2013 Summer Guide

Updated 6/6/2013

90 days of summer entertainment highlights: concerts, festivals, fashion, movies, arts and fun.

Rock the Garden concertgoers in 2012.



Northern Spark

Sunset June 8 to sunrise June 9 • various locations, St. Paul • free

Oh snap! The big all-night public-art party is coming to St. Paul, storming a downtown whose Saturday nights have been mostly associated with cricket chirps and tumbleweeds. Can Lowertown handle it? Of course it can. With the newly relocated Bedlam Theater, the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s new project space, and the magnificently restored Union Depot, St. Paul’s art-and-design scene has never been more vibrant. Personally, we can’t wait to see the nearly 80 art spectacles, strewn through the city like dream pearls in the moonlight. Bring your bike. And a sweetie. -- Gregory J. Scott


June 8 • First Avenue • $28-$33 •

After a 2012 hiatus, MNfashion announced that its crowning event, Voltage, would make its return this summer. The eighth installment of the show is shaping as a solid return to form, despite the departure of founder Anna Lee, with a lineup of eight designers and four bands. Designers include Blasphemina’s Closet, Lindsey Hopkins, onetime “Project Runway” contestant Danielle Everine and CounterCouture, accompanied by live music from Wolf Lords, teen folk-jazz band Bomba de Luz, rapper Sean Anonymous with Dream Crusher, and female hip-hop trio the Chalice. -- Jahna Peloquin

Reviewing the Real

June 8-Sept. 8 • Weisman Art Museum • free •

What’s with every big museum in town obsessing over “the real”? Since last year, it’s been an orgy of simulacra porn, with both the Walker and MIA going blockbuster on hilarious/horrifying exhibits eviscerating the idea of “reality.” Now the Weisman gets in on the action. In “Reviewing the Real,” the University of Minnesota museum takes a comparatively staid art-history approach, tracking the evolution of realism through the ages, from oil painters clinging to tradition to the ready-made antics of Duchamp and Warhol. The Weisman will trot out some of its best-known works for the occasion — including Duane Hanson’s creepy, hyperrealistic sculpture of Mary Weisman. -- G.J.S.


‘The Purge’

Opens June 7

Ethan Hawke stars in this story of anarchy in the not-so-distant future when citizens are allowed to fight fire with fire: One day a year, all laws are suspended. Murder? Fine. Looting? Be our guest. Pirating movies? Go for it. Hawke and his wife (Lena Headey), living complacently in a high-security mansion, shrug off the annual mayhem until a wounded man breaches their perimeter, bringing a bloodthirsty mob behind him. The premise here is novel and frightening (how do you repel monstrous invaders without becoming inhuman yourself?). The lead actors are good enough to turn an extended game of hide-and-seek-and-kill into an exercise in excruciation. -- Colin Covert

Stone Arch Bridge Festival

June 14-16 • Minneapolis Riverfront • free •

At its heart, the Stone Arch Bridge Festival is a three-day art fair where artists display their wares along a stretch of the Minneapolis riverfront to thousands of browsers, buyers and aficionados. Falling on Father’s Day weekend, the fest invites out to families from all walks of life by adding music, activities and a classic car show to the mix. Indie-rockers perform on three stages Friday and Saturday nights, rain or shine, and the Pop Art car show fills the days with vintage cars. Food and drink vendors are on hand to fuel the to and fro between attractions. -- Rob Callahan

Rock The Garden

June 15 • Walker Art Center • sold out •

Just as the Walker’s put-upon Sculpture Garden was getting its strength back — wapah! Rocked again. True to ethos of the 89.3 the Current’s and Walker Art Center’s co-curated fest, this year’s garden-rocking duties fall to a divergent lot. RTG 2013 has Baltimore’s zany electro-dance man Dan Deacon and dirging Duluth rockers Low sparking the festivities. Then a man responsible for shaping zygote-phase indie-rock, Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould, returns to Minneapolis to perform ahead of Pumpkins-parroting alt-rock act Silversun Pickups. Current-salivated Canadian synth-rockers Metric headline, capping a decibel-packed garden party that also features suds from Summit and grub from Butcher & the Boar, World Street Kitchen and others. -- Jay Boller


