Noname to household name
Since she made her First Avenue debut in 2016 opening for Lauryn Hill — what a start! — Chicago rapper Noname has blown up from a cultish underground figure to a legit big name, thanks in part to her association with homie Chance the Rapper. Her laid-back, jazzy, ’70s-funky sonic approach belies her machete-sharp wordsmith skills, which she swung mightily against sexism and racism on her long awaited second album, “Room 25,” a year-end favorite for many critics. She performs with a slick band and is a hoot in concert. Chris Riemenschneider
9 p.m. Fri. First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls. $25, first-avenue.com.
CAAM Chinese Dance Theater marks the Lunar New Year with a new piece inspired by China’s most famous lake, Xihu. “Once Upon a Lake” tells the story of a magical piece of white jade. Stolen from a phoenix and a dragon, the gemstone falls to earth and creates a beautiful body of water. Woven with love, death and everything in between, the story showcases lush performances by a company dedicated to preserving and celebrating Chinese culture.
7 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. next Sun. The O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul. $25, 651-690-6700, oshag.stkate.edu.
From the 1890s to the 1930s, fairy-tale postcards were a common form of communication in Europe and North America. The postcard heyday ended with the onset of World War II; around the same time, the film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” would establish Disney as the purveyor of fairy tales. The exhibition “The Wonderful World Before Disney” hearkens back to the previous time, inspired by the fairy-tale postcard collection of U Prof. Jack Zipes.
Closed Mondays. Ends July 7. Weisman Art Museum, Mpls. Free, wam.umn.edu.
The song list looks familiar, but what Minnesota fingerpicking guitar ace Tim Sparks does with tunes by the Beatles, Merle Haggard, Al Green and others on “Jukebox Dreamin’ ” will delightfully surprise you. With his vast vocabulary from blues to world music, Sparks takes sophisticated, jazzy, Segovian and chicken pickin’ detours, with instinctive support from upright bassist James Buckley, who has played with a cast of luminaries from Lizzo to Bon Iver.
7 p.m. Thu. Icehouse, Mpls. $10-$12, icehousempls.com.
A hungry horse eats a woman’s straw hat, just as she’s having an assignation behind a tree with her lover. That’s the starting point of Nino Rota’s farcical “The Italian Straw Hat,” which lands at Minnesota Opera. Rota is best known for the music he wrote for Coppola’s “Godfather” movies, but “The Italian Straw Hat” is something quite different — light, frothy and full of pleasant colorations. Rochester-raised tenor Andrew Stenson leads the hunt to replace the chewed-up hat.
7:30 p.m. Sat. Ends Feb. 3. Ordway Center, St. Paul. $25-$200, mnopera.org.
Do you have what it takes to survive in the wilderness? Test your mettle and learn survival skills without actually being lost in a dark forest, in the safety of Richardson Nature Center. Work with others to learn how to build a shelter. Get a lesson on fire-building techniques and warm up while listening to a story inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
2-3:30 p.m. Mon. Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington. $5, threeriversparkdistrict.org.
Fred Steele has been stepping out of his sibling ensemble, the Steeles, of late. He did his own solo holiday show last year, and offered Baritone 101, a revue of hits made famous by deep-voiced singers. Steele will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the help of pianist Nachito Herrera, a Twin Cities institution since arriving here 18 years ago. The Cuban-American is a percussive powerhouse, seamlessly mixing classical, jazz and Latin elements into his own distinctive sound.
7 p.m. Mon. The Dakota, Mpls. $25-$30, dakotacooks.com.
The Outpost concert series presents its latest challenge to classical music conventions. Curated by Minnesota Orchestra violist Sam Bergman and soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw, the program features chamber music by contemporary composers Missy Mazzoli, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, Joe St. Johanser and Daníel Bjarnason, intercut with contributions by Twin Cities storyteller Javier Morillo, poet Chris Santiago and actor-singer Momoko Tanno.
8 p.m. Fri. Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge, Mpls. $15-$20, thehookmpls.com.
Avoid cabin fever and the life of a couch potato and take to the outdoors. Fridley’s Winterfest encourages friends and families to enjoy winter activities such as sleigh and dog sled rides, ice skating and snowball launching. Find the hidden medallion for a $100 prize. Get cozy by the bonfire with s’mores.
Noon-3 p.m. Sat. Free. Commons Park, Fridley. fridleymn.gov.