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Events

Winter Guide 2022: Holiday Stuff, Concerts, Festivals, and More

It's only the "dead" of winter if you let it be.

Minnesota Ice Castle

Yes, we know it’s not technically winter yet. But there’s snow on the ground, we’re all wearing heavy coats, and the flu is on the rise–sure sounds like winter to us. So let’s celebrate the season Minnesotans have a love/hate (but mostly love) relationship with by making the most of these dark days. 

The following is a guide of things to see and do, from freezing sporting events to hot concerts. There are festivals that only a Minnesotan could love (hey there, Winter Beer Dabbler), there are gallery and museum exhibitions to help you escape the weather, there are comedy shows to keep you laughing, and there’s lots of ongoing holiday stuff.

Looking for some local holiday shopping events? Check out our ever-growing list here. Otherwise, see you on the slopes (or, more likely, in the bars).

Credit: GLOW

HOLIDAY STUFF

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

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Graze Provisions + Libations

Is a North Loop establishment called “Graze Provisions + Libations,” one that has vendors such as “The Fabled Rooster” and “Avocadish,” so unspeakably millennial-annoying that it’s effectively a Portlandia sketch? Yes. But is the place just fine? Also yes. (Plus Union Hmong Kitchen rocks.) And it’s hard to argue with free popcorn, a heated tent, and a screening of the Jim Carrey-starring, Ron Howard-directing Grinch from 2000. (Be warned: My four-year-old nephew recently found the first few pages of the Seuss book “too scary.”) Free. 6 p.m. 520 N. Fourth St., Minneapolis; find more info here. December 7–Jay Boller

A Very Vintage Holiday Party

The W Hotel

Unless you’re buds with your coworkers, Christmas parties are hell. Christmas after-work happy hours, though? Those are pretty great. And the Foshay is hosting a fancy pop-up holiday cocktail party perfectly timed for folks working downtown. Here the festive cocktail menu will be strong and elegant, and the Minneapolis Vintage Market will set up shop with unique items to pursue and perhaps purchase, all from women- and BIPOC-owned businesses. This is also a benefit party for Twin Cities Toy Drive, so your conscience will feel good the next morning even if your body is a little hungover. Reservations can be made here. Free with registration/toy donation; $10 otherwise. 5-9 p.m. 821 S Marquette Ave., Minneapolis. December 9–Jessica Armbruster

Credit: Lawless

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 cocktail 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

European Christmas Market

Union Depot

Yeah, Americans know how to decorate a mall real fancy, but Europeans definitely trump us with their classy, old world-style markets. The best attempt at one of these in the Twin Cities is at the Union Depot, where the festive European Christmas Market offers wholesome fun each winter. Events take place indoors and outdoors each weekend, with plenty to see and do. Traditional eats available for purchase include baklava, raclette, pierogi, spätzle, brats, and Glühwein (aka mulled wine). Shop from local and international vendors selling wooden toys, glass ornaments, and other giftables. Traditional music, dance, and other entertainment rounds out the event. Check out stpaulchristmasmarket.org for more info. 4-9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. 240 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Through December 18–Jessica Armbruster

Holidazzle

Loring Park

Holidazzle was once an illuminated parade that ran through downtown Minneapolis. But, like many things that have been around for decades, a few years ago it had to pivot and transform. These days, the event is a festival in Loring Park. Each weekend, there’s a ton of stuff to see and do. A few of their greatest hits include a carousel, a 17-foot-tall illuminated Yeti sculpture, and a beer garden, where you can take advantage of wifi and brews and seltzers from Fulton. Kids can enjoy a playground area plus visits from Santa, while teens and grownups might get a kick out of weekly drag bingo. There’s also dog-friendly fun, live music, local artists and makers, and fireworks every Saturday evening. Find the complete schedule here. Free. 5-9 p.m. Fridays; noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. 1382 Willow St. S., Minneapolis. Through December 18–Jessica Armbruster

A Very Die Hard Christmas

Bryant-Lake Bowl

This annual holiday theater production has been going on for yeeeears, and it’s truly become its own holiday beast. At Bryant-Lake Bowl, 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 a 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? 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

