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Cat videos, Strange Girls, and Transmission: A-List 8.8-10

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Here are this week's top happenings.

Zainab Johnson

Zainab Johnson Image courtesy event organizers

WEDNESDAY 8.8

Zainab Johnson
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

“I had no idea I was funny when I was growing up,” says comedian Zainab Johnson. “One of my first TV tapings was a reboot of Comic View on BET. My mother and a few of my siblings drove to Atlanta to support me at the taping. My younger brother said he was more nervous than he’d ever been in his life right before I got onstage. I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because I don’t remember you being funny when we were growing up.’” As a former teacher, she’s used to being in front of crowds, but her previous occupation didn’t provide a lot of useful experience beyond that. “Being in front of students and teaching them from an already defined curriculum or syllabus is way easier than getting onstage and trying to make strangers laugh,” she says. When not on stage, Johnson is somewhat of a foodie. “Good, healthy, tasty food,” she explains. “Eating and good conversation is always high on my list of things to do. I also like experiencing things I’ve never done before.” 16+. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through 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

Cat Video Festival 2018
CHS Field

In contrast to canine companions, felines have a reputation for being solitary creatures with little interest in currying favor with humans. As cat owners can attest, however, such aloofness is merely a front for an animal whose inquisitive nature is prone to lead to comical mishaps. Perhaps it’s the reluctant revealing of their inner goofiness that has made the annual Cat Video Festival such a popular draw. An enormous library of fan-submitted cat videos is edited into a celebration of the cat in its many unpredictable moods. This low-key gathering at CHS Field invites attendees to spread out their blankets below the big-screen monitors, creating the convivial atmosphere of a picnic. In addition to the videos, attendees can peruse a range of cat-friendly vendors, listen to live music, snack on an assortment of food and beverages, and marvel at the fireworks display. While general admission tickets are a mere $15, those who spring for VIP tickets will enjoy complimentary snacks, private restrooms, and reserved seats. Find tickets and more info at www.catfestmn.com. 6 p.m. $15; kids 5 and under free; $75 VIP. 360 N. Broadway St., St. Paul; 651-266-6400. —Brad Richason

THURSDAY 8.9

Throw Open the Heavy Curtain
Red Eye Theater 

Dance/theater artist Sharon Picasso does nothing by halves. For her latest production, she has not only choreographed a work about processing the simultaneous death of her father and birth of her son, she’s transformed the Red Eye Theater space, and designed the light installation and sound. The work looks at the phenomenon of coming and going, of dealing with chance and making choices. Crafted from personal histories through audio interviews and physical impulses, this complex and engaging evening-length work is set within a light installation controlled solely by the performers. The stellar cast includes Picasso, Heidi Kalweit, Masanari Kawahara, Jesse Nuemann-Peterson, and the divine Erin Thompson. 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. $12/$15 at the door; Thursday’s show is pay-as-able. 15 W. 14th St., Minneapolis; 612-870-0309. Through Sunday —Linda Shapiro

The artist is heading to Denver soon.

The artist is heading to Denver soon. Kate Casanova

FRIDAY 8.10

Kate Casanova: Underbelly
Public Functionary

Sculptor and multimedia artist Kate Casanova has long beguiled, intrigued, and mystified us with her evolving artist practice—including chairs and automobiles festooned with living, growing mushrooms. Now she has accepted a position as assistant professor of sculpture at the University of Denver. Our loss is certainly their gain. Before she leaves, Public Functionary is having a blow-out exhibition of sculpture and video in which Casanova continues her exploration of natural phenomena, artificial material, and the posthuman body. It’s heady stuff, but also exhilarating in its sheer brilliance and extremism. Get another look before this interdisciplinary artist goes supernova. There will be an opening reception on Friday, August 10, from 7 p.m. to midnight. 1400 12th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. Through August 26 —Camille LeFevre

Irish Fair of Minnesota 2018
Harriet Island

Each summer, the Irish and Irish at heart descend on St. Paul for three days of food, music, and a couple of pints. The annual Irish Fair has been taking place at Harriet Island since 2001, drawing upward of 100,000 people each year. The event is entirely not-for-profit, with all proceeds being reinvested into Minnesota’s Irish cultural community, or shared with new immigrant groups through the Legacy Fund. Highlights of the weekend include the Celtic Kitchen, where you can try samplings of Irish dishes; a children’s area with games, music, face painting, and Baaary the Sheep, the mascot of the annual Irish Fair; a music workshop tent; and more. This is known as one of the most authentic Irish festivals in the country, and continues to grow every year. There’s even a Mass on Sunday at 9 a.m., so you can be a good Irish Catholic before getting your Sunday Funday started. No need to dust off your green beer-stained leprechaun outfit for this one; just show up ready to eat, drink, dance, and revel in the luck of the Irish. Find more info at www.irishfair.com. 3 to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Free. 200 Dr. Justus Ohage Blvd., St. Paul. Through Sunday —Patrick Strait

