Five rides to enjoy during Pedalopolis

Categories: Cycling, Festivals
Photo Courtesy Twin Cities Bike Fun 
This week, the Twin Cities will be exploding with over 20 informal bike rides aimed at providing fun ways to get out and enjoy the city without the pressure of competition. Hosted by Twin Cities Bike Fun, Pedalopolis originated as an international bike festival, called BikeSummer, that was a critical mass-inspired event. It grew in popularity over the years, and continues today in the form of Pedalpalooza in Portland and Velopalooza in Vancouver. Inspired by these types of bike-centered festivals, Nickey Robo, a cycling advocate and co-founder of Twin Cities Bike Fun, hatched a plan to create Minneapolis's own festival, featuring a week full of crowd-sourced bike rides that emphasize enjoyment and accessibility for all different kinds of cyclists.

"We wanted to create a space where people of all kinds of athletic levels could get together and have that experience together," Robo says. "The Twin Cities has amazing alley cats and racing, but not the same community around social rides. We wanted to encourage the idea that you don't have to be a hardcore racer to enjoy this festival. It's for everybody."

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Seven ways to improve your improv experience

Categories: Festivals
Jen Van Kaam
Pictured: Troy Zimmerman, Michael Ritchie, Eric Knobel
Huge Theater executive director Butch Roy still remembers the time he had to bring up the house lights and ask an audience member to stop shouting out during the middle of a performance.

"When you shut a heckler down it ruins the show for everybody," Roy says.

Improv comedy is tricky in the sense that the audience is expected to participate, but must also know when participation is inappropriate or unwanted. With the eighth annual Twin Cities Improv Festival starting today at HUGE Theater, we spoke with local improv performers to put together seven ways to get the best experience out of a show without ruining it for the audience, the performers, and yourself.

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OUT Twin Cities Film Fest: Lawrence Ferrara's Power Erotic

[Editor's note: Out Twin Cities Film Fest is hitting the Theatres at Mall of America next week with special screenings and events showcasing LGBTQ-themed cinema. Leading up to the festivities, we'll be highlighting a few of the participating filmmakers.]

Ever wonder why gay men are seemingly obsessed with the idea of masculinity? Look no further than Lawrence Ferrara's Power Erotic. The gritty documentary dives deep into the sex lives of gay men, addressing the idea of masculinity, dominance, submission, and the root of sexual desires. While some may find its brutal honesty to be a bit disturbing, Ferrara is hoping it will open a dialogue about gay sexuality.

The Cambridge-based filmmaker caught up with City Pages before the Out Twin Cities Film Festival to chat about his in your face, NSFW film.

See also:
OUT Twin Cities Film Fest: Stewart Wade: Bringing screwball comedy to gay cinema

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OUT Twin Cities Film Fest: Stewart Wade: Bringing screwball comedy to gay cinema

Michael Urie and Randy Harrison in Such Good People
[Editor's note: Out Twin Cities Film Fest is hitting the Theatres at Mall of America next week with special screenings and events showcasing LGBTQ-themed cinema. Leading up to the festivities, we'll be highlighting a few of the participating filmmakers.]

Screwball comedies are a dime a dozen. Oftentimes they are all hype, and fail to deliver anything original. So it's understandable if there was any skepticism when the Out Twin Cities Film Festival announced Denver-born Stewart Wade's upcoming film, Such Good People, would be screening at the event. What could Wade create that hasn't already been done? Fortunately, Wade delivers. Such Good People is a hilarious tale full of greed, sibling rivalry, twists, turns, orphans, and, obviously, porpoises. The flick stars Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) and Randy Harrison (Queer As Folk), as a house-sitting couple who find $1 million. Scott Wolf, Ana Ortiz, James Urbaniak, and Lance Bass also make appearances.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Wade caught up with City Pages to discuss not only his film, but also his film background, how he used Kickstarter to fund such a huge project, and what is was like to work on such a tight schedule.

See also:
OUT Twin Cities Film Fest: JC Calciano: The king of LGBT romantic comedies

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OUT Twin Cities Film Fest: JC Calciano: The king of LGBT romantic comedies

[Editor's note: Out Twin Cities Film Fest is hitting the Theatres at Mall of America next week with special screenings and events showcasing LGBTQ-themed cinema. Leading up to the festivities, we'll be highlighting a few of the participating filmmakers.]

JC Calciano's films are chock-full of your standard rom-com drama: Boy finds himself newly single and heartbroken, or in some sort of a mild mid-life crisis after seeking completely unqualified advice from friends. This leads to utter chaos and confusion, but our hero somehow manages to find love and acceptance, and ultimately comes out a winner.

Regardless of how predictable this may be, Calciano's films are completely necessary. Every year, Hollywood green-lights a handful of blockbuster love stories about heterosexual couples. Sometimes, there's a funny gay sidekick playing second fiddle to the leading lady, but that's about it for an LGBTQ presence. So where are our gay and lesbian rom-com stars? We need homo hunks and sexy lesbians to root for, too, and Calciano is just the man to fill the void in our lovelorn hearts.

With the OUT Twin Cities Film Festival right around the corner, we caught up with the 50-year-old filmmaker and teacher to talk about all the crazy things people do for love, the consistent stream of hot men involved in his films, and, of course, his latest rom-com, The 10 Year Plan, a film where two friends make a pact to end up together should they fail to find love before the end of a decade.

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Northern Spark launches Kickstarter campaign

Categories: Art, Festivals
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
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

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

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

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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