Hot Summer Nights

Whatever your passion—movies, music, painting, or plays—we’ve got your summer all planned out: We’ve scoured cultural calendars for the Twin Cities’ best events, then added a few dinner and nightcap recommendations. Here, 47 ways to kick up—or cool—your heels after sunset.



Uh-oh. A cast of sexy young lovers and sensual fairies. That’s not a summary of tonight’s Cine­max movie. It’s the marketing blurb for the Guthrie Theater’s new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And, well, let’s be honest: When’s the last time you went to the Guthrie and left thinking “sexy” and “young”?

Still, this is the show to see this spring. Why? Because you liked it before. Remember? It was 1997, only two years into Joe Dowling’s tenure as the theater’s artistic director, and the show felt very 2007, very cutting-edge: “The young lovers and the spandex-clad fairies get jiggy to a hip-hop tune in the forest,” read one review of this Shakespearean remix. The show dazzled audiences and toured the country.

Now, Dowling is bringing back the same designers to create an updated playground for the four sexy young lovers who escape from their tyrannical parents. The cast features Guthrie regulars Richard Iglewski, Jim
Lichtscheidl, Sally Wingert, and Stephen Yoakam—as the adults, not the kids, thank goodness.




Guthrie Theater. 818 S. Second St., Mpls., 612-377-2224
When: Through June 22.
What Else: Spoonriver features the season’s freshest produce, plus spirited cocktail selections, like the Tequila Mockingbird, made with pineapple-infused tequila and passion-fruit juice. 750 S. Second St., Mpls., 612-436-2236

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May 16—June 14
Marion McClinton, perhaps best known for staging the works of August Wilson, takes on this Pulitzer-nominated coming-of-age drama about a small-town girl with clairvoyant powers. Our prediction: A pre-show stop at Jakeeno’s for a bottle of wine and something with red sauce will further enhance the evening.
Pillsbury House Theatre

3501 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls., 612-825-0459
3555 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls., 612-825-6827

May 2—18
The spectacular song-and-dance show centers on Berlin’s Kit Kat Klub in 1929, where bawdy jokes and sexual shenanigans keep the gloom of the looming Nazi regime at bay. Afterward, continue your European tour with a pit stop at Pazzaluna (above) for beef carpaccio, gnocchi, or any of the excellent vege­table antipasti.
Ordway Center
345 Washington St., St. Paul, 651-224-4222
360 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-223-7000

TU Dance
June 19—29
The enormously talented choreographer Uri Sands and his wife, dancer Toni Pierce-Sands, put their Twin Cities troupe through the paces with a brand-new summer show at the always affordable Southern Theater. Continue your cheap date with a stop at Wasabi, where low-cost sushi is the catch of the day.
Southern Theater
1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-340-1725
903 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-339-6688

Best of Shows


Enchanted Evening

» Sva (Vital Force)

Ragamala, blending dance, poetry, and music from southern India, premieres two new works. May 1—4. Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-340-1725

Meaty Comedy

» Spamalot
Minnesota’s most lasting contribution to world cuisine hogs the spotlight in this retelling of King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail. May 27—June 1. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-673-0404

Sea Story

» Once on This Island

It’s The Little Mermaid story (think Hans Christian Andersen, not Disney) with a Caribbean-island twist and lots of catchy musical numbers. Through May 18. Ten Thousand Things Theater. May 2—11, Open Book, 1011 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., and May 16—18, Minnesota Opera Center, 620 N. First St., Mpls. Tickets: 612-203-9502

Clued In

» Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure
The sleuth matches wits with his archenemy and investigates a kidnapping in London’s seedy underbelly. May 30—June 22. Park Square Theatre, 20 W. Seventh Pl., St. Paul, 651-291-7005

Rock Musical

» Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Sondheim it’s not, but this cult-classic musical about an East German rock musician and a failed sex-change operation is certainly a cut above the rest. July 18—August 31. Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-7063


» 42nd Street

Go for the alcoholic ice-cream drinks. Stay for the show. Through July 26. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, 501 W. 78th St., Chanhassen, 952-934-1525


Classical Music


If you were challenged to select a single work that represents the Minnesota Orchestra, you could do worse than choose Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 8, a.k.a. the “Unfinished.” Under the baton of director Emil Oberhoffer, the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra made its debut in November 1903 with a performance of the Eighth, and Oberhoffer apparently thought so highly of the piece he plugged it into programs six more times over the next seven years.