‘This Is the End’

Opens June 12

Paaarrty! A busload of famous entertainers gather at James Franco’s house for a bacchanal. And then, wouldn’t you know it, the world ends. Franco, Paul Rudd and many more play nincompoop versions of themselves, too cowardly, coke-addled or generally inept to fend off the weird catastrophic events steamrolling their way. A big part of the appeal here is seeing the actors acting like entitled, condescending jerks and then dying spectacularly. When Michael Cera gets a javelin through the chest and asks, “Is it bad?” it’s the Michael Cera impalement scene you’ve always wanted to see. The trailers have been hilarious, with crisply edited shocks and laughs, breathless overacting and cruel riffs on the cast’s less successful movies. -- Colin Covert


June 22 • Fitzgerald Theater • sold out

June 29 • First Avenue • 18-plus • sold out

Poet-turned-rapper Dessa is so coveted around these parts that she actually has her own shade of lipstick. With “Parts of Speech” (out June 25), she’s putting down the makeup and putting on a tougher face. The lead single, “Warsaw,” finds her signature socially conscious hip-hop style riding on a tough, strange beat by Doomtree’s Paper Tiger. Fans can celebrate having more Dessa tracks to worship at two release parties — June 22 for a Current Sessions concert at the Fitz, then a week later at First Ave. Both are sold out, so head to Craigslist to get your tix. -- Becky Lang

10 Thousand Sounds Festival

June 22 • 8th St. & Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. •$20-$45

The big summer fests may be canceled or postponed this year (River’s Edge, SoundTown, First Avenue’s inaugural festival), but City Pages is getting into the festival business with a cool little one called 10,000 Sounds, featuring Current mainstays the Walkmen and Minnesota-rooted Philly throwbacks Free Energy in a downtown Minneapolis parking lot (June 22). -- Chris Riemenschneider

Open Streets Minneapolis

Lyndale Av. S. (June 23) • Central Av. NE. (July 28) • Minnehaha Av. S. (Aug. 11) • Lowry Av. N. (Sept. 21) •

Inspired by Ciclovía (“open streets”) in Bogotá, Colombia, Minneapolis’ Open Streets welcomes cyclists and walkers to enjoy city streets, minus motor vehicles. An initiative of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, this year’s event expands from the original one-day party on Lyndale Avenue to four installments in different quadrants of the city: Lyndale around Uptown, Central Avenue in Northeast, Minnehaha Avenue in Longfellow and Lowry Avenue in North. -- Jahna Peloquin


‘World War Z’

In rewrite/reshoot hell for 18 months, this production has been one of the most troubled in years. Brad Pitt plays a U.N. disease expert fighting a plague that threatens civilization on every continent. Never has a zombie film had such massive global scope, with the fast-moving ghouls running amok on New York City streets, crowding squares in Jerusalem, even invading airplanes. “World War Z” is being launched as the first chapter in a series, so at least a few people will survive. -- Colin Covert

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

June 24 • First Avenue • 18-plus • sold out

Given the four years it took the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to release “Mosquito,” their follow-up to the Blondie-on-steroids “It’s Blitz!,” fans have been salivating for some Karen O and Co. Accordingly, tickets to the glammed-up art-punks’ local tour stop went in a bangs-flipping flash. Where the NYC trio’s debut scratched its way into heads, and “It’s Blitz!” made them roll, the new album merely buzzes in your ear with sparkly balladry. Maximum Hedrum opens. -- Michael Rietmulder

Pride Weekend


June 28-30 • various locations •

The Twin Cities has long been recognized for its thriving gay scene. And this year, there’s more to celebrate than ever, thanks to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Minnesota. As always, the main events of Pride are centered around Loring Park with the Pride Festival (June 29-30, free), Pride Beer Dabbler (June 28, $10-$45), and Pride in Concert with headliners Neon Hitch and Nina Sky (June 29. $10.). Spinoff events include the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade along Hennepin Avenue (3rd St. to Spruce Pl., 11 a.m. June 30.) and a pre-party with Pride Grown & Sexy, a burlesque and drag bash starring “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Raja (June 22, First Avenue $12-$15.). -- Jahna Peloquin


