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June 2021

The Art of

© Keith Haring Foundation. Licensed by Artestar, New York

DRAG We take pride in progress June2021 | 1

Bravo! The Burish Group supports the arts Whether it be in person or virtual, the arts help economies thrive, communities flourish and individuals connect with each other while educating and enriching societies. We are proud to support ArtsScene and look forward to enjoying the arts together in person again soon. The Burish Group UBS Financial Services Inc. Madison 8020 Excelsior Drive, Suite 400 Madison, WI 53717 608-831-4282

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© Keith Haring Fou ndation. Licensed by Artest ar, New York

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Federally Insured by NCUA. Keith Haring Illustration © Keith Haring Foundation. Licensed by Artestar, New York

June2021 | 3




ABOUT THE COVER | The Art of Drag

JUNE 2021

Volume 1, Number 6

UW CREDIT UNION By Ryan Albrechtson


OUTDOOR SCULPTURE IN SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN | Take a walk through the Brew City, around the Monona Loop or in the Lynden Garden


MADISON | Madison’s StageQ Theatre sets renewed vision for twenty-first season


NATIONAL | Taking Our Pride to the Streets: Criminal Queerness Festival 2021


REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST | A Meditation in Four Acts


By Cathy Jakicic

By Shari Gasper

By Amanda Finn

By Mike Fischer


SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE to ArtsScene Magazine

STAFF Steve Marcus Greg Widener ART DIRECTOR Nicolette Bealhen VENUE RELATIONS/EDITOR Ryan Albrechtson






ArtsScene is published by Marcus Promotions, Inc. The content of any article in this publication is based solely on the opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Marcus Promotions, Inc., or its staff.

www.footlights.com | www.marcuspromotions.com PHOTO: Marbella Sodi and Setareh Ouellet, drag performers at Hamburger Mary’s in Milwaukee. 4 COVER | artsscene

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Like most LGBT youth, I went into high school looking for a place to feel safe and welcomed. And like so many, I found that place in my school’s drama department. It was clear to me from the beginning how powerful a tool the arts were to find acceptance, and to find myself. I went on to turn my passion for this hobby into my career. I went to school for Theatre & Arts Management, started my own company to be able to tell important stories and give opportunities to LGBTQ+ artists and allies. After school, I found myself at Footlights, working along side 100+ arts organizations. In this position, I could really see far and wide the changing effect the arts has on our world. I write this letter today in my last week as Editor of Footlights and ArtsScene Magazine. I’ve had five incredible years with this company, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work I’ve gotten to do here during that time. This role has given me the chance to see some really enchanting and thought provoking performances that focused on the LGBTQ+ community. I still get chills thinking about Things I Know to be True at Milwaukee Rep. This issue of ArtsScene Magazine is very special to me. Not just because it’s my last as Editor, but because the theme is so near and dear to my heart. This month took me to Hamburger Mary’s to learn more about the art of drag. It took me to UW Credit Union, to learn about their inclusive initiatives through art for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s taken my writers to all corners of the art world to take a look at what inclusion, diversity, and equity really looks like in the arts. I’m pretty proud of this one. Although my journey is taking me in a different direction, I’m so excited about what this magazine has become and where it is going. The arts needs a voice, and the themes and issues we’ve tackled so far are just scratching the surface. I am eternally grateful to Steve for taking a chance on some creative kid who had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. Thank you for making space for my voice, and for so many others in the arts community. (And you aren’t getting rid of me that easily! I’ll still be contributing articles from the sidelines!) And thank you to all of you taking the time to read this publication. For caring about the arts, for caring about the LGBTQ+ community, and helping us share these stories and ideas with the world. I’m going to end this letter with lyrics from one of my favorite musicals, La Cage Aux Folles. Until next time, thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. Love is love. There's one life, and there's no return and no deposit; One life, so it's time to open up your closet. Life's not worth a damn 'til you can say, "Hey world, I am what I am!” Ryan Albrechtson ArtsScene Editor

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We’re going to talk about a credit union releasing new debit cards… in an arts magazine… that’s current issue is centered on LGBTQ+ pride… why? “We take pride in progress, but we also use it to propel us forward,” said David Mickelson, VP Member Service Operations and Card Programs or UW Credit Union. “Creating real equity is a journey without a finish line. We continue to explore new ways to cultivate a sense of belonging, including enabling the use of preferred names on new debit and credit cards.” UW Credit Union is dedicated to “looking inward, then outward.” The organization has put forth a variety of DEI efforts (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). One of their latest efforts is a rollout of four new pride and unity-themed debit cards. The first card being issued features a design by Madison-based artist Mike Lroy. Lroy was commissioned by UW Credit Union to paint a mural in 2020, after their storefront on State Street was damaged during the Black Lives Matter protests. “After the State Street branch had been damaged, we were looking at all of the plywood boards on the front of our store and thought that there has got to be a better solution to this,” said Adam Albrecht, owner of The Weaponry – the ad agency that represents UW Credit Union. “We thought, ‘What if we did something to pretty this up and give the community something beautiful to look at?’ There were other businesses on State Street doing the same.” UW Credit Union has given Lroy very few rules. “We told Lroy: we want something that feels like it comes from our brand,” said Albrecht. “But we’re handing this over to you and your skillset to bring to life.”

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Lroys mural on display at the UW Credit Union in madison

Lroy’s attention-grabbing mural was exactly what UW Credit Union was looking for. Since finishing the mural, the design has been used on t-shirts, face masks, BCycle, and now a debit card. “To me, the design reflects the energy of that time: 2020 on State Street,” said Lroy. “There was a lot of movement, a lot of confusion and to me that’s what the image feels like. Lots of directions, lots of movement, lots of opinions, and things like that. That’s where it came from.”

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The next card was designed by the late Keith Haring. Haring was a popular artists in the 80’s, until he passed away of AIDS in 1990. “I grew up in the 80’s and was very familiar with his artwork before his passing,” said Mickelson. “The dancing card image really reflects joy, energy, and unity. Keith’s faceless dancing figures in a lot of his artwork reveal no hint of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation so I think this card really does a great job not only celebrating the LGBTQ+ community but all communities.”

Keith Haring

“As we were exploring designs for another card, we came across these Keith Haring images that were quite popular,” said Albrecht. “We thought they expressed such joy in life and a sense of diversity and unity.”

"Keith Haring's message of love and unity is so relevant today and we're really happy to see his art used to spread that message to a young college audience," says Gil Vazquez, Acting Director of the Keith Haring Studio. Unlike Lroy, Haring isn’t here to see his artwork transformed into a debit card, but one could image the excitement he’d have. “This is a dream that I never thought of before,” said Lroy. “This is going to be an amazing experience to use my own debit card at my own bank with my artwork on it, it’s crazy.” With the last two card designs, UW Credit Union really wanted to reflect on pride in the LGBTQ+ community. “That was a really fun project as well because all we were given is a request to use some sense of the pride flag and its colors, and to interpret them in a way that would feel fresh and unique,” said Albrecht. “We have two pride themed cards that are going to be released. One of them is very stylish and sleek and modern. The other one uses much bolder colors. When we round all four of these cards together they feel like a great expression of inclusion, acceptance, and an appreciation of art.”