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 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 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat. 913 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. Through January 8–Jessica Armbruster

Credit: Union Depot Bake Sale

Also worth checking out:

Holiday Bake Sale

Shop for sweet and savory treats from 30+ local bakeries and local vendors. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Union Depot, 240 E. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. December 10

Cabaret of Lights: A Hanukkah Burlesque Show

Featuring performances from Minnie Tonka, Queenie von Curves, and host Sparkles Du Jour. 18+. $18-$36. 7 p.m. Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway Ave., Minneapolis. December 15

Black Nativity

Inspiring tunes and choreography to get you in the mood for Christmas. Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. Through December 24

The Winter Markets at Viking Lakes

The Minnesota Vikings campus gets festive with a holiday market featuring 20 or so vendors each weekend, themed cocktails, live music, and family-friendly fun. Find more deets at explorevikinglakes.com/wintermarkets. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Viking Lakes, 730 Vikings Pkwy., Eagan. Through December 18

A Christmas Carol

C’mon, you know what this one is about. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis. November 12-December 31

A Count Up to Christmas

Nimbus Theatre presents this very special Hallmark-esque parody featuring an overworked city person, a small town Christmas fair in danger, and a gazebo. (IYKYK.) $5 – $45 sliding scale. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays; 7:30 p.m. Monday, December 12. The Crane Theater, 2303 Kennedy St. NE, Minneapolis. Through December 18

Winter Lights at the Arboretum

Take a walking tour through a variety of twinkling light displays. There’s also a giant poinsettia tree, a cash bar, and a s’mores bonfire. Reserve a spot at arb.umn.edu/winterlights. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska. November 17-January 1

ASI’s Holiday Exhibition: Secrets of the Season

Featuring holiday-themed rooms and experiences, plus the holiday Julemarket in the gift shop. American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis. Through January 8 

Christmas at the Local  

Theater Latté Da presents this world premiere featuring poems by Dylan Thomas and Maya Angelou, set to music by Chastity Brown and Cerys Mathews. Find tickets at latteda.org. $35-$76. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. Through January 1

Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy

Minnesota Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker tells the classic tale you love (or, possibly, fear?). Historic State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. December 16-23 

Credit: Flyfest Ski Jumping
This is not a bunny hill.

FESTIVALS

The Official 2023 Flyfest Ski Jumping Event

Minneapolis Ski Jumping Club

Slapping on a pair of skis, sending yourself hurtling down a multi-story ramp, flying (or flipping) through the air, and landing safely is a feat most of us will never attempt. And yet, it prevails as a popular (and dazzling) Olympic sport. One place where you can learn to do such a thing is through the Minneapolis Ski Jumping Club, which teaches folks of all ages how to do the impossible. (It’s a slow process building up to the big jump). At this annual event, former, current, and future Olympic hopefuls from around the world will compete, sending themselves up to 300 feet into the air. It will be exhilarating, majestic, and kinda crazy. Thankfully, you get to watch it from the safety of the ground. Find tickets here. $10; kids under 12 free. 5 p.m. 8401 E. Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington. January 14–Jessica Armbruster

Minnesota Ice Castle

Long Lake Regional Park

Folks, this is the big one. This is the ice castle that has more square footage than your own home. It starts as a single icicle, and, by the end of construction, the castle offers a mind-boggling amount of things to see and do. There are architectural arches, glistening caverns, tiny crawl tunnels that lead to adventure, and slides made of ice. In addition to this posh ice McMansion, there will also be an illuminated trail to explore and an ice bar serving up wintery adult beverages. Find dates, times, and tickets at icecastles.com/minnesota. $11-$15 weekdays; $15-$20 weekends. Wednesdays through Mondays in January; Thursdays through Sundays in February. 1500 Old Highway 8, New Brighton. January 14-February 23–Jessica Armbruster