Twins vs. New York Yankees

July 1-4 • Target Field •

Taking in a baseball game is the ideal summer activity for people who want to get outdoors without actually doing anything. By early July, the up-and-down-and-down-again Twins will probably have to stand on their tippy-toes to see eye to eye with the old but rather annoyingly still-excellent Yankees. And yet, this four-game homestand, which wraps up on Independence Day, gives Minnesota its chance to take a stand against the Evil Empire. It’ll also let the Twins’ freedom-loving fans shout obscene things at the Yankees’ handsome millionaires, pausing only to take bites of a very expensive hot dog. What could be more American than that? -- Mike Mullen

July 4th Fireworks

Various locations

Freedom, in addition to being synonymous with nothin’ left to lose, is also closely tied to fireworks. The explosions that birthed and expanded this nation light up the downtown Minneapolis riverfront at Red, White and Boom! Expect ample oohs and aahs at Veterans Park in Richfield and Aquila Park in St. Louis Park. Excelsior Commons Park in Excelsior shoots ’em over Lake Minnetonka, while road-ready independence likers can peer over the St. Croix in Stillwater. -- Jay Boller


July 4-7 • DoubleTree by Hilton, Bloomington •

To the casual observer, CONvergence may look like just another giant four-day debaucherous costume party. But beneath the surface, a broader slice of geek culture gets carved out and served. Attend screenings of rare sci-fi/fantasy films from around the world. Roll with tabletop gamers or catch Nintendinitis with a pack of pixel junkies. Meet local and national celebrities from the sci-fi community, get their autographs and hear their behind-the-scenes stories. Enjoy expert panel discussions on such wide-ranging topics as Joss Whedon, “Firefly,” “Buffy,” “Dollhouse” and “The Avengers.” Or just go for the party if that’s more your thing. -- Rob Callahan

Pride and Prejudice

July 6-Aug. 31 • Guthrie Theater • $35-$85 •

Tiny Tim is coming home. Vincent Kartheiser, who played the role in “A Christmas Carol” on the Guthrie’s stage in 1986 — long before being cast as the neurotic Pete Campbell on the Emmy-winning AMC series “Mad Men,” makes a triumphant return this summer in the role of the aloof but handsome Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” The final show of the Guthrie’s 50th-anniversary season, “Pride” begins previews July 6, with opening night July 12. -- Sheila Regan


‘The Lone “Ranger’

Opens July 3

When Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski are on it (as in the original “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the animated “Rango”), they’re on it. And when they’re not (as in the increasingly waterlogged “Pirates” sequels), well, there are still occasional sparks. Depp’s turn as Tonto in Verbinski’s $200 million “The Lone Ranger” gives this summer’s biggest gamble a boost of interest. Will it lift the unfashionable western genre out of the doldrums or echo the disastrous “Wild Wild West” and “Cowboys & Aliens”? Stay tuned, kemosabe. -- Colin Covert

Americanarama Tour

July 10 • Midway Stadium • $67.50

Don’t think twice: It’s all right to splurge on tickets to Americanarama. The 26-date tour boasts a lineup that’s yankee hotel fantastic, pairing Minnesota-born legend Bob Dylan with ever-evolving indie powerhouse Wilco. With 72-year-old Dylan, the coherency of the live show is a crapshoot. But you’re seeing Bob Dylan outdoors, so who cares? Wilco — armed with Nels Cline’s virtuosic ax-shreddery and Jeff Tweedy’s loaded songbook — consistently delivers the goods live. Jammy alt-country/psych-rockin’ festival faves My Morning Jacket are along for the ride, as is celebrated British songwriter Richard Thompson. -- Jay Boller

Basilica Block Party

July 12-13 • Basilica of St. Mary • $50-$60 per night

It is not exactly blasphemy to say this year’s Basilica headliners feel ripped from a 1998 radio dial. That’s not to crucify the Archdiocese’s annual amplified/alcohol-fueled collection plate. Mystical indie star Father John Misty and neo-soul man Mayer Hawthorne are standouts Friday, as are funk/soul dynamos Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings on Saturday. But Saturday also has Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty, a ’90s radio-rock time capsule that needs no resurrection. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, ZZ Ward, Cloud Cult are among the other performers. The all-local stage — featuring Actual Wolf, On an On and others — is the real place to be, says this impartial editorial voice. -- J.B.

