This Week in Milwaukee
Moshe Kasher, The Get Down and Polar Bear Plunge
THURSDAY, DEC. 29
Moshe Kasher w/ Karl Hess and Jackson Jones @ Comedy Café, 8 p.m.
Comedian Moshe Kasher's thick glasses and effete mannerisms seem to tease a much different, softer style of comedy than the kind he actually delivers. Instead of riffing on the neuroses you might expect, Kasher barrels forward with a surprisingly aggressive brand of comedy, berating homophobes and assailing religious institutions in between long, profane diatribes about his sex life. Kasher's confrontational energy came across on his hilarious 2009 album Everyone You Know Is Going To Die, And Then You Are, which he followed with appearances on “Chelsea Lately,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and Comedy Central's “Live at Gotham.” (Also Dec. 30-31, 8 and 10:15 p.m.)
A Kodachrome Christmas @ The Marcus Center, 7:30 p.m.
A cross-dressing John McGivern stars as Earlene Hoople, a veteran cable-access television host (and self-proclaimed “Queen of Rural Media”), in this local production of writer/director Pat Hazell's A Kodachrome Christmas. Before she retires from her long-running “Early Bird Morning Show,” Hoople hosts one last Christmas special in front of a live audience, sharing her recipes for Christmas cookies, some craft tips and an old family slide show. This sweet, gentle-humored comedy wraps up its run at the Marcus Center on Dec. 31.
FRIDAY, DEC. 30
Jim Gaffigan @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
Not since “Weird Al” Yankovic has a comedian mined more material out of food than Jim Gaffigan. On Gaffigan's seventh and most recent comedy album, 2009's King Baby, , the slow-talking Indiana stand-up riffs on waffles, ribs, bologna, condiments and Dunkin' Donuts, and returns to one of his most fruitful muses: bacon. The album was part of a busy 2009 that saw Gaffigan expand his acting profile with appearances on the TV shows “Law & Order” and “Flight of the Conchords” and the movies 17 Again, Away We Go and The Slammin' Salmon. Last year saw him in supporting roles in the movies It's Kind of a Funny Story and Going the Distance. . (The comedian appears Friday and Saturday this weekend, with a mid- night countdown and balloon drop at his Dec. 31 10:30 p.m. performance.)
SATURDAY, DEC. 31
Stellar Spark 9: Skrillex @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
Twenty-three-year-old Los Angeles musician Sonny Moore received his first real exposure as the lead screamer of the emo band From First to Last, but in recent years Moore has turned his attention to electronic music, reinventing himself as the dubstep artist Skrillex. His influence on the genre has been profound. By brutishly exaggerating dubstep's wobbled, distorted bass riffs, he is one of the figures responsible for reinventing the once-cerebral electronic-music genre as a loud, chest-beating answer to heavy metal. Detractors have labeled his fratted-out take on the genre “brostep,” but that bad publicity hasn't slowed his career. He's one of dubstep's fastest-rising stars, and last month he was honored with a whopping five Grammy nominations, including one for best new artist. He headlines the Rave's annual Stellar Spark New Year's Eve blowout, supported by more than 50 other DJs, including Dillon Francis, Alvin Risk, DJ JSlay and Ill Nasty.
Harlem Globetrotters @ Bradley Center, 1 and 6 p.m.
The winningest team in basketball, and also the only one to regularly solve mysteries with Scooby- Doo, the Harlem Globetrotters return to Milwaukee for their annual New Year's Eve performance. A mix of comedy routines and athletic displays set to a real game of basketball (albeit one overseen by a flustered, easily distracted ref), for decades these Dec. 31 Globetrotters games have been one of the most popular ways for Milwaukee parents to tucker out their young ones before dropping them off guilt-free at grandma's for the night.
The Get Down @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 9 p.m.
Milwaukee's popular retro soul and funk party The Get Down regularly packs Mad Planet, where DJs Andy Noble, Brent Goodsell and Opiated Black spin some of the rarest 45s from the '60s and '70s. For New Year's Eve last year, the crew moved to the cavernous Turner Hall Ballroom for a sold-out dance party that proved to be one of the night's hottest tickets. They return this year for a party that will include generous drink specials, a complimentary buffet and a midnight balloon drop.
SUNDAY, JAN. 1
Polar Bear Plunge @ Bradford Beach, noon
In the city's boldest New Year's tradition, every year hundreds of weather-defying swimmers head to Bradford Beach for the Polar Bear Plunge. They'll be jumping into Lake Michigan at noon, but the organizers suggest you get there early to find parking, since plenty of bundled-up spectators come to watch others take the plunge. For those who need a little liquid courage before taking the plunge, G-Daddy's BBC, Hooligan's and Hotel Foster on North Avenue will be offering shuttles to and from the beach.
TUESDAY, JAN. 3
Blue Man Group @ Marcus Center, 7:30 p.m.
Is the Blue Man Group—a performance art troupe that Homer Simpson once described, not quite accurately, as “a total rip-off of The Smurfs”—meant to be taken as existential commentary on man's meaningless existence in a world increasingly dominated by technology? Or do these blue-painted entertainers aspire to do nothing more than play silly instruments and occasionally film Intel computer commercials? The troupe often makes it hard to tell, occasionally hinting at deeper ambitions but never letting their commentary get in the way of their bells-and-whistles spectacles. (Multiple performances through Sunday, Jan. 8.)