The year-end season of shopping and good cheer kicks off with the Madison Holiday Market, Wisconsin Beer Expo, and Pie Palooza. But this weekend is also replete with arts and music, including: the opening of The Hanga Traditions exhibit at the Chazen; productions of The Intergalactic Nemesis, The Farnsworth Invention, Eugene Onegin, and The Good Doctor; a screening of Gremlins with director Joe Dante; stand-up by Bill Burr and Bob Saget; performances by Geoffrey Keezer, the Festival Choir of Madison, the UW Chamber Orchestra with Caroline Goulding; the Video Games Live show with the Wisconsin Pops Orchestra; and, more live music from the Blind Boys of Alabama, Lotus, Big Sean, Star Slinger, Cash Box Kings with Joel Paterson, Ray Davies, and Medeski Martin & Wood.
NOTEWORTHY: Barack Obama wins 53% of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes to become first African American elected U.S. president, 2008.
Alliant Energy Center, 1-8 pm. Also Saturday (10 am-5 pm) & Sunday (10 am-4 pm), Nov. 5 & 6 The holiday season is upon us -- ulp -- and that means it's time for frantic shopping. Get it over with early at this event, which features vendors selling everything from crafts to cookware to pottery.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7 pm
This extravaganza is being presented as part of Overture's "Outside the Box" series, which seems about right. It uses voice actors and more than 350 comic-book slides to generate a live-action graphic novel.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
Formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, this gospel group has performed at the White House, civil rights marches and concert venues around the world, racking up five Grammys along the way. Their latest album, Take the High Road, teams gospel and country with some help from special guests such as Willie Nelson and Vince Gill. With Sara and Sean Watkins.
Overture Center's Playhouse, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Nov. 3, 5 & 6
Forward Theater launches its third season with a production of TV legend Aaron Sorkin's play about the early days of television (see Theater).
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The brash comedian, a Massachusetts native, has an HBO special under his belt, as well as numerous appearances on radio broadcasts like The Bob and Tom Show and The Opie and Anthony Show.
Overture Hall, 8 pm. Also Sunday, Nov. 6, 2:30 pm
Madison Opera kicks off its season with this 1879 work, which Tchaikovsky based on Pushkin's verse novel. It's about a country girl and the emotionally unavailable man she loves (see Music). It's a Madison Opera debut.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (4 pm), Nov. 3, 5 & 6
Strollers Theatre's latest production is a 1973 Neil Simon comedy, a series of vignettes inspired by Chekhov. There are laughs about sneezing and dentistry, and there also is a little music.
Promenade Hall at Overture Center, 8 pm
This Eau Claire native and jazz pianist extraordinaire joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers during his first year at the Berklee College of Music. His Grammy-nominated 2009 album, Áurea showcases Afro-Peruvian jazz, and Mill Creek Road, a new release with guitarist Peter Sprague, explores acoustic jazz and traditional music from India.
Orpheum Theatre, 8 pm
Everyone knows comedian Saget from family-friendly TV fare like Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos, but in vehicles like the filthy documentary The Aristocrats and the pay-cable sitcom Entourage, he works really, really blue. So which is the real Saget? Maybe he's a little of both.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm. Also Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 pm
Though Lotus began as a Phish-inspired jam outfit 12 years ago, the band found their voice when they began adding electronic sounds influenced by Air, Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk. Check out their new, self-titled album at this show or at Saturday night's encore performance. With DJ Solo (Friday only) and Keys N Krates.
UW Union South's Marquee, 9:30 pm
The veteran Hollywood director is here to present a screening of his signature 1984 comedy-fantasy-horror release about maniacal little critters that take over a town.
NOTEWORTHY: Shirley Chisholm becomes first African American woman elected to U.S. House of Reps, 1968.
Chazen Museum of Art, through Jan. 15
This show, drawn from the Chazen's collection, looks at competing styles of Japanese printmaking as they developed in the first half of the last century.
Alliant Energy Center, 1-5 pm and 6-10 pm
Presented in two four-hour sessions, this tasting festival offers sampler sizes from over 40 breweries, serving 100+ craft beers. Expect harvest ales, Oktoberfest styles and pumpkin-spiked seasonals.
First Baptist Church, 7:30 pm
The members of the choral group blend their voices in a program called Things That Go Bump in the Night. On the program: Hugo Distler's "Totentanzm," R. Murray Schager's "Epitaph for Moonlight" and Jaako Mäntayärvi's "Four Shakespeare Songs."
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm
With the university ensemble, violin phenom Goulding plays Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin in E minor, Op. 64. Also on the program: Benjamin Britten's "Sinfonietta" and Beethoven's Second Symphony.
Alliant Energy Center's Coliseum, 7:30 pm
The invention of video-game composer Tommy Tallarico, this multimedia spectacle features performances of Nintendo and Atari tunes by the Wisconsin Pops Orchestra and choir, plus videos and interactive surprises throughout the show. Show up at 6 p.m. for a pre-concert costume contest and Guitar Hero showdown.
Orpheum Theatre, 8 pm
A Kanye West discovery, this rapper released his debut, Finally Famous, in June. The release's title was fortuitous. The album shot to number three, and singles featuring West, Chris Brown and others hung around the charts. With Cyhi the Prynce, Shawn Chrystopher, Kyle & Keem.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
Dubbed the best new act of the year by The Guardian, this English hip-hop producer crafts insanely clever beats and blends soul samples with psychedelia. With Shlohmo and Shigeto.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm
The Madison-originated bluesmen and their Chicago-based comrade Joel Paterson will swathe the Willy Street watering hole in song to welcome a new album by their larger-than-life vocalist, Oscar Wilson.
NOTEWORTHY: U.N. condemns Apartheid in South Africa, 1962.
Goodman Community Center, 9:30 am-1:30 pm
Local farmers and chefs put together a brunch with a huge selection of sweet and savory pies. Participants include L'Etoile, Harvest, Lombardino's, Hubbard Avenue Diner, Fresco, Crema Café and Roman Candle. Proceeds benefit REAP, the nonprofit that promotes a healthy and sustainable local food system. The event is (literally) a slice of heaven.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
The front man of the Kinks and the songwriter behind classics such as "A Well Respected Man" and "Tired of Waiting for You" will share old-school crowd-pleasers and songs from his latest solo album, See My Friends. With The 88.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Though they've cultivated quite a following among Allman Brothers aficionados, this three-man band represents the jazz world as well, peppering their sets with post-bop, fusion tunes and lots of experimentation. Toast their 20th anniversary -- and their new song collection, 20 -- at this concert.