Cactus+

Founded in 2022, Cactus+ is our effort to formalize and broaden the reach of our arts education and community building programs including workshops, youth internships, and accessibility initiatives. Our mission is to create an artist-centered model for multimedia arts education and community building that champions accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability.

Beyond the conventions of a small-capacity music venue, in 2018, CC began engaging in mutual aid projects, community education, and harm reduction programming such as Narcan training and access to safer sex supplies. Youth-organized events and skill-shares such as Stop Motion Animation, Intro to Electronic Repairs, and DIY Mycology ignited our charge to formalize these efforts into something sustainable and structured. We successfully campaigned to change how the city defined a Center for Visual and Performing Arts. Now, small venues in Milwaukee can host all ages programming instead of restricting access to 21+ audiences. From these experiences, Cactus+ emerged to fill cultural cavities and empower marginalized artists to take the reigns.

Interested in donating to Cactus+ Programming?

If you’re able to, please consider making a one-time or monthly contribution:

Moving Image

Cactus Club Moving Image series (Moving Image) is an experimental film series presented by the artist-run venue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our vision is to create an environment conducive to critical engagement by showing work that takes risks, challenges norms, and opens conversations by showcasing a wide range of artist-driven independent media. As a series, we hope to offer a space for the intergenerational attendees to engage with film and expanded cinema made by artists from a variety of backgrounds. To keep a flow of new perspectives, the monthly programs will be curated by Cactus Club staff as well as visionary guest programmers.

Interest in guest curating? Fill out the form 

Moving Image Assistantship Role

Spring Youth Internship (March-October). This role will work alongside the Moving Image Programmer and Events Coordinators to program films, workshops, in-person events and learn all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into these productions. This paid apprenticeship will begin with setting goals and aspirations during this time and will conclude with you organizing, creating, and executing your own event or program. Events will be hosted outdoors/indoors on-site as well as a possibility for off-site screenings. This position has been created out of a lack of opportunity for folks to gain experience in event coordination and programming, and are interested in working with the community with an appreciation for music and arts. We aim to disrupt that gap and to provide the tools, resources, and experience as a baseline to grow from.

Applications open January 2023

Cactus Club Independent Film Festival

Submissions open now until May 6th 2023. Submit here https://filmfreeway.com/ccindependentfilmfest .

CCIFF was founded in 2022 to create more inclusive opportunities to screen and view film in the Milwaukee area. Our festival specifically aims to feature makers of all backgrounds and levels of experience. Cactus Club Independent Film Fest accepts a diverse range of submissions, celebrating low budget independent films, new and returning makers and material of any genre.

Video Series

Goals of the series:

  • Highlight visionary multi-genre artists through interview and live footage
  • Collaborate with emerging filmmakers in an effort to connect Milwaukee-based multimedia arts communities
  • Convey a snapshot in time of the featured artists’ unique story

Why:

  • Archive, document, capture the breadth of innovative, forward-facing artistry that graces the Cactus Club stage and extend access of that to newer, larger international audiences
  • Illuminate and humanize the stories of contemporary, working musicians
  • Connect interdisciplinary artists locally and globally, but especially locally. The Milwaukee arts scene can be very siloed by medium and we believe this is an exciting initiative to bring intergenerational, multimedia artists to produce together

Visit the official Cactus Club Vimeo channel for more content.

Beet Street Fall Harvest Festival

In 2016 Cactus Club, Palomino and Goodkind, organized a neighborhood block party to celebrate food and music, and to give a platform to citywide community organizations. Rain or shine, Beet Street takes place the second Saturday of October from noon-6p. The family-friendly celebration takes over the block of S. Wentworth Ave. between Potter (Goodkind) and Russell (Cactus). Bay View Historical Society, abolitionists, high school art clubs, environmental justice organizers, voter registrants, and LGBTQ+ resources all have a presence. We uplift the intersections of art and movement building.

We welcome musicians from around the world to perform. Memorable Beet Street sets include Sessa, OSHUN, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Fat Tony, Congo Gospel Music Band, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, La Goony Chonga, Snõõper, Kaina, Pixel Grip and Ric Wilson.

There is a punk rock rummage sale, maker market, face painting, a juried pie contest “The Great Midwestern Pie Championship” at Palomino, a photo booth, a music video showcase that screens in the live room of the club, and delicious seasonal refreshments and libations.

Beet Street is made possible by our extraordinary sponsors: Milwaukee Record, 91.7 WMSE, Educator’s Credit Union, Pabst Brewing, Seedlip, Copper&Kings, Heaven Hill Distillery

Save the date: Beet Street 2024 • Saturday, October 5 from 2-7p (after-party to follow)

Cactus Book Club

Cactus Book Club (CBC) aims to bring people together to discuss ideas, highlight the work of our community partners, and promote local independent bookstores. We meet on the first Wednesday of the month from 5:30-7:30 in the back room at Cactus Club (or on the patio, weather permitting). Each month a different business, community organization, collective, or band chooses the book and recommended bookseller and leads the discussion. We read fiction and non-fiction, with a focus on works by women, LGBTQ+, POC, and/or otherwise under-published groups. You don’t have to finish reading the book to attend. All book club meetings are free. No registration required. 18+.

