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Fireworks, Taste of MN, a Pants-Free Bike Ride: This Week’s Best Events

It's gonna be a long weekend, folks.

Kevin Nalty via Unsplash

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

DakhaBrakhaPromo

TUESDAY 7.2

DakhaBrakha

Dakota

Admit that you’re at the very least a little intrigued by what “Ukrainian punk folk circus rock” might sound like. Though nine years old, this Tiny Desk concert will give you a taste of humor and liveliness in this quartet’s music. or at least let you know what their hats look like. While rooted in traditional Ukrainian styles, DakhaBrakha (all women, except for “director, ideologist, and founder” Vladyslav Troitskyi) takes in influences from all over the place without ever collapsing into a multiculti mess. And that’s by conscious design—the group’s name means “give/take.” $70-$85. 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Wed. 1010 Nicollet Mall; find more info here.—Keith Harris

WEDNESDAY 7.3

Liz Goes Boom!

The Heights

In the mid ’60s, dissatisfied with her career and ready to take chances, Elizabeth Taylor began actively seeking out directors she wanted to work with and roles she wanted to play. This effort resulted in what the Heights is calling her ”five insane masterpieces.” The earliest of these you probably know: Watching a middle-aged, alcoholic wife and husband (Taylor and her frequent husband, Richard Burton) joust with each other and torment a younger couple over the course of an evening in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? remains a wonderfully excruciating experience. The other four films in the series rarely screen anywhere. Reflections of a Golden Eye is a John Huston film adapted from a Carson McCullers novel that places Taylor opposite Marlon Brando. Andy Warhol appears in The Driver’s Seat (Identikit), a 1974 adaptation of a Muriel Spark novella that broke audience brains at the time. Secret Ceremony is one of two collaborations with director Joseph Losey that will be screening, the other of which, BOOM!, is John Waters’s favorite movie. An exciting series. $12. 3951 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights; find dates, showtimes and more info here. Through July 31—Keith Harris

Red, White, and Boom

THURSDAY 7.4

Red, White, and Boom

The Mighty Mississippi

Downtown is back, baby! OK, Red, White, and Boom never really “went” anywhere, but after taking a Covid break and returning last year with a (kinda sad) laser show, the real thing has returned to upset our pets and instill patriotism via sky fire. But before shit gets blown up we gotta pre-party, so be sure to get there early for food truck eats and rock and R&B covers from Big Mike Retro Soul & the Westside Horns and DJ Angel Beloved. 6 p.m.; 10 p.m. fireworks. West side of the Mississippi River, at Water Works and the Stone Arch Bridge parking lots, Minneapolis; find more details about parking and viewing spots here.—Jessica Armbruster

77th Annual Fourth in the Park

Langford Park

Meanwhile, this St. Paul Fourth of July party just keeps on going. Festivities include a parade, which travels along Como Avenue from Luther Place to Langford Park, where there will be a ball pit, live music (Ticket to Brasil, the Foxgloves, Light of the Moon Trio), food trucks, pickleball, lawn games, and picnicking. Stop by Ned’s Park Service (2277 Como Ave.) for free flags and T-shirts while they last. Free. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 30 Langford Park, St. Paul; find more details at here.—Jessica Armbruster

Freedom From Pants, Eric Shoultz

Freedom From Pants 2024

Various Locations

In the classic Simpsons episode "The Last Temptation of Krust," which aired... dear god... 26 years ago, Homer famously shouted at standup comic Krusty the Clown, "Don't you hate pants?!" That sentiment appears to have echoed through the ages—why else would we have today’s pantless bike ride devoted to protesting, you guessed it, pants? “It is once again our favorite time of year to grab our steeds and hit the streets in everything but our pants!!” promoters write of the annual event. “So grab your bikes, grab your pasties, grab your thongs, undies, shorts, lights, tunes, and g-strings, rain or shine…” The idea is simple: Meet at Nicollet Island (you’ll be able to spot fellow attendees), ride bikes sans pants to the Sabo Bridge, and finish things off with a trouserless dance party. There’s a lengthy list of dos and don’ts here (most of ‘em common sense stuff), but the underlying message is as stark and beautiful as the bodies atop those bike saddles: have fun! Free. 6 p.m. Nicollet Island, under the Hennepin Avenue Bridge; find more info here.—Jay Boller

