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Minicon 54, dank beer, and a drag queen Easter party: A-List 4.17

Minicon brings fun for fantasy and sci-fi fans.

Minicon brings fun for fantasy and sci-fi fans. Getty

Check out these great happenings this week in the Twin Cities.

Leslie Barlow, 'Ellen Barlow'

Leslie Barlow, 'Ellen Barlow'

WEDNESDAY 4.17

Leslie Barlow at Meridian
Le Meridien Chambers

In Leslie Barlow’s new body of work, the Twin Cities artist investigates the complexity of identity and families. Drawing on her own interracial family and history, Barlow uses the luminous portraiture she’s known for to traverse the boundaries of gender, race, and other labels that confine people into narrow frameworks. Using bright colors and pastel hues, her art is both rooted in the past and keeping an eye toward the possibilities of the future. The exhibition, titled “Leslie Barlow: A Familiar Portrait of Labor and Love,” will kick off with an opening reception that includes tunes from DJ Kirkabee and wine. 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 17. 901 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Through June 14 —Sheila Regan

Double Header: New Music & Dance Duos
The Lab Theater

This thrilling double header, courtesy of Liquid Music, brings the exquisite Eva Mohn back into our orbit. Formerly a Minneapolis musician (Coach Said Not To) and performer with TU Dance, she’s now with Sweden’s eclectic Cullberg Ballet. Her own choreography is on display in this duo with Minneapolis-based composer, saxophonist, and multi-instrumentalist savant Mike Lewis (Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Happy Apple). Dancer Sarah Baumert will also be joining in. But there’s still more: Choreographer and Studio Wayne McGregor member Fukiko Takase is performing to music by pianist Dustin O’Halloran (Marie AntoinetteLionTransparent). Mind blown. This could be the smartest, most intellectually and aesthetically engaging concert of the year, if not the decade. Find tickets and more info at www.liquidmusic.org. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. $30; $25 Liquid Music subscribers. 700 First St. N., Minneapolis; 612-333-3377. Through Thursday —Camille LeFevre

Adam Ray
Acme Comedy Co.

“I was a fat kid growing up,” comedian Adam Ray says, “and I think that’s where a lot of my comedy came from. I was known as the little chub that wore sweatpants to class and said something funny when he raised his hand to answer a math question. So I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to try and make people laugh all the time.’” From there he began impersonating friends, relatives, and teachers. “People started to respond to that,” he says. “I realized the more I did that, the more I was seen as the funny kid and not the fat kid.” He brought his friends into the act, as it were, in junior high by making funny videos. “Instead of getting drunk or fucked up, we’d make these little movies and entertain ourselves.” In high school, Ray and his buddies completely took over the high school news program. “We turned it into a sketch comedy show,” he recalls. “We turned it into 15 minutes of comedy, with five minutes of announcements at the end. The teachers finally started turning it off, saying, ‘We’re not going to watch these idiots for 15 minutes!’” That experience paid off later, as Ray has had a steady career as an actor and voice artist, appearing most recently in Arrested DevelopmentAmerican Vandal, and Ghostbusters, to name a few. 18+. 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $15-$18. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Sociable Cider Werks

Sociable Cider Werks

THURSDAY 4.18

Pinch Flat Release Party
Sociable Cider Werks

Rosé has been having a moment. Now folks who like their adult beverages blush-colored and bubbly can try something different: pink cider. This spring and summer, Sociable Cider Werks has decided to make its Pinch Flat Hibiscus Rose its seasonal brew, and will host a variety of patio parties and pop-up events to celebrate throughout April and May. The launch party on Thursday is going to be hella pink, with pink decor, pink prizes (including lots of pink bike flair), and the new pink stuff on tap. Union Kitchen will be serving up eats, DJ HazyHarold will spin tunes, and there will be a photobooth onsite to help guests commemorate the party. 4 to 9 p.m. Free. 1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-758-0105. —Jessica Armbruster

