Badger Homecoming Parade
State Street, 5 pm
You can express your hatred of Indiana and your love of the color red at parade featuring floats and prizes, followed by a 7 pm pep rally and fireworks at the UW Memorial Union.
The Spill Canvas
Loft in the Lussier Teen Center, 7 pm
Nick Thomas and his emo-shaded alt-rock band vigorously transmit the pain of youth.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church West, 7 pm
Madison's kid-oriented hip-hop group celebrates the release of Keep It Movin', a DVD that features their positive message and energizing dancing.
Pelléas et Mélisande
UW Music Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday (3 pm) & Tuesday (7:30 pm), Oct. 28 & 30
The University Opera presents Claude Debussy's ethereal opera about a tragic love triangle. Brace yourself for erotic obsession.
Westgate Art Cinemas, 7:30 & 9:45 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (7:30 & 9:45 pm), Oct. 25 & 27
The UW grad broke into the standup-comedy big time with his Tonight Show appearances in the 1980s, and he's still a major talent. Expect a night of polished observational humor.
The Complete History of America (abridged)
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 7:30 pm), Sunday (2 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Oct. 27, 28 & Nov. 1
Madison Theatre Guild performs the Reduced Shakespeare Company's comic romp, which skewers American history with fast-paced sketches and audience interaction.
First Congregational Church, 7:30 pm
The local chamber ensemble features 15 composers having a significant anniversary in 2007 -- an eclectic group that includes Stravinsky, Scarlatti and Sousa.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
Having survived the halcyon days of nu-metal, Chicago's Dope push on with a metal-meets-industrial-music style that's perfect for whiplash-inducing thrashing.
Global Drum Project
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 8 pm. Pre-show community drum circle: Overture Hall Lobby, 6:30 pm
Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart leads this world-music ensemble, an ecstatic tribute to rhythm.
Alliant Energy Center Coliseum, 8 pm
The motormouthed Kanye West associate spits out the syllables atop one of the Coliseum's rare hip-hop bills. Paul Wall and T-Trell will also perform.
King Club, 9 pm
The city's leading funk warriors celebrate a new CD with help from Saboroso.
Captured By Robots
Annex, 9:30 pm
Man-machine J-Bot and his android creations turn their attention to President Bush's many transgressions in a new musical presentation entitled "Dubya." Talk about fright night!
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Now working as a duo, MCs Phonte and Big Pooh roll into town fresh from a well-received appearance at the CMJ Festival and toting the just released Getback.
The Death of Fashion
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
The Context clothing store gets into the Halloween spirit with a night of horror and fashion. The mood music comes courtesy of DJ Nick Nice.
Madison New Play Festival
Overture Center's Playhouse
Now in its fifth year, the Madison Repertory Theatre's festival has achieved some notable successes in developing nationally produced plays. The final day features two staged readings: James Still's Interpreting William (2 pm), about a history professor who begins to conflate his own life with that of the frontiersman he's studying; and Kaite O'Reilly's The Almond and the Seahorse (7 pm), in which five people search for a way to survive the effects of brain trauma.
State Street, gates open at 7 pm
The city fences off State Street for an evening of live entertainment, an alternative (we hope) to riots and pepper spray. A cheap ticket buys you three stages' worth of bands, plus all the costumes you can ogle.
The Capitol Steps
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 8 pm
The political satirists are former congressional staffers who specialize in putting topical lyrics to popular songs. Just think of all the juicy material they've had to work with since their last Madison show.
Rock 'n' Roll Spooktacular
Wonders Pub, 8 pm
It's a big week for cover acts, tributes and parody bands. Disco rangers VO5, the Murder Primates and the Sigourney Weavers play dress-up in this benefit for the Atwood Community Center.
Cealed Kasket and Mr. Brownstone
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Visually aware metallions Cealed Kasket worship all things medieval. They join forces with a Guns 'N Roses cover act for a high-decibel night of sonic witchcraft.
Honor Among Thieves
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
The muscular blues-rockers pump up the volume for their annual Halloween costume party.
A Room of One's Own, 2 pm
The local author reads from The Sword-Edged Blonde, a combination fantasy/mystery in which a private investigator gets mixed up with royals and deities.
Opera Up Close
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 4 pm
Brush up on your Puccini as Madison Opera previews its upcoming La Bohème with a multimedia presentation.
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
Nickel Creek's popular genre-blending never erased their bluegrass roots, and that's a credit to their understanding of how far traditions could be stretched and updated. This is their farewell tour, and they deserve a big sendoff.
Majestic Theatre, 7:30 pm
The much-honored guitarist started in jazz, but he has a way with everything from American folk to oozing ambient sounds. He fronts a neo-string trio.
Annex, 7:30 pm
On the brand new Country Mouse, City House, Rouse expands on more '70s influences and demonstrates why he continues to stand out in a crowded field of American singer-songwriters. Maria Taylor opens.
Del tha Funkee Homosapien
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The underground hip-hop veteran is touring his first new album since the beginning of the decade. Devin the Dude, the Coughee Brothaz, Bukue One and Junk Science open.