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Since their eponymous sketch comedy show ended in 1995, all five members of the Kids in the Hall have stayed visible, albeit TV personality-visible, not major-star visible. Mark McKinney spent a few years on “Saturday Night Live;” Scott Thompson became the host of “My Fabulous Gay Wedding;” Kevin McDonald guest starred in over a dozen sitcoms and Bruce McCulloch made the oc...

New books on the pleasures (and hazards) of an author’s life

Walt Whitman had just revolutionized poetry before finding his way to a Manhattan tavern called Pfaff’s. With its elliptical free verse, the recently published Leaves of Grass was unlike any previous collection of poems, but as Justin Martin reminds us, few copies of the early editions sold...

Neuroscientist explores ‘The Emotional Life of Your Brain’

Dissecting everything from autism to depression, a groundbreaking new book entitled The Emotional Life of Your Brain provides an eye-opening look at how the brain works. UW-Madison neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson and science writer Sharon Begley demonstrate how a half-dozen...

Author F. Paul Wilson at Mystery One

Prolific science fiction, fantasy and horror author F. Paul Wilson is out with a new release that brings a shocking conclusion to the supernatural thriller series Repairman Jack. In Fear City, Wilson pens his eighteenth installment centered around many reader’s favorite serial character...

Finding courage to heal in Bret Anthony Johnston’s novel

It is summer in the swelteringly hot town of Southport, Texas, when the seemingly impossible happens. Young Justin Campbell, who disappeared four years earlier at the age of 12, is suddenly reunited with his family after a flea market vendor recognizes him from one of the countless...

Bio and memoirs of U2, Joy Division and Herbie Hancock

Bruce Springsteen’s adulatory address at U2’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is reprinted as the introduction to this band biography. His remarks about their search “for the same kind of combustible force that fueled the expansion of the universe after the big bang” are...

Rethinking food at Boswell Book Co.

Organic farming has been recognized as safer, healthier and more sustainable, but consumers continue to question the merits of organic food at the grocery store. Are the higher prices worth the cost? Are organic products really better for us and the environment...

Monica Rodero and Daniel Schuchart’s love for dance

“It starts like this,” Dan Schuchart told the audience as his spouse Monica Rodero bound his hand tightly to hers with masking tape. “We start like this.” Music started and the couple danced rapidly, equally in charge, testing every twist, turn, bend, lift, fall and wriggle possible for people so...
Present Music has long celebrated Thanksgiving with grand performances in the cathedral. This year’s concert, “A Juxtaposition of Traditions,” includes Present Music instrumentalists; vocal ensemble Hearing Voices; and 90-plus musicians from Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble, Vocal Arts Academy, Milwaukee Youth...

MSO performs ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’

Early Music Now presented Quicksilver in two terrific concerts last weekend at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. On Friday evening the ensemble performed a program of Italian music of the early Baroque period with sensuality and extraordinarily sensitive, refined ensemble. I’ve rarely heard...

Quicksilver Baroque Ensemble performs at St. Paul’s

Early Music Now’s second concert of the season features a rare take on modern music…modern for the mid-17th century, that is. The double concert program by Quicksilver Baroque Ensemble offers the...
Looking like the best classical ballet company you’d ever want to see, Milwaukee Ballet opened its season last weekend with an exemplary production of Don Quixote. First fashioned from bits of Miguel de Cervantes’ great novel by choreographer Marius Petipa in the mid-19th century for...

Danceworks’ ‘Paleontology of a Woman’

Last weekend, Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) and fiber artist Timothy Westbrook teamed up for Paleontology of a Woman, an ambitious exhibition of dance, fashion and fossils that tackled nothing short of the evolution and essence of femininity...

‘Lucy’ at the boundary of humanity

During the 1960s, behavioral scientists explored the boundary between Homo sapiens and other primates by tearing chimpanzees from their surroundings and raising them as if they were human children. The memoirs of the most notorious of those researchers, psychologist Maurice...
I have always admired the continuing exploration of literature that is a fundamental aspect of the Prometheus Trio. Over the years I have heard quite a bit of music on their concerts never before encountered. Such was the case with Frank Bridge’s Trio......
I knew violinist Ilana Setapen was good. I had heard her in recital and in chamber music. But I didn’t realize how wonderfully and exceptionally good she is until hearing her play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Milwaukee Symphony last Saturday night. Setapen is associate concertmaster of the orchestra. I would guess that there are few......

Present Music with Margaret Leng Tan

Margaret Leng Tan, the world’s first toy piano virtuoso, was the star of Present Music’s concert “Toys!” She was perfectly accompanied by the Present Music string ensemble......

