Best Bets: Gaelynn Lea, a Sami rapper and more
Gaelynn Lea brings post-solstice show
About this time last year, internationally-known and NPR-approved fiddler Gaelynn Lea released "Deepest Darkness, Brightest Dawn," a 14-song collection of holiday standards. At the time, the self-described "Christmas person" revealed she's the kind of person who cranks Christmas tunes in September. This year, the Tiny Desk Contest winner has collected a group of musicians for Gaelynn Lea's Winter Spirit Post-Solstice Party. The lineup includes Gaelynn Lea, Woodblind, Dan Dresser, Emily Haavik, Jen West, Ann Kathryn and Al Church.
Gaelynn Lea's Winter Spirit Post-Solstice concert is at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 at Beaner's Central, 324 N. Central Ave. Tickets: $10. All ages.
The life of a Sami rapper
Sami rapper SlinCraze raps in an endangered language that fewer than 20,000 speak. The documentary "Arctic Superstar" tells his tale, alongside images of reindeer, snow-covered cars, and a mother that wants him to go back to school — but dances along at his concerts. The rapper who lives in the Arctic Highlands of Norway just wants to be able to make a living with his art. "Arctic Superstar" has played the festival circuit — including the Twin Cities-based fest Sound Unseen.
"Arctic Superstar" screens at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center at AICHO, 202 W. Second St. Tickets: Free, open to the public.
Benjamin Cartel returns to Red Herring Lounge
A Brooklyn-based folky pop singer who American songwriter compared to John Prine and Randy Newman returns to Duluth for a show Friday at The Red Herring Lounge.
Benjamin Cartel's latest album "Flickering Light" was recorded, partly, at Flower Studios in Minneapolis. No Depression said of it: "'Flickering Light' finds Benjamin Cartel exploring sounds that are bathed in timeless iridescence. They both stir and shimmer ..."
Also playing: Toby Thomas Churchill, Nudecolors, new band The Great Unwilling.
Benjamin Cartel, Toby Thomas Churchill, Nudecolors and The Great Unwilling play at 8 p.m. Dec. 22 at The Red Herring Lounge, 208 E. First St. Tickets: $7.
Black River Revue continues Cedar Lounge residency
Black River Revue, a bluegrass-folk band fronted by Adam Stariha, released its album "Just Can't Win" earlier this year and is in the middle of a residency at Cedar Lounge. (Further enticement might be the band that plays mostly original music might, for instance, channel its inner Postal Service.)
Black River Revue plays at 8 p.m. Dec. 27 at Cedar Lounge, 1715 N. Third St.
Go see 'Lady Bird.' Seriously.
Saoirse Ronan stars in a timeless — though set in the early 2000s — coming of age comed-rama about a searching teen and her tough-nut mama in what might be the best movie ever made, seriously. "Lady Bird," directed by Greta Gerwig, has blown up Rotten Tomatoes with its story of a young woman who has eschewed her real name, Christine, in favor of being called Lady Bird. She navigates a tricky senior year at a Catholic high school, mingling with the theater kids and, for a spell, the pretty people. But mostly she wants to get out of town.
"Lady Bird" is playing at Zinema 2.