1. Meditate Milwaukee
JAN. 1 | THE RIVERSIDE THEATER
Kick off 2023 with peace and intention at this mass meditation meetup. The main event will be guided by community leaders, plus there will be live music from local acts.
2. Timelines Film Screening
JAN. 4 | CACTUS CLUB
A beloved music venue will serve as a movie theater as Cactus Club shows 15-minute shorts from local filmmakers inspired by the theme of “timelines,” as in linearity (or lack thereof).
3. Silas Short, Troy Tyler and NilexNile
JAN. 6 | NŌ STUDIOS
These three concerts will bring rap, hip-hop and R&B to the stage. LA-based (but Milwaukee-born) musician Silas Short is known for his soulful sound. Troy Tyler, based in Menomonee Falls, draws his inspiration from the ’90s. Plus, NilexNile is one of the most exciting rappers making waves in Milwaukee right now.
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4. Goblin King Masquerade
JAN. 7 | TURNER HALL BALLROOM
Awkward Nerd Events is bringing an elegant ball to our city. Expect themed cocktails and mocktails, special performances from The Goblin King Players and tons of photo ops. Formal attire is not only encouraged, it’s required.
5. Brick Fest
JAN. 7-8 | WISCONSIN CENTER
Celebrate the fun of LEGOs, with this fest’s hands-on attractions. A giant brick pit, blacklight “Glow Zone,” graffiti wall, derby races and a floor mural are just a few of the interactive displays to check out.
6. Pop-Up Nature: Who Was Aldo Leopold?
JAN. 8 | WEHR NATURE CENTER
Did you know that Wisconsin was home to the man known as “the father of wildlife ecology”? On what would have been his 187th birthday, learn all about Aldo Leopold and the legacy he left in our state and the field of conservation at this event for children and families.
7. Much Ado About Nothing
JAN. 10-FEB. 12 | MILWAUKEE REP
This production takes a Shakespeare classic, but spins it with a ’90s twist. With witty wordplay, slapstick comedy and a plot stuffed with over-the-top rom-com drama, this comedy will be a blast from the past for theatergoers.
8. “Rediscover Ruth Grotenrath”
OPENING JAN. 13 | THE WAREHOUSE MKE
Celebrate the career of Ruth Grotenrath, a late Wisconsin painter known for her murals during the WPA era. Beyond paintings, the multidisciplinary show includes Grotenrath’s drawings, prints and textile patterns. The gallery will feature never-before-seen works along with some of her award-winning pieces.
9. Gimme Gimme Disco
JAN. 13 | TURNER HALL BALLROOM
Is “Dancing Queen” your anthem? Then this is the dance party for you. A DJ will be spinning hits from the ’70s and ’80s including The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Cher and, yes, lots of ABBA. Disco attire is encouraged, so break out your go-go boots and bell bottoms to look the part.
10. Champions of Magic
JAN. 13-14 | MARCUS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
A team of magicians will take the stage to make impossible illusions. A daring escape from Houdini’s water-torture cell, levitation and interactive magic make up a few of the show’s most popular acts. Plus, a “mind-blowing prediction that has to be seen to be believed.”
11. Steph Tolev
JAN. 13-15 | MILWAUKEE IMPROV
Steph Tolev is an up-and-coming comedian from Canada who was recently featured on “Bill Burr: Friends Who Kill,” a show where the famed comedian featured his favorite, lesser-known comics. She specializes in absurd and self-deprecating comedy, like riffs on her mullet, dating in L.A. and more. Expect rapid-fire jokes, very few of them clean. improv.com
12. Waukesha JanBoree
JAN. 13-22 | DOWNTOWN WAUKESHA
Celebrate winter at this weeklong fest in Waukesha. Ice skating, sledding and fireworks are some of the main draws. Plus mascots run around the fest for photo opportunities with the kiddos.
13. Wisconsin’s Magic Realism
JAN. 14 | MUSEUM OF WISCONSIN ART
The curator of paintings at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Robert Cozzolino, will talk about Wisconsin’s influence on the magic realism art movement, in conjunction with MOWA’s “Magic Wilderness” exhibition, which closes on Jan. 15.
14. Elinor Lipman’s Author Talk
JAN. 17 | BOSWELL BOOK CO.
Elinor Lipman, author of Rachel to the Rescue, just dropped a new novel all about love under house arrest. Boswell Books’ Daniel Goldin described it as a laugh-out-loud read, noting that tales of sourdough starters and claustrophobia are especially relatable since COVID. Lipman and Goldin will talk about the rom-com at the bookstore.
15. Step Afrika!
JAN. 19 | UIHLEIN HALL
Step Afrika was founded in 1994 to honor the tradition of stepping, a style that blends the percussive dance movements of historically African American fraternities and sororities with traditional West and Southern African dances. The show integrates storytelling, humor and audience participation.
16. Cost of Living
JAN. 20-FEB. 12 | RENAISSANCE THEATERWORKS
“People are hard.” That’s the slogan for Renaissance Theaterworks’ upcoming play. It tells the story of Eddie, an unemployed truck driver who’s struggling to rebuild his relationship with his estranged wife. The show won a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2018.
17. Dino! An Evening with Dean Martin
JAN. 20-MARCH 19 | MILWAUKEE REP
Picture a ’70s club and the crooning “King of Cool” is there, with his signature drink in hand, telling stories and singing his standards, including “Everybody Loves Somebody” and “That’s Amore.”
18. Monster Jam
JAN. 21-22 | FISERV FORUM
The arena will be covered in dirt for 12,000-pound monster trucks to tear up at this unscripted competition. Expect races, flips and jaw-dropping stunts.
19. Ani DiFranco
JAN. 25 | THE PABST THEATER
Grammy-winning feminist icon Ani DiFranco is bringing her punk funk sound to MKE with some noteworthy guests, too: Milwaukee natives SistaStrings and Peter Mulvey.
20. Gallery Talk: “After Ashcan”
JAN. 26 | MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM
Catch this conversation about the Milwaukee Art Museum’s ongoing “After Ashcan: The 14th Street School” exhibition. The show includes prints that depict life in Manhattan’s Union Square in the 1920s and ’30s. At the Gallery Talk, associate curator of prints and drawings Nikki Otten will explore the themes and topics of the works in depth. mam.org
21. Neptune & Water Music
JAN. 27-29 | BRADLEY SYMPHONY CENTER
This season, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has been putting on shows as part of its Water Festival, featuring music about nature. On tap this month is “Rameau’s Suite” from Naïs, a French Baroque opera about the romances of Neptune, mythical god of the sea. Beyond world-class music, this concert is a great reason to spend time in the striking Bradley Symphony Center. mso.org
22. Bluegrass Winter Heater
JAN. 28 | ANODYNE WALKER’S POINT
This wintry concert will fill the beloved Walker’s Point cafe with the sounds of bluegrass. Milwaukee’s Mama Said String Band, Buffalo Galaxy and The MilBillies will all be playing for the fest’s second year. anodynecoffee.com
23. Nineties by Nature
JAN. 28-29 | MAD PLANET
Miss the ’90s? Flash back at this nostalgia dance party. DJ Milkman will be spinning jock jams as well as pop, hip-hop and dance hits from the decade. Dress to match the theme – meaning, flannels, Doc Martens and ripped denim. mad-planet.net