Krar Collective at La Fete De Marquette, Femi Kuti, Brian Posehn, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Scott Gordon, Joel Shanahan, Maija Inveiss, and Chris Lay
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THURSDAY JULY 14
Counter-Attack. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)
UW Cinematheque’s series tying in with UW-Madison professor David Bordwell’s book on 1940s film criticism, The Rhapsodes, continues with Zoltan Korda’s claustrophobic World War II thriller Counter-Attack. Based on a play (which was itself based on another play), Counter-Attack follows two Russian soldiers who find themselves behind enemy lines in a collapsed building trying to escape from the seven enemy Nazi soldiers who also find themselves in this desperate predicament. Original reviews of the film by the four critics discussed in Bordwell’s book—James Agee, Parker Tyler, Otis Ferguson, and Manny Farber—will be handed out before the screening. —Chris Lay
La Fête De Marquette. Central Park, through July 17. (free)
The main thing that excites about the annual Fete De Marquette is its Friday and Saturday electronic stage, which this year boasts headliners Kid Koala and Stacey Pullen, in addition to Midwestern standouts like Niki Kitz and Sassmouth. But the more traditional part of the Fete’s music lineup is a festive stew of sounds from, well, any place the French conquered at one point or another. One standout this year is Ethiopia-formed, London-based Krar Collective (Sunday, 3 p.m.), named for the East African lyre that provides a beautiful trebly groove to its music. Singer Genet Asefa, backed up with vocals from drummer Grum Begashaw and krar player Temesegen Zeleke, layers rich, subtly shifting melodies over the trio’s complex yet minimalist rhythms. Their set should be a good compromise between your obligatory summer-festival hypno-dancers and people who want a rewarding listen. —Scott Gordon
Brian Posehn. Comedy Club on State, through July 16, see link for all showtimes.
It’s possible that you might recognize Brian Posehn from any of the dozens of bit parts he had in sitcoms across the late ’90s (Seinfeld, Friends, NewsRadio, Just Shoot Me!), but his main claims to fame were writing and performing on HBO’s legendary Mr. Show with Bob & David and more recently Comedy Central’s Sarah Silverman Program. As a stand-up, Posehn is joyfully juvenile. The joke topics on his albums, Fart & Wiener Jokes and The Fartist, are evenly divided into farts, strippers, weed, more farts, nerd stuff, heavy metal, and still more farts. There’s no real attempt to elevate any of those to any sort of high (ha!) art, but the guy knows how to tell a damn story and coax the audience down his dark alleys. —CL
FRIDAY JULY 15
Fireworks Wednesday. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)
The plot of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s 2006 film Fireworks Wednesday leads up to the Persian New Year, and the titular pyrotechnics are both literal and metaphorically potent. The fuse is lit when a soon-to-be-married housekeeper, Roohi (Taraneh Alidoosti), is dragged into a domestic squabble between two other couples that is rooted in infidelity, and it steadily burns through one twist and turn after another along across the span of a day to a dramatic climax. Farhadi would go on to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for 2011’s A Separation. Don’t pass up the chance to see this excellent example of contemporary Iranian cinema in 35mm. —CL
Kid Koala, DJ Vilas Park Sniper. High Noon Saloon, 10:30 p.m.
Montreal-based weirdo hip-hop producer and olympian turntablist Eric San has built up quite a résumé over the years. Be it his sample-heavy, psychedelic solo outings as Kid Koala or his flurry of collaborations with the likes of Gorillaz, Deltron 3030, and Mike Patton-led project Lovage, San’s voice always rings through, treating the decks as flexible instruments, while his intricate record scratching builds new melodies, textures, and patterns out of old records. Close-up footage of San’s live sets can be so mind-bendingly active that it’s almost dizzying, with San dancing in a giant Koala costume, covered in sweat, while his hands work between scratching records on three different turntables and tweaking the living shit out of the knobs and faders of a mixer. Another formidable turntablist in Madison-based hip-hop and reggae selector Vilas Park Sniper will kick things off. He spoke with us recently for our ongoing Aces feature. This ticketed show follows Kid Koala’s set earlier Friday evening at the Fete De Marquette’s electronic stage. —Joel Shanahan
The Malcolmexicans, Sons Of Atom, Rocket Bureau. Mickey’s Tavern, 10 p.m. (free)
Rocket Bureau has thus far been a solo project by Madison-based multi-instrumentalist, producer, and power-pop obsessive Kyle Motor—he plays all the instruments and sings all the vocal parts on a string of singles and an EP that landed among our favorite local records of 2015. For this show with fellow Madison rockers Sons Of Atom and The Malcolmexicans, Motor will debut a live version of Rocket Bureau. As for the details of the live lineup, Motor says, “We’re keeping it vague. You know, to be dicks about it,” but you can hear more about the project in my podcast interview with him from last year. —SG
SATURDAY JULY 16
Ted Park, Ra’Shaun, Trebino, Jack Helmuth, Sierra DeMartino, DJ Pain 1. 30 W. Mifflin St., 5 p.m.
What with all the drama that surrounds hip-hop’s mere access to venues in Madison, it’s important that the non-profit Urban Community Arts Network’s summer concert series gets local hip-hop artists front-and-center in well-trafficked outdoor spots in central Madison. This installment features Ra’Shaun, a 20-year old Madison rapper whose flow swings easily into charming melody, while still maintaining a gritty undercurrent, on recent songs like “Dial” and “Deja Vu.” Both are on his forthcoming debut EP Kolors, which he discussed with us in an interview this week. This bill also features Madison/NYC rapper Ted Park, singer Sierra DeMartino, and between-set spinning from DJ Pain 1. —SG
Stacey Pullen, DJ Umi. High Noon Saloon, 10:30 p.m.
