Culture compass — Signmark, Chillwave and “The Avengers”

A&E plans your weekend. You’re welcome.

by Samuel Linder



Where: McNamara Alumni Center

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Signmark (aka Marko Vuoriheimo) is a Finnish deaf rapper. You read that right. Signmark raps in American Sign Language over beats with plenty of bass to give him rhythm he can feel.

It might seem esoteric, but Signmark’s performances actually aren’t much different than conventional rap shows. Vuoriheimo’s face is extraordinarily expressive, and his signing has a flow all its own that’s not unlike standard rap video mugging but more graceful. Vuoriheimo’s partner Brandon also joins him onstage, rapping Signmark’s lyrics in English to make the show accessible for deaf and hearing audiences.

Friday: Neon Indian, Lemonade, Silent Diane

Where: First Avenue Mainroom

When: 8:00 p.m.

Cost: $14

Chillwave may just be a Hipster Runoff punch line these days, but that doesn’t mean the music that fueled summer 2010’s obsession have gone away. Toro y Moi just released a great collection of old recordings, Washed Out had one of the finest debuts of 2011 and, in the fall, Neon Indian released “Era Extraña.”

His sophomore release finds Alan Palomo more confident, expanding on the groundwork he did on 2009’s “Psychic Chasms”with more polished production. The results are more accessible and perfect for spring.

When Neon Indian came through the 7th Street Entry with Purity Ring back in October, they felt too big for the space. Now they’ve graduated to the Mainroom, and this show is sure to be a danceable good time.


“Learn To Be Latina”

Where: Mixed Blood Theater

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

The closing show of Mixed Blood’s 2011-12 season is about a Lebanese aspiring pop star named Hanan who is compelled by her record label to market herself as a Latina singer instead. The rags-to-riches story of ethnic identity is getting rave reviews from plenty and is only running for another week.

Going out to see theater can be intimidating, but Mixed Blood’s brand-new “Radical Hospitality’” initiative means their main stage shows are free for everyone on a first-come, first-served basis (seats can still be reserved for $15). It’s a crazy, wonderful system that’ll reward your curiosity about the Minneapolis theater institution.

Listen: The Very Best – “Yoshua Alikuti”

Globalization at its finest, The Very Best is a collaboration between the Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and European production team Radioclit. The group made waves with its first mixtape in 2009 and went on to release their debut “Warm Heart of Africa” with guest spots from M.I.A. and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig.

After releasing the merely decent “Super Mom” mixtape last year, The Very Best has released “Yoshua Alikuti,” a great track that showcases Mwamwaya’s soaring, joyful voice. It’s definitely a good omen for the group’s sophomore release, “MTMTMK,” due out in July.

Eat: Fresh and Local Fruits, Veggies and more.

The Minneapolis Farmer‘s Market opened last weekend, and with some great summer fruits coming into season, it’s a great time to go pick up some local produce.

Just minutes away from the North Loop in downtown Minneapolis, the farmer’s market doesn’t just offer fruits and veggies. You can get locally produced honey, syrup, hummus, eggs, fish, breads and more.

So instead of running to Rainbow or getting gouged at the Dinkytown CVS this weekend, head over to the Farmer’s Market. Your wallet and your tummy will thank you.

Watch: “The Avengers”

The summer movie season officially kicks off this week with this Joss Whedon directed superhero team-up. Starting with 2008’s “Iron Man,” “The Avengers” is the culmination of five movies, assembling Marvel’s team of “Earth’s mightiest heroes.”

Whedon has worked on some of the most critically adored films and television shows of the last 20 years, including “Toy Story,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly” and its follow-up film “Serenity,” but this is the first time he’s been handed the keys to such a massive franchise.

Whedon had a lot of superheroes and star-power to juggle in “The Avengers,” and many feared the film would be overstuffed or would disservice beloved characters. But “The Avengers” has so far received near-universal acclaim and is being hailed as a comic book movie game-changer.

Read: “I am a Pole (And So Can You!)” by Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert’s new book for adults, “America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t,” isn’t coming out until October, but those looking for more Colbert right now can read his first-ever book for children “I am a Pole (And So Can You!)” next Tuesday.

Colbert originally pitched “I am a Pole” during an interview with seminal children’s author Maurice Sendak. The book is about a purposeless pole who tries out a number of different pole-oriented professions (ski, Gallup, stripper) before some young scouts help him realize that he’s meant to be a flag pole.

After being pitched the book, the “Where the Wild Things Are” author said, “The sad thing is that I like it.” The blurb can be found in huge type on the book’s cover.