Wrestlepalooza VII

 

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The Crime Fighting Feline, Wildcat! 

Last Friday, Lindsay invited me to experience something new in my explorations of the Twin Cities this new year. Neither of us have been a big fan of wrestling in any sort of way, but Lindsay’s friend Andy talked up the utter spectacle and bizarre exuberance of this ongoing professional wrestling extravaganza at First Avenue, Wrestlepalooza. In the nostalgic style of over the top personas and high drama, one would get to see such personages as Wildcat, the Crime Fighting Feline, get in each other’s grill and work the crowds. He did not exaggerate. I did find it funny that the last time I was at First Avenue, I was seeing The Mountain Goats perform their latest album, Beat the Champ, focused and inspired by the wild world of professional wrestling, so it felt appropriate to be returning to the scene to find a ring set up and a dozen eccentric fighters ready to duke it out for the entertainment of the crowd.

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Heidi Lovelace talks up her upcoming victory over the Anarchist Arik Cannon

 

For those who may not have been super into the professional wrestling world in their childhoods, myself included, there was enough action, humor, music, and titillation to go around during the proceedings. The seventh Wrestlepalooza held in Minneapolis, live music from beatboxer DJ Snuggles, the bouncy hooliganism of Madison based pop punk band Masked Intruder, and the tongue in cheek burlesque of Queenie Von Curves and Sweetpea ensured that even those with less of interest in the speedoed and musclebound fights were entertained. While temperatures plummeted outside First Avenue, large, bare chested men plummeted towards the mat to body slam their opponents.

As with any professional wrestling, the choreographed fights display clear heroes and villains, though good does not always triumph in these rings. While Heidi Lovelace defeated the Anarchist Arik Cannon, marking a victory for women in the ring, the villainous Sheik sucker punched another wrestler at the very beginning and then claimed victory over his hapless opponent, as the crowd cursed his name and he preened and postured. 

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Sheik Ariya Daivari presents his champion belt (photo courtesy of Lindsay Cameron)

One has to admit that one might not be entirely comfortable with all of the retrograde stereotypes and over the top villainy on display here, complete with rather… uncomfortable use of ethnic stereotypes (the Sheik suffered an abundance of hot dogs thrown into the ring before he put his opponent down for good with a well placed flying carpet to the torso), but then, that is probably a part of the retro appeal here. Can one laugh at a guy drinking a beer and then punching a woman, even if she then punched him the balls in return, before holding him down for the requisite three seconds, prompting him to toast a PBR in her honor and welcome more women to the arena?

The most amusing fight had to be the four man battle royale, which included a kilt wearing Trump supporter against another guy, as well as an Estonian farmer frog man and a cat man known as Wildcat, fierce in battle but easily distracted by laser pointers. Along with copious amounts of Pabst Blue Ribbon (the sponsors of the event) much fun was had.

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The crowd at First Avenue enjoys some ‘rasslin’, Wrestlepalooza 7!

 

 

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Snow and Comedy!

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Lake Minnetonka

Well, it is the first week of January, 2016, and I’ve already had some pretty awesome adventures so far! With a new and luxurious layer of snow, and some chilly temperatures, this Sunday I was able to go on a little morning cross country skiing tour on Lake Minnetonka with my sister, a relaxing and scenic way to begin the day. The lake has frozen and the snow is deep, the ice silent except for the wind. It is hard to believe that we went kayaking on these exact same waters only six weeks ago or so! It didn’t seem like winter was ever going to come, but come it has, and I am happy for it!

Under the guidance of my girlfriend, Lindsay, I’ve been checking out some more of the vibrant stand up comedy scene here in the Twin Cities. While I’ve written about my favorites in Improv at the Huge Theater, I have had less experience with the comedy scene here. On Sunday, on Lindsay’s invitation, we checked out the hilarious Boy Kisses Comedy Showcase at Universe Games on Lake Street, which has been going on for a little more than a year now, every Sunday at 7:30, all for free! What I great way to wind down a weekend!

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Boy Kisses!

Hosted by comedians Turner Barrowman and Collin Klug, this was a really fun show, one that shows a lot of signs of being a great incubator for funny people in the Twin Cities, especially with its low cost of entry (free!). So go see it while there is still room to sit! Universe Games is a cozy little game store and coffee shop that really seems to be a nice fixture in the LynLake neighborhood, dispensing games of the board, collectible card, and roleplaying type as well as coffee and tea, and crammed full of people waiting to watch some of the Twin Cities funniest people riff on a shared topic, it is great.This Sunday, the theme was the always hilarious Astrology, which led to some pretty funny (and dark) places. While Universe Games has plenty of stuff to buy for the kids (and kidults) in your life, and candy was passed out during the course of the show, it might be better idea to leave ‘em at home Sunday nights! Well, the kids, anyway, if not the kidults. It makes a great (and cheap) night out and I’m looking forward to stopping in with Lindsay on another Sunday soon!

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Crowd waiting for Jackie Kashian, January 6th, 2016

Yesterday, we saw some more great comedy at the Acme Comedy Club, among the foremost venues for stand up comedy in the country, a well deserved distinction. Tucked away in an old warehouse in the North Loop, it is a pretty atmospheric place for comedy. The North Loop, by the way, has recently been listed as one of the top 25 vacation destinations in the world by Fodors, so I am definitely hoping to spend more time here this year and the Acme is definitely one of the venues that strengthens this somewhat amusing distinction. I had been there once before, so I relished the opportunity to return with Lindsay and see some super funny stand up.

This week, the super funny Wisconsinite Jackie Kashian is in town, with her deliciously nerdy stand up, complete with great video game references and some awesome awkward childhood stories. After a few local stalwarts, the Los Angeles based comedian captivated the audience, discussing everything from depressing casinos to her penchant for treacly romance novels. I will definitely check out her podcast, Dork Forest.

You should definitely see her this week, she’s in town at the Acme until Saturday!

Universe Games, 711 W Lake St

Acme Comedy Club,  708 1st St N