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SantaCon Returns, a Mini Holidazzle at Fulton, Found Footage Fest: This Week’s Best Events

It's pretty freakin' festive out there.

11:46 AM CST on December 11, 2023

SantaCon|

I have a hangover just looking at this pic.

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

TUESDAY 12.12

Bar Italia

Turf Club

As you might expect for a band named after a Pulp song, this trio is British. (No way I’d come anywhere near a U.S. band named for a Pulp song.) Bar Italia released their Matador debut Tracey Denim in the spring, and its followup, The Twits, in November, and there’s no discernible growth or drop off: This is a band that has its sound and it’s sticking to it. There’s something wobbly and cobbled together about that sound—the guitars add just enough dissonance to the tunes, typically resonating at a midpoint between Wire and Sonic Youth, while trying to walk the relatively straight line the drums lay out for them. Just as striking is the vocal contrast between dry and cool Nina Cristante and her more desperate male counterparts Jezmi Fehmi and Sam Fenton. Not that Cristante doesn’t have her own worries—“I can't just pick up a story/And make it the whole of who I am,” she laments—but icy decrees like, “You're just not worth the time/You're too scared to immerse yourself” are more her speed. Of course, a lot of the time I can’t tell what they’re singing about, whether it’s because voices are drowned in the din, the lyrics are too cryptic, or their content is too British. But with a band like this a little opacity is part of the charm. With Ava Levy. $18/$20. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here.—Keith Harris

WEDNESDAY 12.13

Aqua 

The Fillmore

What’s more American than a good ol’ fashioned cash grab? Danish Europop band Aqua have capitalized on multiple cultural moments since originally breaking up in 2001—first with the rush of '90s nostalgia, and now with the Barbie zeitgeist that uniquely fits their only hit. After the campy “Barbie Girl” attained ubiquity in the summer of '97, Mattel sued MCA Records; "the parties are advised to chill" Judge Alex Kozinski said while dismissing the case in 2002. These days Aqua seems to be on friendly terms with the toy giant. “Barbie World,” their Barbie soundtrack collab with rappers Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, has earned 374 million Spotify plays, a No. 7 Billboard position, and two Grammy noms. The U.K. tabloids claim that while Lene Nystrøm, René Dif, and Søren Rasted look “unrecognisable” from their Clinton-era heyday (that’s the passage of time for ya), the Aqua trio “delighted fans” on their current reunion tour. Expect plenty of blasts from the past, considering the dance-pop group hasn’t released an album in over a dozen years. $65-$250. 7 p.m. 525 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Drag Queen BingoHolidazzle, RIP for now

THURSDAY 12.14

Fulton Brewing Dose of Minni Dazzle 

Fulton Taproom

Alas, Holidazzle was canceled this year. But this four-day party at Fulton will offer Holidazzle vibes with artists, performers, vendors, and more from the beloved festival. There will be a vendor's mart all three days, with woodworkers, cocktail makers, knit goods, dog treats, soaps, jewelry, and more. There will also be special events, with highlights including a winter bike ride with the Joyful Riders (Thursday), trapeze artists (Friday), drag bingo (Saturday), and holiday trivia (Sunday), as well as free workouts, choirs, and Santa visits. For a complete schedule of events, visit fultonbeer.com. Free. 5-9 p.m. Thu.-Fri.; 2-7 p.m. Sat.; 1-5 p.m. Sun. Fulton Taproom, 414 N. Sixth Ave., Minneapolis. Through Sunday—Jessica Armbruster

A Very Die Hard Christmas

Bryant-Lake Bowl

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Debatable! Is Die Hard copaganda? Undeniably! It’s a tale of two policemen: an NYPD cop who single handedly takes down a building of terrorists, and an LAPD officer who learns to just go with his trigger-happy flow. The true meaning of Christmas! This annual holiday stage production follows John McClane as he re-woos his estranged wife while saving her and her Japanese businessmen bosses from German baddies, via a building’s air duct system. Along the way, audiences will be treated to improv, tunes, local celebrity cameos, and a very special visit from Santa Claus. Order up a beer (or three) and get ready to watch a large-scale action flick told on BLB’s tiny stage. $25. Shows are generally 8 or 10 p.m. Thu.-Sun.; check bryantlakebowl.com/theater for the complete schedule. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis. Through December 23—Jessica Armbruster

