On Jan. 26, Public Health Madison and Dane County extended the face covering public order for another month, through Feb. 28. Many venues and businesses continue to maintain individual requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test for entry; also, the continuing COVID surge is resulting in events being canceled or postponed. Before heading out for any in-person event, it is recommended to confirm it is still taking place, and check for any attendance guidelines on the relevant business websites or social media accounts.
Abel Contemporary Gallery exhibits, through Feb. 20, 524 E Main St, Stoughton: Stoughton’s Abel Contemporary Gallery continues its run of interesting and challenging local art with exhibits from Tom Jaszczak and Helen Hawley as well as a group show called Beautiful Fiction. Jaszczak’s ceramics explore muted pastels and minimalist, monochromatic color schemes. Hawley’s thoughtful work is an installation using paper, canvas, clay, and other everyday materials to create “lake sediment.” An artist talk by Jaszczak will take place virtually on Facebook Live at 5 p.m. on Feb. 3. The shows are up through Feb. 20 and can also be viewed at abelcontemporary.com.
UW Dance Department Faculty Concert, Feb. 3-12, Lathrop Hall-H’Doubler Space: This annual event features choreography by UW-Madison instructors, including professor Kate Corby, assistant professor Duane Lee Holland Jr., and lecturer Liz Sexe. Vilas Research Professor Li Chiao-Ping presents a collaboration created with 10 students, titled Still Water. And guest artist Natalie Desch, an assistant professor at the University of Utah and former Limón Dance Company artist, will stage the 1971 José Limón work Dances for Isadora, a tribute to Isadora Duncan. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday; tickets here.
Flying Fuzz album release, Thursday, Feb. 3, The Bur Oak, 8 p.m.: The second album by Flying Fuzz rampaged onto streaming platforms back in December, and the group is finally getting to celebrate with an in-person concert. It’s a good chance to grab a copy of the very limited initial CD incarnation of II, nearly an hour of old school metal (for a ballpark comparison, think a more uptempo Black Sabbath). In 2022 the quartet hopes to follow up on their 2021 Summerfest set (as 2020 Rockonsin runners-up) with many more shows to come. With Calamity, Smoke Free Home.
Knickerbocker Ice Festival, Feb. 4-5, Rock Lake, Lake Mills: This winter celebration is named after the Knickerbocker Company, which harvested ice from Rock Lake in the early 1900s. Back before refrigerators, cutting ice and preserving it in straw was how everyone kept food cold in the summer months. (Thoreau describes the procedure in Walden, in a chapter called “The Pond in Winter.”) Here the focus is on frolic, with a giant bar made of ice, local craft beers and wine, bonfires, a nine-hole golf tournament, softball, fat tire bike ride and fisheree out on the lake, plus ice carving in downtown Lake Mills and more. For the complete schedule see knickerbockericefest.com.
Wisconsin Americana Fest, Friday, Feb. 4, Majestic Theatre, 7 p.m.: “Americana music” encompasses elements of country, roots rock, folk, bluegrass and blues, and the bands showcased at Americana Fest (rescheduled from January) perfectly represent the state of the genre in Wisconsin. Two of ’em are from Madison: WheelHouse is one of the city’s hardest-working groups in any genre, playing more than 200 shows per year and radiating goodness wherever they go; and Pat Ferguson & the Sundown Sound recently shared stages with Railroad Earth and Phil Lesh and is building a national reputation. High & Rising, meanwhile, hails from River Falls and calls its rollicking brand of music “groovy grass.” Bands like these are sure to keep you warm on a cold Wisconsin night.
Ben Orozco, Emily Rudolph + Kyung Eun You, through Feb. 5, Arts + Literature Laboratory: Time grows short to view the three exhibits currently up at Arts + Literature Laboratory. The highly patterned works in TOPIA by Ben Orozco depict and question monoculture agriculture. Emily Rudolph’s detailed drawings and paintings in Wallflower distort perspective in service of examining the psychology of family relationships. Kyung Eun You, a Korean visual artist based in New York, exhibits a collection of recent prints, paintings and animations. Madison- based Orozco and Rudolph will give talks starting at 6:30 p.m. during the closing reception on Feb. 4 (6-9 p.m.; note new date). Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. or by appointment.
The heART Show, Feb. 4-26, Dark Horse ArtBar: February contains the holiday Valentine’s Day, which somewhere in the misty past drifted from being a Christian feast day for a martyred saint to one celebrating romantic love. (Perhaps more in sync with the original holiday, it is for some a day for mourning the lack of love.) In The heART show, Dark Horse Art Bar likely features some art to connect with no matter your current feelings about the holiday. An opening reception takes place from 7 p.m.-midnight on Feb. 4, and the show is up through Feb. 26.
Frozen Assets Festival, Feb. 5-6, The Edgewater and Lake Mendota: One of Madison’s most cleverly named festivals returns for a weekend of free family activities — highlighted by Saturday’s 5K Run/Walk on frozen Lake Mendota and Kites on Mendota with the Wisconsin Kiters Club Saturday and Sunday. Other activities scheduled Saturday include pond hockey, snowshoeing, a skydiving ice jump and an inflatable hockey game (all pending current Public Health Madison & Dane County guidelines). The Mary B., Madison’s historic ice yacht, also will be on display. The festival is hosted by the nonprofit Clean Lakes Alliance. A week of events leading up to the festival includes a Downtown Madison Inc. panel discussion and networking on Feb. 3 and a Night Ice party Feb. 4. Find all the details and registration at cleanlakesalliance.org.
