The autumn arts season is in full swing with both theater and music. The calendar includes: the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival; a screening of Hot Coffee with director Susan Saladoff; standup by Tim Minchin; productions of Big Top Opera and Z-Town: The Zombie Musical; Kids in the Rotunda with Figureheads; performances by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, Deva Premal and Miten with Manose, Ancora String Quartet, and Shantala; and, more live music from Girls, Anna Vogelzang, Pert' Near Sandstone, Cap Alan, Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps, Zeds Dead, The Besnard Lakes, and The Wood Brothers.
NOTEWORTHY: Mozart's opera The Magic Flute premieres, 1791.
Frequency, 5 pm. Also on Library Mall Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 1 & 2, noon
No, pot advocates aren't always mellow, especially when they're pushing for legalization. The annual celebration of phat nugz features a fundraiser on Friday, speakers and music on Saturday, and a march up State Street on Sunday.
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 7 pm
The filmmaker screens her HBO documentary Hot Coffee, about tort reform. Make sure that lid's on tight.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm
The storied English ensemble, which turned 40 this year, performs music of Brahms, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn.
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 1, 2:30 & 7:30 pm
The scrappy local musical group brings an irreverent sensibility to opera, and for proof of that look no further than tonight's program, Big Top Opera. It brings together music and circus acts -- a strong man, a fire breather, that sort of thing.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
This evening of New Age sounds features the vocals of German-born, classically trained Premal, who intones Sanskrit mantras to Miten's guitar accompaniment. They're joined by Nepalese flutist Manose.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 1, 8 pm
There's zombie Jane Austen parodies and zombie Scott Walker protests, so a zombie musical was starting to seem inevitable. Madison Performance Collective and Out!Cast Theatre bring you this original show about the undead and their singing.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The San Francisco indie-rock duo just released their sophomore LP -- Father, Son, Holy Ghost -- into a top-50 slot on the Billboard 200 and nearly broke the Pitchfork website by earning such a high score on its ratings-o-meter. Learn more about the album in this week's Tour Stop. With Papa and Nobunny.
Frequency, 9 pm
The Madison singer-songwriter makes music that's high on diverse instrumentation, original melodies and unusual lyrics. Tonight she celebrates her new album, Canary in a Coal Mine. With Katie Powderly, Savannah Smith and Count This Penny.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The string band from the Twin Cities tickles fans' eardrums with splashes of bluegrass, old-timey harmonies and lots of energetic, dance-friendly melodies. With SweetGrass.
NOTEWORTHY: Walt Disney World opens, 1971.
Overture Center's Rotunda Stage, 9:30 & 11 am, 1 pm
Overture's tyke-centric program kicks off its season with the hip-hop group the Figureheads, whose positive tunes are about topics like stretching and going to sleep.
First Unitarian Society, 7:30 pm
The meetinghouse's resident foursome performs Grieg's String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 27, and Beethoven's String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1.
Project Lodge, 7 pm
Fans of experimental music, rejoice: All Tiny Creatures' Andrew Fitzpatrick and Czarbles' Jeff Sauer have teamed up to melt some faces and blow some minds as Cap Alan. With Shedding and Golden Donna.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The Australian comic, he of the wild ginger hair and Alice Cooper-inflected eye makeup, stops by for an evening of gags and funny songs.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
Based in Minneapolis, Smith has perfected her sparkling folk-pop inside steamy bars on bone-chilling winter nights. She also snagged Cloud Cult's drummer for her backing band, lending her guitar-and-banjo compositions a bit of indie-rock edge. See how this pairing sounds live. With Dead Man Winter.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm
Named to the Chicago Tribune's 11 Bands to Watch in 2011 list, this soulful Chicago octet blend Motown roots with punk sensibilities as they lament love gone wrong. Expect to hear at least a few tunes from their recently released debut EP, Not for Sleepin'. With the Shabelles and the Arkoffs.
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
DC and Hooks -- a.k.a. Zeds Dead -- transform their sprawling record collection into EDM and dubstep that make the dance floor sizzle. In the past, they've put their club-tastic spin on songs by Radiohead, the Rolling Stones and Sublime, but don't be surprised if they kick out some jams that reference two of their biggest fans, Bassnectar and Diplo.
NOTEWORTHY: Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts debuts, 1950.
Center for Conscious Living, 7:30 pm
Chant along with this internationally touring Kirtan group, which honors Hindu gods and explores more worldly mantras as well.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Besnard Lakes' studio recordings have been compared to those of Phil Spector and the Beach Boys, and indie-scene bloggers have referenced Broken Social Scene when describing the Montreal band's psych-spiced rock. Write your own description at this show. With Malajube.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Chris Wood of Medeski Martin & Wood fame joins his brother Oliver, bluesman Tinsley Ellis' former backup guitarist, to explore the highways and byways of the Americana scene. Take in their latest discoveries at this low-key seated show. With Clay Cook.