photo by Caroline Blair

The Best and Worst of Cream City Culture in April

This month’s forecast called for some highs, and lows, on the A&E front

The Good

1) Milwaukee Film is Popping (Some Corn)

The nonprofit organization that operates the Oriental Theatre – and runs the city’s largest film festival – announced in April that it’s making more improvements to the venerable movie palace. Over the next few months, the organization will be redesigning the theater’s concession stand, updating its sound system and replacing the seats in one of its three auditoriums (the other two will be redone in 2020).

“As magnificent as the Oriental Theatre is now, we know there is still work to be done to make it a world-class venue,” CEO and Artistic Director Jonathan Jackson says. “Like all our work at the theater, these upgrades will preserve and enhance the historic beauty of this space, while creating the best possible film experience for our guests.”

The theater will remain open during construction, which will end in time for the kickoff of the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival.


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2) We’re Lining Up for the 2019 Summerfest Lineup

Our social media feeds aren’t (just) full of “Game of Thrones” memes this month. We’ve also been seeing a lot of chatter over the 131 Summerfest acts who will be playing here from June 26 to July 7. Summerfest released the full ground stage lineup on April 9. Since then, the Big Gig has also been sharing near-daily updates on when and where each of the musicians will be playing. And that’s just fine with us.  

A few of the highlights? Billie Eilish at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater on July 6. Lizzo at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse on June 27. And the Lonely Island at the Miller Lite Oasis Stage on June 28.

3) Sculpture Milwaukee Is Making Its Next Masterpiece

Our favorite free outdoor art exhibition is coming back again this summer, and we’ve got a pretty good sense of what to expect from it. This month we learned that John Baldessari, Max Ernst and William J. O’Brien are part of the roster this year, along with at least 10 other artists.

“We are thrilled to bring these spectacular works by remarkable artists to downtown Milwaukee,” Co-Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Programs, Marilu Knode, said in a recent press release. “Looking at the exhibition as a whole, the works use different combinations of abstraction and figuration to express the ideas of the artists.”

The Bad

1) The Bucks Stumble in Playoffs

The Bucks made it to the NBA playoffs this year, and for weeks the buzz around the team has been intensifying. The Milwaukee River has been dyed green. Restauranteurs have been naming burgers after star player Giannis Antetokounmpo. And there are so many “fear the deer” signs up around town right now that if any aliens crash landed in Milwaukee right now they’d probably assume that we’re at war with our local woodland creatures.

All that is to say, many of us took it pretty hard when the team lost to their first game against the Boston Celtics 112 to 90. Let’s hope the Greek Freak and co. can recover from the loss.


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2) No One Here Has Got Milk

In slightly more obscure sports-related news, we learned that construction delays are currently plaguing the city’s long-promised minor league baseball team. As a result, the Milwaukee Milkmen – who are, ironically, slated to play their first 16 home games in Kokomo, Indiana – won’t actually be hitting the field until June 24 (they were originally supposed to begin playing on May 24). Oh well. Hopefully they’ll spend the extra month drinking lots of milk and bulking up.



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.