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A sponsor display for the Stoughton Opera House.

A country-ambient release show and on-screen heroics

Plus more events we recommend checking out in Madison, September 5 through 11 edition.
A photo shows the members of music duo Good Corners seated and performing in a warehouse-like setting.
Good Corners play September 16 at Dark Horse ArtBar. Photo by Nicholas Davies.

Plus more events we recommend checking out in Madison, September 12 through 18 edition.

We’re partnering with the wonderful independent email newsletter Madison Minutes to bring you event recommendations every week. Some of these write-ups will appear in Madison Minutes‘ weekly event email, and all of which will appear here.

A few notes: This events roundup is, as before, selective and not comprehensive. Each week, we’ll focus on a handful of things our editors and writers find compelling, and that’s it. We’ll write up a few of them, and just list a few more. It’ll take us a while to get back to full strength with this part of our coverage, because we’ve had so many other exciting, demanding things to work on lately. Please reach out to us with suggestions—and info about your event, as long as you’re able to get it to us a few weeks in advance—at [email protected].

SEPTEMBER 12

TS Foss, Julia Blair, Graham Hunt at Bur Oak. Doors at 7 p.m., music at 8 p.m. $8 advance, $10 doors.

Earlier this September, Tyler Fassnacht (Proud Parents, Baby Tyler) continued his folk-leaning TS Foss project with the single “Grown Used To It.” Following the release of that single, a small band Fassnacht had assembled embarked on a short tour that will conclude with a stop on September 12 at the Bur Oak. New and lightly reworked material from TS Foss will be on tap at this show, with the band appearing as a trio. Joining Fassnacht on the bill will be two other acts Tone Madison has featured: Americana-pop artist Julia Blair and alt-punk mainstay Graham Hunt.

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Blair, who released the lovely Better Out Than In earlier this year, has a wide discography to choose from that includes her work with both Holy Sheboygan! and Dusk. Hunt, who rose to prominence in Wisconsin via frenetic Milwaukee power pop act Midnight Reruns, will be appearing fresh off the release of June’s superlative If You Knew Would You Believe It. Blair, Hunt, and Fassnacht have all left a significant impression on Wisconsin’s music scene at large and have proven incredibly versatile over the past decade-plus. Having them all together on a bill represents an unmissable opportunity. —Steven Spoerl

SEPTEMBER 13

Jane: An Abortion Service at Central Library, Room 301. Screening at 6:30 p.m. Free

Excerpt from Maxwell Courtright’s July review: Kate Kirtz and Nell Lundy’s 58-minute documentary from 1995, made up of talking-head interviews with members and patrons of the Jane Collective, is an oral history of sorts that looks back on the era immediately before Roe v. Wade was decided in January 1973. Between 1968 and 1973, a network of abortion activists based in Chicago, known to people in the group as “The Service,” but more broadly as the Jane Collective (due to their code phrase asking patrons to “ask for Jane” when they were calling about setting up the procedure), provided upwards of 12,000 safe underground abortions. The film’s key educational point is the way it links abortion networks to other protest movements of the 1960’s (civil rights, women’s rights, anti-war). Many of the women among the Jane Collective were also active in these other circles, which allowed for better networking.

SEPTEMBER 15

Funny Pages at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free

Excerpt from Edwanike Harbour’s review: Oftentimes, coming-of-age films follow a formulaic path toward self-discovery and offer a redemption arc by their end. Funny Pages (2022) bucks this tendency and does no such thing, making it one of this year’s most engaging releases. First-time director Owen Kline (who you may remember as the weird kid ejaculating all over school in Baumbach’s The Squid And The Whale back in 2005) doesn’t cling to heartfelt, sentimental moments between father and son or boy-meets-girl romanticized tropes, and ends up with one of the most delightfully misanthropic films I have seen in a long time.

Kline takes a no holds barred approach to the ebbs and flows of meeting one’s heroes [as in the case of aspiring comic artist Robert Bleichner (Daniel Zolghadri)]. Robert’s part-time gig at a comic bookstore is filled with all of the outcasts and denizens one would expect at these establishments, sort of like in Stephen Frears’ High Fidelity. These scenes are relatable to anyone who has actually spent more than five minutes in one. Every neckbeard is a kindred spirit to Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, waxing and waning about how much damage Sir Volkencraft can do to Baldur’s Gate.

Mannequin Pussy, Ganser at Memorial Union Terrace. 7 p.m. Free.

SEPTEMBER 16

RRR at Union South Marquee Cinema. 6:30 p.m. Free

No prior knowledge of Indian historical figures Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaran Bheem is necessary to appreciate as S.S. Rajamouli’s bombastic action film RRR (2022). This three-hour epic reimagines the two real life anti-Raj activists Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr., often referred to as NTR Jr.) and Rama Raju (Ram Charan) as near-superhuman strongmen, an analogue to Goku and Vegeta for 1920s India.

Rajamouli’s infectious enthusiasm for over-the-top action set pieces have led to RRR becoming a crossover hit with audiences who aren’t usually tuned in to Indian cinema, both in America and worldwide. (Of course, having the highest production budget of any Indian film to date surely has something to do with it.)

