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Best Bets: It's getting festive in here

This week's top picks in local arts and entertainment.

Bad Bad Hats play Sacred Heart on Dec. 3, 2021. Contributed / Sacred Heart Music Center.

Bad Bad Hats play Sacred Heart

Bad Bad Hats, a Minneapolis trio in the midst of a Midwest tour supporting the band's September release "Walkman," returns to Duluth for a show that starts at 7 p.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Music Center. Tickets start at $15 and are available at .

Bad Bad Hats are a super-likeable, retro pop band whose members Kerry Alexander, Chris Hoge and Con Davidson offer a mostly quirky-eyed view of the world. Duluth's Lyla Abukhodair, whose record, "Your Mom Hates Me Now," veers from sweet-voiced to wicked in the amount of time it would take the parents' garage door to close, opens the show with her band.

Dance, dance, dance

The University of Minnesota Duluth's DanceWorks returns to in-person viewing for the first time since 2019. Contributed / UMD
Brett Groehler/University Minnes

Last year, students from the University of Minnesota Duluth presented its "DanceWorks" virtually, so it's fitting that this year's in-person show is being billed as "coming together to explore the intimacy of human connection through dance."


The performance includes new works by faculty and student choreographers under the eye of artistic director Matthew Wagner.

"DanceWorks 2021" is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Marshall Performing Arts Center at UMD. Tickets available at .

NVR TGTHR will be ... together

NVR TGTHR. Contributed /

NVR TGTHR, a band cheekily named for the amount of time it has spent as a group through the pandemic, will be together for a show alongside Glassine and Afrogeode at 8 p.m. Saturday at Blush in Duluth. The band recently posted four new tracks to its Bandcamp , a collection of late-night garage rock.

Afrogeode, fresh from a "First Women of Funk and Punk" show at Caddyshack, recently released the song "Boundaries" with C-Silence. The super-catchy hip-hop song is about drawing lines: "My heart and your intentions are no longer in line," she raps. The singer-songwriter-spoken word artist is now backed by The Gemstones, a group that debuted during Duluth-Superior Pride.

Glassine is described as "heart on your sleeve bedroom pop from Minneapolis," and features Rachel Phoenix and Jeff Cornell.

DSS-Ho Ho Ho


Strikepoint, the local handbell ensemble, plays alongside the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. Contributed /

The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra's will be joined by international-touring local handbell ensemble Strikepoint for its Holiday Spectacular at 7 p.m. Saturday at Symphony Hall. There is another concert, sans Strikepoint, at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets available at .

The orchestra is promising a sing-along for concert-goers, as they perform favorite holiday tunes.

Same village, new vistas

Duluth Winter Village
Duluth Winter Village is Dec. 4-5, 2021, on Harbor Drive. Contributed / Duluth Entertainment Convention Center

The Duluth Winter Village gets a new address for its annual two-day outdoor event. The event, set in a series of custom-made cute cabins on Harbor Drive, is a showcase of more than 40 small businesses. Also: food from local restaurants like New Scenic Cafe, Hungry Hippie and Love Creamery, live animals, carolers and free skating inside the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

DECC director Dan Hartman called it, in a news release, "a more holistic experience showing off why Duluth is truly Christmas City."

The event, which was started in 2016, will include Hucklebeary, Frost River, Anna Bailey Art and more. The free event is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


Same village, same Knife River vistas

Luke Kuhlman, from left, and Alyssa Kuhlman, of Bloomington, Minn., with Amy Lynn Wenschlag and Jason Wenschlag, of Minneapolis, watch the North Shore Scenic Railroad pull into the restored Knife River depot in 2019 at the Julebyen festival in Knife River. The Scandinavian festival returns Dec. 4-5, 2021. Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

Meanwhile, in Knife River, there is a Scandinavian-themed Christmas festival Julebyen that includes a marketplace filled with colorful huts featuring artisan crafts, a bakery serving krumkaka and lefse, a marshmallow roast, winter sports, music and dance.

Added bonus: the Julebyen Express Train that runs from the Depot in Duluth to the cutely named Troll Canyon. (The Julebyen organizers claim there have already been troll sightings).

The festival is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday in Knife River.

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