CONvergence 2024: Everyone’s Invited

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

The biggest, geekiest expo in the Upper Midwest appears to be going with a low-key, belated Pride theme this year, billing the four-day event as, “a celebration of diversity in our inspirations, our creative communities, and our fandoms.” That of course will manifest as it has since 1999: celeb guests, panels, parties, music, karaoke, DJs, cosplay galore, movies, vendors, games, and a whole lot more. This year's marquee guests include Falcon Crest actor Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Gargoyles voice actor Brigitte Bako, absolutely booming and prolific voice actor Keith David, Young Justice: Outsiders voice actor Zehra Fazal, and plenty of others. $55-$135 (free for kids under 5). 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here. Through Sunday—Jay Boller

FRIDAY 7.5

Scream It Off Screen

The Parkway Theater

Guys, this monthly event has gotten big. So big, in fact, that it made its way to the Fitzgerald last May and most shows at the Parkway sell out quickly. But, thanks to the holiday weekend, it appears that tickets are still around for July’s installment. The rules are simple: Folks submit short videos, host Terry Sommer gets it up onscreen, and the crowd screams at it if it sucks. Whichever creation gets the least amount of screams, then, at the end, the most screams, wins a giant check for $101.01. You probably still have questions, this Viraluae story from Macie Rasmussen may have the answers, but my advice is to just check it out and roll with it. This is a show that revels in organized chaos in the best way possible. 18+. $13 presale/$19 at the door. 8 p.m. 4814 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jessica Armbruster

Waco BrothersPromo

SATURDAY 7.6

Waco Brothers, Jon Langford & Alice Spencer of the Bright Shiners

Cedar Cultural Center

It’s been less than 16 months since Jon Langford last stormed through the Cedar, trading stories and songs with Will Oldham, and in the time since the energetic Welsh Chicagoan has released three albums. (At least. I can’t guarantee that I haven’t missed one or two.) The Waco Brothers, who headline tonight, returned in 2023 with their first album since the start of the pandemic, The Men That Time Forgot. Originally the outlet for Langford’s country music side as his home band, Mekons, skewed more punk, the Wacos have tightened into a fierce roots-rock outfit over the past 30 years,  The arrangements on the most recent Langford joint, Where It Starts (released in April, credited to Jon Langford & the Bright Shiners) are slightly poppier than his norm; he’ll perform some in duet with Shiners member Alice Spencer. (Incidentally, the other two albums are also well worth seeking out: a solo collection of miscellaneous tracks called Gubbins and especially Lost on Land & Sea, an album about the singers childhood in Wales recorded with the Men of Gwent, a Langford band I hadn’t heard of before but has three albums to its name. Working merch for this guy must be a nightmare.) And no matter which musicians Langford shares the stage with, he’ll be gabbing a-plenty, and his banter will be worth the price of admission. With Jake La Botz. $23/$28. 8 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Keith Harris

Behind Bars Turns 20

Behind Bars Bicycle Shop

Happy birthday to the best damn bike shop in northeast Minneapolis. To celebrate, the Behind Bars crew has organized a day of group rides and races, plus plenty of festive hangout opportunities around the shop. We’re talkin’ raffles, door prizes, and bicycle decoration contests with cash prizes. Later in the afternoon, neighboring Oro by Nixta will begin slinging tacos as DJs spin tunes and artists from Nokomis Tattoo offer pop-up tats. Sounds like this is as much a celebration of T.C. bike culture as it is about a great Nordeast bike shop. Free. Noon to 7 p.m. 208 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Taste of Minnesota

Nicollet Mall

Last year the relaunched Taste of Minnesota, a two-day free festival along Nicollet Mall, was framed by city leaders as a Minneapolis-is-back victory lap. Historically, the food ‘n’ tunes bash was held outside the State Capitol through the ‘80s and ‘90s, relocated to St. Paul’s Harriet Island in 2003, and, finally, lasted for a couple of years in Waconia before shutting down in 2015. In practice, the rebooted Taste was well-attended but suffered from retrospectively obvious issues related to a lack of drinking water, shade, and food—it's summer on asphalt, folks! Here's hoping logistics are smoother for this fest, which'll feature headliners like '90s alt-rockers the Wallflowers (perhaps you're familiar with the singer's dad) and country star Martina McBride on Saturday, plus local R&B/funk/soul favorites Morris Day & the Time and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on Sunday. Also on tap, not unlike the hopefully ample supply of H2O: lots more music, food trucks, ziplining, a puppy party, and F1RST Wrestling. Organizers are touting ToM '24 as bigger than last year's, which was made possible by a one-time, $1.85 million grant from the Minnesota Legislature. It's unclear how much state funding went into this summer's installment. Free. Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 250 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Tetsuya YamadaWalker Art Center

ONGOING

Tetsuya Yamada: Listening

Walker Art Center

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.” ​​725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through July 7—Jessica Armbruster

