The Column

Twin Cities queer arts must-sees in January

Happy almost 2018, Column readers! If you are like me, you’ve got a list of resolutions and a renewed lifelong vow to spend more money on art and less on eating out by your side at this very moment. Luckily, the LGBTQ+ led and driven queer arts scene in the Twin Cities is kicking off the year with plenty to help us maintain that resolution and support our community.

Theatre & Film

If like me, you thought you were going to miss the Tom of Finland biopic, don’t worry! The Film Society of Minneapolis is keeping it running until at least January 4th. More information is available at their website.

The Walker Art Center is kicking off their annual Out There festival on January 4th. Out There brings us innovative performance art (and has been for over 30 years) rooted in experimentation and subversion. That’s a queer enough concept as it is, but the diverse group of artists featured includes Antigonón, un contigente épico by Teatro El Público which features some drag performances among other modern and queered themes, along with a large number of LGBTQ+ artists featuring throughout. Find out more and grab tickets to the shows you’re most excited for at The Walker’s website.

The first weekend of January (the 5th and 6th) also sees the return of Tiny Funny Women Fest, an improv festival aimed at feminine-of-center people and women. This weekend features tons of opportunities to mingle and workshop with successful, working improvisers–or you can just see shows a la carte, such as Party Riot at Huge Theater. Lots of queer women and genderqueer people are involved with this one–here’s how to learn more and sign up.

Jean Genet’s The Maids is a play I have seen multiple times, and I’ve seen a few directors try to gloss over the Sapphic undertones. Looking at press for The Phoenix Theater’s event, I don’t think we’re in danger of that here. Check out this disturbing and evocative piece inspired by the story of the Papin sisters on January 12th-20th.  

Visual  & Literary Arts

The Art Shanties are one of the most Minnesotan art installations that happens in the Twin Cities every year; the shanties are put up by a group of artists, many LGBTQ+ who create, perform, or display whatever they want within those hut walls. This year the shanties will take over Lake Harriet starting on January 20th. This event is free to the public, and you can find out more here.

I spied at least a couple of queer artists on the list for January’s Encyclopedia Show: Marsupials produced by Word Sprout on January 21st, and there’s probably a couple more that I don’t know. Either way, this is a really fun, laidback storytelling show at Kieran’s Irish Pub downtown. Their Facebook page has more details.

Music & Comedy
January 19th welcomes Princess Nokia, an internationally acclaimed queer rapper and hip hop artist, to The Cabooze. Tickets are fairly moderately priced and will probably sell out, so snag yours ASAP via Ticketfly.

If you’re looking for something different, try out the reoccuring Sapphic Night of Hygge & Healing this January. On January 20th at The Wolf House Girlpond Productions give you an opportunity for shopping, tarot readings, chakra healing, and so much more. This month features Soul Reflect, a hip-hop artist with a huge heart and a crucial point of view.

Jess Salomon and Deanne Smith are performing a comedy show together on January 27th, and I am beside myself. Ladies Night is part of the Sabes Jewish Community Center’s annual Twin Cities Jewish Humor Festival and you can find out more about both comedians and secure your seat here.

Drag, Burlesque, and Cabaret
Saturday, January 6th offers a fun way to raise money for local animal welfare organizations with CaPAWret, a line-up of TBD burlesque, drag, and variety artists being organized and produced by some well-known LGBTQ+ artists. Their Facebook event is your best bet for more information as they have it and to figure out how to end up at Minnsky Theater on the 6th to see.

One of the best burlesque shows I saw in 2017 was produced by the Bisexual Organizing Project. Bi-lesque is coming back, and the line-up is as strong as ever. You can see Deeva Rose, Vod Sinclair, Sweetpea, and so many more breathtaking artists as part of Bi-lesque: Under Our Umbrella on January 13th at Lush.

Burlesque, Drag, and Variety are promised as part of January’s The Peacock Cabaret at Amsterdam Bar in St. Paul. They are still lining up artists, but already this January 20th event looks wonderful. Tickets and more info available here.

Recurring Events
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.

You definitely don’t want to miss OutSpoken, a queer open mic hosted by Paul Canada on the second Wednesday of every month. This great event is now hosted at Lush! More information here.

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!

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:

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:

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):

Please note: we’d love to include YOU and YOUR work at The Column’s Arts Calendar. Please submit events to As a fun bonus, if your event is super innovative or exciting, we’re likely to reach out for a deeper feature or review.

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