Saint Kate–The Arts Hotel Reopens Art Spaces
“People are looking for things to do, where they can feel comfortable,” said Marcus Corp’s CEO Greg Marcus. While they have not reopened as a hotel, the museum side of Saint Kate is vibrant with plenty to experience. A number of exhibits are currently on view. In The Gallery, “Making Room: Immigration, Migration, Identity” reflects on the complex narratives surrounding immigration and identity in the U.S. In MOWA DTN, “Wisconsin Funnies” is the first exhibition to present the rich history of comics in Wisconsin. Featured in The Space is Amy Cannestra’s “On a Daily Basis,” a series of found object sculptures, drawings and videos that prod at unconscious coping mechanisms. On display in AIR is Yoonshin Park’s “Finding Space,” an installation using sheer and lightweight materials such as cheesecloth, thread and tree bark to question and contemplate her feelings of in-betweenness in unfamiliar spaces. You don’t even have to come inside. The outdoor sidewalk café setting is prefect to grab a drink, enjoy a meal at Proof Pizza and live music.
Milwaukee Public Museum Reopened
With its dinosaur skeleton, the “Streets of Old Milwaukee” and panoramic displays of natural and cultural history, the Milwaukee Public Museum has always been a destination for locals and tourists alike. The museum has reopened with new policies designed to encourage physical distancing, including entrance only on Wells Streets and exit only through the MacArthur Square parking garage. Several areas of the museum will remain closed.
Cactus Club’s Digital Dream (Saturday nights on Vimeo)
A longtime hub for local music, Cactus Club has shifted programming online in addition to regular carry-out orders from their Bay View location. Digital Dream is an online streaming series, encompassing not only live performances, but also DJ sets, film screenings and more. September highlights include a female takeover show from Kaylee Crossfire along with weekly DJ sets from local acts entitled REACHout Radio. You can get the full schedule of digital programming at cactusclubmilwaukee.com.
The Cooperage’s Covid Couch Series (Saturdays, 9 p.m., on Instagram Live)
The Cooperage had become one of Milwaukee’s biggest live music destinations within the last few years, hosting a variety of notable local and touring acts in their Walker’s Point location. The venue’s Covid Couch Series is a weekly concert via Instagram Live, bringing a high-quality show to your phone with the intimacy of an at-home performance. September’s lineup includes concerts from Guerrilla Ghost, Cozy Danger, Matt Davies and more. The streams can be found on The Cooperage’s Instagram page: @cooperagemke.
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DJ Bizzon—Soul Sunday Brunch, Wayback Whens-Day and The QuaranTURNUP (Sundays 12-2 p.m, Wednesdays 5-7 p.m., Fridays 8-10 p.m on Twitch)
One of Milwaukee’s hardest working DJs isn’t letting a lack of local club nights deter him, as DJ Bizzon has turned his regularly scheduled events digital, broadcasting via Twitch and launching a Patreon with exclusive content. With a different theme every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday night, join him for a variety of dance parties from the comfort of home. You can stream his sets at twitch.tv/djbizzon.
Linneman’s Riverwest Inn (Various nights, streaming on Facebook)
A staple of the Riverwest music community, Linneman’s is back to hosting a regular schedule of concerts—albeit for empty rooms—and streaming on the venue’s Facebook page. Since the venue’s inception, owner Jim Linneman and his team have made live music their priority, and live streaming shows benefit both the artists and the venue with virtual tip jar links listed on each stream. You can get the full concert schedule at linnemans.com.
Non-Pop! (Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on Twitch)
Non-Pop, the combination of live artwork and DJ sets cultivated by local artist Moses and his associates, had recently moved to club Site 1A before quarantine shut things down locally. Fortunately, the group has been able to turn that weekly club night into a streaming experience, blending music and art into something unique emanating from several Milwaukee locations and featuring some of the city’s top DJs and visual artists. Non-Pop! can be streamed at twitch.tv/yononpop.
Rock the Stream (Thursday nights at 7 p.m., streaming on YouTube)
The organizers of Rock the Green, a non-profit that focuses on eco-friendly concerts, were one of the first local organizations to offer regular streaming events, entitled “Rock the Stream.” Each week, a local artist is paired up with an organization, and a charity show benefitting both the artist and the non-profit is streamed on YouTube with donation links. You can get the full September lineup for Rock the Stream at rockthegreen.com.