The orchestra, long since recast as the Minnesota Orchestra, hasn’t let a decade go by without a nod to the “Unfinished,” and it’s easy to hear why. Its sweet melodies have been likened to “an electric shock displaying the dark side of human nature.” That’s quite a statement, considering many musicologists believe the composer intended this two-movement work as merely the first half of a four-part symphony. Few listeners seem to care—it remains among the most beloved of Schubert’s compositions, finished or otherwise. (This time around, the Minnesota Orchestra puts a Brit, conductor Mark Wigglesworth, on the podium.)




Orchestra Hall. 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656
When: May 8—10
What else: Porter & Frye, Minneapolis’s hottest new dining spot, offers a late-night menu with beef tenderloin and other high-end nosh. 1115 Second Ave. S., Mpls., 612-353-3500

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Beethoven’s Triple Concerto

May 23
Unlike the rest of Beethoven’s concertos, which center on a single instrument, the Triple spotlights cello, violin, and piano in one singular, sensational work. After this Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concert, head down the street to Sakura for such Japanese specialities as gyoza, teriyaki, and bento boxes.
Ordway Center
345 Washington St., St. Paul. Tickets: 651-291-1144
350 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-224-0185

Songs of Ascension: Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton
June 12—14
A innovative collaboration by vocalist Monk and visual artist Hamilton. When the lights come up, cross the street and hit the restaurant La Belle Vie (above), where a new pastry chef, an ever-changing dessert menu, and one of the best bartenders in town add to the night’s harmony.
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave., 612-375-7600
La Belle Vie
510 Groveland Ave., Mpls., 612-874-6440

Covers—A Pop Concert
May 16—18
Cantus, a young, talented, Minnesota-based, and classically trained chamber group, tackles pop music by the White Stripes and other revolutionary rockers. For a fast pre-show supper, visit Keefer Court, just south of Seven Corners. What it lacks in ambiance, it makes up for in choices, such as lo mein, congee, and Empress chicken.
Southern Theater
1420 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-340-1725
Keefer Court
326 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-340-0937

Best of Shows


Middle America

» The Road Home

Celebrating the work of America composers, Magnum Chorum performs works by Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Kenneth Jennings, and others. May 3. St. Mary’s Chapel, St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul. Tickets: 612-924-4111

Magic Flutes

» Sir James & Lady Galway

The Irish virtuoso, who has entertained popes, princes, and presidents, performs with his American wife, Jeanne. May 3—4. Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656

International Flavors

» Alleluia from Around the World

The vocal group Exultate performs choral and instrumental work from many cultures. May 3—4. Various locations. Tickets: 651-707-0727

Keyed Up

» Chopin and Kernis

Romanian-born pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa plays works by Chopin and Rachmaninov, and premieres a work by Aaron Jay Kernis. May 4. Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, 130 Macalester St.,
St. Paul. Tickets: 612-822-0123

A Slice of Americana

» VocalEssence Ensemble Singers

Three centuries of homegrown music by a 32-person choir. May 10. Trinity Lutheran Church, 115 N. Fourth St., Stillwater. Tickets: 612-624-2345

The Vegas Years

» P.D.Q. Bach

Satirist Peter Schickele adds a dash of lounge lizard to classic texts and tunes. May 24. Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656

Outdoor Concerts

» Minneapolis Lakes

Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Mpls., 612-230-6475


Jazz & Pop


Here’s the problem with jazz these days: For everyone save true aficionados, it’s too damn hard. Hard to understand. Hard to appreciate. Hard to love. Hell, it’s even hard to find a good place to hear jazz live (at least, if you don’t live near Minneapolis’s Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant or St. Paul’s Artists’ Quarter).