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“Gay pride means something deep and historic to the queer community,” said Mickelson. “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, being recognized by a growing number of businesses, like my employer UWCU, still feels really significant in 2021.” Whether you are opening a new account, or are an existing UW Credit Union member, these cards are available to anyone who wants them! “A debit card at the end of the day is just a small piece of plastic unless you put something much more meaningful on it,” said Albrecht. “Being able to pull a little piece of optimism out of your pocket every time you are ready to make a purchase will be helpful to our communities.”

© Keith Haring Foundation. Licensed by Artestar, New York

CLICK HERE to learn more about these debit cards,

and UW Credit Union's DEI initiatives. June2021 | 11


The Art of Drag By Ryan Albrechtson

It had been over a year since the last time I saw a drag show. As a proud member of the LGBT+ community and a lover of the supporting arts, I missed them dearly. Luckily, Hamburger Mary’s welcomed me in to fill that hole in my heart. “Hamburger Mary’s has been around since 1972, originally in San Francisco,” said Brandon Wright, who co-owns the Hamburger Mary’s franchise and several of its locations with his brother, Ashley. “In the late 90’s, it morphed into a franchise. My brother and I opened the Chicago location in 2006. A couple of years later the whole franchise was up for sale so we bought it.” The brothers then brought the “open air bar and grille for open minded people” to Milwaukee in 2011. Originally in Bay View, they moved to their current location 5 years later. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the franchise having a home here in Milwaukee. “I was tired of being a chemical engineer,” said Wright. “I figured if I could do that, I could run a drag bar.” Ryan sat down with Brandon Wright the co-owner of Hamburger Mary’s.

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Marbella Sodi and Setareh Ouellet, drag performers at Hamburger Mary's in Milwaukee.

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ABOUT THE COVER The art of drag has deep roots in Milwaukee. Look at Trixie Mattel, who went from performing on small stages in Milwaukee to being ranked as the 4th most powerful drag queen in America. More recently, Milwaukee native Jaida Essence Hall took home the crown on the 12th season of the acclaimed Ru Paul’s Drag Race. But the talent in Milwaukee drag stretches far beyond those who have had a brush with fame. And this was proven to me yet again at my recent night at Hamburger Mary’s. “Mary’s is like all drag all the time,” said Wright. “On Wednesday nights we have Drag Bingo, which are always for charity.” Many of their charity bingo games have raised money for local theatre groups. “Thursdays are Divas De La Noche, which is the show you are going to see tonight,” said Wright. “It features our Latin queens…. Latin music, Latin divas, and a celebration of Latin drag. Fridays and Saturdays we have our traditional Dining with the Divas drag shows. And then Sunday we have Diva Brunch.” While I was so excited to be in the audience of this show, I couldn’t help but think of how challenging this past year must have been for such an iconic restaurant. “We definitely had to think outside the box,” said Wright. “A lot of the restaurants in the area were able to switch gears pretty quickly and do takeout. With Hamburger Mary’s… I love our food, it is delicious, but that is not what we are known for. We’re known for the experience.” Hamburger Mary’s dropped their revenue down by 95% in the wake of the pandemic. However, their creative business skills and the passion and talent of their performers helped them keep their doors open. Early on, they offered drag food delivery, one could have a queen drop off food right at their door step. As the weather got nicer, they offered Drag Drive-In shows in their parking lot. “We had to be really creative, not only to keep the doors open here, but a lot of our drag entertainers… this is their only source of income. It was important for us to have something for them,” said Wright. 14 | artsscene

Wright was kind enough to let me backstage and have a chance to meet some of the divas as they prepared for the show. I had a chance to catch up with the two hosts of Divas De La Noche, Marbella Sodi and Setareh Ouellet. “I’ve been doing drag for over ten years,” said Sodi. “I got started because a lot of my friends were already doing drag, and I’ve always been a big fan of the whole art form and of performing.” “We have known each other for almost seven years,” said Ouellet. “She was the one who got me into drag. She saw me as a male performer and said ‘Oh, honey, you need to do drag.’” “I’ve always been interested in the arts,” said Ouellet. “But with drag there are a lot more sacrifices, like having to shave your beard, legs, arms, and chest constantly.” “Everything draws me to the art from,” said Sodi. “It’s a whole experience, and it’s such a confidence builder. A lot of preparation goes into it, there is a lot to think about: What am I wearing? What does my hair look like? What is the makeup going to be? And you have to keep innovating yourself… new songs, new moves. It’s about being an entertainer.” I spent over an hour and half watching these divas transform backstage, which you can see in our time lapse video! It is incredible the artistry and precision that goes into these performances. While today, those interested in the art form can find an endless supply of YouTube videos to learn everything from makeup to sewing to dancing, each queen has her own unique style. “You can watch as many videos as you want,” said Ouellet. “You will pick up one trick from here and one trick from there, but at the end of the day you mix it all together and find yourself and find your own face.” Then it was showtime. What a thrill to be back at a show like this. The music, the dancing, the drinks, the glamor… it really felt like things are getting back to normal. Joined by two guest Latin Divas, the four queens put on an incredible performance. You can check out clips from the night by clicking on the video! It was clear to see that Hamburger Mary’s and the Wright Brothers see the importance of keeping this art form alive. June2021 | 15

ABOUT THE COVER “What’s cool about Hamburger Mary’s is that even though its owned by LGBT people, and is considered an LGBT establishment, a lot of our customers are actually straight,” said Wright. “We get a lot of bachelorette parties and things like that, and we get to be their introduction to drag. And also in a lot of ways their introduction to the LGBT community. It’s important to us that Hamburger Mary’s bridges the gap between the LGBT community and the community of Milwaukee as a whole.” By the end of the night, I was inspired. Art, in drag form or otherwise, is alive and thriving. If you’ve been to a drag show before, get out there and see one again! If you haven’t, check one out! It’s truly like no other experience. “If you haven’t tried drag, but it interests you, do it!” said Sodi. “You might love it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to fail. And don’t be afraid to be yourself.”

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Outdoor Sculpture in Southeast Wisconsin Take a walk through the Brew City, around the Monona Loop or in the Lynden Garden By Cathy Jakicic

Summer in Wisconsin is always a celebration of the outdoors, and this year the need to get out there has never been stronger. Lovers of art can add something extra to their summer walks by taking advantage of the outdoor sculpture collections in southeast Wisconsin. The Lynden Sculpture Garden, Madison’s Monona Loop and a new collection of sculptures in downtown Milwaukee all offer a breath of fresh air to those looking to experience Mother Nature’s galleries. Lynden Sculpture Garden

Thomas J. Price | Within the Folds (Dialogue I) | 2020

The 40-acre garden (formerly the Bradley Sculpture Garden) was the estate of the late Harry Lynde Bradley and Margaret (Peg) Blakney Bradley. The garden was opened to the public in 2010. Today it is open with free admission for socially distanced walking. The current hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., every day but Thursday, when the garden is closed. In 1962, Peg Bradley began collecting the garden’s sculptures and continued to collecting until she died in 1978. Among the more recent additions are Folayemi Wilson's "Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities" (2016), a full-scale structure that is both wunderkammer and slave cabin; it imagines what a 19th-century woman of African descent might have collected, catalogued and stowed in her living quarters. Another of the garden’s newer sculptures is Richard Galling's "20-001A" (2020), carved from a willow tree that toppled into Big Lake. Which of these varied works of art is considered a favorite depends on who is looking at them, according to Polly Morris, Executive Director.