Streaming Through Sept. 12
Milwaukee Black Theater Festival
The Tony-nominated Home by Samm-Art Williams is among the three plays included in the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s virtual festival. Home is set during the Vietnam War era, while Zora Howard’s Stew concerns three generations of Black women as they gather to prepare a meal and contemplate their perseverance. James Ijames’ Kill Move Paradise’s timely theme involves four African Americans as they enter the afterlife and make sense of their fate. For more information, visit milwaukeechambertheatre.org.
Through Sept. 12
Brennen Steines, “Vestiges” @ The Alice Wilds
Brennen Steines’ current exhibition deftly navigates the narrowest of straits between tasteful image making and muscular, process-driven abstraction—obstacles he’s clearly set up to challenge himself and tempt the rest of us. Large paintings of floral arrangements confirm his canny conceptual route along this journey of object making. Traditionally considered still-life fodder, he engages the tasteful vegetal subject matter with the delicacy of a mason. The chunky, impastoed paint-as-mortar in his eroded floral still lifes informs the other, more abstract paintings in the show, all of which are composed, pulled away, sanded, reapplied, reworked and finally guided into their port of call with ambiguous cargo; part object, part concept, and all of it a rollicking shanty about the journey of painting itself.
Through Nov. 22
“Wisconsin Funnies: Fifty Years of Comics” @ Museum of Wisconsin Art and MOWA DTN (St. Kate—the Arts Hotel)
Several times each week through the ’70s, the Milwaukee Journal’s editorial cartoonist Bill Sanders tweaked the noses of reactionaries with his timely caricatures of the mendacious Richard Nixon and the hapless Gerald Ford. Across town, underground cartoonist Denis Kitchen drew fantastic funny covers for the Bugle-American alternative weekly. Both artists are represented in “Wisconsin Funnies,” an exhibition with more than 200 works by 31 artists with ties to Wisconsin. Who knew Will Eisner—called “one of the preeminent stylists of 20th-century comics”—came from here? Works by current artists are also on display; including UW-Madison’s Lynda Barry.
Streaming Sept. 10-24
Minority Health Film Festival
The Milwaukee Film Festival has always included programming focused on the challenges of minorities in America. Last year, the festival included a four-day component on Minority Health. This year’s all-virtual Minority Health Film Festival is “going bigger for sure,” says Sebastian Mei, Milwaukee Film’s chief marketing and development officer, and it will feature more than 25 films, panels and discussions addressing “social inequality and social justice,” Mei continues. “It’s more important than ever in this time of COVID and social unrest.” For more information, visit mkefilm.org/mhff.
Friday, Sept. 11
Filter Off Virtual Speed Dating
Joining the dating scene is difficult, throw in a pandemic and it can seem impossible. Filter Off is here to help. Singles can download their smartphone app and participate on Friday, Sept. 11, from 8–9 p.m. for virtual, video speed dating. Filter Off is modeled after real-world speed dating and is designed to get those with confidence, courage and crazy schedules meeting each other face-to-face. The app looks at age, location, height and education preferences and attempts to find someone that fits.
Sept. 16-Jan. 31
“Luba Lukova: Designing Justice” @ Jewish Museum Milwaukee
Luba Lukova has become known around the world for simple, striking images of protest and defiance. “Designing Justice” includes 33 posters addressing income disparities, environmental catastrophe and other contemporary issues. “Designing Justice,” originally scheduled to open in spring, couldn’t emerge at a better time. It’s paired with “Shakespeare in the Alley: A Tribute to Bob Dylan,” which is focused on Dylan’s political lyrics as hand-stenciled by Wisconsin artist Skye.
Tuesday, Sept. 22
Virtual Conversation with Ayad Akhtar and Mark Clements
Boswell Book Co. is sponsoring a 7 p.m. conversation between the Milwaukee Rep’s artistic director and the Pulitzer-winning, Milwaukee-rooted playwright. Last year, the Rep staged the Midwest premiere of Alkhtar’s Junk, an indictment of Wall Street wizards who sped the process of social decomposition down the economic avenue during the Reagan era; the Rep has also produced Akhtar’s The Invisible Hand, Disgraced and The Who & The What. The discussion with Clements will focus on the playwright’s new novel, Homeland Elegies, about an immigrant father and his son in post-Trump America.
Friday, Sept. 25
Sing That Thing! A Showdown For Radio Milwaukee
In lieu of their regular Fall Ball fundraiser, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee is hosting their annual karaoke competition and dance party with a digital twist this year. Twelve local community leaders will compete in the ultimate local karaoke showdown hosted by Dori Zori and Ayisha Jaffer, and DJ Kenny Perez will provide the tunes for a dance party afterwards to benefit the local community radio station. You can RSVP to the Zoom call by donating to Radio Milwaukee at radiomilwaukee.org.