15 Cultural Events to Catch This Fall

Consider this your official Milwaukee fall arts guide.

1. Claiming Space: A New Century of Visionary Women 

Photo courtesy of the artist, Gina Litherland, Beatiful Wolf Lady 2018

THROUGH OCT. 3 | MUSEUM OF WISCONSIN ART, WEST BEND

MOWA is celebrating its 60th year, and honoring founder Melitta Hedwig Suder Pick with a group exhibition devoted to works of art by other visionary women. The 30 women selected to participate in the show contributed deeply personal works across a variety of mediums. 

2. First Impressions: Early Printed Books in Europe

THROUGH DEC. 12 | MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM

You’d be hard-pressed to name a more influential invention than the printing press, developed in the 1450s in Germany. This historical exhibition offers a rare glimpse at some of the museum’s oldest printed manuscripts.  

3. Cultures and Communities Festival 

SEPT. 6-12 | MULTIPLE VENUES

Formerly known as the Minority Health Film Festival, the CCF aims to uplift and celebrate traditionally marginalized communities. Many of the events surrounding the festival – like film screenings and Q&A sessions – will take place at the historic Oriental Theatre, but other locations will be utilized too, and some of the films will be available to view virtually.  

4. Bianca del Rio 

SEPT. 10 | PABST THEATER

She’s fierce. She’s fabulous. And she’s pretty dang funny. Former “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” alum and comedian Bianca del Rio is currently touring the country, and we’re thrilled to see she’ll be making a stop in Milwaukee. The New York Times dubbed her the “Joan Rivers of the drag world,” and we couldn’t agree more.  

5. Mary Roach, Author of Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law 

Photo courtesy of W. W. Norton & Co.

SEPT. 27 | VIRTUAL EVENTS 

Mary Roach, the best-selling nonfiction author of Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, has published a new book. It’s about the science at the center of many human-wildlife conflicts, and you can hear her read from it at this virtual event, presented by Milwaukee’s own Boswell Books.  

6. A Grand Opening 

OCT. 1-3 | BRADLEY SYMPHONY CENTER

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is starting its season off with a bang. Literally. By playing George Gershwin’s joyfully exuberant jazz classic “Rhapsody in Blue,” Duke Ellington’s “New World A Comin’” and many other high-energy compositions.  

7. Pridetoberfest 

OCT. 8-9 | HENRY MAIER FESTIVAL PARK

PrideFest was unfortunately canceled this year. But its founders have announced a brand-new fall festival that will channel much of the same energy as the June event. Expect lots of entertainment – singers, dancers, drag performers – and a sea of rainbow-colored clothing.

Photo by Visit Milwaukee

 

 

8. Covered Bridge Studio Tour 

OCT. 8-10  | CEDARBURG   

The trees around Milwaukee are dripping with color this time of year, and so are the studios of many local artists. This weekend, you can admire both by embarking on a self-guided driving tour of 50 studios of Cedarburg Artists Guild members. They’ll be on site and ready to answer questions, too. Visit cedarburgartistsguild.com for maps of the route this year. 

9. Rigoletto 

OCT. 8-10 | THE MARCUS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Giuseppe Verdi is arguably the best composer of the 19th century. And Rigoletto – an opera in three acts about a lecherous duke and an unhappy henchman made to do his bidding – is arguably his best work. So you can expect great things from this Florentine Opera show.  

10. Aniela Sobieski 

Photo courtesy of Tory Folliard

OCT. 22-NOV. 20 | THE TORY FOLLIARD GALLERY

UW-Madison grad Aniela Sobieski has gained something of a cult following for her small-scale surrealist oil paintings. They often feature female figures and natural motifs. And they always blur the line between creepy and cute.  

11. Harry Styles 

NOV. 3 | FISERV FORUM

Who doesn’t love Harry Styles? The multi-platinum singer-songwriter somehow appeals both to teeny boppers and older rockers who appreciate his Freddy Mercury-esque flair for fashion and theatrical showmanship. 

 12. Steel Magnolias 

NOV. 9-DEC. 5 | THE MILWAUKEE REP

Like the film of the same name, this touching dramedy is full of Southern-fried charm. It centers on a group of Louisiana women who all get their hair done at the same salon. Their bouffants are big, but their hearts are even bigger. And they readily band together to help each other overcome any obstacles in their way.  

13. De La Buena 

DEC. 3 | LATINO ARTS INC.

De La Buena has been one of Milwaukee’s best-known bands for ages. But they’ve really come into their own in recent years, transitioning from a trio to a sprawling 10-piece band. Their unique blend of Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz influences doesn’t sound like anything else in the city, either.  

14. The Nutcracker 

DEC. 4-26 | THE MARCUS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS  

We know you’ve missed it. The Milwaukee Ballet’s beloved holiday show (it’s been around for more than 40 years!) is finally back. We can’t wait to get reacquainted with our favorite characters, and the show’s colorful costumes and set pieces. 

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Ballet

15. An Evening with David Sedaris 

DEC. 10 | THE RIVERSIDE THEATER

Writer and humorist David Sedaris is returning to Milwaukee for another evening of satirical stories and witticisms. His latest book, The Best of Me, is a curated collection of his writing that spans 25 years.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s September issue.

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.