Summer Activity Guide 2007

Michael Garberich

With the solstice already nearly one month behind us, the appearance of a “Summer Activities Guide” might seem as compulsory to the season as that perennial list of big-budget sequels (though we did Fandango our “Order of the Phoenix” tickets a month ago). And we admit this all does have an uncanny “Live Free or Die Hard” feel to it.

But a half-waned summer still needs a guide to chart July and August. We can be that guide. We want to be that guide. We’ve even made this guide to help us be that guide.

Don’t forget to locate our new summer supplement to our annual summer supplement, the first A&E “Summer Inactivities Guide,” a concerned and comprehensive neighborhood watch for those un-summer activities that make everything about summer a lot less cool. We know because it’s happened to us, and we don’t want it to happen to you.

Music and Movies in Loring Park

Loring Park, Minneapolis
Every Monday through Aug. 20 beginning July 16, music at 7 p.m., movie at sundown, complete schedule at Web site, free, www.walkerart.org

Beginning next Monday and continuing every Monday until late August is the Walker Art Center’s 31st installment of contemporary music and classic films in Loring Park.

This year’s set of films comes from 1950s melodrama auteur and arguably modern soap opera’s forefather Douglas Sirk.

Music includes a veritable list of who’s who of current local acts, like Black Blondie, the Knotwells and the Plastic Constellations, as well as an eclectic international array ranging from Brit-pop electro Metronomy to one of Belize’s most beloved Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective.

Bastille Day

Barbette, 1600 W. Lake St., Minneapolis July 15, 3 to 10 p.m., free entry, www.barbette.com

French cuisinères Barbette serves the best basket of fries in the Twin Cities, and on Sunday, July 15th (yes, one day after the fact) it will host its Bastille Day celebration: France’s fêted counterpart to our Fourth of July.

Dance Band, Vicious Vicious, Omaur Bliss and others will provide the music, and art comes courtesy of the nomadic, blue-collar, self-proclaimed “utilitarian” artists of BLOC, with their truck-towed exhibition “This is Not a Truck.”

Other pluses: a flea market, organic food, something to do on a Sunday.

Brit’s Pub Lawn Bowling

Brit’s Pub terrace, 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis Open bowling Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays, $5 per person per hour, Sundays, $2.50 per person per hour, www.britspub.com

Brit’s Pub on Nicollet is the comfiest place in the Twin Cities to enjoy a pub pie and Old Speckled Hen ale – but those you can grab any season.

For the summer, head atop to the terrace for Lawn Bowling – a tamed down (read: British) version of bocce ball, played between two teams on alleys of neatly cropped green lawns.

Uptown Art Fair

Uptown, Minneapolis Aug. 3, noon to 7:30 p.m., Aug.4, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., free www.uptownminneapolis.com

Art? Believe us, we like art. But the summer begs it outdoors (See Inactivities Guide entry, “Art Museums,” for more). Minneapolis’ Uptown Art Fair answers the plea with hundreds of art and wares from artists and galleries throughout the United States. Where? Uptown. All of Uptown.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Highway 169, 15 miles west of Interstate 35W, Shakopee Weekends and Labor Day, Aug. 18 through Sept. 30, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Adults: $18.95, Seniors: $16.95, Children: $9.95, www.renaissancefest.com

Men in tights and women in bodices chide you from atop a gatehouse as you enter, and they don’t stop until you leave. While there, you can eat intolerably large turkey legs, drink all the beer (age permitting) your stomach can hold and watch an arch set of performers – on stage or just peddling throughout dirt streets. And did you know there’s armored jousting? There’s armored jousting.

Whitewater Country Water Park

1 Valleyfair Drive, Shakopee. Now through Aug. 26, hours vary, check Web site. Adults taller than 4 feet: $35.95, kids less than 4 feet tall and seniors: $11.95, kids younger than 2: free. www.valleyfair.com

Three-and-a-half acres of raft rides, water slides and calmly snaking streams remind us that the best part of junior high was when it ended and we celebrated with a visit to Valley Fair and its water park, Whitewater Country Water Park. Beats the lawn sprinkler in your backyard – barely.

Leave

Unfold your tattered Rand McNally, wipe clean the dust and find somewhere to travel. If we were older, we would call this a Griswold family vacation and pile into a station wagon. But in college we call upon Kerouac and his ilk as our archetypes – Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein, et al, for those whose set lands overseas.

Inactivities Guide

We have put together a tiny Summer Inactivities Guide to keep you indoors, out of the sun and happy until the leaves change color.

Art Museums

Andy Warhol is the only person who has ever pulled off sunglasses in an art museum. The rest of us should wear them in the sun. You’ll have plenty of time to cross your arms and look cold and cerebral come autumn.

Movie Theaters

With the exception of the new Harry Potter movie, as noted in this guide’s introduction, movie theaters are best in November and December. See “Music and Movies in Loring Park” above for further details.

Mall of America

In fact, just skip Bloomington altogether.