Culture compass: Christmas trees, new museums and Tiny Desk Concerts

by Ksenia Gorinshteyn

Friday: “Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting” 

With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is now in full swing — and the Union Depot has you covered in the early-holiday-spirit department. Their annual tree lighting will be complete with music, fireworks and a screening of “Elf.” There will be snacks for purchase, but make sure to bring your own blankets and folding chairs for an extra level of cozy. While you’re there, you might as well check out the “European Christmas Market” on the East Plaza and get started on those holiday season gifts, too!

Where: Union Depot, 214 4th St. E., Saint Paul

When: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Saturday: Karaoke at Moon Palace

If you’ve ever wanted to do karaoke inside of a bookstore, now is your chance. Moon Palace Books doubles as a music venue and they’re hosting a free, all ages karaoke night. Bring your friends and sing your hearts out to the “Mamma Mia” soundtrack … or whatever gets you dancing.

Where: Moon Palace Books, 3032 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis

When: 8 to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

Sunday: Grand Opening of the M

The Minnesota Museum of American Art, or “the M” if you’re trendy, is finally opening its doors in a permanent location! The ribbon cutting will be followed by live music and food trucks, as well as art installations from local artists. The M’s first artist takeover resident, Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra, will have an exhibition for attendees to learn about and interact with Latinx culture. This museum has been highly anticipated for years; the grand opening is something you won’t want to miss.

Where: Minnesota Museum of American Art, 350 Robert St. N., Saint Paul

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Free


Listen to this: “Should I” by Arum Rae

This is one of those songs that you’ll never get tired of. Arum Rae’s deep-toned voice is accompanied by chirping birds and swelling piano notes.Throughout the song, Rae asks a series of questions about how to act when her lover comes to visit. The vulnerability here is endearing and genuine, and the song is reminiscent of early Norah Jones in that it offers the kind of calm that makes you want to sway. 

Watch this: “boygenius: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert”

This Tiny Desk Concert has to be the most delicate yet powerful session to exist on NPR Music. Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers harmonize beautifully; their gentle ballads are like a little hug for your soul. If you missed them at First Ave, this video will almost cure your FOMO — they perform half the tracks from their self-titled EP. 

Decorate with this: Dried flowers

Now that it’s cold and everything that was once green is a weird shade of brown, things are looking kind of dreary. If you’re not the best at taking care of living plants or your room doesn’t get much natural light, try decorating with dried flowers! Baby’s-breath and eucalyptus are the easiest for this, but anything with smaller petals or a stiff stem will work and should dry fine. Trader Joe’s is also selling little bouquets of dried lavender that make a great addition to any room.