Art Shanty Projects

Bdé Umáŋ/Lake Harriet

One of the most unique festivals in Minnesota, the Art Shanty Projects returns this winter for wacky, wholesome, creative fun on a frozen lake. This year’s happening will feature 15 new shanties with three returning structures. Installments are leaning towards music and movement in 2023, with Booom Box providing DJ tunes, Klezmer on Ice doing just that, and tons of concerts from local artists. The Free Store Shanty will be back; pick up some free gloves or bring something warm to donate. The Winterized Chicken Coop will feature feathered friends and fortune-telling eggs, and American Ice Theatre will present ICE. COLD. JAZZ!, a modern ice skating show. If you’re 18 or older and looking to get hitched, the Chapsicle of Love will wed you and your beloved for free (and yes, it is a real, legal marriage). Walk-ins are welcome (very Vegas!). Other fun to be had includes frozen yoga, artsy parades, an ice sculpture garden, and climate walks. Find more deets about this rad event at artshantyprojects.org. Free; $10-$20 suggested donation. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Minneapolis. January 21–February 12 –Jessica Armbruster

Credit: Art Shanty Projects

U.S. Pond Hockey Championships

Lake Nokomis

Every year, in the dead of winter, hockey teams convene to compete in one of the most epic amateur sporting tourneys in the nation. Players come from all walks of life and backgrounds; some are retired professional athletes, others have simply been playing for years at their local pond. Some are from the Twin Cities, and some are from outstate, Canada, and beyond. Divisions include youth, men, women, and rink rat, with the winner taking home the Golden Shovel. For those not competing, a warming tent offers beer, hot bevs, and eats, and there’s always a rink set aside for all ages open skating. For complete game schedules and more info, visit uspondhockey.com. Free. 5001 Lake Nokomis Pkwy. W., Minneapolis. January 21-29—Jessica Armbruster

The Great Northern

Various Locations

Yes, it’s a cliché, but this sprawling, multi-city festival offers a little bit of everything. There will be a sauna village, there will be concerts (Pow Wow singer Joe Rainey), there will be art installations (Seitu Jones, Aaron Dysart), and there will be festivals within festivals (the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Out There, and the U.S. Pond Hockey Tournament are all part of this fest). Orfield Labs will once again invite people to sign up for sessions in its anechoic chamber, billed as one of the quietest places on Earth. K’óoben’s pop-up will feature guest chefs who will prepare meals under the theme of Minnesota in the dead of winter. And a little snow won’t stop Minnesotans from watching a movie outdoors, apparently, as the David Bowie biopic Moonage Daydream will be screening at Malcolm Yards. Find the complete schedule at thegreatnorthernfestival.com. January 25-February 5–Jessica Armbruster

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Various Locations 

Is this the best carnival born out of spite? Probably! For the past 137 years, St. Paul has been celebrating winter, proving to the world that the weather here isn’t so scary. So bust out the hand warmers and get in on the fun. This year’s multi-day, multi-event party returns with more free stuff to do than ever before. That includes parades like the nighttime Moon Glow Parade and the daytime march for King Borealis. Rice Park is home to beautiful ice sculptures, trivia nights, live music, and a warming house offering beer, seltzers, wine, and warm mulled drinks. Other locations loaded with fun include the Landmark Center (family fun!) and Xcel Energy Center (cat and dog shows!). The Vulcan Snow Park at the Minnesota Fairgrounds is also stacked with things to see and do: snow sculpting contests, a giant snow slide, and sporting events and competitions. For a complete schedule of events, see wintercarnival.com. January 26 through February 5—Jessica Armbruster

Credit: Powderhorn Sled Rally

Powderhorn Art Sled Rally

Powderhorn Park

At this adorable, absolutely charming annual event, folks build an art sled out of cardboard, glitter, and a lot of Elmer’s Glue, then send themselves down a hill in hopes of reaching speeds of (maybe?) upwards of 2 mph. Many won’t make it to the bottom, others may gently crash into spectators, some will need a push if they get stuck in a snowbank. But oh, what a delightful spectacle! Don’t miss this sweet event. You can find updates, including sled building sessions, at artsledrally.com. Free. 2 p.m. 3400 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis. January 28–Jessica Armbruster