Twelfth Night or What You Will

Various Locations

At one time, theater was entertainment for the masses. And this may be most apparent in one of Shakespeare’s most soapy works, Twelfth Night. The hallmarks of great trash TV are all here: mistaken identities, twins, forged love letters, romantic overtures. When twins Sebastian and Viola are separated via a shipwreck, Viola opts to disguise herself as a gent and the women (and men) come calling. Throw in the antics of a drunk uncle and you have yourself a 400-something-years-old romcom. This summer you can see it in the parks of the Twin Cities and surrounding ‘burbs thanks to Classical Actors Ensemble’s free summer series. Find times and locations at classicalactorsensemble.org. Through July 14—Jessica Armbruster

The Long Take

Trylon

This series brings you just what it says: movies featuring long, uninterrupted takes. And fittingly, it’s a long series, running throughout the summer. But though they all include at least one bravura sequence, these films offer much more than just flashy technique. Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (showing again tonight and tomorrow) got things rolling over the weekend, and in the weeks to come you’ll get a chance to check out international arthouse champs like Tarkovsky and Antonioni, modern Asian greats like Hong Kong action master Johnnie To and Park Chan-wook, and movies you can never see too often, like Children of Men and Goodfellas. Let me put in a special word for the elegant The Earrings of Madame de…, directed by the incomparable Max Ophuls, a man so in love with long takes that James Mason once wrote a poem about him that began *extremely James Mason voice* “A shot that does not call for tracks/Is agony for poor old Max.” 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; find complete showtimes and more info here. Through August 27—Keith Harris

TC River Rats

Mississippi River

What is Ratagascar? It’s not a place (we checked); it’s not a movie about a vermin chef (we think). It’s this summer’s thematic show from the Twin Cities River Rats, the local water skiing crew that has been carving up the Mississippi River since 1979. Specifically, the Rats say, “Ratagascar is filled with adventure, including high-flying jumps, tall pyramids, powerful balancing acts, and barefoot tricks.” Hm, sounds a lot like all River Rats shows, but there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that. As always, this team of rivertop tricksters performs for free and for the whole family. Bring some chairs and blankets, buy some concessions, and enjoy a Minneapolis summertime institution. Free. 6:30 p.m. 1758 West River Rd. N., Minneapolis; find more info here. Thursdays through August—Jay Boller 

Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody

Walker Art Center

Keith Haring was a hugely influential artist in the 1980s and, whether you know it or not, he still is today. The Pennsylvania-raised, NYC-based artist first gained notoriety in the early ‘80s for his subway graffiti art, adorning unused black ad space with crawling babies, barking dogs, and UFOs. A year or two later, he would emerge with projects above ground, including a billboard in Times Square, a mural on the Lower East Side, and the covers of Vanity Fair and Newsweek. His friends and collaborators included Madonna, Grace Jones, and Jean-Michele Basquiat. Regardless of his meteoric rise, Haring wanted his art to be approachable, accessible, and affordable, so he kept most of his pieces in the public sphere. Though his work was crowd pleasing, it was also political, whether it was celebrating queer love, calling for an end to apartheid in South Africa, or promoting safe sex. Though Haring died in 1990 from complications from AIDS, his prolific collection and enduring messages live on. For “Art Is for Everybody,” over 100 works and archival pieces will be on display at the Walker, including ephemera from his 1984 residency at the museum. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through September 8—Jessica Armbruster

Skyline Mini Golf

Walker Art Center

Speaking of stuff to do on rooftops, Skyline Mini Golf is also back this week. While some putt-putt courses aim for putting green realism others go full spectacle. At the Walker, it’s all about the latter, with holes featuring giant hot dogs, mirrored surfaces, tiny odes to the cities, and wacky opportunities to become an obstacle for putters yourself. Don’t expect to work on your handicap here; this course takes mini golf almost to the point of parody as you’ll find yourself testing your skills at ping pong, pool, and Plinketto. Just roll with the chaos–that’s part of the fun. $12 ($10 Walker members and ages 7-18); free for ages 6 and under with paid adult. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through October 6—Jessica Armbruster

Warehouse District Live

Downtown Minneapolis

The fate of Open Streets may be uncertain, but every weekend a part of First Avenue will be closed to cars—and not just for construction reasons. Described as “an enhanced pedestrian zone,” Warehouse District Live will offer things that big cities normally have in their downtown areas: food trucks, extended seating areas, and more public bathrooms. Wow! So do some bar-hopping, sit outside and eat, walk in the middle of the street, and wonder why so many exurban Twitter users are so scared of downtown. Free. 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fri.-Sat. First Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth Streets, Minneapolis; find more info here. June 7 through October—Jessica Armbruster

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