Calling all intellectuals, performers and those just looking for something a little different.
Party at the Museum
MAM After DARK
Rub elbows with millennials during this monthly event at the Milwaukee Art Museum ($12 at the door, $10 in advance online; third Friday of each month at 8 p.m.). The evening gets into swing (and even sells out) by 10 p.m. February’s “preppy” theme means movie trivia, a Hole-in-One Challenge, and cover songs from Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press, a Chicago band. 700 N. Art Museum Dr.
Watch Indie Movies
UW-Milwaukee Student Union’s Union Cinema
If blockbusters aren’t your thing, check out this campus venue featuring a full-size screen and hot popcorn. Films are either free or $5 ($25 for a year’s membership). The Land (Feb. 2) and Southside With You (Feb. 9) are part of the African American Film Series, free and at 7 p.m. with a post-film chat. 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Boswell Book Company
At the beginning of every free author talk, Boswell Book Company owner Daniel Goldin announces, with theatrical flourish, how many days he’s been in business (now somewhere around 2,700). Upcoming events include Milwaukee native Lesley Kagen chatting about her newest read, The Mutual Admiration Society (Feb. 1), and Brit Bennett discussing her race-related, coming-of-age novel The Mothers (Feb. 6). 2559 N. Downer Ave.
Talk Religion Hopped-Up
Jesus + Beer
At these drop-in meet-ups, religious chat and beer flow together like good neighbors. It’s even okay to disagree, says organizer Brandon Brown. Join ’em at Bernie’s Tap Room in Waukesha the second Tuesday of the month from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and the third Tuesday (same time) at Dugout 54 in Story Hill. Large groups will split into two. Bernie’s Tap Room, 351. W. Main St., Waukesha; Dugout 54, 5328 W. Bluemound Road
Protest Under the Stars
Overpass Light Brigade
Armchair activist no more! At the after-dark Bridge Parties, participants hold neon letters spelling out a message over highways or in Milwaukee’s public spaces. Recently the group stood in solidarity with Standing Rock. Find details on the organization’s Facebook page.
Take a Star Turn
Step in front of the footlights and show off what you’ve got
Tell Your Story
Ex Fabula/The Moth
Have a story that needs to be told? The Moth, the national outfit whose story slams are broadcast on NPR every week, has local events regularly. Ex Fabula, a local group, hosts monthly story slams that give nine storytellers, drawn from a hat, a chance to take the stage. Various downtown locations; exfabula.org, themoth.org
Make ‘Em Laugh
Recently relocated, the Comedy Cafe’s monthly open mic night is now at the mercy of the Bucks’ schedule for the sake of parking. The friendly competition gives emerging comedians a shot on stage. Performers must bring three friends so crowds get big and the audience determines the winner. 1033 N. Old World 3rd St.
Jazz It Up
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
Get funky with pros and students at the free Jazz Jam on the second Friday of each month. It’s led by jazz faculty members, and improvisation and originality are encouraged. Open to all jazz-lovers young and old, even if you aren’t up for performing. 1584 N. Prospect Ave.
Up & Under Pub
Expect to hear mostly rock and a ringing in your ears the next morning after a night at this dingy but reputable venue with open mic night on Mondays for musicians of all genres. 1216 E. Brady St.
Train for “American Idol”
The High Note
Blink and you’ll miss it. The High Note is the only dedicated karaoke lounge in Milwaukee, offering the opportunity to sing your heart out four nights a week. The interior isn’t much, but the catalogue of songs is wide-ranging. 645 N. James Lovell St.
A long-running event for spoken word, poets and any form of creative self-expression, the monthly open mic night at UWM occurs Wednesdays and also includes one professional artist who hosts a writing workshop. Expect a multi-media, multi-sensory experience with live music and painting, too. 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Arts & Crafts
Where to go for glue, glitter and hand-made bedazzlements.
You need not toil away, alone in a garret, just because you feel a hankering to express yourself. There are plenty of venues that offer an opportunity to mingle while you make things. At Arte Wine and Paint (1442 Underwood Ave., Wauwatosa), there’s a fully stocked bar, so you can drink like Jackson Pollack, and maybe paint like him, too. Instructions provided only if you want them. If fashion is your thing, Sip and Stitch monthly workshops at MKE Fashion Incubator (1422 N. 4th St.) teach sewing in a social environment. Machines are provided, as are the materials to make clutches, infinity scarves and other simple projects. Perhaps you’re longing to try some of the craft ideas you’ve seen on Pinterest, but you lack the confidence to dive right in. Pin-It Live (522 N. Water St.) is the spot for you. Katie Garcia and Garrett Sheskey are on hand to offer help, encouragement and the supplies you need to get the job done.
56 Things to Do After Dark