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Madison Comedy Week
All week | Multiple venues | Prices vary
Over 100 comedians and 25+ local comedy events throughout town.
The Moth Madison StorySlam: Happiness
Monday | 7:30 p.m. | High Noon Saloon | $15
Community members prepare and share short stories about happiness.
Tuesday | Find your polling location here
The primary election will determine which candidates for each party will advance to the general election in November.
Opening night of "Hamilton"
Tuesday | 8 p.m. | Overture Center | $49+
Broadway mega-hit "Hamilton" comes to Madison. Shows through Aug 21.
August Biergarten at San Damiano
Thursday | 5-8 p.m. | Free admission
Beer, house tours, food trucks, yard games. The night will also include a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the City of Monona’s purchase of the former friary.
Movies on the Water: Surf’s Up (2007) & The Big Lebowski
Thursday | 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | The Edgewater | Free
From Surf's Up (2007) IMDb: "A behind-the-scenes look at the annual Penguin World Surfing Championship, and its newest participant, up-and-comer Cody Maverick." From The Big Lebowski (1998) IMDb: "Ultimate L.A. slacker Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for a rug ruined by debt collectors, enlisting his bowling buddies for help while trying to find the millionaire's missing wife."
Madison Night Market
Thursday | 4-8 p.m. | Downtown Madison
Art, music, vendors, and food carts. See full list of participating businesses and organizations here.
Rooftop Cinema: Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché
Thursday | 8 p.m. | Madison Museum Of Contemporary Art | $7
As with years of recent Rooftop Cinema past, the outdoor series tends to favor an annual explication of an iconoclastic musician or groundbreaking movement in punk or the avant-garde. Past year's selections have included Tony Conrad: Completely In The Present in 2019 to Desolation Center in 2020. This year's Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché is a multifaceted portrait of the titular British-Somali poet and vocalist (born Marianne Elliott-Said), who fronted X-Ray Spex in late 1970s London.
While Poly's DIY flair for fashion and distinctively defiant punk rock influenced riot grrrl acts in the 1990s and Afro-punk in the 2000s, this documentary ultimately revolves around a family affair, as it's co-directed by the famed singer's daughter Celeste Bell (with increasingly prolific documentarian Paul Sng).
In the opening seconds of the film, Bell considers a question that's often asked of her about Poly being a good mother. Over the course of 90 minutes, Bell attempts to answer and reconcile the faces of public and private life. In reconstructing and retracing Poly Styrene's artistic roots through artifacts that predate Bell while simultaneously sifting through early memories (or those made in her absence) as a child, this biography documentary becomes a surprisingly psychological and uncommonly comprehensive look at identity.
— Grant Phipps, Tone Madison
Dane Dances: BBI and VO5
Friday | 5:30-8 p.m. | Monona Terrace | Free
Both of these local cover bands know how to put on a fun show. Dane Dances! will be held on the Monona Terrace rooftop every Friday this month.
MySpace Emo Prom
Friday | Show at 9 p.m. | $10 advance, $15 doors
A reunion party that promises to bring you back to the era of bleeding hearts, sensitivity, and introverted teenage angst. Cry to your favorite music from My Chemical Romance Paramore, Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and more.
Desert Liminal, Jennifer Hedstrom, Loveblaster
Friday | 7:30 p.m. | Communication | Free
Madison duo Loveblaster's debut single, "The Need To Fail," has an arresting tension at work underneath its minimal, gentle surface. I'm not sure why a band with that sort of name is channeling the sounds of Low (circa Things We Lost In The Fire or thereabouts?) rather than burly cock-rock, but we are all the better off for it. Abigail Self (vocals, bass, piano) and Marley VanRaalte (vocals, guitar, drums) create vocal harmonies that linger between warmth and desolation, atop ringing chords and plodding drums. Neal Jochmann of Combat Naps and Able Baker will join them on sax at this show. Loveblaster plans to release a second single, "Watching You Change," next month. They share the bill here with Chicago dream-pop voyagers Desert Liminal and Madison singer-songwriter Jennifer Hedstrom.
— Scott Gordon, Tone Madison
The Pursuit of Happiness Sessions
Friday-Sunday | McPike Park | Free
The Sessions at McPike Park series kicks off its 2022 season with The Pursuit of Happiness, which serves as a sizable festival unto itself. This being an outdoor music fest on the east side, there's a heavy emphasis on international acts and Americana—the Madagascar-born Razia Said and Mekon-turned-outlaw-country artist Jon Langford are among those with top billing here. The lineup also works in some great offerings from Madison's own music community. Sunday on the Chicory Stage, for instance, includes a performance from Leslie Damaso and Mr. Chair, combining their interests in Filipino art song and far-flung jazz, and jazz pianist Johannes Wallmann, playing behind his new album Precarious Towers.
— Scott Gordon, Tone Madison
Dane County Sheriff's Gun Buyback Event
Saturday | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Alliant Energy Center
Turn in unwanted guns in exchange for gas and grocery gift cards.
Saturday | 7 and 9 p.m | Café Coda | $15, shows ticketed separately.
From Scott Gordon's feature on Mantis' self-titled debut album: "Mantis gives us a prolonged listen to the more aggressive side of Madison baritone sax player Anders Svanoe’s playing. Bassist Brad Townsend and drummer Nick Zielinski match him with bountiful dimension and texture. On 'Intersection,' both Svanoe and Townsend lean into their instruments at angles of maximum friction—sharp squeals we don’t often associate with the baritone (Svanoe loves making it sound not like a baritone), bowed bass swells that evoke a rusty-hinge door swinging back and forth. The jaunty handclaps on the next track, 'Skedaddle,' sound almost sinister in context."
— Tone Madison
Able Baker, Null Device
Sunday | 7 p.m. | Memorial Union | Free
It would be nice to see more shows in Madison that reach across genres and generational lines. Case in point, this bill with Madison synth-pop veterans Null Device and the much younger Able Baker, a band that's been really finding its voice on a series of punchy but tender indie-rock tracks. Null Device recently finished up its eighth album, The Emerald Age, and plans to release it this fall. The album will open with an already released single, "Flags," which captures the band's gift for ominous moods and suspensefully mounting hooks. The song is an industrial-tinged reflection on the corrupt, fascist politics that pervade our historical moment, offering both a lament and a challenge—"When it all comes down / What kind of people will you fight for?" the chorus asks. But at the same time, it's committed to the clean lines and bold gestures that make a good pop song tick. The chance to hear more new work from Null Device, plus the dynamic and assured live sets Able Baker has been playing lately, should make for a lovely night on the Terrace.
— Scott Gordon, Tone Madison
Drag Brunch hosted by Bryanna Banx
Sunday | 11:30 a.m. | The Bur Oak | $10 (Food & drinks sold separately)
Performances by Julez Madison, Jol D Principle, Amaia Mann & Cynthia Mooseknuckle. Brunch by Ahan + drinks by Stateline Distillery.
🧡 Thanks, Tone Madison! We've included several contributions from Tone Madison's team of writers and editors. Check out more arts and culture coverage here.
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