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This weekend at the Cedar: Peter Himmelman and his smarty-pants music for young and old

People should pay more attention to Peter Himmelman. He has a penetrating intellect, and a sense of humor that can be mordant, slapstick, caustic, wry and cosmically absurd. Like any ace singer-songwriter, he knows which of the supposedly little stuff is really vital to our mental health, and vice versa.

He embraces his Jewish heritage without cant or apology; it gives him a prickly compassion and constant desire to establish community — among his shining virtues. He loves spontaneity, from his between-song patter, to bringing audience members onstage to help him perform, to moving his 7th Street Entry gig to the shores of Lake Calhoun in mid-performance.

Not enough people pay attention to Peter Himmelman. You can hear the strain it creates in the lyrics of his latest disc, “The Pigeons Couldn’t Sleep,” the early copies of which came with the ironically titled “Rock God,” an hour-long doc on his travails (which I haven’t seen). But this is about honesty, not self-pity. Anyone who has heard “Woman with the Strength of 10,000 Men,” Himmelman’s glorious, fiery celebration of a woman he met who communicated only by moving an eyebrow (written years before “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”), knows Himmelman knows how to count his blessings.

Besides, he’s built a tidy side-career as a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter of children’s songs. He’ll drop science for the taller folks at Saturday’s Cedar show (hopefully with his old Sussman Lawrence sidekick Jeff Victor on keyboards) and return Sunday with a program of his original tunes for the young’uns.

Peter Himmelman. Cedar Cultural Center. 8 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 20), $25 in advance, $28 day of show. 11 a.m. Sunday (Dec. 21), $15 for ages 2 and up.

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