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“We see responses on social media — written responses but also visual ones. I think how often a sculpture is photographed, and how people pose their friends or family in relation to a particular sculpture can tell you something,” Morris said. “And I don't like to say this, because we strongly discourage climbing on the sculpture, because they are fragile, but I can certainly tell which are the favorites for climbing just by looking out my office window.” The garden is still continuing Peg Bradley’s work. “We do not have an acquisitions budget, so we are not collecting in the usual sense,” according to Morris. “The projects we commission grow out of our ongoing work with several overlapping communities of artists. “The garden recently opened its gates for free admission during the pandemic to offer an opportunity for socially distant strolling. Since then, the response has been phenomenal.” “Even with our creaky monitoring system, the numbers of daily visitors we are seeing are well beyond anything we saw in the past. Prior to the pandemic, programming — especially large free days like Urban Forest Fest or our HOME refugee celebration — drove attendance, and casual daily visitors made up only a fraction of the people coming to Lynden. “We are currently raising money to extend free admission for another year, through March 31, 2022. We would certainly like to waive admission permanently, but we would need sponsorship or other forms of support to make this possible.” Lake Monona Loop For even more outdoor art – and a longer walk, head to Madison’s Lake Monona Loop. The sculptures were installed along the loop over time. In fact, the City of Madison has been placing art in public spaces for more than 100 years. But most of the pieces on the Loop were installed after Madison Mayor Paul Soglin started the Madison Arts Commission in the late 1970s. The council gave small grants to encourage art projects in the community. “We should also note that before Europeans arrived, there were effigy mounds all around the lake. That land is sacred to the Ho Chunk who live here,’ said Anna Shircel, PR and Communications Manager at Destination Madison. The work continues, according to Shircel, because the neighborhood is very artistic and arts support is very strong. Alexa (1992) Susan Walsh, Jenifer Street at Williamson Street

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“They will likely continue to champion adding public art around the lake for the next hundred years as well. They have also added murals, sidewalk poetry & utility boxes to their environment too,” she said. The works along the loop are chosen by the Madison Arts Commission, which reviews public art needs and proposals. Like the Lynden gardens, the last year has boosted the Loop art’s audience. “People have sought outdoor experiences much more. This winter, for example, Destination Madison and Sustain Dane, partnered with the City of Madison to support ‘Winter is Alive’, an outdoor temporary public art carnival that activated space during the coldest part of winter and empowered people to take action about climate change,” she said. “The vast majority of the projects were on or near Lake Monona. Next winter, we are already planning a large-scale labyrinth on the frozen shores of Lake Monona, again, encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors and artwork during all seasons.” “The newly renovated historic Garver Feed Mill and the adjacent Olbrich Botanical Gardens are hubs for outdoor arts and culture, and they create numerous events for people to get out all year long.” Sculpture Milwaukee Milwaukee’s outdoor sculpture project is newer than the Lynden Garden and the Monona Loop, but has won its own enthusiastic following. Visitors are responding to individual sculptures — or the exhibit as a whole — by tagging @sculpturemke on Instagram and calling or texting the Sculpture Milwaukee Art Hotline at (414) 533-3ART. “We love to hear feedback from our visitors, and we use it to inform our programming. The core decisions are made by professional curators.,” according to Meg Strobel, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement for Sculpture Milwaukee.

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“Since Sculpture Milwaukee's inception in 2017, we have relied on the skilled expertise of professional curators to select the work for each year's exhibition. Our founding curators, Russell Bowman (former Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum from 1985-2002), and Marilu Knode (former Executive Director of Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis), built a strong foundation that paved the way for future success.”


“In 2019, the guest curator program was developed to invite diverse nationally and internationally renowned curatorial voices into the conversation, and our 2020 exhibition was primarily curated by women. Our evolution continues, and this year we're proud to have renowned artists and curators Theaster Gates and Michelle Grabner as co-curators. The artists and artworks they've selected for the 2021 exhibition are a reflection of contemporary social issues that highlight artistic investigations of topics such as racial inequity and climate change,” she said.

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Cabaret, 2019

Along with the five other resident companies of Madison’s Bartell Theatre, StageQ Theatre will announce its 2021/22 season on June 22 and is anticipating its reopening with joy after a year of inactivity. Zak Stowe, president of StageQ Theatre, is eager to get to work again presenting fun, high-quality shows by, about and for LGBTQ+ persons. “In the upcoming season, you’ll see some shows that we had planned but couldn’t do last year,” said Stowe, who has been a part of the organization since 2014.

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Three shows are planned for the season, including a regional premiere in September, a Wisconsin premiere in February and a third show, possibly a musical, in April. The first-ever CapitalQ Theatre Festival, featuring multiple plays and playwrights, including local playwrights, will be held June 24-26. StageQ Theatre originated in 2001, as an offshoot of Mercury Players Theatre. “Some people were presenting LGBTQ-themed stories, and there were so many more to do that a side group formed and split off as StageQ,” explained Stowe. June2021 | 25

A Lady and a Woman, 2018

StageQ premiered their first season at Bartell Theatre and have continued as a resident for the past 20 years. The organization is completely volunteer based-from the board of directors and artistic committee members to the directors and performers. StageQ aims to celebrate and advance queer representation through theater written by and about LGBTQ+ persons. They usually present 4-5 shows each season. Finding a home The group was exactly what Stowe was looking for when he moved to Madison seven years ago. “I wanted to reenter the theater world,” he said. “When I approached StageQ, they asked if I’d be their assistant technical director. I agreed, and soon was helping out show after show.” Six months later he became technical director and soon was voted onto the board of directors. He became vice president, then a year later, in the summer of 2018, he was named president. Dog Sees God, 2019

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“I have a tendency to put on as many hats as possible at once, doing a little bit of everything,” said Stowe. As president, Stowe runs day to day operations, monitors bills, runs meetings, helps craft the season, produces shows, and handles marketing and fundraising. In addition, before being laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stowe worked as a lighting specialist with Full Compass and supervised lighting as a member of the production team at Overture Center for the Arts, and he managed freelance lighting design for other local theaters, UW-Madison and area high schools. “Operating a theater is a labor of love,” said Stowe. “It’s hard work juggling a thousand things and working a day job, but when the audience sees it all come together, and the magic is there, it’s all worth it.” StageQ has become a home to Stowe, and he has sincerely missed it the past 15 months. The group had just finished “Next Fall” in February 2020 when Bartell Theatre and theaters across the country closed. They canceled the rest of their season. “We decided to go into hibernation and stay safe, take care of ourselves, and figure the rest out as we go,” said Stowe. “We’re going to come out of this okay.” They livestreamed one show in November 2020, but the theater has since remained dormant. Stowe says they are fortunate to not have major overhead expenses and a building to care for; however, the organization is a nonprofit and welcomes donations. He stresses that it is important to support all community theaters because they are the incubators of new art and up-and-coming artists, a place for people to have fun and be a part of the community. Addressing their unique responsibility Stowe has used the last year as a time of reflection. At StageQ, he is working with the board of directors to restructure the organization. “We are deciding where we want to go when we come out of this,” he said. “We are reflecting on our mission, setting priorities, expanding our diversity and exploring how to best serve our community.” Stowe feels StageQ has an extra responsibility, beyond serving the arts community and general public, to serve and represent the queer population, a responsibility he says is not to be taken lightly.

