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Czarbles returns, and a new Rooftop Cinema season begins

A photo shows the band Czarbles performing at Mickey's Tavern in Madison in 2019. The band members are blurry with motion, and a chalkboard in the background advertises drink specials.
Czarbles plays Mickey’s Tavern on August 6.

Plus more events we recommend checking out in Madison, August 1 through 7 edition.

We’re partnering with the wonderful independent email newsletter Madison Minutes to bring you event recommendations every week. As of this summer, 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].

AUGUST 4

Drunken Master and Police Story 2 (double feature) at UW Cinematheque. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m. Free.

Excerpt from Ian Adcock’s review: “Emerging from a mid-1970s sea of Bruce Lee imitators, Chan quickly established himself as a singular talent, directing his own films and leading a highly disciplined stunt team. Infusing the martial arts genre with his Chinese opera training and a willingness to put himself in physical danger, Chan stood out as an innovator.

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Loosely based on a Chinese folk hero, Drunken Master is one of the first films that let Chan’s goofy underdog persona shine. Creating new fighting styles for each of his films, director Yuen Siu-Tin opted for entertainment value over realism, creating the perfect showcase for Chan’s agility and comic mugging.

Police Story 2 shows a refinement of Jackie Chan’s personal style, creating a vehicle perfectly tailored to his physical skills and underdog persona. Though he wisely didn’t try to top the first film’s death-defying finale, Police Story 2 has plenty of incredibly dangerous stunts and intricate fight choreography.”

Rooftop Cinema: The American Sector at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Doors at 7:30 p.m., screening at 8 p.m. $7.

Rooftop Cinema returns to the sculpture garden atop MMoCA on State Street for a 17th season, now on Thursday nights in August. The outdoor series, which has showcased everything from experimental animation to concert films to offbeat narratives, now shifts its thematic lens towards a four-film slate of personal documentaries. Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez’s The American Sector (2020) kicks off Rooftop’s 2022 programming here. The succinct 70-minute film is a fusion of travelogue, political documentary, and art appreciation, as the co-directors capture sections of the Berlin Wall that have been reappropriated and displayed in over 75 locations across the United States, from Fort Benning to Vegas. Based on Velez’s prior work with slow cinema ethnographic fiction Manakamana (a 2014 Wisconsin Film Festival selection), expect a distinctive eye for detail and resonant commentary on American values. —Grant Phipps

Acoustic Happy Hour with Def Sonic at Garver Feed Mill. 6 p.m. Free.

AUGUST 5 THROUGH 6

Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival at Lake Farm County Park. See tickets page for full pricing info.

AUGUST 5 

Good Corners, Jonathan Millionaire at Dark Horse ArtBar. 10 p.m. Free.

Lawrence Gann played drums for the sparkling, dry-witted Madison band Labrador, but lately he’s shifted his attention to a solo project called Jonathon Millionaire. Gann’s husky voice (somewhere in the neighborhood of Jawbreaker’s Blake Schwarzenbach, but less grizzled) gives his songs a downtrodden heft on the album Unlimited Growth Potential, forming a sharp contrast with the bright layers of guitar and driving, almost playful drums and bass. Gann refines that approach further on a recent single, “Chrysalis,” a song that captures the feeling of being stuck in place but still offers hope for what’s ahead. For this show, the live version of Jonathon Millionaire will be Gann on guitar and vocals, Ben Strohbeen on bass, and Craig Hoffmann on drums. Opening things up is Good Corners, the duo of John Hitchcock and Ryan Lansing, which uses pedal steel, synths, and eerie samples to create entrancing landscapes of spacey twang. This show also celebrates the opening of Pushed To Abstraction, a group art show of work from Hitchcock, Samie Laine Scott, Jason Levy, and Evan Bradbury. —Scott Gordon

AUGUST 6

Deterioration, Czarbles, Mellow Harsher, Ferity at Mickey’s Tavern. 10 p.m. Free.

Czarbles has been a homegrown treasure since releasing its self-titled debut album in 2006, and this will be the trio’s first show since 2020. Guitarist Mark Sauer, drummer Jeff Sauer, and bassist Matt Skemp play instrumental rock of almost maddening complexity, but they’ve dwelt so long in the minutiae of odd time signatures and contorted phrasings that the music becomes catchy, flexible, mischievous, compact, and improbably approachable. Speaking of compact, Czarbles’ most recent album, 2015’s Nausea Trois, clocks in at just over 12 minutes. Stoughton’s Mellow Harsher, playing here to celebrate drummer Goatlord’s birthday, has achieved something of a legendary status for its delightfully punishing grindcore. Madison hardcore band Ferity and Minneapolis grindcore outfit Deterioration further enhance this evening of heavy menace. —Scott Gordon

AUGUST 7

A League Of Their Own at Memorial Union Terrace. Screening at 9 p.m. Free.

Excerpt from Alisyn Amant’s review: “Though the film may have caused the first stirrings of feminist ideology in a generation of impressionable athletes, its combination core as a pure, baseball comedy is what has made it stick. A League Of Their Own tells the mostly-fictionalized account of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) in its prime. As Major League Baseball players continue to get shipped overseas as soldiers for WWII, the businessmen of the American dynasty quickly notice the faltering profits. They eventually land on the novel idea of a professional women’s league to fill the time and their pockets.

Director Penny Marshall and screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel meet viewers with the familiarity of America’s Pastime to ease some into the fact that women can be ballplayers, actually. It also wouldn’t be the dramedy of resilience that it is without its acknowledgment of the barriers women faced in the 1940s, especially those who stepped outside the boundaries of the home when the war made it essential.”

My Tree at Arts + Literature Laboratory. Doors at 6:30 p.m., music at 7 p.m. $15 advance, $20 doors.

John Christensen Quartet at Allen Centennial Garden. 5 p.m. Free.

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