THURSDAY-SATURDAY: MARY MACK
Mary Mack may split her time between the Twin Cities and L.A., but her act is Midwestern to the core. With a syrupy accent ripped straight from "Fargo," the chipmunk-voiced comedian's long-form jokes hit on the down-homey mundane, often with a healthy dose of passive-aggression. The always-funny Mack was a guest on the popular "WTF With Marc Maron" podcast in March, and cross-dressed/dribbled as Ricky Rubio in a popular YouTube sketch that same month. A self-pegged folk humorist, she might just bust out her ukulele at this weekend's live DVD filming. -Jay Boller
The '80s-nostalgia cash cow is mooing loudly this summer. Just as the hair-band musical "Rock of Ages" hits the big screen, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres is mounting its version of "Xanadu," a musical based on the 1980 Olivia Newton-John fantasy about nightlife, mythology and roller skates. In a town where E.L.O. tribute band E.L.nO. can headline First Avenue, the producers should have no trouble getting the dinner menu's Chicken Chanhassen down the wary gullets of Gen-Xers who may have taken a pass on "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Hairspray." Expect high camp, including "X-Boxes" (for $5-$7 extra) full of items for crowd participation. -J.B.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY: KEIGWIN + COMPANY
New York's Keigwin + Company closes out the inaugural season of the Cowles Center. The troupe takes a seriously fun approach, performing works that celebrate a cheeky take on the relationships between contemporary dance and pop culture. The program includes "Megalopolis" (2009), set to Steve Reich's minimalist tones and M.I.A.'s call-to-arms music, plus the fashionista throwdown "Runaway" and 2004's "Mattress Suite," an exploration into the tricky realm of love and sex. K + C will also premiere "12 Chairs," which takes the game of "musical chairs" to a new level. -Caroline Palmer
WEDNESDAY: LITERARY DEATH MATCH
The highfalutin lit world could learn a thing or two from back-alley cockfight culture. Literary Death Match realizes this. The worldwide series takes writers from various media and pits them against each other in a high-minded, round-by-round bloodbath of wits. This installment's trio of judges includes Jamaican author Marlon James, cartoonist/podcaster Danno Klonowski and journalist cum sci-fi writer Dennis Cass. The bookish gladiators are young-adult novelist Pete Hautman, Swiss Army knife creative Stephanie Wilbur Ash, poet/author Juliet Patterson and poet/musician Jeffrey Skemp. With booze and laughs factoring heavily, this lit event is anything but stuffy. -J.B.