Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall, 9 am-6 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Sept. 13 & 15, 9 am-6 pm
Quilt Expo is gaining a reputation as a major Midwestern event. It features diverse quilts from across the U.S., along with lectures, workshops, presentations and vendors.
World Music Festival
Sept. 13-15, UW Memorial Union Terrace and Union Theater
The free festival offers an appealing lineup of international acts, featuring both traditionalists and updaters. Highlights include the New York Gypsy All-Stars, the Huong Thanh & Nguyen Le Quintet, Puerto Plata, Dobet Gnahore, Estrella Acosta, the Dhoad Gypsies and Louis Mhlanga.
Tune It Up
Orpheum Theatre, 7 pm
This benefit for UW cancer research won't lack for spirit. It features the fresh young things of the UW Marching Band and the UW a cappella groups Tangled Up in Blue and the MadHatters.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
The Milwaukee-bred troubadour is biking from gig to gig on his current tour, so don't blame him if he stops to take an extra breath on some of his warm, soul-massaging originals. Chris Pureka opens.
Food for Thought Festival
Friday Night Forum: Room 125 Agriculture Hall, 1450 Linden Dr., 7:30 pm. Festival: Saturday, Martin Luther King Blvd., 8 am-1:30 pm
The annual festival focuses on healthy and sustainable (not to mention pleasurable) eating. This year's theme, "Rediscovering Our Regional Food Traditions," should provoke thoughtful comments from chefs Leah Caplan and Dan Barber at the Friday Night Forum. Saturday's event includes exhibitors, a recipe contest, speakers, cooking demos, kids' activities, music and, of course, yummy food.
Reefer Madness: The Musical
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Sept. 13 & 15, 8 pm
Mercury Players Theatre presents the campy Broadway show based on the infamous old propaganda film, in which nice kids go bad after a few puffs of demon weed.
Stephanie Jutt & Christopher Taylor
Mills Hall in the UW Humanities Bldg., 8 pm
For their first collaboration, the UW's Jutt (flute) and Taylor (piano) delve into variations, including works by Schubert, Walter Gieseking and Robert Beaser.
Barrymore Theatre, 9 pm
Preferring word games to braggadocio, the offstream MC swings and rumbles with a sparkle in his bulging eyes. The preposterously verbose linguist just birthed his first new album in four years, and the indie kids couldn't be happier. His collaborators Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz will also be in attendance. The Octopus Project and Blockhead with DJ Signify open.
King Club, 9 pm
Sounding a little like a latter-day Blue Cheer, the Arge cram an eight-pack of detonative guitar rock into their fine new CD. Beloved instrumental ghoulies Knuckel Drager and the Arkoffs help 'em celebrate its release.
Kids in the Rotunda
Overture Center Rotunda, 9:30 am, 11 am & 1 pm
Overture's free series continues with The Mystery of the Missing Word by TAPIT/new works. Featuring a tap-dancing detective, it's a fully staged play that promotes reading.
Berghoff & Blues Festival
Green County Fairgrounds in Monroe, 11 am-9 pm
Harmonica legend James Cotton, one of Muddy Waters' great sidemen, heads up this alfresco celebration of the blues out in the verdant Wisconsin countryside. Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band, Sharon Lewis & the Delmark All Stars, slide guitar dynamo Sonny Landreth and New Legends of Blues All Stars are all scheduled to appear.
Festival de Independencia de Mexico
Warner Park, 11 am onward. Also Sunday, Sept. 16, 11:45 am onward
Come celebrate Mexico's independence day with food, folk dance, music and, what the heck, more food. Viva Mexico is a similar celebration at Alliant Energy Center's Willow Island on Sunday, Sept. 16 (11 am-9 pm).
Willy Street Fair
800-1000 blocks of Williamson Street, 2-9 pm. Also Sunday, Sept. 16, 11 am-7 pm
Madison wouldn't be Madison without Williamson Street, and September wouldn't be September without the eccentric Willy Street Fair. It features a parade (Sunday, 11 am), scores of vendors, tons of bubbles, and entertainment by the Kissers, Honor Among Thieves, Pupy Costello, Truly Remarkable Loon, Know Boundaries and many others.
Barnes & Noble West, 2 pm
Diaz is getting rave reviews for his new novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He'll read from his linguistic tour de force, the story of an ill-starred Dominican-American.
Ancora String Quartet
First Unitarian Society, 7:30 pm
Ancora came on strong last year as the First Unitarian Society's String Quartet in Residence. They open their second season with works by Haydn, Schumann and Hugo Wolf.
Martha Fischer & Bill Lutes
Mills Hall in the UW Humanities Bldg., 8 pm
Fingers fly as the UW's husband-and-wife piano team play four-hand works by Schumann and Brahms.
B-Side Players and Salvador Santana
Annex, 8 pm
Win or lose, Badger and Citadel fans will have plenty to cheer about when global funk and reggae warriors B-Side Players and Carlos Santana's similarly inclined kid, keyboard-stroking fusioneer Salvador, start grooving. Cipes & the People also appear at this free post-game party.
The Sea & Cake
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The pop act that post-rockers once swore by, Chicago's reanimated Sea and Cake boast an all-star lineup and a set of breezy new material that benefits from some crafty arrangements. (See Tour Stop on page 21.) The Zincs open.
Midwest Blues All-Stars
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
Blues harp powerhouse Jimmy Davis gives the all-stars' raucous, scuffling material all the juice it needs. Even committed wallflowers will be getting up to dance.
West Market Street Stompers
Coliseum Bar, 2 pm
The Louisville, Ky., outfit do indeed stomp in the traditional Dixieland manner, but their repertoire stretches into later jazz styles as well.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Annex, 8 pm
BRMC's drawled vocals, cynical lyrics and cyclical guitar figures have a timelessness about them -- and an emptiness, too. Their 2007 release, Baby 81, finds them gunning their iron horses deep into the darkness. Simple Kid opens. Black-leather-jacket pick of the week.