Mikey Dread & the Dread at the Controls Band
Out of the Box
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
This fund-raiser for MMoCA features one-of-a-kind boxes created by artists from around the country. They'll be on display from April 20-24, and viewers can bid via silent auction. On Tuesday, April 24, a live auction runs 5:30-8 pm.
Forest Art Wisconsin
UW Arboretum, through April 21
This free conference, open to the public, brings together artists, curators, foresters and environmentalists. They'll discuss the concepts of "nativeness" and "invasiveness" from their various perspectives. (See forestartwisconsin.com for a schedule of events.)
Borders West, 5 pm
This 24-hour reading extravaganza benefits the Literacy Network. Each hour features a 10-minute reading by a local notable (including Isthmus writers), followed by 50 minutes of silent reading by folks who've raised pledges.
Overture Center Playhouse, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (4 & 8 pm), Sunday (2 pm), Wednesday & Thursday (7:30 pm), April 21, 22, 25 & 26
Madison Repertory Theatre presents Samm-Art Williams' story of a North Carolina farmer who survives small-town moralizing and back-breaking labor in New York, only to find himself back on the farm he grew up on. UW faculty member Patrick Sims stars.
Mitchell Theatre in UW Vilas Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 7:30 pm), Wednesday & Thursday (7:30 pm), April 21, 25 & 26
This is one of the new breed of Broadway musicals, skewering almost every style imaginable. It will be a great test for the University Theatre acting stable, and a whole lot of fun.
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), April 21 & 22
Guest pianist Per Tengstrand is a young Swede known for his eloquence, technical polish and power. He's featured in a program that includes Liszt's "Malediction" and Richard Strauss' "Burleske." The estimable Edo de Waart conducts.
UW Varsity Band
Kohl Center, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, April 19 & 21, 7:30 pm The band returns for another raucous good time, with help from trumpeter Mike Vax of the Stan Kenton Band, UW jazz saxophonist Les Thimmig and Ballet Folklorico Mexico.
Overture Center's Capital Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday, April 21, 8 pm
Hollywood star Tim Robbins directs this theatrical adaptation of George Orwell's dystopian tale, in which a totalitarian government controls its citizens with lies and surveillance.
Revenge of the Mini-Musicals
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm), Sunday (2 pm), Wednesday & Thursday (8 pm), April 21, 22, 25 & 26
This Mercury Players Theatre production is a windfall for fans of musical comedy, featuring four original shorts by the likes of Andrew Rohn & Catherine Capellaro and Jonathan Zarov.
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), April 21 & 22
Greg Johnson directs Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan play about a man who sells his soul to the devil. This being Broom Street, expect a punk/goth interpretation.
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
Ex-Devotchka multi-instrumentalist Paul Fonfara takes the Painted Saints on a dusty ramble through evocative Gypsy and country hybrids that wouldn't sound out of place in a Sergio Leone spaghetti western.
Barrymore Theatre, 9 pm
One of the South's most successful MCs, the irrepressible Petey Pablo has used savvy pairings with Timbaland, Lil' Jon and Ciara to drawl his way to the upper rungs of the rap game.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Rhymesayers-associated Brother Ali grabs hearts and minds on his new CD, The Undisputed Truth, a strikingly honest collection of hip-hop tracks that deal with everything from the war in Iraq to his rancorous divorce.
Hip Hop as a Movement
It's the final weekend for the annual exploration of the cultural, social and political dimensions of hip-hop. The highlight is a party featuring hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa and DJ Scrump Boogz at the UW Memorial Union's Great Hall (Friday, 10 pm).
Dane County Farmers' Market
Capitol Square, 6 am-2 pm. Also Wednesday, April 25, Martin Luther King Blvd., 8:30 am-2 pm
Spring has sprung. (Barring a snowstorm.)
Cuda Café in Deerfield, noon-1 am
Twenty-six musicians revel in the pleasures of acoustic music at this all-day marathon, including Josh Harty, Bill Camplin and the Blue Heels.
Southern Wisconsin Bluegrass Music Association
High Noon Saloon, 1 pm
In order to support the pickers, the SWBMA needs to pick up some dough. The Krause Family Band, SpareTime Bluegrass and Jefferson County are among those appearing at this all-day benefit.
Old Crow Medicine Show
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
With their down-home twang and covers of old-timey blues, the mountain-music aficionados sometimes sound like they just left a tar-paper shack.
The Old Ceremony
Cafe Montmartre, 10 pm
On last year's Our One Mistake, the band's literate lyrics, Ben Folds-style pop and artful arrangements fleshed out with piano and vibes impressed critics everywhere.
The Von Ehrics
King Club, 10 pm
These Texas country punks can put over tear-in-your-beer ballads, but they're even better at busting up the barroom with righteous foot-stompers.
Big Top Chautauqua
Mitby Theater at MATC-Truax, 3 pm
Warren Nelson and his Bayfield-based Blue Canvas Orchestra present an "illuminated concert" that celebrates Wisconsin landscapes with an aural backdrop of blues, bluegrass and folk music.
Kalaanjali Dance Company & Kanopy Dance Company
Verona Performing Arts Center, 4 pm
Kalaanjali specializes in Indian classical dance, Kanopy in modern dance. Here East and West join forces for a unique fusion.
Laura Flanders and Greg Palast
Barrymore Theatre, 7 pm
Flanders, the host of Air America's "Radio Nation," comes to Madison for a live broadcast of her show. She welcomes Palast, a BBC investigative journalist who'll discuss his anti-Bush book Armed Madhouse.
Orpheum Theatre's Stage Door, 7:30 pm
Dancing with the Stars and Boston Public alum McIntyre has worked diligently to move beyond the mega-success he enjoyed with tween faves New Kids on the Block. These days he's purring romantic American standards for a more adult following.
Mikey Dread & the Dread at the Controls Band
The Annex, 9:30 pm
Reggae great Mikey Dread offers mind-stretching work that often touches on dub, a style he helped propagate.