Holiday Art Fair
Autumn reaches its apogee this pre-Thanksgiving weekend with the Holiday Art Fair and the Madison Women's Expo. The calendar also includes: the "Next Stop Is Vietnam" exhibit at the Wisconsin Vets Museum; shows by the UW Dance faculty and the River North Chicago Dance Company; standup by Red Green; a production of Strega Nona: The Musical; performances by the Wisconsin Chamber Choir, Ronald Leonard & Christopher Taylor, the Madison Bach Musicians, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; the Funk Out Cancer benefit; and, more live music from Terroir Bute, Haley Bonar, Houses in Motion, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, D.R.I., the Mad City Jug Band, Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, The Ike Reilly Assassination, Scott Kirby, and the .357 String Band.
NOTEWORTHY: Jonestown massacre/mass suicide, 1978.
BIRTHDAYS: Dreamy Today Show anchor Ann Curry, 1956; actress Jodie Foster, 1962.
Wisconsin Veterans Museum, Nov. 18-20
This three-day symposium about music of the Vietnam War era features talks and panel discussions by experts including country historian Bill Malone, funky drummer Clyde Stubblefield and many more. The occasion is the German label Bear Family's release of a 13-CD box set about the period. For music lovers, this looks to be a humdinger. See preview.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 5-8 pm. Also Saturday (10 am-5 pm) & Sunday (10 am-3 pm), Nov. 20 & 21
Hear that? It's the sound of pages flying off a calendar as your gift-giving winter holiday of choice rapidly approaches. But don't fret if you're still empty-handed, because artists from these parts and beyond are selling their wares at MMoCA's big sale. There's entertainment by Capitol Chordsmen, Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus, Kanopy Dance and more.
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
The Milwaukee-bred synth-punk band has drawn comparisons to New Wave oddities Devo and hip-hop weirdo Juiceboxxx. Translation: It's likely to transform ProLo into a Friday-night spazz-travaganza.
Trinity Lutheran Church, 7:30 pm
The ensemble performs its fall concert, "O Voluptuous Earth," featuring works by 19th-century composers like Brahms and Parry as well as recent American and Canadian pieces, including the world premiere of Steven Chatman's "Nature's Cry."
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday, Nov. 20, 8 pm
The UW Dance Department is newly a department -- till recently it was the Dance Program -- and there's no better way to celebrate the upgrade than to see tonight's works by UW choreographers Kate Corby, Chris Walker, Jin-Wen Yu, Li Chiao-Ping and others, as well as guest artist in residence Bill Young.
Morphy Hall in the UW Humanities Bldg., 8 pm
The UW School of Music's Guest Artists series wraps up its fall season with a powerhouse duo: Leonard, former principal cellist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the UW's own star pianist, Christopher Taylor. The free concert includes "Prelude" by Emanuel Moór and "Suite for Solo Cello" by Max Reger.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
Minnesotans know Haley Bonar as the folk-rock protégée of slowcore sensation Low, who mentored the singer-songwriter soon after she moved to the Twin Cities for college in 2002. She moved to the rainy streets of Portland, Ore., in 2009, where she's been contributing lots of tunes to MTV's Teen Moms and working on a new album. With Daniel Knox.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Hankering for a live rendition of "Life During Wartime" or "Take Me to the River"? The local Talking Heads tribute will deliver the goods, complete with David Byrne's signature twitch.
BIRTHDAYS: Oft-underdressed actress Bo Derek, 1956; Beastie Boys rapper Mike Diamond, 1965.
Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall, 10 am-4 pm. Also Sunday, Nov. 21, 10 am-4 pm
Brava magazine hosts its annual confab for women, with exhibitors and demonstrations about wellness, beauty, food, recreation and what have you. Don't miss the appearance by 1980s teen icon (and current TV actress) Molly Ringwald, still pretty in pink after all these years.
Frequency, 5 pm
The show may be early, but the Frequency will be rockin' thanks to Brooks and his band, who blend post-punk and soul with spectacular results that range from ferocious rump shakers to heartrending ballads. With JT & the Clouds, the Right Now, Muscle Car and We Are Beatrice. See preview.
Orpheum Theatre, 8 pm
Get your funk on to help cancer research efforts at UW-Madison's Carbone Cancer Center. Two staples of the local funk scene -- Phat Phunktion and Mama Digdown's Brass Band -- share the stage with jazz-organ trio Soulive, who will show off their new, Fab Four-inspired studio album, Rubber Soulive.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Hopefully you've managed to move on since Canada's droll The Red Green Show -- a U.S. public-television staple -- concluded its run some years back. But if you've still got a jones for gags about fishing and home improvement, get your fix from the live version.
Grace Episcopal Church, 8 pm. Also Sunday, Nov. 21, 3:30 pm
The accomplished local ensemble performs three cantatas by J.S. Bach, all written when the composer was in his 20s. What did you accomplish in your 20s?
Overture Hall, 8 pm
Sometimes overlooked amid Windy City powerhouses like Hubbard Street Dance, contemporary dance troupe River North has come into its own under the guidance of artistic director Frank Chaves. The group, whose roots are in jazz, just celebrated its 20th anniversary.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
The thrash-punk forebears have been together longer than most college students have been alive, releasing their debut album, Dirty Rotten LP, and partnering with the Dead Kennedys for the "Rock Against Reagan" tour in 1983. Though guitarist Spike Cassidy's colon cancer diagnosis put the band on hiatus in 2006, he's recently made a full recovery, paving the way for an extra-gritty -- and inspired -- show this weekend. With Systemic Torment and Pyroklast.
La Mestiza, 121 E. Main St., 9 pm
Travel back to the 1920s -- by way of the 1960s -- with this local ensemble featuring a jug, kazoo, washboard, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass and dobro. In addition to traditional jug band music, they'll do a bit of hokum, an especially bawdy style of blues.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
It's hard to decide if Furman and his band should be labeled folk-rock, pop, blues or, on occasion, punk, but it doesn't really matter. Their songs will challenge you and occasionally freak you out -- in a good way. (See Tour Stop). With Pippen and the Choons.
Annex, 9:30 pm
There's more to Libertyville, Ill., than Adlai Stevenson. The Chicago burb also produced Reilly, who has forged a vital brand of punk-inflected Americana, a repertoire complete with songs about growing pot and burning down football stadiums. With Flame Shark and Josh Harty.
BIRTHDAYS: Violent Femme Brian Ritchie, 1960; Icelandic singer/fashion pioneer Bjork Gudmundsdottir, 1965.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 3 pm
The show for kids blends commedia dell'arte techniques as it tells the story -- familiar from the pop-up book -- of a friendly witch who seeks to cure the everyday ills of her small Italian village.
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
Twenty-two years ago Kirby left a career in political consulting for the sleepy seaside rewards of Key West. Since then he's honed his skills writing and singing breezy, folky, island-inflected tunes. Perfect warm-weather music, even in cold weather.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm
The renowned Brew Town crew stop by to play Edvard Grieg's "Suite No. 1 from Peer Gynt," Samuel Barber's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 14, and Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. Music director Edo de Waart conducts.
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
This Milwaukee band call their punked-out version of bluegrass "streetgrass," and with good reason: It's likely to get you dancing in the street after the show or kicked to the curb for getting too rowdy at the bar. With Nellie Wilson & the Hellbound Honeys and the Vultures.