Cactus+

For years Cactus Club has gone above and beyond the conventions of a music venue to serve and support many communities. Cactus+ is our effort to formalize and broaden the reach of these initiatives.

In Fall 2022 we applied for 501(c)3 status to make Cactus+ an arts and education nonprofit. We are launching this to create sustainable programming, broaden the scope of our educational outreach, and transform the accessibility of the space.

Goals of Cactus+

  • Arts Education
    • Youth-centered industry assistantships: 
      • guest curation, sound engineering, graphic design, filmmaking/videography  
    • Empowering intergenerational workshops at the nexus of:
      • audio engineering, film, grant writing, history, human rights, music, solar energy and sustainability
    • Safe(r) space – socially + physically
      • accessibility improvements: add ramp to front door + bathroom addition 
      • outreach and training for artists, staff, patrons, communities locally and afar on safe(r) space practices

The page below highlights a handful of projects and partnerships that have been in motion predating the formation of Cactus+: video series, street festivals, audio production meetups & more. This site is a work-in-progress as we forecast our priorities for the year ahead.

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

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 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 2023 • Saturday, October 7 from 2-8p (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
La Revo Books / larevobooks.com
Lion’s Tooth / LionsToothMke.com
Niche Book Bar / findyournichemke.com
Milwaukee Public Library / mpl.org
The Bookseller (within Mke Public Library) / supportmpl.org/bookseller

Past Bookclubs:

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

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

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

August 3, 2022 – discussion 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 – discussion led by the Milwaukee Public Library in honor 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

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.

SV Presents

Opened in 2018, Sleeping Village is a prominent music venue in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago. While shuttered due to the pandemic, Sleeping Village and Cactus Club connected through the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). Sleeping Village’s Kyle LaValley invited Kelsey to sit on a panel about adventurous/non-standard venue merchandise. The two realized that they shared many intersecting interests and excitedly discussed collaboratively presenting shows. The partnership has added a uniquely robust element to the ever-expanding bridge between creative communities in Chicago and Milwaukee. 

Sleeping Village’s first show at Cactus Club was in August 2021. Both groups look forward to many on and off-site productions in the years ahead.

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

 

  • Sunday Artist Markets
  • Youth-centered industry internships
  • On-site art installations & map – more details coming soon