Seething improvisation from Anteloper, dance heavyweights at Musique Electronique, and more music and film highlights.
We’re partnering with the wonderful independent email newsletter Madison Minutes to bring you event recommendations every week. As of this June, we’re dipping our toe back in with a few actual write-ups, some of which 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].
Sharknado at Memorial Union Terrace. 9 p.m. Free.
An excerpt from C Nelson-Lifson’s review: “Can tornadoes even form over an ocean? The film decides that is not important. The barely existent plot is essentially about sharks being in the air instead of being confined to water (where they belong) and wreaking havoc on the Los Angeles area, the most famous coastal city. Some of the highlights of memory are how terrible the sharks look, groaning at the abysmal dialogue with my friends, and the chaotic editing style. Because almost all of the sharks are CGI, there are very few establishing shots to show us any of the ‘action.’ The conventional 180-degree shot/reverse shot is nowhere to be found in this film. Our main characters will be shown in a car, and then the film will suddenly cut with random footage of possibly(?) LA or even a random city during a thunderstorm.”
Jane: An Abortion Service at Central Library, Room 301. 6:30 p.m. Free.
An excerpt from Maxwell Courtright’s 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.”
Lunch Time Live: Venus In Furs at Capitol Lawn, South Hamilton Street Side. Noon. Free.
Venus In Furs certainly won’t be the only good Madison-based act to play on the Square this summer, but seeing this band on the Lunch Time Live roster is a welcome surprise. Barbed with wiry surf-rock guitars and bristling post-punk drums, VIF’s heavy but catchy rock should at least temporarily cleanse the rosé-and-high-end-camp-chairs aura that tends to hang over the area all summer long. The band’s 2015 album, Just Try It On, unleashes a tidal wave of rage and glee, never downtrodden but never to be trifled with. Over the past two years the band has been writing new materials, including politically inspired songs, and contributed music to the video game The Day We Fought Space, a fast-paced side-scroller for iOS. A recent press release came in with the subject line “Venus in Furs – Back and Mad as Hell,” so brace for a pent-up sonic assault on the nearby office buildings and the Capitol. —Scott Gordon
Anteloper at The Bur Oak. Doors at 6 p.m., music at 7 p.m. $20.
The pandemic shut things down just in time to deprive Madison of a planned March 2020 show from trumpeter Jaimie Branch and her brash, sprawling ensemble Fly Or Die. She returns here in Anteloper, a duo with drummer Jason Nazary (who was in town this past March to play a Tone Madison-presented show with Elder Ones). Both musicians also contribute synthesizers and other electronic elements to this project, and both are plenty comfortable letting elements of jazz, hip-hop, rock, and no-wave abstraction flow together. Together they create a vast, ever-shifting sonic palette for improvised pieces that seethe and tumble and undulate toward a psychedelic horizon. The duo’s new album, Pink Dolphins (which also boasts contributions from guitarist Jeff Parker and drummer Chad Taylor), closes with a 14-minute track called “One Living Genus.” I love that song title, because listening to these pieces is a bit like watching some monstrous compound organism come to life, ominous but filled with beautiful possibility. —Scott Gordon
JULY 14 THROUGH 17
La Fete de Marquette / Musique Electronique at McPike Park.
La Fête De Marquette and its companion dance-music celebration Musique Electronique return for another round at McPike Park, following a pandemic-plagued absence. This year’s iteration of the festival offers up a wide swath of entertainment from Thursday, July 14 through Sunday, July 17. Fête De Marquette’s oddly emphatic proclivity for zydeco and Cajun music will once again be central to the event’s revival, as will the lineup of stellar electronic acts. The High Noon Saloon will continue to play host to the accompanying Musique After Dark series, with Kenny Dope headlining Friday and Freddy K taking Saturday’s featured slot. Over on the Moon Stage at McPike park, Friday and Saturday’s lineups will incorporate a host of other strong electronic acts, including Overland, Flower Food, Boo Lean, and Chez Damier. The aptly named Family Fete stage will offer family-friendly events throughout the event’s run and conclude with a Youth Karaoke sing-off from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, Pine Leaf Boys, Cajun Strangers, Dwayne Dopsie & Zydeco Hellraisers, and The War And Treaty will be among the featured performers, keeping the festival’s options relatively balanced and characteristically consistent. —Steven Spoerl
Le samouraï at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free.
An excerpt from Lewis Peterson’s feature on the thrilling Alain Delon: “Le Samouraï is Delon stripped down to the bare essentials. He plays hitman Jef Costello, a loner who starts his day by smoking on a bed that doesn’t even have bed sheets, awaiting his next assignment. The style of the film mirrors Jef’s own temperaments: there’s no classic noir voiceover, no indication of his inner life, a minimalist jazzy score by François de Roubaix, and a muted color palette of mostly cool blue and beige. Jef’s armor is anonymity, adorned with a gray fedora and trench coat that could be worn by anyone. All the principal characters remain totally calm while trying to destroy the others or avoid the fate that seems to be bearing down on them. Delon’s tough-guy stoicism influentially reverberates through many of the crime dramas that followed, most obviously in Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai (1999) and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011).”
“Weird Al” Yankovic, Emo Philips at Overture Hall. 7 p.m. $42-$102.
The Straight Story (with guest, co-writer Mary Sweeney) at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free.
An excerpt from Jason Fuhrman’s review: “The film was inspired by the epic real-life journey of Alvin Straight, an eccentric, strong-minded 73-year-old World War II veteran who drove a riding lawn mower 240 miles from Iowa to visit his ailing, estranged brother in Wisconsin. With its surprisingly simple narrative structure, naturalistic depiction of the rural Midwest, minimalist style, and lack of sex and violence, The Straight Story remains David Lynch’s most unusual picture. While Wild At Heart takes viewers on a garish, violent, frenzied fairy-tale joyride into America’s heart of darkness, The Straight Story quietly reflects the contemplative rhythms of Straight’s trip through the pastoral Midwestern landscape. As he dilgently plods along at a maximum speed of five miles per hour, Lynch’s film unfolds in a series of elegant, sweeping, painterly compositions that often evoke the stark realism of Edward Hopper. But like Sailor Ripley’s treasured snakeskin jacket in Wild At Heart, Straight’s unorthodox mode of transportation represents a potent symbol of his individuality and his belief in personal freedom.”
Gladys Knight, After 7 at Overture Hall. 6:30 p.m. $45-$510.
JULY 16 THROUGH 17
Communication 4th Anniversary Celebration at Communication. Multiple event times, separately ticketed; see links below for more information.
The all-ages venue and arts space Communication opened in spring 2018 on Milwaukee Street, and later that year became Tone Madison‘s partner organization. It’s about the best alliance we could ask for between a venue and an independent publication—both of our organizations do their own thing and make their own decisions, but share some space and mutual support. To kick off Communication’s fourth anniversary weekend, we’re holding a Saturday, July 16 tie-dye workshop with artist Emily Popp. It’s a joint fundraiser for both organizations. We recommend registering in advance. You can bring your own shirt, or reserve a new Communication shirt or a fresh reprint of Tone Madison‘s infamous Cursed Soggy Shirt. Saturday will also feature a celebration for two of the local artists represented in Communication’s retail shop: Jewelry creator Lisa Lauren aka Kettle Black Silver, and Ethan Jackson (known for making music under the name Mr. Jackson), who will be showing off his Dripsphere fashion brand. Festivities continue on Sunday with a record sale, featuring multiple vendors spread out across Communication’s parking lot and live room. —Scott Gordon