'Star Wars Holiday Special,' cookies and beer, cheap holiday flicks: A-List 12.18-24

'Star Wars Holiday Special'

'Star Wars Holiday Special'

Check out all of the fun things to do this week.

Mike E. Winfield

Mike E. Winfield Image courtesy the standup


Mike E. Winfield
Acme Comedy Co.

Mike E. Winfield has such a big smile you can not only visualize it over the phone, you might even be able to picture it just by reading this piece. “There’s a lot to be joyful about,” he reports. “About two months ago my special, Stepman, was released on Amazon Prime.” He’s already seeing more people at his shows, and his calendar is filling up. “I’m also having great meetings with some bigwigs in the business.” Now, though, he needs to come up with a new hour. “I’ve always considered myself to be prolific,” he says, “so now I do have a new hour. It just needs more reps and more potency. I’m also taking different turns in standup.” Winfield used to be a set-up/punchline type of comic. “Now I’ve transitioned into stories about things that are relevant to what’s going on in my life.” Married, with one child, he hasn’t seen the increased roadwork have a negative effect on his home life. “My wife just got the floors done in our house,” he says. “She wants to get more projects done, so now she’s like, ‘What do you have coming up?’” 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $15-$20. 708 N. First St., Minneapolis; 612-338-6393. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

The 14th Annual Star Wars Holiday Special
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater

In 1978, a holiday-themed Star Wars special aired on network TV. It was so poorly received that it disappeared for nearly 30 years, only to be unearthed decades later, thanks to VHS and the internet. Modern-day fans soon discovered what went wrong: It was merely way ahead of its time. These days, we revel in crap as much as we consume “high quality” productions. So every year crowds can—and do!—appreciate this so-bad-it’s-good masterpiece at BLB. The star-studded special features a dazed Carrie Fisher, an apathetic Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill, who is looking a little... off. But the real focus here is on Chewbacca’s family, as they await news of whether or not he will make it home for the Wookiee holiday Life Day. Musical performers include Diahann Carroll, who sings a sultry tune for Chewie’s toothless dad, Itchy, and Jefferson Starship, whose lead singer really knows how to rock a phallic microphone. Bea Arthur shows up as a pissed-off intergalactic bartender, and Boba Fett makes his debut in a trippy cartoon short. Admission to each screening this Wednesday is a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to Toys for Tots. A collection of delightful Star Wars merch is often amassed at the front of the stage by the end of the evening, making this a feel-good event showcasing something great that was once believed to be terrible. 4, 7, and 10 p.m. Free with an unwrapped new toy. 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-825-3737. —Jessica Armbruster

Poets & Pints
Sisyphus Brewing

Four poets and one visual artist come together for the latest edition of Poetry & Pints, an event that asks: Isn’t poetry extra enjoyable when you’re imbibing? The series, which began in 2014, is now presented by Cracked Walnut, a group that specializes in organizing readings in traditional and non-traditional spaces throughout the Twin Cities. Sharing poetry this Wednesday will be Valérie Déus, Wang Ping, Sonia Greenfield, and Mary Kane, and you’ll be able to check out the work of visual artist Brittany Bailey. In addition to the curated readings, there will also be an open mic; signup starts at 6:30 p.m. 7 to 10 p.m. Free. 712 Ontario Ave. W., Minneapolis; 612-444-8674. —Sheila Regan

Cookie Casks and Cookies

Cookie Casks and Cookies


Cookie Casks & Cookies
Insight Brewing

Beer brings people together. So do cookies. It’s only fitting, then, that Insight Brewing has partnered with T-Rex Cookie Company to bring those two things together under one roof. At Cookie Casks & Cookies, Insight will serve three unique brews made with T-Rex cookies: a Monster Cookie Milk Stout, the Cranberry Orange One Eye, and a Snickerdoodle Banshee Cutter. T-Rex will be onsite at Insight, too, sampling and selling different varieties of their baked goods. Instead of spending the weekend in the kitchen, meet some friends, drink some beers, and come home with this year’s holiday cookies ready to be served with no extra work. 4 to 10 p.m. Free. 2821 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-722-7222. —Loren Green

Chris Franjola
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy

Many comedians long for steady TV work so they can get off the road. Chris Franjola is kind of the opposite. While he’s currently working on several TV shows as a writer, including Lights Out with David Spade, the veteran standup is itching to get up in front of more audiences across the country. “I’m doing a lot of travel-related stories and stuff about my family,” he explains. “I’m enjoying standup more than I ever have.” Politics is one thing he’s steering clear of. “I do a little on my podcast, Cover to Cover, but not in my act really,” he says. “I was doing it, but it’s a no-win situation, and I wasn’t getting big enough laughs to justify dividing half the room. It just wasn’t worth it.” Having worked on Chelsea Lately and now Spade’s show, he knows there are other areas to mine for comedy, like sports and entertainment. “The whole Lori Loughlin getting her daughter into USC was one we could all have a good time with,” he notes. 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. $16-$23. 408 E. Broadway, Mall of America, Bloomington; 952-858-8558. Through Saturday —P.F. Wilson

Christmas at the Riverview

Christmas at the Riverview Clockwise, starting in the upper left corner: 'White Christmas,' 'It's a Wonderful Life,' 'A Christmas Story,' 'Elf'

