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Holiday Lights, Festivus Parties, Classic Films: This Week’s Best Events

Gaze upon the last Event Horizon of 2023.

Darin Kamnetz|

Celebrate Festivus with Super Thunder Frog at Fine Line.

Welcome to Event Horizon, your weekly roundup of the best events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond. This is the last edition of 2023, as we take the holidays off here, so we’ve included some extra festive happenings. Cheers!

Holiday LIghts on York

MONDAY 12.18

Holiday Lights on York Avenue

Schultz Family Residence

Don’t waste your time seeking out neighborhood Christmas decorations. Save gas and head over to a sure thing: Holiday Lights on York Avenue. Here you’ll find a choir of holiday cheer on a festive family’s lawn, with glowing Snoopys, Santas, angels, elves, and a countdown to Christmas. It’s not just one neighbor, though. From the looks of photos posted online, most of the street gets into celebrating the holidays with feats of electrical magic. In all, you’ll be treated to 90,000 lights, twinkling in time to the holiday tunes blasting from 91.5 FM. Best of all, this drive-by-and-gawk experience is free; but be sure to bring a few canned goods to donate to the Merrick Food Shelf. Find more info online. 5-10 p.m. daily. 1526 York Ave., St. Paul. Through December 31—Jessica Armbruster

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. 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

TUESDAY 12.19

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

Chilling!

WEDNESDAY 12.20

Trash Film Debauchery: Elves

Trylon Cinema

It’s a classic tale told around the yule log for generations: A bunch of dick-loving, Christmas-hating ladies spill blood on the forest ground during a pagan ritual (as one does), awakening an evil elf that’s been genetically modified by Nazis. He’s looking to mate in order to create a super race of… crappy elves? Oh no! Can an ex-alcoholic, ex-detective, chain-smoking homeless mall Santa (Dan Haggerty) save the day? It’s gotten some okay’ish reviews since its release in 1989: "It’s hard to dread seeing the elf if it’s not even potentially frightening,” writes critic Ryne Barber at horrornews.net. Meanwhile, Oh, the Horror! critic Brett Gallman calls Elves “completely harmless.” Sounds legit! $5. 7 p.m. 2820 E. 33rd St., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jessica Armbruster

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

THURSDAY 12.21

Winter Solstice Flight Night

Indeed Brewing Company

It’s the darkest day of the year—why not celebrate with some dark beers? Indeed will be serving up flights of four dark infusions: ​​Cherry Schwarzbier, Cinnamon & Pecan Tmavý, Coconut Macaroon Moondance Oatmeal Stout, and Chocolate & Vanilla Stir Crazy Porter. (If you can’t make it, the remaining beer will rotate on one tapline until they’re gone.) And remember, folks: The days get longer from here on out! Free. 3-11 p.m. 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.—Em Cassel

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

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

Chloe Radcliffe Promo pic

FRIDAY 12.22

Chloe Radcliffe

Comedy Corner Underground

It’s easy to root for Chloe Radcliffe. Conan O’Brien and Thrillist began teasing her as a comic to watch around 2018, and in 2020 she landed a job on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show writing staff. For local comics who slugged it out with Radcliffe on Comedy Corner Underground’s basement stage, this felt like a victory for the scene. Radcliffe is a breezy, charming storyteller who lands big laughs throughout her slice-of-life bits, all delivered with a Minnesota accent that must sound downright exotic in her new home of New York City. The locally launched stand-up talks about her occasionally viral birthmark “too much… or, just enough? Whatever’s correct.” $17.80. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 10 p.m. Sat. 1501 S. Washington Ave., Minneapolis; find more info here.—Jay Boller

Winter Lights 

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

It’s no Matt Birk’s house, but we think you’ll find Winter Lights at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum just a little more charming than the 10,000-watt Jesus on display in Mendota Heights. You’re free to wander the walking tour route at your own pace, and new this year, there’s a color-changing tunnel, a Winter Village on Scarecrow Hill, and a field of sunflowers—all, the arboretum promises, with more lights than ever before. $10-$15 members; $25-$30 non-members; $10 for ages 15 and younger. 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sun., plus additional holiday dates. 3685 Arboretum Dr., Chaska; find more info here. Through December 31—Em Cassel

Fair State Festivus Promo Art

SATURDAY 12.23

Festivus

Fine Line + Fair State Brewing Cooperative

A Festivus for the rest of us! At the Fine Line, that means tunes from Mae Simpson, Big Delicious, and 120 Minutes; feats of strength from F1rst Wrestling’s Super Atomic Thunder Frog and Brandon Gore; and the airing of grievances hosted by Dru Nustad. Meanwhile, Fair State’s Festivus celebration also features feats of strength and the airing of grievances—you can sign up here to participate before the 23rd and score a free beer. They’ll also have a Festivus pole and the opportunity to snap pole-aroids with it. Don’t worry: Both venues promise no tinsel. Fine Line’s Festivus: 18+. $15-$30. 7:30 p.m. 324 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; tickets and more info here. Fair State’s Festivus: Free. 7-10 p.m. 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis.—Em Cassel

Beer Brûlée'd

Indeed Brewing Co.

Toasted marshmallows are delicious. But what if you could do the same thing—hear me out!—with beer? You can find out what happens this weekend at Beer Brûlée. Beer poking, or, as the Germans affectionately call it, bierstacheln, is a 400-something-years-old tradition of taking a pint of (preferably dark and malty) brew and introducing it to the business end of a fireplace poker. The searing heat caramelizes the sugars, turning the beverage into a warm, even maltier drink with a softer, fluffy texture. You might love it or it might not be your thing, but for beer adventurists it’s something that should be tried at least once. Free. 4:30-6:30 p.m. 711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.—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. 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

Rosalux's "Open Door"Bill Nagel, 'The Eclipse'

ONGOING

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

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

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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