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.
Wisconsin Film Festival, through April 14, AMC Madison 6: Thursday is the final day for the Wisconsin Film Festival, with films still showing at Hilldale’s AMC 6, among them Klondike, a Ukrainian/Turkish drama about the war in the Donbas, and Ali and Ava, described as what an episode of Ted Lasso might be like if directed by Mike Leigh. Find more details at wifilmfest.org.
Reading Between the Wines, April 14-28, online; in-person events April 20 and 28: Literacy Network’s annual fundraiser event is back with both virtual and in-person components. The silent auction is online as of noon on April 14, and continues through 11:45 p.m., April 28. “Brass for Books” is an official kick-off event at 5:30 p.m. on April 20 at Garver Feed Mill, featuring music by Hirt Alpert and Yid Vicious; it’s free to attend, but donations are encouraged. The Reading Between the Wines social and program is at 5:30 p.m. on April 28 at Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Monona; register by April 21 to attend in-person, or by April 27 for a virtual option. Find the silent auction and registration info at literacynetwork.schoolauction.net/readingbetweenthewines22.
Craig Taborn, Thursday, April 14, Cafe Coda, 7 p.m.: It’s a rare player whose resume includes recording with both Roscoe Mitchell and Meat Beat Manifesto, and Craig Taborn fits that description. Whether playing acoustic piano, electric keys, or other electronics, Taborn’s extensive recording and performing career as a leader or sideman provides a dizzying display of musical explorations. To sample a recent Taborn conceptual project, visit 60xsixty.com. For this BlueStem Jazz concert, Taborn will be playing solo piano. Find ticket info at cafecoda.club.
Mo Amer, April 14-16, Comedy on State: A member of the comedy troupe Allah Made Me Funny, Mohammed “Mo” Amer came to the U.S. as a refugee from Kuwait where he was born to Palestinian parents. His comedy shines a light on the Muslim experience in America with perception and empathy (and a fearless willingness to take on topics that are not usually a laughing matter). Amer’s most recent Netflix special, Mohammed in Texas (2021), offers hilarious observations on airport experiences, cultural differences in personal hygiene, and the weakness of English curse words as compared to those in Arabic. Performances at 7:30 p.m., April 14; and 7:30 and 10 p.m., April 15-16; find tickets at madisoncomedy.com.
Heathers the Musical, April 14-24, UW Vilas Hall-Mitchell Theatre: Heathers, the 1989 film, was the demonic sibling of Pretty in Pink — a black comedy crossed with the John Hughes high school coming-of-age zeitgeist thing that was happening in the ’80s. Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe have set the whole thing to music, and expect the UW-Madison’s Department of Theatre and Drama to have a field day with this. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, plus a 2 p.m. matinee on April 23-24. Tickets at artsticketing.wisc.edu.
Rufus Reid, Thursday, April 14, UW Hamel Music Center-Collins Recital Hall, 8 p.m.: When it comes to jazz bass, Rufus Reid wrote the book — literally. The Evolving Bassist has been a go-to guide since its publication in 1974 for those learning the art of double bass. Reid remains a busy clinician, including with a current residency at UW-Madison. For this concert Reid will perform with the UW Jazz Orchestra and Bolz Ensemble. Find tickets at artsticketing.wisc.edu. (Reid is also participating in the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists conference; visit music.wisc.edu for concert information as it’s announced.)
Attack of the Killer Bs, through April 16, Broom Street Theater: Barbara and Glen take a trip to the cemetery to visit a grave and are beset by zombies. If that sounds familiar, you have seen Night of the Living Dead. This play by Sean Abley starts there and then proceeds to tour its characters through a panoply of other classic (and not so classic) horror, sci-fi and exploitation films. It should provide an entertaining travelogue for anyone familiar with vintage drive-in fare, and laughs even if you can’t name an Ed Wood movie. Broom Street Theater’s production of Attack of the Killer Bs hits the stage at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
DIG Jazz, April 15, Arts + Literature Laboratory, 7:30 p.m.: DIG Jazz from Madison Music Collective returns to in-person concerts for its spring series, hosted at ALL’s new space on Livingston Street. The spring series concludes April 15 with the trio of trumpeter Chad McCullough, bassist Larry Kohut, and drummer Jon Deitemeyer; they will be playing music inspired by The Technique of My Musical Language, a 1944 book by French composer Oliver Messiaen on his compositional techniques and use of harmony. Admission is free.