KC Rae

7th St Entry

There’s a bit of a “lonesome cowboy” vibe to KC Rae’s lyrics on her first solo project, Think I’m Gonna Die, for which she learned to play the mandolin and banjo. (She plays every instrument on the record apart from bass and drums, which are handled by her bandmate in the alt-rock/pop duo Now, Now, Bradley Hale.) Rae’s sitting by the phone knowing it won’t ring; she’s lying in a parking lot, listening to the bark of a lonely dog; she’s got a “masochistic imagination,” dreaming of kissing someone who’s “got your mind changing/What’d you go and do that for?” To be clear, Think I’m Gonna Die isn’t a full pivot to country. Rather, the genre weaves through Rae’s indie pop, coming across stronger on certain songs than others, as she deals with some hard shit. She questions her reality, contemplates disappearing; she thinks the sadness will go away if she ignores it. (It won’t.) At times she sings, heartbroken, directly to you, but the you is prismatic, reflecting Rae’s discontent back to herself. With Athletic Assistants. $20. 8 p.m. 701 N. First Ave.; find more info here.—Lydia Moran

Robert Glasper

FRIDAY 12.15

Robert Glasper

Dakota

A jazz pianist born late enough (1978) to come up on hip-hop and neo-soul, Glasper is probably best known outside of jazz for his keyboard work on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, which was integral in defining that album’s sound. In the past two decades, he’s achieved crossover success at Blue Note with his feature-heavy Black Radio releases, the third of which, released last year, offered Killer Mike, Jennifer Hudson, Me'Shell Ndegéocello, Q-Tip, Esperanza Spalding, and many, many—many—more guests. It’s tempting to call Glasper’s music “fusion,” but that term implies the forced yoking of disparate styles; instead, Glasper treats contemporary Black music as a smooth confluence of genres. He just played a three-night stand at the Dakota in January, and he must have liked it because he’s back for another three nights. $55-$75. 7 & 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here. Through Sunday—Keith Harris

Kate Willett

Comedy Corner Underground

Comedian Kate Willett follows in the estimable raunch-shock tradition of Margaret Cho and Sarah Silverman, but does so with a nimble edge that feels built for the smartphone era. The New York City comic (who is, full disclosure, a friend) has gained steady industry traction over the past five years, appearing on Netflix, The Late Show, and, as Twin Cities comedy fans might remember, at last fall’s 10,000 Laughs festival. Willett recently dropped her debut album, Glass Cutter, and debut audiobook, Dirtbag Anthropology, an investigative memoir focused on love, loss, and masculinity. Local comic Lahiru Samarasinghe opens. $15. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 1501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller 

SantaCon

SATURDAY 12.16

Lowertown SantaCon XVI

Union Depot’s East Plaza

After over a decade of bar hopping, SantaCon was forced to disappear for three years because, well, you know. But hey, the annual holiday party is back this year and pretending that it didn’t miss a beat. Things will kick off at the European Holiday Market, then the gang will travel to Mears Park for some photo ops, head over to Big River Pizza for the tail end of the Farmers Market, and end at MetroNOME. There are no tickets, and you don’t need to sign up for this event; just show up and join the fun. Costumes aren’t just limited to Santa, either. Past events have seen folks in ugly sweaters, a Turducken man, multiple Krampuses (Krampi?), and a variety of dreidels. Follow the action live on Twitter at @santacon55101. Free. 7 p.m. ‘til bar close. 240 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul.—Jessica Armbruster

