A winter luau at Bent, tattoo arts, and romance novelist Chuck Tingle: A-List 1.8-14

Minneapolis Tattoo Arts Convention

Minneapolis Tattoo Arts Convention Courtney Perry/Star Tribune

Check out this week's rad happenings.

Jordan Carlos

Jordan Carlos Image courtesy the standup


Jordan Carlos
Acme Comedy Co.

Jordan Carlos is a standup comic who has also done a fair bit of TV work, both as a writer and as a performer. Comedy fans may recognize him as “Alan” from The Colbert Report, where he portrayed host Stephen Colbert’s “black co-worker.” Onstage, he discusses, among other things, being in a mixed-race marriage. He’s also not afraid to dabble in politics. “Our president is not boring,” he tells an audience. “Season one and season two have been crazy. So many twists and turns. My favorite was how he blamed the California wildfires on California. ‘Did you see all the leaves they didn’t rake?’” says Carlos in a perfect Donald Trump voice. “‘They were asking for it.’” Carlos also enjoys the president’s tweets. “I check Twitter; what’s he going to say next? I like when he tries tweeting things into law.” 18+. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

"Common Threads"

"Common Threads" L-R: Robbie LaFleur, Tim + Thom, Terry Banovetz-Gerst


A Common Thread
Textile Center

 This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Textile Center’s member exhibition, “A Common Thread.” Over 100 fiber works will be on view, showcasing techniques like stitching, crocheting, lacemaking, basketry, sculpture, and mixed media. Check out intricate quilts, vibrant patterns, breathtaking bead work, and new innovations that cross disciplines. From old school to new school, there will be tons of stuff to see from the many different kinds of artists that make up the Textile Center community. The opening reception is on Thursday, January 9, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. 3000 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612-436-0464. Through March 14 —Sheila Regan

Spit Shade III: Sailors & Sweethearts
Gamut Gallery

Behind every great tattoo is an artist. While they excel at working with needles, ink, and skin, many tattoo artists also create in other mediums, including digital art, painting, and drawing. See some of their works at Gamut Gallery, which is hosting an exhibition of pieces by folks in town for the Minneapolis Tattoo Arts Convention. The exhibition will feature a collection from 50 local and national talents, curated by Minneapolis tattooers Rachael Bringgold and Adam Underwood. See these artists and more at the opening reception from 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, January 9, which will also feature an all-vinyl set by DJ No Pants. Free; $10-$15 opening reception. 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis; 612-367-4327. Through February 13 —Jessica Armbruster

Mike Vecchione
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

While comedian Mike Vecchione has performed for a variety of audiences overseas, he’s just returned from a unique set of shows in Israel put together by an organization called Comedy for Kody. “It’s named for a young boy who was murdered by terrorists,” Vecchione explains. The organization raises money for summer camps, as well as therapy for survivors of terrorist attacks. “They’ve been doing it twice a year for 10 years now, and I was fortunate enough to be asked to do this tour. It was life-changing.” Vecchione and the other comics performed at night, leaving them time to visit various religious and historical sites around the country during the day. Show organizer and fellow comic Avi Liberman was their guide. “I was building my Israel [set] while I was there,” Vecchione adds, “I was writing jokes for them every day.” He’s not sure he’ll be able to use any of those bits back home in the States. That’s not a huge worry, though, as Vecchione has plenty to talk about with American audiences. “I was in Aruba,” he says, “and so I talk about trying to get someone you don’t know to rub sunblock on you. It’s such an intimate thing, but then it’s not.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 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