Contact Kelly@CactusClubMilwaukee.com with questions or suggestions

Booksellers & distributors we’ve worked with:

A Room of One’s Own / roomofonesown.com
Boswell Book Company / boswellbooks.com
HER Publisher / HERpublisher.com
La Revo Books / larevobooks.com
Lion’s Tooth / LionsToothMke.com
Niche Book Bar / findyournichemke.com
Milwaukee Liberation Center /mkeliberationcenter.org
Milwaukee Public Library / mpl.org
The Bookseller (within Mke Public Library) / supportmpl.org/bookseller
Verso Books / versobooks.com
Woodland Pattern Book Center / woodlandpattern.org

Books we’ve read & groups we’ve partnered with in the past:
(Our upcoming book clubs are listed on the main ‘Events’ page)

December 1, 2021 – led by Lion’s Tooth
Book: We Will Not Cancel Us: And Other Dreams of Transformative Justice by Adrienne Maree Brown

March 2, 2022 – led by Milwaukee Freedom Fund
Book: Carceral Con: The Deceptive Terrain of Criminal Justice Reform by Kay Whitlock & Nancy Heitzeg

April 6, 2022 – led by La Revo Books
Book: Too Happy to be Sad Girl: Surviving Sadness, Ditching Anxiety, & Learning to Thrive by Angel Aviles

May 4, 2022 – led by Hope Praxis Collective
Book: I Hope We Chose Love: A Trans Girls Notes from the End of the World by Kai Cheng Thom

June 1, 2022 – led by Tool Shed
Book: Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski.

July 6, 2022 – led by Autumn Farm Sanctuary
Book: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

August 3, 2022 – led by The Daily Bird & Milwaukee Overdose Prevention
Book: Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction by Maia Szalavitz. CBC included an opioid overdose prevention training. Free Narcan nasal spray was given to all attendees.

September 7, 2022 – led by the Milwaukee Public Library in celebration of Banned Books Week
Book: Saga: Book One by Brian K Vaughan (writer) & Fiona Staples (illustrator).

October 5, 2022 –  led by the Women’s Medical Fund (WMF)
Book: Handbook for a Post-Roe America: The Complete Guide to Abortion Legality, Access, & Practical Support (2021 edition) by Robin Marty

November 2, 2022 – led by African American Roundtable
Book: No More Police: A Case for Abolition by Andrea Ritchie and Mariame Kaba

December 7, 2022 – led by BESTD Sexual Health Clinic in (belated) honor of World AIDS Day
Book: My Government Means to Kill Me: A Novel by Rasheed Newson

January 4, 2023 – led by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), Milwaukee chapter
Book: Socialist Reconstruction: A Better Future for the United States (authored collectively)

February 1, 2023 – led by the Cathedral Center emergency shelter
Book: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

March 1, 2023 – led by the Wisconsin Humane Society
Book: Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson

April 5, 2023 – led by the Hmong American Women’s Association (HAWA)
Book: dejsiab: from my liver to yours by Mai Neng Vang

May 3, 2023 – led by the Milwaukee Newspaper Guild
Book: News for All the People: the Epic Story of Race and the American Media by Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres

June 7, 2023 – led by Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP)
Book: A History of Milwaukee Drag: Seven Generations of Glamor by Michail Takach and B.J. Daniels

July 5, 2023 – led by the Milwaukee Riverkeepers
Book: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

August 2, 2023 – led by Girls Rock MKE
Book: Trust Kids! Stories on Youth Autonomy and Confronting Adult Supremacy edited by carla joy bergman

September 6, 2023 – led by the Riverwest Co-op
Book: Grocery Story: the Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants by Jon Steinman

October 4, 2023 – led by Rethinking Schools in celebration of Banned Books Week 
Book: Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

November 1, 2023 – led by Food Not Bombs – Milwaukee
Book: Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next) by Dean Spade

December 6, 2023 – led by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin
Book: Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

January 3, 2024 – led by FitPOWER
Book: The Antiracist Business Book: An Equity Centered Approach to Work, Wealth, and Leadership by Trudi Lebron

Ableton User Group Milwaukee Meet-Ups

The local chapter of the Ableton User Group here in Milwaukee meets semi-regularly for free, informative events on Saturday afternoons. The Ableton User Group Milwaukee is for all interested Ableton Live users based in (or visiting) Milwaukee. All levels are welcome.

The aim of the Group is to help Live users network and share information and experience in an informal environment with each other. The meetings are to allow all participants to suggest discussion themes related to Ableton Live, as well as to provide a forum for presenting their own work.

All Ableton Live users are invited to provide ideas and suggestions for discussions.

Find out more at the Ableton.com website or their official Facebook group.

Sign up for the Ableton User Group Milwaukee Mailing List run by Cactus Club.

Digital Dream

As the flagship project of the club’s deepest pandemic era, the Digital Dream series was born out of both necessity and passion. As it became clear that the 2020 lockdown was of unknowable length and had fully toppled the year of live music, we knew we had to get creative. The series was conceptualized by Kelsey Kaufmann and Max Segovia over the phone, curated and produced by Max, and the venture was brought to life by the technical expertise of Kenneth Tarek Sabbar. Featuring intimate and often adventurous live or pre-recorded sets from 60+ artists nationwide, the project exists as an audio/visual time capsule of sorts. A snapshot of a moment in time where musicians, venues, the entire industry just wanted the show to go on. And it did.

Visit the official Cactus Club Vimeo channel for more content.

Additional Cactus+ Programming

  • Accessibility Initiative
  • Free Swim Sundays & Artist Markets
  • Youth-centered industry internships
  • On-site art installations & map 
  • Much more to come

Interested in Cactus+ Programming? Get in touch.

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