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The Friday Five for May 2, 2014
April showers bring a great week of music and dance.

#5 The Milwaukee Underground Film Festival at UWM Union Theatre (and other locations).

Why? Because The Amazing Spiderman is back, and another X-Men, and those are just the beginning of the summer onslaught. So it might be a good time to cleanse your palate (so to speak) with a sampling from the international avant-garde of film. This UWM-student-run festival features film and video work from around the world, including pieces that experiment with celluloid (like Karissa Hahn’s In Effluence accord; Emulsion), experimental animation (like Elsewhere, the Survivers by Ali Aschman), and even a documentary that looks at the spawning of horseshoe crabs. And nothing with Adam Sandler in it. We promise. 

#4: Philomusica String Quartet at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.

Why? Because in this concert the Philomusica expands its usual number of strings (4x4=16) to 22 (+6), welcoming guitarist Rene Izquierdo  as guest artist. They’ll put him to good use, too. Of course, there’ll be a Boccherini guitar quintet (the very popular 4th, called the “Fandango”). But the group will also dig into the visceral 20th-century work of Nuevo-tango master Astor Piazzola. On its own, Philomusica will play a quartet by American Amy Beach, and tackle Beethoven’s Op. 135 quartet, the (almost) last piece of music he wrote.

#3: First Stage’s Nancy Drew and Her Biggest Case Ever at the Marcus Center.

Why? Because it’s Nancy Drew, fer cryin' out loud - we always thought she had one up on those Hardy Boys. But this world premiere (by First Stage’s own Jeff Frank and John Maclay) has a lot more going for it than Carolyn Keene’s famous teen sleuth. Willy Porter wrote the original music. And it features an impressive cast of Milwaukee theater stars, including Niffer Clarke, Matt Daniels, James Fletcher and Joe Faust.

#2: The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Marcus Center.

Why? Because you’re still recovering from the heart pounding and swooning brought on by last week’s majestic all-Rachmaninoff program. This week, you’d like something a little, well, demure. Conductor Edo de Waart has just the thing in this charming program that pairs Wagner’s lovely Siegfried Idyll with Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, both written by the composers as tributes to their wives. And what’s a spring concert without a little Mozart. Here it’s the Symphony No. 38, the “Prague.”

#1: Wild Space Dance Company’s All About Life at the Steimke Theatre.

Why? Because spring can really hang you up the most, particularly if you’re a dance company who likes to perform in the great outdoors. So Debra Loewen and Wild Space take their imagination and collaborators out of the elements this time of year. These evening-length works are no less expansive and imaginative than the company’s site-specific work. Here, Loewen teams with three frequent collaborators—Mauriah Kraker, Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart—to create a theater tapestry that promises to be All

About Life photo by Matt Schwenke.

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