City of the Lakes Loppet Winter Festival

Theodore Wirth Park

Now in its 20th year, this two-day festival offers a variety of urban ski races, games, and special events. That includes 37K races for skiers and fat-tire bikers, snowshoe races, skijor (doggy!) races, sitting ski races, and kids’ races. There’s a kubb tourney for those who appreciate lawn games–even if they’re in the snow–and the Luminary Loppet invites families, friends, and athletes to stroll, snowshoe, or ski around the Lake of the Isles, enjoying a variety of bonfires, performances, and ice-themed art installations that ends in a beer garden featuring food trucks and brew. For a complete list of events or to sign up, visit. loppet.org/events/festival. 1301 Theodore Wirth Pkwy., Minneapolis. February 4-5 –Jessica Armbruster

Winter Beer Dabbler

Minnesota State Fairgrounds 

Enjoying a beer on a patio, in a backyard, and during a festival? Total blast! Oh, you’re talking about doing it in the dead of winter? Well, we can still make that work. And the folks at the Winter Beer Dabbler have been doing just that for years. This February, head to the State Fairgrounds for a tipsy event offering beer, wine, seltzer, and cider samples from over 100 breweries. Best case scenario? You find a hidden gem to enjoy year-round. Worst case? You can revisit all your favs in one spot. 21+. Find tickets and more info at beerdabbler.com. $55; $75 VIP; $20 designated driver. 3-6:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. VIP. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul. February 25–Jessica Armbruster

Credit: Provided
The 1975

MUSIC

Modest Mouse

Palace Theater

With regard to “holding the fuck up,” it’s tough to top The Lonesome Crowded West. Modest Mouse didn’t just avoid the dreaded sophomore slump with their 1997 release—they created a top-to-bottom indie rock artifact for the ages. Young Isaac Brock took on timeless themes of isolation and urban sprawl with poetic heft and a no shortage of winks; his Pacific Northwest band raged and noodled through soaring, complex song structures with an ambition early 20-somethings often attempt but rarely nail. I can’t recommend this 45-minute Pitchfork doc on Lonesome enough. Anyway, that’s a roundabout way of saying: Modest Mouse, now established alt-rock royalty, will be performing Lonesome Crowded West in its entirety at the Palace. Let’s all get over to St. Paul and do the cockroach! $45-$75. 7 p.m. 17 W. 7th Place, St. Paul; find more info here. December 10—Jay Boller

Bill Frisell & Petra Haden

Dakota

Frisell has made a career of showcasing his own versatility while still honing a distinctive guitar style. Atmospheric originals, reinterpreted film soundtracks, straight jazz, bent country, standards, contemporary pop—he’s taken it all in and Friselled it in his image. He’s touring as a duo with Petra Haden, the violinist and vocalist you’re most likely to know from her work with alt-rock greats That Dog. I once saw her deliver an a cappella “Wuthering Heights” while touring as part of the Decemberists; I appreciate her all-vocal recording of The Who Sell Out for sticking to the bit and have preserved that appreciation by never listening to it.The two musicians have teamed up in the past, most recently on Frisell’s 2019 album Harmony, most significantly on the helpfully titled Petra Haden and Bill Frisell, from 2003. Expect a dreamy wash of music, with plenty of tunes you recognize, or that at least feel familiar. $40-$50. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; find more info here. December 11—Keith Harris

The 1975 

Armory 

As I’ve already lived through the ’80s once, the 1975’s processed guitars, human-or-machine? drums, and inopportune sax breaks are not the exotic sounds from a distant past that their fanbase probably hears. It’s all just a jumble of retro musical styles as worthy of retooling as any other, and on Being Funny in a Foreign Language charmingly facile cad Matty Healy and his crew enlists the help of omnipresent helpmate-to-the-stars Jack Antonoff to streamline their sound. At their weakest, the 1975 sound like they’re soundtracking a direct-to-video Pretty Woman sequel, or like a tribute band to Level 42 or someone. But ultimately, 1975 fandom comes down to how taken with Matty Healy’s undeniable (if limited) wit you are. I’ve heard claims of Healy achieving emotional maturity here, but afaik his pledges of love are still credible only if you’re ready to suspend your disbelief for the sake of a decent hook. A good sign of his musical maturity, however, is that the album is his shortest: roughly 43 minutes, a true sign of restraint from a band that’s let a previous release balloon up to a full hour and 20. $203 and up. 7 p.m. 500 S. 6th St., Minneapolis; find more info here. December 14—Keith Harris