Jeff Dye
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

Standup comedian Jeff Dye is probably most widely recognized for his work on the MTV shows NumbnutsMoney from Strangers, and Girl Code. He can also be seen on the reality TV series Better Late Than Never as the travel coordinator and suitcase holder for the show’s other stars, William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman, and Terry Bradshaw. “When you’re with those four guys, so many things happen,” he says, “I’m like, ‘I’m definitely going to remember to talk about that onstage.’ People love hearing stories about those guys even if they’re not doing anything that’s particularly interesting.” Being overseas, though, means not being able to do standup. “The entire time I’m abroad for Better Late than Never it’s really fun, but it feels like being on vacation as opposed to actually working. I long to get onstage after any time that I’m not.” That’s where he gets to share experiences from his life. “I am single,” the Seattle native tells an audience. He reasons his maturity level might be hindering his prospects. “There’s no reason to grow up when you’re me. I spend my whole day like an eight-year-old with cash. I love video games and pro wrestling, and once a week I throw up because I ate too much candy.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $16-$23. 408 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

'Pop Goes the Noggin'

'Pop Goes the Noggin'

FRIDAY 4.19

Pop Goes the Noggin
Gremlin Theater

Expectations are running high for Michele Lepsche’s follow-up to the acclaimed Roller Derby Queen, a comic drama of familial codependency. The new Pop Goes the Noggin explores mental duress from a historical perspective, and is set in the supposedly sedate environs of Loon Lake State Hospital in northern Minnesota. Tarnishing the antiseptic wards is an unsettling legacy of both the practices of the medical professionals and the predicament of the patients. Such informs the backdrop of this Kari Steinbach-directed character study in which the institutionalized women of Ward 1 cling to their aspirations, quixotic as they may be, as a means of coping with both the surrounding madness and the harsh restrictions imposed by the draconian Nurse Triplet. Pop Goes the Noggin questions our understanding of mental disorders, particularly when the treatment alone seems insane. Find links to tickets and more information at www.sostheater.com. 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. $20. 550 Vandalia St., St. Paul. Through May 12 —Brad Richason

Marjorie Prime
Park Square Theatre

Founded with the goal of increasing the number of theatrical opportunities for women over 50, Prime Productions has made an inspired selection with its latest effort, Marjorie Prime. The play envisions a world in which the elderly can procure robotic companions uncannily crafted to resemble deceased loved ones. In contemporary playwright Jordan Harrison’s intriguing scenario, these artificial beings are known as Primes, exemplified by Walter, the supposedly perfect simulation of 85-year-old Marjorie’s late husband. But while Walter has been programmed to replicate the departed, the resemblance to his namesake is the source of much conjecture. Even Marjorie, beset by the slow erosion of her own mental facilities, questions the illusion. Losing the struggle to retain her memories, Marjorie embodies the common fear of lost identity as her daughter and son-in-law ponder the possibility of replacing flesh and blood with a synthetic reproduction. Under the direction of Elena Giannetti, this production features an accomplished cast of Twin Cities talent, including acclaimed lead Candace Barrett Birk as Marjorie. The show is in previews April 19-25. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, plus April 23-24; 2 p.m. Sundays starting April 28. $16-$60. 20 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul; 651-291-7005. Through May 19 —Brad Richason

Minicon 54
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

Some people will be celebrating Easter this weekend. Others will be celebrating science fiction and fantasy at Minicon. (And some will be celebrating both; there’s an egg hunt on Sunday.) This volunteer-based, long-running con features a variety of things to explore, experience, and do during its three-day festivities. Guests of honor include Hugo Award-winning author Naomi Kritzer (Fires of the FaithfulTurning the StormFreedom’s Gate); artist Tom Flemming, whose epic career has included working with the WWE, comics (Dark Horse, DC, Marvel), and on movies (including the animated sequences in The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys); and Dave Devries, whose hyper-realistic renderings of child-drawn monsters are amazing and heartwarming. There’s other fun to be had, too, with movie screenings with Cinema Obscura, kids’ crafts, live music, and a vendors’ mart with artists, authors, and makers on the schedule. Talks and workshops cover a large swath of topics, and include beer tastings, costume design sessions, and scientist Q&As. Check out the full schedule at mnstf.org/minicon54. 3 to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $20-$50 per day; $70 weekend pass. 1500 Park Place Blvd., Minneapolis. Through Sunday —Jessica Armbruster

