Ariodante at UW Music Hall
Here is this week's critics' choice calendar. Downtown Madison Family Halloween
State Street and the Capitol Square, 2-5 pm
Bring your pint-size hobgoblins, ladybugs, ninja warriors and pirate queens to the heart of Madison for hayrides, magic shows, ghost stories, tricks, treats and more. Spooky venues include the Madison Central Library, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Wisconsin Historical Museum and oodles of local businesses.
Madison Children's Museum, 6 pm
Trouble is bound to boil and bubble at this fundraiser for the Children's Museum. Thrills and chills include science experiments, creepy-crawly reptiles and insects, an after-dark nightlife tour, plus a Mad Hatter tea party and a spine-tingling family concert featuring Ken Lonnquist and Jon Penner.
UW Memorial Union, 7 pm
The author of the first-rate coming-of-age novel Bastard Out of Carolina will discuss the relationship between social class and identity, as well as storytelling's ability to shatter myths, at a Friday-evening lecture. She'll also host a lunchtime talk (Friday, Oct. 25, noon) and a writing workshop on personal narratives (Thursday, Oct. 24, 5 pm).
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 7 pm
Lectures aren't the only way to learn about group dynamics. This conversation on groups and their behaviors includes live performances from UW musicians, plus talks by faculty from disciplines such as math and entomology.
UW Music Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday (3 pm) & Tuesday (7:30 pm), Oct. 27 & 29
Handel's 1735 opera has seen an upswing in its reputation in recent decades. University Opera presents the story of treachery and vengeance among Scottish royals.
Barrymore Theatre, 10 pm
Veterans of the syndicated Bob & Tom radio show offer a standup-comedy sampler. Greg Hahn will wear you out with his manic delivery; Bob Zany specializes in audience interaction; and Tim Wilson riffs on politics.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 7:30 pm
The dean of Yale University's art school is a major voice in the contemporary art world, having served as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art and a contributing editor at Art in America. He'll deliver a free lecture titled "Mr. & Mrs. Inside/Outside: Institutional Critique From Within Institutions."
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (2 & 8 pm), Oct. 24 & 26
Madison Ballet's provocative take on Bram Stoker's gothic romance returns for Halloween, complete with athletic choreography, steampunk costumes, and an original rock score performed live. Bonus: Tickets to the final performance double as Freakfest passes (see Saturday).
Overture Hall, 8 pm
Three pop-culture heavyweights -- writer Stephen King and musicians T-Bone Burnett and John Mellencamp -- collaborated on this Southern gothic musical of murder and suicide, set in ghost-ridden Mississippi. The touring show features 15 actors (including movie star Bruce Greenwood) and a live rock band.
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday & Thursday, Oct. 26 & 31, 8 pm
Broom Street presents one-act plays about diabetes by Matthew DeFour and Mary Fairweather Dexter. Expect music, comedy, dancing and also a bit of myth-debunking.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 pm
Rock till you drop with a bumper crop of tribute acts, including Boys on Film (Duran Duran) and Goo Muck (the Cramps) on Friday and the Devil's Insides (INXS) and Kurtplunk (Green Day) on Saturday. Seeking more Halloween-appropriate jams? See Nightlife.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
This four-piece post-rock act from Belfast visits Madison with songs from their third album, All Hail Bright Futures. With TTNG and Mylets.
Mickey's Tavern, 10 pm
Netherfriends is Chicago-based hip-hop artist Shawn Rosenblatt, who released his latest mixtape, New CHI-t, this summer. With the Flavor that Kills and DJ Goldy D.
NOTEWORTHY: Congress approves USA PATRIOT Act, 2001.
State Street, 7 pm
Rock, rap and over-the-top costumes are poised to dominate this year's downtown Halloween extravaganza. Chiddy Bang will be joined by Watsky, F.Stokes and several local hip-hop acts on the Gilman Street stage, while Lucius, Sexy Ester, Fort Wilson Riot and a DJ set by Neon Indian will warm up the Capitol stage for Matt & Kim. Other highlights include a stage of Madison-area bands on the corner of Frances Street and a bash at the Orpheum featuring 3LAU, Nom de Strip and Dirty Disco Kidz.
