The year-end shopping season is already in high gear this weekend with the Holiday Art Fair and Madison Women's Expo. The calendar also includes: a Michael Velliquette & Quan Barry exhibition and the (((clang)))) installation; FACETS ballet, productions of The Cradle Will Rock and Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas, and a new edition of Are We Delicious?; comedy by Stephen Lynch; a performance by the Vienna Boys Choir; the CNTRL: Beyond EDM show with Richie Hawtin; and, more live music from Aimee Mann, Caravan of Thieves, Johnny Foreigner, Collie Buddz, Franz Nicolay, Joe Pug Trio, The Bin Men, John Craigie, Asher Roth, Field Report, Lindsey Buckingham, and Pinback.
NOTEWORTHY: LSD first synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann, 1938.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art & Overture Center, 2:30-8 pm. Also Saturday (10 am-5 pm) & Sunday (10 am-3 pm), Nov. 17 & 18
Here's a chance to buy unique holiday gifts in a unique environment. Over 80 booths feature ceramics, jewelry, paintings, prints and photographs. There will be live performances, a Gourmet Gallery, a Rediscovered Arts & Treasures Sale and a silent auction.
The Stream Gallery, Edgewood College, through Dec. 10. Reception: Thursday, Nov. 15, 5:30-7:30 pm
Local artist Velliquette and local poet Barry collaborate on an exhibition called "Loose Strife," inspired by the Greek playwright Aeschylus.
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Reception: 6:30-8 pm
This interactive exhibition from artist Andrée Valley and musician Nathaniel Bartlett kicks off a series called "Discovery Encounters." Viewers' interactions with two hanging aluminum sculptures will trigger recorded sounds.
Mitchell Theatre, UW Vilas Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (7:30 pm), Sunday (2 pm) & Monday (7:30 pm), Nov. 15, 17-19
The Capitol protests provide a fitting context for University Theatre's production of the pro-union musical satire by Marc Blitzstein -- a work considered too hot to handle when Orson Welles premiered it in 1937. It's about efforts to unionize a town's workers despite the efforts of a greedy businessman.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
Though most of Mann's accomplishments -- including eight studio albums and four recordings with her new-wave band 'Til Tuesday -- are in the musical realm, she's built a solid resume as a comedic performer by appearing as a flustered cleaning woman on Portlandia and a German nihilist in The Big Lebowski.
Lathrop Hall's H'Doubler Performance Space, 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Nov. 15 & 17, 8 pm
The UW Dance Department's Marlene Skog presents this collection of five multimedia ballet works. The collaborative effort combines contemporary movement, spoken word and original music. Isthmus' Katie Reiser calls Skog's work "sexy and strong."
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The self-described "musician trapped in the body of a comedian" is known for his songs mocking daily life and popular culture. He's developed a loyal fan base with his Comedy Central specials, and has just released a new album, LION (see Comedy).
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday, Nov. 17, 8 pm
The local troupe presents a comedy benefit for the Bartell Theatre, joining members of resident companies Madison Theatre Guild, Mercury Players Theatre, StageQ and Strollers Theatre. Let's help keep this Madison treasure in the black.
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
This band adorns Django Reinhardt's gypsy-swing legacy with vaudevillian flourishes and gothic trappings inspired by Tim Burton movies. With PHOX and Bello.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
These indie rockers hail from Birmingham, one of the troubled English towns the Smiths name-check in their 1986 single "Panic." But instead of waxing poetic about urban violence like Morrissey does, they seem to channel the chaos with fast tempos, syncopated vocals and tons of onstage spazziness.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
This Bermuda-raised reggae-fusion artist focuses most of his attention on a small set of topics: love, weed and love of weed. With New Kingston and Los Rakas.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
After five years behind the keyboards with the Hold Steady, Nicolay delved into the production side of the music biz, helping bands such as Pearl & the Beard and the Debutante Hour explore the borders of the folk-pop genre. He'll share songs from Do the Struggle, a new album of his own.
Frequency, 9:30 pm
This group's frontman was a playwright in college, until his interest in country-folk songcraft eclipsed his dilemma about whether to break the fourth wall. See what kind of drama he creates as he plays tunes from his new album, The Great Despiser. With Denison Witmer and Count This Penny.
Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 pm
This local rock band will release their debut EP, which brims with social commentary and references to a mysterious entity known as "the lizard people" (see Music). With Cement Pond and the Mercy Whip.
Alliant Energy Center-Exhibition Hall, 10 am-6 pm. Also Sunday, Nov. 18, 10 am-4 pm Learn about recipes, makeup, clothing and fitness at Brava Magazine's annual event, featuring exhibitors, demonstrations and speakers. Special guests include style maven Brad Goreski of Bravo's It's a Brad Brad World and Rachel and Dave Brown Jr. of The Amazing Race.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 2 & 7 pm. Also Sunday, Nov. 18, 2 pm
Those lovable Lutheran ladies are back, just in time for the holidays. Join them as they celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus with their unique brand of wisdom, gossip and questionable recipes.
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
This Frisco folk artist's shows are as much about storytelling as they are about melodies. You'll be able to catch every word, sung or spoken, in the cozy confines of Mother Fool's. With Andrew Mazur.
Segredo, 9 pm
Raised in a small town by a yoga instructor and a design-firm exec, Roth is living proof that hip-hop has found a loving home in suburbia. Instead of flaunting his bling in the party anthem "I Love College," he brags about getting pizza for just a dollar a slice. With Jesse Marco.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Hawtin, the mastermind behind the '90s electronica project Plastikman, has helped keep Detroit techno relevant in a musical jungle where only the newest beats and technologies tend to survive. See what direction he's taking the genre nowadays, or go simply to dance the night away. With DJs Kevin Saunderson, Ean Golden and Gaiser.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
It's tempting to peg Field Report as yet another Wisconsin indie-folk project trying to ride Bon Iver's coattails to greener pastures. But look past the furrowed brows and requisite beards, and you'll find songs that double as flash-fiction masterpieces. With Cameron McGill & What Army and Dietrich Gosser.
NOTEWORTHY: First push-button telephone goes into service, 1963.
St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Middleton, 7 pm
This globetrotting group of trebles and altos has nurtured many legendary musicians, including composer Franz Schubert. Singers from the current lineup will share classical works by composers such as Bach and Beethoven, followed by songs that commemorate the Christmas season.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
Named one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone, Buckingham's found an ample fan base in his post-Fleetwood Mac life. The set list at this concert will most likely revolve around "Big Love" and other songs from his new solo acoustic album, Lindsey Buckingham: One Man Show, which was recorded in a single take at a show in Des Moines.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Dark, intricate indie pop is this California duo's specialty, as is evading interviewers' questions. Witness their clever retorts in Tour Stop. With Solos.