Madison staves off the winter blues this weekend with the Lake Home & Cabin Show, Folk Ball Festival, and Monster Truck Nationals, and keeps up its support for good causes with Bookless, Good for the Goodman, and another Project Lodge benefit. The calendar also includes: the opening of the Inside at Night: Origins of an Uprising gallery show; productions of Galileo Galilei and John McGivern's The Wonder Bread Years; Fire Ball Masquerade IV; performances by Blue Man Group and Samba 1 Brazilian Dance Group; a book reading by Sara Paretsky; the Winter Dubtacular; and, more live music from the Chris Greene Quartet, Cribshitter, Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble, Greensky Bluegrass, Parenthetical Girls with Los Campesinos!, and Willy Porter.
NOTEWORTHY: Michael Jackson's hair catches fire during production of Pepsi commercial, 1987.
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 2-8 pm. Also Saturday (10 am-6 pm) & Sunday (10 am-4 pm), Jan. 28 & 29
Summer can't come soon enough, especially if you're the lucky owner, or would-be owner, of your own cabin getaway. Meet scores of vendors who can help you finance, decorate, remodel and otherwise make perfect your cozy haven.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 5 pm
Led by Chicago sax man Chris Greene, who has collaborated with Common, Sheena Easton and the Mighty Blue Kings, this four-piece lures fans of hip-hop, R&B and rock to its vibrant fusions of jazz, funk and soul.
Tamarack Studio & Gallery, through April 28
Images by nine photographers document the 17 days protesters occupied the Capitol early last year. Tonight's opening reception (5-9 p.m.) features drumming, an open mike, and talks by The Progressive's Matt Rothschild and The Capital Times' John Nichols, among others.
UW Memorial Union, through Jan. 29
The folk extravaganza includes three dance parties on Friday, with live music (7:30 pm); workshops on Saturday (10 am-5 pm) and Sunday (10 am-3 pm); and the blowout Folk Ball Dance Party on Saturday (Great Hall, 7 pm), with music by Reptile Palace Orchestra, Orkestar Bez Ime and more.
Alliant Energy Center's Coliseum, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (1 pm), Jan. 28 & 29
Sometimes you just want to watch big trucks jumpin' over stuff and smashin' stuff. Now's your chance. A press release says of one of the vehicles, Star Marshall, "This new truck is a good truck with a bad attitude." We have no doubt.
Overture Hall, 8 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 8 pm) & Sunday (1 & 6:30 pm), Jan. 28 & 29
Who knew slipping on blue latex head-mask thingies, making funny faces and pounding around on every available surface would lead to world domination? Frankly, these blue guys are probably not the exact same ones you saw in, say, Vegas, but they'll be just as entertaining.
Overture Center's Playhouse, 8 pm. Also Thursday (8 pm) & Saturday (8 pm), Jan. 26 & 28
Madison Opera presents Philip Glass' 2002 work, which begins with the embattled astronomer as an old man and ends with him as a child, watching an opera composed by his father. Tenor William Joyner sings the title role.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Dub and reggae jams, island-themed drink specials and Jamaican eats transform the downtown venue into a tropical getaway. Pacific Dub melds straight-ahead reggae with Cali-style rock, while Tomorrows Bad Seeds stage an over-the-top production filled with breakdancing, punk riffs and dub-influenced beats. Passafire, the event's other headliner, lace their laid-back grooves with synthesizer solos and hints of harmonica. With Tropical Riddims Sound System.
Dragonfly Lounge, 9:30 pm
The local musical miscreants perform selections from their new album, Methlehem, which brims with 29 fun-filled tracks about cheese, beer, hippies, casinos and, of course, puppy mills. With Fambly Fun.
NOTEWORTHY: Space shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after launch, 1986.
Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St., 10 am-2 pm, 7 pm-1 am
Here's one last chance to visit the downtown public library, which has been emptied out for renovations. Families can enjoy a painting wall and other activities during the daytime hours. Come evening, the stacks host a dance party, with music by Pushmi-Pullyu, Hello Death, Lovely Socialite and Lonesome Savages.
Olbrich Gardens, 10:30 am & 1:30 pm
Here in Wisconsin, January means winter doldrums. So it's an excellent time to check out a performance by Chicago-based Samba 1 Brazilian Dance Group. If their lively movement and colorful costumes don't warm you up, nothing will.
Goodman Community Center, 4 & 7 pm. Also Sunday, Jan. 29, 2 pm
Mazomanie's Wild Rumpus Circus hosts this benefit extravaganza of aerial movement, clowns, juggling, unicycles and other outlandish entertainments. Proceeds benefit the Goodman's new scholarship fund devoted to circus arts.
Brink Lounge, 8 pm
Guest violinist Randal Harrison, percussionist Jim Huwe, and the ghost of gypsy-swing trailblazer Django Reinhardt help the band fete the release of a new DVD, Live at Sinnissippi Park, during a concert filled with European folk medleys, vintage jazz and romantic Parisian waltzes.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
Beloved Milwaukee actor and humorist John McGivern performs his take on growing up as one of six kids in a Brew City Irish Catholic family.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
As locals don their most daring finery, sizzling music and sexy moves set the High Noon's stage alight. Burlesque babes such as Miss Tamale and Sable Sin Cyr share the bill with fire breathers, belly dancers and death-defying escape artists. The lineup includes aerialist Tom Hill, spark shooter Miss Ammunition, the Marvelous Unspeaking Troupe of Entertaining Scoundrels and local caburlesque troupe Foxy Veronica's Peach Pies, among others.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
In addition to sporting some notable dobro chops, this tour-frenzied five-piece wows audiences with its storytelling skills, which fuel heartfelt mountain ballads and wild hootenanny stomps. With Strange Arrangement.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
The experimental-pop darlings of Parenthetical Girls highlight selections from their recent spate of 12-inch releases, which have earned kudos from the critics at The Los Angeles Times and the bloggers at Drowned in Sound. Welsh indie popsters Los Campesinos! continue their quest to shed their twee image with Hello Sadness, a dark new album.
NOTEWORTHY: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson are first players inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame, 1936.
A Room of One's Own, 2 pm
The crime writer, famous for her V.I. Warshawski novels, talks about her latest mystery, Breakdown. In this one, Warshawski investigates a horrible discovery made by the daughters of powerful Chicagoans.
High Noon Saloon, 7:30 pm
Venus in Furs' dance-friendly surf-punk helps raise money for one of the city's tiniest but most vital venues for up-and-coming musicians. Between bands, local funnymen Chris Lay and David Leon buoy spirits with a comedy showcase. With Sinking Suns, Dharma Dogs and the Faith Hills Have Eyes.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The Milwaukee-based musician's guitar skills have earned comparisons to those of Leo Kottke, and his songwriting prowess has landed his tunes on AAA radio stations across the country. Get to know his latest tunes at this performance. With the Mealies.