Durry

First Avenue

Racket had the scoop on Durry’s wildly viral 2021 rise, when the brother-sister local band blew up with 200,000 plays on TikTok (that figure now soars past 1 million). A grunge-pop shoutalong with vocals that alternately summon My Chemical Romance and Post Malone, the song “Who’s Laughing Now” stirred up attention from “very big name” management firms; the band was booked solid with industry Zoom meetings, and the single scored placement on Spotify-curated playlists. Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit and Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune are fans. Durry debuted that July at a sold-out 7th St. Entry, just as live music began its comeback, with singer-songwriter Austin Durry predicting the “post-TikTok” concerts will be wild. He wasn’t wrong: Durry has since graduated to the Mainroom. DNM opens. $20-$22. 8 p.m. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; more info here.—Jay Boller

SUNDAY 12.17

Found Footage Festival Vol. 10

Heights Theater

The dudes behind Found Footage, Joe Pickett (The Onion) and Nick Prueher (Late Show), have amassed a staggering library of 11,000+ tapes, but you can trust in their curatorial powers. These FF screenings are a reliable hoot, and this 10th installment, which is being billed as “Popcorn Classics,” won’t disappoint fans of dead media and retro schlock. So get ready to watch some awesome old crap on VHS, including a dating guide from 1987, a New Age seminar, and something called “Males in Motion.” $15. 4 and 7 p.m. 3951 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights; find more info here.—Jay Boller

12 Days of Whiskey

O'Shaughnessy Distilling Co.

The countdown to New Years starts now at O'Shaughnessy, with 12 Days of Whiskey leading up to their annual NYE bash. The distillery and Second Harvest Heartland are asking you to bring a food donation from now through December 31, and, in exchange, you’ll get a complimentary Keeper's Heart Whiskey punch. But there’s additional seasonal fun to be had each day: On December 17 it’s Sip 'N Bloom holiday flower arranging, on December 20 there’s an ugly sweater contest, and on December 26 it’s Elf trivia, with lots of fun on the days in between. They’re also giving you discounts on merch like coffee and barware. Free, though some events (like the flower arranging) have fees. 600 SE Malcolm Ave., Minneapolis; more info here. Through December 31—Em Cassel

European Christmas Market, Union Depot

ONGOING

European Christmas Market 

Union Depot

Okay, so most of us aren’t going to make it to Germany, Sweden, or Austria this season. We’re most likely heading to pop-up markets at breweries, Target, the Mall, and, if we’re feeling ambitious, maybe Dayton’s downtown. But, should you want to experience a little old school charm, the European Christmas Market has got it in spades. This huge holiday market event features local makers and crafters selling traditional gifts, including knit items to keep us warm, wooden toys for kids, and foodstuffs galore. There will be tons of entertainment, with live music, dance, and local choirs taking the stage each day. Santa will be stopping by, as will Krampus, sled dogs, and reindeer. There will also be plenty of food to snack on, plus traditional hot beverages, beer, and gluhwein. Santa’s post office will be stationed for children who have hand-written requests, and there will also be a new extended holiday market called Santa’s Village. Bonus: Score a free Metro Transit ride to the event at uniondepot.org/holiday. Free. 4-9 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sat.; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 8). 214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul. Through December 17–Jessica Armbruster

Yuletide Cinema Pass

Parkway Theater

Two good things that often get described as “magic”—movies and holiday cheer—will meet, Reese’s-like, at The Parkway through December. at the Parkway through December. The neighborhood movie house’s Yuletide Cinema Pass affords purchasers tickets to five matinee films for one blanket price: 2004's The Polar Express (December 2), 1946's It's a Wonderful Life (December 9), 1990's Home Alone (December 17), 1992's The Muppet Christmas Carol (December 23), and 1996's Jingle All the Way (December 30). (Be sure to revisit our massive 25th anniversary oral history of that latter film.) Bonus: You score a free bag of (conscientiously objecting?) popcorn for each screening. $25 for kids under 12; $35 for everyone else. 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.Through December 30—Jay Boller

Winter Lights 

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

With a forecasted high of 61 degrees (!) it’s not going to feel particularly wintry for the opening of this year’s Winter Lights display. Maybe a rebrand is in order? Autumnal Illuminations at the Arb? Or maybe it’s just a nice excuse to get outside and slow down—you’re free to wander the walking tour route at your own pace, and there’s live music from the Minnesota Chorale. $10-$15 members; $25-$30 non-members; $10 for ages 15 and younger. 6-9 p.m. opening night; 5-10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, plus additional holiday dates. 3685 Arboretum Dr., Chaska; find more info here. Through December 30—Em Cassel

