Agenda: February

Twenty reasons to get out of the house.

Photo by Pip

Feb. 1
Pabst Theater

Don’t miss this! The Baraboo indie rockers will return for their last stop in Milwaukee before what they’re calling an “indefinite” hiatus.

Winterdances: Woven

Feb. 2-5
UWM’s Mainstage Theatre

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students will unite with their teachers, many of whom are the movers and shakers in Milwaukee’s contemporary dance scene, for one multidisciplinary evening of movement.

Cooking Classes at Kohler

Feb. 2-22
The Shops at Woodlake

Known for their chocolate, the kitchens at Kohler also bill themselves as an educational outpost where you can sharpen your knife skills (Feb. 2), learn how to make ramen (Feb. 9), find out what makes gnocchi so delectable (Feb. 16) and unravel the secrets of sushi (Feb. 22).

GET UP, STAND UP, courtesy of the artist and MARC STRAUS Gallery
Jeffrey Gibson: Look How Far We’ve Come!

Feb. 2-May 21
Haggerty Museum of Art

Sculptor and painter Jeffrey Gibson (a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctow Indians) weaves together Native American traditions – like embellishments on powwow costumes – with Pop Art flavors to create arresting works, some of which will be on display this month, in addition to a site-specific painting he’ll create for the Haggerty.

Real Time

Feb. 3
Danceworks Studio Theater

Daniel and Andrea Burkholder’s Real Time, a dance company that often utilizes improvised choreography, takes this month’s performance to the next level with a collaboration with Theater Red’s Christopher Elst, who recently choreographed fight sequences for his company’s pirate-filled production of Bonny Anne Bonny.

Great Lakes Pet Expo

Feb. 4
Wisconsin State Fair Park

Interested in owning a pet, or need to upgrade the lifestyle of the pet you have? You can learn about rescues, pet food, training clubs and even what it’s like to own a miniature pig at the state’s largest pet exhibition?

Photo by Getty Images

Mitten Fest

Feb. 4

Put on your heaviest coat and head to Bay View for this street fest that celebrates local music and Midwestern beer. It has quickly become a highlight of the season.

Gladys Knight

Feb. 10
Pabst Theater

It’s been a few years since the last time the Empress of Soul graced Milwaukee with her presence, but she’s back again for a good dose of foot-stomping tunes.

Johnson artwork, The Old Stagecoach, courtesy of Layton Art Collection, Inc.
Eastman Johnson and a Nation Divided

Feb. 10-May 21
Milwaukee Art Museum

The MAM is using 2017 to take a deeper look at one of its foundation collections: the works donated by the city’s original art patron Frederick Layton. Under the microscope this month are some of the most important works by American painter Eastman Johnson, whose antebellum paintings of slavery made him famous among abolitionists.

Latino Arts’ Guitar Festival

Feb. 11
Latino Arts Auditorium

In its fourth year, this nylon-string fest is for those who play classical guitar and want to hone their skills, as well as for those who merely enjoy listening to it. The day culminates in a 7:30 p.m. showcase of the assembled talent.

Noname, Ravyn Lenae and Siren

Feb. 11
Miramar Theatre

Chicago rapper Noname (who delivered a star performance with Chance the Rapper at his recent Saturday Night Live stop) and hip-hop singer Ravyn Lenae will join Milwaukee’s Siren, the only female member of New Age Narcissism, for what will rightly be a packed Miramar performance.

The Illusionists

Feb. 14-19
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Eight magicians – each specializing in their own form of the dark arts – bring their respective bags of tricks to the Marcus Center (via Broadway) for a spectacle that would have David Copperfield picking his jaw up off the floor.

Venice Baroque Orchestra

Feb. 17
Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts

Fans of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso for Strings in D Minor should head to Brookfield for an evening of 17th and 18th century works.

19th Annual Food & Froth

Feb. 18
Milwaukee Public Museum

It’s fitting that the fundraiser for the museum brings one thing we presently hold very dear (adventurous culinary delights) with another that represents our past and happens to have a booming future (suds).

