This week's top events include a Christmas bake sale, a Santa crawl with drunk wrapping paper competitions, and an epic Star Wars dance party.
Acme Comedy Co.
For years he was most widely known as a comedian who sang funny songs, but these days Henry Phillips is concentrating on writing relatable jokes and creating two different video series, Henry’s Kitchen and You and Your Fu*king Coffee. Songs are still a big part of his act, though. “There are a couple of new ones I’ve added to my set, and I’ve done some on radio shows within the last year.” Older tunes receive the occasional update, like “Oops.” The premise is still relevant, but things have changed. “I think at the time I wrote that the big story was the BP oil spill,” he explains. “It’s like, ‘Hey if you mess up, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on.’ It’s a positive message.” In the past few years, he’s rotated in verses about reading the wrong name at the Oscars and losing an entire Malaysian airliner. 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson
I AM MPLS!
Through fashion, culture, and music, I AM MPLS! aims to highlight beautiful things and the people who make the Twin Cities scene hum. Curating the show this year are journalist/photographer duo Maya Clark and Pierre Ware, cofounders of the high-fashion online publication Culture Piece Magazine. They’ll bring together an all-POC lineup of models and creatives. Among the local-business pop-ups will be health and beauty subscription box the Hues Company, African clothing makers Ruva Designs, and Ice Cream Bow Ties, which was founded by Aniki Allen when he was just nine years old. There will be great music, including Dwynell Rolland and Destiny Roberts, a comedic performance by Bruce Leroy Williams, and a photobooth hosted by Selfie and Co. This year’s happening is also presented by Be the Match. Find tickets at iammpls.com. 6 to 11:30 p.m. $20; $50 VIP. 300 Second, St. SE, Minneapolis. —Sheila Regan
City Pages Cocktailian
The Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel
City Pages wants to get you lit. Now in its fourth year, Cocktailian brings local and national distilleries together for an evening of generous booze samples. If whiskey neat and small vodka shots aren’t your thing, there will be mixed drinks to try as well; the menu includes a pineapple gin fizz, an aquavit daiquiri, a rye blinker (a Prohibition-era favorite made with grapefruit juice), a vodka gimlet, and intriguingly quirky drinks named Midcilantro Night’s Dream and the Wiscosmopolitan. Restaurants such as Red Stag, Pinstripes, the Bird Rocks, and Hip Pop Gourmet Popcorn will also be on hand serving up tasty eats like spiced rum-soaked vanilla pound cake, chicken and goat-cheese pasta, macarons, ravioli pizza, and salt cod brandade. Other fun to be had includes mixology demonstrations from Bittercube, live music from JT Bates, and henna tattooing. Find tickets at cocktailian.citypages.com. 21+. 7 to 10 p.m.; 6 p.m. VIP. $30-$35; $50-$55 VIP. 225 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-375-1700. —Jessica Armbruster
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
The Ordway is offering a revitalizing boost of positivity with Annie. Adapted from Harold Gray’s classic Little Orphan Annie comic strips of the 1920s, the musical follows the iconic title character, an inveterate dreamer who refuses to relinquish her hopes for a better life outside the grim confines of the Municipal Girls Orphanage. Through a fateful fluke, Annie is chosen to spend the holidays at the palatial home of billionaire Oliver Warbucks, an entrepreneur whose reluctance to take on a paternal role evaporates under Annie’s kindhearted charm. Under the direction of Austene Van, this original production from the Ordway will alternate Carly Gendell and Lillian Hochman in the lead with support from an impressive cast of Twin Cities performers. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Fridays; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. $47-$121.50. 345 Washington St., St. Paul; 651-224-4222. Through December 31 —Brad Richason
Nick Offerman: Full Bush
Much like Ron Swanson, the staunch libertarian he so memorably portrayed on Parks & Recreation, Nick Offerman is an unflagging proponent of personal integrity, dogged self-reliance, and painstaking craftsmanship (especially in the field of woodworking). Differing from his most renowned role, however, Offerman has demonstrated a penchant for expressing the kind of unabashedly positive sentiments that are more characteristic of motivational speakers than off-the-grid survivalists. Offerman doesn’t liken himself to a comedian; he’s more of a humorist with witty musings on the human condition and folksy anecdotes on the importance of having close connections to counter emotional detachment. Whether discussing the pursuit of hirsute perfection or delving into the dangers of technological dependence, Offerman eschews negative rants in favor of a faith that human nature will always revert to its better self. Offerman performances can be likened to an extended monologue from a rugged sage who may be on a personal journey, but clearly values the camaraderie created along the way. 8 p.m. $39.50-$59.50. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. —Brad Richason
