January 18, 2021

Books, movies, music…and science – Isthmus

The print version of Isthmus remains on hiatus as we reconfigure ourselves as a nonprofit news organization. We hope it’s handy for you to find the Picks in a single weekly post. Of course, the individual Picks can still be found in the usual places online: collected here, and sprinkled throughout all the events.

Madison Bicycle Adventure Trail Engagement Meeting, Thursday, Oct. 15, 6 pm: Weird thing about city meetings — it’s much easier to participate in them now that they’re on Zoom…and you have nothing else to do. Try this one, which concerns a new off-road bicycle trail network initiative in the city. While Madison has a lot of asphalt bike paths and lanes, single-track paths and other natural surface trails in town are hard to find. (Legal ones, anyway.) In this public informational meeting, members of the city of Madison Parks Division will make a short presentation on the project, followed by two 15-minute breakout sessions and a q and a. Register for the Zoom link here (and also find info on an Oct. 28 meeting).

Wisconsin Science Festival, Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 15-18: It feels like an uphill battle to get some people to take science seriously, but one event at the upcoming Wisconsin Science Festival gives us all full permission to approach the topic with some humor. For six years comedian Shane Mauss (pictured) has been interviewing scientists “about the meanings of life” on the podcast Here We Are. The Wisconsin native will do a rare virtual episode of the show so people can watch live and join in the action. The Oct. 17 show (8:30 pm) will focus on the science of screen time, phone use and the internet. But that’s just one event in this year’s festival, which runs from Oct. 15-18. Most of the more than 100 events will be virtual, but there will be some in-person activities as well. Find the full schedule here.

Talking Spirits Cemetery Tours launch, Thursday, Oct. 15: There are many interesting people buried at Madison’s Forest Hill Cemetery, including veterans. For more than 20 years, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum has been keeping their stories alive by hosting live tours of the cemetery. This year the action will be virtual but no less riveting. You’ll learn about Hettie Pierce, who was born into slavery in 1829 but eventually made her way to Madison, and Thomas “Bud” Truax, a graduate of UW who went on to become an Army Air Corps aviator and for whom Truax Field is named. Museum director Chris Kolakowski says the virtual tour actually presents an opportunity: “Using virtual technologies to show you the cemetery, we can take you to remote locations on the grounds and provide you with more stories and details which we haven’t been able to tell on previous tours.” The tour launches on Oct. 15 and will be viewable through at least the end of 2020; read more at MadisonCemeteryTours.com.

Nikki Giovanni, Thursday, Oct. 15, 7 pm: You might say Nikki Giovanni was ahead of her time. The poet rose to prominence in the 1960s with works that could seem deceptively simple but drew inspiration from the civil rights and Black Power movements. But anger and frustration at the Black experience in the U.S. is also an integral part of Giovanni’s long list of works. In this Wisconsin Book Festival talk via Crowdcast, Kiese Laymon, professor of English at the University of Mississippi, will discuss with Giovanni her latest book, Make Me Rain, a collection of poetry and prose. The Wisconsin Book Festival’s fall main event continues through Oct. 17; find the full schedule here, and read on for more of our picks. Find Michael Popke’s preview here.

Milwaukee Film Festival, Oct. 15-29: If you’ve run through your favorite TV series and are ready for a huge dose of on-screen creativity, check out the digital edition of the Milwaukee Film Festival. The event features 197 titles in myriad genres, including an opening night feature, I Used to Go Here (followed by a Q&A with director Kris Rey), and Coming Clean, a new documentary on the opioid crisis. The full schedule is available at mkefilm.org, along with a PDF film guide. Passes for the entire festival are $160 ($75 for Milwaukee Film members), and individual tickets are $5 for members and $8 for non-members; all can be shared with your household. Pop some popcorn and settle in.

Save our Stages Festival, Oct. 16-18: The nation’s music venues are in a world of pain after seven months of shutdowns with no relief in sight, and in response an impressive array of artists is lined up to present a whopper of an online concert. It’s a public fundraiser for the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which is tirelessly advocating for assistance for performing arts venues around the country, including the Barrymore Theatre, Cafe CODA, Overture and more local businesses. The weekend features concerts by Dave Matthews, Foo Fighters, Leon Bridges, The Lumineers, Macklemore, Miley Cyrus, Nathaniel Rateliff, Phoebe Bridgers (pictured), Reba McEntire, Rise Against, The Roots and many more; numerous performers are recording or livestreaming from their favorite venues. Donate here.

PhotoMidwest Biennial Exhibit, Friday, Oct. 16, 7 pm: Although there is a sneak peek of the chosen images Oct. 15 at midnight, the official opening of this juried exhibit of photos is Friday, with Peter Turnley presenting the images in a live webcast “Gallery Walk & Talk” on YouTube. Tune in and you will learn why these photos made the cut and that snap of your cat taken on your iPhone6 did not. The exhibit will be viewable at photomidwest.org through Dec. 31.

Jacob Tobia, Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 pm: The memoir Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story, an acclaimed bestseller in 2019, is now available in paperback. Author Jacob Tobia, a gender nonconforming writer and performer, will discuss their memoir with A Room of One’s Own staff member Misian Taylor during this Wisconsin Book Festival livestream. Woman’s Day says “this memoir is a rallying cry for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t belong,” which sounds like the kind of inspiration the world could use right now.

