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Events

A Festivus Party, Heiruspecs at Turf, Christmas Cookie Beer: This Week’s Best Events

Plus 'Christmas Vacation' and lots of holiday stuff to see and do.

"Shitter's full! Merry Christmas!"
'Christmas Vacation'

Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Credit: Mike Lester
Newly mulleted.

WEDNESDAY 12.21

Mike Lester 

Acme Comedy Co. 

Fans of Twin Cities comedy have watched Lester grow up onstage. When we first saw him, for instance, the local comic had braces and bits about living at home. Now bare-toothed and mulleted, Lester has locked down a house comic gig at Acme Comedy Co., as well as spots on Amazon Prime’s Coming to the Stage and Funny or Die. These days, the standup, who successfully mixes the vibes of McLovin’ and Bill Burr, takes on Nextdoor, Culver’s, and hardcore vapers. (“They’re just ripping clouds, they look like a dipshit locomotive coming to a stop… I need my Blueberry Bliss… why do I have mesothelioma?”) Lester’s debut album, It’s Not Delivery, It’s Mike Lester, dropped earlier this year via Helium Comedy Records. $18. 8 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday; 7 & 9:30 p.m. Friday. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Brit’s Annual Christmas Party

Brit’s Pub

Sure, the World Cup is over—but that doesn’t mean you need to wait until 2026 to visit Brit’s again! On Wednesday, the multi-level Nicollet Mall expat pub is throwing open the doors for its annual holiday party. There’s a social hour from 5-7 p.m. with food and drink deals and giveaways, followed by trivia at 7 p.m. Wear your finest festive jumper—sorry, holiday sweater—because the one who dons the gayest apparel is going home with a prize. Find all the info here. Free. 5 p.m. 110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.—Em Cassel

THURSDAY 12.22

Holiday Cookies Cream Ale Flight Night

Indeed Brewing Co.

Cookies and beer may be an unexpected combo, but cookies in beer have been a thing around town for years. Local breweries add all kinds of sweet treats to their beers, including things like Girl Scout cookies, Froot Loops cereal, and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice. So if this is your kind of thing, you’re gonna love this flight at Indeed. For about $16, you can try four different variants inspired by Christmas cookies, using Indeed’s Cream Ale as a base. The flavors: ginger snap, mint chocolate, peppermint, and apple cinnamon. If you discover one you like, order up a full pint. Or, if you find all of this horrifying, skip it all together and get one of their regular brews on tap (Mexican Honey, FTW). 3-11 p.m. 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Credit: Heiruspecs

FRIDAY 12.23

Heiruspecs 

Turf Club 

In 2004, upon the release of their sophomore LP, A Tiger Dancing, Heiruspecs seemed ready to take over the indie-rap world. “This record is a really proud document for me and that moment,” the jazzy, funky St. Paul hip-hop group’s bassist, Sean “Twinkie Jiggles” McPherson, told me in 2016. “Only one of us was even 25 when we started meeting folks from Razor & Tie in their office in New York, and it was an amazing feeling.” National stardom wasn’t meant to be, but Heiruspecs would settle in nicely as charitably minded scene elders who put on a reliably great live show. The name of their new record, which is being celebrated tonight, is a winking nod to those recalibrated expectations: Pretty Random, But What Happened to the Heiruspecs? “Heiruspecs is a face-to-face group. I’ve been in this band longer than I’ve had a cell phone, email address, or Mastodon account,” McPherson told me this week. “To me this is our purest record, we have nothing to prove, but so much to celebrate and I hear it all on these tracks.” Opening are HEYARLO, Nakara Forjé, and DJ Christian Fritz. $17-$20. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Festivus

Fair State Brewing Cooperative

It’s that time of year again: time to celebrate Festivus, a holiday born from a Seinfeld episode that originally aired in December of 1997. Twenty-five years later, it’s a legit thing that people do around town. One such celebration is at Fair State, which will take guests through all the traditional activities. There will be the airing of grievances, where you can vent about the way people and things failed you in 2022 (sign up here beforehand and you’ll get a free beer). There will be feats of strength, though what those feats are will be a surprise (event organizers claim there will be “no bodily harm, we promise”). The Festivus pole will be set up, and the newly released Vestivus Hazy IPA will be on tap. Free. 7 p.m. to midnight. 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.Jessica Armbruster

Christmas Vacation

LUSH Lounge & Theater

Christmas Vacation is the kind of movie that really gets the true vibes of the holidays. And by vibes, we mean stress. This is a movie that turns stress into comedy gold. The plot: An overambitious father of two (Chevy Chase) decides to host this year’s Christmas celebrations. But like a high school house party, more relatives show up than were invited, things go very wrong, and hilarity ensues. This movie was made long before anti-vaxxers, QAnon nuts, or maga was even a thing, so the worst this fam gets up to is destruction of property, emptying an RV toilet into a storm sewer, accidentally setting a tree on fire, stressing out a squirrel, and kidnapping a CEO. The ’90s: We really were living in simpler times back then. Free; RSVP here. 7 p.m. 990 NE Central Ave., Minneapolis.—Jessica Armbruster

