The Minneapolis-reared, Brooklyn-based adventurous jazz vocalist's 2021 holiday show was the first — and only — yule gig ever to make my list of best-of-the-year concerts. He was elegantly old-school yet inventive enough to make seasonal chestnuts deliciously refreshing. Loved his outstanding original "Christmas in New York" with its Nat King Cole/Mel Tormé vibe. It's from his 2021 album "Merry Christmas From Jose James," which should be part of your holiday soundtrack. (7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. The Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $40-$50, dakotacooks.com)
The British dance-pop band comes to town for the Current's Winter Warm-Up concert after seeing its career heat up during COVID-19 lockdown with the lightly sexy single "If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)" and widespread viral/TikTok use of its buoyant and bubbly tracks. This will be Twin Cities fans' first chance to hear songs off the group's last two albums, including this year's charmer "Being Funny in a Foreign Language." (7 p.m. Wed. The Armory, 500 S. 6th St., Mpls., all ages, only resale tickets remain, ticketmaster.com)
The story will be familiar to anyone who's ever seen a disease-of-the-week TV romance — writer Michael Ausiello falls in blissful love until cancer flips the script — but fine performances buoy the comedy/drama. Jim Parsons is especially good as Ausiello and Sally Field, revisiting "Steel Magnolias" emotional terrain, is distinctive as the mother of Ausiello's partner. (Showtimes and prices vary, in theaters.)
Like a Midwestern Brandi Carlile, the Iowa-based Americana rocker blends a valley-deep/mountain-high voice with echoes of '70s rock influences á la Fleetwood Mac and country and folk songwriters such as John Prine. Her dramatic new album, "Carving Canyons," finds strength in heartache, from the less-than-rosy romantic ditty "Flowers" to the slow-burning rocker "Night Moves." The "When I'm Alone" hitmaker wraps up her 2022 tour dates in Minneapolis, home to most of her band, including Rogue Valley's Peter Sieve and Luke Anderson. Canadian strummer Cat Clyde opens. (8 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., $28, axs.com)
'To Your Raised Head: Stories of Immigration'
Twin Cities-based artist collective CarryOn Homes (COH) uses art to tell stories of refugees and immigrants in the United States. For this new project, the group uses large-scale portraits shot with a Hasselblad camera, short oral histories and brief narrative texts to tell the stories of seven people who have emigrated from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria to Minnesota. Ahmed Al-Husseini, a photojournalist working in Baghdad, is shown holding his camera and his various press passes. Mariam Abdulkareem, who left Baghdad for Syria and then Minnesota with her family when she was just a kid, is shown with a black scarf that her grandmother gave her, in hopes that she'd keep her memory alive. Omid Momand, who worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan, fled in 2021 when the Taliban took over. "Everything is different; culture is different, weather is different, the language is different. Everything is hard for me," he said. (Ends Dec. 30. SooVac Gallery, 2909 Bryant Av. S., Mpls. Free. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed. & Thu., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. & Sun. 612-871-2263 or soovac.org)
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Spend an evening with J.S. Bach when members of the SPCO perform five of his six "Brandenburg Concertos," excluding only that one with the high trumpet that's floating through space on a Voyager mission. Each of the others is an equally transcendent experience, the pinnacle of Baroque-era instrumental writing played by musicians who do it extremely well. (8 p.m. Fri. and Sat.; Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; $5-$50; 651-291-1144 or thespco.org)
'Cancel Cultured Christmas Pearls'
Miss Richfield returns for her annual show of carols, crafts and questionable taste. The pageantry has a new home — the Center for the Performing Arts — but her "That Girl" flip, loud getups and insistence that gravy is a beverage are intact. (7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 7 p.m. Sun., ends Dec. 18, masks required Fri., 3754 Pleasant Av. S., Mpls., $45-$75, 612-339-4944, illusiontheater.org.)
Pramila Vasudevan turned to plants and a beautiful greenhouse as one way to cope with living with cancer and also the harsh medications needed for treatment. The artist also used drawing as a way to help through the difficult health struggles. Both come into play in "Nipple Disco," which takes its name from one of the drawings Vasudevan created. Plants add to the setting and also the sound of the performance, created in collaboration with DJ Chamin along with artists Sequoia Hauck and Valerie Oliveiro. Expect raw vulnerability and invention in an event that fits somewhere between performance art, art installation and a dance/listening party. (7:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat., Red Eye Theater, 2213 Snelling Av. S., Mpls., pay-what-you-want, 612-870-0309, redeyetheater.org)
Explore what life was like for 19th-century farmers during a 45-minute Christmas on the Farm Tour. Guides at Oliver Kelley Farm explain how farmers prepared their land and animals for the long winter. Taste a seasonal treat, hot beverages and other light refreshments served in the visitor center. (1-7 p.m. Sat. $15. Oliver Kelley Farm, 15788 Kelley Farm Road, Elk River, Minn. 763-441-6896. mnhs.org.)