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The Agenda

Theater, art, concerts & more—your best bets for July

The Agenda
Photo by Elde Stewart



The iconic Woodstock-era band still advocates for social justice and community action through their music, and will play favorites from their near 40-year career on a summer-tour stop this month in Minneapolis. (Curiously, CSN one-time contributor Peter Frampton plays at Mystic Lake on July 25.) Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 651-989-5151
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Illusion Theater’s annual Fresh Ink Series has a history of introducing the Next Big Thing—playwrights who go on to produce shows around the Twin Cities and the country (writer Jeffrey Hatcher, for example, got a break at Fresh Ink and went on to adapt a play for a Hollywood film). This year, look for comedian and Minnesota-native Amy Anderson’s stand-up, along with and Samuel G. Roberson Jr.’s one-man show And They Said I Wouldn’t Make It. Illusion Theater, Hennepin Center for the Arts, 528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-339-4944
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JULY 1 TO 24


Could there be anything better than an outdoor concert in the afternoon to break up an otherwise dull workweek? (The short answer is no.) The Summer at Northrop music series presents free concerts weekdays at noon, and features a variety of singer-songwriters and bands to please every musical palate, including jazz, folk, and salsa. Check out the MPR regulars Romantica on July 8 and local jazz veteran Phil Hey on July 15. University of Minnesota East Bank campus, Northrop Mall, 84 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, umn.edu/umato
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Augustus F. Sherman was only an amateur photographer, but his photos, taken over a period of 15 years in the early 20th century while he was a registry clerk at Ellis Island, show the changing face of our nation better than those of any professional documentarian. Sherman’s photographs are on display beginning, fittingly, on Independence Day at the History Center. Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651-259-3000
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Wham! disbanded ages ago, but after 25 years, George Michael’s music has aged like a fine wine. His concert this month at the Xcel is a retrospective of his work, including music from the early years (with that other guy from Wham!), as well as his successful solo career, which includes 85 million records sold worldwide. Xcel Energy Center, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651-989-5151
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JULY 11 AND 12


It may not always feel like the most pious shindig, but the Basilica Block Party, put on annually by Cities 97, is one of the biggest outdoor concerts of the summer. (The festival typically draws 25,000 people.) This year, Ziggy Marley plays on Friday and Gavin Rossdale takes the stage on Saturday. Also: The always-popular Battle of the Bands winners will entertain crowds both nights. Basilica of Saint Mary, Hennepin Ave. between 16th and 17th streets, Minneapolis, 612-317-3511
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The Minnesota Orchestra’s 29th annual Sommerfest continues July 11 with Macy’s Day of Music, which features free concerts on Peavey Plaza throughout the day. The festival also includes special events at Orchestra Hall, ranging from Doc Severinsen on trumpet to comedian Martin Short at the mike. See Severinsen the evening of July 12 with the band El Ritmo de la Vida. Peavey Plaza and Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, 612-371-5656
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The former Beatles drummer leads his own band on this tour stop at the recently renovated Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, just south of the Twin Cities. Expect music from Starr’s post–Fab Four career, including tunes from his latest album, Liverpool 8. Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, 952-496-6563
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JULY 19 AND 20


Smart musicians know their songs will ascend to new heights after working with producer Rick Rubin: He’s the guy behind Johnny Cash’s later albums and the Dixie Chicks’ Grammy-winning “comeback” album Taking the Long Way. Rubin used his magic touch on Diamond’s 2005 compilation 12 Songs to impress fans and critics; this concert comes fresh on the heels of Diamond’s second Rubin-produced album, Home Before Dark. Xcel Energy Center, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651-989-5151
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JULY 23 TO 27


If your annual trip to Finland fell through, plan to fulfill your cultural experience at this year’s FinnFest. Along with folk-dancing instruction, genealogy labs, craft demonstrations, Ole and Lena shows, and architectural discussion with David Salmela, the headline concert on Friday features Minnesota’s celebrity Finn, Osmo Vänskä, and his Minnesota Orchestra. Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr., Duluth, plus other various venues. Visit finnfest2008.com for schedules and locations.



The HBO Real Time talk-show host and satirist Bill Maher performs, highlighting the pitfalls of the Bush administration’s policies and political blunders of late. Think of a live version of The Daily Show—with swearing. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 651-989-5151
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The North Side arts crawl FLOW, which Minneapolis councilman Don Samuels and the Peace Foundation began as a tiny gallery tour, has grown to include dance and drill-team performances on West Broadway. The galleries are open to visitors, showcasing visual art from local painters and photographers; some locations feature art-making activities for the family. West Broadway in north Minneapolis; visit flownorthside.org for more information.



It seems fitting for “Velocity: The Art of Motion” to open in Hopkins, where the state-of-the-art Hopkins Center for the Arts was constructed on the remains of a demolished car dealership. The show is billed as “the largest, stand-alone automotive fine-art exhibition in the United States”—otherwise known as the best way to get motor heads interested in art. Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, 952-979-1100
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Send event information to agenda@mnmo.com.


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