Open Door XVIII 

Rosalux Gallery

Open since 2002, Rosalux Gallery is Minnesota’s longest running artist collective space. Their annual event, “Open Door,” is a group show featuring gallery artists and more. This year’s installment will highlight a variety of works from 49 artists, including collage makers, painters, and quilters. “I was guided by joyful subjectivity, influenced by my personal preferences, the scale of the gallery, current events, the weather, and other completely unpredictable factors,” says artist Ellen Mueller, who was selected to curate this year’s exhibition. “The only guideline I set for myself was that I must make all my selections within 24 hours, which I did.” While the show opened last weekend, there will be an artists’ reception from 7-10 p.m. this Saturday, December 9. Otherwise, you can stop by during weekend hours (noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). 315 W. 48th St., Minneapolis. Through December 31—Jessica Armbruster

GLOW

Glow Holiday Festival 

CHS Field 

At the risk of questioning how The People’s Stadium is used, why doesn’t U.S. Bank Stadium stage seasonal fests like this when the Vikings aren’t bumbling around inside? Still, the $12.75-$20.75 entry fee for Glow Holiday Festival isn’t exactly an egalitarian use of the commons, though the event does seem fun. We’re talkin’ a loop around CHS Field featuring over a million holiday lights that illuminate something of a wintertime Candyland—enchanted forest, illuminated bikes, glowing critters, a 60-foot Christmas tree, maze, zipline, gift shop, and the so-called penguin playground. (Here’s a drone swoop of last year’s festivities.) Will there be up-charge opportunities? ‘Tis the season! The 150-foot Giant Snowy Slide is extra, as are s'more fixins and other concessions. The highly Instagrammable proof that you loaded up the kids and tapped into a shared sense of holiday magic? That’s priceless*. (*Holiday magic may be extra, we’re not sure.) $20.75 for adults; $12.75 for kids; free for kids under 24 months. 5-9 p.m. Thu.-Sun. 360 N. Broadway St., St. Paul; find more info here. Through December 31—Jay Boller

Holiday Pop-Ups

Citywide

An awful lot of Twin Cities restaurants are going all out for the holidays this year, from Nico’s Navidad to Travail’s Holiday Vacation in the basement bar. (And yes, some of them started in mid-November, but I’m sorry—that’s just TOO SOON to start recommending seasonal events!) In Uptown, Red Cow has been transformed into the Red Nose Room; Hotel Emery made a Grinch’s Lair. At O’Donovan’s Irish Pub, it’s Tinseltown, and it’s Hell-i-Dazzle at Hell’s Kitchen. At all of the above, expect some combination of: themed cocktails/NA drinks/snacks with punny names, movies, and over-the-top, Instagrammable (or more likely, TikTokable) holiday decor. —Em Cassel

2023 British Arrows Awards

Walker Art Center

Look, I’m gonna level with you here. I don’t really get why people would pay to watch commercials; I’m that person who gets “shushed” for talking through the Super Bowl ad breaks. But hey, if you work in advertising or if you’re a hardcore Britophile, this could be your jam! And the Walker has been spreading this jam since 1986, making it one of the longest running events at the museum (RIP Rock the Garden). This year’s installment boasts a series of spots for U.K. malls, some feel-bad PSAs, and wacky deodorant, with celebs popping up to shill things like vodka (Daniel Craig), designer duds (Miley Cyrus), and a streaming service (Succession winner Matthew Macfadyen and John Boyega). Tickets to the opening-night party are already sold out, and other showings tend to fill up fast. You can also opt to watch these things as nature intended: streaming on your computer. $18; $25 streaming per household. Find more info at walkerart.org. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through December 31—Jessica Armbruster

