Editor’s note: Cues From Katy is a list of events entertainment reporter Katy Macek thinks are worth checking out this weekend.
1. Sounds Like Summer: Waldemar, Nici Peper and Savannah Smith (6 to 8 p.m. today Phoenix Park, 330 Riverfront Terrace): It’s back, it’s back, it’s back!
This is, at least in my opinion, the most important part of summers, making Thursdays the most delightful day of the work week.
Check out three talented musical groups and enjoy food and drinks from local vendors, all while seated in the summer glory of Phoenix Park.
2. Christine Hitt’s “Magical Kite” CD release party (8 p.m. Friday at The Oxbow Hotel, 516 Galloway St. $8 in advance, $10 day of show): Chatting with critically-acclaimed jazz pianist and vocalist Hitt last month about her new CD was just as magical as listening to her music. I recommend you do both at this pre-release party.
Hitt is an instructor for the Eau Claire Music School and travels around the country performing and teaching jazz vocals. “Magical Kite” was produced by Eau Claire native and Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer.
Two of her sons also recorded on the album, making this all the more special for Hitt.
3. Creating Public Murals: Panel Discussion (3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at The Oxbow Hotel gallery, 516 Galloway St.): Perhaps you’ve heard about the Chicago-based artist reimagining a blank wall of a building in downtown Eau Claire, or maybe you’ve already driven by and seen that wall — the Eau Claire Printing Co. building at Galloway and North Farwell streets — being transformed into a vibrant, colorful masterpiece.
Well, if you come to this discussion, you can talk to that artist, Molly Zakrajsek (who goes by Molly Z.), and hear her and a panel of local art leaders discuss creating large-scale murals in a community.
She will be joined by Artisan Forge Studios owner Greg Johnson and 200 Main Gallery operator Jo Ellen Burke.
4. Ani DiFranco with Haley Heynderickx (7:30 p.m. Friday at The State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire St. $35 to $55. eauclairearts.com): DiFranco has produced 20 albums since she created her own label in 1990.
“Binary” gives this iconic singer and activist an even bigger voice on the global platform, with a set of songs that tackle everything from teaching non-violence and compassion to making connections with one another.
She’s alternately soft and pure while being blunt and honest. Whether you’ve followed along on her journey or recently discovered her music like myself, you’ll want to be a part of this night, a stop on her “Rise Up” tour.
5. Cinder City Days (events run today through Sunday, mostly at Cinder City Park, 2300 Spooner Ave., Altoona. cindercitydays.com): This annual event has become a summer staple for many families, and with good reason.
This mini-festival has live entertainment and plenty of activities ranging from a fun run/walk, dart and softball tournaments, carnival rides, a pancake breakfast, rides and so much more throughout its four-day run.
Many of the events are located at Cinder City Park, but this year they are also including the new River Prairie Park amphitheater for a Saturday night concert featuring Diamond Rio (separate ticketing).
This will be the first performance at the amphitheater and should be a good kickoff for the park.
— Katy Macek