Dankest Day of the Year

Dankest Day of the Year Insight Brewing

SATURDAY 4.20

Dankest Day of the Year
Insight Brewing

Saturday is 4/20, a very important stoner holiday. Yet most of us still can’t smoke the green stuff legally in Minnesota, so a handful of brew pubs are picking up the mantle and honoring their sister drug, weed, with a party. One such celebration is the Dankest Day of the Year at Insight Brewing. They’ll be serving up “dank” pints, which are brews that are on the hoppy side, often with a green smell and aftertaste. They also tend to pack a high-alcohol punch, so make sure they don’t sneak up on you like too many hits on a joint. For the evening, the crew will be tapping four varieties: the fruity Purple Sticky Punchbot, the oft-coveted Girl Scout Cookies Stout, the Train Wreck Troll (a triple-hopped Troll Way), and the “Oh, I don’t smoke flower anymore. Straight hash,” which is a strawberry milkshake IPA. Free munchies will be served throughout the day, and DJ Flipstyle TC will play top stoner jams. 7 to 11 p.m. Free. 2821 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-722-7222. —Jessica Armbruster

Mary Mack and the Easter Funny
Eagles Club #34

Mary Mack is worried about coming home for Easter. “I don’t know why I get so stressed out, but I do,” she says. “So I figured having a big party the night before Easter with people I really like spending time with would make that better.” That party has taken the form of a funny, strange, and possibly sacrilegious comedy and music show at the Eagles Club. She’s calling this a CD-release party, although the album in question was recorded nearly two years ago. Now it’ll be available through all major streaming distributors, but her chances of making much money on it are slim. “I think you get paid like $0.0000006 for every stream,” she laughs. “But I guess it’s time to send this album out into the world. It’s like sending my kid off to school.” The show itself promises to be weird and fun. In addition to sets from comedians Tiffany Norton and Comrade Tripp, there will be poetry by local punk-poet Paul Dickinson, music from the Goo Goo Mucks, and appearances by both the Pope and the Easter Bunny. “I’m going to marry the Pope!” Mack says excitedly. “But the Easter Bunny might show up and cause a scene. I mean, I am already married, but that’s not a big deal.” Jell-O shots and Busch Light specials will be in full effect all night long, and there will even be an Easter egg hunt for everyone in attendance, making this equal parts comedy show and terrifying Easter service on acid. 6:30 p.m. $10-$12. 2507 E. 25th St., Minneapolis; 612-729-4469. —Patrick Strait 

City Pages’ Press Check
56 Brewing

Hey man, City Pages made a beer and we’re super excited about it. Well, 56 Brewing actually made it in honor of our 40th birthday this year. This Saturday, it will be on tap as we host a little party. Press Check is a sour IPA brewed with loral and mosaic hops, giving it a tart and juicy flavor. Festivities during the day include a pop-up market, with chill music provided by Dreamboat and Of the Orchard. Noon to 3 p.m. Free. 3055 Columbia Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-404-0056. —Jessica Armbruster

Third Anniversary Block Party
Inbound BrewCo

It’s been three years since Lucid rebranded, taking their beer inbound to the North Loop neigborhood. This weekend, they celebrate this milestone with a daylong block party. Highlights include the return of the Conifer Crush and Juicy Lucy IPAs, plus the release of a brand-new, double dry-hopped Berliner Weisse. No party is complete without munchies and tunes, so a whopping 10 different food trucks will be onsite and the soundtrack will be set by Adatrak and Ms. Lakesha from noon to 8 p.m., followed by the stoner-groove indie rock of Kingsview playing until midnight. There will also be beer specials for early arrivals. The event runs from noon to midnight. Admission is free, but RSVP’ing on eventbrite.com is recommended. 701 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612-615-8243. —Loren Green

Betty Danger's Country Club

Betty Danger's Country Club

SUNDAY 4.21

Easter Bonnet Contest
Betty Danger’s Country Club

Spend Easter with your drag family this Sunday. While wigs can be an important part of many a look, this party will instead focus on hats. Bonnets, to be exact. Patrons are encouraged to create the most insane design possible; think flashing lights, motorized parts, and slapping all of Michael’s on your head. The winner with the most fab Easter crown will take home a whopping $500—that should buy you a shit ton of discounted chocolate crosses and Cadbury Eggs on Monday. Flip Phone will be hosting this candy-coated pastel party, so expect some pop-up drag performances. DJ Daniela Bazo will spin tunes for the dance floor. Get there by 4 p.m. if you plan to compete. 21+. 3 to 7 p.m. $10. 2501 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-315-4997. —Jessica Armbruster