Hieruspecs 

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. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here. December 23–Jay Boller

Dry Cleaning

Fine Line 

Post-punk spoken word with guitar—it’s not for everyone! If the success of this South London band’s New Long Leg last year was unexpected, it owed primarily to who’s doing the speaking and who’s playing the guitar. While you might expect the reverse, in fact Florence Shaw’s acid, deadpan observations are what draw you in, while guitarist Tom Dowse, who’s got far more in his toolbox than just the old Rough Trade tricks, keeps you around with the nuance of his technique. On their follow-up album, Stumpwork, Shaw lightens up a bit, lyrically if not stylistically, reminiscing about a lost pet, a tortoise, while the band finds new ways to encase her in rhythm and noise. With Nourished by Time. $22-$40. 8:30 p.m. 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. January 14–Keith Harris

YG

Armory

The Compton rapper has come a long way since the gleefully obscene “Toot It and Boot It” in 2010. In 2016 he even got political with “FDT,” the polite title for what we all think of as “Fuck Donald Trump.” His latest, I Got Issues, is fairly introspective rather than explosive, focusing on his industry feuds (“Issues”) and domestic drama (“Baby Momma”). But he never gets quite as mopey as the younger trap MCs, and there’s plenty of room for a banger like the Hit-Boy production “Maniac,” with that thick West Coast synth bass that always starts a party. With OhGeesy, Day Sulan, + D3szn. $47 and up. 8 p.m. 500 S. 6th St., Minneapolis; find more info here. February 15–Keith Harris

Credit: Olivia Bee
Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers 

The Armory 

Rogers named her current Feral Joy Tour as such because she thinks her latest album, July’s Surrender, sounds like, well, “feral joy.” Unclear why she didn’t give it the much better title Feral Joy, but that’s above our paygrade. In any case! The Tisch-schooled Marylander has exploded in recent years, writing relatable sad-girl songs with the propulsive vigor of an East Coast Haim. Like Weezer creep Rivers Cuomo before her, Rogers studied at Harvard as she prepped her sophomore album; unlike Cuomo, she emerged with an undeniably hooky pop-rock product that packs enough arty and soulful flourishes to keep things interesting. “Right now, the joy on the record feels like the greatest form of rebellion,” she recently told the New York Times of Surrender. “I think part of creating anything is having hope that there is something else that’s possible. I feel like I don’t have any other choice.” Del Water Gap opens. $87-$125. 500 South 6th St., Minneapolis; find more info here. February 18—Jay Boller

Margo Price

First Avenue 

Raised in small-town Illinois—a “Midwest farmer’s daughter,” as her debut’s title put it—Price headed south and became a fixture on the East Nashville folk-country songwriter scene. From the get-go, she’s articulated how Nashville exploits, excludes, and otherwise fucks over female artists, and how the moneyed elite do the same to all of us, particularly the small farmer. She’s continued to explore these themes, while also writing some sharply observed relationship songs on her most recent album, 2020’s That’s How Rumors Get Started, and her new memoir, Maybe We’ll Make It, released in October, finds her typically outspoken and well-spoken. With Lola Kirke. $30/$32. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; find more info here. February 19–Keith Harris 

The Beths 

First Avenue

New Zealand guitar-pop is indomitable. The island nation is an inexhaustible well of simple-but-smart guitar bands who will continue to jangle, chime, and sing about their very ordinary problems while the rest of us are drinking our own pee to survive. The title track from the Beths’ third and best album, Expert in a Dying Field, lands the relationship analogy of the year, zeroing in on how all your knowledge about a lover, from the intimate to the mundane, becomes instantly useless once you break up. Elizabeth Stokes is a brilliant songwriter whose gift with the phrase and the hook never falters here, and Jonathan Pearce is no slouch on guitar, leaning into a more rocking power pop than the Auckland norm. With Sidney Gish and Hans Pucket. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. February 22–Keith Harris

