Madison calendar, February 2 through 8

"Mimosas," John Waters, Salvation, Fem Fest, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Emili Earhart, Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, Erica Motz, Grant Phipps

"Mimosas" screens Feb. 3 at Vilas Hall.

"Mimosas" screens Feb. 3 at Vilas Hall.

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THURSDAY FEBRUARY 2

13th. UW South Madison Partnership (2312 S. Park St.), 6 p.m. (free)

Ava DuVernay's 2016 documentary 13th, screening here after its successful release on Netflix, charts how the United States transitioned from the days of slavery to the present of mass incarceration that disproportionately ensnares people of color and the poor. The key historic mechanism at work, in DuVernay's telling, is the 13th Amendment, which forbids slavery "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." But DuVernay also creates a deep and nuanced portrait of how systemic racism persists in America, with help from interviewees including Angela Davis, Jelani Cobb, and even Newt Gingrich. This screening, presented by the Justified Art! Collective and LGBTQ youth advocacy group GSAFE, will be followed by a discussion. —Scott Gordon

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 3

John Waters. Barrymore, 8 p.m.

John Waters had to cancel his scheduled "John Waters Christmas" show at the Barrymore back in December, but makes it up with this speaking/comedy program, titled "A Date With John Waters." The legendary pencil-moustached filmmaker and author achieved some mainstream fame with his 1988 film Hairspray, but in queer circles he’s best known for his transgressive cult films, most notably the bizarrely revolting and violent Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974). All of these films feature Waters’ longtime friend and collaborator, the larger-than-life drag queen Divine, and are filmed or set in his hometown of Baltimore. LGBT rights and the social issues of Baltimore remain focal points for Waters—he has been outspoken in his support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the city. Over the decades, Waters’ storytelling has not lost any of its potency or kinkiness. “Want a popper?” he asks in a promotional video for a romantic 2007 compilation he issued, also titled A Date With John Waters. If this is your first time seeing Waters talk, be ready to cringe as often as you laugh. —Erica Motz

Salvation, The Minotaurs, Dosmales. Art In, 8 p.m.

On the first singles from their new album Sore Loser, Chicago's Salvation sound like a noise-rock band wallowing in a little extra sludge and grime. The seven-minute "Voices In The House" begins at an ominous crawl, then shifts into a queasy swagger as guitarist-vocalist Jason Sipe vents his paranoia in a sequence of baritone mutterings and caustic screams. "Cleansing Of The Mind" builds on a back-and-forth between Sipe's tangled guitar lines and Victor Riley's blasted-out bass chords, and drummer Santiago Guerrero helps it shift from a heavy lurch to creepy-crawly melodic passages. Salvation is joined here by two solid Madison bands, garage-punk outfit The Minotaurs and crusty doom duo Dosmales. —SG

Mimosas. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)

Cinematheque's modest two-film spring "Premiere Showcase" series begins with Mimosas, winner of the Nespresso Grand Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival. Director Oliver Laxe has described it as an allegorical religious western, and the breathtaking Moroccan landscape cinematography combined with a cast of nonprofessional actors and oblique art-house aesthetic can be seen as a spiritual companion to the Middle Eastern thriller Theeb (Wisconsin Film Festival 2015) as well as Lisandro Alonso's metaphysical Patagonian quest Jauja, which also premiered in Madison through Cinematheque. Mimosas' mystic travelogue transports viewers to the High Atlas Mountains where a caravan is cautiously escorting an elderly sheikh to Sijilmasa, the ancient city at edge of the Sahara Desert. While the dying man's final wish is to be buried amongst his loved ones, the treachery of the craggy terrain proves too much for the group's advancement. Forced to reevaluate their course, two courageous rogues (Said Aagli and Ahmed Hammoud) pledge to persevere to the holy site. This film holds further interest for fans of the ethnographic avant-garde cinema of Ben Rivers; his latest, The Sky Trembles And the Earth Is Afraid..., virtually serves as a miniature making-of Mimosas, as it features Laxe as the lead and footage from his vivid venture here. —Grant Phipps

Phox, Cuddle Magic. 8 p.m.