Bruno Mars

July 14 • Xcel Energy Center • $29.50-$84

Since starting out in 2009 as a guest star on B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You” and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire,” Mars has blossomed into a megastar. The Grammy-winning, Michael Jackson-evoking throwback singer, 27, has refused to leave the charts since his 2010 debut, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans.” Mars’ 2012 follow-up, “Unorthodox Jukebox” continues to mine Top-40 gold.-- J.B.


July 18 • Xcel Energy Center • $45-$250

Beyoncé is the type of superstar who chooses to amplify her fame using highly calculated releases, rather than crashing and burning by, say, ramming a Lamborghini into a well-known Beverly Hills landmark. Like her new single says, she’s a grown woman, and 2013 has brought with that growth a bounty of endorsement deals, including Pepsi and H&M, turning flashy ads into an amuse-bouche of the euphonic, unreleased bounty to come. With her mostly sold-out world tour well underway, fans want to know: When will a new album drop? When will we be able to stop watching YouTube clips of Pepsi commercials to hear the siren call of our Queen Bey? The Beyhive wants to know. -- Jason Zabel

Summer Beer Dabbler

July 20 • Upper Landing Park, St. Paul • $35-$45

After four years embedded in Highland Fest, the Summer Beer Dabbler is on the move. The fifth annual brew fete is uprooting to new downtown digs at St. Paul’s Upper Landing Park. The now-riverside beer bash promises food trucks, live music and more than 50 breweries for beer freaks to sample. Considering Minnesotans’ beer-fest fever, don’t count on day-of tickets. -- Michael Rietmulder


‘The Conjuring’

Opens July 19

Every summer needs its spine-chiller, and genre king James Wan (of the “Saw” series) has raised an impressive crop of goose bumps over the past few years. His 1970s haunted-house story “The Conjuring” centers around real-life paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren, known for their work on the “Amityville Horror” case. Called to the home of a woman played by Lili Taylor, the couple (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) encounter apparitions, maddened flocks of aggressive birds, unreliable floorboards and mysterious noises. Farmiga’s wide-eyed stares are unsettling hints of the house’s evil secrets. The Los Angeles Times reported that the MPAA couldn’t bring itself to grant the film a PG-13 because it was “just too scary.” -- Colin Covert’s Summer story Contest Readings

July 24 • Union rooftop, 731 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. • free •

If you haven’t noticed, “Choose Your Adventure” is the grand theme of summer 2013 here at the So for our fifth annual $1,000 Summer Story Contest, we’re challenging you to write a choose-your-own-adventure tale of your own before July 1. We’ll select about 20 of the best stories to be read at this event — with interactive help from the audience — at Union’s luxurious rooftop bar. Heather McElhatton, author of the adult CYOA novel “Pretty Little Mistakes,” will host. Sound fun? Check out the contest guidelines at, or just come down on the 24th. -- Simon Peter Groebner

The Skyline Music Festival Featuring the Lp Tour

July 26 • Target Field • $25-$45

For the first-ever Target Field concert not featuring Kenny Chesney, the Twins are bringing in a group of acts playing their best-known 1990s albums in their entirety. That includes Soul Asylum, who’ll perform their multi-platinum “Grave Dancers Union”; Big Head Todd and the Monsters, with their 1993 breakthrough “Sister Sweetly,” and Matthew Sweet, performing 1991’s “Girlfriend.” The Gear Daddies — another Minnesota group beloved by fans of a certain age — will also step in. You can bet their song “Zamboni” will make an incongruous appearance on the Target Field turf. Seating is limited to the third-base side of the ballpark, overlooking downtown (hence the event’s name). -- Tim Campbell

