Welcome back to the Queer Arts Must Sees, The Column’s awesome monthly round up of great Twin Cities arts events being produced, performed, or directly created by or for LGBTQ+ artists and audiences. July sees the cities in a little bit of a queer arts lull. The intense feelings (good and bad) surrounding Pride are settling down and Fringe isn’t quite here to get us all frenzied and excited again yet. The Twin Cities are always vibrant with LGBTQ+ art if one knows where to look though, and here’s what you should watch for this July.
Staged readings are an often overlooked way to see beautiful new plays in progress. Antonio Duke is THE emerging playwright to watch in the Twin Cities right now, and his upcoming staged reading of The Fog about two queer black women that touches on some heavier topics (identity, sexual assault, etc.) is perfect for The Column readers looking for something different this summer. The Fog is part of the groundbreaking, absolutely necessary New Griots Festival. The festival “aims to highlight, celebrate and advance the careers of emerging Black artists in the Twin Cities” according to the Guthrie Theater’s website where more information about the whole wonderful festival is listed.
Huge Theater’s Sunday night show, Improv-A-Go-Go, always strives for intersectionality in it’s line-ups, and I’m thrilled to announce the inclusion of Benzel July 17th and 23rd at 8:00 P.M. Benzel is the queer improv duo Denzel Belin and Ben Wagner teaming up to make our stomachs ache with laughter. Tickets are pay what you can at the door of Huge Theater.
The Dinosaur Art Show opens this month at Byte, and this nerdy collaboration features over twenty-five artists, several LGBTQ+. The Dinosaur Art Show runs through all of August. The opening is from 6:00-9:00 P.M on July 15th. Find out more through their Facebook event.
It’s still summer, which means Art Festival season is going strong! The Red Hot Art Festival features one of the most diverse and inclusive groups of artists in the Twin Cities for the annual moderately sized Stevens Square neighborhood event. The event takes place the weekend of July 22nd. Find out more here as lists of artists and performers unfold.
Open Streets is a Minneapolis concept through and through: an art and small business festival that comes to one neighborhood at a time throughout spring through autumn. Vendors almost all live or work in the blocks being utilized for the festival. This month we have the July 23rd event on Lake St. & Minnehaha Ave from 11:00 AM to 5 PM. More info at Open Streets’ website.
Drag & Burlesque
Anything with “Nerdlesque” in the name is sure to snag my attention, and the upcoming Critical Strike, Nerdlesque Festival at Minnsky Theater certainly seems to live up to that eye-grabbing promise in the title. Minnsky is teaming up with Fatale Productions starting July 28th and features Sweetpea, Queenie Von Curves, Jac Fatale, and Tif Dynamite. More info here, and more acts are being announced after July 13th.
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 cover.
The second Thursday of the night is a special time in comedy here in the Twin Cities. Pssy Ctrl is an all female & 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!
New Sh!t Show happens every third Friday night at the Tatterwood Gallery at 1219 W 31st St. This is all kinds of storytellers, poets, and occasional musicians premiering never-before-seen work. Event is queer run and usually features at least one queer feature if not more. There’s also an open mic component, so YOU could be an LGBTQ+ artist featuring!
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.
Another amazing storytelling event is curated and hosted by the one and only Andrea Jenkins and John Medeiros. It’s called Queer Voices: A Reading Series and takes place monthly with amazing features each month. Intermedia Arts’ website has more.
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.
Please note: we’d love to include YOU and YOUR work at TheColu.mn’s Arts Calendar. Please submit events to firstname.lastname@example.org. As a fun bonus, if your event is super innovative or exciting, we’re likely to reach out for a deeper feature or review.