You've heard the rumors and they're all true: Art-a-Whirl is madness and art combined into one intense weekend. If even the thought of venturing out to artists' open studios puts you on the brink of a panic attack, do not worry. There is another way to do this. Rather than waste your Fitbit steps going to random places, put these off-the-beaten-Art-a-Whirl-path events on your to-do list. (Tip: Lyft to northeast Minneapolis with a special discount code and take a free trolley around.)

Battle of the Marching Bands

In the "unofficial kickoff" of Art-a-Whirl, the Chaos Marching Band, the Magnificent Edison High School Alumni Marching Band and the Silver Lake Symphonic Woodwinds Walking Band (yes, they walk instead of march!) will battle it out to see who rules these arty streets.

Now in its second year, the event is organized by Minneapolis artists Alyssa Baguss and Andrew MacGuffie. Last year the winner was decided by audience applause. This time, three judges — including Smokey Bear from the National Park Service — will choose. The best band takes home a title belt created by local artist Donny Getinger.

7-8:07 p.m. Fri., Casket Arts Building, 1781 NE. Jefferson St.

Memorial to Craigslist: Tell Your Own Story

The Craigslist personals section was once a bastion of cruising, sex work and weirdness. That all changed in March with the passage of a federal law to combat online sex trafficking, sending the personals into unending darkness.

Artist Alison Bergblom Johnson will host a weekend-long party and audio installation in her loft, honoring the life of Craigs­list personals. "The stories I record for audio installations explore gender roles as relates to casual sex, and tell stories that are sometimes joyful, sometimes difficult and sometimes in between," she says.

Much of Berg-blom Johnson's work explores the links between bipolar disorder, hypersexuality and hookup culture. Visitors can write their own letter to Craigslist, marking the section's departure.

5-10 p.m. Fri., noon-8 Sat., noon-5 Sun., A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 SE. Main St., Mpls.

Jennifer Davis live-paints a gigantic mural

Minneapolis artist Jennifer Davis will be putting the finishing touches Saturday on a mural by the back patio of Hai Hai Restaurant — 6 feet tall and 35 feet long — depicting a tropical landscape populated by cute lemurs with long black-and-white tails, bright pink flowers, bluebirds and leafy green plants.

It's a fun fit for the weekend because, as Davis says, "just about every place in northeast Minneapolis is in on the Art-a-Whirl action." Hai Hai will be a popular destination because of its proximity to Grumpy's music showcase.

Hai Hai owners Christina Nguyen and Birk Grudem bought a few of Davis' prints when they opened Hola Arepa in south Minneapolis, and felt she was a natural fit for their new restaurant. "Her style and use of color has always appealed to me, and I love her whimsical animal drawings, especially her sloths, which I have on a couple pieces of hers," said Nguyen.

Davis will be selling 500 limited-edition 5 x 5-inch prints based on the mural for $10, or free with the purchase of $40 worth of food tix at Hai Hai's parking lot party Saturday.

1-5 p.m. Sat., 2121 University Av. NE.

#mood: Kate Iverson & Denny Park

"We are playing off the cultural #mood thing that people use on Instagram," Iverson said by phone about this collaborative show with her studio mate. Plus, their art is kind of "moody." Park's photography is often ethereal, capturing architectural nature, behind-the-scenes moments and artists doing their work, while Iverson's is more poppy, full of color, shape and broad brush strokes.

Thanks to a $300 stipend from the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA), which runs Art-a-Whirl, the two will also host a free art activity of painting a mini-canvas and using washi tape, which is covered in colorful designs and made of bark from trees native to Japan.

5-10 p.m. Fri., noon-8 p.m. Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun., 1101 NE. Stinson Blvd., Studio #8.

Terrence Payne: 'Blanket Statement'

It's not winter again (yet), but there's no time too soon to start locating warm quilts — especially weird art ones. Payne's exhibition plays with the idea that a set of stereotypical assumptions can be couched as one ridiculous declaration (i.e., "All men are dogs"). Payne has taken this one step further by making these statements into actual quilts or blankets. "Missed Me!" has a cream background and a colorful target in the middle. Bull's-eye!

"I've been making a conscious effort to move away from some of the more dystopian work," said Payne. "Just thinking more about colors and patterns."

To start out this experiment, he's made a dozen quilts; each retails for $475. Even though they could be warm quilts for the winter, Payne says he pictures people "folding them up and putting them on their couch."

Opening 6-10 p.m. Fri. Ends May 27. Rosalux Gallery, 1400 NE. Van Buren St., #195.