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Thieves of Fortune, Cactus Club, Endless Era

Radio Milwaukee had a spot recently with beabadoobie discussing how inexplicably some musicians with phenomenal projects toil and toil and never quite break through, and how others miraculously gain instant notoriety.

A recent live effort by new kids on the scene Endless Era gave show-goers the feeling this trio could vault straight to insta-hit status or run the well trod path a mega cool cult synth pop act that never quite climbs from under the shadows of the local music canopy.

They cut their Cactus set with an inspired play of their winter 2019 single Mine. Blake Akers just devastated the final drum transitions in a way that very few can open up, sending Jon Eleyet and Caleb Rogers into a controlled rage to bring Mine to its crescendo.

Spicing up the Recipe

It wasn’t so much that the song conjured a groundbreaking new sound, Mine is basically variation of the pop synthwave formula: rising drums, thick down tempo key board, thinly layered guitar melody with a tad of mod distorted amplification, always delicious. A certain moxie and sense of performative urgency set Endless Era apart. How they progress from their new-band honeymoon will be worth staying tuned, hope they stick around for awhile.

Endless Era’s 2019 single Mine is available on bandcamp.


Permanent Press, Village Playhouse, The Clean House

Matilda (Emily Condon) bounces about Lane’s house taking life in stride while she battles an extended case of the mopes. She recently lost both her parents and has found herself a Brazilian transplant in America doing the thing she hates worst for a day job, cleaning.

“Laughter cleans the insides,” Matilda announces halfway through our encounter enmeshed in the fateful intersections of human paths that The Clean House dramatizes.

A Life Deferred

Matilda inherited comedy from her mother and father, who shared the wonder of laughter with her from the day she was born, but left her wanting on the day they died. Matilda carries this void along when she enters Lane’s crumbling personal life as her live-in maid.

Lane (Jackie Benka), once a charmed doctor who hitched up with a surgeon, now grasps desperately to hold her strained marriage. The controlled demolition of Lane’s personal life gives this story a hub of morbid ironies to find humor and wisdom in.

Active Bystanders

Lane’s bored and nosey sister Virginia (Kathy Landry) regularly comes poking around and stirring the cauldron brewing in Lane’s house that Matilda already has swirling with her mercurial ways. Matilda and Virginia make a odd match of confidants as Virginia’s love for cleaning and small talk meets Matilda’s need for an ear and a pair of industrious hands to save her from Lane’s chores.

Virginia prophetically proclaims the reason behind her devotion for cleaning, “How else are you going to catch your husband cheating.” Commiserating over a basket of Lane’s freshly laundered undergarments, Matilda and Virginia’s symbiosis naturally discovers evidence of Charles’s (Joseph Ellman) infidelity.

Dirt-tinted Senses

Without her cleaning crew’s help, Lane’s rigid intelligence allows her to deduce the symptoms of her failing marriage. When her husband finally comes clean, his stilted and clinical rationalism allows his mouth to supply her a defensible alibi – er, explanation.

He gathered his conscious clearing pass from the cultural repository of public radio no less. Tuning in there, he learned that finding his soulmate Ana (Sam Billek) while removing her cancerous breasts obligated him to be with her. Charles obliviously attempts to share his joy with Lane, with Virginia and Matilda gazing in awe, arriving at her house accompanied by Ana.

As these five lives entangle further, the audience explores several aspects of love’s elusive, unquantifiable presence in our drive to exult in our lovers with our talents, bitterly let them go forever, transact with them steadfastly in daily exchanges of love languages, or unselfishly tend to their last wishes.

Solid State

A Village Playhouse production, Scott Sorenson’s take on Sarah Ruhl’s story succeeds in creating a well-set, snicker inducing mellow drama. Type-blind casting works here as the players come as they are, betraying and remolding stereotypical imagery this play runs the danger of eliciting, giving the characters a new lease on life.

Credits go to The Clean House’s producer Erico Ortiz and creative team Jennifer Lautz (Lighting and Sound Designer), Nikki Maritch (Costume Designer), and Sorenson (Set Design).

The Clean House runs at Inspiration Studios in West Allis through October 13 with evening shows Friday and Saturday October 4, 5, 11, and 12th at 7:30pm and Monday matinees October 6, and 13th.

Inspiration Studios’s quaint confines sit on a corner just South of 73rd and Greenfield, 1500 S. 73rd Street, West Allis, WI 53204.

Dramatic Pause

Lasting Impression, Lost Letters, Luxi

She’s on her second long-play and fly as ever. Milwaukee’s own Luxi dropped Lost Letters last November. Her sound brings dreamy, synthy, mod-y all together with a cool intensity despite its down tempo pitch.

Check this clip of Luxi doing the honors for Buhu Band and Dramatic Lovers at Cactus Club back in October, a dry run for the release of her latest batch of waveforms.

Not really knowing who she was, I ran across Luxi at Milwaukee Makers Market last summer hawking presses of her 2017 release Geometric Universe and some diy up-cycled gear branded Wicked Alley.

She was all cagey but in a cool way. After spinning the album, I’m a little mad at Luxi for helping feed my addiction for new presses of sounds from synth’s extended family.

On a separate musical excursion, I came across Molly Nilsson who happens to be sharing a poster with Luxi tomorrow night at Ivy House. I had to do a double take, and run through my bandcamp following list to make sure I wasn’t crazy. Nilsson, a German-born artist, keeps the gentle and dreamy synth spectrum vibrating.

With like 12 releases, a video game, and the ability to thrown in with sneaky good international artist bookings, Luxi can do what ever the funk she wants.

Molly Nilsson (Germany) with Apostille (UK) and Luxi goes down tomorrow at Ivy House, $12 a the door.

Sit Modern, Walker’s Point, BC Modern

Stylish and aged Italianate architecture lines 5th Street, an element that allows this backwater strip to keep any shred of its historic charm. Although this part of Walker’s Point now finds itself more done-up into high maintenance redevelopment by the day, the craggy corners hang on.

Faded murals commemorate the recent disappearance of old standbys like La Perla, diffusing further into these antique buildings’ weathered exterior sidewalls with each elapsing minute. Up and down this storied stretch, goods and food stuffs of all sorts still peek out of bay windows groping the sidewalk, tempting passers by to pass some time exploring.

Nook Picked

Mid-century modern definitively took over 21st century design sensibilities and BC Modern has its own take on the in-demand trend. Nestled in this streetscape, from the outside BC Modern looks like your run-of-the-mill vintage general resale store. Eric Lewis, BC Modern’s shop keeper and curator, has found a mixture somewhere between mid-century and Americana that soothes the senses wanting for the aesthetics of both.

Thoughtfully staged groupings of social and family living and dining sets get accented by humbly elegant and period matching homewares. Eric is a self proclaimed picker and good at it. He also picks collaborators just as well.

Finds Abound

Scanning about the shop, overtaken by the variety of items, you’ll spot adventures like a well-aged vinyl section, and vintage clothing, coats and jackets, and nick-knacks and chotchkies of assorted randomness. Entering the ‘Material Era’ of the ’80’s, which can be credited with adding new consumerist flavor to this American trinket making tradition, causes BC Modern no concern. If you’re into vintage resale shopping, wherever era you’re into, BC Modern can hold your interest and will likely have you parting with a few bucks for a few unique items.

BC Modern started in a windowless warehouse buying and selling vintage furnishings and now calls a prime storefront at at 900 South 5th Street home. BC Modern’s official hours are 12:00p – 5:00p on Saturday and Sunday or by appointment.