What to do in Madison this weekend: Be Earnest, Marquette-Atwood Art Walk, and more Isthmus Picks – Isthmus

Note: Many venues and businesses may continue to maintain individual requirements for masking, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or a negative test for entry. Before heading out for any in-person event, confirm it is still taking place and check for any attendance guidelines on the relevant business websites or social media accounts.

Renee FlemingAprilil 28-30, UW Memorial Union and Hamel Music Center: Soprano Renée Fleming was originally on the Wisconsin Union Theater schedule for a gala concert in May 2020 celebrating its 100th anniversary season. It’s taken a couple extra years, but Fleming’s visit now has transformed from one concert to three events featuring the Grammy-winning artist and educator. On April 28, Fleming will present “Music and the Mind,” a talk on the health benefits of music (7 pm, Shannon Hall); on April 29, she will advise five Performance Studio students in a session open to the public (4 pm, Collins Recital Hall); and on April 30, Fleming will perform a recital drawn from her wide-ranging repertoire (7 pm, Shannon Hall). Find tickets at artsticketing.wisc.edu.

Mackenzie Berry, Thursday, April 28, Central Library, 7 pm: Poet Mackenzie Berry graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s First Wave Hip-Hop and Urban Arts Program, but her first collection, Slack Tongue City (Sundress Publications, 2022), is an ode to her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. That said, the images she unveils, the emotions she evokes, and the ideas she triggers convey universal tension, complexity and joy. No wonder UW-Madison English professor, author and poet Quan Barry calls Slack Tongue City “a percussive debut.” Berry’s poetry has appeared in Vinyl, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Blood Orange Review and others.

Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy, through May 8, Overture Center-Playhouse: Forward Theater Company will round out the 2021-22 performance season with Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy. Employees at the Internet Research Agency in Russia busily post disinformation aimed at Americans ahead of an election. The play, by Sarah Gancher, was named a New York Times Critics Pick, and takes a clever, comedic approach to telling the stories of the employees’ daily lives. This will be the first live stage production of the play, originally written as a virtual production. Performances are at 7:30 pm Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays, plus additional 2 pm matinees on April 30 and May 7. Read Gwendolyn Rice’s review here.

Black Opry Revue, Thursday, April 28, Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm: Former Carolina Chocolate Drops members Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons were among the first modern-day performers to cast light on the historic contributions to country music by Black artists. The Black Opry Revue carries on that mission, performing songs and stories that long pre-date the construction of the Ryman Auditorium. The lineup for Stoughton includes The Kentucky Gentlemen, Nathan Graham, Nashon Halloway, Jett Holden, Lauren Napier and Victoria Williams.

The Floridians, through May 1, Governor’s Mansion Inn: Russian money-launderers working as travel agents would prefer to be in musical theater; retirees looking for something, anything, to do decide to become amateur investigators and run afoul of an FBI agent on a similar track. Comedy ensues, as written by TNW Ensemble Theater co-founder Danielle Dresden in the new play The Floridians. The company produces the new play at the restored, historic Governor’s Mansion Inn; performances take place at 7:30 pm Thursdays and Fridays; 2:30 and 7:30 pm Saturdays; and 2:30 pm Sundays. Buy tickets here.

Chris Castino with Chicken Wire Empire, Thursday, April 28, High Noon Saloon, 8 pm: The Big Wu emerged from Minnesota in the early Nineties and went on to become one of the biggest jam bands in the world. More recently, finding guitarist Chris Castino teamed with Milwaukee jamgrass heroes Chicken Wire Empire to reimagine some of The Big Wu’s material and make those songs sound the way they originally were written — as basic bluegrass tunes. The result of this effort can be heard on Fresh Pickles, the collaborative’s tasty new album that sounds as vintage as it does refreshing. Bring your barn-dancing shoes.

THE HUNT, April 29-May 22, throughout Dane County: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County hosts this scavenger hunt which doubles as a fundraiser for the organization’s programs. Teams use an app to post photos of locations both around the county and found at home, earning points to compete for prizes. Registration continues after the April 29 start date, so it’s never too late to do some catch-up HUNTing. Find all the details here.

Spring Break-A-Way 3on3 Basketball Tournament, Fridays, April 29-May 27, Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 5 pm: Teens can compete in this tournament series on Friday nights, with divisions for boys and girls, grades 6-8 and 9-12. Either come with a team of three or plan to join a team at the event; Registration is free and takes place the night of the event, which also includes a meal, skills clinics, music and prizes. Note: Masks required. Find out more here.

Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest, April 29-30, Bur Oak, 7 pm: Hosted by Madison hot jazz favorites Harmonious Wail, the two-day swing celebration showcases Midwest and national bands. This year’s lineup includes monster guitar duo Cream City Hot Club, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Alphonso Ponticelli, all-star Midwestern ensemble Third Coast Swing, and original, Django-inspired compositions by Baltimore-based Michael Joseph Harris and his band Ultrafaux. Find the schedule and a ticket link at midwestgypsyswingfest.com.

The Importance of Being Earnest, April 29-May 14, Bartell Theatre: If you’re surprised at the continuing popularity of this farce, its author probably wouldn’t be. Oscar Wilde was ahead of his time when it came to gender roles and wise in the ways of hypocrisy. Both are ongoing concerns, even if the basic construction of The Importance of Being Earnest, a comedy about mistaken identities, could have come from Shakespeare’s workbook centuries earlier. Strollers Theater is using “gender fluid” casting to make the story even more contemporary. Performances are at 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays (except for 2 pm on May 14), plus 2 pm, May 1.