Minneapolis Vintage Night Market
Modist Brewing Company

Shopping for vintage wares can be a bit like a treasure hunt. After a day of store-hopping you might come up with nothing, but when you do discover that rare find, it’s the best thing ever. This weekend, retro-minded Twin Citians will have a few opportunities to dive into collections where they just might find that key piece they’ve been dreaming about. The monthly, traveling Minneapolis Vintage Night Market is setting up shop at Modist this Friday. Check out well-kept items from independent sellers. There’s A2ndhandhome, whose collection includes wooden bowls, quirky glassware, and gardening books from other eras. Old Soul Boutique has things like hot pink floral frocks, mod wardrobe additions, and yellow sundresses with rainbow belts. Other participating shops include Lighthorse Studios, Ruffled Vintage, and Dinosaur Hampton, whose new embroidery on vintage denim is highly coveted. The best part? Even if you come up empty-handed, at least there’s good beer to be had a few feet away. Also, be sure to check out Sunday’s Back Alley Bazaar III from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Golden Pearl Vintage (507 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-378-3978) if Friday’s happening doesn’t sate your sartorial thirst. 5 to 10 p.m. Free. 505 N. Third St., Minneapolis; 612-454-0258. —Jessica Armbruster

Geoff Tate
The Royal Comedy Theatre

Geoff Tate used to talk about politics and current events in his act, and he vented about both parties pretty evenly. Offstage these days, however, his dismay is leaning in a particular direction. “They’ve turned everything political,” he says. “The right bitch constantly. They bitch about other people bitching, and it’s frustrating.” He elaborates: “Think of all the things that weren’t political five years ago that are now. For example, I don’t think parents should be separated from their babies. That’s now a political statement. I don’t think you should sell bulletproof backpacks before you do something about granting access to guns for the mentally unstable. That’s now a political statement. Things that were so fucking obvious are now split down party lines.” And that’s why he no longer talks about those things onstage. “The stuff I’m writing now is sillier,” he says. “I guess it is a direct response to how fucking terrible everything else is.” He feels the audience needs a break. “It’s so bad all day, every day that when I go onstage I’d rather not talk about all that heavy shit.” 21+. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:30 Saturday. $20. 809 Main St., Hopkins; 612-666-0809. Also Saturday—P.F. Wilson

L-R: Work by Black Banjo Arts, Black Spoke Leather Co., Caspienne's Stranger Stitchery

L-R: Work by Black Banjo Arts, Black Spoke Leather Co., Caspienne's Stranger Stitchery Strange Girls Art and Craft Market

SATURDAY 8.11

Strange Girls Art and Craft Market
Twin Spirits Distillery

While vintage lovers will be hitting up Modist and the Golden Pearl this weekend, folks with a darker esthetic may appreciate stopping at Strange Girls’ latest market. Yes, this happening is in broad daylight, but the items you’ll find are macabre, edgy, and cool. Wares include gorgeous ceramic mugs adorned with goats, snakes, and other dark creatures; hand-embroidered patches celebrating butts, skulls, and lesbian love; T-shirts with lady-positive slogans; leather fetish wear; and glittery nail polish (because sometimes you just have to sparkle). Support local women-run businesses and shop from a lineup that includes artist Angel Hawari, Black Spoke Leather Co., Cabinet of Curious Clay, Caspienne’s Stranger Stitchery, Glimmer and Grim, and Nest and Tessellate, among others. Noon to 8 p.m. Free. 2931 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-353-5274. —Jessica Armbruster

