The Twin Cities turn into a giant racetrack: A-List June 14-20

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Matthew Moses

This week in A-List we have an intense pro-bike competition, an epic beer carnival, and a Pride party at the Mia. Come take a look. 

WEDNESDAY 6.14

North Star Grand Prix
Various locations
Each year, pro cyclists come to the Twin Cities for an intense, multi-day competition that pushes them to the limits. After morning qualifying races, things kick off Wednesday evening with the St. Paul Grand Avenue Criterium, where top speeds are key. If you’re looking for an excuse to visit a winery, head out to Cannon Falls on Thursday, where cyclists will be dealing with distance while revelers drink local. Friday’s Uptown Criterium is probably the most intense leg for spectators, as flocks of cyclists zoom around sharp corners at terrifying speeds. People looking for a little road trip may enjoy heading to North Mankato, where Saturday’s route takes riders through rural scenery. Sunday’s race in Stillwater is a brutal one, as many athletes break down physically and mentally while riding their way up the cruel Chilkoot Hill on each lap. You won’t have to suffer at any of these events, however, as there will be plenty of freebies, samplings, beer gardens, free bike valets, and an adorable kids’ race each day. Check www.northstarbicyclefestival.com for more info. 8:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesday; 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free. Through Sunday —Jessica Armbruster

An American in Paris
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Following the romantic beats of the revered 1951 film, An American in Paris takes place following WWII as Jerry, an American soldier, stays behind in France with dreams of becoming a painter. Jerry’s artistic aspirations take a backseat, however, when he grows smitten with Lise, an enigmatic Parisian woman pursuing her own passion as a dancer. Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon serves as director, instilling charm to the heightened romance. The invigorating musical score blends Gershwin standards with their orchestral movements to create an aurally sweeping atmosphere. The headlining duo are both seasoned ballet dancers: McGee Maddox as Jerry and Sara Esty as Lise (the latter having played her role as alternate on Broadway). 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. $42-$119.50. 345 Washington St., St. Paul; 651-224-4222. Through Sunday —Brad Richason

C. Willi Myles
Acme Comedy Co.
Though he hails from Mobile, Alabama, comedian C. Willi Myles started his comedy career in Minnesota while working as an assistant basketball coach at St. Cloud State. “I grew up in a big family,” Myles says from his home in Los Angeles. “I have nine older sisters. I was athletic. I knew early on that the only way I was going to get out of the projects was going to be through athletics.” Myles wound up at St. Cloud State, where he played defensive back. After graduating he attended training camps in the USFL and CFL, but couldn’t get past the final roster cuts. He wound up back at his alma mater as an assistant basketball coach. “I backed into comedy,” Myles says. He first took the stage after his former roommate opened a restaurant. “Upstairs he had a ballroom and he said, ‘Willi, I’m going to open a comedy club. Everyone in town knows you. Everyone loves you. You should be my emcee.’” His first sets focused on coming from warm Alabama to cold Minnesota. “My whole career was built on me talking about Minnesota.” 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

(Jay Grabiec)

THURSDAY 6.15

Roxane Gay
Magers & Quinn Booksellers
Roxane Gay is one of the fiercest voices for female empowerment. Known for riling up readers, she’s written powerful pieces across genres. That includes her novel An Untamed State, about a kidnapping in Haiti; the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist; and the short stories of feisty females in Difficult Women. In her new book, Hunger, Gay digs deep and gets personal. After being gang-raped at 12 years old, she seeks comfort in food and uses weight gain as a buffer against a dangerous world. “I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe,” she writes. At her heaviest, Gay was 600 pounds, or what is medically known as “super morbidly obese.” With ruthless honesty, she takes readers into her “wildly undisciplined” body, revealing “the ugliest, weakest, barest parts of me.” Far from a self-help or motivational book, this is a distressing and courageous memoir that cuts straight to the emotional core of what it feels like to live in “a cage of my own making.” 7 p.m. Free. 3038 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-822-4611. —Erica Rivera

Third Thursday: Pride
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Pride month is here, and this week the Minneapolis Institute of Art is throwing a party in its honor. Drag performances, curated by queer dance night Flip Phone, will feature the likes of Julia Starr and Tyra. Hands-on activities include making your own flag for the official parade (or your window at home). There will be beer and wine to order up at the cash bar, and LGBTQ organizations like OutFront Minnesota will be chatting with guests. Soul and R&B tunes will be provided with live sets from Lady Lark and Nick Jordan. 6 to 9 p.m. Free. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-870-3131. —Jessica Armbruster

(L-R: Work by Aziz Osman, Andrea Ellen Reed, Craig Snyder)

