HIGHLIGHTS: October 20-22

HotDog! Improv


Did you know Central Wisconsin is home to an improv comedy group? HotDog! Improv Comedy takes audience suggestions and turns them into scenes, jokes and other tomfoolery during their hilarious performances. So if you enjoy improv groups such as Chicago’s The Second City, this is a show for you. As audience suggestions drive the show, each show is completely different, so you won’t hear the same joke twice. Come out, laugh, and experience a completely unique comedy experience. 9 pm. $5 in advance, $8 at door. 715-574-5653.

Toward One Wausau: Culmination, Evaluation and Celebration



There’s no doubt the Wausau area is more diverse than it was a few decades ago. And it has been exposed to real cultural divisions that can create tension and misunderstanding. For the past year, the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) has been holding a series of dialogues called Toward One Wausau. More than 400 people from all walks of life and local organizations have talked openly and listened sincerely about diversity issues with the aim of making the Wausau area a safe and welcoming place for all.

The many participating organizations in Toward One Wausau include the City of Wausau, Hmong American Center, Marathon County, and citizen groups such as People for the Power of Love. While these organizations have been engaged throughout the project, getting the general public involved is a hurdle, says Chris Norfleet, a member of the executive committee of Toward One Wausau and co-founder of the People for the Power of Love. He says the groups are still trying to create a place where citizens can talk about diversity without feeling attacked.

Open to the public, this celebration is a way to hear the key takeaways from the dialogues, surveys, and outreach. One example of their conclusions: With more public events that incorporate diverse backgrounds, such as culture, food, and entertainment, “We would inevitably become an even more welcoming community for all,” says Eric Giordano, WIPPS director and one of the original sponsors of Toward One Wausau.

The evening will be a fun mixtures of ethnic food, refreshments and a special performance that combines music and spoken word by David Deon and the Soul Inspirations, featuring Chris Norfleet. “The celebration will offer a relaxed, fun experience for everyone, while at the same time provide concrete examples of action plans to help bring together people of different backgrounds,” says Giordano. Doors open at 6 pm for food, refreshments and music with the program beginning at 6:30 pm. Reserve your spot at wipps.org/tow.

Tommy Bentz Band



For over 15 years, this powerful trio has been a Southern rock band and a singer/songwriter rolled into one. Based in River Falls, but recently back from the UK Tour, the band performs bluesy rock songs written by guitarist and vocalist Tommy Bentz. Bentz isn’t the only talented musician in the group as Jason McLean’s melodic bass lines and harmony vocals combine impeccably with Alex Burgess’s rock-solid drum talents and background vocals. These three combine all their years of musical experiences into energetic and soulful live performances. 10 pm. 715-819-3663.

History Speaks: History of Forensic Imaging & Photography


As camera technology has developed and progressed, its application in helping solve crimes has also changed. With 36 years of experience as a forensic photography and imaging specialist, retired Forensic Imaging Unit Leader at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory in Wausau, Bob Sanders traces the development of forensic photography. Beginning with the first cameras through film and digital images, Sander discusses how techniques for altering photos affects forensic imaging and demonstrates infrared photography of gunshot residue. Part of the Marathon County Historical Society’s History Speaks lecture series. 2-4 pm. Free, donations appreciated. 715-842-5750.

Dig Deep


This Stevens Point string band usually gets plunked into the bluegrass genre, but their sound is more diverse than that with a well-honed and hard-edged sound. If you’re into thumping banjo, you’re sure to appreciate these four guys, who perform original, bluesy-rockin’ folk tunes as well as covers. The vocals are rough, rock-influenced and raspy, in front of plucky banjo and other strings. There’s no percussion, making the vocals all the more appreciated. These guys are energetic and dynamic performers which has earned them the love of fans as they tour throughout the Midwest and around the country. 9 pm. 715-849-9377.

Grand Finale Party for “Out of the Woods”


For the past few weeks, The Stevens Point Sculpture Garden has invited artists from around the globe to create permanent, large-scale sculptures for the park. Artists included Tim Curtis of Florida, Francois Lelong of France, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Art and Design Professor Stuart Morris and Ayumi Ishil and Sean Saltrom, both from Japan but currently living in Wisconsin. To celebrate the completion of the sculptures, the park is hosting a finale party for the public to present the grand sculptures that have been created and answer questions about the project. The event will be tons of fun with snacks, Point Beer on tap, music, interactive art and a bonfire if the weather permits. 5-7 pm. Free. stevenspointsculpturepark.org.

Violent Femmes



This Milwaukee-based folk punk band returns to its home state of Wisconsin during a special tour of select cities in the state, playing in intimate theatres like The Grand. With over 9 million album sales, this trio was one of the most successful alt rock bands of the 1980s, with well-loved anthems such as “Blister in the Sun” and “Gone Daddy Gone.” The band also will perform songs from their 2016 album We Can Do Anything. Don’t miss the Violent Femmes playing inventive roots, funk, rock music in this up-close performance. 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $47. Grandtheater.org.