Northern Spark launches Kickstarter campaign

Categories: Art, Festivals
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Patrick Kelley
After last season's party in St. Paul, Northern Spark will be venturing back to Minneapolis this summer for an evening of special happenings throughout the city on June 14. Hotspots include downtown by the Metrodome, the Walker Art Center, the Greenway, and outside the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. During the overnight event there will be light installations, hands-on activities, live music, and other fun, community-building moments.

The organization recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for basic needs at the event, including electricity, police permits, and other nitty-gritty necessities.

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Twin Cities Book Festival takes over the Fairgrounds this weekend

Categories: Books, Festivals
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Photo by Jennifer Simonson Photography
This weekend, the 13th annual Twin Cities Book Festival hits the State Fairgrounds. It's the largest literary event in the upper Midwest, and is your chance to mingle with authors and book lovers alike in a day-long extravaganza of readings, signings, socializing, and more. The family-friendly affair, presented by Rain Taxi, brings is expected to bring in about 7,000 people. 

The festival started in 2000. "We realized that all these other cities had book festivals, which was ironic because this was a book town," says Eric Lorberer, editor of Rain Taxi. Believing that the Twin Cities deserved its own festival, volunteers from local book publishers worked with Rain Taxi to get the first event started. It's been growing ever since.


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Twin Cities Horror Fest seeks revenge, has a Kickstarter

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Some of the freaks, specters, and murderers hoping for a successful Kickstarter campaign
Last year, the inaugural Twin Cities Horror Festival entertained folks with two weekends filled with theater, dance, concerts, storytelling, recycled Halloween costumes, and more at the spooky (and possibly haunted) Southern Theater. This year, the horrific celebration is set to return to the venue on All Hallows Eve with over 30 performances, including shows from scene heavy hitters like Timothy Uren, Courtney McLean, Comedy Suitcase, Mike Fotis, and others. However, they needs a little help to get things going.


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How cats, the internet, and the future of museums are connected

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Henri, le Chat Noir
Museums, like many other institutions cultural and educational, currently stand at a precipice. Our world has shifted to a landscape of social media and online interaction. Meanwhile, art museums are working fast to adapt, offering images online for free (as the Getty Museum did last month) or developing engagement strategies through sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

At the forefront of this massive change stands the Internet Cat Video Festival, which premiered at Walker Art Center's Open Field last year. The festival is actually the start of something beyond cats: It's a way that cultural institutions can grasp onto what's actually happening in contemporary culture.

This Thursday, the day after the #catvidfest hits the State Fair, the Walker Art Center will host a panel discussion focusing on the role museums play in contemporary culture, and how our viral world can influence what's happening inside the museum walls.

Related stories:
When cats go Hollywood: Internet Cat Film Fest this Wednesday
Butter cat now a reality
MN State Fair to host the Walker's 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival



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Minnesota Renaissance Festival: Journey back in time for cheap

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Photo courtesy Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Sure, the Minnesota State Fair is something worth getting excited about. But for those who like their get-togethers a little more on the geeky, quirky, and historical (ish) side, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is one of the top happenings of the year. This weekend marks the start of Ren Fest, where you'll find jousting, belly dancing, turkey legs the size of your head, and artisans selling things such as beer steins, fairy glitter, pottery, scarves, and yes, real battle axes.

As the summer months come to an end, and school threatens to start up again, some of us may be finding our wallets to be a little tight. But this doesn't mean you have to forgo the fun. Once you pay for admission there are tons of free -- or almost free -- things happening at any give moment, such as theater and music performances, food and alcohol tastings, kids' crafts, and more.

While this list is only a mere sampling of some of the free things to do, it should give you a solid jumping off point on how to enjoy event without putting a major dent in your pocket.

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Cosplay tips for this weekend's Superhero Festival

Categories: Festivals
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Photo: Chris Favero

This Saturday, superheroes (and super villains) of all ages will don their finest capes, helmets, and masks and descend on St. Paul for the Superhero Festival at Leonardo's Basement. Last year's summer festival, which featured a Harry Potter theme, attracted over 1,200 guests for a day of creative family fun. This year's event is likely to draw an equally packed crowd. 

The festival will include projects created at Leonardo's Basement by students and volunteers, such as enormous replica structures of iconic comic book locations like Gotham City, Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, and more. It will also feature a full day's worth of games, crafts, food, and, of course, cosplay. 

While the first rule of cosplay is "there is no wrong way to cosplay," there are still plenty of ways to stand out in the crowd this weekend. To help you get started on picking that perfect crime-fighting costume (or mayhem-stirring ensemble, if that's more your thing), we've put together some quick tips for weekend superheroes.

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Pride Week: 8 things to see and do besides the big parade

Categories: Festivals
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Photo by Wijadi Jodi
Nadine DuBois, ShannonBlowtorch, and Sweetpea for Grown & Sexy Pride
It's been a good year for the LGBTQ community here in Minnesota. The marriage amendment has been defeated, same-sex marriage is legal, and Michelle Bachmann is on her way out. So there's all kinds of things to celebrate. In addition to the big parade on Sunday, here are some great events and things to see and do around town during this week of jubilation.

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Jaime Carrera talks about Outlet performance festival

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Photo by Jaime Carrera
Cock E.S.P. 
In conjunction with the third manifestation of the Artists in Storefronts project, which creates temporary art installations in Whittier neighborhood storefronts, performance artist Jaime Carrera is heading up the new performance arm of the project. The Outlet Performance Festival takes place in a basement underneath Los Amigos, and feature artists from multiple disciplines including dance companies Hijack and BodyCartography Project, and musicians Ghostband/Visionquest and the Funeral and the Twilight. Carrera will perform as well, both with Cock E.S.P. and in a piece for the final show in February. We got in touch with Carrera over email to discuss his thoughts about the festival.  More »

Twin Cities Book Festival turns 12, attracts book lovers of all sorts

Categories: Books, Festivals
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Over the past 12 years the Twin Cities Book Festival has had many highlights. Lorrie Moore and Nicholson Baker have had lines going out the door, and Kevin Sorbo drew an eccentric crowd in 2011. Among the presentations of past years, festival director Eric Lorberer recalls poets Christian Bök and Robert Creeley delivering some of the most stirring speeches, not only on their own work, but reflecting on life, art, and community in general -- Creeley's coming on the heels of an 18-hour journey through post-9/11 travel complications.

This Saturday, the festival returns with author panels, a used book sale, a children's pavilion, and more featuring any style of literature one can imagine.

Related content:
Little Free Library breaks Carnegie's record with 2,510+ libraries (and growing)

Cheryl Strayed on the rigors of the book tour trail, writing, and reconnecting with characters from "Wild"

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Threesomes at the Toronto Film Festival: James Franco + Vanessa Hudgens + Ashley Benson vs. Asia Argento + Charlotte Gainsbourg + François Cluzet

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This is a blog post about two movies that were screened for the press within the first 24 hours of the Toronto Film Festival, both of which feature three-way sex scenes. In Spring Breakers, characters played by James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson "do it" in a swimming pool; in Do Not Disturb, a French remake of the 2009 American indie Humpday, a bisexual couple played by Asia Argento and Charlotte Gainsbourg seduce a drifter played by François Cluzet.

I am mentioning these facts at the beginning of this blog posts in order to attract people who search the internet for information about movie sex scenes -- a segment of the human population which, Google Analytics suggests, far outnumber the segment which actually, like, cares about cinema. To the sex scene searchers, I say, welcome! We will get to what you came here looking for in a moment. But first, a brief primer on French cultural theory.

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