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. August in the arts scene is usually completely swallowed up by the world renowned Fringe Festival, a 10 day event featuring over 150 plays. It’s a wonderful whirlwind event, but it’s not all that’s going on. 20% Theatre Company has a new show, Savage Umbrella is workshopping a great true crime inspired piece, and Daddy is coming back for round two!
Number one on everyone’s list this August is obviously the aforementioned Minnesota Fringe Festival. I’m most excited for Lyssa Sparrow’s First Year Queer, seeing a special Fringe set from Blackout Improv, and Pope Joan which suggests that maybe the famed “first female” Pope was actually trans. The Festival runs August 3rd-13th at various Twin Cities venues. You can find out more about the Fringe Festival here.
On August 23rd, New Native Theatre Company, a company devoted to work by Native and Indigenous artists, is launching their Ten Minute Play Festival at the NEW Gremlin Theater in St. Paul. A ten minute play festival means there will be something for everyone. Find out more or snag your tickets here.
20% Theatre Company is kicking off their new season with a beautiful play by Georgette Kelly. Ballast tells the stories of two relationships between transgender people and cisgender romantic partners. You can find out more and order your tickets here. The show runs August 25th-September 8th.
Also starting on August 5th is a student-led production of award-winning Bent by Martin Sherman. This is a heartbreaking show that follows gay characters who have been sent to Dachau during the Holocaust. Check out the ticket page for more information.
Savage Umbrella is a theatre company that specializes in devised work, and as such does a number of workshop presentations in addition to their mainstage shows. They regularly feature LGBTQ+ artists and stories. On August 28th and 29th the company is presenting a workshop for their latest piece, The Velvet Swing which is inspired by the story of Evelyn Nesbitt, a protagonist in the real life “Crime of the Century” in the 19th century. Tickets and information are available at Bryant Lake Bowl’s website.
Visual & Literary Arts
The queer-led Conspiracy of Strange Girls is kicking off a new show actually THIS month (July 29th), and it somehow slipped my radar last time. However, the art of Off With Their Heads, an art show about decapitation throughout history and fantasy, will be on display at CO Exhibitions until August 25th. More information is here on their Facebook page.
Thursday August 17th sees the opening reception for We the People at the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul. This curated event sheds light on the American experience from the point of view of the marginalized and does feature several queer voices. More info is available at the Museum’s website.
On Friday, August 18th Girlpond Productions is bringing The Girl on Girl Game Show back to Quatrefoil Library. From their press copy, “The Girl on Girl Game Show gives the contestants and the audience the rare opportunity to expressly display, flaunt, relish and share the magic and strength of girl-on-girl relationships in a safe space.” Tickets are $10 at the door. Doors open at 6:00 P.M.
Variety Shows and Music
I’m beyond excited that Daddy is coming back to The Icehouse for another show! Thursday August 10th you can catch Liv Hnilicka, Marcel Michelle Obama, and and a whole slew of new artists creating weird and queer vibes all night long. Facebook is your best bet for information as it updates. Buying tickets in advance is suggested.
Friday August 18th at First Avenue sees local star K.Raydio throwing herself a birthday party! Other great artists will feature as well and proceeds go to the Kulture Klub Collaborative which connects young people experiencing homelessness to arts and cultural events. More info and tickets here.
Also queer and weird is Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories, a variety showcase of POC, LGBTQ/GSM, and womxn artistry. There will be music, comedy, and performance art for sure on August 20th at 7:00 P.M. It’s a suggested $5-10 cover. The event happens at Seward Community Cafe. More information 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 cover.
Every Thursday night, Can Can Wonderland puts together a variety show like none other. Six to eight acts share Can Can’s stage. Local LGBTQ+ talent and those known to the community for legitimate allyship often feature. The event is free, 21+, and starts at 9:00 P.M.
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 The Column’s Arts Calendar. Please submit events to [email protected] or [email protected]. As a fun bonus, if your event is super innovative or exciting, we’re likely to reach out for a deeper feature or review.