What’s happening this week
On the radar: Ryan Olson has been a force for years in the Minneapolis music scene—he was a member of Digitata, among other groups—but this year the scene swirled around Olson like cotton candy on a stick. He created the supergroup GAYNGS, who released a nationally acclaimed album and threw one of the year’s most ridiculously fun parties, then spent the summer pursuing projects including mysterious noisemakers Marijuana Deathsquads. Olson comes out from behind his laptop for an intimate conversation (well, not quite this intimate) tonight at the Whole as part of the “Making Music” series.
Under the radar: Jack Daniel’s staff will be at Thomas Liquors on Grand Avenue in St. Paul tonight, etching bottles of the Tennesee spirit with a message of your choice. It’s a unique and classy gift idea for that person on your list who has everything but a bottle of whiskey etched with the words poopy fart penis breath.
On the radar: When it comes to family ties, the bonds of beats can be tighter than the bonds of blood. Tonight is the first of two consecutive nights you can experience the sixth annual Doomtree Blowout at First Ave.
Under the radar: St. Paul parents, keep your kids inside tonight if you want them to still believe in that Jolly Old Elf: this is the night of the Santa Pub Crawl.
On the radar: It’s a little-known fact, but there are actually quite a few people in Minnesota who are descended from the inhabitants of the distant land of Sweden. Tonight in a rare public gathering, this mysterious and elusive group celebrate the holidays with their traditional ritual involving candles, cones, and schoolchildren.
Under the radar: Unexpected delights are bound to abound at the Dance Film Festival, rolling out this week at MCAD and the Southern Theater.
On the radar: Romantica, among the Twin Cities’ most swoonable purveyors of acoustic pop, release their new LP America on vinyl tonight at the Cedar, with KaiserCartel opening.
Under the radar: You heard it here first: pancakes are the new bacon, and brunch is the new brunch. Madame, an upstart queer community art space near Powderhorn Park, is hosting a pancake fundraiser today at the brunch hour. Here’s a new one: they’re requesting not only a cash donation of $5-$20, they’d love for you to bring your own place setting, to donate to the space. Now you have an excuse to get rid of that souvenir plate Aunt Lauren brought you from Wall Drug.
On the radar: If anyone can make a show worth seeing despite the fact that it contains a character named “Rudolph the Rappin’ Reindeer,” it’s the Sounds of Blackness.
Under the radar: Playwright Kira Obolensky, armed with a new translation and a shelf of academic research, has taken on the ambitious task of adapting a cabaret originally created by prisoners in a Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust. The title: Laugh With Us. Will it be the new Scottsboro Boys? The new Life is Beautiful? Both? Neither? Find out in a reading tonight at the Playwrights’ Center.
On the radar: For 15 years, Tricky has surfed the roiling waves of hip-hop, R&B, and house music, often presenting his work in challenging theatrical contexts. It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen when he plays the Varsity tonight, but it’s a pretty safe bet that no one’s going to shout, “Freebird!”
Under the radar: Adventurous hip-hop is also the order of the evening at the Southern, which hosts triple-turntablist DJ/rupture and acoustic/electronic percussionist Ben Weaver.
On the radar: It seems like just yesterday that Mayor Rybak was thinking about stage-diving in the Mainroom, but First Avenue’s 40th anniversary year is almost over. They’re celebrating tonight with (what else?) a rock show featuring Gary Louris, Har Mar Superstar, Heiruspecs, Koerner and Glover, and many more including “special guests”—and at First Ave, “special” tends to actually mean special.
Under the radar: Who is St. Nicholas? Where did he come from? This evening at Landmark Center, you can learn the answers to those questions from the Big Man himself—unfortunately, I’m not talking about Clarence Clemons.
Daily Planet arts roundup
• Budrus: An inspirational documentary about Israel and Palestine (blog entry by Dorothy Scholtz)
• Ana’s Playground, filmed in Cedar-Riverside, advances in nomination process for Academy Awards (feature by Barb Teed)
• David Hanners: “I’ll never use Auto-Tune, no matter what the critic in Duluth says” (interview by Dwight Hobbes)
• Jenny O.: “I don’t think it’s very healthy to draw from the present all the time” (interview by Jay Gabler)
• Superchunk dig deep and pile high at First Avenue (review by Jim Brunzell III, photos by Erik Hess)
• Tony Ortiz’s Someday: Hear him, feel him (interview by Dwight Hobbes)
• You sure this is how Richie Havens got famous? Part VII: Hangin’ with heavyweights (blog entry by Dwight Hobbes)
• Commedia Beauregard’s Klingon Christmas Carol will draw hard-core Trekkers at Warp 9.985 (review by Bev Wolfe)
• Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker lives up to its name (review by Betsy Gabler)
• Miracle on Christmas Lake at Yellow Tree Theatre: Osse-awesome! (review by Bev Wolfe)
• Joking Envelope’s Super-Powered Revenge Christmas #1: Superheroes save Christmas with Minneapolis Theatre Garage logic (review by Jay Gabler)
• Local food gift ideas (blog entry by Amy Rea)
• Bartmann buys Gigi’s Cafe in Minneapolis (feature by Bruce Cochran)
• Minneapolis food desert infused with fresh produce (feature by Charles Hallman)
• Street vendor license for Sandy’s, home of the Knockout Dog (blog entry by John Hoff)
• Consumer’s role in sustainability (feature by Tom Niemisto)
• Best tweets of November (blog entry by Jay Gabler)
• Back to work (blog entry by Amy Doeun)
• Frogtown kids turn out for Shop with Cops in St. Paul (feature by Twin Cities Daily Planet staff and Boa Lee)
• Sylvia Perez Sanchez: Changemaker in Powderhorn (feature by Mollie Hoben)