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This Week in Milwaukee

Marshall Crenshaw, Center Street Daze and Milwaukee Noise Festival

Sep. 21, 2011
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Marshall Crenshaw w/ The Bottle Rockets @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

A singer-songwriter with a reverence for classic rock 'n' roll, Buddy Holly glasses and porkpie hats, Marshall Crenshaw emerged shortly after Elvis Costello, so it's a testament to his songwriting gifts that he wasn't immediately dismissed as a copycat. On the contrary, his self-titled 1982 album was heralded as an immediate pop-rock masterpiece, and though by the late '80s Crenshaw had fallen from commercial favor, he has kept his loyal following satisfied with a series of recent releases. Openers The Bottle Rockets have continued playing alt-country music long after many of their No Depression peers have disbanded. Years of lineup changes and record-label debacles have slowed the band some, but leader Brian Henneman, a former guitar tech and auxiliary player for alt-country icons Uncle Tupelo, continues to turn out solid, Woody Guthrie-inspired songwriting on the group's recent albums, including 2009's Lean Forward, a briskly rocking set for Bloodshot Records.

Milwaukee Noise Festival @ Borg Ward, 7 p.m.

You think your band has a hard time getting booked? Try being in an experimental noise band—theirs isn't the type of music that bar and venue owners jump at the prospect of hosting. Luckily for these bands, local noise veteran Peter J. Woods has been giving them a showcase of their own for the past six years. This year's three-day Milwaukee Noise Festival features some of the most harsh, abrasive, edgy and just plain difficult acts he could round up, from both Milwaukee and beyond, including Office Park, Plagues, Owlscry, Captivity, Mildew, Climax Denial, Dog Lady, Reptile Worship, Skin Graft and Three Arguments Against the Singularity. (Through Saturday, Sept. 24.)

Yamn w/ Undercover Organism @ Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m.

A self-described “hearty buffet for the hungry ear”—yes, they're a jam band—Colorado's Yamn has gathered a big following in trance-rock circles, growing an audience over the last four years as they've opened for acts like the String Cheese Incident and Umphrey's McGee. Reminiscent of early Santana (if he had turned instead to instrumental electro-jazz), Yamn shares this bill with Milwaukee jam-scene staples Undercover Organism.


Bridesmaids @ Discovery World, 5 p.m.

This summer's biggest blockbuster comedy, Paul Feig's Bridesmaids spurred a spirited conversation about gender-expectations in comedy. For all the discussion of its scatological humor, though, the film's success had less to do with the novelty of women proving themselves as crass as their male counterparts than with the movie simply being funnier and better written than any of this summer's major comedies (an endearing starring turn from Kristen Wiig as a beleaguered maid of honor certainly helped, too). The movie is set in Milwaukee, so expect some applause for local establishing shots when it screens for free tonight at dusk as part of Discovery World's “Fish Fry & A Flick” series.

Harvest Fair @ Wisconsin State Fair Park

Wisconsin State Fair Park will be bustling this weekend, as it hosts its 18th annual Harvest Fair—a celebration of all things seasonal, with hay rides, pumpkin bowling and contests, live music, a farmers' market and a pumpkin patch—along with a slew of concurrent events, including the World Beef Expo, the Just Between Friends Consignment Sale, the WI Beer Expo and the Milwaukee Tattoo Arts Convention. In its first year at the State Fair grounds, the tattoo convention will feature suspension acts, a burlesque show, an art gallery and live tattooing. It will honor the best tattoos with awards in a number of categories. The inaugural WI Beer Expo, meanwhile, will offer unlimited samples of 70 craft and microbrews from all over the country (and a few from Germany, as well). (Through Sunday, Sept. 25.)

Hip-Hop Hates HIV/AIDS @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m.

