Five days of solidarity culminate today, leading into a classic Madison weekend that features the opening of a Wisconsin labor photo exhibit at the Overture Center. The calendar also includes: the Madison Winter Festival, and the Kids Expo; the Hip-Hop All-Star Weekend Glow Party, Lightaz Up Launch Party, and the Mad Rollin' Dolls Zombie Prom; a talk by Wilma Subra; Fire/Snow by Kanopy Dance, and productions of Dinner With Friends, Most Valuable Player, and Ferdinand the Bull; performances by the MSO; and, more live music from Meridene, Truth & Salvage Co., Gaelic Storm, Marc Broussard, Yonder Mountain String Band, Oedipus Tex, and the Asylum Street Spankers.
BIRTHDAYS: Actress Cybill Shepherd, 1950; rapper Dr. Dre, 1965.
Wisconsin Labor: A Contemporary Portrait
Overture Center's James Watrous Gallery, through April 10
Given the current unpleasantness, there couldn't be a more timely opening for this exhibit gathering photographs of Badger State workers. Tonight's reception (5:30-7:30 pm) features talks by Wisconsin Arts Board chair Barbara Lawton and former workforce development secretary Roberta Gassman.
UW Microbial Sciences Building's Ebling Symposium Center, 7 pm
The Genius Award-winning environmental activist lectures on "Human Health and Ecological Effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil Disaster."
Dinner With Friends
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Feb. 19, 7:30 pm
Madison Theatre Guild presents Donald Margulies' Pulitzer-winning play about the friendship between two couples.
Kanopy Dance Company: Fire/Snow
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7 & 9 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Feb. 19 & 20
The midwinter program by the Overture resident company features a premiere by choreographer and former UW professor Lonny Joseph Gordon, whose Kabuki expertise informs "Radiance." Gordon also will perform some of his work, and there are pieces by Kanopy artists Kerry Parker and Lisa Thurrell.
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday, (2:30 pm), Feb. 19 & 20
Hear pianist extraordinaire Simone Dinnerstein make magic with Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto. Also on the docket: Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony and Elgar's Fifth March (see Music).
Hip-Hop All-Star Weekend Glow Party
Annex, 9 pm
Core DJs, one of the world's largest coalitions of urban record-spinners and laptop musicians, got their start in Milwaukee six years ago, and this weekend they're bringing three of their best to the Annex: L Boogie, Fusion and Scrump Boogz. Motions and L.U.V. will round out the party with some original tunes.
Lightaz Up Launch Party
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
A new promotional venture by local MC Gary Knowledge is the subject of this song-laced soiree. J.T. Roach will perform acoustic interpretations of hip-hop favorites, while Sincere Life will show off his original creations, which are music to the ears of many local fans of Lupe Fiasco, Common and Andre 3000. Also playing: Jack Cracker, A.N.T., the DEF Crew and DJ Vilas Park Sniper.
Mad Rollin' Dolls Zombie Prom
Inferno, 9 pm
Valentine's Day is over, but its aftermath isn't: Grab a tube of fake blood and the brain-eating fiend of your dreams, then head to the Inferno to monster mash to DJ Wyatt Agard's spooky mix of tunes and scream like a banshee with the roller-derby vixens of Mad Rollin' Dolls.
Meridene, Icarus Himself
Project Lodge, 10 pm
Local postmodern pop project Icarus Himself has been receiving lots of love from Daytrotter as of late and even some radio play in France. Meanwhile, Eau Claire's Meridene will rustle up some powerful hooks and a few tales from their own Daytrotter session. With Land of Vandals.
Truth & Salvage Co.
Frequency, 10 pm
This Americana six-piece craft stunning four-part harmonies with passion and panache. Check out tunes from their self-titled debut, which was produced by Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson. With the Ragadors and Whitney Mann.
BIRTHDAYS: Singer-songwriter Seal, 1963; actor Benicio del Toro, 1967.
Madison Winter Festival
Memorial Union, 8 am-9 pm. Also Sunday, Feb. 20, 8:30 am-4 pm
You can't beat the cold, so join it. Along with races featuring elite skiers, the festival offers public skiing, snowboarding, ice-sculpting and other family events.
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 10 am-4 pm
The expo features hundreds of exhibitors representing services for children. While parents browse the booths, kids can keep busy with performances and activities.
Most Valuable Player
Overture Center's Playhouse, 7 pm. Also Sunday, Feb. 20, 2:30 pm
Children's Theater of Madison presents a play for young adults about Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier when he began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. That would be enough to seal anyone's legacy, but he was also a sublime athlete.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm
The Village Voice has aptly described this Emerald Isle ensemble as a "whirlwind ruckus" of traditional Celtic music and modern rock. If the title of their latest album, Cabbage, is anything to go by, they'll make cuckoo colcannon out of jigs, reels, sea shanties and a spot of Bono-inspired rock 'n' roll. For an appetizer, see this week's Tour Stop.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
A smooth R&B and soul singer with an ear for choosing material that flatters his expressive tenor, Broussard isn't in Stevie's or Marvin's league. Nonetheless, he's a would-be superstar who's certain to set the mood for tens of thousands of spooning sessions over the next few years. With Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.
Yonder Mountain String Band
Orpheum Theatre, 9 pm
Are they progressive bluegrass? Are they a jam band? Whatever they are, these four dudes can make a wildfire of sound with a banjo, bass, mandolin and guitar.
Oedipus Tex, Truck$top Girlfriend
Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 pm
El Valente frontman Eric Caldera will share some new tunes from his solo project, Oedipus Tex, while crunk-inspired goofballs Truck$top Girlfriend will blow your mind even more than Ke$ha's vocoder-fueled, text-message-inspired pop.
NOTEWORTHY: John Glenn rides Friendship 7 to the first Earth orbit by a U.S. astronaut, 1962.
BIRTHDAYS: Nirvana singer-songwriter Kurt Cobain and actress Lili Taylor, 1967.
Ferdinand the Bull
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 3 pm
Childsplay, a professional troupe out of Tempe, Ariz., presents this play for little ones about the flower-picking bull and the reluctant matador he meets in the bullring.
Asylum Street Spankers
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The Austin band consistently defy expectations with their all-acoustic repertoire of 1920s jazz tunes, obscure blues, scarifying country ballads and sardonic originals. They're also capable of gut-busting political satire. Check them out while you can, because this is their farewell tour.