Freeloader Friday: June 12-14
Sure, the economy sucks, unemployment is on the rise, and SPAM sales are through the roof. Life may be a bummer on paper right now, but that doesn't mean we can't still have a good time. After all the best things in life are free, right? Each week be sure to check out Freeloader Fridays for the best happenings around town that won't cost you a dime.
Nature Valley Grand Prix: Uptown Minneapolis Criterium
All these years downtown St. Paul has been having all the fun with this intense bike race through Minnesota. This year features a new leg in Uptown. The race begins and ends at 31st Street and Hennepin Avenue. Racers will reach terrifying speeds over 30 mph and will hopefully be able to make the tight turns around the course without a wipe-out. Events, which include a Bike Expo, run from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Grab a snack, or bring a flask, and have a picnic while cheering racers on. Take a look at the route at www.minnbikefestival.com for the best locations.
The Birthday Suits, the Black Hollies, Skipper
(Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.722.3454)
Show up at 9 p.m. and enjoy this triple-threat of tunes: Post-punkers the Birthday Suits put on an impossibly energetic show, the Black Hollies play jams both modern and reminiscent of yesteryear (they're currently in a psychedelic phase), and three-piece rockers Skipper round out the bill.
(Northrup King Studios, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis; 612.363.5612)
This Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. there will be a big scooter-themed party that promises to be a good time. Over 25 artists have created scooter-inspired art to view, and scooter owners will be showing off their vehicles in am impromptu rally out in the parking lot. Other activities include a raffle, food and drink, DJs spinning mod music, and scooter films and commercials. Can't make it Saturday? Artwork will still be on display noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues Festival
(Peavey Plaza, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 952.294.1299)
This blues fest is possibly one of the best deals of the summer. The insanely-free lineup, performing from noon to 10:30 p.m., includes blues guitarist Tinsley Ellis, guitarist Corey Stevens (who will play acoustic sets), legacy musician Bernard Allison who will play a set with local keyboardist Bruce McCabe, and the always impressive Ana Popovic who hails from Belgrade, Serbia.
Carnival du Wonque
(Patrick's Cabaret, 3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.721.3595)
This event promises to be a delightfully free freak show. Enjoy live music by the brass Messengers, eat some birthday cake, listen to strolling musicians, and gawk at the aerialists. We're your best dancing shoes and partake in a free hip-hop dance lesson. The party runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
(Arise! Bookstore & Resource Center, 2441 Lyndale Ave. S, Minneapolis; 612.871.7110)
Nothing cures an end of the weekend hangover like some hard thinking. Enjoy snacks while chatting about philosophy with other intellectual adventurers. Or play a game of bingo until you have that "Aha!" moment. Around dusk the bookstore will begin their screening of Zizek!, a documentary that follows the esoteric life and thoughts of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek.
(Theodore Wirth Park, 1339 Theodore Wirth Pkwy., Minneapolis)
This fest will feature live music and performers and several stages, a parade in the morning, history and personal experience exhibits, a marketplace where you can check out local artists wares, and dozens of other free activities. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info visit www.juneteenthminnesota.org or call 612.238.3733.