Popular Television Star and Legendary Hip Hop DJ to Headline 2023 Festival Events

MILWAUKEE – Monday, July 10, 2023 – Milwaukee Film is thrilled to unveil the headlining events for the highly anticipated 2023 Cultures & Communities Festival, scheduled for October 5 to 12.

This eight-day extravaganza celebrating diverse artistic and cultural expressions will feature renowned actress Janelle James, known for her standout performance as Ava Coleman in the acclaimed television series Abbott Elementary. James, a seasoned comedian who has shared the stage with comedy legends Chris Rock and Amy Schumer, will perform a special 45-minute comedy set at The Pabst Theatre followed by a 15-minute audience Q&A session. A part of her Newly Famous Comedy Tour, this exclusive performance offers a captivating glimpse into James’ life and blossoming career.

In addition to James’ comedy show, the festival’s Opening Night Party features another headline national act. The pioneering DJ Spinderella, celebrated for her role as one-third of the iconic Hip-Hop trio Salt-N-Pepa, will perform alongside a stellar lineup of DJs featuring Doc B, Homer Blow, and Lo Lo, taking attendees on a journey through the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Hosted by Dame Ellzey and Element Everest-Blanks, the atmosphere will be electrifying as these talented DJs spin the most iconic tracks from these decades, creating a nostalgic and energetic experience for everyone.

Geraud Blanks, the Chief Innovation Officer for Milwaukee Film, expressed his excitement, saying, “this is the fifth Cultures & Communities Festival, and each year we look forward to making it bigger and better. Whenever I tell someone we’re bringing Janelle James or DJ Spinderella to town, their face lights up, making me think we’re on the right track.”

The Cultures & Communities Opening Night Party kicks off the eight days of festivities on Thursday, October 5, at The Cooperage (822 S. Water St.), while Janelle James will grace the stage of the historic Pabst Theatre (144 E Wells St.) on Sunday, October 8.

Stay tuned for more premium events, including a sneaker & streetwear expo and a closing night concert, which will be announced soon. The highly anticipated film lineup for the Festival will be revealed in September. For more information about the 2023 Cultures & Communities Festival and to purchase tickets for the Janelle James show or Opening Night events, please visit

About The Cultures & Communities Festival
Guided by principles of cultural inclusivity, The 2023 Cultures & Communities Festival, October 5th – 12th, is an eight-day convergence of groundbreaking films, distinguished speakers, and public forums designed to amplify diverse cultural expressions and celebrate community, convening multicultural, intergenerational audiences across southeastern Wisconsin through engaging events and compelling public conversations.

Offering a wide range of artistic and cultural experiences that promote collective expressions of joy, Cultures & Communities provides access to curated social spaces and platforms that support inclusive artistic and cultural creativity. Festival programming is then informed by the simple notion that when people feel a sense of belonging, they actively dismantle entrenched barriers that prohibit authentic interaction.


Find more press releases HERE.