Like nearly every music venue in the country, Milwaukee’s Cactus Club has spent the last four months sidelined, unable to host the kinds of shows that were once its bread and butter. But with no end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, the venue has decided to make the best of the situation. This week it announced an extensive lineup of virtual programming, including not only music performances and DJ sets, but also film screenings, workshops, interviews and even history lectures.
“It is vital to our long-standing mission that we continue to support our creative peers and provide a platform for independent musicians and artists to engage with the community at large,” owner Kelsey Kaufmann wrote in a statement. “We are all dreaming of the day when we can be together in the backroom of the club, united in our love of independent music. But while we wait, we are determined to make something positive out of an otherwise bleak situation.”
The club, which changed ownership this winter, is not eligible for the same federal and state assistance that has offered a lifeline to other venues, so instead it has created a pay-what-you-can Patreon account that “will provide support for staffing, artists and the programming we truly believe in.” Currently the venue is relying on its carryout beverage service and merch sales to cover its core operating expenses.
The complete programming lineup is below.
Digital Dream Summer Programming Schedule
all events at 8 p.m.
Digital Dream (Live performances on Saturdays)
July 18 • Browns Crew · Spaidez
July 25 • DaveKevinAdam · Retoro
Aug. 1 • Marielle Allschwang · Lagnajita
Aug. 8 • Him Hun • randal b.
Aug. 15 • Craig Brown • K-STAMP
Aug. 22 • Desi · So Zuppy
Aug. 29 • Amanda Huff · Gab (Reyna)
ReachOut Radio (DJ sets on Fridays)
July 17 • DJ Carbon Silver
July 24 • DJ Chubbycheeks
July 31 • Dogpound (DJ Chad)
Aug. 7 • Andy Positive
Aug. 14 • Auntie
Aug. 21 • DJ Anna Wilkie
Aug. 28 • Delilac
July 29 • Pintense de Colores – Juan Miguel Martinez
Discussions of ’90s south side Milwaukee mixtape culture, graffiti, fashion, art collectives and beyond
Aug. 12 • Real Prole Dad Hours – Josh Del Colle
A materialist analysis of our hellscape integrating working class history covering Milwaukee to Mumbai
Aug. 26 • Pintense de Colores – Juan Miguel Martinez
Films (Thursdays – will be available through Sunday night)
July 23 • For the Feral Splendor that Remains
Programmed by Sofia Theodore-Pierce
A collection of works by Milwaukee-based makers exploring emotional inheritance through moving image
Aug. 6 • The First Shot is Silent (Kaszube’s Park) Steve Wetzel, 2010
Aug. 27 • Seen|Scene presents: Nothing (A)Political
Programmed by Seen|Scene, an LGBTQIA+ screening series