour and Loreweavers, and dress up as your favorite hobbit/elf/dwarf/ent/orc for the costume contest at 6 p.m. They’ll also have a LOTR-themed market, trivia hosted by the podcasters behind Keep On Tolkien, and of course, beers worthy of a blowout like Bilbo’s 111th birthday. Presumably, it’ll come in pints. Free. Noon to 7 p.m. 5959 Baker Rd. #320, Minnetonka; more info here.—Em Cassel

'A Garden Wedding,' CC Mercer Watson

ONGOING

Untitled 18

Soo Visual Arts Center

Now in its 18th year, “Untitled” is a curated gallery show where any artist is welcome to submit, regardless of medium, career level, or experience. What results is a curious collection that’s a joy to explore. This year’s show will feature 30 artists, all selected by curator Danielle Krysa. “For me, the connecting element is this: Whether the work is on the floor, suspended from the ceiling, or hanging on the walls, everything in this show makes me want to touch it,” she says of her selection process here. “I won’t, but I want to. You’ll see what I mean—there’s just so much TEXTURE." There will be an opening reception this Saturday, February 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. 2909 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis. Through March 24—Jessica Armbruster

The Other Four

Weisman Art Museum

Have you ever come across a tactile-looking piece of art at a gallery and wished you could reach out and touch it? Well, you can at the Weisman’s new group exhibition. “The Other Four” asks guests to rely less on sight and more on smell, taste, touch, and sound. So museum etiquette be damned, you’re welcome to sniff, listen, and grope these pieces to your heart’s content. (We’re not sure how taste plays into this show, but according to the press release that’s on the table as well.) The collection features 16 multimedia works by 21 contemporary artists, and that includes pieces exploring technology, performance, experimentation, and interactive play. “Most of us are so accustomed to the dominance of our sense of sight that we often forget it is operating… sometimes causing one to drift off into thought and miss the moment,” notes local artist John Scheurman, curator of the show. There will be an opening party this Thursday, February 8, from 7 to 10 p.m. with music, apps, and a cash bar (tickets are $20/free if you’re a U student). A free artists’ roundtable is also scheduled for 6 p.m Thursday, April 3. 333 E. River Pkwy., Minneapolis. Through May 19—Jessica Armbruster

Arctic Highways: Unbounded Indigenous People

American Swedish Institute

This winter, ASI is showcasing the work of 12 Indigenous artists from Sápmi, the Sámi people’s name for the arctic land they inhabit and travel, ranging from Alaska to Scandinavia to Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia. That may sound like a huge swath of land, but the connections are stronger than the miles here. “We are indigenous peoples who live in different countries and on different continents, and yet regard ourselves as peoples with kindred spirits,” the collective artist statement explains. “With this exhibition we want to tell our own story, through our own experiences, using our own forms of expression.” Pieces include photography, textile work, sculptures, and duodji handcrafts. The museum’s “first look” party this Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m. features live music, live reindeer, and hands-on art making. Tickets are $30 for the opening party, otherwise the show is free with admission ($6-$13). 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis. Through May 26—Jessica Armbruster

Tetsuya Yamada: Listening

Walker Art Center

This winter, as performers from around the world will be heading to the Walker for its annual Out There Series, the galleries will be staying local, showcasing the work of ceramicist Tetsuya Yamada. For this survey, the Japanese-born, Minnesota-residing U of M prof will share over 65 pieces, including drawings, notes, and many, many everyday examples of ceramics–plates, vases, coffee mugs, and more. The title of the exhibition, “Listening,” refers to the instinctual choices an artist makes along the way to creating something. “The process might take me to places I didn’t imagine initially,” he explains. “This is the fundamental of studio practice for me.” There will be an opening reception this Thursday, January 18, with free admission from 5 to 9 p.m. and an artist’s talk at 7 p.m. (Stop by the Main Lobby Desk for tickets.) ​​725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through July 7—Jessica Armbruster

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