This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, May 17
The Moth @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
A sort of poetry slam without poetry—or, for that matter, slamming—The Moth was conceived in 1997 as an evening of storytelling, with each performer recounting a 10-minute autobiographical yarn, sans notes. Celebrities like Moby and Ethan Hawke participated along with everymen in the vein of "This American Life" before touring versions of The Moth spun off several years ago. Hosted by New York comedian Ophira Eisenberg, tonight's installment will feature the theme "Past Tense, Future Perfect" and include a handful of semi-regular Moth storytellers, including one likely to upstage them all: '80s actress Molly Ringwald, who later this year will release her second book, When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories.
Harold Eppley @ Boswell Book Co., 7 p.m.
Who better to write about the trials and tribulations of churchgoers than a minister? Harold Eppley, author and pastor of Milwaukee's Lincoln Park Lutheran Church, will sign copies of his new novel, Ash Wednesday, tonight at Boswell Book Co., 2559 N. Downer Ave. Ash Wednesday is a thoughtful, humorous and touching look at some of our society's thorniest questions—such as sex and the price of ambition—and the faith-based community's varied responses to them. Expect some surprises.
Friday, May 18
Here We Go Magic w/ Hospitality and Dori Zori @ Stonefly Brewing Co., 9 p.m.
The Brooklyn indie-rock band Here We Go Magic is the brainchild of musician Luke Temple, who on the group's first two albums, 2009's Here We Go Magic and 2010's Pigeons, created an anything-goes collage of folk-pop and synth-heavy psychedelic rock. Temple reins in some of that genre drift on the group's latest album, A Different Ship, which the band recorded with longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. It's the band's cleanest release yet, and also its moodiest, prioritizing empty space and purposeful textures over the cluttered sprawl of the group's early work. Openers Hospitality released their self-titled debut on Merge in January, a warm indie-pop record that recalls Belle and Sebastian in all the right ways.
Whose Live Anyway @ The Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
Since the improv comedy show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" left the airwaves in the mid-2000s, its cast members have been touring behind live shows featuring many of the same segments and games. Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood's two-man show is an annual staple at the Pabst Theater; a separate touring program called "Whose Live Anyway" features four former cast mates: Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Chip Esten and Jeff Davis, the latter two of which specialize in making up song lyrics on the spot.
Saturday, May 19
Rebuild Wisconsin Festival @ Washington Park Bandshell, 2-6 p.m.
In just a few weeks, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will challenge Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the first gubernatorial recall election in state history. To get the word out, several progressive organizations are hosting an afternoon concert and rally in Washington Park. The festival will feature appearances from activist attorney Van Jones, comedian Lee Camp, Milwaukee singer-songwriter Grace Weber, DJs Doc B and Willie Shakes and Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X, who will be filming a video for his anti-Walker song "You're Fired" at the event.
Marilyn Manson w/ The Pretty Reckless @ The Rave, 8 p.m.
As his relevance dwindled after the late '90s, when he was briefly the most controversial musician in America, Marilyn Manson remained a public figure, albeit more for his romances with teenage actresses and the occasional burlesque performer than his music. Despite a cleverly glammy lead single, "Heart-Shaped Glasses," and an exploitative accompanying music video, Manson's 2007 release, Eat Me, Drink Me, met with mixed reviews and general indifference from the public, and though 2009's The High End of Low marked the return of longtime bassist Twiggy Ramirez, it garnered little attention outside of the most loyal circles. Anybody curious about what a Marilyn Manson album sounds like in 2012 probably won't be disappointed by the new Born Villain, though; it's the band's strongest, most riff-heavy album in a decade.
Ace Hood @ The Riverside Theater, 7:30 p.m.
Ace Hood is nobody's idea of a great rapper, except perhaps for DJ Khaled, who signed the fellow Floridian to his We the Best Music Group and helped nurture his career. After a slow start and a pair of albums that only sold modestly, 2008's Gutta and 2009's Ruthless, Ace Hood finally scored a legitimate hit with last year's solid Blood, Sweat & Tears and its menacing, Lex Luger-produced single "Hustle Hard." The success of that single (and its fantastic, Lil Wayne-assisted remix in particular) helped the 24-year-old rapper sign to Birdman's Young Money/Cash Money roster earlier this year.
Monday, May 21
John Nichols @ Boswell Book Co., 7 p.m.
Catalyzed by Gov. Scott Walker's ambush assault on state workers' collective bargaining rights last February, tens of thousands of teachers, firefighters, students and average citizens took to the state Capitol in protest, garnering national attention. In his new book Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, John Nichols of The Nation details how the protests unfolded and how they laid the groundwork for the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Nichols will discuss the book tonight, following an introduction by fellow journalist Roger Bybee, who has also covered the protests extensively.
Tuesday, May 22
Curren$y w/ The Jets, Smoke DZA, Fiend 4 Da Money and Corner Boy P @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
Curren$y has an odd pedigree for a rapper currently enjoying acclaim in indie-rap circles. The New Orleans native did time on Master P's No Limit Records when that label was well past its heyday, and then joined Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment, leaving in 2007, shortly before that franchise became one of rap's most formidable. After his 2009 breakthrough mixtape This Ain't No Mixtape, he landed on Damon Dash's relaunched Roc-A-Fella Records, where he teamed with one of hip-hop's most respected producers, Ski Beatz, who crafted Camp Lo's masterful 1997 debut, Uptown Saturday Night. Ski created a buoyant, occasionally dizzying backdrop for Curren$y's rhymes about weed and snack food on the rapper's assured major-label debut, 2010's Pilot Talk. Curren$y has been absurdly prolific since then, releasing four more albums, with a fifth, The Stoned Immaculate, slated for release on June 5.
Huey Lewis and the News @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 8 p.m.
A band that recalls the '80s in the best way possible, Huey Lewis and the News ran the charts with singles like "Hip to Be Square" and the Back to the Future tie-ins "The Power of Love" and "Back in Time." The group was so indelibly associated with fun movie soundtrack songs that Seth Rogen recruited them to contribute the theme to 2008's Pineapple Express. In 2010, the band showed a more serious side on its ninth studio album, Soulsville, a tribute to Stax Records that draws from some of the less obvious corners of the label's songbook. (Also Wednesday, May 23.)
Wednesday, May 23
The Barr Brothers @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
With bassist Marc Friedman, brothers Brad and Andrew Barr have been playing jazzy, semi-improvisational, thinking-man's jam rock since 1996 as The Slip. In recent years The Slip has taken a back seat to other projects, though, including Brad and Andrew's new quartet The Barr Brothers, which joins them with harpist Sarah Page and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial. Their self-titled 2011 debut introduced a folkier, bluesier sound that might surprise some longtime fans of The Slip, but the brothers' virtuosic chemistry is unmistakable.