This summer, however, the people who put on the jazz series at Orchestra Hall have done something scientists once believed impossible: They’ve made jazz easy. On June 26, the venue will host DownBeat’s Rising Stars, a show that should charm innocents and connoisseurs alike, with a lineup that features several of jazz’s brightest up-and-comers, including trumpeter Sean Jones (who also curates the show), saxophonist Marcus Strickland (who’s best know for his quartet), and trombonist Wycliffe Gordon (who’s best known as the man responsible for retooling the theme song to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered). Indeed, the only way it would be any easier to see great jazz would be to move next door to the Marsalis family.




Orchestra Hall. 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656
When: June 26
What else: The French like jazz, right? So French food seems apropos when attending a jazz concert. Vincent, with the city’s best French fare, offers a three-course prix-fixe menu Monday through Thursday. 1100 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-630-1189

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Greg Brown

May 2
Brown—whose work has been covered by everyone from Willie Nelson to Joan Baez—is back on stage at the Fitz, where he first gained acclaim as a frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion. Before the show, hit the St. Paul Grill or Babani’s.
Fitzgerald Theater
10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul, 651-290-1221
St. Paul Grill
350 Market St., St. Paul, 651-224-7455
544 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-602-9964

The Magnolias

May 31
Catch this almost-famous band, a mainstay of the legendary Minneapolis music scene of the mid-’80s, just before they kick off their European tour. Fuel up for the show by visiting Solera, where you can score a cheap bottle of good Spanish wine and some tapas-comfort foods. There’s also a late-night menu for after the show.
7th St. Entry
701 First Ave. N., Mpls., 612-338-8388
900 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-338-0062

Mark Knopfler
July 12
Knopfler, the force behind Dire Straits, is known for his virtuosity (Rolling Stone magazine named him among the greatest rock guitarists of all time) and his amiable on-stage persona (he often drinks tea during perform-ances). Naturally, such refinement deserves a refined meal. Try the Chambers Kitchen’s spice-crusted sea bass.
Orpheum Theatre
910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-673-0404
Chambers Kitchen
901 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-767-6999

Best of Shows


Radio Star

» KT Tunstall

The Grammy-nominated Scot with ubiquitous songs hits town behind her Drastic Fantastic album. May 14. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-673-0404


» The Dave Brubeck Quartet

A chance to see a jazz pianist the Library of Congress describes as a “living legend.” May 25. Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656

British Invaders

» The Kooks

The English indie-rock band arrives stateside a month after the release of their highly anticipated new album, Konk. May 31. Fine Line Music Café, 318 First Ave. N., Mpls., 651-989-5151

Electric Fetus

» 40th Anniversary

A musical celebration of Minneapolis’s iconic record store. June 13. 7th St. Entry, 701 First Ave. N., Mpls., 612-338-8388

Riverside tunes

» Romantica

Minneapolis-based folk-rockers play amid riverside ruins as part of a free summer concert series. June 19. Mill City Museum, 704 S. Second St., Mpls., 612-341-7555

World Party

» Orchestre Baobab

The wildly popular Senegalese group brings world music to Minnesota. June 21. Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Ave., Mpls., 612-332-1010

King of Country

» Willie Nelson

Nelson—legend, activist, dedicated pothead, one-time IRS scourge—performs at the casino’s amphitheater. July 18. Grand Casino Hinckley, 777 Lady Luck Dr., Hinckley, 651-989-5151




Before Blockbuster, Netflix, and HBO On Demand, we went to the movies. It was an outing. You made dinner reservations. You called a babysitter. And when the lights dimmed and the show started, you turned to your companion and said: Why don’t we do this more often?!

