Freeloader Friday: August 7-9

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(Maria Isa headlines Pizza Luce's Block Party)

This week is all about the art festival. But for those looking to avoid the influx of crowds into the city, there's still a ton of fun stuff to do around town. Check out my list after the jump.

Friday:

Big Funny: A Celebration of the Newspaper Comic Strip
(Altered Esthetics, 1224 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis, 612.378.8888, www.alteredesthetics.com)

Newsprint comics have seen better days. Fortunately, Big Funny brings large-form color comics back in a big way. Check out poster-sized comic artwork by 45 artists, original artwork from the newspaper-style publication of Big Funny, examples of historic comics, and a retrospective of unseen comic artwork by William Ede. The opening party will also feature live music from the Roe Family Singers and a vintage cigarette machine that vends mini-comics and comic art. Pretty cool, no? 7-11pm.

31st Annual Irish Fair of Minnesota
(Harriet Island, 200 Dr. Justus Ohage Blvd. (across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Paul), St. Paul, 952.474.7411, www.irishfair.com)

Everyone knows that the Irish know how to have a good time. Check out live music acts including Solas and the Dropkick Murphys, and the Irish Fair Idol talent contest. Legs people should be sure to watch the Best Legs in a Kilt contest. There will also be food and drink, cultural workshops, Gaelic classes, genealogy booths, sporting events, and more. 3-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.

Uptown Art Fair
(Uptown Minneapolis, Hennepin Ave. (from 26th to 31st Streets), Minneapolis, 612.823.4581, www.uptownminneapolis.com/art-fair)

You know the drill with this one. There will be tons of art, food, children's activities, mural painting, live music, and more. This is the second highest attended event of the year (second to the State Fair). Noon-8:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

Saturday:

Save Canvas
(Pop-Up Art Gallery, 91 S. 10th St. (art activities on 10th Street between Nicollet and Marquette), Minneapolis, 612.202.7295, www.overproof.org)

This super-cool, interactive art installation creates a show out of recycles material. Help paint spaces, walk through a pop-art wonderland created by donated items from the Minnesota Opera, and enjoy live DJ sets. Even the promo material was created using old newspapers and paper items from the site. Enjoy it while you can--the space is set to be demolished soon. 7-10:30pm.

Pizza Luce Block Party
(Pizza Luce, 3200 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.827.5978, www.pizzaluce.com)

Pizza, beer, Uptown neighbors, and live music, what more can you want from a sunny Saturday afternoon? Acts performing include hop-hop artist Maria Isa, rock duo Kid Dakota, old school rappers MC/VL, and many others. Ian Rans hosts. 12-10 p.m. Click here for the complete lineup.

Housekeeping
(Caterpillar Lounge, 2550 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, 612.813.1200)

Party till you drop at this chill lounge at Azia Restaurant. Brian Thomas and Jezus Juice play tunes that keep you spinning and chatting into the late hours. Also awesome, the set (10 a.m. to 2 a.m.) marks the start of happy hour.

2nd Annual Who Needs A Garage, Sale
(located on 3rd Street North, between 5th and 6th Avenue North, Minneapolis, 612.338.2002, www.yourcornercoffee.com)

Sure, the idea is to spend money at a garage sale, but you don't have to. Half the fun of garage and estate shopping is looking at all the weird shit people try to sell. A computer from the 1980s? A creepy clown lamp? A VHS copy of Monkeybone? Sure, why not. After all, laughing at the strange crap people own is always free. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Powderhorn Art Fair
(Powderhorn Park, 3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.722.4817, www.powderhornartfair.com)

Hey look! It's another art festival! Check it out. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Loring Park Art Festival

(Loring Park, 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis, 612.203.9911, www.loringparkartfestival.com)

Another one? Dang. You have got to be kidding me. What are the chances? 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Sunday:

Riot Act Reading Series: Mark Mallman
(Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651.647.0486)

This quirky reading series is back after a brief July vacation. Join hosts Paul D. Dickinson and Laura Brandenburg as they chat up local musician Mark Mallman. Notorious for his 52.4-hour song, Mallman will be discussing his latest project, Existential Criminal, a graphic novel. 18+. 7-9pm.

Bonus Free: Free Metro Transit
(www.metrotransit.org/arthop/index.asp)

Metro Transit is offering free rides Saturday and Sunday to art hop between the Uptown, Loring, and Powderhorn Art Fairs. Pretty neat, huh? Even more neat--you don't have to go to the art fairs if you don't want to! Walk over to Lyndale Avenue for lunch, make your way towards a lake or park for a game of Frisbee, visit a friend living in one of the Loring Park condos, or walk on in to downtown. Your secret will be safe with us. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Stops are at Loring Park (15th Street at Oak Grove), Uptown (next to Walker Library on Lagoon), and Powderhorn Park (15th Avenue at 34th Street).
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