The country’s largest lit fest, First Ave’s anniversary and more

Credit: Fruit Fly: The Musical

First Avenue’s 45th Anniversary

Minneapolis’ most famous music venue is turning 45 and throwing itself an anniversary celebration. Twin Cities musicians Har Mar Superstar, known for his flamboyant and infectious pop R&B, and Sonny Knight & The Lakers, a perfect pairing with their ambitious retro-soul sound, are slated to perform. The 18-plus concert is expected to grow with more performers as it draws closer. First Avenue will be sharing its own history and little-known stories about the venue and the throngs of famous names who have had their stars on its walls.


Where: First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N.

When: Friday, April 3 at 7 p.m.

Cost: $15



The Crucible

As the Guthrie’s artistic director Joe Dowling’s leave from the landmark draws closer, Minneapolis theater fans should celebrate his work. The Guthrie will revisit Arthur Miller’s masterpiece for the first time in four decades with Dowling at the directorial helm. The play, set in 1692, is the tale of witches, dark magic and deception in Salem.


Where: Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St.

When: April 11 through May 24

Cost: $29 to $72



North Loop Candy Grab

The North Loop Neighborhood Association is hosting a North Loop Candy Grab for families downtown. The Easter event at the North Loop playground will feature egg hunts, prizes and games. Kids can hunt for eggs and decorate cookies while parents can meet other families in the neighborhood and enjoy free hot chocolate. Corner Coffee and Downtown Families MPLS are partnering for the event and Pacifier is providing free gift cards.


Where: North Loop Playground, 4th Avenue N. and West River Road

When: Saturday, April 4 at 9:30 a.m.

Cost: Free




It’s rare that young artists get their work curated in art galleries. Intermedia Arts’ next exhibition, ME(me), seeks to do just the opposite. The multidisciplinary art exhibition features work from artists age 12 to 20 on the topic of the Internet and meme culture. The show, curated Intermedia Arts’ Youth Leadership Council, includes art inspired by the age of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by local teenagers. There will be an opening reception April 11 with live performances, food and opportunities to meet the artists.


Where: Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S.

When: April 9 through May 30

Cost: $3 suggested



Maria Bamford

While Maria Bamford has gone on to act and voice her comedy nationally, the comedian got her start on the stages of Minneapolis. The hometown hero will perform at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, bringing her own endearing, yet self-deprecating sense of humor. Bamford’s voice work has appeared in several shows, from “Adventure Time” to  “CatDog,” and she has a long list of TV appearances, including in “Louie” and “Arrested Development.”


Where: The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, 410 Oak Grove St.

When: Thursday, April 2 at 8 p.m.

Cost: $28



Fruit Fly: The Musical

Sheena Janson and Max Wojtanowicz have taken their critically acclaimed Minnesota Fringe Festival hit, “Fruit Fly: The Musical,” and expanded it for the Illusion Theater’s Fresh Ink Series. The show, performed by Janson and Wojtanowicz, explores the lives of a gay man and straight woman — a fruit and fruit fly — and how they can “quit each other” to find true love. The original, local work will have a preview performance Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m.


Where: Illusion Theater,

When: March 27 through April 11

Cost: $18 to $25



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Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference

Tens of thousands of wordsmiths, grammar geeks and their readers will venture to Minneapolis this April for the country’s largest literary conference. This year’s Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference will feature “Swamplandial” author Karen Russell in addition to local writers Louise Erdrich (“The Round House”) and Dessa, plus many other presenters from around the country. If you’re not interested in committing to the entire event, the best part of AWP is that writers plan dozens of events in the host city that are usually cheaper — or free — and open to the public.


Where: Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. S.

When:  April 8 through April 11

Cost: $60 to $285, passes and memberships available



Gutter Talk

The Rumps and Fence are hosting “Gutter Talk” with a slew of readings affiliated with AWP. The lineup includes Antonia Crane (“Spent”), Nick Flynn (“My Feelings,” recently published by Graywolf, a local press), Ottessa Moshfegh (“McGlue”), J. Ryan Stradel (“Kitchens of the Great Midwest”) and Amber Tamblyn, a poet and actress known for her poetry and feature film work.


Where: Bryant Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St.

When: Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m.

Cost: $7, $5 with badge



BUST Magazine Reading

BUST Magazine is hosting its own AWP event, which is expected to be one of conference’s most-anticipated events. Writers, bloggers and friends of the popular women’s pop culture publication are reading their work at the Loft Literary Center. The impressive lineup of nationally recognized writers, including Roxane Gay, Amber Tamblyn, Franny Choi, xTx and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz. The event is one of many public literary events scheduled around the literary conference.


Where: Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Ave. S.

When: Friday, April 10 at 7 p.m.

Cost: Free, first come, first serve