Curling up with a rental and microwave popcorn might have its merits, but for anyone who enjoys the previews as much as the main attraction, who watches the Oscars in a ball gown, who knows the birthplace of the Coen brothers—it’s time to put a little movie magic back in your life. The place to do that is the Riverview Theater. Opened in 1948, the Riverview maintains its classic charm, right down to the giant, twinkling marquee. The lobby is stuck in a mid-century time warp: mod couches, vinyl-covered chairs, and retro lamps. But the theater also features modern amenities like stadium seating and Dolby surround sound. On any night of the week, you can take in a first-run blockbuster for just $3. For a few dollars more, you can do it with a tub of real buttered popcorn.




Riverview Theater. 3800 42nd Ave. S., Mpls., 612-729-7369
When: Seven days a week.
What else: Visit the Riverview Wine Bar for piquant pizzas, ever-changing entrées, and a great selection of wines from around the world. If you like to sample, Wednesday is “Flite Night.” 3747 42nd Ave. S., Mpls., 612-729-4200

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Solstice Film Festival

June 19—­21
This Twin Cities riff on the annual Sundance festival includes movies by up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world, an awards show, and red-carpet events. If you’re inclined, take a limousine, and stop by Meritage beforehand for the bittersweet-chocolate torte, the cheese course, a glass of wine, or all three.
Galtier Plaza
380 Jackson St., St. Paul,
410 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-222-5670

Music & Movies
Monday nights in July and August
Roll out a blanket, spritz on the bug spray, and listen to local bands until the sun sets and the movie starts. Afterward, hit 20.21, Wolfgang Puck’s sleek restaurant at the Walker (above), for the Spoon, Cube & Cherry, a chocolate and marzipan nod to the iconic sculpture.
Loring Park
1382 Willow St., Mpls.; film info: 612-375-7600
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-253-3410

Ten Second Film Fest
July 4
After fireworks on the Mississippi, screen 100 short films submitted by people who’ve taken art into their own hands using cameras, cell phones, and other electronic devices. After the show, head to the Bulldog NE for a late-night picnic of Chicago-style hot dogs, truffle-dusted tater tots, and a varied selection of Belgian beers.
Soap Factory
518 Second St. SE, Mpls., 612-623-9176
The Bulldog NE
401 E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-378-2855

Best of Shows


Bloody Good Fun

» Brit’s Pub

Hit the grassy rooftop for pints, lawn bowling, and British-themed film screenings at this bustling landmark bar. Monday nights in August. 1110 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-3908

Take a Back seat

» Cottage View Drive-in

Load up the family station wagon and head to Minnesota’s largest operational drive-in. The 1960s theater maintains its original neon marquee, plays current titles, and holds nearly 1,000 cars. 9338 E. Point Douglas Rd., Cottage Grove, 651-458-5965

Really Retro

» Mann Highland I & II

A 1940s art deco—style theater that draws neighborhood crowds and patrons who prefer a small house to stadium seating. 760 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul, 651-698-3085

When Bigger is Better

» Willow Creek 12 Cinema

Head to the ’burbs for stadium seating and a dozen screens. 9900 Shelard Pkwy., Plymouth, 651-777-3456

Screams on Screen

» Killer Movie

This horror movie about a reality-TV shoot that goes terrifyingly awry was filmed at various Twin Cities locations. A summer release is in the works, but you can watch the trailer now on YouTube.

Auteur! Auteur!

» Walker Art Center

Catch contemporary and historical works in an art-house setting. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-375-7600

For the Frugal

» Excelsior Dock Cinema

Have a cheap weekday date at this main-street theater, where tickets are only $5.75. 26 Water St., Excelsior, 952-474-7419


Visual Art


Thirteen years ago, in 1995, a group of roughly 10 artists, their friends, and some recent transplants to northeast Minneapolis scrapped together the first-ever Art-A-Whirl: featuring 60 visual artists, five buildings, and about a thousand guests. The intent was to draw attention to a burgeoning artists’ haven with affordable rents and coveted warehouse spaces.

