Your Weekend Best Bets: March 29-31

Friday, March 29

Blue Friday

WHAT: Pert Near Sandstone single release
WHERE: First Avenue, Minneapolis
WHEN: 8 p.m.
The high-energy old-timey string band releases their latest single, “Ship of Fools,” with a mainroom show geared to fill the cavernous space with banjo, fiddle, and guitar—in other words, as fast and loud as these acoustic instruments can get. Most of the energy, though, comes from the band’s enthusiasm for their aesthetic, suggesting there’s no redemptive rock music like that you play yourself. Learn more at

Friday, March 29

Mystery Masterpiece

WHAT: Deathtrap
WHERE: Jungle Theater, Minneapolis
WHEN: 8 p.m.
It’s a war-horse, holding the record for the longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway, but it’s still kicking for good reason, its clever plot twists a model of the genre. Steve Hendrickson stars as a screenwriter who would kill for his next great script, with Cheryl Willis and Michael Booth, a couple of old hands at Jungle classics, backing him up. Claudia Wilkens and Terry Hempleman, also Jungle favorites, should mop the floor with this, as well. Learn more at

Saturday, March 30

Cool Kitsch

WHAT: #NameThisExhibit: 1,200 Birchwood Plaques
WHERE: American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Exactly as described, this multitude of nostalgic rural scenes painted onto slabs of birch were sold as tourist souvenirs in Sweden in the mid-1900s, just as people were abandoning the countryside for the city. It’s played for both history and irony here, as visitors can make their own plaques by cutting and pasting scenes, and the exhibit name itself is up for grabs: votes will be taken for a new name announced in May. Learn more at

Saturday, March 30

Culture Kids

WHAT: The Big Wow Family Variety Show
WHERE: Minnesota History Center, St. Paul
WHEN: 2 to 3:30 p.m.
When the family converges this weekend, here’s an escape hatch you can feel better about than the multiplex. There will be African drummers and dancers, French vocalist Josette Antomarchi, Dan Newton and Café Accordion, Hmong Storytelling, and actor Beth Gilleland as Dr. Pangea Thunderblust, ethnologist, testing you on your global knowledge. It’s big. It’s like wow. Learn more at

Sunday, March 31

Down to the Roots

WHAT: Easter with Davina and the Vagabonds
WHERE: Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant, Minneapolis
WHEN: 7 p.m.
Davina Sowers brings her brassy swagger to blues, roots, and New Orleans music, a popular mix, as it turns out, on both sides of the Atlantic. There’s a bit of both Adele and Bessie Smith in her, which brings the music out of the realm of anthropology and into pure pop fun. Learn more at

Sunday, March 31

Behind the Music

WHAT: MN Original’s Rock the Garden music special
WHERE: TPT and online
WHEN: Airs at 6 and 10 p.m.
This half-hour special goes behind the popular music festival to interview artists, staff from 89.3 The Current and Walker Art Center, and showcase footage from Trampled By Turtles, The Hold Steady, and more. Online, meanwhile, at noon on Friday, March 29, members of Doomtree and Trampled by Turtles will moderate an online screening. Learn more at and watch the promo video on

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