The third installment of local promoter JC Poppe's “Hip-Hop Hates…” fund-raiser series unites four prime Milwaukee rap acts in support of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. On the bill is the ubiquitous Prophetic, local crunk enthusiasts Streetz -n- Young Deuces, reptile-voiced misfit Lah Kid and street-minded abstractionist Pacino. Poppe and DJ Bizzon of WMSE's “The Mad Kids Show” host the evening.

Milwaukee's Annual Fashion Show @ RedLine, 6 p.m.

Milwaukee's Annual Fashion Show returns for a second year to the RedLine Community Art Studio with a new feature: a Recycled Runway Fashion Design Contest that marries innovation and conscientiousness. The designs of Bruce Paul Goodman, Simon Oliver, Minoan Intimate Apparel and more will be showcased, as will those of up-and-coming designers working from recycled or repurposed material. There will also be hors d'oeuvres, desserts and a cash bar. Proceeds for this fund-raiser go toward the educational programs at RedLine.


Center Street Daze @ Center Street, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

The Riverwest neighborhood gathers for one of the year's last big street festivals this Saturday at the annual Center Street Daze festival between Humboldt and Holton. Attractions include an outdoor pool tournament, a dodge-ball tournament, a push-cart race, graffiti and break-dancing demonstrations and family activities. Five stages of music touch on rock, hip-hop, acoustic and world music, with performances from dozens of local acts, including The Trusty Knife, The Ragadors, The Danglers, Melissa Czarnik, The Acolytes, KingHellBastard, Centipedes and Fresh Cut Collective.

Oktoberfest @ Pere Marquette Park, noon-10 p.m.

Pere Marquette Park hosts all things German with this daylong Oktoberfest celebration. The day begins with the Brat Trot for the Hunger Task Force—a one and a half block sprint with a brat in one hand and a beer (or root beer) in the other—then continues with a lineup of 12 area German bands in five beer gardens. There will also be dodge ball, tug-of-war, Hammerschlagen, a beer belly contest and family-minded arts and crafts.

Nine West Vintage America Collection Fashion Show @ Boston Store, Brookfield Square Mall, 11 a.m.

Lucky Magazine hosts an in-store fashion show at Boston Store's Brookfield Square Mall location to preview the store's new Nine West Vintage America Collection of jeans, tops, handbags, shoes and jewelry that capture the relaxed, worn-in feel of classic Western clothing. Brookfield country singer-songwriter Nora Collins will set the mood with a live performance, while the National coffee bar serves up refreshments.


Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in the Dark @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.

During their first two decades together, the British New Wave group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark recorded a full 10 albums, but stateside they remain best known for one song: “If You Leave,” the pining closing number from Pretty in Pink. The band split in 1996, but reunited in 2006 with their classic lineup to tour behind early material. That reunion gave way to a new album last year, History of Modern, which updates their familiar synth-pop/post-punk hybrid only slightly.


Dar Williams and Joan Osborne @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.

Of all the '90s female folk artists who cited Joan Baez as a muse, Dar Williams had the closest ties to Baez herself, touring and dueting with and writing songs for the folk legend. Where many of Williams' peers sang with a jagged edge, aggressively trumpeting their individuality, politics and sexuality with sing-along anger and profanity, Williams was never so subversive. Her songs were cleaner, poppier and more inclusive, her political stances hippie-ish in their good intentions. Her latest album, 2010's Many Great Companions, is a greatest-hits collection with a second disc of new, acoustic re-recordings of some of her favorite songs, featuring guest spots from Mary Chapin Carpenter and Gary Louris. Opener Joan Osborne remains synonymous with her lone hit, 1995's “One of Us.”


STRFKR @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.

Apparently, when you name your band Starfucker, you're asking for some headaches. As a result, the Portland, Ore., electro-rock band has flirted with name changes in recent years, first rechristening themselves Pyramid, and then Pyramiddd, before finally returning to their original Starfucker (they tour under the more publishable moniker STRFKR). The music is never as harsh as their band name; in fact, their latest record, Reptilians, is an accessible collection of bright, danceable pop in the spirit of Passion Pit.


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