Madison embarks on a new season of arts, music, words, and more this week. The calendar includes: a series of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations; book readings by Christian Lander and Johnny Weir; a Mad Toast Live featuring Purgatory Hill; and, more live music from The Big Strong Men, Leaders of Men, Dale Watson, Flame Shark, and Skrillex.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BIRTHDAY (OBSERVED)
NOTEWORTHY: Gary Gilmore executed in Utah, 1977.
The city, county and state pay homage to Martin Luther King's civil rights dream. Gov. Scott Walker and scholar/author Michelle Alexander speak at the state's tribute (Capitol Rotunda, noon). The city-county program (Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 6 pm) includes a keynote by Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Georgia. The Dr. King awards are presented, too, and a community choir performs.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
This fun-loving Minneapolis quartet can probably play just about any genre given their topnotch chops, but expect a set laced with honky-tonk keys, Paul Bunyan-sized hooks and a rock-infused nod to Simon & Garfunkel. With Ida Jo & the Show and the Nod.
NOTEWORTHY: Lisa Marie Presley files for divorce from Michael Jackson, 1996.
High Noon Saloon, 6 pm
Proletariat-proud post-punks United Sons of Toil are preparing a new album for this spring and a European tour for this summer. Help them raise funds for these efforts by watching them pay tribute to Joy Division at this happy-hour show.
Borders Books West, 7 pm
The proprietor of the arch blog Stuff White People Like discusses his new book, Whiter Shades of Pale. It is also about white people.
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
This week, the popular local podcast and live variety show will host Purgatory Hill, a collaboration between two flouters of capitalization rules: Steel Bridge Songfest cofounder and Timbuk3 costar pAt mAcdonald and Milwaukee singer, songwriter and cellist melaniejane. Expect less cello than usual and more maracas, plus keys, tambourines and a cool little instrument made out of a cigar box, three guitar strings, two poles and one bass string.
Barnes & Noble-West Towne, 8 pm
The flamboyant figure skater arrives to tout his new memoir, Welcome to My World, in which he reveals that he is gay. It is the most shocking development since Ricky Martin revealed he is gay.
BIRTHDAYS: Motels vocalist Martha Davis, 1951.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Even as Nashville continues to churn out forgettable country-pop, this silver-haired Texas honky-tonker keeps the faith with twangy tunes about traditional country themes like drinkin', cheatin' and truck-drivin'. With Earl Foss and the Brown Derby.
NOTEWORTHY: Iran frees 52 American hostages after 444 days, 1981.
BIRTHDAYS: Visionary filmmaker David Lynch, 1946; TV comedian Bill Maher, 1956.
Frequency, 9 pm
This Chicago band with Madison roots blends Southern rock, Americana and a bit of blues filtered through a Jagger swagger. Check out the group's new album, Farm Life, at this show and sample one of its songs, "A Fossil," in a MadTracks review. With Trapper Schoepp & the Shades, Jeremiah Nelson and Ghost Town Council.
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
The former frontman of L.A. post-hardcore fave From First to Last has been flexing his electronica muscles as Skrillex since 2007. Fresh off a tour with Deadmau5, he's just released an EP called Scary Spirits and Nice Sprites, whose aggressive-yet-catchy melodies and dips into dubstep have trend-spotters cranking up their iPods and saluting the new year.