Claire Messud, Saturday, Oct. 17, 10 am: Novelist Claire Messud will discuss her new memoir, Kant’s Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write, with novelist Meg Wolitzer live on Crowdcast (as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival). It’s subtitled “an autobiography in essays.” So the reader may find out about her peripatetic childhood, how Messud turned characters she wrote about as an undergraduate into fodder for her early novels and what it’s like to be a creative writing professor at Harvard, married to another Harvard professor.

André Aciman, Saturday, Aug. 17, 4 pm: Call Me By Your Name won an Academy Award in 2018 for Best Adapted Screenplay. The book it was based on is by André Aciman, who returns to the beloved characters in a new novel, Find Me, which checks in on them as their lives progress over the years. Aciman will discuss the book during a Wisconsin Book Festival livestream with former UW-Madison grad student Brandon Taylor, author of the 2020 Booker Prize finalist Real Life.

LunArt Festival, Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 pm: A concert series celebrating and supporting women in the arts, LunArt Festival returns in year three with “Human Family,” a pair of livestreams (the first was Oct. 10) featuring works created by Black women. This Saturday’s concert features chamber music by composers Valerie Coleman and Florence Price; singer-songwriters Akornefa Akyea and Danielle Crim; and spoken word and poetry by Jamie Dawson, Fabu and Shasparay Lighteard. Find the free livestream here.

Las Locas Comedy, Saturday, Oct. 17, 8 pm: Brighten up your living room with some new comedy from the nation’s top Latinx comedians, presented by Chicago’s Las Locas Comedy in collaboration with the local funny folk of Lady Laughs. Hosted by Janice V. Rodriguez (pictured) and Jess Martinez of Las Locas, the livestream also features Maria De La Ghetto (Los Angeles), Crist Guzman (Texas), Amy Colon (New York), Aniria Turney (Florida), and Melissa Duprey (Chicago). Find tickets here.

The Dalton Gang, Saturday, Oct. 17, 8 pm: Ladies Must Swing has been keeping the sound of historic big bands alive in Wisconsin for more than 20 years. The Dalton Gang is a smaller ensemble pulled from the big band, featuring LMS tenor sax player and leader June Dalton, along with pianist Kim Halverson, bassist Laurie Riss, and drummer Nicky Sund. The quartet gathers for a livestream concert from Cafe Coda.

MAMAs Artist of the Year concert, Sunday, Oct. 18, 1-8 pm: The 17th annual Madison Area Music Awards ceremony took place virtually on Oct. 4; you can find the full list of this year’s winners at themamas.org. As a follow-up, the finalists for Artist of the Year will each livestream a set from the stage of Liquid during this special event. The lineup includes the People Brothers Band (1 pm), Lo Marie (this year’s winner, 3 pm, pictured), Sam Ness (5 pm), and Wurk (7 pm). Make a donation for access to the livestream.

Mammoth Hike Challenge, Oct. 1-31, Ice Age Trail: More than 10,000 years ago, glaciers covered much of the earth. The Ice Age Trail meanders along about 1,200 miles of Wisconsin landscape, generally marking the southern border of the area covered by ice all those years ago. More recent history includes the trail’s designation as a National Scenic Trail in 1980. Celebrate those 40 years by signing up to hike 40 miles of the Ice Age Trail during October. It’s a perfect way to observe the rapidly advancing fall colors and get in some exercise before we are all stuck inside for a few months.

Technologies to Change the World, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 3 pm: StartingBlock Madison hosts a webinar with “futurist” Bruce McCabe as part of its free series for businesses (open to all). In a world of exponential change, McCabe’s goal is to help organizations evolve faster by looking forward. The webinar also promises to explain the world of “future tech” and its effect on business. RSVP for a link.

Food-A-Rama, orders due Wednesday, Oct. 21: How did Americans end up pairing voting with food? This year the traditional school bake sales are off the table, but not the 54th iteration of Food-A-Rama, the annual Election Day deli takeout extravaganza from Temple Beth El. The difference this year is you must order in advance by Oct. 21, and there will be curbside pickup on Tuesday, Nov. 3. On the menu: corned beef, Mediterranean vegetarian plate, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, coleslaw, potato salad, chicken matzah ball soup, hot dogs, rye bread and, of course, chopped liver. There’s also a family dinner pack. Order at tbemadison.org; curbside pickup is at Temple Beth El, 2702 Arbor Drive, on Nov. 3, from 10:30 am–2 pm.

Daphne E. Barbee-Wooten, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 7 pm: Wisconsin Historical Society Press is launching a new Facebook Live series, “Book Bites,” with talks by authors of Wisconsin-related tomes. This week, Daphne E. Barbee-Wooten talks about a book she edited, Justice For All: Selected Writings of Lloyd A. Barbee, a collection of work by her father, a state civil rights leader and member of the Assembly from 1965-1977. In a 2017 review, Bill Lueders says “the book still feels urgent, as a whirlwind display of Barbee’s courage, independence, integrity and wit.”

Madison Cat Project fundraiser, Thursday, Oct. 22, Warner Park Duck Pond, 6 or 8:30 pm: Take in a screening of Hotel Transylvania (6 pm, tickets here), the 2012 animated film starring Adam Sandler, about Count Dracula — who runs a “human-free” hotel — or the 1993 Halloween cult classic Hocus Pocus (8:30 pm, tickets here), featuring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker. Proceeds benefit the Madison Cat Project, which is currently constructing a new shelter space. Tickets for either film are $35 for two people, $50 for three or more per vehicle, and spots are limited.

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