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Jayhawks, Dessa, Semisonic at the Fair

ALSO: ‘The Philadelphia Story’ in Lanesboro; Edward S. Curtis photos at the Black Dog; Matt Moberg at Lake Harriet Bandshell; and more.

Weekend Best Bets from Minnesota Monthly
Friday, August 31

MN Music on a Stick

WHAT: The Jayhawks, Dessa, Jeremy Messersmith, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, and Semisonic
WHERE: Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, St. Paul
WHEN: 5 p.m.

Some of the best bands, old and new, to come out of Minnesota get their day in the sun. We’re used to seeing some of them on the free stages here, but the big, rare treats of the Jayhawks and Semisonic and the sheer, well, togetherness, make this a must-hear experience. 

Friday, August 31

How the West Was Photographed

WHAT: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian
WHERE: Black Dog Café, St. Paul
WHEN: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Tonight is the last chance to catch local Curtis collector Christopher Cardozo’s rare exhibition of 20 essential prints by the legendary photographer. Cardozo has collected Curtis’ photographs, taken of traditional Native American life as it was fading around the turn of the last century, for some 35 years now. Another local connection: Curtis apprenticed in St. Paul in his late teens. Learn more at

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Saturday, September 1

A Minnesota Man

WHAT: Matt Moberg
WHERE: Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.

Moberg is a relaxed singer-songwriter in the Jack Johnson mode, though his “Minnesota Man” proved a hit on MTV when it was played during an episode of (wait for it) Teen Mom. Hey, a Minnesota man won’t complain. At the bandshell, his music should be the perfect soundtrack to a warm summer night. Learn more at

Saturday, September 1

Field of Dreams

WHAT: Free First Saturday/Open Field
WHERE: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Walker’s summer-long Open Field events finish with a morning read hosted by children’s author Nancy Carlson, the local source of some of the most endearing animal characters to parade through kids’ books recently. Learn more at

Sunday, September 2

Unsung Soul

WHAT: Bettye LaVette
WHERE: Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul
WHEN: 8:30 p.m.

LaVette has experienced a career revival, and not a moment too soon, winning a Grammy for best contemporary blues album in 2011 and being named the female artist of the year at the 2012 Blues Music Awards. This follows an explosive profile in the New Yorker that portrayed a soul singer as passed by in the 1970s and is still a bit sore about it. All the passion goes straight into the lean, hard-bitten music, which you can hear, amazingly enough, for free tonight. Learn more at

Sunday, September 2

Road-trip Theatre

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

If you find yourself in southeastern Minnesota this weekend, give the bicycle you’re riding a rest and check out Commonweal’s summer show. No outstate theater competes with Commonweal in quality, and this show was directed by Michael Bigelow Dixon, a frequent director of new plays at the Guthrie. Learn more at