1 The Twin Cities music scene's most anticipated album of the year arrived just under the wire, and it doesn't disappoint: Minneapolis rapper/singer Lizzo's "Big GRRRL, Small World" occasionally repeats the fun, booming, cocky sounds from her 2013 debut "Lizzobangers" — the throb-and-bob opening song "Ain't I" (heard on Stephen Colbert's show this month) being one such moment. Its best tracks, though, are the more vulnerable, soulful and mellow ones, including the singles "Humanize" and "My Skin," plus other cuts toting her strong message of self-esteem. Her small world should get a lot bigger.
2 "Regarding Elliott" is a remarkable exhibit of 39 photos at the Weinstein Gallery by 87-year-old Elliott Erwitt. Included is his famous photo of two 1950 North Carolina water fountains, one a spanking new high-chromed box labeled "White," the other an old-fashioned chipped and stained bowl labeled "Colored." Of course, there's his classic shot of Marilyn Monroe in 1954 stepping onto a New York subway grate and setting men's minds racing as her white skirt flared — as well as vintage photos of John Kennedy, Fidel Castro, below, and Andy Warhol. Ends Jan. 9. weinstein-gallery.com.
3 "Youth" is a film of gorgeous, eye-popping visual inventiveness with a radically bananas plot. Among the guests at a luxurious hotel in the Swiss Alps are a retired composer/conductor (Michael Caine), his daughter/assistant (Rachel Weisz) and best friend (Harvey Keitel, pictured with Caine, above). Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino once again visits that Fellini-esque world of extravagant symbolism and immersive emotion as he reflects skeptically about self-involved efforts to recapture youth rather than navigate life's real snags.
4 "Photograph" captures Ringo Starr's life in photos and ephemera — from him in the hospital with tuberculosis to candid shots he took of the various Beatles to letters from Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Starr penned the captions such as "He was a great poser, Paul. Mr. Rock 'n' Roll, with the shades and the action" for a photo of McCartney in shades with demonstrative arms. Not surprisingly, the photos and captions reflect Starr's usual whimsical tone.
5 As Maria, Billie Wildrick brings sunshine, zest and a winning spirit to Gary Briggle's slow-but-sure staging of "The Sound of Music" at the Ordway. She is well paired with the commanding Dieter Bierbrauer as Capt. Von Trapp. Briggle has staged this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic in an almost operatic style, which feels languorous at times but works to showcase the voices. Ends Jan. 2. ordway.org