Kulture Klub Collaborative 25th Anniversary Celebration
Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge
For 25 years, Kulture Klub Collaborative has been helping homeless youth find their artistic voices. The organization pairs local artists with teens and young adults at YouthLink, a crisis drop-in center in downtown Minneapolis. Kulture Klub also hosts workshops and open mics to help nurture creative expression. The program has been so successful that many young people who go through the program end up having careers in the arts. To celebrate 25 years, the nonprofit will throw a party featuring former teaching artists and alumni. Taking the stage will be ZULUZULUU, Lady Midnight, and BatMN. DJ Mickey Breeze will play sets between acts. 21+. 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. $10/$13 at the door. 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis; 612-345-7166. —Sheila Regan
A Very Die Hard Christmas
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater
There are three things you can count on every holiday season: an onslaught of ugly sweater party invites, crippling anxiety about family get-togethers, and John McClane. For the sixth consecutive year, A Very Die Hard Christmas returns to Bryant-Lake Bowl for a yuletide run of shows featuring singing, dancing, and blood. The play provides a faithful yet extremely tongue-in-cheek retelling of Die Hard, long considered the greatest Christmas movie ever made (mostly by Bruce Willis enthusiasts and Bruce Willis himself). The BLB production includes nods to iconic Christmas specials, and the show’s producer and star, Josh Carson, has managed to keep things fresh year after year with new jokes and guest stars. Whether you love or despise the holidays, this blood-soaked Christmas spectacle is the perfect way to show your yuletide spirit. Yippee ki-yay, Father Christmas. 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. $15/$18 at the door. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-825-3737. Through December 23 —Patrick Strait
Prince from Minneapolis
Weisman Art Museum
Prince continues to fascinate not just music lovers, but also scholars of popular culture, sexuality, and African-American culture. Having curated and presented an exhibition and symposium devoted to the influences of Bruce Springsteen back in 2004, the Weisman Art Museum now turns its sights closer to home with a show and international conference (in April) that examines Prince’s relationship to Minneapolis and Minnesota. The exhibition showcases, in one gallery, stunning images by local photographers Allen Beaulieu, Nancy Bundt, Terry Gydesen, and Robert Whitman, who trained their lenses on the Purple One as he was establishing his look, his sound, and his identity. In other galleries are works ranging from the bizarre and the quotidian, including art dolls of Prince in various settings, seed artist Lillian Colton’s portrait of Prince, glassworks, a bicycle, and a mural—all Prince-related. Meanwhile, the symposium will pose and answer such burning questions as: What were the demographic, cultural, and economic conditions that gave rise to Prince? How did he develop his sound in a predominantly white state? Did he reinvent the aesthetics and politics of blackness? How about notions of black male sexuality? Perhaps we’ll never know. There will be a preview party from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, December 8. Tickets for the reception are $25. 333 E. River Rd., Minneapolis; 612-625-9494. Through June 17, 2018 —Camille LeFevre
LEGO Fan Expo
This show is the perfect time to channel your inner kiddo and see the best in LEGO building. The Fan Expo has received buzz over plans for First Avenue and Nye’s Polonaise Room designs, and other works will be contributed as well from Brickmania, Greater Midwest LEGO Train Club, Twin Cities LEGO Train Club, TwinLUG, and Jesse’s Brick Galaxy. You’ll be able to check out the Guinness Book of World Records’ largest K’Next Ball Contraption, made from 80,000 pieces. The expo takes place every weekend through January 7, giving you plenty of time to nerd out appropriately. This will be the last time that Brickmania Toyworks will host an event northeast Minneapolis’ Thorp Building, which means if you miss it you’ll have to go play with LEGOs at the Mall of America like a goddamn n00b. Tickets and more info can be found at www.brickmania.com/toyworks. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. $8-$10. 1620 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-545-5263. Through January 7, 2018 —Patrick Strait
The Cantina Strikes Back: A Star Wars Dance Party
We are mere days away from the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. To work off those pre-viewing jitters, consider dancing it out at First Avenue’s celebration. The venue will be teaming up with Transmission’s Jake Rudh for a dance party from a galaxy far far away. Costumes are encouraged, so pop on your Princess Leia earmuffs or your Wookiee-style fake fur coat and hit the dance floor with droids, Hutts, and Ewoks getting down to sci-fi-flavored pop tunes, R&B, rock anthems, and more from the ’70s and beyond. The 501st Legion of the Central Garrison will be showing up for photos and other fun, and videos will be projected on the wall. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Toys for Tots. 18+. 9 p.m. $10/$12 at the door. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. —Jessica Armbruster