Classical Review

“Shining Stars” was the appropriate title of the Wisconsin Philharmonic's May 2 concert. In addition to the orchestra's usual instrumentalists there appeared the winners of its youth concerto competition as well as a smattering of youth orchestra members. Another “shining star” was Joseph Schwantner, the American composer of the first work, Chasing Light. This four-movemen...
There was an exciting revelation at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend: the bandoneon featured in a concerto by the Argentinian master of the tango, Astor Piazzolla (1921- 1992). Piazzolla's tangos show up regularly in diverse contexts....
Two seasons ago Vladimir Feltsman commented negatively about the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Steinway and urged its replacement on a live local public television broadcast. That concert was re-broadcast, and apparently eventually led to the donors' gift of a new piano. The old MSO Steinway has a resonant ring, but also a loose rattle and unevenness. It was time to move on....

Classical Review

The snowstorm last week forced a cancelled rehearsal of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and prevented the arrival of the guest soloist, pianist Andreas Haefliger. Conductor Andreas Delfs quickly revised the plans to something the orchestra could do with just one rehearsal. William Schuman’s Symphony No. 5, which the MSO has never before played, and a Mozart piano concerto were scrapped. In...

Classical Review

The ludicrous production of La Traviata that opened at Skylight Opera last weekend proved that a great Verdi melody is indestructible. This unbelievably misguided venture only works in the final scene, when all its incompetence, bad direction and quarter-baked ideas mercifully recede enough for focus on the bare . . ....

Classical Preview

American composer John Adams (b. 1947) once stood under the same Minimalist umbrella as Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but as the ’90s wore on, he developed into something of a “post-post-modernist,” as demonstrated by such works as The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) and the Violin Concerto (1993)....

Classical Review

It is irresistibly interesting to speculate what goes on in guest conductor rehearsals with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Were ideas persuasively delivered, spoken or unspoken?...

Wild Space opens its season with ‘Milwaukee 360’

You are apt to be quite taken with the beauty of Downtown Milwaukee and its environs as they appear in a wraparound panorama from atop the eight-story parking structure of the former Pabst Brewery, set high on......

Dance Review

Three was the straightforward title of the Milwaukee Ballet's spring program of three dances in three styles by three choreographers. More than anything, it demonstrated artistic director Michael Pink's devotion to his dancers, showcasing them individually......
All artists need the opportunity to fail. Risk-taking is indispensable. What serious opportunities for trial and error exist for artists in Milwaukee after they leave the relative safety of a college program? This is not an idle question. Danceworks recognizes that it is a community’s job to provide laboratories for artists and they have accepted their share of the responsibility. Liz Hilde...

Dance Preview

One would be hard-pressed to conjure up a name more closely associated with the Milwaukee dance scene than Ed Burgess. Burgess, currently marking his 20th year on the UW-Milwaukee dance faculty, has directed, choreographed or performed with just about every arts group in town, including the Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Wild Space Dance......
We thought that was fun and decided to make these evenings combinations of environmental work and traditional theater work. The range of the work that our choreographers were bringing to the process demand ed that we present the performances in this way.” The theater’s lobby, courtyard and stage are of equal importance for performances created specifical ly for these spaces. A piece by...

DANCE PREVIEW

Lately it seems that everything from window displays to theater bills are heavily doused in Christmas spirit....

Milwaukee Rep presents ‘Harvey’

“I wrestled with reality for over 40 years and I’m happy to say I finally won out over it.” So says Elwood, friend to the giant rabbit pooka, Harvey, when questioned by psychiatric doctors. Mary...

‘Freedom High’ considers the sacrifices of civil rights workers

Hollywood clings to proven conventions, lazy as they can be, and there are few it has milked harder in recent years than the White Savior: the noble Caucasian who heroically stands up for a...

UWM’s ‘Lysistrata’

Two and half millennia ago, the comic Greek playwright Aristophanes questioned the lengths to which men will go for sex, and the resulting play remains hilarious and pertinent today. Lysistrata...

Sunset Playhouse presents ‘Miracle on 34th Street’

Valentine Davies’ novel Miracle on 34th Street was made popular by George Seaton’s 1947 black-and-white film adaptation featuring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and a young Natalie Wood. Sunset Playhouse will share in the magic of this holiday classic by performing...

Captivating production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’

The lights dim and images of clouds are rendered upon the Cabot Theatre’s curtain before its rise. We are introduced to all the familiar characters within a 1930s Dust Bowl setting and then, as we...

A.R. Gurney’s play coupled with musical satire

Next Act Theatre’s Heresy is an A.R. Gurney comedy about a modern-day Joseph and Mary consulting with a contemporary Pontius Pilate. Their son, Chris, has been taken in by the...

Also, In Tandem’s final run of ‘Cudahy Caroler Christmas’

Many holiday shows, from family friendly tales to hilarious adult comedies, will grace Milwaukee stages this season. One of the former includes First Stage’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, adapted from the television special for stage by Robert Penola. The musical’s...