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Leap Day beer parties, 'Mystery Science Theater 3,000' at Pantages: A-List 2.26-3.1

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Hennepin Theatre Trust

Check out this week's top happenings.

Zainab Johnson

Zainab Johnson Image courtesy the standup

THURSDAY 2.27

Zainab Johnson
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

“I had a shaved head for seven years,” Zainab Johnson tells an audience. These days, she’s bald no more. “My friend said, ‘I didn’t know your hair grew like that.’ Like what? I was trying to lead her into a racism trap.” The friend pointed out that Johnson’s hair had grown back in coarse and tight. “That’s a misconception,” she explains. “My hair grows straight, but then I walk out into the world and oppression makes it grow tight and coarse.” Johnson also talks about her family onstage, as being one of 13 provides a lot of material. “People are like, ‘Your parents had a lot of sex.’ Yeah, at least 13 times,” she says. “Also, there’s 13 of us. So someone has to be gay. At least, statistically. But we have no idea who it is. We are patiently waiting outside the closet wondering, ‘Who is it?’” 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $16. 408 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Sister Helen Prejean 
St. Catherine University

Sister Helen Prejean is perhaps the most famous nun of modern times. Her 1993 New York Times bestselling book, Dead Man Walking, chronicled her encounters with death row inmates and the spiritual counseling she provided them. It was made into a movie starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, whose portrayal of Prejean won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1996. In The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, Prejean recounted accompanying two men convicted of murder—on dubious evidence—to execution. Her recent memoir, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey, follows her path from pledging her life to the Catholic Church at age 18, to a romantic entanglement with an alcoholic priest, to becoming one of the most outspoken social justice advocates and death penalty opponents in the Christian community today. Sister Helen brings her stories and wisdom to St. Kate’s on Thursday as part of the University’s “Life and Death” learning series. Find the event in the Rauenhorst Ballroom, Coeur de Catherine. 7 p.m. Free. 2004 Randolph Ave., 651-690-6000. —Erica Rivera

"extra/ordinary: First Look"

"extra/ordinary: First Look"

FRIDAY 2.28

extra/ordinary: First Look
American Swedish Institute

The American Swedish Institute celebrates its 90th birthday with “extra/ordinary: The American Swedish Institute. At Play.” The exhibition highlights a selection of 29 objects from its permanent collection, many on view for the first time ever, and shares the stories behind each item. Among them is a 20-foot Dala horse. The children’s toy, traditionally carved out of wood and painted bright colors, comes from the Swedish province of Dalarna, and is often used as a symbol of Swedish culture. ASI will also be opening select rooms of the Turnblad mansion for the first time in 10 years, using the space to bring a new picture book, A to Zåäö: Playing with History at the American Swedish Institute, to life. The book features Nate Christopherson’s pen and ink drawings, and watercolor images by Tara Sweeney. At the museum, different rooms pair these works with historical artifacts such as carvings, photographs, textiles, and musical instruments. At the preview party this Friday, February 28, from 7 to 10 p.m., there will be hands-on activities, games, and live music, plus refreshments and cocktails available for purchase from FIKA. Tickets are $15 to $20 for opening night festivities. 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis; 612-871-4907. Through July 5 —sheila regan

Mystery Science Theater 3000
Pantages Theatre

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is middle-aged, but it’s still as fresh as ever and touring the U.S. with another live show. Joining the cast on this go round is Minnesota native Yvonne Freese, who plays both Gypsy (now known as GPC) and Mega Synthia, a new character. “I did a show a few years back called Spandex: The Musical, and half the cast was from New York City.” Cue the MST3K gang: “New York City!?!” Freese became close friends with many of her castmates, and this past summer one of them sent her the audition notice for MST3K. “I clicked on it and thought, ‘Dream job.’ My friends convinced me to go, and I got the job on my first New York City audition—an incredible stroke of luck!” Freese was familiar with the show but not a superfan. She quickly became acclimated to the MST3K universe, though. As GPC, she gets a few riffs in and has written several for the show. She even gets a little practice in while traveling. “We watch movies on the bus,” she says, “and once you’re in the rhythm of it you just start [riffing] all the time until someone says, ‘Stop! You’re ruining the movie!” 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $39.50-$299.50. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. Also Saturday —P.F. Wilson

The Music Man 
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

The Music Man, a five-time Tony Award winner by Meredith Willson, centers on a swindler, “Professor” Harold Hill, who convinces the naive citizens of a small Midwestern town that the key to ensuring moral rectitude in their children is a proper musical education. While Hill’s conniving does manage to beguile the majority of the town, one skeptical librarian, Marian Paroo, sees through the ruse and sets out to expose the con man. Such a setup could certainly serve as an allegory for political chicanery, but rest assured that the prevailing mood is far from dour. The production has teamed musical director Andy Dust with choreographer Tamara Kangas Erickson to create rousing spectacles of such revered standards as “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Ya Got Trouble,” and “‘Til There Was You.” With headliners Michael Gruber and Anne Michels under the accomplished direction of Michael Brindisi, The Music Man looks to charm even the most cynical audiences with genuine romance. 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 6:30 p.m. Sundays; 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. $50-$95. 501 W. 78th St., Chanhassen; 952-934-1525.Through September 5 —Brad Richason

