Given the plethora of amazing art in the Twin Cities (and often, surrounding suburbs) and ongoing events, The Column is cranking our Queer Arts Round-up back up. Obviously this can’t be a comprehensive list every single time. We want to highlight the best and brightest queer arts groups, artists, and events around! We’re also still going to feature innovate work and artists and new artists and groups in reviews, spotlights, interviews and features, but now there’s a “best of” guide if you want something quick to reference if you’re bored on a Tuesday or hammering out weekend plans with friends. Most of the time, this will likely run monthly but we’re starting by covering June, our pride month, and there’s so much going on in our beautiful community that we’re gonna break it down bi-weekly for now. So if you’re looking for theatre, storytelling, or drag performances June 1st through 16th, don’t miss:
Red Eye Theater is bringing back The Love Party, because (from their web copy) “There’s no time like the apocalyptic present for a REVIVAL with karaoke, glitter, partial nudity, and live animals.” Tickets are here.
Paula Vogel’s timeless and whimsical Baltimore Waltz from Theatre C’oup De’tat opens on June 2nd. More information and tickets available here.
The One-Minute Play Festival is back in the Twin Cities on June 3rd at 8:00 P.M. and features scores of LGBTQ+ playwrights, directors, and actors. There’s something for everyone in this fast-paced, evocative event. More information here. Full disclosure: I am an aforementioned LGBTQ+ playwright for this event.
My own company, Gadfly Theatre Productions has a geeky, fun (NOT family-friendly) one act festival about Fairy Tales that opens on June 9th. Everything Gadfly does is queer & feminist, and these six shows are no exception. See our website for more information.
The Children’s Theatre Company is hosting a family-friendly event and play: A Year With Frog and Toad on Wednesday, June 14th at 7:00 P.M. Check here for tickets.
If you know you should like “important” art but really just want to laugh, Raw Sugar has the perfect event for you. The Funny is a radical feminist reinvention of comedy that is also queer as can be with this year’s line-up. It starts June 15th at Open Eye Figure Theater. Tickets are available right here.
Visual and Literary Arts
RECLAIM, a mental health resource for trans and queer youth seeking therapy, support, and other needs is hosting a launch party for local author’s new book Nico and Tucker. Additional performances are also scheduled. This event is June 3rd at Reclaim’s space: 771 Raymond Ave in St. Paul. This event is free but donations are strongly suggested (and will get you a copy of the book!) Event starts at 4:00 P.M. With snacks, and performances start at 5:00 P.M.
Thursday, June 8th at Boneshaker Books there’s a launch and reveal party for visiting artist VERóNiCA’s work that’s going to be showing at Boneshaker. The event is called 4Play, and you’ll be able to buy tons of rad art from VERóNiCA and local artists like BB Phat and Arte Ramona. Local artisans like Bitter Moon Apothecary will also have products for sale. Festivities start at 7:00 P.M. Just show up to see some really wonderful art and all of the other fun.
June 10th marks my favorite art festival of the entire art festival season — Northern Spark, an overnight art extravaganza that always has lots of exhibits by LGBTQ+ artists. This year’s climate change theme is sure to be even more radical. Northern Spark’s website itself is a work of art too, so check that out for more information on this free event.
Here Be Dragons: An Evening of Stories is a storytelling event at the Phoenix Theater featuring some of the best storytellers in the Twin Cities, including several LGBTQ+ storytellers. The event is 7:00-9:30 P.M. Their Facebook is the best bet for more information.
Queer Tree House Press is a student run printing company that’s done some of my favorite pins and accessories of the past year. They’re going to be at a LIVE recording of Les Talk Girlpond Podcast, a lesbian (and general queer women’s) podcast at Quatrefoil on Friday, June 16th. Tickets are $10 at the door, and you can show up anytime between 6:00-7:00 P.M.