Summer Arts Discovery
Landmark Center
The nooks, crannies, and walls of the historic Landmark Center will be filled with art examining the theme of inclusivity this summer. Selected by the erudite peeps at Forecast Public Art, the pieces present — in a variety of media including sculpture, photography, textiles, and works on canvas — ideas that challenge and reflect on how American culture is defining inclusivity today. What appears in the historic landmark will surely prompt discussion. But will the exhibition itself be inclusive enough? Check it out and decide for yourself. There will be an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15, and a make-and-take art workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, August 13. Free. 75 W. Fifth St., St. Paul; 651-292-3293. Through August 31 —Camille LeFevre

Gary Vider
The Joke Joint Comedy Club
Jon Stewart once said that the key to being a good comedian is being able to make strangers laugh. Comic Gary Vider discovered this as a teenager. “I went to three different high schools,” he explains. “Other people were funny too, but I felt I could be funny in different environments. I could make people who didn’t know me laugh.” Though he majored in English in college, no career apart from comedy appealed to him. “My number-one fear was I’d die and the only thing I did was the job I hated.” Vider has appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show, and had a very successful run on America’s Got Talent, where he made it to the finals. “The hardest part about that show,” he says of the latter, “is you’re doing comedy and the person before you is doing magic or breakdancing or playing the violin or some crap like that. Then the audience is suddenly hearing standup comedy. You go zero to 60, and hopefully the crowd picks up. You have to be funny instantly.” In his full set, however, he gets to stretch his legs and talk in detail about being married and weird situations he’s found himself in. 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $14-$26. 801 Sibley Memorial Highway, Lilydale; 651-330-9078. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Cocktails by Design
Blue Dot HQ and Outlet
Cocktails by Design takes fancy cocktail parties to a whole new level. Hosted by Blu Dot, this fundraiser for the Goldstein Museum of Design features drinks mixed by the bartenders of Eat Street Social, all served in eye-popping glassware with custom GMD coasters. There will be demonstrations revealing the wizardry of mixology, food truck fare, and an array of aesthetic gratification. Most importantly, you’ll be helping to support Minnesota’s only design museum, ensuring that our state’s future will look fabulous. Find tickets and more info at cocktailsbydesign.brownpapertickets.com. 6 p.m. $40/$45 at the door. 1321 Tyler St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-624-7434. —Sheila Regan

(Gina Reis)

FRIDAY 6.16

Stone Arch Bridge Festival
Stone Arch Bridge
Not only does the Stone Arch Bridge Festival feature a gratifying assortment of disciplines, the artwork is exhibited on one of the most geographically striking stretches of Minneapolis. Timed to coincide with Father’s Day weekend, the fest offers an ample assortment of family-friendly attractions. There’s the gleaming chrome of the vintage automobile show and an ongoing slate of free concerts performed on stages throughout the grounds. Anyone needing a break from the kiddies, however, can find sanctuary in a sectioned-off beer fest where (for a nominal fee), adults can revive themselves with samples from local and national brewers. With a smorgasbord of food vendors serving an edible array of delectable snacks, the festival continues to serve as a fitting tribute to the charming environs of the Stone Arch Bridge. For more info, visit www.stonearchbridgefestival.com. 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free. 212 SE Second Ave., Minneapolis. Through Sunday —Brad Richason

Might as Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery
Park Square Theatre
Pop culture tends to imagine detectives as hardboiled loners, doggedly uncovering insidious conspiracies at enormous personal peril. A marked contrast to this image is Nero Wolfe, the enduring creation of novelist Rex Stout. Wolfe is the antithesis of the ruffled gumshoe, insisting that crime-solving not intrude upon the comfortable routines of life, leaving any necessary footwork to his quick-witted assistant, Archie Goodwin. Adapted by Joseph Goodrich, Might as Well Be Dead concerns a missing heir who may or may not be the same person on trial for murder. As is to be expected, the investigation grows increasingly tangled, with assumed identities and ambiguous motives. This staging entrusts Goodrich’s script to the direction of Peter Moore and a cast headlined by E.J. Subkoviak as Wolfe. The show is in previews through June 22. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $40-$60; $27-$37 previews. 20 W. Seventh Pl., St. Paul; 651-291-7005. Through July 30 —Brad Richason

(Image courtesy event organizers)

SATURDAY 6.17

The Great Northeast Beer Carnival 2017
Insight Brewing
This Saturday marks the return of Insight Brewing’s epic beer party. Try their grapefruit-tinged IPA Crazy Taxi, the super hoppy Dankbot, or the summertime delight Crazy Aunt, a gin-and-tonic-inspired ale (think shandy with a kick of lime). Starting at 2:30 p.m., a new cask will be tapped every hour until they’re gone. This party will also see the release of Jupiter’s Shield, a special brew made with sage and juniper and aged in a blackberry whiskey barrel. Order a glass for $6 or take it home by the bottle for $15. The party will be both inside and out, with live music from the likes of folk artist Preston Gunderson, the bluesy Darners, and Pleezer, a Weezer tribute band. To keep guests sated, food trucks Red Cow, O’Neills Cheese Curds, and Del Sur Empanadas will be stopping by. Other entertainment includes fire dancers, games, and a dunk tank. Noon to 10 p.m. Admission is $2 or a non-perishable donation item (canned foods, leashes, toys) to benefit Secondhand Hounds. 2821 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-722-7222. —Jessica Armbruster