Summer Music & Movies

Mondays July 29-Aug. 19 • Loring Park, Mpls. • free

Walker Art Center’s beloved series returns to Loring Park. The musical lineup includes Prissy Clerks (July 29), the Roe Family Singers and Charlie Parr (Aug. 5), this summer’s It Band the Chalice (Aug. 12), and Zoo Animal with Aby Wolf and Grant Cutler (Aug. 19). The movies were selected by Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas, whose exhibit “The Autoconstrucción Suites” recently opened at the Walker. Save for one obvious choice (“Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” on Aug. 19), the road films he picked are all pretty obscure to Western audiences. -- Chris Riemenschneider

Les MisÉrables

July 30-Aug. 4 • Orpheum Theatre • $39-$125

Dream a dream all over again for Cameron Mackintosh’s new 25th-anniversary production of “Les Miz.” Based on Victor Hugo’s luscious novel about redemption, love, forgiveness and survival, the much-loved musical will have you singing along to its emotionally rousing songs such as “On My Own,” “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” and more. The current version of the classic features new staging and scenery inspired by Hugo’s paintings. -- Sheila Regan



Aug. 1-11 •

The Fringe’s retinue aptly describes it as a “summer camp for actors.” By day, Fringe packs 176 shows into 11 days across 16 stages. By night the players, producers and patrons gather together at “Fringe Central” (a k a the patio of a nearby bar) to wax and reflect over libations and the occasional amorous advance. The non-juried nature of Minnesota Fringe presents a kaleidoscope of seasoned professionals, promising breakout sensations and, um ... others, via single-show tickets, punch cards or an unlimited pass to see as many shows as time and stamina allow. -- Rob Callahan’s August Music & Movies

Fridays Aug. 2-23 • Lake Harriet Bandshell, Mpls. • free

The 2013 season of’s August Music & Movies is all about youth and 1980s kiddie adventures. For music, we’ve got nascent singer/songwriter John Mark Nelson (Aug. 2), buzzy indie-rockers Now, Now (Aug. 9), pop-rock duo Strange Names (Aug. 16) and alt-country singer Frankie Lee (Aug. 23). As for the movies, “The Goonies” leads the charge Aug. 2, with “Adventures in Babysitting” (Aug. 9), “Space Camp” (Aug. 16) and the fan-selected “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (Aug. 23) also getting love. -- Jay Boller

Macy’s Glamorama

Aug. 2 • State Theatre • $75-$1,000

For 29 years, Glamorama has been the biggest fashion show in the Twin Cities, thanks to high-end production values, top-notch model talent and straight-off-the-runway fashions from big-name designers. This year, the show ups the ante with Cirque du Soleil and headliner Sheryl Crow; designers have yet to be announced. An epic after-party will follow on the eighth floor of Macy’s downtown store. -- Jahna Peloquin

The Postal Service

Aug. 2 • Roy Wilkins Auditorium • $35-$45

Ten years since their only album, the Postal Service reunites as a full-blown, IRL group. The project of Ben Gibbard and electronic-producing sage Jimmy Tamborello may be best remembered as the soundtrack to the emotional seesaw of puberty, the process whereby “teens” reflect upon their troubled lives by asking big questions (Why do we even exist? Should I be feeling so many feels? This sucks.). But the group’s demographic has matured beyond the world of asymmetrical haircuts and crying-bird tattoos, and into the land of marketing professionals who look back at the movie “Garden State” and are like, “Damn. I bought into this emo crap back then?” -- Jason Zabel

Summer Set Music & Camping Festival

Aug. 9-11 • Somerset Amphitheater • 16-plus • $100-$500 •

Like a Girl Talk mashup, last year’s inaugural Summer Set was a genre hodgepodge that magically worked. Fittingly, Girl Talk’s Pittsburgh party bro Gregg Gillis is headlining year No. Ç2 of Summer Set, alongside synth-poppers Passion Pit, jamtronica gurus STS9 and repeat headliners Big Gigantic. The fledgling festival again offers something for indie kids, neo-ravers, jam fans and hip-hop heads alike. Also performing are all-star MCs Big Boi and Common, Diplo, Zedd and local faves Doomtree, Poliça and the 4onthefloor. -- Michael Rietmulder

