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A few Madison events, June 27 through July 3, 2022

A Hot Summer Gays Halloween, and a rich mix of experimental film and music.
Madison-based DJ Sarah Akawa is shown posing in a shark costume. Behind Akawa are DJ controllers and a laptop, and in the background is a crowd filling a room at Robinia Courtyard
Sarah Akawa, seen here in a Left Shark costume, DJs the Hot Summer Gays: Hotter Than Halloween party on July 2 at Robinia Courtyard. Photo courtesy of Dyke Dive.

A Hot Summer Gays Halloween, and a rich mix of experimental film and music.

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].

JUNE 28

Greene/Drobka/Blair at Arts + Literature Laboratory. Doors at 6:30 p.m., music at 7 p.m. $10/$12 advance, $15 door.

JUNE 29

Mills Folly Microcinema: The Eyes Of Summer and Recent Short Films at Arts + Literature Laboratory. Doors at 7:30 p.m., screening at 8 p.m. $5.

After a May hiatus, Mills Folly Microcinema returns to Arts + Literature Laboratory during this last week of June. Full disclosure: I’m a member of this film series’ programming committee and helped book Rajee Samarasinghe’s Show Me Other Places (2021). So, it’s both my biased and unbiased opinion that Madison is in need of a regular anchor for experimental cinema. Since 2018, Mills Folly has provided that primarily at ALL, in featuring filmmakers ranging from more Wisconsin-affiliated talent like Kym McDaniel (who visited with Exit Strategies #1-5 in late April) to a Sri Lankan native like Samarasinghe. His two films in this program, Show Me Other Places and The Eyes Of Summer (2020), shift from the relationship between physical and virtual space in the former to Samarasinghe’s mother’s home hamlet in the latter. Summer explores, in a haunted and improvisatory narrative, the relationship between a child and a dwelling spirit.

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This program also spotlights Australian filmmaking duo Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie’s In And Out A Window (2021), a play on cinematic framing devices (softly recalling Abbas Kiarostami’s 24 Frames), as well as Michael Robinson’s 23-minute Polycephaly In D (2021) from this year’s Media City Film Festival. Robinson’s conceptually apocalyptic work characterizes the separations and telepathic connections between two men in polar opposite environments with dizzying montage. And then it transforms into an absurdist, high-minded commentary on the history of fantasy cinema. But, most of all, you won’t shake that one ineradicable shot of Melania T. in her malevolent element. —Grant Phipps

Squirrels To The Nuts (a recut of She’s Funny That Way) at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free.

JUNE 30

Daniel Wyche, Emili Earhart, Julian Lynch at Arts + Literature Laboratory. Doors at 6:30 p.m., music at 7 p.m. $15 advance, $20 door.

Three experimental artists with remarkably varied frames of reference play solo sets at this show, and will also play an improvised set as a trio. Madison’s Julian Lynch is best known for the gentle but multi-layered songs of his solo discography, and is equally compelling when he branches out into more free-form solo instrumental sets. His improvised solo-guitar set here might draw on some of the elements of the music he composed for the true-crime podcast Deliver Us From Ervil. The other Madisonian on the bill, pianist Emili Earhart (who is also a Tone Madison contributor), will bring together an array of classical and minimalist influences in her set. In Chicago-based Daniel Wyche’s electric guitar works, hints of abrasion poke through the delicately layered expanses, deeply intentional composition and arrangement meshing with a vast array of pure textures. It’s a compound-eye view of music and sound, achieved through both intensive solo work and collaboration—”This Was Home,” the opening track of  Wyche’s 2021 album Earthwork captures a performance during which the audience had control of various filters and effects, manipulating the sound of Wyche’s guitars and several other players (Andrew Clinkman on guitar, Lia Kohl on cello, Michael Nicosia on guitar, and Ryan Packard on vibraphone). That surrender of control results in a complex but strangely, beautifully cohesive performance. —Scott Gordon

La Piscine at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free.

An excerpt from Lewis Peterson’s Tone Madison preview Madison preview of UW Cinematheque’s Alain Delon series, which begins with this screening: “…There’s certainly enough heat and stylish costuming to attract viewers who are looking for a particularly well-executed genre movie, as La Piscine did in the summer of 2021 when it played at Film Forum in New York City for nearly four months. Prior to last year, it was difficult to see in the US, even after it was the basis for Luca Gudagnino’s 2015 English-language remake, A Bigger Splash. La Piscine isn’t without its detractors, but it offers a good opportunity to mentally lounge with the characters and some decidedly bourgeois concerns, if they can be said to be concerns at all. It even features a poolside party with a bunch of hippies, but their own questioning of societal order doesn’t go any further than the chorus of Michel Legrand’s soundtrack song ‘Ask Yourself Why’ that asks why there are signs to keep off the grass and why there are so many parking lots being built.”

Sigra, Candace Griffin at Dark Horse ArtBar. 8 p.m. $5.

JULY 1

Mad Lit 2022 Kickoff on 100 block of State Street. 8 p.m. Free.

Mad Lit, a free concert series presented by Urban Community Arts Network and Greater Madison Music City Project, begins its second year with a solid block of music. For the kickoff event, the focus will be placed on emergent acts and equitable landscapes in a city that desperately needs that type of commitment. KIC, Alice Mosley, RSHN 6, and DJ Terrence J will be the performers taking the stage for Mad Lit’s 2022 kickoff. This year’s iteration of Mad Lit will again take place on every other Friday, this time from July 1 through to October 7, promising an exceptional and diverse roster of not only artists but participating sponsors and businesses. State Street’s 100 block will remain Mad Lit’s location, providing a familiar backdrop to counterbalance a slew of fresher musical faces. Among the artists slated to perform over the series’ two-plus month run are Danielle Crim, Orquesta Mas, Kinfolk, Nono, Rob Dz, a host of DJs, and several others. Every entry in Mad Lit 2022 will be worth seeking out, not just for the inarguable talent of the performers but for the genuinely progressive spirit of the series, something Madison could use much more of going forward. —Steven Spoerl

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

JULY 2

Hot Summer Gays: Hotter Than Halloween at Robinia Courtyard. 10 p.m. $10.

The Hot Summer Gays series quickly became a crucial part of Madison’s annual music lineup when it launched in 2017. On top of their fierce commitment to creating supportive queer spaces in Madison nightlife, HSG’s organizers reliably put together solid, varied, and local-heavy bills of DJs and live performers. This summer Halloween costume-party edition is no exception, and the lineup is potently primed for a night of sweaty dancing. The night features DJ sets from series co-founder Sarah Akawa, Sunstone, and DJ Goldiloxx. Plus, 7ucky Vita will be performing a live set of brash, funky, glammy-filthy pop behind a recently released self-titled album. —Scott Gordon

JULY 3

The Zombies, Altameda at Barrymore. 7:30 p.m. $40-$50.

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