Drag, Burlesque, and Cabaret
If you’re looking to kick Pride month off with a bang, the Townhouse has a fantastic drag line-up for Melange: PRIDE Decades Show that features local legends, rising stars, and so much more. Show starts at 10:30 P.M. And runs until 1:00 A.M.
It’s going to be Mariah Vs. Ariana at Flip Phone’s next Drag Brunch! June 10th at Union Rooftop starting at 10 A.M. You can see some of the Twin Cities’ best drag talent like Max from Season 7 of Drag Race and Kamaree Williams doing their take on this famous feud. Sign up for the waiting list here.
20% Theatre Company’s annual fundraiser Queer Prom is at Hell’s Kitchen on June 11th. While there is a dance party component there will also be incredible performances by some of the best performers in the Twin Cities. Grab your top hat and then go grab your tickets here!
Huge Theater has an open Queer Improv Jam for queer improv artists to come and laugh and play together on the first Sunday of the month at 5:00 P.M. No need to register, just come to 3037 Lyndale Ave S. to jam with great professional and amateur improv-ers. No cove
OutSpoken is a queer open mic that takes place the second Wednesday of every month at the Fox Egg Gallery, and always has a rad featured artist. Past features have included burlesque star Sweetpea, noted comedian Maggie Farris, and jaw-dropping rapper Kaoz. Show is at 7:30 P.M. Seats are $5-10 sliding scale.
The second Thursday of the night is a special time in comedy here in the Twin Cities. Pssy Ctrl is an all female and queer comedy event happening at the Comedy Corner Underground. It’s hosted by Rana May and Shelley Paul and is just $7 unless you’re a student—then it’s free. No reservations, just show up!
Telling Queer History is a story-telling and community building event that happens on the second Sunday of every month and changes locations. Check out their Facebook page for more information and to keep up with their rotating spaces.
Lush’s entire nightlife entertainment line-up is incredible. Must-sees include:
- Black Hearts Burlesque every Friday night at 10:00 P.M. featuring Black Hearts Founder Elektra Cute.
- #DragRevolution every Saturday at 10:00 P.M. hosted by Twin Cities legend Victoria DeVille.
- Deviance: A Transmasculine Cabaret featuring music, drag, boylesque and more every fourth Saturday at 7:00 P.M.
- Local lesbian comedy darling Sarah McPeck’s variety show The Big Fat Comedy Hour on the second Sunday of the month at 7:00 P.M.
- Drag Brunch every Sunday at 11:30 featuring an all-star line-up and always with a theme that guarantees the most fun for your money.
For tickets to events at Lush head over to their website. They’ve got an event space that seats plenty, but it does sell out regularly so grab your tickets in advance.
The Gay ’90s has a rough reputation in the LGBTQ+ community, but they’ve spent the past year or two cleaning up their act and bringing in some great new acts. Fan favorites include:
- Sweetpea and Mistress Mara hosting Kinky Friday on the first Friday of every month. This 18+ event is part performance, part kinky party, and all around great time.
- GLAM! Boylesque shows up intermittently at the Ladies of La Femme Lounge. The next one is June 9th. Don’t miss out!
- Speaking of Ladies of La Femme —- there are nightly drag shows at this huge lounge for plenty of you and yours to show up and see some great drag. Many of the queens have been there for years, and those legends alone are worth seeing. The new talent that gets brought in is also absolutely wonderful.
One of the first LGBTQ+ bars I came to regularly when I first came to Minneapolis was The Townhouse in St. Paul. While the entertainment line-ups are obviously completely different now than the were almost a decade ago, they’re still diverse, entertaining, and full of solid artists. Best shows include (but are not limited too):
- Pumps and Pearls Drag Revue at 9:30 P.M. Every Wednesday night.
- Dragged Out, a cast of Drag Kings with special guests that fills up the main room on the third Friday of every month.
- A great trial run for aspiring burlesque performers and other awesome performances happens the second Friday of every month at 10:30 P.M. And the Nudie Nubie’s Show hosted by Red Bone and Foxy Tann.