FRIDAY 12.20

Christmas at the Riverview
Riverview Theater

Every Christmas, the Riverview eschews current holiday blockbusters for a few days of classic movies. Things kick off with Elf, a film about a grown man (Will Ferrell) who was raised by elves at the North Pole. Things get more complicated when he sets out on his own in search of his biological family in New York City (4:20 p.m. daily Friday through Monday). A Christmas Story is the touching tale of Ralphie, a kid who really wants a BB gun from Santa (6:30 p.m. daily from Friday through Monday). It’s a Wonderful Life is all about appreciating what you have, and supporting people in your community (8:30 p.m. daily from Friday through Monday). Finally, White Christmas gives Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney the perfect excuse to get dressed up and perform holiday tunes (2 p.m. daily from Saturday to Monday). Admission to each screening is a mere $2, or $1 if you bring a non-perishable food donation. Items collected and a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Minnehaha Food Shelf. 3800 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-729-7369. Through Monday —Jessica Armbruster

Winter Solstice Celebration
American Swedish Institute

Marking the date during which the angle of the Earth is tilted enough to produce the longest night of the calendar year, the Winter Solstice also signifies the moment from which the amount of daily sunlight begins to steadily increase. Such an occasion calls for jubilation, as reflected by the Nordic-inspired Winter Solstice Celebration at the American Swedish Institute. Guests are welcome to stroll the grounds and take self-guided tours of the popular holiday-decorated rooms. Along the way, visitors will be serenaded by folk music with the ASI Spelmanslag and other entertainment. There will will also host family-friendly activities such as creative crafting and shadow selfies. Once outside, guests will have the chance to encounter live reindeer before settling in at a warming bonfire with gourmet s’mores and a traditional glass of glogg. 6 to 10 p.m. $5-$15 (tickets are now sold out). 2600 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-871-4907. —Brad Richason

Christmas at the Haus

Christmas at the Haus


Christmas at the Haus
Bauhaus Brew Labs

This Saturday Bauhaus celebrates Christmas, offering festivities throughout the day for folks of all ages. For the kids, Santa will be stopping by from noon to 2 p.m., sharing joy and taking any last-minute gift requests. There will also be coloring sessions for all who enjoy a calming moment with some crayons. Gerhard’s Brats will serve up eats during the day, and people who bring in a new toy to donate to families in need will score a free beer in return. Meanwhile, DJ Shane David Kramer will spin holiday hits starting at 7 p.m. Noon to 11 p.m. Free. 1315 Tyler St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-276-6911. —Jessica Armbruster

Darkest Day Celebration
Uptown Tavern & Rooftop

The sun will set at roughly 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, the shortest day of the year. That’s about seven fewer hours of daylight than the Twin Cities saw each day in June. But Uptown Tavern will have everybody seeing darkness even earlier at its annual Darkest Day of the Year party. The tap takeover officially begins at 1 p.m., with all 30 taps dedicated to dark—often quite rare—beers that are the color of midnight. Find barrel-aged locals like Surly’s Darkness, Bent’s Double Shot Double Black, and Summit’s Dark Infusion, plus exciting national beers from Toppling Goliath (Morning Delight), Firestone Walker (Anniversary XXII), Dogfish Head (World Wide Stout), the Bruery (Bakery Coconut Macaroons), and more. If flights and pints aren’t enough, the heated patio will serve bourbons from Pappy Van Winkle and the Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Antique Collection. Noon to 2 a.m. Free. 1400 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis; 612-824-3333. —Loren Green

Last call at the FOOD BUILDING

Last call at the FOOD BUILDING L-R: Bitter Buffalo, Bench Pressed, 3 Jag Designs

SUNDAY 12.22

Last Call: A Holiday Market
Food Building

Well dang. So you waited until the last minute to pick up your final gifts, and now you’re panicking. Don’t head over to Target or the Mall of America yet; you may find what you need at a far more chill event this Sunday at the Food Building. Here you can shop local wares while enjoying cocktails, beer, and more. Gift foodie friends with items from Alemar Cheese, Red Table Meat Co., and Anton Wolf’s Hot Sauce. Score points with your goth cousin with a surprise from 3 Jag Designs, which sells rad knife-shaped necklaces. Your sassy friend should dig a variety of pins from Gigi’s Flair Emporium, and you can keep your mom cozy this winter with something from QuiltKween. Vintage clothing, handmade jewelry, and beauty products round out the lineup. 3 to 8 p.m. Free. 1401 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-545-5555. —Jessica Armbruster

The 6th Annual Festivus Celebration
Fair State Brewing Cooperative

Whereas the origins of most holiday rituals are shrouded in archaic mythologies, the anti-consumerist celebration known as Festivus can be traced to a contemporary source, the enduringly irreverent sitcom Seinfeld. Inspired by the actual family practices of Dan O’Keefe, one of the show’s writers, the mock holiday was memorably introduced to the world by the perpetually aggrieved Frank Costanza. Today, it serves as an antidote to the maddening pressures of the yuletide season. The holiday “for the rest of us” has long since transcended its satirical origins, having been embraced by the disenchanted. The annual Festivus Celebration at Fair State Brewing Cooperative possesses a cathartic quality, giving participants the chance to vent their holiday frustrations to a supportive audience, as part of the Airing of the Grievances. Should the repressed angst be strong enough to require a more physical outlet, the celebration also encourages participants to take on the Feats of Strength (usually presented as an arm or thumb wrestling challenge). For those who would rather hang back by the unadorned aluminum pole and cheer on the revelry, Fair State Brewing will offer a full array of delicious libations to accompany the anti-holiday shenanigans. 7 to 10 p.m. Free. 2506 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-444-3209. —Brad Richason