Revel in one of Madison's most exciting weekends of the year, overflowing with springtime fun that includes Midwest Horse Fair, Odyssey Con 12, the culmination of the Wisconsin Film Festival, a Ben Masel Day concert, the Dane County Farmers' Market season opener, Record Store Day, Isthmus Green Day, Busking for Books, and the grand opening of the new Aldo Leopold Nature Center. Looking for more activities? The calendar also includes: the opening of the Spark & Flame glass exhibit at the Chazen; productions of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, An Evening with Groucho, and Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays; performances by the UW Varsity Band, UW Choral Union & Chamber Orchestra, Oakwood Chamber Players, Pro Arte Quartet, and the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble; and, more live music from Sepultura, Kimya Dawson, White Denim, Nina Ferraro, Sara Bareilles, Future Rock, John Eddie, Jason Reeves, Cowboy Junkies, Devin the Dude, and Acid Mothers Temple. Have fun!
Alliant Energy Center, through April 22
Saddle up for three days' worth of equine events. The animals will be stunning, as will be the aroma.
Radisson, through April 22
The science-fiction and fantasy convention features panel discussions, gaming and music. The guests of honor are legendary author Larry Niven, screenwriter Steven Barnes and game designer Kenneth Hite.
The annual movie-lovers' confab runs through April 22 and features the usual staggering array of films foreign and domestic, scripted and documentary. Visit Spark & Flame: 50 Years of Art Glass & UW-Madison
Chazen Museum of Art, through Aug. 5
This show commemorates the 50th anniversary of the UW's studio glass program. Much of the exhibit focuses on the work of Harvey Littleton, who founded the program, and the rest gathers works from more than 100 artists (reception, 6:30-8 pm).
UW Vilas Hall's Mitchell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, April 21, 7:30 pm University Theatre presents Shakespeare's early comedy, which follows the romantic misadventures of two friends. This production is directed by American Players Theatre stalwart Kenneth Albers.
Kohl Center, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, April 19 & 21, 7:30 pm
Mike Leckrone's band stirs the Badger faithful with a celebration of the 1970s. The guest, onetime Duke of Hazzard Tom Wopat, knows something about the 1970s.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Local bands Steez, the Grasshoppers and Baghdad Scuba Review couldn't have picked a better date to honor the life and cause of Madison's marijuana activist and First Amendment defender, who died nearly a year ago. Proceeds go to Madison NORML, which is saving up for a headstone for his grave.
Overture Hall, 8 pm
The combined units give the deluxe treatment to Verdi's Requiem. Because the piece is so gigantic, this annual concert is presented for the first time in the big downtown concert venue.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
Though many diehard fans of Brazilian metal still clamor for the distinctive growl of original singer Max Cavalera, Derrick Green has honed an appealing snarl over the past 15 years. Watch the band channel its characteristic tribal vibe at this show. With Death Angel, Krisiun and Havok.
UW Union South's Sett, 9 pm
In recent years, this lo-fi songstress and Moldy Peaches member has started a family, released a children's album and expanded her musical clan by collaborating with folks like Ben Kweller and They Might Be Giants.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
This quartet of indie rockers are frequently described as experimental, thanks to their knack for complex loops and unusual song structures. Onstage, they emit spastic energy. With Hundred Visions and Porcelain Raft.
NOTEWORTHY: Rome est., 753 B.C.
Capitol Square, 6 am-2 pm
The season kickoff. Spring has now officially sprung.
Declare your devotion to record stores, the people who work at them and the music they sell with festivities citywide. Live musicians and DJs do their thing all day at Exclusive Company, MadCity Music Exchange and Strictly Discs.
Monona Terrace, 9 am-5 pm
Isthmus' event is a one-stop shop for all your needs relating to sustainable living, with booths on health, gardening, transportation, etc. You can also attend breakout sessions and check out speakers including a keynote by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.
State Street, 11 am-1 pm
Twenty-five local music acts take their tunes to the street and raise money for the Literacy Network. The event begins at State and Lake, where the 18-member Black Star Drum Line will greet passersby with hip-hop rhythms. Toward the Capitol, visitors can marvel at db pedersen's throat-singing talents and the bluegrass of the Oak Street Ramblers (see Music).
Aldo Leopold Nature Center, 11 am-3 pm
The Monona educational facility fetes its new $5 million expansion, which features exhibits like "Global Warming: Facts & Our Future." Celebrate with music, presentations and more.
Oakwood Village-University Woods Auditorium, 7 pm. Also UW Arboretum Visitor Center, Sunday, April 22, 1:30 pm
The local ensemble concludes its season with a nature-themed program commemorating Earth Day. There's music by Dvorak, Beethoven and Carter Pann.
Redamte Coffee House, 7:30 pm
Though she's still in high school, this Chicago-based indie-folk artist writes all of her own material and records it with musicians and producers who've worked with Michelle Branch, Bob Dylan and Billy Joel. With Tony Memmel.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm
This Grammy nominee and Sing-Off judge has cultivated a huge following since her single "Love Song" topped Billboard in 2007. Marinate in her mesmerizing vocals and ivory-ticklings as she performs with a full band. With Anna Vogelzang.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
The spirit of the great comedian Groucho Marx, star of vaudeville, film and broadcasting, is kept alive by actor Frank Ferrante in this one-man show. Groucho always knew the secret woid.
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 8 pm
The UW quartet's centennial season concludes with this performance of John Harbison's new String Quartet No. 5, which has 10 short movements that the audience will hear as one. Music by Haydn and Cesar Franck completes the program.
Gates of Heaven Synagogue, 8 pm
Chamber music of the 17th and 18th century is the watchword as members of this local ensemble use period instruments to play compositions by Bach, Abel, Monteverdi and Monteclair.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
These Chicagoans meld dance-rock and progressive house with synthesizers and more synthesizers. With the Coop.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
In the 1970s, this folk rocker cut his teeth in New Jersey, where he performed with Bruce Springsteen and recruited E Street Band members for his self-titled debut, which spawned the 1986 hit "Jungle Boy." Eddie's new album, Same Old Brand New Me, hit stores in February.
Rathskeller at UW Memorial Union, 9:30 pm
Though he's best known for his collaborations with fellow singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat, Reeves' solo projects are radio-friendly gems as well. With Anais Mitchell and Cuddle Magic.
NOTEWORTHY: First Earth Day observed, 1970.
Overture Center's Playhouse, 7 pm
Forward Theater Company presents a reading of nine short plays about gay marriage, including works by Mo Gaffney, Neil LaBute and Paul Rudnick.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Though they're often labeled an alt-country band, Cowboy Junkies sound like they were raised by the Velvet Underground. Fueled by ethereal vocals, hazy guitars and a super-slow tempo, their cover of "Sweet Jane" rivals the original.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Though he's technically an underground hip-hop artist, even The New York Times has recognized his talents, dubbing him "a brilliant oddball with a spaced-out flow." With Coughee Brothaz, North, Tefman and DJ Vilas Park Sniper.
Frequency, 9 pm
These Japanese psych-rockers are masters of improvisation, crafting wild and wondrous soundscapes from drone, world music and good old-fashioned space rock (see Tour Stop). With the Phantom Family and Halo.