An ethereal “Nosferatu” and austere doom-metal

Plus more events we recommend checking out in Madison, September 26 through October 2 edition.
In a still from Nosferatu: Phantom Of The Night, Dracula, played by Klaus Kinski, is shown from below with a dramatically tilted camera angle. Dracula, deathly pale and clad in a flowing black garment, has extended his fingers, which have long pointy nails.
“Nosferatu: Phantom Of The Night” screens October 2 at Leopold’s.

Plus more events we recommend checking out in Madison, September 26 through October 2 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 21


Afterlight at Common Wealth Gallery, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Free.

While Mitchell Tanis’ mixed-media art exhibition Afterlight officially opens on September 24, audiences who can’t make it out over the weekend will have one last chance on Monday to catch what looks to be an incredibly striking showing. Afterlight, which is based entirely on the concept of the emotional responses elicited by day transforming into night, features what Tanis describes as “a creative expression of photography, art, and design.”

In the preview images, Tanis’ work artfully conveys his desired intent; all three of the selections Tanis sent to Tone Madison were evocative of the sense of encroaching wonderment and personal quiet that often accompany nightfall. Melancholic, reflective, and occasionally serene, Tanis’ vision—even when presented in abbreviation—is undeniably powerful. Afterlight seems set to be an exhibition that leaves a lasting impression. Afterlight will open in a showing that runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 24, and continue to run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Monday, September 26. 


Steven Spoerl


Incredible But True at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free.

Excerpt from Lewis Peterson’s review: Writer-director Quentin Dupieux draws out the reveal of a house basement device’s ramifications for an exaggeratedly long time (especially given the film is only 74 minutes), clearly reveling in poking fun at the idea of suspense itself. But the device’s function is certainly fantastical, even if the on-screen presentation is decidedly low-budget. It nonetheless qualifies as a foray into the sci-fi genre, with the depiction relying more on dialogue than narrative framework. Think Coherence (2013) or The Man From Earth (2007) by way of Eugène Ionesco, rather than a CGI-laden blockbuster.

Dupieux excels at pushing genre setups into absurd territory while his characters accept that very absurdity as the mundane or obvious. In the past, Dupieux subverted the slasher genre in his international breakthrough Rubber (2010), the police procedural in Keep An Eye Out (2018), the police in general in Wrong Cops (2013), and artistic inspiration itself in Reality (2014) and Deerskin (2019). If there’s a central idea he explores in Incredible But True and other work, it’s based on the question of any of us having an identity beyond social expectation and the technology we use and abuse. On the other hand, rarely has a director given as explicit a statement of intent as the opening speech in Rubber: many things in art and life happen for no reason. It’s up to the viewer to assign meaning to events. Dupieux’s intent seems to be to amuse rather than inform. Human folly naturally provides good comedic material, and of course, a built-in resolution to the story.

Mills Folly Microcinema: Feral Domestic (a trilogy by Dani and Sheilah ReStack) at Arts + Literature Laboratory. 7 p.m. $5.


“Shape Of The Environment” exhibition film screening: 65 (2022) and Thirst For Justice (2022) at Arts + Literature Laboratory. 7 p.m. Free.

House Of Lud, Under The Surface, Daughters Of St. Crispin at BarleyPop Live. Doors at 7:30 p.m., music at 8 p.m. $5.

House Of Lud has gone through a few iterations since it began as a solo doom-metal outing from Troy Peterson, who’s also known for the varied electronic music and occasional off-the-wall antics of his project Kleptix. For a while, House Of Lud took the form of a powerful live trio, recording the 2018 album Olden Void. The project’s latest release, The Crooked And Thorny Path Of Reckoning, features a different three-piece lineup: moving from guitar to bass, Peterson is joined by Joe Cummings on drums and Nick Venechuk on guitar. 

Throughout all this, House Of Lud has channeled its lumbering riffs through a lens that’s austere, murky, and (as the band’s name might suggest) in willful retreat from the modern world. Peterson tells Tone Madison that House Of Lud has “receded back into the shadows to write the best music we can, and rehearse the best live set we can play, and basically not talk about it whatsoever.”

—Scott Gordon

Proud Parents, Cult Of Lip, Lunar Moth at Crystal Corner Bar. 9 p.m. $10.

After an excruciatingly long wait, the Crystal Corner Bar is finally punching its way back into Madison’s live music fold. One of the first lineups the beloved independent bar/venue will be hosting is a classic encapsulation of what makes the Crystal so endearing to so many. Power- pop titans Proud Parents, dreamy shoegaze stalwarts Cult Of Lip, and punchy post-punk act Lunar Moth make up an appealing bill that caters to three of Madison’s most prominent punk subgenres.

Lunar Moth will be playing just a few weeks after the release of their latest single, “Sunshine Veins.” Cult Of Lip’s appearance will continue to establish the band’s new lineup/era, following the semi-recent addition of keyboardist Emili Earhart (an occasional Tone Madison contributor). Proud Parents will be making their first appearance on a traditional bill in a while. Previously, Proud Parents’ last two Madison appearances were both festival slots (Orton Park and the Dirtnap Super Show Extravaganza) in which the band delivered characteristically energetic sets. All three acts will have good reason to play their hearts out, which can only benefit the audience.

—Steven Spoerl

Monsters of Poetry: Dantiel W. Moniz, Sasha Debevec-McKenney, Matt Hart, Gregory Zorko at Genna’s Lounge. 6 p.m. Free.


Nosferatu: Phantom Of The Night at Leopold’s Books Bar Caffè patio. 8 p.m. Free.

Start spooky season and horror month off right with an outdoor screening of Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu: Phantom Of The Night (1979), a stylistic reinterpretation of F. W. Murnau’s silent classic of German Expressionism. It’s also the final film of the season on Leopold’s patio. (For these chilly nights, bring a blanket.)

Inspired by the Romantic paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, Murnau’s 1922 film is often regarded as the archetype and the pillar for gothic horror cinema. Rather than attempting to ape that aesthetic, Herzog leans into his own idiosyncratic proclivities at the height of his prolific era of New German Cinema with an ethereal atmosphere and glowing mysticism.

Besides the comparative pleasures in the casting and visual composition (including some shot-for-shot translation), Phantom Of The Night boasts a raga rock-inflected neoclassical new age score by Popol Vuh. It distinctively envelops the film’s otherworldly Transylvanian universe, which beckons Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz) to close a real estate deal with Count Dracula (a perennially lurking Klaus Kinski, who adopts more humanistic features than Max Schreck’s original grisly Orlok).


Herzog lends a progressively macabre sense of humor to the final act’s plague infestation. Consider the group who lavishly dines in the throes of death, being overtaken by rats. But it’s Doctor Van Helsing (Walter Ladengast) who more soberly attempts to counter the pervasive doom and gloom with a speech on science ushering in a new world, lifting it out of the literal shadows, as his rationality clashes against Jonathan’s wife Lucy (Isabelle Adjani)’s superstitious faith.

If Murnau was constructing his own language of silent cinema by way of landscape paintings of the 19th century, Herzog and cinematographer Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein may have borrowed their own from Giorgio de Chirico, who was also a notable inspiration to Fumito Ueda and Team Ico when rendering one of this century’s most influential adventure games, Ico (2001).

—Grant Phipps

An ode to the best and worst of Madison summers.

Eight stories over eight days, delivered directly to your inbox.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top