Lady Denim, Saturday, Feb. 5, UW Memorial Union-Rathskeller, 7 p.m.: Catch some aural sunshine courtesy of rock quartet Lady Denim, on a brief trek away from their usual Colorado stomping grounds. After forming at Colorado State University in 2019, the group quickly built a regional following which has since cross-pollinated with music streaming services; their song “Pipe Dream” has garnered more than 1 million plays on Spotify.
Madtown Mannish Boys, Saturday, Feb. 5, North Street Cabaret, 8 p.m.: This Madison-based (natch) group delivers an expert mix of Chicago blues and vintage soul. The show at the Cabaret will be one of the few chances to catch them in upcoming months; the group is in the middle of recording an album (expect to hear some new material), and various members are also busy preparing for the opening of The Red Rooster in the former Knuckle Down Saloon space. Bonus: Joining the band on Feb. 5 will be harmonica expert Westside Andy and Hammond organ dervish Todd Phipps (Blue Olives, Rare Element).
Stellaluna, through Feb. 13, Overture Center-Playhouse: Children’s Theater of Madison has adapted Stellaluna, the beloved picture book about a baby bat that goes to live with a family of birds, with music, dance and puppets. Stellaluna becomes friends with the birds, but in the end, she finds her way to her tribe. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Performances take place at 2:30 and 6 p.m. Saturdays and 1 and 4 p.m. Sundays (no 1 p.m. show on Feb. 6). Find ticket info at ctmtheater.org.
Wisconsin vs. Illinois, Sunday, Feb. 6, Kohl Center, 1 p.m.: It’s been a rebuilding season for the Badgers women’s basketball team in its first season under head coach Marisa Moseley; before Thursday’s contest against Iowa, the team’s record stood at 5-15 overall, and 2-8 in the Big Ten. Help cheer them to victory in a border battle with Illinois and also celebrate National Girls & Women in Sports Day. Games and other activities for all ages begin at 11 a.m.; tickets for the day’s events are just $2.
Winter Carnival, Feb. 7-12, UW Memorial Union: The Wisconsin Union’s annual Winter Carnival is back and Madisonians are ready to celebrate amidst freezing temperatures and through frozen eyelashes. There will be mini-golfing on the ice (Feb. 8), an ice fishing derby (Feb. 10), frozen luminary-making (Feb. 9), ice climbing exhibitions (Feb. 11), and much more. As of press time, this 80-year tradition is planned to be fully in-person with food, dancing, and skiing and snowboarding competitions. All events are free, but some require a ticket or reservations; find all the details and any schedule updates at union.wisc.edu/wintercarnival.
Breaking Trail, Monday, Feb. 7, UW South Madison Partnership; Tuesday, Feb. 8, Union South, both 7 p.m.: The short documentary Breaking Trail follows Emily Ford, the first woman and person of color to embark on a winter through-hike of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. As part of a pair of screenings hosted by the UW Nelson Institute, Ford will discuss the 1,200-mile trip that she took with her sled dog, Diggins, in the winter of 2020-21. Other activities with Emily Ford Feb. 7-8 include hikes on the lake and the Ice Age Trail. On Feb. 13 the Arboretum hosts an open house with a third screening and guided hike. Find ticket information and all details at nelson.wisc.edu.
Yams & Sweet Potatoes: Black Culinary Series, Thursday, Feb. 10, Salvation Army, 3030 Darbo Drive, 5:30 p.m.: Madison’s palate has undeniably become more global over the past few decades. Highlighting the contributions of Black cooks from all over the world is the aim of this series sponsored by the Office of Equity and Inclusion and the Community Engagement Office at Madison College. Fittingly called “Yams and Sweet Potatoes,” the series of talks, demos and tastings kicks off with local chef Awa Sibi of Les Délices de Awa, who comes from Africa’s Côte d’Ivoire; she aims to convey the “entire range and diversity of Ivorian culture through its bold and delicious flavors.” Sessions on Feb. 16 with Nyanyika Banda (noon, Madison College-Truax) and Feb. 23 with Patience Clark (noon, Madison College-South campus) follow; find tickets for those presentations here. A keynote by Jessica Harris, author of High on the Hog, takes place at 6 p.m., Feb. 17, at the Mitby Theater; tickets here.
Intercambios: Art, Stories & Comunidad, through April 10, Ruth Davis Design Gallery: Painting, textiles, photography, printmaking, music and video made collaboratively by 10 artists in Madison, Wisconsin, and Oaxaca, Mexico, take over the beautiful Ruth Davis Design Gallery on the UW-Madison campus. The artists explore issues ranging from art and craft to life and death. Exhibiting artists include Madison-based artists John Hitchcock, Carolyn Kallenborn, Dakota Mace and Roberto Torres Mata. Artists from the central valleys of Oaxaca include Miriam Campos, Alvaro Torres Cisneros, Virginia Alvarez Juárez, Erasto (Tito) Mendoza, Moises Martinez Velasco and Ana Paula Fuentes. The opening reception takes place from 5-7 p.m. on Feb. 10; find information on related events in conjunction with the exhibit here. Ruth Davis Design Gallery is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, and noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Laura Kipnis, Thursday, Feb. 10, Crowdcast, 7 p.m.: In 1985, Gabriel García Márquez published Love in the Time of Cholera. This year, Laura Kipnis published Love in the Time of Contagion, addressing the difficulty of meeting up with that certain someone during COVID-19. This is a work of psychology but also humor and social issues — from equity to gender relations. Kipnis, a cultural critic, will discuss the book with Katie Roiphe during a livestream hosted by A Room of One’s Own. Register at crowdcast.io/e/laura-kipnis-author-of.
We hope it’s handy for you to find the Picks in a single weekly post. The individual Picks can still be found in the usual places online: collected here, and sprinkled throughout all the events.