Viagra Boys 

First Avenue

Fun name, right? Also, turns out, fun band! These Swedish weirdos combine the post-punk talk-singing of Art Brut with the darkly comedic absurdity of Primus, resulting in a herky-jerky guitar stew that’s accented by frontman’s Sebastian Murphy’s wailing about wiener dogs and sports. Released in July, the group’s third album, Cave World, is a hit-and-miss satire of alt-right trolls, but even when the words don’t hit, the muscular, unpredictable arrangements veer from dancey synths to funky horns with confident swagger. “A lot of our output is a celebration of being a fuck-up,” Murphy told NME last year. “[It’s about] creating this fucked up fantasy world that I made up in my head, with all the images of dogs, shrimps, spies, and weird shit.” Considering Viagra Boys graduated from Amsterdam Bar & Hall to the Mainroom in under 12 months, it’s clear there’s a vast market for that weird shit. $25. 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. February 25–Jay Boller

Otoboke Beaver 

Fine Line 

At 18 songs in 21 minutes, this exuberantly noisy Kyoto punk quartet never outstays its welcome. But without tempering their raucous levity or brevity, Otoboke Beaver are, well, honing their craft: On their latest, Super Champon, some songs have sections so memorable you could call them choruses, and clever little guitar bits emerge from the bash ‘n’ clang, which has always been more precise than a quick listen might reveal. If, like me, you don’t speak Japanese, you’ll only get half the joke live. So I suggest, at the very least, checking out their tracklists. You still won’t know if the hilarious guitar tantrum you’re hearing is “You’re No Hero Shut Up Fuck You Manwhore” or “Dirty Old Fart Waiting for My Reaction.” But knowing it could be either is funny enough. $22-$40. 8:30 p.m. 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; more info here. February 28–Keith Harris

Titus Andronicus 

Turf Club

Patrick Stickles, the road warrior punk-poet force behind Titus Andronicus, was shackled by the burden of his masterpiece album, The Monitor, more than a dozen years ago. Excluding 2018’s A Productive Cough, each of the subsequent five Titus LPs have been solid to stellar, but you got the sense Stickles was striving to recapture the grandiose magic of his sophomore release, one that so many critics likened to Springsteen-goes-punk. (Bruce, famously a fellow New Jerseyan, plays down the road tomorrow.) On his most recent album, this past fall’s The Will to Live, Stickles sounds more at ease than ever, churning out no-nonsense classic rock that’s undergirded by his scratchy lyrical gold. Loyal fans, this one included, will always make the pilgrimage to catch Titus, fists pumping and smiles plastered for the shout-along refrain of “You will always be a loser.” Country Westerns open. $18-$20. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; find more info here. March 4–Jay Boller

Bruce Springsteen 

Xcel Energy Center

The Boss, obviously, has nothing to prove. He could spend his days gabbing on podcast mics with President Obama, taking tequila shots with fans atop his motorcycle, and generally living the laidback rich-guy lifestyle he has earned. But the New Jersey icon is wired differently, as we learned in great psychological detail throughout his memoir, so he still feels compelled to sweat out two-hour-plus marathon concerts for his diehard fans. I saw it first-hand during his last North American tour, a front-to-back celebration of The River in 2016, and, as a casual fan, can attest to the power that old rock ‘n’ roll war horse is able to summon. Springsteen’s latest album, a collection of old soul covers called Only the Strong Survive, is only managing lukewarm reviews. But you, the curious concertgoer, shouldn’t give a shit. As a showman, Springsteen is as generous and fan-forward as they come; there’ll be a tidal wave of impassioned hits. $200-$370. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd, St Paul; find more info here. March 5–Jay Boller

