around town

Through June

Confessions of a Lesbian Dominatrix. “I think B/D (bondage/domination) is object art,” says performer Rebecca Holmberg, and this autobiographical story certainly makes her case. The stage is filled with all sorts of vaguely menacing contraptions, including leather jackets with straightjacket straps, a mannequin bound and gagged in crossdressing fetish gear, and a modified hospital bed of black vinyl and loops of stainless steel tubing. Were these not put to graphic use during the production (and beforehand, as a mohawked assistant spent the time prior to the show using the bed to casually set fire to a topless woman), they might be objets d’art from some kinky art museum. Instead, these items are illustrations of Holmberg’s peculiar, fascinating career as a professional mistress. Wrapping her tall frame in layers of vinyl and leather, she alternates between barking orders at her audience and narrating her stories, which include a long, unexpectedly comic passage in which her client turns out to be her landlord, who lives upstairs from her. And while her stories are never less than fascinating, Holmberg also has a knack for examining complex questions of gender and power, even when doing so involves strapping a giant inflatable penis onto an audience member and tickling his feet to make it dance. $5-$15, Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.; (612) 871-4444.




June 26




Punk karaoke. From what I am told, the word karaoke means “empty orchestra,” and somehow that seems utterly fitting when dealing with punk music ñ if there has ever been an emptier orchestra, I can’t name it. Why, if punk starts playing more guitar chords than three, there are some who would argue it has ceased to be punk altogether. So forget the string section, the bassoons, the timpani; and while you’re at it, forget weepy country songs, hard rock ballads, Broadway standards, and everything else ordinarily associated with karaoke. If you can scream, you can be a star, thanks to Tubby’s Bar and Grill. Their most recent song list, according to their Web site (, includes bands such as The Cramps and Agent Orange, and the songs include titles such as “Butcher Baby” and “Love Comes in Spurts.” And to think they said that punk is dead. Tubby’s Bar and Grill, 2500 4th St NE, Mpls.; (612) 789-7301.



June 30




Valet, The Great Depression and Rivulets. According to a certain Web page we uncovered, containing a child’s essay on the subject, during the Great Depression “everyone was poor.” Fortunately, this Sunday at the Dinkytowner, and thanks to local moody rockers The Great Depression, we will all be a little richer ñ at least in spirit. This popular area band will open for the Duluth-based Rivulets, whose particular brand of soulful acoustic pop should provide a nice counterpoint to Valet’s distinctive brand of melodic, darkly-themed songwriting. This show is a benefit for Pop for Charity. $5. All ages. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. The Dinkytowner Cafe , 412 1/2 14th Ave. SE, Mpls.; (612) 362-0427.