January 2013 Event Highlights

January 2013 Event Highlights

For more than fifty years, Ellsworth Kelly has abstracted concepts, observations and subjects into simple shapes and pure colors. The artist is world-renowned for his paintings and sculptures, but he’s also a prolific printmaker, particularly in lithography. Ellsworth Kelly Prints (January 19–April 28, mmoca.org), a retrospective organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and traveling to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, features more than a hundred works and coincides with an updated catalogue raisonné of Kelly’s prints, prepared by MMoCA curator Richard H. Axsom.  

Natty Nation, Madison’s beloved reggae band, kicks off its eighteenth year this month. Led by JAH Boogie, the group’s sound is fluid, funky, energetic, infectious—and always packed with a positive message. Catch them at the free MadCity Sessions event in the Overture Center lobby January 10. overturecenter.com

To celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary, Tandem Press is showcasing the work of more than a dozen artists in a special exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art, through Febryary 3. Tandem Press: Twenty-Five Years highlights prints by Judy Pfaff, Suzanne Caporael, Robert Cottingham, Nicola López and Sean Scully, among others—and offers a glimpse into the mission of the UW-affiliated press, which serves as an artistic laboratory for world-class artists who come to experiment with printmaking techniques. chazen.wisc.edu

Drawing from news, stories and life events, Trent Miller‘s illustrations and paintings are visual fairy tales that viewers will enjoy exploring and unraveling. His work appears alongside new, immersive video and sound installations by Toby Kaufmann-Buhler in side-by-side solo exhibitions at the James Watrous Gallery January 11–February 24. wisconsinacademy.org

Olbrich Botanical Gardens gets its groove on this month with Cocktails in the Conservatory January 25. Sip cocktails in a tropical setting while popular Madison DJ Nick Nice spins music. olbrich.org

You’ve heard him on public radio. Now, listen—and watch—Garrison Keillor in action in a live broadcast Janurary 26 at Overture Center. In A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, the radio host and his faithful friends entertain with the latest news from Lake Wobegon and more. Tickets sold out in a flash, so if you didn’t nab a seat, consider Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Late Show, which continues the fun on the Overture Hall stage at 9 p.m. overturecenter.com

You may have caught them at Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo, or seen their David Letterman appearance. But did you know Trampled by Turtles has a local connection? Erik Berry, the Duluth-based bluegrass band’s mandolin player, is a Verona native. Don’t miss the group’s performance January 26, sure to feature songs from their new album, Stars and Satellites, at Overture Center’s Capitol Theater. overturecenter.com

Known for showcasing Wisconsin artists, Hatch Art House also emphasizes repurposed and environmentally friendly work. For its EcoSquared Art Show (January 2–February 28), the Willy Street gallery asked artists to create square works, all under eight by eight inches, that feature recycled or upcycled materials. hatcharthouse.com

If you’ve had Sixpence None the Richer‘s “Kiss Me” in your head since the late ’90s, it’s about time to see what the Nashville-based pop group’s been up to since. For one, they released Lost in Translation and are ready to headline the Frequency January 26. madisonfrequency.com

An acclaimed but temperamental writer takes on a young grad student as her assistant. The women become friends and the author guides her protégé toward success in publishing. But their relationship is tested when the assistant’s new book exposes details of her boss’ life—and may make her more famous than her mentor. Local actress Sarah Day and Laura Frye of Milwaukee star in Collected Stories, presented by Forward Theater Company and the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (January 17–February 3). forwardtheater.com

The ’80s new wave band The Producers haven’t played Madison for nearly thirty years. That changes Janurary 4 with a show at the High Noon Saloon, a performance following the release of their new album, In the Blues. Appropriately, Madison’s beloved blues rockers Aaron Williams and Hoodoo open the show. high-noon.com

It’s cold outside, but things are heating up inside the Bartell as Strollers Theatre presents Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (January 11–February 2). Tennessee Williams’s acclaimed drama centers Big Daddy Pollitt, alcoholic son Brick and his beautiful wife Maggie, and other relatives as they gather at the family’s Mississippi estate to celebrate the patriarch’s sixty-fifth birthday. Directing the play is Jeff Knupp, who’s celebrating fifty years as an actor and director in Madison theater. strollerstheatre.org

Broom Street Theater explores the dark side of humanity with Class (January 11–February 2). Based on a true story, this fictional two-act takes place the week after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, when a third-grade Iowa teacher sets out to teach her students a lesson about prejudice. bstonline.org

Love Gilbert and Sullivan? Then you won’t want to miss Madison Savoyards’ Winter Gala. This year’s concert, held in the First Unitarian Society’s Landmark Auditorium January 25, is a special retrospective celebrating the group’s first fifty years. Performers from past shows offer pieces from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Those who can’t help but sing along will appreciate music director Terry Kiss Frank leading the audience through choruses of several works. madisonsavoyards.org

with Greg Hettmansberger

It’s probably not on your list of new year’s resolutions, but this is the time to do something you’ve probably missed: experience not one, but two works for saxophone and orchestra. The opportunity comes to us via the ever-inventive programming of Andrew Sewell and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. In Towering Giants (January 11, wcoconcerts.org), they are joined by saxophonist Claude Delangle as soloist in Glazunov’s “Concerto for Alto Saxophone” and “Fantasia” by Villa-Lobos.

Another first comes via Madison Opera. For the last several years, the company has presented less-traditional works in Overture Center’s intimate Playhouse, and the emphasis has been on the twentieth century. This season, general director Kathryn Smith goes back to within a century or so of opera’s roots, with a David Lefkowich-directed production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea (January 10–13, madisonopera.org). The title roles of this charming pastorale—the company’s first Handel offering—are sung by Daniel Shirley and Angela Mortellaro, and John DeMain conducts.

DeMain returns to his other podium at the Madison Symphony Orchestra the following weekend with a program that continues the season’s subtext of new and relatively neglected works. In Discovery! (January 18–20, madisonsymphony.org), Jennifer Higdon’s “blue cathedral” is the new, and Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 6” the overlooked composition. Understandably overshadowed by the composer’s last three symphonies (including the ubiquitous “From the New World”), the Sixth brims with Dvorak’s folksy lyricism and understated passion. The star power for the concerts comes in the person of Gabriela Montero, at the keyboard for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

Want more classical coverage? Find Greg Hettmansberger’s  blog.

Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine