Matthew Reddin
MKE Follies

Lots of art, lots of opportunities

This bimonthly variety show, started by Katie Rhyme and Karen Zakrzewski, offers new artists a new venue.

By - Jan 9th, 2013 04:00 am
MKE Folies

MKE Folies

Not sure whether you want music, theater or dance this weekend? Try going for all of the above, with the multi-genre variety show MKE Follies, this Saturday at Carte Blanche Studios.

The series, now in its third installment, is the brainchild of Katie Rhyme and Karen Zakrzewski, two 2009 grads of UWM’s dance BFA program. Rhyme and Zakrzewski also run Dance Revolution MKE, a performance group that provides choreography and entertainment for various events and also helps facilitate opportunities for dancers in the city.

It’s with much that same mentality – giving recent graduates or new arrivals a platform to work their way into the public eye – that Rhyme and Zakrzewski have started MKE Follies. “Part of our mission is to give performance opportunities for emerging artists, because we didn’t feel there was enough of an opportunity to do that ourselves,” Rhyme said.

All three of the MKE Follies shows thus far (the first two were last May and November; Rhyme and Zakrzewski hope to maintain the every-other month pattern going forward) have been assembled using the same method: Shortly before each show, the two women request applications for six to eight spots, assigned on a modified first-come, first-serve system that ensures that edition’s Follies will provide a diverse base of entertainment for the audience.

The show’s aesthetics aren’t set in stone, but Rhyme says Carte Blanche’s casual, part-bar atmosphere is helping them cultivate a more social, less formal environment for performers and audience members. Adding to that social environment is the lack of printed playbills (although they admit that’s partly cost-effective too), replaced by blown-up headshots of the performers with bios scattered throughout the venue.

For the first time, Rhyme and Zakrzewski won’t join those performers, choosing to remain solely producers for an installment and try and make plans for the future. “We’re still in our testing state,” Zakrzewski said. “We want to make the show larger eventually, but we want to take our time with it.”

MKE Follies begins Saturday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.; tickets are $10 at the door. Here’s the acts and artists you’ll see if you drop in Saturday night:

Catey Ott Thompson, a Milwaukee regular recently come to stay, will perform "A Dear from Milwaukee."

Catey Ott Thompson, a Milwaukee regular recently come to stay, will perform “A Dear from Milwaukee.”

Catey Ott Thompson: A frequent Danceworks performer and choreographer who has recently moved to Milwaukee to stay after 14 years in NYC. She performs “A Dear from Milwaukee,” a solo dance work tracing her path back to Milwaukee and paying tribute to the famous Hildegarde, her first cousin twice-removed.

Annetta Martin: A Milwaukee High School of the Arts senior and member of the silent film sketch comedy troupe The M.U.T.E.S. She performs “An Imagined Evening,” a solo theater work, and a poetry recitation: Marilyn Hacker’s “Crepuscule with Muriel.”

Nastassja BatesA local singer-songwriter, professionally performing since age 14 and currently performing with her band, The Nastassja Bates Quartet, locally. She’ll be performing solo at MKE Follies.

Lindsey Krygowski: A dancer and choreographer currently working with Wild Space Dance Company, after getting her BFA in dance at UWM’s PSOA in 2011. She performs her work “Listen and Learn,” alongside Chloe Gray and Molly Mingey. (pictured in lead image)

Jaimi Patterson & Annette Grefig: Two PSOA graduates with BFAs in Performance and Choreography, who’ve teamed up for the work they’ll be performing: “Le Petit Gâteau.” Additionally, Annette will perform a tap solo, TBA.

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