JAN. 1 | BRADFORD BEACH | FREE
On the first day of the year, hundreds of people participate in one of the city’s coolest annual traditions – by stripping down to their skivvies and wading into the frigid water of Lake Michigan. If you’re tough enough to take the plunge, you’ll be able to brag about your midwinter dip for the rest of the year.
THROUGH MARCH 28 | MITCHELL PARK DOMES | FREE
Are the cold weather and long nights starting to wear on you? If you haven’t checked it out yet, head to this indoor farmers market, now in its 11th year. It takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the conservatory’s sun-soaked greenhouse annex, which means you’ll be able to soak in a healthy portion of vitamin D while just shopping for fruits and veggies. Afterward, you can wander through the rest of the conservatory, too.
JAN. 9-12 | FISERV FORUM
Your favorite French acrobats are back in town. And this time, they’re performing in an ice rink – because executing elaborate somersaults on solid ground just isn’t impressive enough, apparently. Expect live music, colorful costumes and all the circus-inspired routines you’d see at a standard Cirque show, plus figure and freestyle skating.
JAN. 9-12 | HILTON MILWAUKEE CITY CENTER
If your idea of playing games involves cardboard, dice and luck, this sprawling four-day convention will be right up your alley. It’s been coming to Cream City for 20 years, bringing seminars, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitors, a game library and lots of competitions.
JAN. 17-MAY 24 | HAGGERTY MUSEUM OF ART | FREE
We’ve been expressing ourselves through art since our distant ancestors started painting cave walls tens of thousands of years ago. All of the artists in this group show at Marquette’s art museum, which includes work by the late conceptual wunderkind Felix Gonzales-Torres, are interested in what it means to be human. And they look to everyday encounters with other people to help answer that question.
JAN. 19 | MARCUS CENTER | FREE
If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he’d be turning 91. And we’re pretty sure he’d be touched by Milwaukee’s 36th annual celebration of his birthday, which always features student art, writing and speech contests, and live performances by local arts groups, such as the Skai Performing Arts Academy stage band and Ballet Folklórico Nacional. The theme for this year is “Your Life Has Significance.”
JAN. 24 | RIVERSIDE THEATER
Jerry Seinfeld’s style of observational comedy is still regularly imitated by other comics, more than 20 years after his eponymous show ended. (Think: “What’s the deal with airplane peanuts?”) He’s performing twice tonight, but both sets will likely sell out, so buy your tickets early if you can.
JAN. 24-26 | MARCUS CENTER
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s contemporaries thought that his First Piano Concerto was too difficult to be played by human hands. So consider pianist Joyce Yang, who won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition when she was just 19, superhuman. She’ll also play Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture and Sergei Prokofiev’s Third Symphony.
JAN. 26 | POTAWATOMI HOTEL & CASINO
Put your money where your mouth is at this charity chili cook-off. Some of the city’s best restaurants (the Mason Street Grill and Eagle Park Brewing participated last year) will be competing for the cause. If you go, you’ll get eight sample cups, bread and a $10 casino voucher. Proceeds benefit the Hunger Task Force.
JAN. 28-MARCH 8 | MILWAUKEE REP
The creators of this 1998 musical – about a genderqueer East German musician hellbent on moving to America – fine-tuned their numbers at clubs around New York City for four years. When the show finally premiered off-Broadway, Time magazine called it “the most exciting rock score written for the theater, since, oh, ever!”