June2021 | 27

James Van Abel, secretary of the board of directors and actor, said that while growing up as an unsure, questioning individual, it was important to see these types of stories. He wants to ensure they continue to be told.

James Van Abel

"Theatre is all about having a place to tell a story," said Van Abel. "As a queer transgender individual, I know that the members of my community have identities and experiences that would shine on the stage. And it's so important that these voices get to share it with audiences themselves. If our story is going to be told, it needs to be told right."

StageQ presents impactful shows that are representative of the queer community. The organization has gone through different eras under different leadership teams. Stowe explains the original era featured unknown, low-key shows then moved into more edgy controversial shows, such as Corpus Christi, depicting Jesus and the Apostles as gay men. Many white, gay male-centric shows were put on, along with many about AIDS. One era was heavy on shows featuring drag queens. “Over the years, we began to lose diversity in our shows,” said Stowe. “Our mission now is to re-diversify our season. We have a wide community to represent, and it’s incredibly important for people to see themselves in our works, so we must put on a diverse array of shows.” Van Abel agrees. "There is a lot more outside of the overtold white cis gay male narrative, and we are making more of an effort to embrace that," he said. Rain! Attack on Stonewall, 2019

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And it’s possible to try new ideas when the volunteer base is always changing. Each season is a new beginning. The board of directors solidifies the slate of shows, then directors apply and an array of new and returning performers try out for roles. Auditions are open to everyone in the community. Providing a safe space For 14 years, StageQ presented “Queer Shorts,” a series of short plays, every June. The new CapitalQ Festival replaces this event. “They were absolutely a blast to do,” said Van Abel. “So many people participated and attended. It was an amazing way to connect with a lot of fantastic people, and the shows were powerful.” At one of these events, Stowe realized how impactful StageQ is not just for the audience but for the volunteer artists and backstage crew, too. While hanging out in the green room, one of the younger members commented how good it felt to be in a place where he could just come and be himself. “Everybody needs a place where they feel safe being their true selves,” said Stowe. “Offering that safe space and performing stories that represent our community is profoundly important.” Van Abel agrees. His goal as a board member is to make sure theater is accessible and representative of all the voices in the queer community, providing a safe, open and powerful space. He is working with the board of directors to expand equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. "We have prided ourselves in being a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community, and we want to be sure this is true for ALL members of our community-our black and brown queer siblings, queer folks with disabilities, etc.," he said. Stowe, Van Abel and the StageQ crew look forward to welcoming audiences back this fall and shining a light on queer stories. “Come out to see us,” said Stowe. “You’ll get to see a great show and support a greater cause.” Suddenly Last Summer, 2018

June2021 | 29


art is everywhere

Sorel Etrog,The Source, 1964


3029 university ave, madison 30 | artsscene




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A NEW BEGINNING IS ON THE HORIZON Our 21/22 symphony season is scheduled to begin in September 2021 — a joyous celebration of Beethoven that will feature many of the artists and programs we had anticipated experiencing throughout this season.


We are planning to open 21/22 season renewals and new subscriptions in the Spring. We’re excited to be together with you again feeling the thrill of live music with our orchestra and John DeMain in beautiful Overture Hall.

madison symphony.org/21-22 June2021 | 31

Taking Our Pride to the Streets:

Criminal Queerness Festival 2021 By: Amanda Finn

Near the United Nations building in New York City a group of artists will come together to take queer art to the streets-literally. From June 22-26 the international Criminal Queerness Festival (CQF) will celebrate LGBTQIA+ pride with extraordinary new plays by artists from countries that criminalize queer and trans people. The festival, founded in 2018 by queer artists Adam Ashraf Elsayigh and Adam Odsess-Rubin, is presented by the National Queer Theater in partnership with NYC Pride and the Stonewall Community Foundation. “Presenting the work of international queer artists alongside activist talks and workshops, CQF aims to uplift the careers of these artists and raise awareness about criminalization around the world,” according to their site. “The Criminal Queerness Festival provides a stage for artists facing censorship, shining a light on critical stories from across the globe. In order to build a truly global queer community, these writers are inspiring activism and shaping our culture towards the equitable treatment of LGBTQ people in every nation.” Tickets for individual shows are $30 or a festival pass is available for $50. For social distancing purposes, groups purchasing together will be seated together. The final location will be sent to ticket holders before the performances to avoid overcrowding. This year’s festival will celebrate three works by playwrights Dima Matta, Victor I. Cazares and Martin Yousif Zebari. The three pieces are vastly different highlighting subjects like identity, immigration and sacred burial rites. Yet all three carry with them the chance to see the world around us in a different light. Matta’s work “This is not a memorized script, this is a well-rehearsed story” toured London, New York and Belfast in February 2020, just before 32 | artsscene

Photo from Playbill.com - karen Eilbacher and T Thompson in Waafrika 123 by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko at the 2019 Criminal Queerness Festival Photo: Sean Velasco Dodge

the pandemic took hold. Their work is all about the reliability of life and, therefore, the performance: “Queerness is a construct. So is language, and so is this play. Nothing about this performance is reliable, the performer questions gender, memory, sex, identity, and her relationship with Beirut but gives no answers to comfort you or herself. A refusal to romanticize, a resistance against orientalization, she is left with deconstructions that she cannot put back together. This is the story of a failed relationship, with a partner, with a city, and an attempt to carry this knowledge without breaking.” Like all of their plays, “<<when we write with ashes>>” but Cazares, is a burial rite. This play in particular is titled as a nod to the death fiestas the Raramurí hold. Cazares’ play is an homage to the tradition of writing with ashes to protect oneself from the dead which, in turn, helps them start their otherworldly journey: “One night you race across the Chihuahuan Desert to introduce your Muslim boyfriend to your dying grandfather—funerals are perfect opportunities to introduce a new character. Years pass and you’re on the bed of a pickup truck trying to avoid going to rehab—meth, it’s always meth these days. Your partner looks at you and tells you you’re his addiction, his self-harm. A fascist gets elected and together you wonder if you should leave the country; flee while you still can. You watch the country you fled to become the country you fled from. One of you dies and the other one remembers. You stand in the middle of the desert and look up; there are no signals. Only light pulses of transmission: one zero one zero zero one one.” June2021 | 33

Poster by Uno Servida

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Photo from Brooklynrail.org - Drowning in Cairo by Adam Ashraf Elsayigh, directed by Celine Rosenthal. With actors Arif Silverman (L) and Fady Kerko (R). Photo: Sean Velasco Dodge.