Morgan Wade

First Avenue

Wade’s breakthrough, Reckless, lives up to its name. From “It’s a beautiful thing to fall apart” to “I wish I knew you in your wilder days,” the Virginia singer-songwriter, who turns 28 this Saturday, is often looking for trouble. But she ain’t just some party girl—her carefully articulated drawl, never affected, adds a depth and desperation to her lyrics. Rough and tumble as she may be, Wade’s softer side sneaks out at unexpected moments: I doubt anyone has ever sung so sweetly about getting banged on the kitchen floor. Her yearning may come from the heart, but its intensity is boosted by a site much lower in her body. With Nate Patrick. $25. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; more info here. March 11–Keith Harris 

Credit: Kahlil Robert Irving

ART

New Work by Avigail Manneberg

Paintings explore performative expressions of grief and joy. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, January 14, from 7-10 p.m. Rosalux Gallery, 315 West 48th Street, Minneapolis. January 13-28

Out There 2020: Sarah Michelson, /\ March 2020 (4pb)

The choreographer/performance artist, whom the Walker has worked closely with for over 20 years, presents her first object-based work, an installation that is part of the museum’s collection. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. January 19–April 23

Funhouse Waiting Room

Mary Gibney creates paintings, drawings, collages, and prints examining bar patrons, circus strong men, gender fluidity, and more. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, February 4, from 7-10 p.m. Rosalux Gallery, 315 West 48th Street, Minneapolis. February 4-26

Fluidity: Identity in Swedish Glass

Swedish artist Jo Andersson presents an immersive glass experience where you can engage with pieces using light from your smartphone. American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis. February 1-May 28

Make Sense of This: Visitors Respond to the Walker’s Collection

Yeah, this three-part exhibition series is pretty self-explanatory. Chapter one focuses on portraits and lived experience. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. February 18–November 19

Kahlil Robert Irving: Archaeology of the Present

The St. Louis-based artist creates fascinating found-object ceramics that look a lot like a pile of media was thrown into a microwave. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. February 23–January 21, 2024

Credit: 'N O W I S W H E N W E A R E the stars'

THEATER

Beauty and the Beast

Disney does Broadway in this traveling production. Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington St., St. Paul. Now through December 31

The Little Prince

Based on the classic book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a quizzical child spins tales of intergalactic travel to a pilot whose plane has crashed in the Sahara. Thanks for keeping it weird, French philosophers. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis. December 10-February 5

King Gilgamesh & the Man of the Wild

This one-act production mashes the ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh with the real-life, present-day experiences of actor/jazz musician Ahmed Moneka. Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis. December 31-January 8, 2023

Hairspray

A sassy white teen works to desegregate a local teen dance program in the ’60s. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. January 10-15

Out There: Are we not drawn onward to new erA

Absurdist theater from Belgium’s Ontroerend Goed explores climate change. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. January 12–14

Out There: N O W I S W H E N W E A R E (the stars)

Audiences walk through an immersive set featuring total darkness, 4,000+ lights, and a soundscape created by Andrew Schneider. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. January 26–February 5

Blues for an Alabama Sky

Singles living in a Harlem apartment complex during the Depression try to figure out their lives. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis. January 28-March 12

Hello, Dolly!

Theater Latté Da presents this new take on the beloved musical about a matchmaker who finds their own match, featuring T. Mychael Rambo, Reed Sigmund, Regina Marie Williams, and Sally Wingert. Find tickets at latteda.org. The Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis. February 1 through March 9 

A Soldier’s Play

The 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning thriller by Charles Fuller returns in this 2020 Tony Award-winning revival from Roundabout Theatre Company. Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington St., St. Paul. February 8-12

Potted Potter

This parody production fearlessly does what J.K. Rowling’s editor and Warner Bros. couldn’t: Condense the series into a palatable 70 minutes. Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. February 10-26

Sugar in Our Wounds

This drama explores queer black love on a southern plantation the eve of emancipation. Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul. February 14-March 12

To Kill a Mockingbird

Aaron Sorkin, noted writer/director of 2021’s Being the Ricardos, presents this adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. February 14-19