Kinda Kinky 12th Annual Holiday Shindig & Fundraiser

Minneapolis Eagles #34

The Kinks rule. Longtime local Kinks cover band Kinda Kinky rules. The Eagles Club? You know it rules. Thus, the can’t-miss formula of this dive-bar Christmastime tradition, which, as always, benefits hunger-fighting nonprofit The Food Group. “Celebrate the music of The Kinks with those indefatigable beatsters Kinda Kinky and a host of talented friends,” Kinda Kinky teases. “Four solid hours of non-stop rockin’ with guest cameos throughout the night. All the hits and so much more!” OK, you really got me. $15 ($10 with non-perishable food donation). 7 p.m. 2507 E. 25th St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Credit: Cory Dewald
The Bad Plus

SUNDAY 12.25

The Bad Plus 

Dakota 

More than two decades and 15 studio albums into their existence, locally spawned jazz mainstays The Bad Plus have named their new release The Bad Plus. The simple title (shared by their 2001 debut) makes sense, since the group is at the most radical stage of reinvention of its career. When co-founding pianist Ethan Iverson left in 2017, remaining rhythm section Reid Anderson and Dave King made the obvious decision to bring in a new pianist, Orrin Evans. But Evans moved on after two albums, and the Bad Plus made the more daring call of saxophonist Chris Speed and guitarist Ben Monder. The playing on the new album, the first with Speed and Monder, is more wide open, with the sax often restating melodies and riffs throughout and guitar churning away underneath, both newcomers occasionally cutting loose into wilder forays. But the sound is still unmistakably defined by the interactions between Anderson’s bass and King’s drumming. You’ll have plenty of chances to meet the new Bad Plus at their four-night stand at the Dakota, two sets a night, beginning on Christmas, and running through December 28. $40/$45. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; showtimes and more info here.—Keith Harris

Run Westy Run

7th St. Entry 

Celebrate the birth of the tender Christchild with one of the most chaotic Minneapolis bands of the ’80s. In their very own bio the Westies admit to getting “lost in the glare of an effervescent Minnesota music scene at the time,” but true scene-heads know the Stoogian antics of this Twin Tone/SST group are always worth reliving. The brotherly band has been ringing the holidays annually since reforming in 2013. This year there’s extra cause for celebration: The upcoming 35th anniversary of Run Westy Run’s Peter Buck- and Grant Hart-produced album, Hardly, Not Even. With Annie & the Bang Bang. $20-$25. 7 p.m. N. Seventh St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Credit: GLOW

ONGOING

Miracle at Lawless

Lawless Distillery

We love it when a cocktail bar goes fancy for the holiday, and Lawless never disappoints. This season, every square inch of the space will be packed with crap, including silvery tinsel, twinkling lights, bulbs galore, and tchotchkes, tchotchkes, tchotchkes. The drinks are also festive: The Christmapolitan, for example, is a fancy drink made with vodka, Creme de Flora, and spiced cranberry syrup, topped with a big hunk of rosemary. Prefer to sip on a non-alcoholic bevvy? The bar will be serving up two different mocktails as well. Stop by after work, after a day of shopping (Moon Palace is nearby!), or before a round of bowling at Memory Lanes–no reservations necessary. 5-11 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 5 p.m. to midnight Thursdays and Fridays;  2 p.m. to midnight Saturdays; 2-11 p.m. Sundays. 2619 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis. Through December 31 –Jessica Armbruster

GLOW Holiday Festival

CHS Field

This season, CHS Field gives baseball a rest and becomes a winter wonderland for you to explore. Attractions include Brite Bikes, an interactive Christmas tree light show that people control via cycling (think of it kinda like a festive spin class). There are a few installments that sound like a trip, literally. There’s an enchanted forest, filled with twinkling trees; “glitter critters,” an area dedicated to electrically sparkling “animals”; and Spire Alley, described as a “psychedelic cross between a fuzzy blacklight poster and spirograph.” Folks who like to get lost in the snow will appreciate the Reindeer Run maze, while thrill seekers might enjoy the giant snow slide. Santa visits, a makers’ markets, and liquor, wine, and beer round out this big ol’ fest. $10. 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday through Saturday. Reserve your time and find more details at glowholiday.com. 360 N. Broadway St., St. Paul. Through January 1–Jessica Armbruster

A Very Die Hard Christmas

Bryant-Lake Bowl

Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking about Die Hard twice this week. But this annual holiday production has been going on for yeeeears, and has truly become its own holiday beast. Here Die Hard is merely the frame that holds that story together, following NYC cop John McClane as he single-handedly takes down a group of German terrorists holding his estranged wife and Japanese business men hostage. As he makes his way through the L.A. skyscraper, audiences are treated to a mashup of just about every iconic holiday flick, with callbacks, improv, music, and chaos, plus a visit from Santa who’s ready to kick ass. The cast includes regulars Josh Carson (tank topped, raspy-voiced, and bloody), Anna Weggel, Brad Erickson, Matt Sciple, Leslie Vincent, and Duck Washington, with Kelsey Laurel and Aron Woldeslassie debuting this year. Get ready to feel warm and festive (and also buzzed; they serve a full bar in the theater) as you watch Hans Gruber fall from the great heights of the BLB’s tiny stage. Christmas vengeance is so heartwarming! $25. Shows are generally 8 or 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays; check bryantlakebowl.com/theater for the complete schedule. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis. Through December 22—Jessica Armbruster