​ hicago based Zebari, who has been seen in Chicagoland at the Goodman C Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Court Theatre and Broken Nose Theatre Company among others, highlights how families negotiate an unstable world: “In 2003, newly wed Layal plans a future with her family as they make plans to immigrate to the U.S. from Baghdad. 18 years later, just outside of Chicago, Layal’s life and responsibilities look unimaginably different from what she had envisioned two decades before. Martin Yousif Zebari’s surprising new play examines how families maintain their love in the midst of turbulent global and social change.” In addition to the performances in the streets of NYC, two of the plays (“<<when we write with ashes>>” and “This is not a memorized script, this is a well-rehearsed story”) will be presented at Lincoln Center on June 24th and 25th. Tickets for those performances will be given out via lottery free of charge. These special performances are part of Lincoln Center’s Restart Stages program.

June2021 | 35

Remembrance of Things Past:

A Meditation in Four Acts By Mike Fischer I.

“First it will be a chapter in a history book, then a paragraph, then a footnote . . . It’s already started to happen. I can feel it happening. All the raw edges of pain dulled, deadened, drained away.” – Terrence McNally, Mothers and Sons “In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it.” – Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History In November 1985, Tony Kushner had a dream. He’d just learned that a dancer named Bill who he’d been crushing on had died of AIDS. It was the first person to die of AIDS whom Kushner had known personally; there would be many more in the years to come.

Kushner dreamed that an angel had come through a collapsed ceiling, visiting Bill in his sick bed. Three years later, Angels in America would receive its first public performance in San Francisco, en route to a Broadway opening in 1993. Prior Walter, the HIV-positive drag queen who is its hero, would experience a similarly angelic visitation; it’s among the most iconic moments in what is justly renowned as one of the greatest American plays. 36 | artsscene

I wouldn’t first see Angels until the late 1990s, when I’d see it twice: as staged in Milwaukee in late 1997 (in separate productions, Milwaukee Rep and Milwaukee Chamber each took one of the play’s two parts) and in David Cromer’s legendary Chicago production in 1998. Each time, the scene that gutted me came one hour in, as Prior collapses in the bathroom, covered in blood and feces. “I don’t want this to just be about AIDS,” Kushner later said of this scene. “I want people to see AIDS, to see the horror.” “He wanted a scene,” recalled Kushner’s partner from 1982-86, “that was viscerally horrifying.” Watching those two late-1990s productions – after a decade when many of us in the audience had lost friends and loved ones to AIDS – it was clear that Kushner had got his wish. Audience members gasped and wept, unable to look and unwilling to look away. That scene played very differently during my most recent experience with Angels, in an all-day marathon three years ago in New York, as I watched the acclaimed Marianne Elliott production after its transfer from the National Theatre in London. This time, Prior’s collapse elicited laughter, and not just at the performance I saw. “Audience members laughed when Prior first collapsed, bleeding,” wrote critic Hilton Als in his New Yorker review. “I was furious, and then saddened when I realized that many of them were too young to know how AIDS decimated not only a community but the world. They took the scene as another example of Garfield’s amusing overacting.” “Angels in America premiered 27 years ago,” Als continued. “Each time it’s performed, there’s another generation of audience members who can’t understand the love and urgency that the play grew out of.”


“I mean, sure it’s great Sean Penn won an Oscar for playing Harvey Milk but American students are still taught nothing about queer history. It feels like we’re getting stripped for parts and the inside is hollowing out. It feels like the community I came up in is slowly fading away.” – Matthew Lopez, The Inheritance Als pegged the performance by Garfield – a straight actor who would win a Tony for his role – as part of the problem. Garfield, he wrote in his review, “engages too much in the limp-wristed school of acting – lots of squealing and literal limp wrists.” Acknowledging that Garfield is a terrific actor – and he is – Als nevertheless concluded of June2021 | 37

Garfield’s performance that “flouncing around doesn’t make you gay; it makes you a well-toned actor trying to play an AIDS victim.” “I imagine,” wrote cultural critic David Lê in his review of Angels in Hyperallergic magazine, that “we are meant to respect” Garfield’s “various honks and squeaks that pass for character, unmistakably gay.” They are, he added, choices a “straight man . . . playing a gay man would make. They are therefore ‘gay’ in an interesting, petrified way: as though the spirit of gay history had not moved forward . . . With Garfield, we see the dead husk of reenactment in the absence of the gay spirit.” Garfield hadn’t helped his cause when, shortly before Angels opened, he’d told Gay Times magazine that he’d prepared to play Prior by bingeing RuPaul’s Drag Race, adding that “I am a gay man right now just without the physical act – that’s all.”

Further complicating matters, Kushner himself loved Garfield’s performance. “I can’t say enough about how much I admire what Andrew has done,” Kushner later said in a The World Only Spins Forward, an outstanding oral history of Angels. “He’s a straight guy and he just dug so deeply into the spirit of this 1980s queen that you – it feels so absolutely, authentically gay to me, and I think that’s extraordinary.” Perhaps, I mused upon reading Kushner’s assessment, the problem wasn’t Garfield’s performance, but his audience’s context; as Als himself suggests, one of the reasons Garfield’s Prior might have been misread is because we’re in a different place, now, than we were when Prior was experiencing a frightening disease for which there was neither compassion nor remedy. It’s been decades since those dark ages when nearly half the states in the nation contemplated quarantining AIDS victims and when nobody had yet heard of a “triple cocktail” of HIV-slowing drugs. Maybe we just don’t have the ability, now, to grasp how revolutionary Prior’s campy gestures were, as a defiant affirmation of life against the dying of the light. Instead too many of us are now apt to read his every spectacular move as over-the-top – harmlessly funny rather than fierce. 38 | artsscene

Prior’s combination of “woundedness” and “fabulousness” – Garfield’s words – arose during a time when the glitter of camp defiantly opposed the enveloping darkness. “Fabulousness,” insists Stephen Spinella – the first Prior – “comes to life when it is in opposition to something.” “It’s about rising out of the ashes,” says Madison Moore, author of Fabulous: The Rise of the Beautiful Eccentric. “No matter what systems oppress us, no matter what laws or lawmakers try to decimate us, we still will be amazing.” But can one be amazing in a vacuum? Or, as suggested by a character in Matthew Lopez’s Inheritance – a monumental play very much focused on whether today’s gay community has lost touch with the meaning of Stonewall and the terror of AIDS – has camp become “gay minstrelsy?” If we can’t access the historical context in which an art form arose, can we make sense of it in our very different present? Or do we instead inevitably turn the past into pastiche, stereotype, and still worse – losing its meaning even as we try to honor it? Reflecting on the many revivals in the past several years of iconic gay-themed plays like Angels, New York Times cultural critic Wesley Morris has openly wondered “whether we’re interrogating the past or luxuriating in it.”


