Jon Anne Willow

Catch the fever

By - May 12th, 2010 04:00 am
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Back in the old days, VITAL Source Magazine used to throw some pretty good parties. From birthday benefits for WMSE to our sometimes quasi-debauched Gallery Night fetes in the old Arts Building (the one sponsored by Miller Sparks comes immediately to mind), we had the formula down: present great local art and performances in a comfortable, accessible environment. Stir in refreshments, donate the proceeds to charity and invite all your friends, relations, friends of your friends and even exes with whom you’re on friendly terms. They rarely landed soft – we kind of had it down to a mad science for fun.

Since we launched TCD in March of 2009, the parties have languished, slipping down the priority list during that first period of getting up and running. Tomorrow, though, is our ThirdCoast Digest debutante ball, and we think we might still have that old black magic.

On Thursday, May 13, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., we hope you’ll catch Arts Fever with us. Tissues and chicken soup will be unnecessary; it’s not that kind of fever. More like hot.  And this time the focus isn’t just on music, or visual art or theater, but on all kinds of art made right here in Milwaukee.

Against the backdrop of the gorgeously renovated Art Deco-era Crystal Ballroom in the Milwaukee Hilton City Center, TCD and Footlights have brought together 25 different arts groups of all stripes – from Pink Banana Theatre to the MSO’s Frank Almond to UWM’s Peck School of the Arts – to delight, amaze and entertain you. In just a few short hours, you’ll be entertained by nine different performers and groups, talk to members of theater and dance companies, take a swing dance lesson, stroll among jugglers, plate spinners and clowns and even help to create a giant painting. Stir in delectable appetizers and libations —sorry, no Sparks this time —and an incredible silent auction (featuring items like vintage designer dresses and tea for eight, a Brewers VIP package, theater tickets, fancy dinners and hotel stays, Rishi tea with Atomic chocolates and more).

Invite all your friends, your friends’ friends, and even friendly exes (if you feel like it). All the proceeds will benefit the United Performing Arts Fund, heading into the last leg of its annual capital campaign with a whopping $9.3 million goal (we’re not kidding ourselves that we’ll cover it in one night, but we can do our part, right?).

The aforementioned proceeds come from our sponsors, We Energies and Milwaukee Downtown, and through the generous support of Marcus Hotels, Zizzo Advertising and Public Relations and Marcus Promotions. And from you. Your $10 ticket (if you buy online before midnight tonight, otherwise it’s $12 at the door)  goes into making sure that the arts will stay strong in SE Wisconsin. So do it for the kids, for yourself, and because you’re intrigued by the idea of sipping a beer while basking in the glorious sounds of the Lipinski Stradivarius after watching the Skylight Opera do a tune from Rent.

C’mon, how many people can say they’ve done that? You can, if you catch Arts Fever. We hope to see you there.

Complete performance schedule here. Performers include:

  • Dan Dance, pianist
  • Danceworks Performance Company (tap)
  • Florentine Opera Company
  • Frank Almond, MSO Concertmaster
  • Milwaukee Public Theatre (strolling cirque performers)
  • Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (jazz ensemble)
  • Next Act Theater (scene work from David Cessarini)
  • UWM Peck School of the Arts (visual art display and project)
  • Skylight Opera Theater
  • Wild Space Dance (swing lessons)

Chat with members of 25 groups and organizations and get the skinny on their upcoming seasons. Complete list of exhibitors here.

Buy advance tickets here.

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