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SantaCon in Lowertown, Union Depot's bake sale, tap takeovers: A-List 12.11-12.15

SantaCon XII

SantaCon XII Image courtesy event organizers

Check out all the great events happening this week.

WEDNESDAY 12.11

Jackie Kashian
Acme Comedy Co.

Jackie Kashian is working on a new album, but it’s taking a little longer than usual. That’s because in addition to headlining clubs across the U.S., she’s been featuring for the likes of Brian Regan and Maria Bamford. “I need to do long sets to be able to put it together so it has an arc,” she explains. “I do 25-minute sets in front of Brian and Maria, and I get to see their long sets—which are amazing, of course.” At Acme, she’ll get to do her full set plus a new chunk of material. Opening for Regan and Bamford has forced her to work on new material; both comics like to hear new stuff, as they normally don’t get to see much standup apart from their own. Among other things Kashian is talking about these days is gender. “I’m a she/her,” she says, “but there are more genders, and science has always known that there are more genders. But they never told us because they didn’t think we could handle it—and they were not entirely wrong. But we can figure it out.” 18+. 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $20. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Split Rock, rendered in sugar form

Split Rock, rendered in sugar form Coppersmith Photography

THURSDAY 12.12

5th Annual Gingerbread Wonderland
Norway House

Each winter, the Norway House creates an entire exhibition made out of sugar, butter, more sugar, elbow grease, and sugar. To create this candyland, folks of all ages and skill sets are invited to bring in a handmade structure to display, thus creating a community. The results this year are pretty sweet, and include iconic Twin Cities structures as well as pieces of pure imagination. Folks should instantly recognize the St. Paul Cathedral, complete with a gorgeous stained glass window and an inspired use of Hershey’s Hugs. An incredibly detailed gingerbread Glensheen Mansion boasts clear windows lit from within. Award-winning kids’ creations include an ode to Back to the Future and a super-cool piece that features an icehouse on a lake with views of the creatures below. Be wowed, and pick up some ideas for your own projects this season. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. $5. 913 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-871-2211. Through January 5 —Jessica Armbruster

Jessica Kirson
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

“I was funny kid, but I wasn’t a fan of standup comedy,” says comic Jessica Kirson. “I was a big fan of Saturday Night Live, as well as Carol Burnett. I was just never exposed to standup. I think I would have liked it.” It was at the behest of her grandmother that she finally tried it. After taking a class, Kirson took the plunge. Her years of watching SNL and The Carol Burnett Show informed her comedy almost from the start. “I wound up doing more characters, being sillier, and taking more risks than if I’d just told jokes.” Besides doing standup, she’s a frequent contributor to the Howard Stern Show, where she not only writes with the host’s staff but calls in as various characters. Over the years, her style has developed into quite an eclectic presentation. “I still incorporate a lot of characters into my show,” she notes. “My style is basically a mix of things. I do straight standup, I talk to myself with my back to the audience, I do crowd work. I can be dry, I can be crazy. It all depends on the vibe in the room and what’s going on, but it’s all the kinds of things that make me laugh.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $16. 408 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Eastlake celebrates five years.

Eastlake celebrates five years. David Joles

FRIDAY 12.13

Five Year Party at Eastlake
Eastlake Craft Brewery

 

The Midtown Global Market is bigger than the sum of its many parts. So it’s only fitting that its resident brewery, Eastlake, is celebrating five years with a party that will stretch beyond its space to include neighbors Manny’s Tortas and Taco Cat. For the brewery’s anniversary, the wintertime Tsathoggua imperial stout is set to return. The beer, named after a toad-like god from Lovecraft lore, is aged in American oak and Spanish brandy barrels. You’ll be able to try it at the party, as well as another variety aged in a port barrel. A new sour red ale, aged in a wine barrel, will also be on tap. There will be live screen-printing onsite, plus music from folk-rockers Wailing Loons and country group Pleasure Horse. While Friday night is the big party, the brewery is up to something special every night December 9-15. Grab a Tsathoggua on Wednesday, join the festivities on Friday, and return on Sunday night for a vegan meat raffle. 6 to 11 p.m. Free. 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-224-9713. —Loren Green

Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy
Historic State Theatre

As buoyant and hectic as a child’s holiday dream, this Minnesota Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker surges with nonstop dancing. Even the sets move, with shifting scrims, projections, and set pieces that evoke the transformative journey of young Marie Silberhaus. The story begins at a Christmas party in 19th-century Germany, and unfolds through the eyes of Marie as her godfather, Drosselmeyer, takes her on an extraordinary adventure to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. From the idiosyncratic maneuvers of Drosselmeyer’s marvelous toys—marionettes, wooden soldiers, and assorted dolls—to the battle scene where the intrepid Nutcracker defeats the wicked Rat Queen and her minions, this production captures the holiday spirit with just enough scary parts to keep the kids wide-eyed and alert. A blizzard of snowflakes sweeps Marie to a magic kingdom where dancers from many lands show their stuff and the Sugar Plum Fairy spins Marie out of her nightmare and into the land of happily ever after. All this as a 44-piece orchestra plays Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, led by conductor Philip Brunelle. 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 1 p.m. Monday, December 23. $30-$75. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-339-7007. Through December 23 —Linda Shapiro

Hoppy Holiday Maker’s Market
Urban Growler Brewing Company

Overcrowded department stores tend to spoil any potential for merriment. As a restorative antidote, gift seekers would do well to visit Urban Growler’s Hoppy Holiday Maker’s Market. Now marking its third year, the annual pop-up sets up shop in the brewery’s Barrel Room, displaying creations from over 25 local vendors. Whether buying or browsing, visitors are welcome to linger over one-of-a-kind artisanal offerings, including handcrafted trinkets, delectable confections, vintage clothing, intricately designed jewelry, eco-friendly health and body products, and original sketches, prints, and paintings. At the Maker’s Market, creativity is the most highly prized commodity. Best of all, visitors are welcome to shop with a freshly tapped ale in hand, concocted on-site by the superlative brewers at Urban Growler. 6 to 10 p.m. Free. 2325 Endicott St., St. Paul; 651-340-5793. —Brad Richason

It's bake sale time at the Union Depot.

It's bake sale time at the Union Depot. Image courtesy event organizers

SATURDAY 12.14

2019 Holiday Bake Sale
Union Depot

 

Cookie sampling is a holiday tradition for just about anyone with a sweet tooth. At the annual bake sale at the Union Depot, you can snack your way through a variety of treats without having to worry about burning something in the oven. Nearly two dozen sugar shillers will be on hand, offering delights including macarons, boozy tarts, gourmet chocolates, cupcakes, and cookies. Participating businesses include the Buttered Tin, T-Rex Cookie Company, Sara’s Tipsy Pies, and Cookie Cart, to name a few. The event is hosted inside; should you venture outdoors, you’ll discover the European Christmas Market, which opened last week. Both events are free, though food shelf donations will be collected to benefit Merrick Community Services. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. 214 E. Fourth St., St. Paul; 651-202-2700. —Jessica Armbruster

SantaCon XII
Lowertown St. Paul

SantaCon’s resounding success can be largely attributed to its emphasis on community engagement. Unlike more profit-driven enterprises, entry to SantaCon is completely free, and requires no advance registration, wristbands, or waivers. In fact, the only strongly suggested stipulation is that participants embrace the camaraderie of their fellow yuletide revelers. Attendees are encouraged to wear holiday finery, whether that be a gloriously garish Christmas sweater or an eccentric variation on the scarlet suit of old Kris Kringle. The merriment kicks off at Dark Horse Pub and Eatery with a family-friendly hour during which the more courageous kids can plead their case to Krampus, the horned demon tasked with punishing wayward children. (Juvenile miscreants can seek out Santa Lawyer, aka Emmitt Robertson, an event sponsor/practicing attorney committed to representing nonprofits.) Around 10 p.m., Christmas tunes will ring out as the Macalester College Bagpipe Band leads a jolly procession through the winter wonderland of Mears Park, before concluding at the just/us eatery, where the party will continue until close. Follow the shenanigans on Twitter at @santacon55101. 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Free. 221 Fifth St. E., St. Paul. —Brad Richason

