What To Do in June
Summer's here, and the arts events around town reflect the season's change
Past and Present
Grace Chosy Gallery highlights both old favorites and new works by three of its standout artists: Warrington Colescott, Francis Myers and Paula Schuette Kraemer. Selections features Colescott’s densely and uniquely narrative paintings and prints, Myers’s intriguing abstracted prints, and Schuette Kraemer’s reflections on nature and wildlife. gracechosygallery.com
Calling All Kids
The Rotary Club of Madison and the Madison Children’s Museum join forces to offer a day of family fun. SummerPalooza includes free admission to the museum, which hosts games and visiting farm animals. Around the Capitol Square, find Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, Ken Lonnquist and the Kenland Band and other entertainers—and don’t miss the parade at noon! madisonchildrensmuseum.org
House of Cards
Chamber music’s never as fun as it is in the hands of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society. The group’s twenty-second annual chamber music festival—twelve concerts held over three weekends in Madison, Stoughton and Spring Green—is themed Deuces are Wild. Artistic directors and performers Stephanie Jutt and Jeffrey Sykes lead local musicians and artists from around the country through the work of “ace musicians,” chamber music “trump cards” and new music “hidden up the sleeve.” bachdancinganddynamite.org
June 8–October 20
American Players Theatre opens its thirty-fifth season with five plays: Shakespeare’s Hamlet and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, plus Too Many Husbands, a comedy set in post-World War I Britain, appear on APT’s beloved outdoor stage. And Molly Sweeney, a play about a doctor who attempts to restore his new wife’s sight, and Dickens in America, staring James Ridge as Charles Dickens (and his most famous characters), take place in the indoor Touchstone Theatre. americanplayers.org
June 8–September 1
In honor of its recent acquisition of an early impression of Kitagawa Utamaro’s Gifts of the Ebb Tide—a book of poetry and illustrations recounting a visit to tide pools in Japan—the Chazen Museum of Art presents Gifts of the Ebb Tide: The Sea in Japanese Prints. This exhibition showcases not only the historic book, but also woodblock prints featuring the sea, culled from the museum’s impressive collection of Japanese prints. chazen.wisc.edu
Each summer, StageQ delights audiences with its annual festival of brief plays. Queer Shorts 8 brings eleven shorts—many by new playwrights and utilizing the talents of both veteran and new actors and directors—to the Bartell Theatre stage. Come for the short about three women on a hiking trip, a comedia del arte-style romp or a musing on the life of a computer pioneer—or find a different favorite! stageq.com
“Remember, Embrace and Shape Our Future” is the theme of the twenty-fourth annual Juneteenth Day Celebration taking place at Penn Park. The event kicks off with a parade and combines music, dance, storytelling, poetry, food and more to celebrate Madison’s African American community. juneteenthmadison.wordpress.com
May 31–June 22
Six thirty-somethings are confined to a small flat on Madison’s east side as a brutal storm rages, rumors of a deadly pandemic swirl and love affairs cause distress. “Prepare to get wet,” warns Broom Street Theater as it presents the disaster drama Lekker Mann. bstonline.org
Mercury Players Theatre dramatically condenses the life cycle of a play with its annual Blitz. Eight original plays are written, cast and staged in front of a live audience in a mere twenty-four hours. Tickets are available just before the opening of the one-night show—so you need to act fast too! mercuryplayerstheatre.com
Get your jazz fix at the Memorial Union with the Isthmus Jazz Festival. Headlining this year’s event is vocalist Carmen Lundy, who performs both at the Terrace and UW’s Music Hall. isthmusjazzfestival.com
It’s time to celebrate! The Madison Area Music Awards mark their tenth year of shining a light on the best in local music with an awards show bash at Overture Center’s Capitol Theater. Taking the stage are youth rock band The Daze, folk singer Anna Vogelzang, hip-hop artist Tefman, classical violinist Mikko Utevsky, big band jazz outfit Ladies Must Swing and many others. Join the Madison Area Music Association in honoring a decade of promoting music in Madison and fostering an appreciation for music in the city’s youth. themamas.org
June 7–September 1
While viewers react immediately to the rich color and bold symbolism of Leslie Smith’s large-scale paintings, the works utilize abstraction to communicate stories about the human experience. In I Dream Too Much at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the classically trained painter, who’s an assistant professor of painting and drawing at UW–Madison, breaks down elements to their most basic components to portray sociopolitical and personal struggles, power relationships, fear, trauma and more. mmoca.org
A Festival of Sounds
An annual celebration of summer, music, food and community, the Marquette Waterfront Festival marks its twenty-fourth year with two days of fun at Yahara Place Park on Lake Monona. Catch Tani Diakite & the Afrofunkstars and the Handphibians on Saturday and the Whiskey Farm on Sunday, plus out-of-town acts like Grupo Fantasma from Austin, Hurray for the Riff Raff from New Orleans, Kingsley Flood from Boston and the MarchFourth Marching Band from Portland. marquette-neighborhood.org
On the summer solstice, the entire city of Madison becomes a venue for live music. Make Music Madison is a one-day outdoor musical experience that pairs performers of all styles, ages and abilities with impromptu stages—from sidewalks and street corners to gardens and parks. makemusicmadison.org
Madison printmaker Mark Stuart Evans has recently delved into the world of relief printing, creating abstract yet slightly representational monoprints. His thoughtful, colorful works reference symbols and allude to a sense of architecture and the presence of time. hatcharthouse.com
with Greg Hettmansberger
When June is “bustin’ out all over” (admit it, there were moments when you swore it would never get here!), it’s time for music making to bust out of the concert halls and into the great outdoors.
Part of that tradition for Madison music lovers includes a heady mix of social occasion, music al fresco—and the more than occasional crossover into a pop groove.
Few city settings are as alluring as Bishops Bay Country Club, and here you can enjoy an evening with the Madison Symphony Orchestra at Concert on the Green (June 17, madisonsymphony.org).
The event benefits the MSO’s educational and community engagement programs, and the activities include a cocktail party, a picnic and, of course, music. Maestro John DeMain leads the orchestra and features one of the 2012 “Final Forte” finalists.
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Wisconsin Pops series this year couldn’t help reminding us of Concerts on the Square, albeit indoors. Let’s give a pre-concert “bravo” that it’s time to enjoy Andrew Sewell and his clever programming right in the shadow of the Capitol dome. The six-week, Wednesday-evening concert series (June 26–July 31, wcoconcerts.org) opens with the 2013 Young Artist Concerto Competition winner, violinist David Cao, in a program of childlike gems: Respighi’s “The Magic Toy Shop,” Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty and our young soloist in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Oh, and don’t forget the optional competitive picnic-ing—but if you do, the Square is full of wonderful vendors. See you there.
Want more classical coverage? Find Greg Hettmansberger’s Classically Speaking blog.
Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine. Check out her arts and entertainment blog.