Circus nostalgia

– The Golden Age of Circus” is a throwback spectacle, with talent from “The Illusionists”— a traveling variety show featuring a who’s-who of magic practitioners — plus the puppet-makers behind the Broadway hit “War Horse.” They tell a story about a huge elephant (played by a puppet, of course) and her offspring as they tour the world with the circus and interact with contortionists, acrobats, knife throwers and high-wire daredevils.

Rohan Preston

7:30 p.m. Tue.-Fri. Ordway Center, $34-$114.50,

“Orange Is the New Black” star Lea DeLaria is a quadruple-threat artist: actor, comedian, author and jazz singer. While not blessed with tremendous range, her vocal approach conveys emotional and stylistic versatility. Her sense of timing and dramatics enable her to belt out show tunes and croon ballads with equal facility. And her version of “Black Hole Sun” is exquisite. Maybe she’ll reprise it to honor the recently departed Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell.


7 and 9 p.m. Mon., Dakota, $37-$62,

Before stepping into the national spotlight, Conan O’Brien paid the bills as a writer on “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons,” a critical but less than glamorous role. Laurie Kilmartin, currently on staff at TBS’ “Conan,” may be following her boss’ path to success. The New York Times bestselling author seems to be using every one of her days off to prove she’s camera-ready, with a busy touring schedule that includes this stint in Minneapolis.

Neal Justin

8 p.m. Thu., 8 and 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Acme Comedy Co. $15-$18,

The tousle-haired redheaded British folk-pop star Ed Sheeran did a smash-up job holding onto mega-fame with “Shape of You,” a boneheaded, John Mayer-ian love/lust song that must make some of his preteen fans’ moms blush. That one and other songs from his third album, “÷” (pronounced “divide”), heavily shape his set lists on tour this summer, where he’s still performing to packed arenas operating solely as a loop-employing one-man band. Dude must be rolling in dough.

Chris Riemenschneider

7:30 p.m. Sat., Xcel Energy Center, sold out

The pioneering prog-rock band is back on the road for its 40th anniversary under the ever-creative guidance of guitar legend Robert Fripp with a remade lineup with heyday members Mel Collins (sax) and Tony Levin (bass), newish singer/guitarist Jakko Jakszyk and the return of drummer Bill Rieflin. They’re picking tunes from various eras and from a new EP, “Heroes,” which includes a cover of the David Bowie classic with Fripp’s handiwork all over it.

Chris Riemenschneider

7:30 p.m. Mon., State Theatre, $40-$130,

Billed as the nation’s longest-running LGBTQ reading series, Queer Voices caps its 11th season with a literary jam. Curated by John Medeiros and Andrea Jenkins, a candidate for mayor of Minneapolis, the evening features a gallery of award-winning Twin Cities poets, writers and performers including Lisa Marie Brimmer, Mashal Dilruba Sherzad, Catherine Lundoff, Greg Hewett, and writer/painter Eyenga Bokamba.

Rohan Preston

6:30, Tue., Minneapolis Central Library, $5-$25 suggested donation,

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design recently opened a traveling exhibition, “Unloaded,” curated by Susanne Slavick, a professor at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. With artists such as Mel Chin, Adrian Piper, Renee Stout and Jennifer Meridian, the exhibition investigates gun laws and violence, not to mention their effects on American culture. Guns are also central to consumerism and childhood, angles considered by artist Don Porcella.

Alicia Eler

Ends July 16, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, free,

You don’t have to be a pro athlete to compete in these 19th-century games. Make like a lumberjack and try tossing an ax. Or see what distance you can achieve with an atlatl. Bonus: Families will learn about Minnesota history while partaking in these old-fashioned activities and games. Advance reservations required. All equipment provided.


1:30-3 p.m. Sat., Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park, New Prague, $8,

A former backup singer for the Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross and Tina Turner, Lisa Fischer was one of the stars of the 2013 Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet From Stardom.” Accompanied by the simpatico group Grand Baton, the ever-versatile Fischer weaves organic, mystical and mesmerizing treatments of songs by the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Amy Grant and others — plus her own Grammy-winning 1991 R&B hit, “How Can I Ease the Pain.”

Jon Bream

7 & 9 p.m. Tue.-Wed., Dakota, $40-$60,