Image by Erik Farseth

Image by Erik Farseth

Best Picks May 4–17

Updated: May 4, 2017 - 1:04 pm

What to do downtown after work

Look to the future

Over the past several weeks a crew with the Hennepin Theatre Trust has been quietly installing art in the empty storefronts of downtown Minneapolis.

Maybe you’ve seen some already. They aren’t hard to find. The installations, all part of Made Here, known as the country’s largest showcase of storefront window art, come in all shapes and sizes, from trippy art displayed on screens to fantasies played out in tissue paper and lights.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but the beauty of Made Here is in its ability to transform the eyesores that come with vacant spaces into interesting, elaborate works of art from local artists and students. And with a new round of closings over the past year — the high-profile Sports Authority space comes to mind — the initiative’s artists have an ever-greater platform to showcase their work.

The new season, which officially debuts in early May, has more than 40 window displays with art that interprets the theme of “future.” Joan Vorderbruggen, as the nonprofit’s Cultural Arts District coordinator, is responsible for orchestrating Made Here. She said this season she’s come to understand how much the program, now in its eighth iteration, has allowed people, many of them not professional artists, to develop as creators.

“A lot of our Made Here artists are growing through our program,” she said. “Everybody is getting better at something they care about.”

You don’t have to look much further than the trust’s home in City Center to see how artists are getting even better at filling the nontraditional gallery space. In what was once a huge Sports Authority, which rather tragically closed after less than a year on Nicollet Mall, St. Paul-based artist Richard Yang has created layers of images and words, which, juxtaposed together, bring a unique visual experience when you’re simply walking by. The art maximizes the largely two-dimensional space.

“He definitely cracked the code,” she said.

City Center is home to several artists. Walk in the building’s south entrance near Nicollet, and you’ll see a several works that combine tapestry, ceramics and other media to depict landscapes. Outside at 7th & Nicollet, a project dubbed EmergenceBot (find the project on social media under the “emergencebot” moniker) will no doubt draw passersby in with its trippy and chaotic robot-generated videos.

Image by Neal Peterson
Image by Neal Peterson

Made Here will officially launch Thursday, May 4 with a party from 5 p.m.–8 p.m. at the newly opened AC Hotel at 4th & Hennepin. The trust knows how to throw an artsy party, so this one will see music from DJ Mad Mardigan and street performers The Fires of 1918: Fantome Roșu Duo, Siama Matuzungidi + Dallas Johnson, Stumbling Star Stilt Walker and Blue Lady.

As the biggest champion of art on Hennepin Avenue, Vorderbruggen herself will be the one leading the charge by hosting walking tours of the displays at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Made Here: Future will be on display through Aug. 30.

Also, check for the Hennepin Theatre Trust to move into its new home, the former Solera building at 9th & Hennepin, sometime in late May. The organization has already put its mark on the building with a large mosaic installation on its Hennepin side and a Made Here installation of majestic horses on its main level.
goldengirlsAll that glitters are “Golden Girls”

Whether you’re a Blanche or more of a Rose, “The Golden Girls” fans from around the metro will come together for one of the most unique bar crawls in the Twin Cities. The Golden Girls Bar Crawl invites fans to dress up as one of the four leading ladies — the commanding Dorothy, the happy-go-lucky Rose, the man-eater Blanche and or the wisecracking Sophia — and take to the bars of downtown Minneapolis. The event kicks off at the Pourhouse in the Lumber Exchange Building where organizers will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for having the most people dressed as the “Golden Girls” characters in one place. The girls will then take to the town, splitting off into four teams divided by each lady. The venues, which include the Saloon, 7th Street Entry, Mercy and the Union’s rooftop, each promise a surprise or two. Think karaoke, show trivia, dance parties and maybe even a “Golden Girls” drag performance. The 21-plus crawl on Saturday, May 13 will see performances from DJ Shannon Blowtorch, DBaz, Nina Di’Angelo, Victoria DeVille and more.

 Credit: Photos by Eric Best

A retail conspiracy

In recent years Minneapolis has seen a lot — and I mean, a lot — of temporary markets, maker pop-ups and alternative shopping opportunities. But I think I’ve found one that might break the mold. A Conspiracy of Strange Girls is hosting a night market at the North Loop’s Modist Brewing. The group, which takes its name from a group of ravens, otherwise known as a conspiracy, promotes Minneapolis-based women, trans and femme artists and creators who come with backgrounds in the visual arts, music, crafts and more. But what makes the market different, you ask? Well, it’s free, for one. It’s also home to much more than just candles and home goods, though it’s sure to have those, too. The Strange City Night Market promises DJs and live art on top of an eclectic selection of wares, from sculptures and botanical tinctures to astro-apothecary goods, and activities, such as a tintype photo booth. The market will take over the taproom on Saturday, May 13 from 6 p.m.–midnight. It’s been long enough since the holiday shopping season, so there’s no need to feel guilty about a little retail therapy. Plus, you can grab a beer. My penchant for coffee beers always steers me to Modist’s First Call, a brilliant cold press coffee lager, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving without trying the brewery’s Deviation series. Their latest is a Mexican dark chocolate stout. It’s a strange market after all.