Madison will be hopping with more than a few parties this spring weekend, starting with Breakin' the Law, Lakeshorepalooza, and the Mifflin Street Block Party. The calendar also includes: talks by E. Benjamin Skinner, poets from Love Over 60, Kristin Thompson, and Sara Feldner; ATHF Live and performances by Bill Blagg III and the UW Choral Union and Symphony Orchestra; the Mary Lou Williams Birthday Concert; and, more live music by Steel Magnolia, Dirty Talk, Jarrod Gorbel, David Davis & the Warrior River Boys, Mr. Gnome, The Crickets, and Chris Pureka.
NOTEWORTHY: Saigon falls as last helicopter leaves U.S. embassy, 1975.
BIRTHDAYS: Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/guitarist/Farm Aider Willie Nelson, 1933; actress Kirsten Dunst, 1982.
UW Social Sciences Building, room 8417, 8:45 am-4 pm
This daylong symposium looks at the toll of human trafficking and other horrors. The capper is the keynote address (Ebling Symposium Center, Microbial Sciences Building, 4:30 pm) by Madison native E. Benjamin Skinner, whose prizewinning book A Crime So Monstrous documents slavery in Haiti, Sudan and elsewhere.
Cole Beach (Observatory Drive at Linden Drive), 5 pm
The 2010 Lakeshorepalooza party shines the spotlight on Lake Michigan's shores -- as well Lake Mendota's -- by inviting Maritime, the Milwaukee-based pop-and-rock project of the Promise Ring's Davey von Bohlen and Dan Didier, as well as the Dismemberment Plan's Eric Axelson. With My Gold Mask and the Goodnight Loving.
The highlight of this four-day international breakdancing festival is the dance competition at Monona Terrace on Friday (6 p.m.-midnight) and Saturday (3-10 pm), April 30 and May 1, in categories including popping, locking and freestyle.
A Room of One's Own, 6:30 pm
Numerous Madison poets -- Robin Chapman, Jeri McCormick, Margaret Benbow, Lenore McComas Coberly, Alice D'Alessio, more -- contributed to the new anthology Love Over 60: An Anthology of Women's Poems. Tonight the celebrate the release with readings.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7 pm
The young magician aims to give David Copperfield a run for his money with a snazzy theatrical presentation. He's been known to make audience members disappear, so keep a close eye on your kids.
Majestic Theatre, 7 pm
The winners of Can You Duet's second season broke the top 10 on Billboard's country chart last year with their single "Keep on Lovin' You," which was also featured on the soundtrack of the star-studded romantic comedy Valentine's Day. See what other tunes they've got up their sleeves -- maybe a cover of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," which they performed at the Grand Ole Opry -- at this free show. With Pat Watters.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Dave Willis and Dana Snyder, creators of Cartoon Network's cult late-night series, perform songs and comedy from the show and share clips. Stoners: It's bound to be even funnier in person.
Inferno, 9 pm
James Amato, who made a name for himself in Milwaukee's rave scene of the 1990s before becoming the music and booking director at Chicago's SmartBar in 2006, teams up with local DJs Max ohM, Wyatt Agard and Just.One.Duran for a night of dirty house music and other sounds from the underground.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
The vocalist from indie-rock band the Honorary Title is forging ahead as a solo artist, sharing a new EP, Ten Years Older, with bars and college campuses across the country. If it doesn't make its way onto the set list, be sure to request his cover of Alicia Keys' "No One," which rivals -- and possibly bests -- the original with sweetness and soul.
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
Hippies have conquered bluegrass, but people like mandolinist Davis, of Cullman, Ala., are keeping the genre's old-school traditions alive, including smart hats and neckties.
Frequency, 10 pm
The melancholy indie-rock pair have found lots of fans among the legions of Cat Power devotees, but those who like Land of Talk and Portishead are likely to appreciate their dark, emotional melodies as well. With Underculture, Perverse Engineer and Kentucky Beltfight.
MAY DAY/INTERNATIONAL LABOR DAY
BIRTHDAYS: Filmmaker Wes Anderson, 1969.
400-500 blocks of Mifflin Street
The annual party began as a political rite back in the Vietnam era and is now just an excuse to have fun. Nothing wrong with that, as long as everyone behaves. Innovations this year include live music and the sobriety tent. Just kidding about the sobriety tent.
4070 UW Vilas Hall, 9 am-5 pm
This daylong academic colloquium, called "Movies, Media and Methods," honors film historian and UW Honorary Fellow Thompson, whose books include The Frodo Franchise and the standard textbook Film Art, which she wrote with husband David Bordwell. Thompson lectures at 4 p.m., and the Ernst Lubitsch film Design for Living screens at 7:30 p.m.
Orange Tree Imports, 1 pm
The local author discusses A Cook's Journey to Japan, about Japanese home cooking. Need a recipe for leek miso soup? She's got one.
Farley's House of Pianos, 7 pm
It's a big weekend at the cozy west-side haven for classical music. Soprano Buck sings tonight; pianist Raffi Besalyan performs on Sunday, May 2, at 4 p.m. Farley's is an overlooked treasure; see Music, to learn more.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
After losing Buddy Holly, their front man, in a tragic plane crash in 1959, the Crickets kept going, but the soul of American rock 'n' roll was never quite the same. These days, Holly's childhood friend Sonny Curtis does the vocals -- and revives the spirit of that era -- as the band performs fan favorites like "Peggy Sue," "Maybe Baby" and "That'll Be the Day."
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 8 pm. Also Sunday, May 2, 7:30 pm
The combined units give the deluxe treatment to Beethoven's "Missa solemnis," an unusual but great work by the master.
NOTEWORTHY: Marla Maples & The Donald announce their separation, 1997.
BIRTHDAYS: Actress Christine Baranski, 1952.
Promenade Hall, Overture Center, 1:30 pm
Madison received a real treat in 1976 when the trailblazing jazz composer and pianist did a residency at the UW. Williams died in 1981, but local jazz luminaries Richard Davis and Dave Stoler will perform to keep alive her memory and musical contributions, which range from modern symphonies to popular arrangements of big band classics. With UW First Wave poets (see Chris Pureka
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The singer-songwriter cites Ani DiFranco and Peter Mulvey as influences, but she's also been likened to Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin and a young Bruce Springsteen. See if these comparisons are apt by sampling live versions of songs from Pureka's new release, How I Learned to See in the Dark. With Peasant.