This Week in Milwaukee: Feb 13-19
Thursday, Feb. 13
Amy Schumer @ The Riverside Theater, 7 p.m.
It’s no secret to anybody who follows comedy closely that Amy Schumer is on the rise. Her unflinchingly personal, often sexually oriented stand-up routines have earned her the respect of some of comedy’s biggest names, and her Comedy Central program “Inside Amy Schumer,” which will enter its second season this spring, has only furthered her name recognition. Her biggest break may be yet to come, though. Next year Schumer will star in the latest film by Knocked Up director Judd Apatow, Train Wreck. Few details are known about the project, but the film’s prime mid-summer release date suggests that the studio has high hopes for it.
Cabaret Milwaukee @ Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, 8 p.m.
There are a handful of local outlets offering cabaret shows, but none are quite as specialized as those of Milwaukee’s young Cabaret Milwaukee theater company, which frames its productions as old-time radio broadcasts. Set in 1942, the group’s latest installment of “The Howling Radio Hour” includes a ribald radio drama called The Jealous Revolver, a thriller set during Prohibition. Expect the program to include a mix of music, comedy and tap dancing. (Also Friday, Feb. 14.)
Friday, Feb. 14
David Koechner @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 6 p.m.
Sometimes all it takes is one great role to make a career. An alum of Chicago’s endlessly fruitful improv scene, David Koechner scored television gigs on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “Freaks and Geeks” as well as small roles in movies including Dirty Work and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, but it was a co-starring role in Will Ferrell’s 2004 cult hit Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy that made him a ubiquitous presence in comedy movies. Since then, he’s appeared in dozens of films, including Semi-Pro, Extract, Snakes on a Plane and Final Destination 5, as well as reprising his signature character Champ Kind in last year’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, but for this live appearance he’ll return to his stand-up roots.
Anime Milwaukee @ Hyatt Regency and Wisconsin Center
Founded by UW-Milwaukee student organization the Japanese Animation Association, Anime Milwaukee has grown into the state’s largest anime convention, attracting hundreds of gamers and anime enthusiasts. This weekend’s lineup includes a large exhibition hall, video-game tournaments, cosplay events—including a cosplay chess tournament, however that works—a fashion show, a rave, a masked charity ball and a host of film screenings (though many of the titles contain adult content, there also will be extensive children’s programming). This year’s celebrity guest is voice actress Leah Clark, who has done voiceover work for dozens of anime titles, including Murder Princess, Peach Girl, Princess Jellyfish and Kodocha. (Through Feb. 16.)
Festa Fiorentina @ Marcus Center, 7:30 p.m.
To celebrate its 80th Anniversary, the Florentine Opera looks to opera’s Florentine roots. Invented in that Renaissance city, the art form spread to become Italy’s most popular entertainment, a people’s theater. The arias of the great composers echoed street songs; the lyrics spoke of everyday lives and loves. The Italian American pop songs of the last century extended that spirit. From Verdi to “Volare,” the Florentine Opera Studio Artists will interpret a selection of Italian and Italian American songs in three cabaret-style performances in the intimate Vogel Hall. The four young singers have beautiful voices and an easy, down-to-earth style. (Also 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 16)
All Messed Up IV @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 7 p.m.
Even the best musicians need a shakeup or challenge every now and then, and Milwaukee’s annual All Messed Up event provides them with a doozy: 64 local players are randomly paired together to create 16 new bands that have three months to create and rehearse about 20 minutes of material, including at least one cover. The resulting bands can be pretty jumbled—by luck of the draw, one could have three bassists and no drummer, for instance—but many of them are able to make hay of what they’re given, and a few have even spun off into permanent projects. The Frankenstein bands created by the latest All Messed Up draw will perform this weekend at a two-night showcase at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, Feb. 14 and 15. Will any of them be any good? Maybe, maybe not, but the $3 cover each night makes it a low-risk gamble.
Saturday, Feb. 15
Big Gigantic w/ Manic Focus @ The Rave, 9 p.m.
Saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli puts his skills as a DJ and improviser to work in Big Gigantic, his duo with drummer Jeremy Salken. The group’s 2009 release Fire It Up quickly stirred up buzz in some of dance music’s more eccentric outer circles, while Lalli affirmed his jam credentials that summer by creating some well-received remixes for STS9’s album Peaceblaster. STS9 returned the favor, appearing on the title track of Big Gigantic’s 2010 album, A Place Behind the Moon, an even funkier outing. The group’s latest release, Nocturnal, takes on a decidedly more aggressive dubstep flavor.
Wednesday, Feb. 19
IndieMKE2 CD Release Concert @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.
You probably don’t own the first IndieMKE compilation. Only 100 copies were printed as a promotion for Bay View’s 2012 Artbeat in the Heat Music & Arts Festival, but the organizers liked the idea, so they’ve planned a wider release for the compilation’s sequel, IndieMKE Volume 2. The CD includes music from Milwaukee acts including De La Buena, Kane Place Record Club, The Belle Weather and Matthew Davies, as well as unreleased tracks from Grace Weber and I’m Not a Pilot. This release show features performances from some of the acts included on the comp: Semi Twang, Greg Koch and John Sieger, Annie B & the Complication, Panalure and Crooked Keys. The $10 ticket price includes a copy of the album.