Out There: Ogresse: Envisioned

Using large-scale, projected imagery Grammy Award-winning Cécile McLorin Salvant presents this fairytale exploring gender, power, body shapes, and more. Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis. February 24–25

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

This is your chance to find out what love really has got do with it. (Also, Tina Turner is an iconic bad-ass.) Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. March 1-12

Born With Teeth

Fancy some alternative history? Kit Marlowe and William Shakespeare secretly meet in a backroom of a pub to write a play together, flirt, and protest the totalitarian regime (of Elizabeth I?!). Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis. March 4-April 2

The Song Poet

Author Kao Kalia Yang’s shares her family’s experiences living in a Laos refugee camp and, eventually, traveling to America. This work is the first Hmong story adapted for the operatic stage. Presented by Theater Mu. Luminary Arts Center (formerly the Lab), 700 First N. St., Minneapolis. March 9-26

5

Co-produced by Trademark Theater, this play follows two friends who debate/fight/ponder whether or not to sell their convenience store, and how that would impact their neighborhood. Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis. March 11-April 16

Credit: Mike Lester
Newly mulleted.

COMEDY

Paula Poundstone 

Your Wait, Wait-loving parents would accept this as an early X-mas gift. $36.50-$57.50. 7 p.m. Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; find more info here. December 10

Mike Lester 

Lester has been prowling Twin Cities stages since he was a teen. The recently mulleted comic keeps getting better. $18. Acme Comedy Co., 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; find more info here. December 22-23

Josh Gondelman 

This Boston comedian is a veteran of TV writer rooms (Desus & Mero, Last Week Tonight) and standup (Conan, Seth Meyers), and he’s a reliably funny/cheerful Twitter follow. $20-$27. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. December 27

Geoff Asmus 

The raunchy, hilarious, locally launched comic bills himself as “The Only Funny White Man.” Over the past year he’s started blowing up on TikTok and Instagram, making this something of an adoptive ex-hometown victory lap. $15. Comedy Corner Underground, 1501 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. December 30-31

Lizz Winstead 

The Daily Show co-creator returns for her feminist comedy purge of the year that was. This year’s theme: “Bad Men (And Some Crappy Women).” $50-$75. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis; find more info here. December 30-31

Taylor Tomlinson 

Tomlinson gets real about bipolar disorder in her latest Netflix special, this year’s excellent Look At You. $29.75-$69.75. Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. January 18-20

Raanan Hershberg 

Just this month esteemed NYT comedy critic Jason Zinoman named Hershberg’s YouTube special, Jokes From the Underground, one of the year’s best. $22. Acme Comedy Co., 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; find more info here. January 18-21

James Adomian 

A master impressionist and true comrade, Adomian has perfected his Jesse Ventura. $22. Acme Comedy Co., 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; find more info here. February 1-4

TruAnon Live

This terrific podcast approaches everything conspiracy-adjacent from a leftist perspective, while rarely wading into tinfoil-hat territory. Co-host Brace Belden is funnier than most standups. $25-$40. Fine Line, 318 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. February 17

Credit: Trixie and Katya, on tour

Trixie and Katya Live

Your favorite queens from YouTube shows like Uhhhhhh and I Like to Watch are coming to town. State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. February 22

Bert Kreischer 

Who knew the party boy comic from Florida was big enough to pack an arena? $35-$350. Target Center, 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. February 25

Sam Morril 

We asked Taylor Tomlinson’s ex-boyfriend via text, which he solicits via Instagram, to pitch folks on why they should see his razor-sharp set at Pantages. Haven’t heard back yet, but yeah, you should go. $34-$44. Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. March 4

Stavros Halkias 

Demand for the devilishly funny erstwhile co-host of Cum Town appears quite high; these babies are almost sold out. $38.85. Thu.-Sat. Acme Comedy Co., 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; find more info here. March 9-11

Katt Williams 

At 51, this silky-smooth comic has established a resume worthy of the stand-up comedy Hall of Fame which, I just remembered, recently became an actual thing. $59-$250. Target Center, 600 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here. March 11