My Friend Chuck

My Friend Chuck


My Friend Chuck
Mixed Blood Theatre

Dr. Chuck Tingle is known for penning gay romance novels with a twist. His characters include dinosaurs, sentient corn cobs, Bigfoot, and European vampire night buses. Popular (and lengthy!) titles—and there are many—include I’m Gay for My Living Billionaire Jet PlaneOpen Wide for the Handsome Sabertooth Dentist Who Is Also a Ghost, and I’m in Love With the Handsome Mummy Racecar in My Butt. Tingle frequently dabbles in hot topics of the day (Oppressed in the Butt By My Inclusive Holiday Coffee Cups) and has even recently ventured into erotica both lesbian (Sentient Lesbian Jet Ski Gets Me Off) and bisexual (My Husband and I Find Our Unicorn and She’s a Bigfoot Also My Husband Is a Dinosaur). If this is all a giant WTF for you, just know that this guy’s prolific collection of books and short stories is the stuff of legend if you’re into Amazon deep dives. This week, the author of these masterpieces is in town. When he’s not writing erotica, he’s teaming up with his buddy McKenzie Goodwin for My Friend Chuck, a podcast where the two talk about politics, gay Bigfoot helicopters, and LGBTQ issues. Experience the show live at Mixed Blood this Friday. 8 p.m. $20. 1501 Fourth St. S., Minneapolis; 612-338-6131. —Jessica Armbruster

Minneapolis Tattoo Arts Convention
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

This week, art won’t just be showcased on the walls of galleries. Downtown, it will also be featured on the bodies of people walking around the Hyatt Regency. Now in its 11th year, the Minneapolis Tattoo Arts Convention draws industry icons, regular folks with rad pieces, and people just beginning their body art collection. There will be over 350 tattoo artists on hand, from folks who traveled the world to be here to locals from shops down the street. There will also be talks and meet-and-greets, with talents from TV programs like Ink Master and Tattoos After Dark on hand. Other entertainment includes tattoo contests each day, so if you have a super cool back piece, sleeve, or face tat, now’s your chance to shine. Circus-style performances include contortionists, folks who do live suspensions, and other oddities, with Alakazam “the human knot,” Olde City Sideshow, and Marlo Marquise stopping by. Find tickets at 2 p.m. to midnight Friday; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. $20 per day; $40 for a three-day pass. 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-370-1234. Through Sunday —Jessica Armbruster

Winter Luau
Bent Brewstillery

The weather is real shitty out there right now. For those who can’t jet off to a tropical locale, you still have options (kinda). This Saturday, Bent Brewstillery will be going for a Hawaiian vibe at its annual Winter Luau. Drink specials will include fruity mixes like the Island Julep and the Tropical Spirit Whiskey. Eats will be evocative of warm weather, too, with kalua pork, Spam sandwiches, “spam-aroni” and cheese, and mango slaw on the menu. Noon to 11:30 p.m. Free. 1744 Terrace Dr., Roseville; 844-879-2368. —Jessica Armbruster

"Revitalizing Symbols"

"Revitalizing Symbols" L-R: Gwen Nell Westerman, 'Buffalo Springs'; Debra Yepa-Pappan, 'Prayers for Water'

Revitalizing Symbols
Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts

Intended to reflect the ways in which Native artists are reviving and reimagining tradition, this exhibition, curated by Alexandra Buffalohead, features work by the eminent and the emerging. Andrea Carlson, Jim Denomie, and George Morrison are among the former. Also part of the exhibition: Jonathon Thunder’s trickster-like creatures, Debra Yepa-Pappan’s vibrant digital collages, Chholing Taha’s exquisitely detailed evocations of the natural world, and Gwen Nell Westerman’s quilts, full of movement and marvels. In all of the work, patterns and symbols come to the fore in celebration of the secular and the sacred. There will be an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, January 10. Free. 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd., Bloomington; 952-563-8575. Through February 14 —Camille LeFevre