Sunday in the Park with George
Guthrie Theater
In attempting to examine A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, the famed pointillist painting by Georges Seurat, one should avoid fixating too closely on any one spot lest the image dissolve into disconnected dots. Only by stepping back to take in the entire scope does the intricately rendered scene reveal itself. So it is with Sunday in the Park with George, the fanciful musical by composer Stephen Sondheim and playwright James Lapine. Split into two acts, the work initially focuses on a fictionalized version of the celebrated Seurat as he attempts to discern a deeper meaning within everyday life, even as his own artistic obsession alienates him from his lover, Dot. The second act leaps ahead to the 1980s, where the great-grandson of George and Dot has debuted his own creation: a light installation inspired by his grandfather’s work. Overseen by Guthrie artistic director Joe Haj, this production bridges two generations through the unifying pursuit of artistic expression. Randy Harrison, popularly known for his work on the Showtime drama Queer as Folk, portrays George, while Broadway veteran Erin Mackey steps into the role of Dot. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 and 7 p.m. Sundays. $15-$87. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224. Through August 20 —Brad Richason

Mortified
Como Dockside
In the heat of the moment, embarrassing situations feel like the end of the world. As time passes, however, they often become hilarious stories we share over beers as badges of honor. This weekend, folks with humiliating tales will take the stage with plenty of cringe-worthy ammo. Past events have included diary entries, well-documented social-media embarrassments, and gloriously emo poetry. This installment will be moving from Amsterdam Bar and Hall to Como Dockside, so you can demonstrate your flawed humanity with a pint on the summery patio. 18+. 6 p.m. $17-$22. 1360 Lexington Pkwy. N., St. Paul. —Jessica Armbruster

 

(Jon Dahlin)

Midsommar Celebration 2017
American Swedish Institute
We’re only a few days away from the official start of summer. That means it’s time for a Midsommar celebration, an ancient tradition honoring the changing of the season. This Saturday, the American Swedish Institute will host a family-friendly party with fun scheduled all day. That includes live music, folk dance, and storytelling from groups such as Impossible Salt, Open Eye Figure Theatre, and Ole Olsson’s Oldtime Orkestra. Make a flower wreath and wear it as an homage to health and happiness, and try other hands-on art activities. FIKA will be serving up strawberry cake and Swedish hot dogs, plus wine, beer, and sangria will flow as Minnesotans enjoy the (hopefully) sunny weather in museum’s garden. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $10; $7 seniors; $5 kids 6-18. 2600 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-871-4907. —Jessica Armbruster


David Sedaris with Ariel Levy
Common Good Books
A trans lover who hacks into your email to leak your affair to your spouse. A male friend who donates his sperm and financially buoys you as your prepare to have his baby. A miscarriage at 19 weeks gestation in a hotel bathroom halfway across the world. An alcoholic wife who threatens to commit suicide before resigning herself to rehab. Just one of those scenarios would be sufficient material for a memoir, but Ariel Levy experienced them all in short order. Those stories make up The Rules Do Not Apply, her New York Times bestselling book. Levy’s descriptions of her struggles are gut-wrenching, visceral, and vivid; her journey back to hope harrowing. You won’t be able to put this book down and you won’t soon forget it. Levy is also the author of Female Chauvinist Pigs and has written for the New Yorker since 2008. She won a National Magazine Award in 2013 for the essay “Thanksgiving in Mongolia,” which inspired the writing of this memoir. She’ll be reading her work along with David Sedaris at Common Good Books this Saturday. 3 p.m. $28. 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul; 651-225-8989. —Erica Rivera

MONDAY 6.19

Singles Exchange
Bauhaus Brew Labs
Can a PowerPoint presentation help your wonderful yet single friend get laid and find love? Possibly! This Monday marks the return of the Singles Exchange. Those looking for love aren’t invited, however. Instead, friends and family members will convene at Bauhaus Brew Labs and hopefully set things up for them. Before the event, 10 participants create a PowerPoint presentation — be it funny, endearing, or inspiring — pitching why their datable acquaintance is a catch. Afterward, there will be mingling, and perhaps an exchange of numbers and emails. At the event, which is hosted by the Grown-Up Club, attendees can either take the stage or take notes and plot their loved one’s upcoming blind date from the audience. For more details and to sign up, visit www.grownup.club/store/se-ticket. 7 p.m. $11. 1315 Tyler St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-276-6911. —Jessica Armbruster


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