Midwest Horse Fair
Alliant Energy Center, 7 am-10 pm. Also Saturday (7 am-10 pm) & Sunday (7 am-5 pm), April 19 & 20
Saddle up for three days' worth of equine events. The animals will be stunning, as will be the aroma.
Climate Change Is Local
April 18-19, UW Pyle Center
Zoology professor John J. Magnuson kicks off the free series on climate change with a 7 pm lecture called "Global Climate Change in Wisconsin."
A Streetcar Named Desire
Mitchell Theatre in UW Vilas Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Wednesday & Thursday, April 19, 23 & 24, 7:30 pm
University Theatre presents Tennessee Williams' classic story of Blanche DuBois, the sensitive Southern belle tormented by her brutish brother-in-law in New Orleans.
UW Varsity Band
Kohl Center, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, April 17 & 19, 7:30 pm
Mike Leckrone's band stirs the Badger faithful with help from funky tubist Nat McIntosh and trumpeter Mark Pender from the Conan O'Brien show's band.
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Overture Center's Capitol Theatre, 8 pm
In the season finale, accomplished American pianist Anne-Marie McDermott takes on Shostakovich's "Piano Concerto No.1 in C Minor." The WCO also performs Milhaud's jazzy "La Création du Monde" and Bizet's "Symphony No. 1."
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 8 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 8 pm) & Sunday (2 & 7 pm), April 19 & 20
A touring company presents the funny, poignant, perceptive musical, which knocked 'em dead on Broadway. It explores the human drama -- and hilarity -- of a provincial spelling bee.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Austin's Gourds are a twangy Americana institution back home in Texas, and with good reason: They're smart and fun-lovin', and their hick-hop cover of Snoop's "Gin and Juice" still kills. The Patrick Sweeney Band opens.
Club 770 in UW Union South, 9:30 pm
At this point, the smooth-voiced, thought-provoking MK Ultra alum is an indie-rock staple. Last year's Emerald City found him combining political subjects like the Iraq war with more personal material.
Dane County Farmers' Market
Capitol Square, 6 am-2 pm. Also Wednesday, April 23, Martin Luther King Blvd., 8:30 am-2 pm
The season kickoff. Live is worth living again.
Chazen Museum of Art, through June 29. Prof. Jill H. Casid lecture: Tuesday, April 22, 7 pm
The Chazen gets into the big-top spirit with two new shows. "Ringmaster: Judy Onofrio and the Art of the Circus" exhibits Onofrio's life-size sculptures next to the objects from Circus World Museum that have inspired her. "Harry A. Atwell, Circus Photographer" features black-and-white images from the circus' golden age.
Wisconsin Spring Football Game
Camp Randall Stadium, 1 pm
Here's your first chance to see some smashing action from this year's Badgers. Before the game, you can meet coaches and athletes at the Wisconsin Sports Kids Fair (McClain Center, 11 am-1 pm).
Mike Konopacki & Paul Buhle
Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, 2 pm
Here's a chance to hear Madison cartoonist Konopacki and scholar Buhle, who collaborated with historian Howard Zinn on a graphic version of his famed A People's History of the United States. Called A People's History of the American Empire, it offers a progressive take on events ranging from Wounded Knee to 9/11.
Pro Arte Quartet
Mills Hall in the UW Humanities Bldg., 5:30 pm, Also Sunday, April 20, Chazen Museum of Art, 12:30 pm
The UW's venerable ensemble digs into three string quartets: Tchaikovsky's F Major, Op. 22; Mendelssohn's E Minor, Op. 44, No. 2; and Boccherini's C Major, Op. 22, No. 4.
Brink Lounge, 6:30 pm
The artful jazz singer came up in Madison and then carved out a national-caliber career for herself, recording her album Tangled on the Blue Note label. She performs in a benefit for Prairie Music Academy.
Parts & Labor
Club 770 in UW Union South, 9:30 pm
The unexpected combination of oddball synth work, frantic drumming and earnest stentorian vocals makes the Brooklyn noise merchants one of the more original experimental acts around.