Black Comedy
Theatre in the Round

Black Comedy is a clever sendup of the drawing-room farce in which the lighting (or lack thereof) serves as a key contributor to spiraling bedlam. Scripted by Peter Shaffer, the acclaimed English playwright best known for penning Equus and AmadeusBlack Comedy begins with the best of intentions: Aspiring artist Brindsley Miller is eager to score points with his fiancée’s opinionated father, so he borrows some fragile furniture and precious art pieces from his antique-dealer neighbor. Brindsley also invites an influential art collector to appraise his work. A blown fuse eliminates all the lights, throwing their plans into total disarray—even before the unwelcome arrival of an ex-girlfriend. With the theater lit so that audiences can see what the characters cannot, there’s pleasure in anticipating each pratfall and collision, as the disoriented figures go flailing over one another, misconstruing intentions and confusing identities while the small apartment devolves into a hilariously unhinged party. 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sundays. $22. 245 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612-333-3010. Through February 2 —Brad Richason

Winter Trails Day at Fort Snelling State Park

Winter Trails Day at Fort Snelling State Park Star Tribune


Winter Trails Day
Fort Snelling State Park

The prolonged Minnesota winter can be a trying experience, especially under whiteout conditions and subzero temps. To combat cabin fever, the annual Winter Trail Day at Fort Snelling State Park offers a vast range of activities to encourage engagement with the great outdoors. For those seeking cardio stimulation, the event provides such options as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, and fat-tire biking. Others might prefer sampling the comparatively more relaxed endeavors of ice fishing, archery, or camp games. Best of all, no prior experience is needed to participate in any of the activities. Novices will be supported with complimentary hot cocoa, ongoing demonstrations from outdoors enthusiasts, and a welcoming environment. Regardless of age or ability, the Winter Trails Day is an ideal opportunity to discover a recreational activity capable of transforming our long winters into a season to be enjoyed rather than merely endured. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Free; $7 day parking. 101 Snelling Lake Rd., St. Paul; 612-725-2389. —Brad Richason

Winter Luau
Bent Brewstillery

The weather is real shitty out there right now. For those who can’t jet off to a tropical locale, you still have options (kinda). This Saturday, Bent Brewstillery will be going for a Hawaiian vibe at its annual Winter Luau. Drink specials will include fruity mixes like the Island Julep and the Tropical Spirit Whiskey. Eats will be evocative of warm weather, too, with kalua pork, Spam sandwiches, “spam-aroni” and cheese, and mango slaw on the menu. Noon to 11:30 p.m. Free. 1744 Terrace Dr., Roseville; 844-879-2368. —Jessica Armbruster

Guthrie Theater

January might seem an odd time for the Guthrie to stage the Christmas-set Noura, but this insightful character drama by playwright Heather Raffo offers the kind of emotionally complex scenarios that are welcome any time of year. Noura centers on the title character, her husband, and her son, all Iraqi immigrants who have, after eight years in the United States, successfully achieved citizenship. While her husband and son are enthusiastically embracing more American customs, including the acquisition of new names, Noura finds herself increasingly troubled by how much of their ancestral heritage is being forsaken in the process. Raffo, an Iraqi-American, brings a deeply personal perspective to the narrative, poignantly demonstrating how even the simple act of preparing a traditional dish for a Christmas feast can trigger feelings of homesickness and regret. Directed by Taibi Magar and featuring a cast led by Gamze Ceylan, Noura lends a contemporary view to the timeless dilemma of reconciling the culture of a native country with the conventions of an adopted homeland. The show is in previews January 11-16. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 p.m. Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays. $25-$79. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224. Through February 16 —Brad Richason

"Just Kids"

"Just Kids" Image courtesy Mia


Just Kids
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Perhaps the next Leibovitz will be discovered among the 200 images and photobooks created by children and teens in this exhibition. Curated by local middle and high school students, the show includes kids’ laser-focused views on life from diverse perspectives. Along with photos from Mia’s permanent collection, you’ll see large-format vintage portraits of children and young adults by Dawoud Bey, recent work by a young Palestinian living in a Beirut refugee camp, Lewis Hine’s photographs of child laborers, and images taken by Alec Soth’s daughter, Carmen. Free. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-3131. Through June 14 —Camille LeFevre