January Arts and Entertainment Picks

Sister Act
Through 2/27

Sister Act Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

I’m often inclined to avail myself of a theatrical confection in the wintertime (it can’t all be Long Day’s Journey), and Chanhassen’s production of Sister Act comes armed with the extra attraction of ace double-threat actor-singer Regina Marie Williams. It’s the story of a woman who is witness to a crime and has to be hidden for her protection in a convent at holiday time. (I seem to be a rarity among folks my age, not having seen the film on which it’s based.) The music is by the creator of Beauty and the Beast and Little Shop of Horrors, no slouches themselves in the theatrical candy aisle. chanhassentheatres.com
(Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp)

The Jayhawks

The current incarnation of the Jayhawks, who are on the verge of uncorking new material recorded in Portland, is the one that recorded Sound of Lies and Rainy Day Music, easily two of the more enduring CDs from the days when everyone bought CDs. Gary Louris and Co. have also amassed one of the best songbooks in American music since the mid-80s, and their sound invariably evokes timeless voodoo whenever they descend on First Avenue—a sense of sweet alchemy spiced with flavors of hard-edged rock, Neil Young fuzz, and the keyboards and luscious voice of Karen Grotberg. They seem to have had more ups and downs than a Ferris wheel at a county fair, but when they assemble they’re easily one of the best bands to emerge from this frozen part of the world. first-avenue.com
(Photo courtesy of livepict.com)

A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder, Hennepin Theatre TrustA Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

According to the Chicago Tribune, the winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical is “about not very much at all, really,” which is part of its off kilter and subversive appeal. The proceedings concern Monty Navarro, an appealing and charismatic scamp who finds himself in line to inherit a family fortune—once he can knock off all the relatives standing between him and life on Easy Street in the British aristocracy. It’s essentially a light operetta about a serial killer having far too much fun with his tasks, like Bertie Wooster matched with Sweeney Todd’s razor. No one has made any grand claims to Gentleman’s Guide’s deep meaning or perplexing subtexts, but as a goofy bloodbath it comes well recommended. hennepintheatretrust.org
(Photo by Joan Marcus)

“Gifts of Japanese and Korean Art from the Mary Griggs Burke Collection”
Through April

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the collection St. Paul native Burke bequeathed to Mia—it’s thought to be the best private collection outside Japan itself, and when I was lucky enough to see the sheer physical magnitude of the assortment while writing a fall preview, it was truly staggering. This exhibit of more than 170 selected works spans prehistoric times to the late 19th century—Burke had exquisite taste, and this is a chance to see some of her finest acquisitions. Visit on a winter afternoon and find yourself transported across millennia. artsmia.org

Black Sabbath, Target CenterBlack Sabbath

Time has not been overly kind to the members of Black Sabbath (though, in fairness, they were never the most camera-ready bunch), but their lumbering, explosive sound has proven sturdier and more influential than most anyone might have imagined in their pseudo-satanic heyday. (I used to speed up their LPs at the record store I worked at in college and dare customers to guess what innovative thrash band they were listening to.) Indestructible madman Ozzy and his glowering bandmates say this is their last go-round on tour together and, given their contentious relations and personal proclivities, it seems safe to take them at their word. I’m looking forward to hearing if they can still (almost) literally raise hell. targetcenter.com
(Photo by Warner Bros. Records)