Weekend Best Bets: December 28-30

Friday, December 28

Back to the ’90s

WHAT: Soul Asylum, the Honeydogs, and Dead Man Winter
WHERE: First Avenue, Minneapolis
WHEN: 8 p.m.
Relive the halcyon days of a Clinton in the White House and Dave Pirner’s cameo in Reality Bites as Soul Asylum performs its breakthrough album, Grave Dancers Union, in its entirety. The Honeydogs continue the nostalgia fest. Learn more at first-avenue.com

Friday, December 28

From Nashville, With Love

WHAT: Michael Johnson
WHERE: Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
WHEN: 8 p.m.
Michael Johnson began his career as a sweet-voiced folkie in the late 1960s, joining John Denver in the last incarnation of the Chad Mitchell Trio. Then he racked up some big hits with a country lilt, but despite living in Nashville for decades, he stayed closer to a James Taylor sound than anything like contemporary country. Now he’s moved to Minnesota, and this concert celebrates his smooth new album. Learn more at thecedar.org

Saturday, December 29

Goodbye to All That

WHAT: Lizz Winstead
WHERE: Parkway Theater, Minneapolis
WHEN: 7 p.m.
Lizz Winstead, the comedian and co-creator of The Daily Show, puts 2012 into painfully funny perspective during her three-night stint at Parkway Thetaer. In her take-no-prisoners style (not so different from that of Jon Stewart), she takes aim at the characters and caricatures that roamed the American landscape, from Todd Aiken to Mitt Romney, with a lot of love reserved for Chris Kluwe, the punter who, in her words, “stuck it to the man (so to speak).” Learn more at theparkwaytheater.com

Saturday, December 29

Feel the Love

WHAT: Absolutely Cuckoo: Minnesota Covers the 69 Love Songs
WHERE: First Avenue, Minneapolis
WHEN: 6 p.m.
The Magnetic Fields’ seminal album, ahem, 69 Love Songs, is a cult classic and nowhere is the cult stronger than among musicians. Here, literally dozens of Minnesota bands, from the Roe Family Singers to Mayda to Martin Devaney to Dan Israel, will cover every quirky song in the magnum opus. Learn more at first-avenue.com

Sunday, December 30

Get Your Jolly On

WHAT: Elf: The Broadway Musical
WHERE: Ordway Center for Performing Arts, St. Paul
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
This is your last chance to live the Will Ferrell-induced magic of the hit movie with a similarly hyperactive cast, dancers who couldn’t possibly kick higher, and musical numbers that all sound like a grand finale (kid actor Connor Barth, who plays Michael, has a voice that makes you want to give everything he sings a standing ovation). The musical team behind the Broadway show similarly transitioned The Wedding Singer from screen to stage, and probably didn’t need to work so hard here, as the charm is in the story itself: an oversize elf, loose in NYC, discovers he’s a human and, while searching out his family, ends up saving Christmas instead. Learn more at ordway.org

Sunday, December 30

A Holiday Encore

WHAT: Miracle On Christmas Lake II
WHERE: Yellow Tree Theatre, Osseo
WHEN: 2 p.m.
You can almost smell the lutefisk in this sequel to Yellow Tree’s seasonal sleeper hit of a few years back. In its warm-hearted storyline—the eminently Minnesotan town of Christmas Lake is threatened with annexation—there’s a homegrown sensibility and for good reason: it was written, just like the first play, by the theater’s cofounder, Jessica Lind. Tonight is the final show. Learn more at yellowtreetheatre.com

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