Juana Molina, Friday, April 29, Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm: Argentinian singer Juana Molina experiments with folk, electronic and pop, blending a distinctive sound to accompany her Spanish lyrics. Introduced to music at a young age by her parents, Molina gained a musical perspective living in Paris for seven years when her family fled Argentina in 1976, after a military coup. Upon her return to Argentina, Molina rose to fame as an actress and comedian, but stepped away to continue her pursuit of music — with critically acclaimed results. Purchase tickets here.

Al Franken, Friday, April 29, Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm: Franken resigned from the US Senate in 2018 after several claims of sexual misconduct. It was a serious time for a man who has spent most of his life in pursuit of silliness. Which isn’t to say he approached his Minnesota Senate seat with a smirk. He authored one of the most beneficial portions of the Affordable Care Act. Still. It’s likely history will remember Franken as an original staff writer and performer on Saturday Night Live as much as for being in Congress. Currently podcasting in addition to touring, expect both serious and silly during his monologue. Find Dylan Brogan’s interview with Franken at here.

Dafnis Prieto + UW ensembles, Friday-Saturday, April 29-30, Hamel Music Center, 8 pm: Cuban drummer and composer Dafnis Prieto will visit UW-Madison as part of Anita Sorenson Jazz Week. Prieto is highly celebrated in the music world, earning several Latin Grammy nominations and winning a Grammy Award in 2019 for the Dafnis Prieto Big Band album Back to the Sunset. Prieto also is a noted educator, and currently a faculty member at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Prieto will be joined by the Contemporary Jazz Ensemble and the UW Jazz Orchestra on April 29, and the UW World Percussion Ensemble and UW Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble on April 30. Purchase tickets online.

Adventure Club, Friday, April 29, Liquid, 9 pm: Canadian duo Adventure Club hits Liquid on the heels of the release of their newest LP, Love//Chaos. Producers Christian Srigley and Leighton James surfaced with remixes before releasing their first studio album, Red//Blue, in 2016. With their unique blend of dynamic EDM melodies and bass-heavy dubstep, Adventure Club cites contemporaries like Tiesto and Skrillex as their biggest inspirations. With Blakne, ALRT and Birthdayy Partyy.

East Side Acoustic Ensemble CD release, Saturday, April 30, Wil-Mar Center, 7 pm: Guided by singer-songwriter Ritt Deitz, the East Side Acoustic Ensemble is assembled through open auditions to gather and create new music. Who will be participating in the spring session concert? The best way to find out is to attend the show, which comes with a couple side benefits: the first 80 attendees will receive the new CD The East Sideand half your ticket price will be donated to Ukraine relief efforts by Project Hope.

Nikki Glaser, Saturday, April 30, Barrymore, 7 & 9:30 pm: Stand-up comedian, writer, podcast and radio host, and now reality television star: The list of Nikki Glaser’s credentials seems never-ending. The brutally honest comic jokes about her missteps and mistakes, drawing on the female experience. She is not afraid to touch on her own anorexia, depression and anxiety for a laugh, and aims to be a voice for young women. Apart from stand-up, Glaser hosts The Nikki Glaser Podcastand her new reality show, Welcome Home Nikki Glaser?will premiere May 1 on E! Tickets here.

The Bridge #2.4, Saturday, April 30, North Street Cabaret, 8 pm: The Bridge is a collaboration by musicians from France and the Chicago region, typically all skilled composers and improvisers in jazz and other genres, to create and play new music during residencies in both countries. In recent years, BlueStem Jazz has partnered with The Bridge to present Madison concerts as part of the project. April features two shows from the current cohort, both with an intriguing mix of players and atypical instrumental lineups; on April 16, Ensemble #2.7 played The Bur Oak. Ensemble #2.4 hits town on April 30, featuring Morgane Carnet, saxophone/clarinet; Jozef Dumoulin, keyboards; Fanny Lasfargues, bass; Damon Locks, vocalist/producer/DJ; and Macie Stewart, multi-instrumentalist. Find ticket info at bluestemjazz.org.

Marquette-Atwood Art Walk, Sunday, May 1, 11 am-5 pm: Spend a pleasant day learning more about the artists and artisans in our midst and buying some art. Thirty-two artists in 25 residential locations will show their work, mostly in their own work spaces. Work includes ceramics, pottery, jewelry, painting/drawing, mixed media and fiber arts. The walk boasts 12 new artists this year. Maps are available on Sunday at Hatch Art House, 1248 Williamson St., or at marquette-atwoodartwalk.com.

Madison Music Foundry Student Showcase, Sunday, May 1, High Noon Saloon, 11 am: Foundry students celebrate completion of the spring session with performances organized in three categories. Bands that have been rehearsing in the program’s Rock Workshop play first, followed by a jam session featuring songs nominated by instructors and selected by students. The afternoon ends with student showcase bands throwing down, including Slag, The Sandblasters (both rock), and the Blue Dyes (funk/soul).

We hope it’s handy for you to find Picks grouped together in a single post. The individual picks can still be found in the usual places online: collected hereand sprinkled throughout all the events.


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