2008-10 Vital Source Mag – October 2008

  • The Celebrated Workingman

    Putting a sparkling veneer on struggles and giving them buoyancy takes chutzpah. Adversity in music has mostly been relegated to the sad, dark corners of the mope-ish and the forlorn, with abundant minor chords and enough terrible renditions of proverbs to make even a schoolteacher blush. The Celebrated Workingman’s Herald The Dickens is a joyful […]

  • John the Savage

    Six-piece John the Savage ain’t afraid of no ghosts — the ghastly and sinister are this debut full-length’s bread and butter. From Mexican standoff (“Me & the Warden: Standoff”) to murder ballad (“Ballad of a Killman, pt. XI”), it’s thematically dark, and though the vocals are most often indecipherable wailing, the band’s ability to incarnate […]

  • Act on these

    Last month a new publication (Alt-) landed on the scene, fueled by a new generation of local artists getting the word out about what they’re up to. The beat continues with a goodly number of small energetic galleries testing their mettle, not the least of which is the Armoury Gallery in the Fortress building. You […]

  • Canyons of Static

    The impression one gets from Canyons of Static is that their instrumental shoegaze jams would be perfect for a stylized horror film about hyper-fast zombies infected with rage. Sure, that’s a fancier (and nerdier) way of saying that they sound like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but after repeated spins of the disappearance, the new Canyons […]

  • Various artists

    By Eric Lewin While college-rock (for lack of a better term) graduated into grunge and alternative-rock in the early ‘90s, Milwaukee has maintained an interesting relationship with the subgenre: the city’s biggest export is still the Violent Femmes, its most popular record stores are the size of bedrooms and its independent radio stations maintain an […]

  • IfIHadAHiFi

    Fidelity is a concept by which we measure our pain, to paraphrase John Lennon. For music enthusiasts, there are numerous thresholds: melody, musicianship and production chief among them. In those aspects, Fame By Proxy, Milwaukee band IfIHadAHiFi’s third release proper, is a resounding artistic success. First of all, it’s damn exciting. Virtually every song is […]

  • Step Right Up

    As one of the 2007 recipients of a Mary Nohl Fellowship, Colin Matthes hit the jackpot. The 30-year-old scored again when the spacious inova/Kenilworth gallery was recently enlarged to accommodate the awardees’ efforts. Though a few of the exhibits are politically understated, Matthes’ War Fair: Occupation Games for Citzens and Non-Combatants scores mightily in this […]

  • Sleeping Beauty

    Magical lighting effects abound in the Milwaukee Ballet’s season-opening production, Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. But commingled with the sparse post-modern scenery, these fantastical efforts slightly diminished the accomplished dancing in Michael Pink’s reinterpretation of this full length ballet, which also displayed Marius Petipa’s legendary choreography. Pink’s version of the familiar fairy tale reduced the three-hour […]

  • Stevie

    Hugh Whitmore’s two-hour play, Stevie, tells the story of the life of British poetess Stevie Smith. Christened Frances Margaret Smith and called Peggy by her family, Smith was said to resemble jockey Steve Donaghue, inspiring the name that stuck with her. Born in 1902, this feminine literary figure was honored with two prestigious awards for […]

  • Rabbit Hole

    The Milwaukee Chamber Theater has made a commitment to producing a Pulitzer-prize winning play every season for the next five years. Rabbit Hole, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for Drama and is the second production in this endeavor. It is the achingly sweet, heart-rendingly bitter story of a family, the […]

  • Triple Espresso

    Failure is funny. That’s the basic premise of Triple Espresso: A Highly Caffeinated Comedy, playing in the Marcus Center’s Vogel Hall. Three friends get together and tell the story of how they got their big break — and how they messed it up in spectacularly embarrassing fashion. The show is chock-full of mishaps, misadventures and […]

  • The Persians

    The Persians – Western literature’s oldest surviving play, and the only Greek classic we know of that’s based on contemporary history, not mythology or legend – is a punch in the gut. At a time when the fate of global civilization is quavering and Americans feel their grip on the world slipping, the story of […]