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John Prine at MN Zoo; Walker goes back to the ’80s

ALSO: ‘The Philadelphia Story’ in Lanesboro; Dakota exhibit at History Center; Jazz Fest and more.

Weekend Best Bets from Minnesota Monthly
Friday, June 29

The Twain of Troubadours

WHAT: John Prine
WHERE: Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater, Apple Valley
7:30 p.m.

Plenty of people have sung about America, with better melodies and in better voice, but few have had as much pointed fun with it — even the bad stuff — as John Prine. Forty years after his seminal 1970s folk-country records, he’s re-released some of his first recordings (made while he was delivering mail in Chicago), which come across like a sonorous Studs Terkel set to music. Learn more at

Friday, June 29

Blurred Boundaries

WHAT: Twin Cities Jazz Festival
WHERE: Mears Park, St. Paul
WHEN: 4 to 8:30 p.m. (later at other stages)

The lineup for this year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival showcases the genre in so many permutations as to be essentially genre-less. Sharing only a love of rhythm and an underlying blues, the festival swings from Delfeayo Marsalis, the main event at the free stage at Mears Park, to the Loba African Jazz Trio at the Hat Trick Lounge to Saturday’s premier gig: Joshua Redman sitting in with the Bad Plus. Learn more at

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Saturday, June 30

Punked Art

WHAT: A Punker’s Revenge: A Celebration of Speedboat Gallery
WHERE: CO Exhibitions, Minneapolis
WHEN: 6 to 10 p.m.

Speedboat Gallery, which gave outsider art a home in St. Paul from 1988 to 1994, was the art equivalent of zines: rough around the edges, uncensored, as likely to contain mesmerizing gems as garbage. This exhibit brings back some of the proven stars from those days, like Frank Gaard, recently showcased at the Walker Art Center, along with some up-and-coming art rebels. Learn more at

Saturday, June 30

Back to the Future

WHAT: This Will Have Been: Art, Love, and Politics in the 1980s
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Open Field from 7 to 10 p.m.)

It’s not just the Ray Bans resurgence or the incessant invocations of Reagan — we’re at that magical 30-year mark where we can look back and appreciate the 1980s for what they were. Perhaps. Many of the artists represented here, from Jeff Koons to the Guerrilla Girls, still have the power to provoke, even through the haze of nostalgia. Learn more at

Sunday, July 1

Roadtrip Theatre

WHAT: The Philadelphia Story
WHERE: Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro
WHEN: 1:30 p.m.

Bicycling through the fields outside Lanesboro, tucked in southeast Minnesota’s bluff country, is a summer activity on par with anything having to do with sweet corn and watermelon. Better yet, though, is to do that in the morning and then catch the matinee at the Commonweal, which makes uncommonly good theatre. You can see this classic comedy about love and society and be back in the Twin Cities in time for dinner. Learn more at

Sunday, July 1

A Troubled Past

WHAT: The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862: An Exhibit
WHERE: Minnesota History Center
WHEN: 12 to 5 p.m.

The Minnesota History Center could hardly have been more equivocal about this much-debated and far-reaching tragedy, which took lives on both sides, culminated in the largest mass hanging in American history, and led to even stronger biases against Native Americans. All perspectives on the evidence and the aftermath, along with numerous artifacts, have been uncovered in service of the war’s 150th anniversary. Learn more at