612Brew celebrates seven years

612Brew celebrates seven years 612Brew

SATURDAY 2.29

7th Anniversary Party
612Brew

One of northeast Minneapolis’s oldest taprooms, 612, is celebrating seven years this weekend. The party kicks off at noon, with activities scheduled throughout the day. Tattoo artist Metal Mike will be on hand from 2 to 8 p.m. for those who want to commemorate the occasion. From 3 to 4 p.m. the action really picks up, as 612 will serve patrons with a free beer that hour. Music for the night includes sets from the Hawthorn Collection, Heavy for the Hawk, and alt rockers the Violet Nine. Beer-wise, you’ll find three new hazy IPAs, imperial stout Light Into Ashes, and a one-time gravity keg of a Grevolvinga Düsseldorf-style Altbier, which the crew will be tapping at 5 p.m. Score a take-home crowler for $7, and round out the night with half-price beer starting at 10 p.m. Noon to midnight. Free. 945 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-930-4606. —Loren Green

Fire & Ice
Bauhaus Brew Labs

In celebration of Leap Day this Saturday, pretty much every brewery is up to something fun. Bauhaus Brew Labs is one of the places you may want to hit up if you’re looking for a beer-fueled hang. The party will take place both inside and out, with live music indoors and hot/cold fun to be had outside. Revival and Minnesota BBQ Co. will be serving up meaty eats, while over by the fire pit folks can enjoy s’mores, hot cider, and hot-poked pours of the Bleatboxer Bock. For those looking for more than the meat sweats, Stokeyard Outfitters will be stopping by with their mobile sauna. One-minute skater videos, made in the dead of winter, will screen and be judged, and teams will also give live demos. Tunes inside include sets from alt-bluegrass group Luke Warm and the Cool Hands, plus funk from Wax Audio DJ. Noon to 11 p.m. Free. 1315 Tyler St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-276-6911. —Jessica Armbruster

The Bacchae
Guthrie Theater

It’s understandable if ancient Greek tragedies are viewed by modern audiences through a lens of academic appreciation rather than from a more emotionally engaged perspective. That is unlikely, however, with the much anticipated SITI Company production of Euripides’ The Bacchae. Not only does the poetic translation by Aaron Poochigian embrace the emotional sweep of the material, but the core themes are rendered with an originality that highlights a topical resonance. The narrative follows the dire consequences that arise when Pentheus, a mortal king, attempts to subdue the free-spirited will of Dionysus, god of such things as wine, theater, fertility, and ecstasy. SITI has made the inspired choice to focus on how the imposed social order is explicitly designed to keep women relegated to subservient roles. Upending that system, this dynamic production is particularly notable for the number of female performers who have been cast in parts historically conferred upon males, including SITI Company co-artistic director Ellen Lauren in the role of Dionysus. Under the direction of Anne Bogart, the retribution leveled against Pentheus is transformed into a cathartic smashing of paternalistic repression. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays. $25-$79. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224. Through April 5 —Brad Richason

Royal Crush: The Queen Bottle Release
Indeed Brewing Company

The Queen returns at Indeed this weekend. This whiskey barrel-aged imperial stout is a strong pint for the coldest and darkest days of winter. The Queen will make its taproom debut at Thursday’s Flight Night, which will feature four variations. Then, on Saturday, Indeed will host a bottle release party and chess tournament. Chess is paced perfectly for sipping a strong stout; players will score a 10-ounce pour every time they make it through a round. In between strategy sessions, head to the firepit for s’mores and fill up on hot food from Sandy’s Grill. There will also be fire pokers for those who prefer their beers a little caramelized. Indeed will also rotate limited cellar selections on tap every two hours. That menu includes 2018’s Rum King, with added espresso and vanilla bean; 2019’s Whiskey Queen, aged in a bourbon barrel with Mexican honey; imperial red ale Chase the Devil; Old Breed, a brew made from barley wine; and 2015’s Whiskey Queen. A photobooth, pop-up vinyl shop, and DJ tunes round out the event. Noon to 8 p.m. Free. 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-843-5090. —Loren Green

Leap Day Luau
OMNI Brewing Co.

On this very special Saturday, OMNI plans to celebrate two summertime things: warm weather and beer. The Leap Day Luau will feature plenty of tropical elements, including special beers such as the Tropical Milkshake IPA and the Melt Peach-Plum Smoothie Sour, as well as other surprises throughout the day. Games will be tropical as well, with limbo and other fun planned. Minnesota BBQ Co. will host a hog roast, which will hopefully remind you of warmer days. The brewery is also selling a limited number of OMNI sunglasses and beach towels through an online, pre-party package that also reserves a take-home crowler to keep the party hot back home. Noon to 11 p.m. Free. 9462 Deerwood Ln. N., Maple Grove; 763-424-6664. —Loren Green

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich Paul Emmel

SUNDAY 3.1

Louise Erdrich
Plymouth Congregational Church

Award-winning Minnesota author Louise Erdrich is back with a new novel, The Night Watchman. The story, set in the 1950s, is based on the life of her grandfather. When a new “emancipation” bill reaches the floor of the United States Congress, Native Americans in the Midwest begin to consider how this will impact their rights and way of life. Those characters include Thomas Wazhashk, a night watchman at a jewel bearing plant in rural North Dakota, and Pixie “Patrice” Paranteau, a smart, ambitious high-school grad who’s heading to Minneapolis in search of her missing sister. Erdrich explores Native issues that are, sadly, still timely today, including cultural preservation, displacement, and broken promises from the U.S. government. The author will share her thoughts and read from her latest work at this publication celebration at Plymouth Congregational Church. 4 p.m. Free. 1900 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 612-871-7400. —Jessica Armbruster