History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake. – James Joyce, Ulysses You can trace the lines Through misery’s design That map across my body – John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, Hedwig and the Angry Inch One could see the tension to which Morris refers – between an ongoing, dialogic interaction with the past and a safer, nostalgia-infused reification of ossifying tradition – by contrasting two shows that Milwaukee Rep was staging simultaneously just before the pandemic struck last Spring. Both used drag to explore how we define gender (while simultaneously examining the distinct but often related issues of homophobia and sexual orientation). But one show took far more risks – and yielded infinitely greater rewards – than the other.


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The more conventional of the two, Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride, involves a straight man who almost accidentally becomes a drag star. The heterosexual Casey’s new career pays the bills, but involves almost no exploration of his own psychological make-up or sexual identity.

Watching Casey slum in gaytopia allows a straight audience (both in the world of the play at the club where he performs and among those watching in Milwaukee Rep’s Quadracci Playhouse) to walk on the wild side, reveling in great costumes and campy jokes without ever needing to think very hard about who or what they themselves are before crossing home to safety in the suburbs. Watching Casey perform alongside a true drag queen, a straight audience can root for him in the way a white audience can root for a Black athlete, without ever thereby thinking too hard about their own hardwired intolerance. “Casey’s heterosexuality,” wrote Alexis Soloski in her Guardian review of the 2015 New York production, “is never in doubt, and while the play scolds him for lying to his wife about his female impersonation, the play never dares suggest that it does anything but make him a better husband, father and provider.” Soloski called The Legend of Georgia McBride both “charming” and “trivial.” She’s right on both counts. It’s cotton candy: tasty and colorful but also empty. Meanwhile, Mark Clements’ simultaneous production of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch was asking all the hard questions that Casey was busily ducking. Living in a Kansas trailer park, Hedwig Robinson had been born on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall as a “slip of a girlboy” named Hansel Schmidt. A botched sex-change operation has made Hedwig what this character insists we all are: neither all man nor all woman but rather gender fluid – or, in the words of one of the show’s memorable songs, “more than a woman or a man.”

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While paying loud homage to glam rock and punk (Milwaukee Rep offered earplugs to patrons on their way into the Stiemke Studio), Hedwig demonstrates the price we pay when we erect walls – whether in Berlin, in the way we think about gender, or in the way we live our lives – that result in us losing touch with ourselves and growing apart from one another. Nearly as old as Angels, Hedwig still resonates because it adamantly won’t answer the hard questions it poses. “It still has an element of the transgressive,” playwright Caridad Svich said in a recent podcast, “because it refuses to answer itself,” ensuring that “the vexing heart of it still beats” even as our thinking on gender and gender politics changes.

Hedwig at Milwaukee Rep

Hedwig doesn’t try to tell us what the past is or who we should be; drag in Hedwig isn’t so much a style as a literal embodiment of what it means to search for and try to complete the mysterious self. It’s not a dioramic representation of a bygone moment in queer history, but an effort to engage an ever-evolving past so that it might continue to nourish the present.


Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead.” – Tony Kushner, Angels in America One might say the same of Angels, which is why the recent Broadway production was able to transcend anything in Garfield’s campy performance that had failed to translate. Playing a Prior who is increasingly confident even as he remains understandably terrified, Garfield himself eventually moved on past his early stumble. June2021 | 41

“It’s still ahead of the curve,” insists playwright Young Jean Lee of Angels. “It’s the most interesting kind of political play – one that comes from a place not of knowing but of unknowing. Of finding the available truths intolerably inadequate, and trying, through all the means available to theater, to figure out what an adequate truth could be.” That search must look toward the past, while simultaneously keeping its eye on the future. In Lee’s terms, we must seek the truths the past might teach us, without ever assuming that either those who went before us or we ourselves have found definitive answers. That’s why Angels ends as it does: with an Epilogue involving an ongoing, inconclusive conversation – into which, in the play’s final lines, we in the audience are lovingly invited. “If we can’t have a conversation with our past,” asks Lopez’s main character in The Inheritance, then what will be our future? Who are we? And more importantly: who will we become?” Many excellent gay-themed plays written during the past decade have been asking such questions; I count The Inheritance, Ike Holter’s Hit the Wall, Paula Vogel’s Indecent, and Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s Fun among my own favorites. None of these four

plays has been produced in Milwaukee (Fun Home was staged by Madison’s Forward Theater in 2018 and Indecent was staged by Music Theatre of Madison in early 2020). But a fifth has.

MTM, Indecent

Sixteen months before we lost the great Terrence McNally last year to Covid-related complications, Mark Bucher’s Boulevard Theatre – which has been introducing Milwaukee to gay-themed plays for 35 years – gave us a memorable staged reading of McNally’s Mothers and Sons (the cast featured Joan End, Nathan Marinan, Mark Neufang, and Pamela Stace). McNally included four generations within his play: the mother of a man who’d died of AIDS; that dead son’s onetime lover and this lover’s current, much younger husband; and this couple’s young child. That framework allowed McNally to range back toward the nightmarish 1980s and forward into a future where children might bloom without blight as whomever they truly are. The child’s name, aptly enough, is Bud. 42 | artsscene

McNally may invest more hope in Bud’s ability to flower than is warranted. Then again, those of us who lived through the AIDS crisis never thought we’d see gay marriage. The world evolves; people change. Mothers and Sons doesn’t sugarcoat how hard such change can be – any more than I want to undersell the ongoing scourge of homophobia and transphobia. Surveying the hundreds of recently introduced bills intended to restrict L.G.B.T.Q. rights in America, the Human Rights Commission has indicated that 2021 is on track to be “the worst year for anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation in recent history.” But even as we look back with sadness and anger on where we once were, all we have lost, and how much must still change, it’s worth taking stock of how far we’ve come – and might yet still go. Or as Prior tells us at the end of Angels, “the world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come.” A Milwaukee-based writer and dramaturg, Mike Fischer is a member of the Advisory Company of Artists for Forward Theater Company in Madison and Third Avenue Playhouse in Sturgeon Bay. On behalf of Forward, he co-hosts a bimonthly podcast. You can reach him directly at mjfischer1985@gmail.com.

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E VE N T L I ST I NGS Check out some of Southern Wisconsin's best upcoming virtual and in-person arts offerings! Want to see your event in an upcoming issue? Click here!

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Events marked with WEILL'S LITTLE MAHAGONNY The Florentine Opera at Uihlein Hall Milwaukee, WI Through June 7 Revel in the talented Baumgartner Studio Artists as they explore Weill’s 25-minute semi-staged cabaret cantata in German and English.