Now more than ever, the folks embracing the latest explosion of tech-house and EDM need to be educated on the source material and where it comes from. So, the timing is ripe for a true Detroit techno legend in Stacey Pullen to swoop through and drop knowledge in the form of deep, spacious, and cosmic-flavored grooves to close out the night. While Pullen’s reputation as a master selector precedes him, his production legacy is vast. Between the heady space-techno of his Kosmik Messenger alias, the bizarre and lush stylings of his Silent Phase work, and the diverse and dynamic selection of tracks he’s released under his own name, Pullen balances his stylistic dynamics with razor focus. As with Kid Koala’s High Noon set on Friday night, Pullen’s also follows a free performance at the Fete De Marquette’s electronic tent. The great thing about these Fete afterparties is that the pressure on DJs to appease a bunch of festival randoms of varying commitment fades away and can get as loose as they want. Madison-based deep-house DJ Umi, part of the local Foshizzle Family crew of DJs and producers, opens up this afterparty. —JS
Femi Kuti, Fringe Character, DJ Phil Money. Majestic, 9 p.m.
While it’s easy to get swept up in the fact that Nigerian Afrobeat legend Femi Kuti is the son of musical pioneer and activist Fela Kuti, it’s important to remember that he’s closing in on 55 and that he began shredding the saxophone in his father’s band Egypt 80 about 30 years ago. The younger Kuti’s solo work is defined by a mix of slanted, catchy, and complicated grooves, rhythmically infectious guitar melodies, and heavily political lyrics expressed through the multi-instrumentalist’s heartfelt and uncontainable wailing. Even Kuti’s hip-hop collaborations with Mos Def (“Do Your Best”) and Common (“Missing Link”) find him sticking close to the Afrobeat sound and bringing the rappers’ distinct vocals into a fresh context. —JS
MONDAY JULY 18
Dazed And Confused. Memorial Union Terrace, 9 p.m. (free)
This flick right here is a is somehow one of the most unrelatably relatable things ever put to celluloid. Richard Linklater’s 1993 film Dazed And Confused follows a handful of different groups of ragtag teens across their rural Texas town on the last day of high school. Even though there are only a handful of characters I could see any aspect of myself in (no football or baseball teammates for me, and everyone I knew waited till college to get into beer and bongs), the whole thing rings incredibly true in an emotional sense and somehow every one of the characters in what feels like a cast of hundreds is a fully fleshed out human that doesn’t fall into any easy categorization. Dazed And Confused isn’t as verbose or as conceptually dense as some of Linklater’s other films but, in not condescending to either its characters or the audience, it’s easily his most warmly populist. This is the film that launched not one but two volumes of soundtrack CDs (both of which are great), beat Mallrats to the punch casting Ben Affleck as an insufferable douche, and gave the world Matthew McConaughey. —CL
Pitchfork Radio Madison. High Noon Saloon, through July 22, see link for more details
Madison usually gets a bit of spillover in July from Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival, sometimes in the form of a few artists popping up for Terrace shows or a Live on King Street set the Friday or Saturday before their festival appearances. (Say what you will about the festival-industrial complex, but recent years’ free visits from folks like Ka, Speedy Ortiz, and Run The Jewels have been nothing to sniff at.) This year it’s a bit more official, but it’s not entirely clear what we’re getting: Pitchfork will host a five-day streaming broadcast from the High Noon, which an announcement says will feature “appearances, interviews, and mixes from Disclosure, Anderson .Paak, Mobb Deep, Zola Jesus, Lisa Prank, Whitney, Entro Senestre, CRASHprez, Proud Parents, WSUM DJs, and more.” It’s not clear how much actual live music this will involve, except for a Monday kick-off show with Twin Peaks, but we’ll be in touch with the organizers and will share more details if we get ’em. UPDATE: There’s finally a schedule for this and several Wisconsin artists have been added, including Tenement, Trapo, Northless, and Samantha Glass. —SG
WEDNESDAY JULY 20
Little Monroe Gallery Reception: Michael Velliquette. 1901 Monroe St., 5 p.m. (free)
Madison-based artist Michael Velliquette is best known for works that use hundreds of intricate cut-paper components and an explosive palette of bright colors. He also tends to walk a line between the 2-D and 3-D. That makes him a good candidate for the Little Monroe Gallery, which is basically a large-ish glass box outside of a frame shop on Monroe Street. This reception celebrates his new installation there, “Beginner’s Mind,” which lines the space with one of Velliquette’s characteristically exuberant color schemes. A group of translucent hands reach up and down through the space—which perhaps sounds eerie on paper, but in person evokes warmth and connection. It’s on display through the end of August. Velliquette spoke with me about his work last fall. —SG
Touchez Pas Au Grisbi. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)
Two of the actors central to UW Cinematheque’s “French Tough Guys” series, Jean Gabin and Lino Venura, star as gangsters from opposing sides in Jacques Becker’s 1954 French-Italian crime drama Touchez Pas Au Grisbi. Gabin plays Max, an older gangster who tries to act decently as he eyes retirement, but Angelo, played by Ventura, provokes him by kidnapping his friend and trying to usurp the spoils from Max’s last big heist. Even with a few light comedic points integrated throughout, the film as a whole maintains a rather dark atmosphere that owes a lot to Gabin’s performance—Touchez Pas Au Grisbi is known for being the film that revived his career. As Max, Gabin showcases his strength on camera by not allowing Ventura to outshine him. Both men have big roles, but only one ends up victorious. —Maija Inveiss