St. Paul Santa Crawl
This Saturday Santas, reindeer, and folks in ugly sweaters will convene in St. Paul to drink and be merry. Seven bars and restaurants will be opening their doors—and hearts—to the Christmas spirit, offering activities and games. They’ll include karaoke, a drunk gift-wrapping challenge, a costume contest, ornament making, and a DJ dance party. Be sure to stop by the puppy kissing booth. A free bus will serve as your sleigh, taking you to spots like Gabe’s by the Park, Billy’s on Grand, Eagle Street Grille, and Shamrock’s. Proceeds from the event will benefit Toys for Tots, and you can score a free drink when you bring along a new unwrapped toy donation. If you’re ordering online, you can pick your wristband up at Ragstock and receive 20 percent off your shopping that day, or stop by O’Gara’s (164 Snelling Ave., St. Paul) the night of the happening to purchase tickets. 21+. 5 p.m. to midnight. $20-$25. Find more details at www.stpaulsantacrawl.com. —Jessica Armbruster
5th Annual Holiday Bake Sale
Last weekend, the Union Depot opened its European Holiday Market. This weekend, the sugar content amps up with the always popular Holiday Bake Sale. During the day, revelers will be able to indulge their sweet tooths, sampling and shopping from local bakeries and candy makers such as North Mallow, Nikkolette’s Macarons, Cookie Cart, T-Rex Cookie Company, the Buttered Tin, Black Dog Cafe, and Mademoiselle Miel. There will be demonstrations and workshops offering lessons in making sugar- and gluten-free sweets, Russian tea cakes, and holiday breads. The Germanic American Institute will host a cake walk where competitors can win tortes and other treats to take home. Proceeds from the event will benefit Neighborhood House, an organization that offers a wide range of free services—health screenings, education, kids’ programs—helping folks in need get back on their feet. Find tickets and more info at www.uniondepot.org/bakesale. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $5-$10; seniors and kids under 12 free. 214 E. Fourth St., St. Paul; 651-202-2700. —Jessica Armbruster
88: Hachi Hachi
Park Square Theatre
TaikoArts Midwest is the reigning entity for learning, performing, and building community around taiko, the Japanese word for drum and the modern style of playing these drums. Blending movement with pulse-pounding, dynamic drumming, the group’s work takes a slight turn by presenting 88: Hachi Hachi. The 60-minute performance is a duet showcasing the co-directors of Portland’s professional taiko company, UNIT SOUZOU. Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe weave storytelling, music, theater, choreography, and drumming into the piece as they explore their relationship as two people who are Japanese and Japanese-American, man and woman, husband and wife. Now eight years married (hence the 88) and “hachi hachi” (a.k.a. “head to head”) on their life and work partnership, the two have created a singular performative language that bridges their two cultures. For tickets, go to taikoartsmidwest.ticketspice.com/hachi-hachi. 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $15-$25. 20 W. Seventh Pl., St. Paul; 651-291-7005. Through Sunday —Camille LeFevre
Naked Girls Reading Present: ’Tis the Season
Camp Bar Twin Cities
Beauty and brains mingle at this holiday-themed literary event for the erotically inclined. Founded by burlesque duo Michelle L’amour and Franky Vivid, Naked Girls Reading launched in 2009 as a way to bring a little va-va-voom to the world of literature. As you might guess, the event features burlesque performers bringing voluptuousness to their interpretations of poetry and prose, proving once and for all that there is nothing square about literature. The holiday event features not just Christmas readings, but a whole array of cultural traditions. So whatever you’re celebrating this year, come on down for some great entertainment and inspired words from barely clad showgirls. Find tickets via brownpapertickets.com. 6 p.m. $15/$20 at the door. 490 N. Robert St., St. Paul; 651-292-1844. —Sheila Regan
Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log
Kevin Kling knows how to weave a good yarn. This Monday at the Guthrie, he will take the holiday season as his muse, telling stories that are bizarre, snowy, heartwarming, and distinctly Minnesotan. The one-man, one-night-only show has become a tradition of sorts for many in town, sort of like a gentler version of David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice storytelling sessions. After the show, Kling will be on hand to sign books and chat. 7:30 p.m. $23-$28. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612-377-2224. —Jessica Armbruster
- Joy to the World: Shá Cage energizes audiences with holiday spirit in 'Khephra'
- Arts blogger the Jealous Curator on creative breakthroughs, envy, and Rosalux's group show
- Allen Echo preps for the apocalypse in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos
- Al's after dark: Is Al's Breakfast worth a visit at midnight?