NATURAL SHOCKS Next Act Theatre Virtual Event Through June 13 Angela is trapped in her basement, waiting out an imminent tornado. She faces the oncoming danger with deflecting cleverness and defiant wit, riffing on everything from the insurance business to marriage, Disney World and Hamlet’s famous “to be or not to be” speech.

☀ are outdoors.

VULNERABLE BODIES: A POP-UP EXHIBITION Garver Feed Mill Madison, WI Through July 24 Vulnerable Bodies features six artists — Erica Hess, Masako Onodera, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Demitra Copoulos, J. Myska Lewis, and Valaria Tatera — whose work speaks to the paradox of fragility and resilience.


East Side Club Madison, WI Through September Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the casual, backyard setting. The lineup features national touring acts paired with some of Madison’s best local bands.

ARTISTS WITHOUT BORDERS: ANIMAL SUPER POWERS MADE REFLECTIONS ON ART AND PLACE WITH LEGO BRICKS Museum of Wisconsin Art Milwaukee County Zoo West Bend, WI Milwaukee, WI Through July 3 Through September 6 OR AT The larger-than-life sculptures and exhibits Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel in Animal Super Powers invite visitors to Milwaukee, WI explore the evolutionary, biological, and Through August 1 environmental reasons for these adaptations The exhibition is a testament to the and asks Zoo visitors to imagine themselves diversity—of backgrounds, interests, and with the same abilities. styles—that is representative of Wisconsin art today.



Old Settlers Park West Bend, WI June 3 – September 2 Weekly, free, live music summer street festival in beautiful downtown West Bend.

JASMINE MASTERS PRIDE MEET & GREET This Is It Milwaukee, WI June 3 RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7 and Drag Race All Stars Season 4 superstar Jasmine Masters wants to meet you!

DIVAS DE LA NOCHE Hamburger Mary’s Milwaukee, WI June 3 Check out the drag queens from our cover photo in their weekly show “Divas De La Noche” at Hamburger Mary’s starting at 8pm!


BEST OF BR!NK BR!EFS Renaissance Theaterworks at Next Act Theatre Milwaukee, WI June 4 – June 20 Always an audience favorite at our annual Br!NK New Play Festival, the Br!NK Br!efs are 10-minute, fully-staged plays written by women playwrights from the Midwest, in response to intriguing prompts like: “Fortune Favors the Bold” or “It’s a Sign”.

THE LARAMIE PROJECT Waukesha Civic Theatre Waukesha, WI June 4 – June 20 Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was killed in 1998. The Laramie Project is a breathtaking collage that explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable.


Downtown Waukesha Waukesha, WI June 4 – September 3 Friday Night Live outdoor music event takes place every summer Friday night in downtown Waukesha.

Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts Fond du Lac, WI June 3 WAMI nominated New Artist of the Year (2020), The Milbillies are a 5-piece string RA'JAH O'HARA PRIDE MEET & band that trades vocals like a fifth of bourbon GREET and solos like a bull on a rope, slinging This Is It high-energy bluegrass stripped raw with Milwaukee, WI Americana grit. June 4 RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 star Ra’Jah OTHER PEOPLE'S HAPPINESS O’Hara wants to meet you! Lake Country Playhouse Hartland, WI B.A.B.E. PRIDE EDITION June 4 – June 6 This Is It John and Sara have a typically unhappy marriage. One summer weekend John takes Milwaukee, WI June 4 Sara up to the family cabin in the north The first Friday of every month, Madison’s woods of Wisconsin to rekindle those old very own Karma Zavich hosts B.A.B.E. (Bad A** flames. B*tch Experience) right here at This Is It!




Fireside Theatre Fort Atkinson, WI Sip & Purr Cat Café June 5 – 6 Milwaukee, WI The Stinson Brotherz, or Ricky-Bobby as many June 4 call them, have performed on the Sunset Celebrate Pride Week! Lot of laughs, cat cuddles, prizes, and FUN! Join us for a COVID- Strip, on cruise ships, in multiple Las Vegas showrooms, and throughout North America – friendly Drag Bingo featuring Malibu Casey! including The Fireside in 2019’s LEGENDS OF COUNTRY. TOUR THE TOWN ART WALK –


Gallery & Frame Shop Fond du Lac, WI June 4 Galleries feature local and regional artists where attendees may enjoy artists’ talks, demonstrations, hands-on projects, music, and more.


HOLY HILL ART & FARM MARKET Holy Hill Art Farm Hubertus, WI June 5 – 6 Enjoy a dazzling display of treasures filling the farm, barns and gardens. The show features a selected blend of fine art, crafts, vintage & antiques.

First Fridays at Grace Lutheran PAINT CEDARBURG: A PLEIN Milwaukee, WI AIR PAINTING EVENT & EXHIBIT June 4 Hauer will perform works by Frederic Chopin, Downtown Cedarburg Cedarburg, WI Ernesto Lecuona, and Maurice Ravel. June 5 – June 12 150 plein air artists will roam our charming DINING WITH THE DIVAS city capturing your favorite historical Hamburger Mary’s structures, favorite coffee shops, and Milwaukee, WI picturesque countryside with oils, June 4 watercolors, and pastels. “Dining with the Divas” is the original Milwaukee dinner-drag show, featuring RIDE WITH PRIDE some of the most entertaining drag queen House of Harley Davidson performers in the area. TWO SHOWS every Milwaukee, WI Friday & Saturday night: 7pm & 9pm June 5 All bikes and all riders are invited to the FAT D.I.X. PRIDE BEACH PARTY world’s largest LGBTQ motorcycle run. Fat Daddy’s & D.I.X. Milwaukee, WI BREW TO BE WILD June 5 – 6 DIX and Fat Daddy’s have partnered up again Racine Zoological Gardens Racine, WI to bring a Pride Party to Walker’s Point! the FAT DIX PRIDE BEACH PARTY is coming June June 5 5th and 6th with local DJs, Entertainers and Indulge in five specially selected beers paired Drink Packages and Jaida Essence Hall! with a delectable food. Meet an animal ambassador and participate in our silent auction.




This Is It Lakeside Park Milwaukee, WI Fond du Lac, WI June 5 June 6 RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 Miss Walk through Lakeside Park and Oven Island Congeniality and contestant Nina West wants along the shores of Lake Winnebago, as you to meet you! browse the works of artists from all over the Midwest.


This Is It Milwaukee, WI June 5 Join Fay Ludes for the PRIDE edition of FAYTALITY; a night of drag knockouts! From creepy to kooky and everything in between, we have a fantastic night of drag for you.


Thiensville Village Park Mequon, WI June 6 Bring the family out to celebrate Jazz in the Park. Held in scenic Village Park along the banks of the Milwaukee River, this will be a day of enjoyment for the entire family.

JACKIE BEAT PRIDE MEET & GREET This Is It Milwaukee, WI June 6 Internationally acclaimed drag performer, actor, singer, songwriter and screenwriter Jackie Beat wants to meet you!

