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The Agenda

What you need to do, see, and hear in December

The Agenda
Photo by Park Square Theatre

Theater

Words By… Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook • Ira was the lesser-known Gershwin brother, but his impact on American music amply deserves this turn in the spotlight. Ivey Award winner Joseph Vass’s show blends the master lyricist’s collaborations with iconic composers Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill (among others including, of course, brother George) with spoken tales of his life to explore several stories in the Tower of Song.  • 11/29–12/29, parksquaretheatre.org
 

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All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 •  Songs and words (presented by Theater Latté Da) combine to tell the true story of an astounding temporary truce on the Western Front during World War I, in what is becoming a profound local holiday tradition celebrating peace and hope. • December 19–22, hennepintheatretrust.org
 

The Bad Plus
Photo by Cameron Wittig

Music

The Bad Plus • Jazz bad boys break down barriers, be they walls between highbrow and lowdown or avant-garde and populist—and The Bad Plus has never been known for an unquestioning respect for boundaries. On the heels of releasing their eighth studio album (Made Possible), the restless trio returns to the Dakota for an annual appearance with a twist: In addition to anticipated originals and deconstructions, the Bad ones will tackle Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on December 29, offering up the local premiere of their take on the previous century’s pagan panorama. Now that’s a winter blast.  • 12/26–29, dakotacooks.com
 

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Keri Noble’s A Very Special Christmas • The local songstress and radio host croons holiday tunes. • 12/18–19, chanhassentheatres.com
 

Film

2013 British Arrows Awards • We’re all complicit these days in the process by which things are sold to us (how meta), watching the Super Bowl for the national clever-ads sweepstakes and parsing movie previews like would-be studio execs. Well, why fight it—there’s good reason why this one is such a crowd pleaser. These awards recognize the best of British television, online, outdoor, and cinema commercials—check out the online promos that tease everything from Channel 4’s inspiring Paralympics coverage to IKEA’s left-field, weirdo, life-sized plushies. Something’s sure to tickle your eye. • 12/5–1/6, walkerart.org
 

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White Christmas • What’s the holiday season without a little Bing Crosby? • 12/7–8, heightstheater.com
 

Dance

Kate Weare Company • A reviewer once noted that Kate Weare’s choreography summons “intimacy that combines practiced worldliness with bursts of innocence,” which nicely sums up the sensual yet heady world she’s known to evoke. The Women of Substance show, featuring the 2011 hit Garden as well as excerpts from the brand new Dark Lark, should paint the human canvas with sensual complexity. Here, four dancers on a stunning set explore the reality of human frailty. • 12/5, northrop.umn.edu
 

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Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy • 150 artists create a Christmas classic. • 12/20–23, hennepintheatretrust.org

HIJACK at 20 • HIJACK (Minnesota’s Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder) celebrate 20 years of dance innovation. • 12/5–7, walkerart.org
 

Say it with Snap
courtesy of Goldstein Museum

Visual Arts

Say It With Snap • Motivation ostensibly comes in all forms, and in the 1920s the Chicago-based advertising outfit Mather & Company took a stab at inspiring workers across the country via posters that offered up advice on myriad levels (“Learn to Be Your Own Boss!” “Never Neglect the Little Things”). With Zen-like economy of language (“Repeating Mistakes Ruins Our Records”) and bold, compelling graphics, these pieces open a window into the early 20th century and our historical relation between work and life. • Through 1/7, goldstein.design.umn.edu
 

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Objects from Community Engaged Art • Eight non-traditional artists show their original community work at the Third Place Gallery. • 11/30–12/1, wingyounghuie.com
 

Victorian Christmas Stories at the James J. Hill House
Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society

Events

Victorian Christmas Stories at the James J. Hill House • The Victorian era more or less invented Christmas as we know it (hello, Mr. Dickens), so this hour-long mashup of 19th-century tales (including pieces by Mark Twain and Gift of the Magi, as well as selections from A Christmas Carol) should set the mood and lend children a dose of the season’s spirit. And who better to settle in with than storytellers Kirby Bennett and Craig Johnson, luminaries of the Twin Cities theater scene? Set in the always-gorgeous James J. Hill house. • 12/15, mnhs.org
 

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Sleigh Ride in Pine Point Park • Horse-drawn sleighs in a spot as picturesque as can be. • 12/14, discoverstillwater.com

Holiday Lights Tour • Prettiest (electric) bulbs in the Twin Cities. • 12/7–21, grayline.com/tours/minneapolis
 


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