The plot in brief: Bheem hopes to rescue a kidnapped child from cartoonishly evil British Colonialists. Rama Raju works for the British police. Both go undercover, and the men become best friends without ever realizing each other’s true identity. Tension dramatically comes to head after the requisite dance number.

Rajamouli is clearly having a blast staging CGI-heavy action. Only Top Gun: Maverick‘s plane scenes come anywhere close to RRR‘s level of excitement, and the Indian production didn’t have to utilize taxpayer-funded fighter jets to do it. (That is not to say RRR doesn’t have its own problematic implications.) But at the end of the day, it’s a giant spectacle that highlights the strengths of the theatrical experience. And this may be your last chance to see the film locally. —Lewis Peterson

Good Corners, Medlén at Dark Horse ArtBar. 9 p.m. $8.

Good Corners patiently tugs together threads of ambient music and cosmic country, and the duo plays here to celebrate their debut album. The best moments on Corners Bloody Corners use the gentle, shimmering lilt of John Hitchcock’s pedal steel and electric guitar to gradually pull the listener into lingering melodic themes. Amid Hitchcock’s bending and ringing strings, Ryan Lansing uses a variety of elements (including synths, tape loops, and baritone guitar) to create atmospheres that are at once wide-open and full of scratchy, warm texture. 

All six tracks on the album give the duo plenty of time to sink in, the shortest one running just under seven minutes. The overall effect is sometimes eerie and mournful (“Into The Sky), sometimes euphoric (“We Have Always Been Here”), and sometimes it hits those in-between emotional zones where ambient music thrives (“Poor Lightning”). Good Corners recorded the album live to tape without overdubs, an approach that should translate well on a live stage. They’ll also be donating proceeds from sales of digital and cassette copies of Corners Bloody Corners to the Water Protector Legal Collective. —Scott Gordon

The Heroic Trio at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free

A delirious blend of superhero action and supernatural wuxia, The Heroic Trio (1993) is a truly weird showcase for three of Hong Kong’s biggest female stars. After a series of infant kidnappings that leave police baffled, masked superhero Wonder Woman (Anita Mui) tries to catch the mysterious baby-snatchers while keeping her identity a secret from her detective husband. She soon discovers that motorcycle-riding mercenary Thief Catcher (Maggie Cheung) and cold-blooded assassin Invisible Woman (Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Michelle Yeoh) are both linked to the crimes. Initially on opposing sides, the three join forces to stop Invisible Woman’s master, a powerful eunuch (Shi-Kwan Yen) trying to take over the world. 

Co-directed by gangster film auteur Johnnie To and wuxia master Siu-Tung Ching, The Heroic Trio is a combination of both directors’ highly stylized and playfully postmodern signatures. Though The Heroic Trio wasn’t a hit during original release, everyone reunited for a low-budget post-apocalyptic sequel (Executioners, screening the next Friday, September 23) the very same year in an attempt to recoup production costs. Both films will be shown in newly restored 4K DCP with English subtitles, a welcome upgrade from the questionably dubbed Dimension Films versions that made the films cult classics in the VHS era. —Ian Adcock

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Tone Madison Office Hours at Giant Jones Brewing Company. 5 to 7 p.m. Free.

Tone Madison, an independent culture and politics publication, invites you to our second-ever office hours, this time at Giant Jones Brewing Company. Want to share feedback about our coverage? Looking for information on sponsoring us? Publisher Scott Gordon, Managing Editor Oona Mackesey-Green, and Film Editor Grant Phipps will be on hand to talk about all that and more!

We’re a reader-supported publication, so we love opening ourselves up to the community and meeting people who care about local media. This is unstructured time for our readers and our community, so stop in whenever you please.

SEPTEMBER 17 THROUGH 18

Willy Street Fair. Free, see link for full lineup and set times.

SEPTEMBER 17

RRR at Union South Marquee Cinema. 6:30 p.m. Free

Encore presentation. See Lewis Peterson’s preview above.

Ruin Dweller, The Mall, Mind Harvester at Mickey’s Tavern. 10 p.m. Free.

The Mall began as a solo darkwave industrial project by St. Louis artist Mark Plant, making an immediate impact with debut release Zone. Standout track “An Answer” builds catchy, ethereal synth hooks upon a pulsating rhythm and nagging bassline. Live, Plant delivers their oppressively overwrought vocals in urgent devotion to the dancefloor. In the last year, former Madisonian Spencer Bible (Tippy, Christian Dior) has joined the project, and plays here in anticipation of their October release Time Vehicle Earth. The Mall recently put out its first single as a duo, serving a punk EBM ethic for This Total Age. 

Milwaukee punk band Mind Harvester (formerly known as Scathed) plays here behind the 2018 record Already Dead. The title track exemplifies the band’s combination of straight ahead, fast crust punk and doomy blackened death metal. Local four-piece Ruin Dweller support the bill with classic death metal laced in apocalyptic dungeon synth. ––Emili Earhart 

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