Food, merriment, punk rock in the cards with King Arthur

Categories: Theater
Photo by Ty Sassaman
Grant Schumann as Oswald, Peter Middlecamp as Sir Gawain, Cassie McNally as Clovis in King Arthur.
The latest picnic operetta created by Mixed Precipitation goes places the company hasn't gone before. The operatic music, created by composer Henry Purcell, is sung in English. And the other songs? They're drawn from the songbooks of the likes of Strummer, Jones, Rotten, and Stooge. 

Honestly, what other group would, or could, open a summertime picnic show with a raging version of the Stooges' "Seek and Destroy?"

See also:
Picnic Operetta: "It gives people an abundance of warm summer fuzzies"

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Minnesota State Fair: Cheap and free things to do

Tomorrow, the gates of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds will open for 12 days of foods on a stick, baby animals, award-winning jams and flowers, friendly carnies running Mighty Midway rides, and free concerts on multiple stages. The fair is an event that is notorious for eating wallets, but with some frugality you can have fun for less, have things to take home, and even possibly win big prizes.

The following is a list of some of the cheap or free things to do, such as $1 food items, and what booths to hit up to enter contests with big wins (they're giving away cars this year, people!). Looking for free stuff? We've also got the best of the free items as well, such as sunglasses, backpacks, ear buds, and playing cards.

See also:
Top 10 concerts to see at the MN State Fair

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Summer Cycling 2014: A road trip for experts

Categories: Cycling
Photos by Kristoffer Tigue
Looking for a harder ride than our intermediate trip? Last year, we brought you to Carver Park Reserve for our expert trip. This year, we're taking you 30 miles out of Minneapolis to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for live jousting, giant turkey legs, and more corsets and wizard cloaks than you may be able to handle in one day.

And while there are plenty of games, live performances, and toy swords to keep the kiddies entertained, we suggest you do not bring them along on this trip. In fact, because of the heavy downpours of rain last month, many of the trails on this route have been closed due to dangerous conditions, and some portions of the ride are on the shoulders of highways with speed limits of 50 miles per hour. (This is the expert trip, after all.)

For this trip, we also highly recommend using a smart phone or other navigational device in case certain routes are closed and you need to reroute.

Expert trip: Renaissance Festival
Path: Midtown Greenway, Cedar Lake, Kenilworth Trail, and Minnesota River Bluffs Trail, plus various roads and highways
Distance: 30 miles from downtown Minneapolis (one way)
Estimated Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

See also:
Summer Cycling 2014: A road trip for intermediates

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Gamut Gallery's CoLab Art Night offers an "art nightclub experience"

Categories: Art
Photo courtesy of Jade Patrick
There are plenty of events around town where you can socialize while looking at cool art, but Gamut Gallery takes the idea one step further. CoLab Art Nights offers a party-like atmosphere where guests aren't just looking at art -- they are making it themselves. Whether you're a practicing artist, just starting out, or want to try something creative in a social atmosphere, the gallery's monthly evening may be for you.

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The Big Lowdown returns with big theatrical games

Categories: Theater

Photo by Ed Huyck
Don't believe the stories, this giant puppet dog is as friendly as they come.
I didn't know I would be revisiting my childhood Saturday evening when I headed for Lowertown and the second Big Lowdown event.

Yet there I was, almost four decades since my last round, leading a game of Red Light/Green Light, while a cadre of my fellow travelers tried to tag me it.

See also:
The Big Lowdown hits Lowertown this weekend

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Interview: Standup Pete George

Categories: Comedy
It should be no surprise that Pete George, "the Rock Star of Comedy," started out in rock bands back in the 1980s. He played for several years in a popular Cleveland act called Separate Checks. "We were alternative before alternative was mainstream," he explains. Inspired by the comedians he saw on HBO, however, he found himself drawn to standup comedy. Mixing the two seemed like the obvious solution to the artistic crossroads at which he found himself, and that mix continues to this day.

Now that he's living out in Los Angeles, he has also dabbled in acting. "I had a few auditions last week," he says. "I read for Days of Our Lives. They wanted a dorky, introverted computer geek who was going on a date, so I kind of dressed the part. I walked into the audition room, and the casting director started explaining this dorky character. It was unintentional, but I was wearing these old-style dorky pants, and when I turned around the front of them popped open. I told the casting director, 'That wasn't on purpose.' She was like, 'Yeah, right.'"

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Four free things to do this week

Categories: Free Stuff
This week in free stuff to do, we have a few film screenings, a yoga session held on a downtown rooftop, fair-themed fun, and more. Come take a look at our list.

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Best Of the Dressing Room: August 11-15

Categories: Weekly Wrap-up
Folks in the Twin Cities are always up to something exciting. Here are some of Dressing Room's top stories from this week:

-- Heading out to the Renaissance Festival this week? Here's some things you can do there that won't break the bank, including theater, fire stunts, free wine and beer, and family fun.

-- JL Cauvin went on a pretty funny rant about being labeled a hater for not being CK Louis's number one fan.

-- There's a new library in town, and you have to boat out to the middle of Cedar Lake to visit it.

Internet Cat Video Fest 2014: A recap, the best tweets, and the Golden Kitty winner

Categories: Cats

Steven Cohen
Last night, folks descended on Walker Art Center's big hill to honor the best of cats on the internet, something we normally enjoy privately at home. This was the third installment of the Internet Cat Video Fest, and it was as well attended and festive as ever. There were people dressed as cats, people with balloon creations on their heads, people with real cats on their shoulders, and even a few friendly dogs.

See also:

Fancy cat lovers at the Internet Cat Video Fest [slideshow]

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Last Comic Standing recap: Finale

Categories: Comedy
NBC/Ben Cohen
It's had its highs and lows, but there's one thing that can't be denied about this season of Last Comic Standing: It's been a celebration of standup comedy.

Last night's finale upheld that standard, with multiple sets from each of the three finalists, along with the online Comic Comeback winner, and judges Roseanne and Russell Peters.

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