THE MILWAUKEE MATINEE – PRIDE EDITION This Is It Milwaukee, WI June 6 Our PRIDE celebration concludes with an AMAZING edition of the Milwaukee Matinee, hosted by Kayos Mirage; with SPECIAL GUESTS Jake Dupree and the LEGENDARY Jackie Beat.

THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME ART FAIR Civic Center Park Kenosha, WI June 6 The Friends of the Kenosha Art Association invites you to its 45th Annual Invitational Arts and Crafts Show.


UPAF Milwaukee, Brookfield, & Port Washington, WI June 6, June 13 & June 27 The show can’t go on without you! Support the arts during this safe, fun, socially distanced event approved by City and Health Department officials.


Buttermilk Creek Park Fond du Lac, WI June 7 – August 23 It’s again time to grab your lawn chairs or blankets for those fabulous Monday evening “Music Under The Stars” band concerts.

WATERFRONT WEDNESDAY CONCERTS Pewaukee Lake Pewaukee, WI June 9 – August 18 Listen to this weekly musical series along the beachfront of Pewaukee Lake or dine al fresco across the street; genres include rock, blues, reggae, and party music.



Wisconsin State Fair Park West Allis, WI June 9 – September 22 Wednesday Night Live is a unique, FREE, weekly summer concert series held exclusively at the Bud Pavilion.

POCKET KINGS Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts Fond du Lac, WI June 10 The Pocket Kings are a group of elite musicians trained in the fine art of igniting guerrilla dance parties and whipping crowds into a groove-inspired frenzy.


NEON LIFE Present Music Virtual Event June 11 Will-you/won’t-you join Present Music for its final virtual ensemble concert of the season, which shines a light on this post-pandemic moment of reconnecting with life?

PEPI'S PRIDE DRAG SHOW! Pepi’s Pub and Grill Racine, WI June 11 These QUEENS from Madison are gracing us with their presence! We will have special featured drinks for this wonderful performance you are about to experience!


Schauer Arts Center FESTIVAL Hartford, WI June 10 Monument Square Formed in June of 2000, The Acoustix came to Racine, WI be after Doug and Dave got tired of playing June 12 – June 13 in other bands and wanted to do something One of Wisconsin’s oldest juried fine art fairs. more casual and intimate. Approximately 80+ artists from around the country exhibiting in a variety of media. Great food and entertainment. THE START OF SOMETHING BIG:


The Grand Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI June 11 Natalie Cordone & Shawn Kilgore pay tribute to these superstars with the intimate chemistry of two singers connected at the heart—with all the glitz and glamour that made Steve & Eydie the toast of Las Vegas.

IMPROV COMEDY TROUPE Janesville Performing Arts Center Janesville, WI June 11 Janesville’s Improv Comedy Troupe, Steadily Improv’ing, is a comical, unscripted theatrical improv show.

GOOD VIBRATIONS – A CELEBRATION OF THE BEACH BOYS Fireside Theatre Fort Atkinson, WI June 12 – 13 Featuring a cast consisting of members from founding Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and Al Jardine’s respective touring bands, Good Vibrations is the ONLY Beach Boys show qualified to faithfully re-produce all of those legendary songs and harmonies the way you remember them from the original records.


West Allis Downtown West Allis, WI June 12 – September 11 Arts and Crafts lovers, rejoice! Every second Saturday this Summer, West Allis Downtown will be hosting our Summer Crafternoons, a series of art and craft fairs on the side streets. summer-crafternoons




Fireside Theatre Fort Atkinson, WI PrideFest General Admissions Gate June 19 – 20 Milwaukee, WI Chance Tinder is a multi-award winning Elvis June 13 Presley Tribute Artist with over 25 years in Come join us SUNDAY, JUNE 13th, 2021 in CELEBRATION and MARCH for the MOVEMENT the “Elvis Entertainer Business.” He has been that started to wake this city, this country and a part of the Elvis Presley phenomenon since the late 1980’s when he was discovered in this globe all the way UP! Southern California by Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers. PRIDE NIGHT AT MILWAUKEE



American Family Field Museum of Wisconsin Art Milwaukee, WI West Bend, WI June 14 June 19 – October 17 In partnership with Aurora Health Care®, Carey Watter’s painstakingly and delicately the Brewers are honored to host our third cuts cast-off printed materials into thousands annual Pride Night at American Family Field to celebrate diversity and inclusion within the of tiny pieces that begin a new life as part of her paper reliefs. Brewers fan base, the Wisconsin community, and all of Major League Baseball.



Richfield Historical Society Richfield, WI Lake Country Playhouse June 19 Hartland, WI Juried Art and Fine Craft Fair featuring 60+ June 17 – July 2 unique artists and a variety of vendors. Anthony and Rosemary are two introverted misfits straddling 40. Anthony has spent his JUNETEENTH DAY PARADE entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, a state of affairs that—due to his painful & CELEBRATION – 50TH shyness—suits him well. Rosemary lives right ANNIVERSARY next door, determined to have him, watching Juneteenth Day the years slip away. Milwaukee, WI June 19 COPPER BOX To mark its 50th anniversary, Milwaukee’s Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts Juneteenth Day Parade and Celebration is set Fond du Lac, WI to take place Saturday, June 19. The parade June 17 will start at 8 a.m. from 14th and Atkinson and Don’t miss this THELMA favorite! Roots/ will travel to Burleigh and Dr. Martin Luther Americana quartet loaded with energy and a King Jr. Drive. mountain of instruments, influenced by blues, jazz, rock, polka, etc. THE MKE YOUTH COLLECTIVE


Beard MKE – Eastside Art Lot Milwaukee, WI June 19 On Saturday, June 19th from 1pm-5pm Essential Bees & Beard MKE will be hosting our very first “MKE Youth Collective Fair” at the ‘Eastside Art Lot’ (between Beans & Barley and Von Trier!) June2021 | 49




Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts Fond du Lac, WI Schauer Arts Center June 24 Hartford, WI Barbaro’s musical vision explores their June 19 A dazzling performance by two of New York’s collective life experiences through intricate biggest Cabaret stars, vocalist Marissa Mulder instrumentation, creatively bending traditional music into a style that is all their and pianist/songwriter/vocalist Bill Zeffiro. own.


McKee Farms Park Fitchburg, WI June 21 It’s a party in the Park! Concerts take place on the 3rd Monday of July and August at McKee Farms Park.

KINGSMEN QUARTET Fireside Theatre Fort Atkinson, WI June 22 Since 1956, this group has risen from humble beginnings in the mountains of western North Carolina to one of the most beloved and innovative groups in Christian music.


Milwaukee Rep – Peck Pavilion, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Milwaukee, WI June 26 Featuring three of your favorite Milwaukee Rep leading men – Gavin Gregory (Coalhouse Walker, Jr in Ragtime), Jeffrey Kringer (Tony in West Side Story) and Nicholas Rodriguez (Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls) - our three Divos will sing popular hits, music from Broadway and songs our performers love to sing.


Schauer Arts Center Hartford, WI June 24 Scotch and Soda offers delightful diversity and color, rich harmonies, in a style all their own.



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June 2021 ArtsScene Magazine  

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