Stars, stripes, drinks and jams

A&E compiles the best places to be on the fourth

Drunken uncles. Incontinent grandpas. Newly hormone-charged little cousins. A dollop of booze, fatty foods, pyrotechnics and the prospect of inescapability? Yes, safe to say, the Fourth has it all. Luckily, Sweet Mama Twin Cities takes care of her young. The salvation? Plenty of music-themed shenanigans for her babies to partake in during our countryâÄôs big 2-3-3. The following is a list of A&E-approved destinations to make your holiday as loud, fiery and âÄî in the case of Taste of Minnesota âÄî as decadently trashy as possible. Happy preemptive Fourth from A&E. Taste of Minnesota THE EVENT: Fourth of July can be a day of state nationalism too thanks to The Taste of Minnesota, reminding us that Minnesota tastes like foot-long hot dogs and beer. Ok, thatâÄôs every state, but what would a fair be without staples like Tom Thumb Donuts and snow cones? To be ultra local, buy a stalk of corn and some Holy Land hummus and get ready to people watch. This four-day extravaganza happens to coincide with the holiday, and itâÄôs definitely one of the best places to watch fireworks and get your feet nice and dirty from blocks of crowded, urban trekking. THE MUSIC: How an act as timeless and talented as Elvis Costello got stuck with the Taste of Minnesota gig is a question as baffling as it is fortunate for Minnesotans. Following two days of knuckle-draggers bobbing their heads to the likes of Chevelle , Staind and Whitesnake , the ever-classy English new wave pioneer will be on hand to demonstrate his newly polished folk chops. But, nothing gold can stay, as they say, and that rings especially true when Mr. Every Rose Has ItâÄôs Thorn closes out our annual river festival the following night. Note: Judas Priest, the authentically stellar and awesomely gay metal legends, headline the Friday gig. WHO: Elvis Costello , Kate Voegele , Martin Zellar & The Hardways WHEN: July 2 to 5, noon to 10:40 p.m. WHERE: Harriet Island, 200 Dr. Justus Ohage Blvd. TICKETS: $10; free with festival entry between noon and 3 p.m. Minneapolis Red White and Boom THE EVENT: Ah, the beauty and glitter of fireworks sponsored by 60+ different companies . All kinds of fliers and promotional fans are given away to families walking along the riverside, and in the past an occasional firework has marked its passage into the sky as a Target logo sperm. Urban magic. The best place to watch the fireworks in Minneapolis is on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge , where clusters of viewers spread out towels and bring their own coolers. The kids are too distracted by noisemakers to notice the adults absorbing alcohol around them as dusk arrives. THE MUSIC: To be frank, no one under the age of 35 earnestly shows up for the music. Had the real Neil Diamond and the ghost of Skinny Elvis comprised the lineup for this event, itâÄôd be a no-brainer (obviously). But tribute bands are notoriously mixed bags, and the potential for hokey suckiness is high. WHO: Neil Diamond tribute act, Elvis tribute act WHEN: Sat., July 4, 5 to 10:30 p.m. WHERE: Main Street (between St. Anthony Main and Riverplace) TICKETS: Free Ten Second Film Festival THE EVENT: The Soap FactoryâÄôs haunted house already has dibs on the citiesâÄô scariest Halloween, and the old factory-cum-art gallery is staking out its territory on the Fourth of July as well. Lucky for those wanting to maximize their debauchery, the Soap Factory starts after the St. Anthony Main fireworks, so the party can continue. The main event is a 10-second film festival, with the top 100 blink-length flicks submitted by local short-winded filmmakers. THE MUSIC: ItâÄôs about the movies tonight folks, but local pop-punkers The Debut will be playing live. WHEN: Approx. 10:15 p.m. WHERE: 518 Second St. S.E . TICKETS: Free Fantastic Fourth Sculpture Garden THE EVENT: ThereâÄôre no fireworks at this daytime celebration, but at least thereâÄôs a giant spoon with a cherry on it and mysterious walls of carved bushes. You can celebrate the Fourth Alice in Wonderland -style âÄî just pretend all the children making crafts around you are the QueenâÄôs croquet players. The WalkerâÄôs take on Independence Day focuses heavily on creativity, with plenty of activities for youngins, including salad spinner art made to look like fireworks. Those of cigarette-buying age can work on table centerpiece art or ironically enter the hula-hoop contest. Bike fanatics can dress up their wheels with decoupage, streamers, or whatever else they can imagine and enter them in the art bike contest. THE MUSIC: Culturally, if Taste of Minnesota is Arizona State , then Fantastic Fourth is certainly Yale , or, at the very least, Vassar . The lineup includes the folk arrangements of star-on-the-rise Haley Bonar , the dashiki-draped flow of Minneapolis-via-Ghana emcee M.anifest and the world music outfit Sumunar Javanese Gamelan Ensemble . A perfect cerebral workout before the hedonism typically associated with youths and anything loud/explode-able. WHO: Haley Bonar, M.anifest, Sumunar Javanese Gamelan Ensemble WHEN: Sat., July 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. WHERE: Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 726 Vineland Pl. TICKETS: Free Dillinger Fourth of July The odds of anything being remotely tied to nationalism or birthdays at this show are scant, but when D4 is in town, a person hardly needs an excuse to attend. Expect the local punk vets to put on their billionth rocking show and the cocktails at the bar to be stiff as always. As added incentive, local group Off With Their Heads happen to be one of the citiesâÄô most promising punk up-and-comers. And, even though theyâÄôre still not paying Against Me! Royalties (the former borrowing heavily from the latter), they put on one hell of a show. WHO: Dillinger Four, Off With Their Heads, Superhopper WHEN: Sat., July 4, 8 p.m. WHERE: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave. S. TICKETS: $8 Independence Hip Hop Night Local hip-hop was dealt a blow when DinkytownâÄôs lone bastion of non-doucheiness âÄî the beloved Dinkytowner âÄî closed its doors for the last time a month ago. But, of course, the scene moves on. And as far as scene leaders go, indie hip-hop group Kanser ranks up near Atmosphere and Heiruspecs âÄî albeit with less of a mainstream following. The swank Fine Line is a departure from the divine dive-y-ness of the Dinkytowner, but the slew of local emcees sharing the stage should operate just fine. Similar to how Triple RockâÄôs affair has less to do with country and more with music, expect this to be more a solid show and less a celebration. Still, it beats the hell out of Bret Michaels deploying his STD cannon over our pure town. WHO: Kanser, Ill Chemistry, Lothario, Wize Guyz WHEN: Sat., July 4, 8 p.m. WHERE: Fine Line Music Café, 318 First Ave. N. TICKETS: $6