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
The Chicago blues act have been playing together since 1988, when Buddy Guy took them under his wing. With hints of funk, rock and R&B, their tunes are still delicious 25 years later.
Coliseum Bar, 1 pm
Famed for his trio's longstanding role on A Prairie Home Companion, Thompson performs early-jazz piano and clarinet, accompanied by bass and drums.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 1 pm
Madison Opera offers a multimedia glimpse of its upcoming production of Tosca. Puccini's tragic masterpiece is so intense that even a preview is liable to get you hot and bothered.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
This Canadian group turned the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" into an otherwordly experience on 1988's The Trinity Sessions. If you haven't heard it live, here's your opportunity.
Frequency, 9 pm
This experiment-loving artist has performed with the Hold Steady and collaborated with acts ranging from the Star Fucking Hipsters to Against Me! At this show, he'll most likely perform melodramatic punk cabaret.
NOTEWORTHY: President Grover Cleveland dedicates Statue of Liberty, 1886.
UW Union South's Varsity Hall, 7 pm
Ozeki is the author of A Tale for the Time Being, this year's selection for the UW's "Go Big Read" book. She'll discuss her tale of a novelist who, after the 2011 tsunami in Japan, stumbles on a diary written by a troubled Japanese girl.
Orpheum Theater, 7:30 pm
These purveyors of folk-rock are steeped in Seattle's indie music traditions and have toured with heavyweights like the Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie. Madison fans will be among the first to hear their new album, Let's Be Still. With Thao & the Get Down Stay Down and Quiet Life.
NOTEWORTHY: Mozart's opera Don Giovanni premieres, 1787.
UW Union South, 5 pm
The MacArthur Genius Grant winner is the author of acclaimed novels (The Mind-Body Problem) and nonfiction (Betraying Spinoza). She lectures on "Philosophy and Literature: The Ancient Quarrel."
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7:30 pm
The charismatic singer will perform every song from She's So Unusual, the 1983 Grammy winner that launched her solo career. The standout is likely to be "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," which became a feminist anthem of sorts when she changed Robert Hazard's original lyrics.
Frequency, 9 pm
The singer-songwriter and founder of the Tiny Telephone analog recording studio combines witty, often political lyrics with experimental flourishes. With Samantha Crain.
Segredo, 9 pm
This DJ and producer performs moombahton -- a fusion of house and reggaeton -- that's more inviting than his act's name suggests. With ETC! ETC!, CRNKN and Mad Major Melvin.
NOTEWORTHY: Jackie Robinson signs with Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking pro baseball's color barrier, 1945.
Central Library, 7 pm
The prominent Wisconsin novelist returns to his beloved North Dakota setting with Let Him Go. He'll read from his story of grandparents seeking to reclaim a boy from their dead son's wayward widow.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
The tuneful hellion has released not one but two albums this year: Brothers of the 4x4, which debuted at number 10 on the Billboard country chart, and the rip-roaring punk record A Fiendish Threat. Watch him fuse both genres onstage.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
These Brooklynites have a soulful gospel-folk sound that seems much bigger than their three members. With Hugh Bob & the Hustle.
NOTEWORTHY: Global population reaches 7 billion, 2011.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
This quartet give art-rock a poppy spin with sizzling guitar lines and choruses you can sing along to. After watching their single "Anna Sun" climb the charts in 2012, they released a new EP, Tightrope, this year. With the Mowgli's and Smallpools.
Frequency, 8:30 pm
This Austin ensemble makes Gypsy carnival music that'll sweep you off your feet. The concert will showcase their new album, The Runaround, produced by Ben Kweller. With Hannah Luree.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Like most good indie bands, Of Montreal are always evolving. After dabbling in Beatles-inspired psych-pop, they started fusing glam-rock with sexy, Prince-style jams. With La Luz.
Edited by Nosferatu's manicurist