Georgina & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley 

Jungle Theater

Jane Austen may have only written one Pride and Prejudice, but thanks to public domain and a still-active fanbase the Darcys and Bennets continue to entertain us with wacky hijinks and biting social commentary via Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s nationally lauded plays. First there was Miss Bennet, which followed bookish middle sibling Mary as she sought love and intellectual stimulation, next The Wickhams took a look at that same story via the perspectives of the servants behind the scenes. Georgina & Kitty, the final installment in the series, follows the youngest Darcy and Bennet sisters as they plan for their futures, hope for love, and deepen their friendship. 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis. Through December 23—Jessica Armbruster

Die Hard is a Xmas Movie and 4 Other Films

The Parkway Theater

You can only see A Christmas Story, Home Alone, or It’s a Wonderful Life so many times before your brain melts. But how often do you get into the spirit of the season watching Gremlins? Well, maybe you should. We live in odd times, so you might as well make the movie choices weird, too. Parkway’s untraditional take on the holiday series kicks off this week with that Joe Dante classic about a cute little Mogwai that multiplies when wet and turns into an evil lizard-thing if it eats after midnight. This is an ‘80s movie, so there will be puppets (but definitely no Muppets). The following week, we have Bad Santa, where Billy Bob Thornton plays a drunk horny mall Santa who learns the spirit of Christmas by being kinda nice to a kid he’s scamming. Next is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, a classic that brought us memorable quotes like, “Shitter’s full!” Then there’s Die Hard, an action flick about a cop who crawls through a ventilation system to save his (also bad-ass) estranged wife from an eeeevil Alan Rickman. The series caps off with Love Actually, a rom-com about cheating. Each week, the fun kicks off an hour before showtime, with special activities that include a Santa costume contest, a pre-movie debate, and live music. $9 advance/$12 at the door; $45 series pass. 7 p.m. activity; 8 p.m. showtime Thursdays. 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis. Through December 29—Jessica Armbruster

We Are Working All the Time

Weisman Art Museum

Polish-born, Minneapolis-based artist Piotr Szyhalski creates posters that look like propaganda. But instead of promoting patriotism, he challenges the status quo, as his pieces proclaim things like, “Seek Truth From Facts,” “Rise Up!,” and “I can’t Breathe. If It’s No Covid, It’s the Police.” Szyhalski has been exploring “extreme historical phenomena” – think wars, labor movements, and protests against bad world leaders – since the ‘90s. In 2020, Szyhalski was set to have a retrospective exhibition at WAM. That show, of course, had to be postponed when the pandemic hit – an extreme historical phenomenon! During that time of lockdown and chaos, he entered another creative era, posting a new hand-drawn poster every day for 225 days. The resulting project, “COVID 19: Labor Camp Report,” was a hit, not just locally but internationally, with many pieces going viral. You can see some of these efforts in “We Are Working All the Time,” an epic exhibition showcasing Szyhalski’s 40-plus years of work, which includes posters, plates, installation, media, and other curious items. 333 E. River Rd., Minneapolis. Through December 31—Jessica Armbruster

Credit: Norway House

Gingerbread Wonderland

Norway House 

The biggest cookie village in town returns this winter to Norway House. Each year, 250 or so pieces come together, creating a sweet-smelling wonderland for all to explore. Creations range from cozy cabins in the snow to multi-story abodes topped with icing, to familiar Twin Cities structures, to incredibly complex recreations of historical landmarks. The neighborhood includes submissions from creative kids, artsy hobbyists, and professional bakers, making it a really cool variety of skill, technique, and imagination. Find tickets and more information at norwayhouse.org/gbw2022. $10; $5 members; free for kids under 12. Noon to 4:00pm Sun. and Tue.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wed.-Fri.; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat. 913 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. Through January 8—Jessica Armbruster

Paul Chan: Breathers

Walker Art Center

Can those inflatable tube guys used to drive people to sales be art? If it’s in the Walker Art Center then, yes, it can. But that would be oversimplifying the work of Paul Chen, a Hong Kong-born, Nebraska-raised, NYC-based writer, publisher, and artist. In the ‘90s and ‘00s, Chan garnered attention releasing videos, animations, fonts, and more, often for free on his website, nationalphilistine.com. These pieces explored pleasure, war, politics, and human interactions. But by 2009, he had burned out, tired of looking at a screen. Relatable. Five years later, after a brief, you know, “breather,” he found a new way to explore movement and meaning without a computer, instead using physics, fabrics, and fans to create shapes that move about in interesting ways (and, thankfully, won’t try to sell you a car).  You can see these kinetic sculptures at the Walker; the show will also include some video installations as well as pieces from his publishing company, Badlands Unlimited, which releases poetry, erotica, artists’ writings, and more. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through July 16, 2023—Jessica Armbruster