Events Best Bets: August

Essential Viewing  Nobody doubts the attraction of Arab World Fest’s camel rides and plates of baba ghanoug. But Milwaukee’s celebration of Arabic culture delves into deeper waters, too, particularly within its film festival. Atop this year’s marquee might be Omar, a 2014 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Film. The title character is a young Palestinian baker forced to become an Israeli informant, a plot that weaves him through a star-crossed love story. Of a more uplifting nature, there’s Flying Papers, a documentary following kids who try to break a Guinness World Record by flying kites on a Gaza beach.…

Events Best Bets: July

ART: Maritime Mosaics  Avast, ye mateys! In the height of summer, the lakes and rivers of Wisconsin teem with all manner of seacraft. But anyone can sip a beer on a friend’s cabin cruiser or take a paddleboat around the Veterans Park lagoon. For aspiring Noahs (or Thor Heyerdahls), there’s the John Michael Kohler Arts Center “Art Armada,” a fossil-fuel-free flotilla of flotsam that will warm the heart of the most fervent environmentalist. Boats must be human powered, and constructed from a very narrow list of materials (cardboard, milk jugs, swimming noodles, etc.). Once launched at Sheboygan’s Rotary Riverview Park,…

City Guide Best Bets: August

Baraboo Bubbles If your favorite coffee shop had a daydream set in Baraboo, it might sound like Phox, the assured and rhythmically nuanced six-piece from the central Wisconsin town. Another analogy might suggest that the band would be well-suited for a baby soap commercial, which isn’t necessarily an insult, and might capture how whistling and clapping sometimes hurry along the act’s lilting-yet-crisp stylings. Phox had a good year in 2013 playing off these accents, and could be headed for even bigger things than the track it recorded for a Wes Anderson tribute album, I Saved Latin, released in May. (Matt…

City Guide Best Bets: July

  Minimal Moves The late 1960s and early ’70s were heady days in New York City. SoHo still had its raw industrial patina, and its warehouses and lofts were filled with artists transforming the idea of painting and sculpture by paring them down to their “minimal” forms. Choreographer Trisha Brown was also on the move, experimenting with pieces that took simple, everyday movement and turned it into dance. Alverno Presents and Lynden Sculpture Garden re-create this scene – and its synergy – when the Trisha Brown Dance Company comes to town, performing some of Brown’s early experimental works at the…

City Guide Best Bets: Summerfest

A Real Woman A deadly slide guitar player and an even deadlier singer, Bonnie Raitt built a slow-burning career out of other songwriters’ songs. Her most recent album, 2012’s Slipstream, won the 2013 Grammy for Best Americana Album, and was a leisurely showcase of the sneaky-good guitar work and singing she’s known for. The words “return to form” come to mind, especially when she’s playing an acoustic, a la “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” and covering songs from Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind album, which marked the beginning of his own resurrection. For a Summerfest crowd, “Something to Talk About” and…

City Guide Best Bets: June

Smooth Finish Local summer grand finales usually involve a grassy hillside, a cooler of beer and pyrotechnic feats. This year’s season denouement from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will take place indoors, but it certainly deserves fireworks. Months ago, the future of the orchestra was in doubt. But after belt-tightening and a successful bit of fundraising, the MSO is on more secure footing. To end this chapter, guest conductor Gilbert Varga returns with a user-friendly program that includes Ravel’s “Bolero,” a Mozart overture and Tchaikovsky’s spirited “Violin Concerto,” featuring Canadian violinist Karen Gomyo, an orchestral “It” woman, who also plays a…

Bradford Beach Strongman

Ever seen a car with powerlifting handles? At the third annual Bradford Beach Strongman competition, entrants will try to deadlift a car and perform four other feats of strength. Organizer Sam McMahon predicts the winner will lift the car about a dozen times. Some guys, he says, “pull for everything they’re worth and get zero.” Other events: tossing kegs over a 15-foot bar, carrying a 300-pound Husafell stone, putting heavy stones on a platform and doing overhead presses of cement blocks. All except the car-lifting take place in the sand. Add in a meet and greet with the very strong…

E.B. Garner’s 16th Annual Fishing Day

Teach a kid to fish, and he’ll be occupied all summer. (That goes for girls, too.) Hundreds of people gather at Washington Park for E.B. Garner’s Annual Fishing Day, now in its 16th year. The park’s lagoon is home to fish such as carp, bullheads, panfish, rainbow trout and yellow perch. Poles, bait and even food are offered at no cost. “It’s all free and everything you need is provided,” says Erick Anderson, the community program coordinator at the Urban Ecology Center. “It’s a huge event; the park will be packed that day.” The event runs from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.…

Guitar Heroes

It may be one of Milwaukee’s best-kept musical secrets: In addition to its superlative educational music programs and an enviable independent music scene, Milwaukee is a hotbed of young guitar talent. But it will be a secret no more with the inaugural Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival, which brings musicians from many genres together for a weekend summit. Guitarists ages 15-30 will play for some of the best pickers around, with eyes on $22,000 in prize money, while listeners will be treated to concerts from some of the best in the biz, including jazz great Julian Lage, bluegrass talent Chris…