What To Do in July

What To Do in July

You may have played this game before: A group creates a work of writing or art, with each collaborator allowed to see only the contribution that came from the immediately preceding participant. In Exquisite Corpse at Artisan Gallery in Paoli, thirty-one gallery artists have been asked to create one third of a figure, of course without knowing what their peers are making. Also on display are new works in oil by Alicia Czechowski and a group show of prints, watercolors, sculpture and jewelry showcasing traditional and innovative ways of working with paper. Through July 20, artisangal.com

American artist Stick Vega’s work is explosive. Vega creates “pop expressionist” works by layering gunpowder, stencils and paint, and lighting it all with a high-speed fuse. The fire and explosions produce figurative and abstract works of art, depicting colorful animals, flowers and blasts. His exhibition, What a Blast, is on display at UW’s Gallery 1308 in Union South. Through July 28, union.wisc.edu

In A Passion for Photography: The John W. and Carol L.H. Green Collection at the Chazen Museum of Art, famed artists are both the creators and subjects of the photographs on display. Find Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp and Piet Mondrian photographed by the likes of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Yousuf Karsh and Imogene Cunningham. Through August 17, chazen.wisc.edu

Drawing inspiration from Ecclesiastes 3, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Turn Turn Turn uses modern and contemporary art as an anthology of the joys and sorrows of life. Works from the museum’s permanent collection are arranged in eight thematic sections corresponding to the beginning verses of the Bible chapter that reference “a season for every activity under the heavens.” Through August 24, mmoca.org

Every Thursday this summer, hit the High Noon Saloon patio after work for a free concert. This month, the Summer Patio Series showcases Nellie Wilson, Nick Brown, the Oak Street Ramblers, the Fauxtons and Paul Otteson. Through September 25, high-noon.com 

Descend on the Capitol Square on Wednesday evenings for a Madison summer tradition: Concerts on the Square, presented by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Isabella Wu, winner of the 2014 Young Artist Concerto Competition, joins the WCO for the kick-off concert, Midsommer Stars (June 25), highlighting works by Soderman, Rachmaninov, Buck and Aflven. Join guest vocalists Sarah Lawrence and Calland Metts for American Fanfare (July 2), a performance featuring selections from Copland, Gershwin and Lloyd Weber. Then, WCO welcomes Swedish pianist and composer Robert Wells for Rhapsody in Rock (July 9). Performance highlights include Wells’ own “Rhapsody in Rock No. 1,” Billy Joel’s “Root Beer Rag,” Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 “Pathétique.” A Little Night in Music (July 16) features WCO concertmaster Suzanne Beia on the violin for Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” Mendelssohn’s Violin Concert in E, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6. Marimba virtuoso Pius Cheung joins the WCO on the square for Marimba Magic (July 23), featuring Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Cuban Overture,” as well as Copland’s “Variations on a Shaker Melody” and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From a New World.” Finish with special guests Jeans ‘n Classics for Shamrocks! (July 30), a show including Anderson’s “Wearing of the Green,” Grainger’s “Irish Tune from County Derry,” and a collection of favorites from U2. June 25–July 30, wcoconcerts.org

It’s an ageless story about love, identity and living in the moment. It’s a year in the life of a group of starving artists and musicians living and surviving in New York’s Lower East Side with HIV/AIDS. It’s the award-winning rock musical Rent, presented by Middleton Players Theatre.  June 27–July 5, middletonplayers.com

Enjoy three exhibitions all summer long at Overture Galleries. Artists S.V. Medaris and Alicia Rheal take viewers through a farm cycle in their exhibition From Farm to Fork. The show examines our relationship with the animals we raise for both consumption and companionship. In Plain Nature, Playful Nature, artists Richard Ely and Stephen Enriquez interpret the natural world in distinct ways. Ely’s whimsical, tissue paper landscapes compliment Enriquez’s oil landscapes. And The Printed World: Artists as Visual Ecologists is an exhibition curated by Anders Zanichkowsky in which a compilation of prints produce a narrative about the dynamics of power within nature. June 30–September 21, overturecenter.com  

Classic theater performed beneath a vault of summer sky is less than an hour’s drive from Madison. Venture to the American Players Theater in Spring Green for one of the country’s largest outdoor amphitheaters, in addition to the intimate indoor Touchstone Theater. The 2014 summer season continues with a selection of contemporary dramas in addition to Shakespearian classics. At the outdoor Up-the-Hill Theater, catch Oscar Wilde’s hilariously witty The Importance of Being Earnest, a messy case of mistaken identity and young love (through September 27); Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing featuring the longing and loathing bantering of Beatrice and Benedick (through October 5); and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the classic tragedy in which love and familial warfare end in heartbreak (through October 4). Inside at the Touchstone Theater, enjoy David Mamet’s The American Buffalo, a drama of “profane poetry” that explores poverty, friendship and trust through the schemes of three men who attempt to rob a pawn shop (through November 8), and The Year of Magical Thinking, a touching play based on the book by Joan Didion about grief in the year following her husband’s death and her daughter’s hospitalization (through October 4)., americanplayers.org 

