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Thursday, July 8, 2010

This Week in Milwaukee

Bastille Days, Star Wars: In Concert and The Bitter Tears

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Thursday, July 8

Bastille Days @ Cathedral Square Park

Once again Downtown Milwaukee’s four-day Bastille Days celebration commences with the “Storm the Bastille” 5K run/ walk, and once again the health benefits of all that exercise will be summarily undone for many by copious consumption of fried beignets, cheese and other delicacies. Cooking demonstrations, French culture displays and roaming street performers are among the entertainment outside of four stages of music, which this year will host headliners Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Lisa Haley and the Zydekats and Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons. Dogs are invited to sniff the grounds on Saturday, during the 11:30

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers @ Vnuk’s Lounge, 8:30 p.m.

While “King of the Hill” reruns probably keep royalties flowing to Roger Clyne, who penned the show’s theme song with his ’90s country-rock band, The Refreshments, Clyne has spent the last decade touring with his follow-up outfit, The Peacemakers, which has attracted a similarly cultish following with its amiable Americana. Some of the seedier, outlaw country influences of Clyne’s early work have evaporated on recent albums like 2008’s Turbo Ocho Sessions, but they’ve been replaced by chipper, roots-pop hooks of the sort fellow Arizonans the Gin Blossoms specialize in.

NONAMES @ Oriental Theatre, 7 p.m.

In writer-director Kathy Lindboe’s 2010 drama NONAMES, which she filmed near her hometown Wisconsin Rapids and is premiering with screenings around the state, James Badge Dale (of HBO’s “The Pacific”) stars as a young man who reconsiders whether he should stay in his hometown—a struggling mill town that only seems to be shrinking— following the death of his mother. Among the co-stars are Gillian Jacobs (Britta from NBC’s “Community”) and Milwaukee Repertory Theater staple Lee Ernst. Tonight’s “red carpet” screening will be attended by members of the cast and crew and followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session.



Friday, July 9


Ed Gein: The Musical @ The Times Cinema, 9:30 p.m. and midnight Grave-robbing murderer Ed Gein has been the inspiration for horror films from Psycho to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but until now he’d never been the subject of a musical. Filmed for just $9,000 and starring director Dan Davies, Ed Gein: The Musical offers the expected heaps of stage blood and gory puns, but also offers a surprisingly sympathetic depiction of a gentle outcast remembered by history as one of the world’s most notorious ghouls. (Showings through Sunday, July 11.)

SHS Reunion Band @ Shorewood High School, 7 p.m.

Shorewood High School is highly regarded for its arts and music programs, but those programs are threatened by an $800,000 budget shortfall, so some of the school’s most successful alumni are teaming up to help keep them funded. Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison, blues guitarist Jon Paris and filmmaker David Zucker have formed a oneoff band with fellow alums Fred Bliffert, Pete Leshin, Bob Schlaeger and Larry Theiss to play a benefit concert for the school. The show will be followed on Saturday by a day of family-friendly activities at the Shorewood High School grounds, including a picnic and icecream social with music, then a 7 p.m. screening of one of Zucker’s most beloved movies, Airplane!, with an introduction from the director.

Dr. Manhattan w/ Two Star, Chris Slone, Tadashi and Taken the Coast @ The Rave, 6 p.m.

The Illinois band Dr. Manhattan delivers the healthy dose of indie quirk and post-teenage angst you’d expect from a band whose name is lifted from a character in Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” comics. As students at Wauconda High School, the band self-released an EP, For the Lonely Lest the Wiser, which caught fire in the Warped Tour community. Not long after, Vagrant Records saw enough promise to sign them. The band’s self-titled debut, released in March 2008, was an accessible, weird, electronics-warped departure from their earlier posthardcore sound. Last year the band parted ways with Vagrant and released the even more eccentric Jam Dreams.

South Shore Frolics @ South Shore Park

The all-American alternative to Bastille Days’ celebration of French culture, South Shore Frolics is one of Bay View’s oldest summer celebrations. After 61 years, the feel is oldtimey and family friendly, with plenty of events for small children and their grandparents, including kids’ games, oldies music, a Friday fish fry and screening of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, the annual South Shore Frolics Parade on Saturday, and a Sunday car show and art show. For those who didn’t get their fix last weekend, there are also nightly fireworks.

Saturday, July 10


Star Wars: In Concert @ The Bradley Center, 1:30 and 6:30 p.m.

John Williams has composed many of the most recognized film scores in movie history, but none are more celebrated than his work with George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise. Backed by footage from the films, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra revisits Williams’ symphonic scores from the pair of trilogies in this concert program, which will feature narration from Anthony “C-3PO” Daniels and costumes and memorabilia from the films.



True Evel: The Amazing Story of Evel Knievel @ Harley-Davidson Museum In 2005, two years before his death, world-famous stuntman Evel Knievel promoted his last motorcycle ride at a Milwaukee Harley-Davidson dealership. Now the Harley- Davidson Museum pays tribute to the death-defying icon with the largest exhibit it has ever organized, “True Evel: The Amazing Story of Evel Knievel,” which displays a slew of intimate Knievel memorabilia, including bikes, helmets, leather jackets, gold and diamond canes and personal letters, as well as a host of photographs of the stuntman in his prime. The exhibit runs through Sept. 6.



Sunday, July 11


The Bitter Tears w/ Itinerant Locals @ Circle-A Café, 8 p.m.

The Bitter Tears, a Chicago band that sounds considerably less serious than its name, carries a variety of unassuming influences in their knapsack, including children’s songs, prison folk songs, ’70s action-film scores and Mexican corrido ballads. The result is a smirking pastiche that plays like a rootsier, small-scale alternative to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The band’s latest record is last year’s Jam Tarts in the Jakehouse, a follow-up to their 2005 debut, The Grinning Corpse Who Went to Town.

Tuesday, July 13


The Unwed Teenage Mothers w/ Secret Band and The Zygoteens @ Frank’s Power Plant, 9:30 p.m.

Boisterous, lo-fi garage-pop is in high supply these days, but Mississippi’s burgeoning Unwed Teenage Mothers approach the medium in a way that is more poignant than many might expect. Though they’re set to peppy, up-tempo riffs, their deceptively simple songs play like Edward Hopper paintings, in which characters experience loneliness, social distance and isolation, even when in the presence of other people. A palpable sense of existential dread buries itself in the bright melodies and washed-out production of songs like “Wish You Were Older” and “Are You Tired of Waking Up Alone.” The group released its debut 7-inch, If That’s Love, in December.