Culture Compass: Pi day

A&E plans your Pi Day and beyond. You’re welcome, nerds.

by Lucy Nieboer



Joan Rivers

Mystic Lake Casino Hotel

2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake Minn.

8 p.m.


Mature audiences only

This mean fashion queen is rolling up the red carpet to revisit her roots as a stand-up comedienne, for one night at least. Expect the same biting wit and harsh rasp of that voice we’ve all come to know and love. For sweet baby Joan, no subject is off-limits. She’ll talk celebrities, sex and scandal per usual, poking fun and playing bad cop to the amusement and sometimes expense of the audience members. Standing somewhere in the middle of Kathy Griffin and Phyllis Diller on the female stand-up scale, Rivers’ face may be fake, but she’s got a funny bone unscathed by plastic surgery.



Monty Python’s “Spamalot”

Orpheum Theatre

910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

8 p.m.



Calling all renaissance festival attendees, bored in the off-season with no turkey legs to gnaw on or jousting to partake in? Sick of rematches of Dungeons and Dragons? You’re musical has arrived. The silly little love ditties of your average Broadway show are replaced here by songs of blundering knights and their search for the ever absent Holy Grail. The show, like the movie series, is hilarious. Sadly, the touring production’s cast won’t feature Clay Aiken in bright green tights — but I’ll think we’ll find some way to get over it.



Maple Syrup Festival

Eastman Nature Center

13351 Elm Creek Rd.,

Dayton, Minn.





The first produce of springtime arrives even earlier than the fresh peaches from Georgia in late June. When the snow starts melting, Minnesota’s maples start churning out sap faster than the flow of the Mississippi River. Every year, syrup farms around the state have a very busy couple of months in order to bottle and save the sweet product of nature for the coming year’s pancake breakfasts.

At the festival, learn how to tap trees for syrup, boil down the sweet liquid and make candy from your findings. It’s going to be sweet.




Read This: “Guy Proposes to His Girlfriend Through an Infographic” on Buzzfeed

This article reinforces everything Dr. Date ever told you about geeks falling in love. This guy proposed with math (I guess it is the sexiest science of all) and persuaded some lady-dork to marry him. Wow. I guess Dr. Date was right — the library must be one hot pick-up spot if you know where to look.


Watch this: “Battleground” on Hulu

This is one for the politico geeks out there. This series follows the election team of a faux-senatorial campaign in a realistic, dramatic mockumentary style.

Shot in Madison, Wis., this exclusively online series uses mostly unknown actors to portray the Midwestern ups, downs and behind-the-scenes craziness of a team trying to get their boss elected to the United States Senate. You’ll be glued to the edge of your seat. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. The 13, half-hour episodes will fill up at least one afternoon of your spring break (recommended for travel time).


Follow This: @neiltyson

Wait, this guy has nothing to do with “Degrassi: the Next Generation?” Nothing at all? Okay, so I guess science can be just as cool as a poorly written Canadian teen drama but only if it’s on Twitter. Mr. Tyson doles out nice-to-know science-y facts in 140-character increments that even the most timid, left-brained, liberal arts major can handle.

With asteroids flying past Earth like it’s sunny with a chance of Doomsday, it will be nice to have an astrophysicist on my social media side. He can keep me informed on when to panic and in the mean time keep me pre-occupied with fun facts about watts and neurons and other things I don’t understand.


Eat this: Pie


It would be totally irrational to forgo a slice of the tasty pastry on National Pi Day. Pick up an apple pie from McD’s, a slice of lemon meringue from Perkins or a whole frozen DIY version courtesy of Sara Lee. Have a pie eating contest with your geeky friends: See who can simultaneously finish a whole banana cream pie and recite 100 decimal places of Pi.