Weekend Best Bets: December 4-6


Paisley Ballet

WHAT: Nutcracker (not so) Suite Opening Night
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Cowles Center
The James Sewell Ballet puts a psychedelic spin on the already dizzy story of toys coming to life by placing it in 1960s New York. The main character’s trip from the Upper East Side to the downtown world of the Beatniks is accompanied by a mix of hip-hop, R&B, and Christmas carols. Of the Nutcrackers being performed this season, this is the most experimental. It’s kid-friendly, but the show turns into a “naughty nutcracker” for two performances on Dec. 11 and 19. You can buy tickets and check out pictures of performers in costume at Cowles Center.

The Usual Suspects

WHAT: New Standards Holiday Show
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: State Theater
What do you get when chart-topping rockers put down their synths and distortion pedals to form a jazz trio? The New Standards. Composed of members borrowed from the Suburbs, Semisonic, and Texas rockers Billy Goat, their annual holiday show has become one of the must-see events of the season. Tickets and more info at Hennepin Theater Trust.


Day Trip to Sonoma

WHAT: Christmas & California Classic Wine Tasting
WHEN: 3 p.m.
WHERE: Wine Republic
Wine Republic is opening 20 different wines from California, with a special emphasis on new-to-the-market wineries. The list was put together by Master Buyer Patti Judalena, who works closely with the vintners. Be sure to check out the Bonny Dune Cigar Volant and the Beaucanon Estate Cabernet Franc, though Judalena would like to remind aspiring sommeliers that merlots need love, too. A full wine list is available at Wine Republic.

From Russia

WHAT: Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
”‹WHEN: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
WHERE: Orpheum Theater
The Moscow Ballet is in town performing a very lush interpretation of this holiday classic. Their spectacular production uses hand-painted backdrops, 40 dancers and more than 200 costumes. Of the Nutcrackers being performed in the Twin Cities this season, this is one of the most traditional, grounded in the Russian culture with a Moscow setting and characters straight out of Russian folklore. Tickets and more info at Hennepin Theater Trust.


Winter Greens

WHAT: Linden Hills Farmers Market
WHEN: 9 a.m.
WHERE: Sunnyside Gardens
A farmers’ market in December? In Minneapolis? Stroll through the heated greenhouses of Sunnyside Gardens, perusing a variety of crafts, from alpaca wool to handmade candles. Sleet, snow, or sunshine, the market is open, so plan on a hot coffee and some fresh egg rolls. A couple farmers are even peddling their winter crops—brussels sprouts, squash, pumpkins, duck eggs, bacon, and more. More info at Linden Hills Farmers Market.

Snow and Cardio

WHAT: Freewheel Winterbike Expo
”‹WHEN: 9 a.m.
WHERE: Freewheel Bike
If you love winter biking, this is an opportunity to geek out over the latest gear and meet other enthusiasts. If you are just interested in a way to stay fit this winter, this is a safe space for newbies. Watch a fat-bike demonstration, choose a new winter bike, or learn everything you need to winterize the bike you already own. The expo is a chance to get introduced to the MPS cycling community, a friendly and close-knit group who encourage you to bring drinks or snacks to share. More info at Winterbike Expo.