With spring temps in the distant, seemingly impossible future and new layers of ice forming every day, we are faced with the decision to stay inside, huddling in front of a glaring SAD lamp, or bundle up and face this frozen land.
For the latter, stop by the Great Northern Festival, a celebration of coldness and creativity starting Thursday and continuing through Feb. 6. Here's a sampling of events; for the full schedule, see thegreatnorthernfestival.com.
U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. Nine divisions of hockey players skate around icy Lake Nokomis in this annual competition. Winners get their names chiseled into the Golden Shovel, an homage to a mythical Viking-era shovel reputedly uncovered near the lake. (Jan. 26-30) (A.E.)
"Conservatory." A winter greenhouse filled with black coneflowers, velvet petunias and more blossoms in a downtown St. Paul alley. The project by artists Jovan C. Speller and Andy DuCett is an extension of the racial reckoning that began in summer 2020, but its timing brings other connotations of survival. "I view winter as a time for rest, a time for planning, a time to reflect on and preserve past harvests, and a time to find new ways to generate warm, nurturing spaces," said Speller. "It's the crouch before the pounce," adds DuCett, referring to the hope of spring growth. (Jan. 27-Feb. 6, open 3-7 p.m., 340 Sibley St., St. Paul) (A.E.)
Thermaculture: Legacy of the North. Get yourself into hot water at the Hewing Hotel's rooftop sauna and pool. Silent steam meditation, cold swimming plus sauna tents, and other mixtures of hot and cold await. (Jan. 27-Feb. 6, various locations) (A.E.)
St. Paul Winter Carnival. Who says a carnival is only for warm weather? Sign up for the Fire & Ice Run/Walk, an ice carving competition, or a gangsters and ghosts walking tour through creepy skyways. More info at wintercarnival.com. (Jan. 27-Feb. 6, various locations) (A.E.)
Philip Glass' 85th birthday celebration. Celebrate the magnificent composer's big day with an outdoor screening at Malcolm Yards of the Glass-scored 1982 film "Koyaanisqatsi." Wrecktangle Pizza will serve his favorite potato pizza, plus there'll be drinks and vegan cake. (5:30 p.m. Jan. 30, 501 30th Av. SE., Mpls.) (A.E.)
Latins on Ice. Midwinter and midpandemic, theater artist Sabrín Diehl was joking with Guthrie Theater education director Maija García: "What are you doing for theater this winter? Shakespeare on Ice?" Garcia's reply was a surprise: "That's a really good idea." Diehl began brainstorming, reflecting on their experience of moving from humid, Latin-infused Miami to chilly Minnesota. And "Latins on Ice" was born. Staged on Lake Nokomis, the show consists of five comedic, dramatic, pointed sketches performed by five local Latin performers, including Diehl. (11 and 2 p.m. Jan. 29, 11 a.m. Jan. 30. Free.) (J.R.)
Poetry by Michael Kleber-Diggs. Award-winning poet Douglas Kearney hosts the kickoff event for Kleber-Diggs' debut collection of poems, "Worldly Things," which contemplates loss, parenthood, masculinity and life as a Black man in America, and specifically St. Paul. "The full-throated poems ... see the world whole, allowing daily intimacies against a backdrop of social injustice," writes the New York Times. Co-presented with Milkweed Editions. (3-4 p.m. Jan. 30, Open Book Target Auditorium, 1011 Washington Av. S., Mpls. Registration required.) (A.E.)
Lyra Pramuk. The Berlin-based singer, composer and performance artist is curious about exploring the malleability of her voice, particularly when it comes to gender. "There were some years when I felt like I wanted or needed to use my voice in a hyper-feminine way," but it's interesting to put the full range of my voice everywhere and treat it as a nongendered or nonbinary instrument," she told Pitchfork Magazine last year. She'll perform songs off her debut album "Fountain." (8 p.m. Feb. 2, 2528 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., $25-$30, masks plus proof of vaccination/negative test required.) (A.E.)
Lunar New Year with the Minnesota Orchestra. Principal bassoon Fei Xie and conductor Junping Qian lead the Minnesota Orchestra in welcoming the year of the Tiger, with music focused on family traditions, unity and health. (Feb. 5 at 8 p.m., 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. Tickets required. $27-$67) (A.E.)
City of Lakes Loppet: Luminary Loppet. Follow a candlelit trail along the frozen surface of Lake of the Isles using snowshoes, skis or just your snowbooted feet. While wandering, check out the Ice Henge, Spires and the Ice Cropolis, sip on hot chocolate, eat cookies and stuff your face with 'smores. Maybe winter isn't that bad. (6-9 p.m. Feb. 5, registration required.) (A.E.)