Relax on the Great Lawn at Olbrich Gardens’ Summer Concert Series. The Tuesday series boasts a diverse lineup for the coming month. First up is Boo Bradley, a rag-jazz duo that combines finger-style acoustic guitar with washboard rhythms (July 1). Local trio Wall of Funk is up next, ready to pump out progressive power rock infused with funk, blues and metal (July 8). The seven-piece saxophone rock band The Rotation brings a variety of rock, ska and reggae originals to the stage along with an array of well-known covers, from Reel Big Fish to Red Hot Chili Peppers (July 15). Then, send off the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra to Argentina with their International Tour Farewell Concert (July 22). For the final concert in the series, join Mathew Tembo for his special blend of indigenous Zambian sounds with contemporary pop and reggae, performed on handmade instruments (July 29)Through July 29, olbrich.org

Hatch Art House’s EcoSculpt exhibition carries one rule: Artists must use recycled materials to create their sculptures. Beyond that, imagination is limitless in this second annual juried show at the Willy Street gallery. July 1–31, hatcharthouse.com

The iconic Memorial Union Terrace offers lakeside musical entertainment all summer long. Weekends start early on Thursdays and continue with live bands through Saturdays. This month, catch a special presentation from UW Chemistry Professor Shakhashiri, The Science of Fireworks, accompanied by the UW Marching Band. Round out the night with dance-rock from the local Hometown Sweethearts (July 4). Folk rock singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten is a must-see on the Terrace (July 17). Chicago-based Sidewalk Chalk juxtaposes hip hop, soul and jazz with tap dancing for a fresh live performance; they’re joined by up-and-comers The O’My’s and The Bellhops (July 24). And for a little country, don’t miss local favorite Madison County (July 25)July 3–31, union.wisc.edu 

Jamaican music legends The Wailers originally backed Bob Marley. After Marley’s death in 1981, the band continued to promote peace and love through reggae rhythms. Now in their fifth decade of making music, the critically-acclaimed group is bringing good vibes to the Majestic in Madison. July 10, majesticmadison.com

The city’s near-east side becomes a hotbed for French music and culture at La Fête de Marquette. Musicians hail from all over the French-speaking world—from Africa, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean as well as New Orleans. Local food vendors bring the flavors of those same regions. July 10–13, wil-mar.org

Climb to the Monona Terrace rooftop on Thursdays this month for stunning views of the capital city at night and free tunes from local bands, as part of the Concerts on the Rooftop series. Celebrate throwback Thursday with seventies disco cover band The Shagadelics (July 10), catch Roots Collective for reggae-rock (July 17) and unite with fellow Beatles fans for tribute band BritBeat (July 24). July 10–24, mononaterrace.com

Lawn chairs, garden shovels—these are just a few of the elements of suburban toil and relaxation Tyler Robbins turns into playful arrangements in Anatomy of a Weekend. Gram Yeager’s colorful steel, wood and clay sculptures in Making Adjustments round out these side-by-side exhibitions at the James Watrous Gallery. July 11–August 24, wisconsinacademy.org

Over the past fifty-five years, Art Fair on the Square has grown to highlight the work of more than 450 local and national painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, jewelers and other artists, along with a diverse array of music and food, all on and around the Capitol Square. July 12–13, mmoca.org

Now in its thirty-fifth year, Art Fair Off the Square is a celebration of Wisconsin art showcasing the ceramics, art glass, fiber art, sculpture, jewelry and more from roughly 140 artists from across the state, along with some food offerings. The event takes place along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and the Monona Terrace esplanade. July 12–13, artcraftwis.org

The fifteenth annual Madison Early Music Festival brims with lectures, a costume ball, a Handel Aria competition and a concert series celebrating sacred and secular music from fourteenth century Italy and culminating in an All Festival Concert. July 12–19, madisonearlymusic.org

Elect More Variety Shows! at Broom Street Theater features short satirical plays, poems and songs that skewer political culture in Madison and beyond. July 17–26, bstonline.org 

The tUnE-yArDs kick off this summer’s Live on King Street free outdoor concert series (July 18). This unique and playful experimental pop group layers drum loops, ukulele, vocals and electric bass. Next up, alt-rock group Cracker takes the stage for the second show (July 25). And stay tuned for more music in August and into September. liveonkingstreet.com

Music Theatre of Madison brings notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde to life in a sexy, action-packed musical, which follows the pair who robbed, cheated and killed, all while evading authorities across the country during the Great Depression. July 18–26, mtmadison.com

Cool off after the Dane County Farmers’ Market with a free Madison Symphony Orchestra organ concert in Overture Hall. July 19, madisonsymphony.org

For the third year, Sun Prairie Civic Theatre presents Prairie Radio Readers, a show celebrating the golden age of radio. Included are the pilot of “Father Knows Best,” a “Gunsmoke” episode and vintage commercials. July 25–26, sunprairiecivictheatre.com

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera Princess Ida, offered by the Madison Savoyards, pokes fun at education, government, the relationships between men and women and more through the story of a princess who founds a women’s university. July 25–August 3, madisonsavoyards.org

Jonathan Wilde, son of the late Surrealist John Wilde, is known for his keen observations of natural Wisconsin. Artisan Gallery pairs his oil paintings with works by urban landscape painter Ann Orlowski in Vernacular ArchitectureJuly 25–September 7, artisangal.com

Each summer under the stars in Garner Park, Madison Opera offers a magical evening of music with Opera in the Park. Singers from the mainstage season and guest stars, along with performers from the Madison Opera Chorus and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, offer both classic opera and popular Broadway numbers. July 26, madisonopera.org

Emily Rappleye is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.