Atlas Improv Company shows, which rely on audience participation and judging, draw everybody in the house into a night of innovative, unpredictable theater. Launched six years ago when the performers at Comedysportz Madison broke off to form a new company, Atlas is dedicated to exploring the boundaries of improv and then colonizing everything beyond those boundaries. The group's approach emphasizes storytelling over traditional improv rules and time limits, resulting in richer narratives, deeper character development, and a unique blend of traditional theater and modern improv, like a pizza topped with iPhones.
Madison's experiential comedy show takes place at the eastside Glass Nickel Pizza Company on Atwood Avenue and begins at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.). The Monkey Business Institute features no sets, props, or scripts, which allows the hilarious ensemble to craft improv hilarity off the spur of their cufflinks. With decades of improvisational cosmonaut experience and interactive audience participation, each show is distinct and spontaneous. This simian comedy collective features improvisers such as Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda, who have received more than 70 million YouTube hits for viral video sensations such as "Chad Vader." Keep a third eye peeled for other local favorites Brad Knight, Jason Stephens, Sheila Robertson, and more.
Madison's is an aptly named establishment dedicated to crafting a casual, comfy, and classic atmosphere full of good vibes and tasty comestibles. Sate burgeoning grumbles with upscale appetizers like coconut shrimp ($11) and goat-cheese crostini with caramelized onions ($9.75), or keep it classic with a helping of savory cheese curds ($7.75). Bask in the extensive menu en route to exquisite entrees by nibbling on portabella-and-prosciutto flatbread ($10.50), a flavor-packed barbecue-chicken-ranch salad ($8.75), or savory sandwiches such as the six-ounce grilled yellowfin ($13.50) or the bacon, guacamole, and pepper-jacked Isthmus burger ($9). The hearty entrees are as strapping and enjoyable as a forest jaunt atop Paul Bunyan's shoulders, and come in classically refined shapes like the 6-ounce tenderloin filet ($20), served with mashed potatoes, or the salmon piccata ($16), laid atop a bed of wild rice and drizzled in a white-wine cream sauce and capers.
Groundbreaking Canadian chanteuse K.D. Lang has always been ahead of her time. During the late '80s, while country music was busy trying on rock 'n' roll britches, K.D. moseyed in with a voice as pure as a Mountie's heart, giving honky-tonk purity back to the airwaves while curing the cowgirl blues. Her striking stage presence and ability to lasso Patsy Cline’s poltergeist with her herculean larynx led to multiple Grammy awards, and her sound branched out into lush pop territories in hits such as “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine.” With the support of her first backing band in 23 years, Siss Boom Bang, K.D. yowls and purrs with grace and intensity through a live set of twangy barnburners and heart-tugging torch songs in support of her latest album, Sing it Loud. From comfy and wide lumbar-supported seats, fans savor the majesty and opulence of Overture Hall, where the exemplary acoustics allow K.D.’s unmistakable voice to reverberate like whale calls through the Grand Canyon.
Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.
Jade Monkey's menu has a martini, iced tea, mojito, classic or specialty cocktail, hard-hitting spirit, or craft, imported, or domestic beer to appease any esophagus. Chase the bubbly Rosie Palmer, a champagne cocktail with PAMA pomegranate liqueur and champagne ($4), with a red-headed slut specialty shot ($3) to jumpstart a sultry summer-night romance. For hops and froth enthusiasts, Jade Monkey's eight on-tap brews (including Ale Asylum Hopalicious, Bell's Seasonal, and New Glarus Spotted Cow) complement a hearty list of craft brews, domestics, and imports. Because an ice-cream truck's jingle only hypnotizes children and stray dogs, adults sweeten hot days with Jade Monkey's ice-cream drinks such as the grasshopper, a creamy whirl of crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and ice cream ($7). Classic cocktails such as the mint julep ($6) are available along with signature creations such as the Dog Sled, a sweet and tart pour featuring Captain Morgan, Southern Comfort, orange juice, and pineapple juice ($4).