Just a few years ago, the members of Phox moved from their native Baraboo to Madison and rapidly began charming local fans with their swoony folk-pop songs and playfully cluttered arrangements. It wasn't long before Madisonians were flipping out about having a nationally hyped band from our own little town—a little embarrassing for us, in retrospect, but Phox comported themselves well, refining their songwriting and handling the attention with a sense of humor. Phox's 2014 self-titled album wasn't actually their debut, even though everyone seems to call it that (where are you, fellow Friendship truthers?), but it was their proper studio introduction to a broader audience. Phox play this show as they prepare to go on an indefinite hiatus, and singer Monica Martin has announced that she's working on a solo record. Opening up are NYC/Philadelphia band Cuddle Magic, whose new album Ashes/Axis combines mildly glitchy production with warped yet catchy melodies. It's the kind of approach to pop that makes it hard to get one's bearings—on "Voicemail," keyboardist/singer Kristin Slipp delivers a lead vocal that teeters between tender and aloof, and "Getaway" wrings an improbably good chorus out of the line "Give me the keys to your condo." —SG

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4

Tony Barba/Nick Moran/Devin Drobka. Tip Top Tavern, 10 p.m. (free)

While there is always a desire for more spaces, more pianos, and more resources for the jazz scene in Madison, one thing this community is far from lacking is a wide array of talent, creativity, and open-minded collaborative efforts coming from all different sides of the jazz spectrum. In this case, three Wisconsin musicians, all heavily involved in an extensive host of projects, are coming together for a night featuring jazz standards and original material. This trio features Madison-based saxophonist Tony Barba and bassist Nick Moran, and Milwaukee drummer Devin Drobka. Drobka’s work can be heard in Milwaukee’s Lesser Lakes Trio, and you can catch him in conversation regarding Lesser Lake’s Thelonious Monk (minus the piano) repertoire. In addition to the countless projects in which Barba is involved, his latest solo endeavor, Winter’s Arms, explores the saxophone when paired with a slew of loops and effects. A critical force both locally and internationally, Nick Moran works extensively in the Madison jazz scene and beyond, and teaches jazz bass at the UW-Madison School of Music. —Emili Earhart

Fem Fest. Rathskeller, 9 p.m. (free)

Formed last January, Chicago four-piece Bunny has only (already?) released three solid tracks, each of them marked with a moody sincerity. All three songs employ a faded, comfortable carelessness, often pleasantly reminiscent of Mazzy Star. Tony Peachka’s debut tape, Dirty Knees, released in October, consists of eight surfy, quirky, power-pop songs. Each song is straight up, with a shameless sense of honesty and a simultaneously odd-ball and zero-bullshit charm. Fem Fest also features two relatively new local projects. Founded last summer by Emily Massey of Modern Mod, Melkweed features members of The Shones and Dash Hounds. Addison Christmas, the solo project of Abby Sherman of Trophy Dad, will round out the bill with new tunes. Taking place at the newly-renovated der Rathskeller, Fem Fest will also feature empowering art and zines highlighting women and non-binary folks. —EE

Riley The Cop + The Brat. Vilas Hall, 7 p.m. (free)

This double-bill of Fox restorations from the Museum of Modern Art (NYC) pairs two early comedies by John Ford, Riley The Cop (1928) and The Brat (1931). These are the first 35mm screenings in a month-long Saturday series at Cinematheque, and critic David Kehr will be in attendance to introduce not only this particular program but the intention of the series as a whole. Serving as adjunct curator at MoMA, Kehr has cultivated a unique insight into these rare gems that were all produced right around 1930 as the cinema medium made its transition from the silent era to synchronized sound. While the period posed a number of creative challenges, it also stimulated the prolific careers of directors like Ford, who's now best known for his American Westerns of the 1940s and 50s. Riley The Cop (7 p.m.), however, is a lighthearted caper set during its own time of prohibition. The unembellished title references its main character, a well-liked Irish cop (J. Farrell MacDonald), who gets sidetracked by the lure of a young flapper (Louise Fazenda) in Germany as he chases after a baker falsely accused of embezzlement. The more provocative and risqué film on this bill, The Brat (8:30 p.m.), concerns the whims of upper-class novelist MacMillan Forester (Alan Dinehart), who recruits a defiant chorus girl (Sally O'Neal) for character inspiration in his upcoming work on social mores. —GP

Miami Connection. Union South Marquee, 11 p.m. (free)

Y.K. Kim's 1987 film Miami Connection offers a window into the height of '80s martial-arts cult-film insanity. In a nutshell, you can expect drugs, martial arts, and more pastel suits than you can shake a keytar at. Kim, an Orlando martial-arts instructor, went to pretty insane lengths to get the low-budget film made, and it opened to pans in the hometown papers. —Chris Lay

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 5

Jaws. Chazen Museum of Art, 2 p.m. (free)