The National

Aug. 6 • Roy Wilkins Auditorium • $35

Coming off their best-selling album to date, these Brooklyn-based baroque rockers look poised to continue climbing the industry ladder. Their follow-up, which dropped last week on 4AD, again finds frontman Matt Berninger mysteriously murmuring his baritone over velvety tapestries like an effortless ace. The National has never been a particularly cheery act. But earlier this month the quintet performed their woeful “Sorrow” for six hours straight as part of a Museum of Modern Art installation candidly titled “A Lot of Sorrow.” Daughter opens. -- M.R.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Aug. 17-Sept. 29 • Renaissance Festival Grounds, Shak-opee • $18.95-$21.95 •

While it can’t quite compete with that other Great Minnesota Get-Together (the State Fair) in terms of scale and size, RenFest has it beat for pure ambiance. Crafted to look like a medieval village, the grounds are full of sprawling hillsides, entertainment stages (fire juggling, knife-throwing, tightrope-walking, oh my!), a jousting ring, camel and elephant rides, “Tomato Justice” (where participants pelt a man with ripe tomatoes as he hurls insults) and ample people-watching opportunities. Not to mention massive turkey legs, oversized pickles, bratwurst, spinach pie and, of course, mead. Huzzah! -- Jahna Peloquin


‘Kick-Ass 2’

Opens Aug. 16

In some circles, the sequel to 2010’s violent, irreverent superhero spoof is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. OK, in my personal circle. Teen avengers Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) inspire a new wave of amateur superheroes. Unfortunately, their leader, Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), is psycho. Their nerdy nemesis (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) raises his own army to wreak his revenge. Meanwhile, Hit Girl has to keep her killer instinct in check while attending high school. Look out, mean girls! If Jeff Wadlow’s follow-up can maintain the lunatic edge, comic excess and bonkers logic of the original entry, I’ll follow these characters through college, marriage and midlife crises. -- Colin Covert

Minnesota State Fair

Aug. 22-Sept. 2 • Minnesota State Fairgrounds • $7-$12

A Spam-eating Garrison Keillor water-skiing in mukluks might be more Minnesotan than the State Fair. Maybe. For its 154th go-round, the Great Minnesota Get-Together returns to remind us that princesses are best emblazoned in butter, handsome livestock deserve ribbons and that the miracle of birth is visually upsetting. Sweet Martha, per always, will be there with her cookies; the Leinenkugel family ready with their lodge. The chances of anyone actually buying a rototiller off Machinery Hill? Unlikely, but if gawking was currency, it’d be a boom market. But the fair isn’t just about grease and agrarian nostalgia. The grandstand’s gamble on youth paid off last year with Wiz Khalifa, so this year gay rights-championing rap act Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Aug. 31, $20-$30) gets the nod. Country megastar Tim McGraw (Sept. 2, $56-$71) will perform, as will esteemed British synth-pop stalwarts Depeche Mode (Aug. 27, $60-$70). MN Music On-A-Stick (Aug. 30, $28) is a macabre display of impaled local artists. Just kidding! The very-alive showcase features pickers Trampled by Turtles, singer-songwriter Mason Jennings and buzzing R&B/hip-hop trio the Chalice. Those seeking laughs or cats will have their day, too. Specifically: former “SNL” yuksters Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon on Aug. 22 ($38), then the return of the Internet Cat Video Festival on Aug. 28 ($10). Free concerts at the Leinie’s Bandshell include brotherly MMMboppers Hanson (Aug. 26-27), cowbell-dingin’ Blue Öyster Cult (Aug. 24-25), former Prince protégé Sheila E. (Aug. 28-29) and country strummer Sunny Sweeney (Aug. 22-23). -- Jay Boller

Summer Guide 2013