Madison Marimba Quartet
Christmas Eve and Day celebrations abound in Madison this weekend, complete with Holiday Fantasy in lights at Olin Park, the Madison Ballet production of The Nutcracker, and a Yuletide edition of Piano Fondue at Scatz. The day after Christmas brings art exhibits that include the Clayton Brothers and Shirin Neshat at MMoCA, Handmade Meaning at the James Watrous Gallery, and Hidden Treasures at the Chazen; the Madison Comic Book Convention; a performance by the Madison Marimba Quartet; a Community Kwanzaa Celebration; and, a homecoming show by F. Stokes.
NOTEWORTHY: Madison temperature plunges to -28, 1872.
BIRTHDAYS: Motorhead bassist Lemmy, 1945; toothy broadcaster Ryan Seacrest, 1974.
Olin Park, through Jan. 2
The holiday-themed light sculptures are a Madison tradition, and they're courtesy of American Transmission Company, the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 159. See 'em while you still can.
Overture Hall, 1 pm. Also Sunday, Dec. 26, 2 pm
For Tchaikovsky's yuletide classic, Madison Ballet assembles its largest cast, some 165 dancers. The staging is lavish and colorful, with solid dancing from company members and students, and cute little kids aplenty. It is this version's innovation that Clara is portrayed by both child and adult performers.
NOTEWORTHY: Glasnost/Perestroika architect Mikhail Gorbachev announces resignation as Soviet president, 1991.
BIRTHDAYS: New Wave/Post Wave chanteuse Annie Lennox, 1954; Pogues singer-songwriter-guitarist Shane MacGowan, 1957.
Scatz Sports Bar & Nightclub, Middleton, 8 pm
The team of Christopher Lange and Joshua Dupont tickle the ivories of matching baby grands and belt out tunes by the likes of Elton John, Patti LaBelle and Sir Mix-A-Lot. A request process whereby audience members use tips to veto one another's requests is too complicated to explain here.
NOTEWORTHY: Tsunami inundates Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and other countries, killing 225,000, 2004.
BIRTHDAYS: Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, 1963; actor Jared Leto, 1972.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Jan. 2
MMoCA presents the first major museum exhibition devoted to Christian and Rob Clayton, the Colorado-bred Gen-Xers whose work shows the influence of skateboard culture, punk rock and underground comics. Mostly paintings, the show also features three of the brothers' vivid mixed-media installations.
James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy, Overture Center, through Feb. 6
This show gathers craft items by Victorian-era Wisconsinites -- fine embroidery, that sort of thing -- along with works by people in today's DIY craft movement and contemporary artists who draw on craft techniques.
Chazen Museum of Art, through Feb. 27
Get a close-up look at about 40 illuminated manuscripts from the ninth to the 16th centuries -- bibles, liturgical texts, etc. Trust us, they're not the same on a Kindle.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through March 6
This video installation by Iranian artist Neshat combines, on two screens, projected images of chador-clad women (ululating, walking on a beach) and men in Western dress (fighting, waving from a turret). Timing is critical to the work's strange, hypnotic effect.
Howard Johnson Hotel, 10 am-4 pm
Graphic-novel nerds and casual comic fans of all ages can get their freak on at this confab, which features the wares of dealers from near and far. You also can try to dump that stack of moldering funny books your kid left behind when he went to college. Just make sure there's not an Action Comics No. 1 in there.
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 1 pm
The ensemble presents its annual free concert for local citizens starved for entertainment in the cultural wasteland between Christmas and New Year's. It's fun for the whole family, with a range of classical, jazz and holiday music.
Olbrich Gardens, 3 pm
Commence the festival of Umoja, Kujichagulia and all the rest with dancing, drumming and singing. The featured guest is Madison poet laureate Fabu Carter Brisco.
Frequency, 9 pm
The hip-hop word artist has been busy lately, performing a kid-friendly rap about vegetable growing for Super Sproutz, a new Disney TV and web project that teaches kids about healthy eating. He's also returning to Madison to film an episode of 30 Minute Music Hour for Wisconsin Public Television. Come see if he does his veggie rap for fans at the Frequency. With Vinnie Toma, Legendary Jackson, the Half and Radish.