Movies and music at Square Lake

Movies and music at Square Lake Gilmore Creative Photography

2018 Square Lake Film & Music Festival
Square Lake

For the past 16 years, people have made their way out to Square Lake for a day of biking, movies, and music on a hobby farm in Stillwater. The unique festival returns this weekend with entertainment on the big screen and the stage. The tunes will be a mix of R&B, Americana, rock, folk, and indie rock, with appearances from Night Moves, Lady Midnight, Erik Koskinen, Under Violet, Pieta Brown, Flavor Crystals, Soft Topics, and Lovers on the Balcony. The film shorts will be a mix of locally made and international selections, with about 80 percent of the collection coming from Minnesota. The highlight of the evening will be “Bike Trilogy,” local animator Tom Schroeder’s cult favorite work two decades in the making. The piece will be accompanied by Dave King, who will perform three short scores live for the first time. Biking to the festival is encouraged, and signing up early to do so scores you supercheap admission. Group rides take off in the morning from the HUB Bike Co-op (3016 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis) and Cycles for Change (712 Universtiy Ave., St. Paul). Find tickets and more info at www.squarelakefestival.com. 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.; 10 a.m. group bike rides. $35/$40 at the door; $15 for pre-registered bikers. 13359 Partridge Rd. N., Stillwater. —Jessica Armbruster

Transmission Presents: The ’80s
First Avenue

Despite focusing on tunes from the ’80s and ’90s, Transmission manages to attract crowds of all ages. On the dance floor you might spot Gen Xers toasting to anthems from their high school years, millennials getting down to new discoveries, and maybe even a few Gen Z kids sweetly enjoying one of their first 18-plus dance nights. Whatever category you fall into, all are welcome. This Saturday, DJ Jake Rudh will be spinning tunes from the ’80s. Think classic MTV era, with moments celebrating electro-heavy synth, New Wave angst, pretty Brit rock, and even a dash of grimy punk. These tunes are unaltered from their most familiar forms, so don’t worry about any weird remixes or mashups bumming out the vibe. Meanwhile, old-school videos will be projected on the big screen. 18+. 9 p.m. $10/$12 at the door. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. —Jessica Armbruster

L-R: "The Anarchist" Arik Cannon, Air Wolf, Nick Aldis

L-R: "The Anarchist" Arik Cannon, Air Wolf, Nick Aldis Images courtesy event organizers

SUNDAY 8.12

Blood, Sweat, & Beers Wrestling Extra-Vaganza
Bauhaus Brew Labs

If you haven’t heard, Minneapolis is once again a wrestling town. Though the days of Baron Von Raschke, Verne Gagne, and Nick Bockwinkel are gone, a new breed of talents like “The Anarchist” Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin, and Air Wolf has picked up the torch and carried it proudly. This week, even the most extreme wrestling superfans will have their endurance put to the test when Bauhaus Brew Labs, F1RST Wrestling, and the Academy: School of Professional Wrestling team up for a six-hour marathon of beers and bodyslams. The all-ages event will include a VIP meet-and-greet with the local superstars plus former WWE, TNA, and ECW legends like Mr. Anderson, Tommy Dreamer, and current NWA champion Nick Aldis. There will be raffles and prizes courtesy of Zubaz, ALTR Fitness, and Central Avenue Liquors, along with barbecue from the Meat and Greet Food Truck, served up by former TNA Knockouts champion ODB. Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy all of your favorite Bauhaus beers without shedding any blood (maybe some sweat, but only meat sweats). Kids 12 and under get in free, so it’s a fun day for the whole family. The bell rings promptly at 5 p.m., and if you’re lucky you might be able to chug a Sky-Five IPA Stone Cold Steve Austin-style with some of your favorite brawlers. All ages. 3 to 9 p.m. $20 (presale tickets include a beer); $50 VIP. 1315 Tyler St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-276-6911. —Patrick Strait

MONDAY 8.13

Annual Outdoor Summer Movie Series
Brit’s Pub

Brit filmmaker Simon Pegg, the Mr. Bean of the hipster generation, has pumped out some of the funniest and most absurd films of the past couple of decades. While he might be cashing those sweet, sweet Mission Impossible and Star Trek checks these days, the thing he’s best known for are the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. Beginning this Monday and each Monday for the rest of August, you’ll be able to sprawl out on the lawn at Brit’s and enjoy Pegg’s quirky facial expressions and foul mouth while sipping a Newcastle and jamming some bangers and mash in your gullet. This week Brit’s will be showing Shaun of the Dead, August 20 will be Hot Fuzz, and the finale on August 27 is The World’s End. There’s no cover, but bring your blanket and get there early, as Pegg’s boyish good looks and affinity for ass-kicking are sure to draw plenty of British-comedy connoisseurs all month long. 8:30 p.m. Free. 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-332-3908. Through August 27—Patrick Strait