Cedarburg Winter Festival

Feb. 18-19
Downtown Cedarburg

Bed races, chili, pancakes, and…golf? Yes, this is the Cedarburg Winter Festival and it’s going on its fifth decade of ultra-eclectic fun.

Midwinter Brewfest

Feb. 19
Milwaukee Ale House

This annual beer-a-palooza is always a party, and this year the proceeds benefit the MACC Fund. In addition to imbibing, you can capture the fun in a slow-motion video booth.

Valerie June

Feb. 21
Turner Hall Ballroom

Attendees of this Turner Hall show will likely be treated to songs of the Americana singer and multi-instrumentalist’s new album, The Order of Time, which isn’t officially out until next month.

Photo by Danny Clinch


Feb. 22-April 2
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

When a steely Air Force pilot learns she’s pregnant, her assignment is changed to controlling an unmanned drone that delivers fire while hovering over a Middle Eastern country. The position forces her to confront the ethical dilemmas of modern warfare in this Milwaukee Repertory Theater staging of George Brant’s 2013 play.

Greater Milwaukee Auto Show

Feb. 25-March 5
Wisconsin Center

Make the pilgrimage to the annual car-lover’s mecca, where you can check out over 400 new models and even take a few for a test drive. ◆

Earth, Winder and Firer

Entering poet Susan Firer’s world is like jumping inside an open car on a moving train, jolting but exhilarating. In The Transit of Venus (The Backwaters Press, Oct. 2016), her sixth book of poetry, Firer slides over and makes room for us in her little spot in the cerebral cortex of the brain, in a seat at the twinkly Manfred Olson Planetarium at UW-Milwaukee, and among touristy trinkets at the Uffizi Gift Shop in Florence – where in her opus, “Brother Michelangelo,” she writes of buying a pen that has painter Caravaggio’s Bacchus on it “in order to remind me of that fact.” Wordplay is also Firer’s forte, and it’s a theme that carries through this compendium – whether she’s writing about Edgar Allan Poe or Home Depot. Milwaukee’s former poet laureate most disarms this reader with her tender allusions to her husband, the late James Hazard (a prolific poet and longtime writer for this magazine). In “He Is Trying to Get Home From the Store,” the verses recount, with incredible poignancy, the day Hazard passed away. Grief, one of many leitmotifs, brings depth to this rich odyssey. – Ann Christenson

60 Seconds With…
The Three Finalists for Milwaukee Ballet’s Biennial Choreography Competition
Mariana Oliveira

How does it feel to be among the finalists? Being a Brazilian born female choreographer in a male-dominated field is always very challenging. So when I am given an opportunity that allows me to have a voice, it is very empowering and I don’t take it for granted.

Photo by Amaud Stephenson
George Williamson

What will the biggest challenge be? My ballet is around 20 minutes and I usually like to do a lot of editing, but I don’t know if that will be possible this time. It might be that the end result is quite raw, but that might be interesting, too.

Photo by Joerg Letz
Enrico Morelli

Tell us about the music you’ll use. It’s a piano concerto by Chopin and a new composition by Adrien Casalis, a French musician with whom I collaborate. I like to mix classical and electronic music in my creations; the worlds… are temporally distant, but if well-matched, they can create magical and surreal atmospheres.

Go See It

Genesis (Feb. 16-19), Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St.,

‘Agenda: February’ appears in the February issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning January 30, or buy a copy at

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Claire Hanan worked at the magazine as an editor from 2012-2017. She edited the Culture section and wrote stories about all sorts of topics, including the arts, fashion, politics and more. In 2016, she was a finalist for best profile writing at the City and Regional Magazine Awards for her story "In A Flash." In 2014, she won the the Milwaukee Press gold award for best public service story for editing "Handle With Care," a service package about aging in Milwaukee. Before all this, she attended the University of Missouri's School of Journalism and New York University's Summer Publishing Institute.