Grilling fruit for the Smoked Peach & Apricot brew

Grilling fruit for the Smoked Peach & Apricot brew Fair State

Journeys + Sidequests Tap Takeover
Fair State Brewing Cooperative

In addition to making flagship brews for their pub, craft beer makers often take on a side project where they can get really creative and experiment. For Niko Tonks, co-founder and head brewer at Fair State, that means making a variety of weird beers for the cooperative’s monthly beer service, Journeys + Sidequests. This Saturday, he’ll be taking over his own taproom to offer a few pours of his past hits. That includes the Smoked Peach & Apricot, a mixed-fermentation sour made with grilled peaches and apricot puree. The Neapolitan Stout, a vegan brew with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, is meant to mimic the popular ice cream. Bee’s Knees is a light drink made in gin barrels with local honey added, and SuperKveik is a Norwegian farmhouse ale with elderberry and tangerine. Try them all if you’re feeling adventurous. Noon to midnight. Free. 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-444-3209. —Jessica Armbruster

If: A Very Star Wars Cabaret
The Loft Literary Center

The Loft Literary Center’s “If” series examines and celebrates speculative writing. This week, five writers will pontificate on Star Wars. The event, titled “A Very Star Wars Cabaret,” isn’t a traditional musical cabaret, though there may be interpretive dancing, possibly some sci-fi erotica, and other surprises. Mostly, it’s a geektastic reading of fan fiction, cultural criticism, and fantastical elucidations. The lineup includes some of the Twin Cities’ top nerds, including poet, playwright, and children’s book author Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay; novelist and educator Shannon Gibney; theater artist Mathew Kessen; puppeteer and prose writer Luis Lopez; and decolonial thinker/writer Jodi Byrd. 7 p.m. $5-$10; pay-as-able available. 1011 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-215-2575. —Sheila Regan

Elf
Target Field Station

Free movies in the park don’t stop just because we have a foot of snow. We do things year-round here. Holidazzle kicked off its outdoor movie series with Elf, and this weekend, Target Field Station is putting its space to good use to screen the beloved holiday flick. The family-friendly film follows grown man Buddy (Will Ferrell), who leaves the North Pole to find his human family. Raised by elves, he experiences culture shock upon traveling to New York City, and heartwarming hilarity ensues. Come dressed for the weather; blankets, hand warmers, and lawn chairs will help, as will free hot chocolate and popcorn for all. 3 to 5 p.m. Free. 1 Twins Way, Minneapolis; 952-937-0108. —Jessica Armbruster

WWE Tables and Chairs

WWE Tables and Chairs

SUNDAY 12.15

WWE Presents: Tables, Ladders & Chairs
Target Center

The last time WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs was in Minneapolis, a seven-foot demon buried a mountain man in a pile of chairs and threw him into the back of a garbage truck. The 2019 edition of the WWE’s annual celebration of furniture-based violence is sure to be a melee on the same scale. Acid-spitting heel Asuka (who made her debut at 2017’s TLC at the Target Center) will be defending her Women’s Tag Team Championship against the super-team of Charlotte and Becky Lynch, and former Vikings signee Roman Reigns will take on the obnoxious King Corbin, with both matches taking place in the event’s signature hardcore style. Also, Rusev will try to get revenge on Bobby Lashley, who has been mercilessly cuckolding the Bulgarian in one of the oddest storylines going into the pay-per-view. Someone’s getting a concussion, and you won’t want to miss it. 5:30 p.m. $28-$503. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-673-0900. —Jerard Fagerberg

Miracle at Lawless
Lawless Distilling

While many bars throw up a few decorations during the holidays, Lawless takes it to the next level, getting festive as shit. Now that winter has arrived, they’ve gone full North Pole, loading every inch of their ceilings and walls with twinkling lights, tinsel wreaths, and candy-colored ornaments. Their menu is changing to reflect the holidays, too; one whimsical concoction teased on Facebook features cotton candy in a gimlet glass. Sundays will be particularly festive, with Minneapolis Craft Market hosting the Hygge Holiday Market in the back room, where you’ll find a different variety of makers each week. 4 to 11 p.m. Sundays through Tuesdays; 4 p.m. to midnight Wednesdays through Saturdays. Free. 2619 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-276-1000. Through January 1 —Jessica Armbruster