Chicago Farmer & the Fieldnotes, Friday, April 15, Bur Oak, 8 p.m.: There are more visible disciples of the late John Prine (Todd Snider comes to mind) but there are few more devoted than Cody Diekhoff, aka Chicago Farmer. Diekhoff and Prine share more than a Chicago hometown. (In Diekhoff’s case, an adopted hometown, since he grew up in the rural Illinois township of Delavan.) That just lends his Muhlenberg County-style songs all the more credibility. Diekhoff will play the kind of polished set originals you’d expect from someone who, when not on the road, is known to write and practice 12 hours a day. Opening is Soldiers Grove-based Americana outfit The Sapsuckers.
Dane County Farmers’ Market, Saturday, April 16, Capitol Square, 6:15 a.m.-1:45 p.m.: On April 16, the downtown market outdoors season will have its opening day on the Capitol Square for the first time in two years. And the timing could not be better, as the market is celebrating its golden anniversary. Fresh cheese curds and hot spicy cheese bread, here we come! The Saturday market continues through Nov. 12 on the Square (the market moves to Breese Stevens Field on July 9, making way for Art Fair on the Square). Also, the Wednesday market takes place 8:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m., April 20-Nov. 2, on the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Anna Heinen, Saturday, April 16, UW Arboretum-Longenecker Horticultural Garden, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.: Pink-Stone, Lake-Moon, an interactive sculptural installation by UW-Madison bachelor of fine arts degree candidate Anna Heinen, will celebrate April’s “pink moon” with As the Fly Crows, a Madison Celtic fiddle band (4 to 6 p.m.). Wood, hand-made paper, found objects and ceramic art find their way into the sculptures, creating a sacred space for celebrating the full moon. The installation is “near the larch trees” — if you know Longenecker that well. Otherwise, listen for the fiddles.
Print & Resist Zinefest, Saturday, April 16, Central Library, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: While the web made DIY publishing ubiquitous, old-school DIY, in print, continues with its own special purposes and pleasures. As the organizers of this annual event put it, Print & Resist is “a day-long festival of transformative and transgressive DIY publishing and printmaking.” Artists, printmakers and bookmakers will be showing, discussing and selling their work. It’s always a revelation. More info at fb.com/MadisonPrintandResist.
Henry Rollins, Saturday, April 16, Barrymore Theater, 8 p.m.: Henry Rollins’ wingspan has lengthened considerably since his days with hardcore punk rock pioneers and DIY music trailblazers Black Flag back in the ’80s. In addition to leading his own band and solo projects, Rollins has become a post-punk Renaissance man. He’s an activist, actor, columnist and podcaster, as well as a radio and television personality. He rolls it all into one during his incredible one-man show, a presentation that reinforces Rollins’ mantra of personal integrity and dares you to step up as well.
The Bridge concerts, April 16 & 30, 8 p.m.: 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. Ensemble #2.7 (April 16, The Bur Oak), features Jaimie Branch, trumpet; Isaiah Collier, saxophone; Gilles Coronado, guitar; Tim Daisy, drums/percussion; and Rafaelle Rinaudo, harp. Ensemble #2.4 (April 30, North Street Cabaret) includes 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.
Micky Dolenz Celebrates The Monkees, Saturday, April 16, Overture Hall, 7:30 p.m.: The story of The Monkees is almost stranger than fiction: Fake band created for TV becomes real band; sells millions of records but are dismissed by the rock establishment; a couple decades later becomes a sensation once again. And gradually over the decades, even the critics finally came around. In 2022, the elastic-voiced Micky Dolenz is the last Monkee still with us, and he will share stories of his departed bandmates as well as sing the songs beloved by multiple generations of fans. Find ticket info at overture.org.
Flight of Lights, March 25-April 17, along International Lane, 7:30-11:30 p.m.: How are traditions hatched? This one was born out of the first year of the pandemic, when experiencing anything resembling mass entertainment was best from within the confines of your car. This third annual spring light display features six installations along the route around the airport, including tributes to first responders, the medical community, Wisconsin sports, animals and nature, tropical and nautical themes, and some favorite destinations. And just in case you’ve forgotten how to get to the airport, this can act as a practice drill. Vehicles enter the “Flight of Lights” route via International Lane. More info at flightoflights.com.
Brother Ali, Sunday, April 17, Majestic Theatre, 8 p.m.: Madison-born emcee Brother Ali, known for songs about social justice and civil disobedience, is back out on tour with new music. He’s also the host of a new podcast, in which he interviews people involved in music as well as politics. Expect a provocative and consciousness-raising evening. With Mally and DJ Last Word.
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 here, and sprinkled throughout all the events.