Events Best Bets: February

Best Bets for February events in Milwaukee includes: Barbara Morgan, Pedrito Martinez, Sleater-Kinney, “The Amish Project,” and Glen Hansard.

Martha Graham, “Letter to the World,” by Barbara Morgan, courtesy of the Haggerty Museum of Art.

Still Live

Although Barbara Morgan died in 1992, the impact of her photography lives on. At the urging of her husband, Willard, who was Life magazine’s first photography editor, she began working steadily in photography in the late 1930s. It was then that she developed a relationship with the mother of modern dance, Martha Graham, and Morgan’s photographs of Graham’s evocative movements are credited with advancing the modern dance genre. This month, those photographs will be on view for further study. The Haggerty Museum of Art has loaned the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts images that reveal far more than choreography. (Claire Hanan)
Barbara Morgan (Feb. 7-March 14). Ploch Art Gallery. Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. 19805 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield, 262-781-9520,

Smooth Beats

Cuban-born singer-percussionist Pedrito Martinez is a frequent guest artist in recording studios where jazz and Latin music are on the menu. But he really shines when he’s playing live with his own group, which includes the dazzling, classically trained pianist Ariacne Trujillo. The New York Times’ jazz and pop critic Ben Ratliff called Martinez’s brand of Afro-Cuban rumba “complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk.” Whatever you call it, the music will surely get you – and the rest of the audience – moving. (Paul Kosidowski)
Pedrito Martinez (Feb. 13). South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. 901 15th Ave., South Milwaukee, 414-766-5049,

Sleater Kinney. Photo by Bridgitte Sire.
Sleater Kinney. Photo by Bridgitte Sire.

Great Expectations 

By the time you read this, rock professionals Sleater-Kinney will have released their eighth album, No Cities to Love, in its entirety, and it will represent either a “return to form,” the prevailing expectation as of late 2014, or a new synthesis from the laboratory of primary singer Corin Tucker, guitarist Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss. In terms of raw delivery, the band that started with riot grrrl punk and grew in a hundred different, more expressive directions, could have you banging your fist or welling with tears over “Happy Birthday,” and its previous release, 2005’s The Woods, was a high point in maximalist rock. This crackling take on – horrors – classic rock, refracted in about 23 different directions, is a great one to rediscover after taking in No Cities to Love and before catching the reunited trio at the Riverside Theater. (Matt Hrodey)
Sleater-Kinney (Feb. 15). Riverside Theater. 116 W. Wisconsin Ave., 414-286-3663,

The Amish Project.
The Amish Project.

Somber Reflection

In 2006, a man walked into the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and took 10 girls hostage, eventually killing five of them and himself. Jessica Dickey explores the meaning of the event in The Amish Project, a one-person show that won critical acclaim when it debuted in 2008. Unlike other “documentary” theater artists, Dickey didn’t interview anyone associated with the incident, but she finds rich truths and meaning in her characters, and in her portrait of a community that responded to the shooting with immediate calls for forgiveness. Two of Milwaukee’s finest theater artists bring Dickey’s powerful drama to The Rep: director Leda Hoffmann and actor Deborah Staples. (Paul Kosidowski)
The Amish Project (Feb. 11-March 22). Stiemke Studio. Milwaukee Repertory Theater. 108 E. Wells St., 414-224-9490,

Setting the Mood

Forget about oysters, cobra blood or any other suspect aphrodisiacs when it comes to planning an amorous Valentine’s Day. This year, all you need is a ticket to Irishman Glen Hansard’s Pabst show to set the mood. The singer, songwriter, sometimes-actor and former tourmate of Eddie Vedder could get the room swooning just by reading from the Dublin phone book, but for this final stop on his tour, fans can expect Hansard to ramble through his entire catalog, highlighting everything from his recent solo efforts to his time spent with the Frames as well as his Oscar- and Tony-winning ditties as half of the Swell Season. Don’t be surprised if the night’s set produces a mini baby boom come November. (Tim McCormick)
Glen Hansard (Feb. 14). Pabst Theater. 144 E. Wells St., 414-286-3663,

This story appears in the February, 2015, issue of Milwaukee Magazine. Click here to subscribe.