On the charming New England island of Amity, even the criminal elements are idyllic. When we first see our protagonist, Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) of Amity PD, in uniform, an assistant is briefing him on children from the town's karate class "karate-ing the picket fences." But this summer, Brody's first as chief of police, there seems to be something bigger lurking offshore. As swimmer casualties rise on the beaches, Brody weighs pressure from the town's oblivious mayor to keep the beaches open—"Amity is a summer town! We need summer dollars!"—against his own moral obligation to protect the townspeople. Only when a freak attack ruins Amity's Fourth of July weekend is he finally called upon to take action. The aquaphobic Brody assembles an unlikely crew of more seaworthy companions: yuppie oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Quint (Robert Shaw), the island's resident salty dog. Together they board the doomed ship Orca and take to the sea. —EM

MONDAY FEBRUARY 6

The Pit. Union South Marquee, 7 p.m. (free)

Canadian director Lew Lehman traveled to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to film The Pit, his batshit insane 1981 film about a 12-year-old who feeds people to the monsters who live at the bottom of a pit in the woods. Oh, and there's a talking teddy bear goading the troubled young man on. Kino Lorber has a new 2K restoration of the "Canuxsploitation" classic out in theaters, and it screens here to kick off UW Cinematheque's spring edition of Marquee Mondays, a partnership with WUD Film that embraces cult and exploitation films. —CL

Square Bombs, And Illusions, Howardian, Spencer Bible. Williamson Magnetic Recording Company, 8 p.m.

NYC musician Ian Vanek, best known as a member of Japanther, makes free-form oddball garage-pop in his project Howardian. The songs on Howardian's 2016 album Do You Know I Wiggle are on the surface pretty conventional in an offhanded way, but it's fun to listen to Vanek gently prod at the form, whether it's with the loping rhythms and synth-meets-sax production of "Home Bali Eh" or the rambly monologues that open tracks including "Safe Spaces" and "Box Turtle." On other releases, like A Smurf At Land's End (also from 2016), Howardian sounds a bit more like an immersive, frizzy collage of psych-pop, lo-fi electronic music, and hip-hop, so it'll be interesting to see how Vanek explores those variations in a live setting. —SG

Fighting Islamophobia. Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 4 p.m. (free)

The scapegoating of Muslims has surged anew in recent years in both the United States and Europe, with far-right political movements scoring electoral upsets in many Western democracies. The protests that swiftly arose in response to Donald Trump's executive order halting immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations also showed that Americans are beginning to mobilize against Islamophobia. So the timing couldn't be more apt for this panel, which examines the damage anti-Muslim rhetoric does and how people can counter it. Former Wisconsin Public Radio host Jean Feraca will lead a discussion with local Imam Alhagie Jallow, Nasra Wehelie of the Madison-area Urban Ministry, researchers Safi Kaskas and Golnar Nikpour, and John W. Vaudreuil, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. UW-Madison's Center for the Humanities and Middle East Studies Program are collaborating to present this event. —SG

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 7

White Lies, Vowws. Majestic, 7 p.m.

When listening to London band White Lies, it's hard to forget that we've been here a dozen-odd times since the early oughts: moody post-punk with an approachable pop streak. It's a bit more polished than Editors, a bit more anthemic than Interpol—OK, you get it. But as the trio show on their fourth album, 2016's Friends, they can write pretty solid pop confections, overlaid with synths that assert gleaming dominance over singles like "Take It Out On Me" and occasionally share the space with blustery power-chords on tracks like "Summer Didn't Change A Thing." Plus, the video for "Morning In LA," from their 2016 album Friends, suggests they have a sense of humor about the blatant nostalgia-channeling gratification of it all. But it's decently executed blatant nostalgia-channeling gratification, and fairly unpretentious as these things go (miss you, Carlos D.), so why not just embrace it? —SG

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 8

Wayne "The Train" Hancock, Pupy Costello & The New Hiram Kings. High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.

Denton, Texas songwriter and singer Wayne Hancock is firmly planted in the honky-tonk traditionalist realm of country music, but he also knows that the examples of Hank Williams and Bob Wills were slyly inventive ones. On his latest Bloodshot release, Slingin' Rhythm, he sticks with good-humored laments about relationships ("Wear Out Your Welcome") and being a bachelor touring musician ("Dirty House Blues"), but Hancock and band also work in shades of blues, fluttery Hawaiian steel guitar, and hints of big-band jazz while always serving those well-established country forms. Hancock's habit of calling out his band members before and during their solos (much as Bob Wills did) contributes to the old-timey charm, and indicates a band equipped to play a solid live show. —SG