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Weekend Picks: Celebrating Winter; stretching classical music; Native comedy

Plus: Joe Rainey at the Cedar; Polynesian surf tunes; Ada Limón and Krista Tippett; and more.

Joe Rainey’s performance on Thursday at the Cedar Cultural Center is a part of the Great Northern festival.
Joe Rainey’s performance on Thursday at the Cedar Cultural Center is a part of the Great Northern festival.
Photo by David Guttenfelder

You might have to clone yourself to catch all of this week’s great art events. There are so many great things going on right now, it seems like Solomon’s choice having to pick just one. Here are a few top events, including two that are part of the Great Northern Festival celebrating winter. At the Cedar Cultural Center, hear a mesmerizing mashup of sounds from powwow celebrations woven in with songs by Joe Rainey and mixed together with an exciting group of collaborators. Also as part of the Great Northern, check out artist, activist and musician Palms Psalm performing at the Icehouse. Tonight, JD Steele dives into classical music, and U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón talks to Krista Tippett at Ted Mann Concert Hall. Also this week, Monica Sheets offers lessons in civics and socially engaged practice, and the funny folks from Ojibwe comedy trio NDN Way head to the Parkway. 

Joe Rainey: Niineta

A fusion of Anishinaabe singing and drumming with layered synths and experimental beats come together at the Cedar Cultural Center. You’ll hear tunes from Joe Rainey’s debut album, “Niineta,” on 37d03d, the label founded by Justin Vernon and Aaron and Bryce Dessner. Originally from South Minneapolis and now based in Wisconsin, Rainey has spent a lifetime recording powwows. His recordings are layered with original vocals by Rainey and sound production by Andrew Broder, and music performed by the Owls written by electro-acoustic composer William Britelle. It’s part of the The Great Northern festival. Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. ($32). More information here

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Artist Talk: Engaging Communities Through Social Practice

Monica Sheets’ exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, “Das Fundbuero — Civics Lessons,” is a time warp into Soviet-era East Germany, otherwise known as Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). The exhibition is filled with records, books, old movies and other vestiges of the era, as well as recorded interviews that take on the topic of democracy and citizenship. It’s a fascinating slice of history that ponders the relationship between citizenry and their government. You can see the exhibition through Feb. 26. Tonight, Sheets will give an artist talk about what it means to engage ethically with a community as a social practice artist. Thursday, Jan. 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (free— order tickets here). More information here

JD Steele
Schubert Club
JD Steele

Adventure to New Classical with JD Steele 

Singer, arranger and producer JD Steele stretches how we consider classical music with an evening of music presented by the Schubert Club Mix. With his background in pop, gospel and jazz, Steele infuses his expertise in Black music traditions into a conversation around classical music, working with string players and former New Power Generation keyboardist Tommy Barbarella, as well as percussionist Daryl Boudreax, from the Sounds of Blackness. Thursday, Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m. ($23). More information here

Ada Limón
Photo by Lucas Marquardt
Ada Limón

Ada Limón and Krista Tippett

Get to know the U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón when she comes to Tedd Mann Concert Hall for a conversation with Krista Tippett. Limón’s poetry is sharp and concise, sometimes evoking startling images in just a few words. She’ll share her perspectives on poetry and what is sure to be a terrific evening. Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Ted Mann Concert Hall ($15). More information here

Eric Pasi
Photo by Tony Nelson
Eric Pasi

Palms Psalm  

Also as part of the Great Northern Festival, climate activist and musician Eric Pasi performs at the Icehouse with his Polynesian surf rock project, Palms Psalm. The first generation Tongan American is a vice president at New Energy Equity, a solar development and finance company. Pasi knows how to make a groove, with dreamy, beachy music that answers the frigid weather with sweet music with a point. Nolan Regan Morice from Linebreak Media adds a visual element to the evening. Friday, Jan. 27 at the Icehouse ($12 in advance, $15 day of the show). More information here

NDN Way Comedy

Three Ojibwe comedians take the stage at the Parkway Theater for an evening of Native humor. Each bring their brand of sarcasm, self-deprecation and satire to the show. Jonny “The Ojibwe Outlaw” Roberts is the host of the “NDN Way w/ Jonny R.” podcast. Trish Cook is from South Minneapolis and is a familiar face on the comedy circuit here and regionally, and Rob “The Rez Reporter” Fairbanks can be seen doing viral videos about fishing, hot dog soup, below-zero weather and more tales from “the rez” with earthy humor. Catch them all Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ($14 advance, $19 door). More information here