Downtown art

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December 6, 2004 // UPDATED 4:49 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'A Christmas Carole Petersen'

Kids often grow up to harbor unresolved gripes about their parents -- they blame Mom and Dad for molding them into less-than-perfect adults. These things usually go something like: "you never loved me," "you don't listen to me," "you liked her better" or "I don't think you ever wanted me" . . .

While most grownup children espouse the trials of parental neglect, Tod Petersen complains that his mom, Carole, paid too much attention to some things, especially Christmas. She never forgot to bring out all of the Santas, winter wonderlands and nativity scenes. Nor did she overlook the necessity of accessories like bells, hollyhocks, wreaths, greeting cards and other jolly booby traps. The lyrics to jingling Christmas carols never slipped her mind, eggnog and other gooey treats were must-haves, and, finally, she'd go out of her way to include everyone in the festivities.

Tod could only dream of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."

Now he spends every Christmas dispelling the meandering virtues of holiday fanaticism in his mostly one-man heart-to-heart show, "A Christmas Carole Petersen." (His thesis: decorate in moderation.)

Reminisce with Tod in this entertaining group therapy session, complete with the musical accompaniment of the Carolettes. Ask yourself, "did the 'rents overdo Christmas?", "Was it embarrassing?," "Is Mom or Dad responsible for my waterlogged joyeux noel?"

Don't be afraid of the answers. Let Tod be your guide as he bares all in this backwards tribute to his mom. (Literally, shield your eyes for the part where Tod appears naked onstage.)

Thru Jan. 2, Thursday-Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. The Loring Playhouse, 1633 Hennepin Ave. S. $20-$25. 343-3390.

'Martini and Olive: Silent Fever'

Toni Martini (Grant Richey) and Olive Heatherton (Judy Heneghan) are pretty used to humiliation. Just look at their ridiculous duds for "Martini and Olive: Silent Fever." Obviously they're practically immune to embarrassment.

Of course, they've been doing their quirky lounge act for years. Martini has polished his expression of perfect obliviousness while Olive is an expert at awkward glee. They've also managed to orchestrate their voices so that they impact the ears like clanging stemware -- all while, um, "tipsy." (They live up to their names.)

Nevertheless, they're seasonal fixtures, with Olive/Heneghan in from Hollywood and Martini/Richey taking a break from other local shows, such as "Triple Espresso," the long-running show at the Music Box on 14th & Nicollet.

The king and queen of Christmas are draped in velvet and glitter (all red and green, of course) and preserved in a disco time capsule. Together with the Swizzle Stick Dancers and guitarist/manager Vince Vaninski, the duo manages get through enough '70s numbers to make one suspect that their stupor is well, all part of the act.

Thru Dec. 31, Thursday-Sunday, call for times. Hennepin Stages, 824 Hennepin Ave. S. $22-$35.50. 651-989-5151.

'A Christmas Carol'

You know the story: Things look pale for miserly Ebenezer Scrooge before he is shown the error of his ways by his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. This is a life-and-death situation, and a voice from the grave is just the reality check Scrooge needs to get him to open his pocketbook and fill his bankrupt heart.

Now in its 30th year at the Guthrie, Scrooge apparently isn't the only one who benefits from such a reality check.

Thru Dec. 26, Tuesday-Friday 7:30 p.m. (except Friday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m.), Saturday 1 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday 1 and 7 p.m. Guthrie Theater, 725 Vineland Pl. $14-$45. 377-2224.

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