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. There will also be familiar Twin Cities structures and incredibly complex recreations of historical landmarks. The neighborhood includes submissions from creative kids, artsy hobbyists, and full time professional bakers, making this wonderland a really cool variety of skill, technique, and imagination. Find tickets and more information online. $15; free for kids under 12. Noon to 4 p.m. 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 7–Jessica Armbruster

Joi T. Arcand, '[Diorama 8]'

In Our Hands: Native Photography, 1890 to Now

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Native photography past and present are showcased in Mia’s latest exhibit, “In Our Hands.” The collection, curated by Indigenous artists and scholars, covers over 130 years with imagery from First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and Native American photographers, from early historical documentation to thoroughly modern photoshoots. “I truly believe that it is important for the legacy of all photographers to know this history, and it is the history of the land you are more than likely standing upon,” says consulting curator Jaida Grey Eagle. With over 150 images on display, the exhibition isn’t tied to time and place, rather in themes. The first section explores Indigenous connections to the natural world, with highlights from foundational, mid-century, and female photographers. The second collection explores Native leadership, past present, and future, while the final section celebrates perseverance. Related events include an opening party, group discussions, an educators’ evening, and meetups. $20; 17 and under are free. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. Through January 14, 2024—Jessica Armbruster

Winter Warmup

U.S. Bank Stadium 

Back in 2020, we made a pretty convincing—though logistically slight—case for bringing back the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The need has never been greater. Consider this column from reliably great Strib columnist Jennifer Brooks. In it, she waxes nostalgic for the era of the Rollerdome, when Twin Cities families could zip around the Dome’s ol’ concrete concourses on the cheap. A true hoot! Then, Brooks revealed the pricing for U.S. Bank Stadium’s so-called Winter Warm-Up skating/running hours—$15 fuckin’ dollars after fees! Through Ticketmaster! At the risk of editorializing, what absolute money-grubbing, deranged horseshit. Brooks notes that state and Minneapolis taxpayers collectively coughed up about half the cost to build the (already crumbling) $1 billion shrine to concussions and dead birds, which is still, somehow, laughably billed as “The People’s Stadium” by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. Minnesota’s all-time greatest photo proves more prophetic by the year. In any case, scooting around the stadium might be fun if you can afford it. $15. 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. Through January 25—Jay Boller

The Fifteenth Film Noir Series: Neo-Noir

Trylon & The Heights

Noir is a pretty expansive genre to begin with, and neo-noir can be even more capacious. The 18 films that make the Trylon’s 15th annual noir festival seem chosen to highlight this genre’s elasticity. The series began last night with William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A., which continues through Tuesday, and wraps up on February 29 (oh hey, 2024 is a leap year) with the unconventional Steve Martin musical Pennies From Heaven. The other selections stretch back to 1967 for the New Hollywood jumpstarter Bonnie and Clyde and Seijun Suzuki’s avant-yakuza flick Branded to Kill; the most recent film is Bi Gan’s slow cinema landmark Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Chinatown, maybe the most perfect neo-noir of ’em all, and the Coen Brothers’ Irish gangster flick, Miller’s Crossing, will show at the Heights. Don’t miss Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday (British gangsters are so grubby). Or Kathryn Bigelow’s sci-fi tale of police brutality, Strange Days. Or—dammit I knew I shouldn’t have started making recommendations, now it’s hard to stop. 2820 E. 33rd St, Minneapolis; find times, dates, prices, and more info here. Through February 29—Keith Harris

Multiple Realities: Experimental Art in the Eastern Bloc, 1960s–1980s 

Walker Art Center

What does subversive art look like when the artist knows the government is watching? For a sampling of the creativity that arises under oppressive circumstances, take a cruise through “Multiple Realities,” an exhibition spanning two decades of work by artists from East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. The collection, not commonly seen in the U.S., includes underground club photography, found objects turned into statements, witty scribbles, and images from performances with heavy nods to queer life, ironic humor, political dissonance, and, perhaps most important here, interpretative deniability. The exhibition opens on Friday with a Walker After Hours Party, followed by a free opening-day talk with pop-up performances in the galleries on Saturday. For a complete schedule of related events, check online. 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. Through March 10, 2024—Jessica Armbruster

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