Madison calendar, July 4 through 10
DJ Hitachii and DJ Avalon’s “Cancer Rising” dance party, “Moonrise Kingdom” on the Terrace, and more events of note in Madison this week. | By Scott Gordon and Edwanike Harbour
Sponsor message: The weekly Tone Madison calendar is made possible with support from Union Cab of Madison, a worker-owned cooperative providing safe and professional taxi services.
SATURDAY, JULY 6
If anything it's a wonder that we haven't already seen more astrologically themed shows and DJ nights around Madison, given how much about half the folks I know in the music scene seem to understand about the arcane influence of the stars. Whether or not you're into all that, it admittedly offers a good excuse for a dance party. Two Madison-based will be crabbin' it up here with a dance night that attempts to harness the energy of Cancer season. DJ Avalon is the moniker of Avalon Clare, who moved to Madison recently after living and spinning in Philly, Colorado, and Puerto Rico, and has a natural affinity for skipping across genres and different approaches to working the dance floor—below, you can hear a set Clare played at Robinia Courtyard in February as part of Half-Stack Sessions' DJ series. DJ Hitachii is Sylvia Johnson, best known for their work in queer-punk duo Gender Confetti and electronic-pop solo project Midas Bison. Both DJs, Johnson says, have agreed to stick rigorously to Cancerian artists in making their selections for the night.
"I think we will run a visualizer of aquatic life in the background, keep the vibe in blues and purples, and most importantly, all the music will be by artists who have a birthday in Cancer (an incredible list full of talented women)," Johnson says, citing such examples as Missy Elliot, MIA, Solange, The Supremes, Lana Del Rey, Kali Uchis, K Flay, and Blondie. Johnson further explains that "Cancers are known for intuition, sensitivity, and moodiness," and that the night's theme will express itself musically by evoking rich inner lives, "deep feelings," eroticism, and "sensitive crybaby" vibes. Ambitious emotional territory for a dance party, and there's nothing wrong with that. Johnson and DJ Kalycho are working on starting up a "sweets themed queer dance party" series called Candy, and the next installment of that is on July 27 at Art In. —Scott Gordon
SUNDAY, JULY 7
Jams: Sandboards, Customer Service, Tamahori, Glynis, MCG, DJ Zip Disk, Natural Language Processing. Robinia Courtyard, noon
The Jams dance night series at Robinia Courtyard is usually a late-night Saturday affair, where local DJs and producers share the bill with a mix of ambitiously booked touring electronic artists (past headliners have included Ciel, Eris Drew, and modular-synth artist Antenes). This time around, Jams will try out a daytime format, with an expanded lineup running from noon to 10 p.m. New Zealand producer/DJ duo Sandboards give house music a sleek and restrained polish on a couple of the EPs they've released so far, last year's Nights Over Taieri and 2016's Visa. The pacing of tracks like "Go Purple" and mixes like an April set for Rinse FM suggest that Sandboards members Eden Burns and Tomas Krammer will be able to translate the exuberance of house for people ready to succumb the soupy torpor of a Wisconsin summer.
Baltimore-based Customer Service, meanwhile, will likely bring a more effervescent touch to the proceedings, to judge from a recent DJ mix titled "happy butterfly mix for dancing \ (•◡•) /"—it begins with the vocal track from Bjork's "Violently Happy" over a surging house beat awash in glossy piano chords. Over the course of an hour and 18 minutes, the mix also gets into more experimental and abstract territory, but it pretty much sticks to tempos that will suit people who manage not to let the humidity wear them out. Chicago's Tamahori is another solid addition to the bill, which also features Madison DJs Glynis, MCG, DJ Zip Disk, and Natural Language Processing. Set times have not been posted yet, but the music is scheduled to go until 10 p.m.. —Scott Gordon
Duh nuh, duh nuh, duh nuh duh nuh, duhnuhduhnuh….that is the sound of our beloved Bruce coming to screw up Amity Island's tourism economy. Don't go in the water but do get down to the Memorial Union Terrace to see the movie that ushered in the age of the American blockbuster, Jaws (1975). Based on Peter Benchley's best-selling novel, Jaws is quite simply one of the greatest thrillers ever made. Like a good few of the selections screening at the Terrace's Lakeside Cinema series this year, it's also one of the films that made me fall in love with the movies in the first place. A 27 year-old Steven Spielberg behind the camera, coming off the heels of Duel (1971), wove together white-knuckle tension, a backdrop of realism, and John Williams' unforgettable score to set a high bar for summer viewing.
Jaws is, of course, the tale of a great white shark that terrorizes an idyllic seaside community at the height of beach season. National treasure Roy Scheider plays Chief Brody, who tries to plead with Amity Island's mayor (Murray Hamilton) to keep the beaches clear until they can get the situation under control after a mysterious set of attacks. Only fools don't listen to Roy Scheider, though, so chaos ensues, and it's up to Brody, a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss), and a charismatically crusty fisherman (Robert Shaw) to slay the beast. If, for whatever reason, you are over the age of 12 and have not seen this movie, you have no more excuses. Go and see it on Mendota's shark-free shores. —Edwanike Harbour
MONDAY, JULY 8
Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom (2012) adds yet another strong coming-of-age tale to WUD Film's Lakeside Cinema season this summer and kicks a little something for the twee set as well. Some will argue that The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) is the most Wes Anderson-y of all of Anderson's films, but I think Moonrise Kingdom deserves that title. It's as highly stylized as you'd expect from this auteur, and as you'd also expect, it leaves little room for compromise: you either really love it or it's just not for your consumption. Either way, this bittersweet, poignant tale of two star-crossed 12-year-olds who run away to be together keenly evokes the twinges of pain that come with a first love, but Anderson steeps that feeling in his matter-of-fact yet absurdly funny storytelling.
Then there's the Anderson hallmark of an ensemble cast, and here he pulls together both some Anderson regulars and some outliers. Moonrise Kingdom boasts Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, and an earnest turn by Edward Norton as Scout Master Ward, to name a few. And as much as the film epitomizes just about everything we're used to soaking up from Anderson films, he still uses his rigorous style to his benefit without the schtick growing old. Again, if it's not your jam, that's understandable. However, Anderson's brilliant style of portraying children who act like adults and adults who act like children makes Moonrise Kingdom one of his most engaging and whimsical productions to date. —Edwanike Harbour