Each week, the cast of ComedySportz Twin Cities competes in 105-minute battles in which the only weapons are quick wits. Saturdays showcase the classic, game-based ComedySportz format: as the audience shouts suggestions and a referee keeps score between two uniformed teams of actors, performers let loose rapid-fire barrages of absurdity that stay on the family-friendly side. The handicap-accessible theater serves beer and wine as the hilarity unfolds, and bars and restaurants abound in the theater's Calhoun Square neighborhood.
When the Minneapolis Institute of Arts first opened its doors in 1915, it was the product of several decades of arts advocacy. A group of 25 citizens formed the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts in 1883 with the goal of giving their community access to creative arts. More than a century later, this commitment to the community has taken the permanent collections from 800 works to close to 80,000 objects and has made the institute Minnesota's largest art educator.
The collections, divided into seven curatorial areas, encompass a period of 5,000 years and hail from every corner of the world. The Asian Art collection represents 17 different Asian cultures, and Arts of Africa and the Americas holds more than 3,000 pieces of sculpture, basketry, painting, and beadwork. Temporary exhibitions bring collections of artwork from other institutions and tattoos from vending machines. The institute's interactive learning stations supplement understanding of topics such as modernism or 17th-century European painting with animation, video, and audio recordings.
Inside a restaurant whose vibrant purple awnings help diners spot it from afar, cooks concoct 75 different dishes derived from the "roof of the world." Artwork-laden walls surround the tables and cushioned chairs in the dining area, where patrons enjoy home-cooked items ranging from Tibetan-style dumplings made with lean chopped beef to batter-fried sesame chicken. The restaurant's separate bar area provides patrons with a place where they can grab a drink, watch TV, and practice thumb-wrestling moves with others.
In pirate lore, those who walked the plank seldom did so with a smile on their faces. At Edina Aquatic Center, guests can't help but grin as they meet the same fate, Rather than plunging into choppy seas, though, they grab onto a bar and trapeze off of the board, gliding down a cable line suspended over a pool before dropping gently into 6.5 feet of cool water. Named the Shipwreck Express, the zipline anchors the center's kid-friendly watery attractions along with two towering slides, a playground surrounded by shallow water and misting geysers, a surf simulator, and water cannons with which guests can soak friends or help out thirsty birds. In addition to its fun attractions, the center caters to practicing swimmers and divers with an Olympic-sized pool divided into lanes and a diving well with 1- and 3-meter diving boards.
The Edina Art Center is a wellspring of creativity. A combination studio space, gallery, and art academy, the center provides opportunities for community members to create and view art. Internationally recognized artists exhibit their art in the Margaret Foss Gallery, and the Clark Gift Shop sells cards, jewelry, and art supplies. For a more hands-on approach to art, classes branch out into every artistic media except the new abstract form of invisible paint. Lessons for all ages include jewelry making, advanced watercolors, and Create a Creature workshops, where students build a sculpture out of polymer clay. For students in grades 2-10 who show advanced aptitude, the Art Academy also offers individualized training with working artists.
Laura Monahan comes from an artistic family, and spent her youth practicing sculpture, oil painting, pottery, and what turned out to be her ultimate passion: photography. Her ability to preserve candid moments has left an indelible impression—she has a published portfolio on three continents and product lines appearing at national retailers such as Hallmark and JCPenney. Laura’s photo shoots always take place outdoors, capturing newborns, older kids, families, and makeshift popsicle-stick families in soft, natural lighting and poses that never appear unnatural. Her settings span the country from San Diego’s foamy beaches to Denver’s red-rock sunsets and into the Midwest’s autumn leaves.