Winter Art Festival
Seasonal spirit in Madison builds steam this weekend with the Winter Art Festival and the opening of Holiday Fantasy in Lights. The calendar also includes: Arenacross at the Coliseum and the "Treasures of the Rainforest" opening at Olbrich; This Is Not America by Kanopy Dance; Ghosts of Christmas Past and The Lamentable Tragedie of Scott Walker by Broom Street Theater; Duck Soup Cinema and the Found Footage Festival; storytelling by Warren Nelson; performances by the MSO; a Guitars for Vets benefit and the Madison Hip-Hop Awards Show; and, more live music from Dobet Gnahoré, Railroad Earth, Darrell Scott, June & Jean Millington, Memoryhouse, Punch Brothers, Paris Swing, Frank Catalano, and Deer Tick.
NOTEWORTHY: Allies & Germans sign World War I Armistice, 1918.
Alliant Energy Center's Coliseum, 7 pm. Also Saturday (7 pm) & Sunday (10 am), Nov. 12 & 13
The men of Arenacross bet you won't be able to resist the spectacle of them racing each other on a bumpy dirt track. Sunday is amateur day, which could be your big opportunity.
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7 & 9 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Nov. 12 & 13
This concert gets its title from Kanopy co-artistic director Robert E. Cleary's political piece, which premiered 12 years ago. Guests Lonny Joseph Gordon and Winifred Haun & Dancers appear in a program that also features co-artistic director Lisa Thurrell's "Partita and Chorales."
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Nov. 12 & 13
Violinist Midori first wowed the classical music world as a tween, debuting with the New York Philharmonic. She'll test her virtuosity on Shostakovich's sometimes demonic Violin Concerto No. 1. Also on the program: Haydn's Symphony No. 104 and Ravel's "La Valse."
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Nov. 12 & 13
The irreverent east-side troupe sinks its teeth into the Yuletide in this collection of Christmas-themed stories.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Show-stopping musicians including Rob Wasserman, Richard Davis, Wally Ingram and Victor Delorenzo celebrate Veterans Day and the local charity Guitars for Vets with blues, jazz, rock and funky rhythms from around the world.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (4 & 8 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Nov. 12 & 13
If you missed Broom Street Theater's summer smash about the ongoing unpleasantness, here's your chance. The "Fakespearean" play examines the aftermath of an Elizabethan-era budget repair bill.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
Blessed with powerful pipes and charismatic stage presence, this singer from the Ivory Coast highlights musical styles from across the African continent, including bikoutsi from Camaroon, high-life from Ghana, rumba from the Congo and ziglibiti from her homeland.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm. Also Thursday, Nov. 10, 9 pm
This progressive bluegrass sextet brings together fans of jam-band noodling and the good old-fashioned instrumentation of Appalachian ensembles.
NOTEWORTHY: Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee elects Yuri Andropov to succeed deceased Soviet ruler Leonid Brezhnev, 1982.
Monona Terrace, 9 am-5 pm. Also Saturday (9 am-5 pm) & Sunday (10 am-4 pm), Nov. 12 & 13
Scores of state artists set up booths and display their wares in this annual extravaganza hosted by the Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople. Kids' activities and music keep the mood warm and inviting.
Olbrich Gardens' Bolz Conservatory, through March 18
The conservatory's new exhibit focuses on the plants of the world's rainforests and the everyday products that are made from them. Opening weekend festivities include a benefit with music and food (Friday, Nov. 11, 6:30 p.m.), a book talk with scientist Meg Lowman (Saturday, Nov. 12, 1:30 pm) and local musician Ken Lonnquist singing "Songs of the Rainforest" (Sunday, Nov. 13, 1 & 3 p.m.)
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 2 & 7 pm
Overture's family-friendly series brings back the old-time vaudeville era with a lively variety show followed by the still-hilarious Harold Lloyd silent film Safety Last, accompanied live on organ.
Olin Park, through Jan. 2
It's not quite the Christmas freakout they do over at the House on the Rock, but the Olin Park light sculptures are a Madison tradition. And it's all courtesy of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 159, so thanks, union members.
Concourse Hotel, 7:30 pm
Nelson releases his book Ballyhoo! Backstage at the Big Top, an account of his years as ringmaster of the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua. His Son Rowan joins him for music and storytelling.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
In addition to being a sought-after session musician in Nashville, Scott belongs to Steve Earle's Bluegrass Dukes band, has collaborated with Randy Travis and Emmylou Harris, and penned songs that the Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill cover.
Loft at Goodman Community Center, 8 pm
The founders of Fanny, the all-girl rock band that preceded the Runaways and the Go-Gos, show off a new album, Play Like a Girl, and at least a few fan favorites from their catalogue (see Music).
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Toast Madison's rappers and beatmakers at the city's second annual hip-hop awards show, which features performances by 9 Delegates and Kyle & Keem.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
Fresh off a CMJ Music Marathon performance and armed with a few new tunes, this pair of Canadian popsters showcase Sub Pop's sparkling rerelease of their Pitchfork-praised 2010 album, The Years. With the Loom and Cat Martino.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
After Nickel Creek called it quits four years ago, mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile launched a quintet of super-skilled string players, including popular session fiddler Gabe Witcher and guitarist Chris Eldridge of the Infamous Stringdusters. Enjoy tunes from their debut, Punch, and their sophomore release, Antifogmatic.
NOTEWORTHY: U.S. premiere of Yellow Submarine, 1968.
Coliseum Bar, 1 pm
Inspired by jazz luminaries like Coleman Hawkins and Django Reinhardt, this band of music vets makes its first Madison appearance during the final concert of the Madison Jazz Society's fall season.
Brink Lounge, 3:30 pm
The irresistible saxophonist mixes modern jazz with accessible beats in the monthly "Jazz on a Sunday" series.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Though many call it an indie folk band with a touch of blues, this group has earned comparisons to indie-rock legends such as Modest Mouse and alt-country trailblazers like Uncle Tupelo. Celebrate its brand-new LP, Divine Providence, and perhaps a Kurt Cobain song from its tribute-act side project, Deervana. With Guards and Thomas Hardy.
Orpheum Theatre, 8 pm
Former Stoughtonites Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, now veteran writers with comedy outlets like The Colbert Report and The Onion, stop by with another touring show of laughably awful video footage. This installment features guests from Found Magazine, which gathers random notes people pick up off the ground.