Ron Artis II

Illiterate Light, My Fair Lady and more this weekend

By Devon Welsh

Ron Artis II and The Truth 

Friday, 3/1 | Grand Theater, Wausau 

Ron Artis II was born in Hawaii to a big family, and you can almost hear the beach in his vocals – he sounds like you just stumbled on an incredibly talented performer. Coming from a big musician family with 10 siblings, he grew up surrounded by talented musicians and didn’t understand early on that everyone doesn’t grow up that way. Artis has worked with some pretty big names, such as Mick Fleetwood, Jack Johnson, Booker T Jones, and more. Artis channels everything from Delta blues to funk and R&B in his style. Some have compared him to a cross between Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan – and if that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is. 7:30 pm Starting at $25. (BCK)

Illiterate Light w/ Traveling Suitcase 

Friday, 3/1 | Lamplight Sessions, Mosinee

illiterate light

Illiterate Light is one interesting act – they both look and sound a lot like a 90s grunge band. In the video I watched, lead singer Jeff Gorman looks the part with a red flannel, shoulder-length hair and a scruffy beard, and his bandmate, drummer Jeff Cochrane, wears a bowling shirt common in alternative 90s bands. But it’s not just the look – the band’s sound could have easily come out of that era, reminiscent of Screaming Trees. It’s not a band that’s afraid to get loud, and it’s clear these guys are channeling something special. Their self-entitled album did well but 2023’s Sunburned really exploded and has driven them into the limelight. 7 pm. $36. Low number of tickets available. (BCK)

Dilettante, Or Does It Explode and Searchlights
Saturday, 3/2 | Polack Inn, Wausau


Coined by music critic Simon Reynolds, the term “post-rock” was created to name music made with the traditional rock instruments of guitar, bass and drums, but that departs from the structures and melodies of the genre in favor of bold experimentation in various directions. Three Wisconsin bands with different approaches to post-rock will be sharing a stage on Saturday night. Wausau’s own Dilettante is highly technical and complex rhythmic and harmonic instrumental music. Madison outfit Or Does It Explode? plays a dreamy but hard-edged style of post-hardcore. Searchlights perform expansive guitar soundscapes, and incorporate a Japanese taiko drum in a slight departure from the standard rock instrumentation. This will be a showcase of bold and adventurous music not often heard in the local area. 9 pm. Polack Inn on Facebook for info.

Flow: Artists, Activists and Educators Working with Water

Saturday, 3/2 | Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau

Water is integral to life on earth. Wausau itself is built on water, straddling the Wisconsin river. And water has been an important local issue of late, from the contamination of Wausau’s wells with PFAS to the ongoing initiative to replace old lead pipes. So what better topic for a presentation at the art museum? Join visual artist Laura Anderson Barbata in the first part of her residency along with local community representatives for a discussion of their work on the theme of water. This is a collaboration between Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Interdisciplinary Arts Residency program. 2 pm. Free.

Javier Calderon 

Sunday, 3/3 | Campanile Center for the Arts, Minocqua

The word virtuoso gets thrown around a lot these days, but in the case of Javier Calderon, it’s perhaps an understatement. The New York Times called him following his Carnegie Hall debut “A virtuoso with poetic sensibility.” The guitarist is now at the stage of his career where prominent composers, including Alan Hovhaness and Lawrence Weiner, are writing pieces specifically for him. Calderon has played in venues all over the world, and you’ll enjoy his visit to the Campanile Center. 2 pm. $27, $15 student. (BCK)

My Fair Lady 

Tues-Wed., 3/5-6 | Grand Theater, Wausau

My Fair Lady is a musical theater classic. The story of a cockney flower-seller and a linguistics professor who attempts to turn her into a proper lady (but in the process, might just be transformed himself!) goes back to the 1913 George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. The musical itself is based on the 1938 film adaptation of that play. Its history might be a little confusing but the story itself is not, and the 1956 Broadway version won six Tony Awards, including for Best Musical. This version, put on by the Lincoln Center Theater puts on this production, which is “a sumptuous new production of the most perfect musical of all time,” according to Entertainment Weekly. 7:30 pm Saturday and Sunday. Starts at $75. (BCK)