Now, Art-A-Whirl is Minnesota’s largest open studio and gallery tour. This year’s event will feature 500-plus artists at more than 50 buildings for three days with an estimated 20,000 visitors. There’s a piece of art to match every pocketbook at this massive and often schizophrenic happening: In the Northrup King Building (home to more than 150 artists’ studios), rovers will find everything from the flora-themed paintings of Patrick Pryor to ceramist Ernest Miller’s unconventional glazes and Karin Jacobson’s cocktail rings. Some area artists open their homes (what an opportunity to snoop!). And best of all, many artists set out spreads of cheese, wine, and beer. Come for the art, stay for the gratis grub!




Northeast Minneapolis. Information: 612-788-1679 or
When: May 16—18
What else: Drop in at Crescent Moon Bakery and tuck into anything with phyllo dough. The baklava is heavenly, but any of the pastries are worth a crunch. 2339 Central Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-782-0169

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Lee Friedlander

June 29—September 14
More than 500 photographs, organized by the Museum of Modern Art, depict urban life in the last half-century, as seen through the lens of American photographer Lee Friedlander. After you’ve had your fill of art, visit Jasmine 26 (above), where crêpes and Vietnamese specialties populate the menu. Don’t miss the alcohol-laced bubble tea.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls., 612-870-3131
Jasmine 26
8 E. 26th St., Mpls., 612-870-3800

The Lost Empire
May 5—September 13
Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs explore the effects of a looming World War and revolution on his home country, Russia, during the early 1900s. For something almost as heavy and stirring as these images, try the carrot cake or bread pudding (it’s made with pound cake) at nearby Blackbird after your visit.
Museum of Russian Art
5500 Stevens Ave. S., Mpls., 612-821-9045
815 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-823-4790

The Art of the New Deal

May 8—July 27
The Weisman’s “By the People, for the People” exhibit features selections from its 1,000-plus-piece collection of New Deal—era art. Before visiting, swing by the Birchwood Café (above) in nearby Seward. The bread pudding, the fruit pie, the banana cream—it’s all from scratch, and delicious, too.
Weisman Art Museum
333 E. River Rd., Mpls., 612-625-9494
Birchwood Café
3311 E. 25th St., Mpls., 612-722-4474

Best of Shows


Petal Pushing

» Art in Bloom

More than 170 floral-design artists offer interpretations of popular MIA’s works. May 1—4. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls., 612-870-3131

Clay Constructions

» Architecture and Ceramics

A look at the ties between architecture and contemporary pottery. May 9—June 29. Northern Clay Center, 2424 Franklin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-339-8007

True Collaboration

» Meander and Traci Tullius

Meander gathers 18 Twin Cities artists and creates one collaborative work spanning the Soap Factory’s galleries, while Tullius introduces a video derived from her strange Oklahoma childhood. May 24—July 6. Soap Factory, 518 Second St. SE, Mpls., 612-623-9176

Get Outdoors

» Design for the Other 90 Percent

This outdoor exhibition focuses on objects that might best be described as humanitarian, ranging from water-purification tools to furniture made from hurricane debris. Opens May 31. Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., 612-375-7600

Suburban World
» The Norling Photos

Images that capture both the light and dark sides of 1950s Bloomington. Closes June 15. Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651-259-3000

Patio Nights
» Music and Art

The Minnesota Museum of American Art hosts outdoor concerts Thursday evenings. Catch acts like Cadillac Kolstad, Jenny Dalton, and Spaghetti Western String Co. June 5—August 28. Minnesota Museum of American Art, 50 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651-266-1030

Joel Hoekstra writes frequently about design and architecture for Midwest Home and has contributed to a wide range of publications, including This Old House, Metropolis, ASID Icon and Architecture Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis in a 1906 Dutch Colonial that is overdue for a full remodel—or at least a coat of fresh paint.