It might be the heart of winter, but Madison feels much warmer this weekend, both outside and on stage. The calendar includes: the Cyclo-cross National Championships and the latest Madtown Throwdown; outgoing exhibits at MMoCA and the Chazen; productions of Talking Out of School and You Name It!; the latest edition of Whad'Ya Know? with Michael Feldman; dance parties with ElectroLUST 2, Salsa Saturday, and Leather + Lace; a performance by Duo Coriolan; and, more live music from Golpe Tierra, Bryan Bowers with Tom Kastle, The People Brothers Band, Into It. Over It., Keefe Klug & the Surgical Precision, Oak Street Ramblers, Perry Weber & the DeVilles, The American Dead, Zero Beat, and The Holy Mess.
NOTEWORTHY: EMI Music Group voids its contract with the Sex Pistols, 1977.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Jan. 15
A few more days are left in the run of this major show, in which MMoCA shares its impressive collection of works by the Chicago Imagists, the bold, pop-culture-influenced artists who thrived in the Windy City 40 years ago. There also is a companion show, "Chicago School: Imagists in Context."
Chazen Museum of Art, through Jan. 15
This exhibit gathers images from the Chazen's strong collection of Japanese prints. It illustrates how printmaking diverged in the last century, with some artists adhering to more traditional techniques and subjects and others moving in a more experimental direction.
Badger Prairie County Park, through Jan. 8
Off-road bicyclists of all ages compete for glory on a course that combines pavement and grass, bumps and hills. The citywide festival also features films (Majestic Theatre, Thursday, Jan. 5, 8 pm); the polka music of the Squeezettes (Badger Prairie Park, Saturday, Jan. 7, 1 pm); art, including photographs (Natt Spil, Friday, Jan. 6, 6 pm), prints (Revolution Cycle, Saturday, Jan. 7, 6 pm) and a bike-art installation (Tenney Plaza, Friday, Jan. 6, 6 pm); and a fashion show with the freshest duds for bicycling in winter (High Noon Saloon, Saturday, Jan. 7, 8 pm).
Cardinal Bar, 5 pm
El Clan Destino bassist Nick Moran and Kikeh Mato guitarist Richard Hildner join Peruvian percussionist Juan Daniel Pastor to craft soundscapes filled with African rhythms and melodies that sound tailor-made for a jazz club in the heart of Machu Picchu. Toast the group with a South American cocktail at this happy-hour show.
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
Kastle, a well-traveled singer-songwriter who has settled in Madison, joins Bowers, an autoharp virtuoso who has earned praise from the editors of People and the readers of Frets, to kick off the Mad Folk Society's 2012 season.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Jan. 7 & 12
Mercury Players Theatre presents 13 short plays written by Wisconsin teachers in collaboration with local playwrights. The one-acts, some of which are political, explore various aspects of life for teachers in the public schools (see Theater).
Encore Studio for the Performing Arts, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (8 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Jan. 5, 7 & 12
Encore Studio presents an original rock musical about support providers for people with disabilities. Encore, a theater company for people with disabilities, has a knack for finding emotional truths, and the music is always lively.
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
Milwaukee's Chris Grant joins local DJs Von, Eurotic and Wyatt Agard for a night of heavy bass, wild electro beats and dance tunes that range from dubstep to glitch. Show your enthusiasm by wearing a saucy outfit. See Music, for a Q&A with Grant and Agard.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
This local ensemble swirls blues, funk and reggae into a base of jam rock as if it's a new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor. Get a scoop this Friday night. With Electric Spanking.
NOTEWORTHY: Gracie Allen marries George Burns, 1926.
Monona Terrace, 9:30 am
Every Madisonian ought to check out a live presentation of Michael Feldman's radio quiz show, which is nationally broadcast on public radio. Feldman's funny monologue is followed by the questions. Generally the answers are basically provided by Feldman.
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 7 pm
With the economy still uncertain, many of us walk around fearful, anxious, even enraged. But don't do anything rash! Instead, get your aggression out by watching the MMA fighters of Madtown Throwdown beat each other. The card includes Sam Alvey, Sergio Pettis, Dallas O'Malley, Andrew Trace and Chicago Camus.
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
Steeped in emo's passion, punk's energy and indie rock's history of innovation, Into It. Over It. is the solo act of Evan Thomas Weiss. Check out selections from his debut album, 52 Weeks, which he'll perform with acoustic instruments. With Circus Fires, Cait Shanahan and Chris Castrova.
Regent Street Retreat Stage, 8 pm
The roots-meets-soul ensemble invites fans to dress up as their favorite characters from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for a night of contests, gag gifts and covers of music from the show. Klug and bassist Jon Miller will impersonate one of the sitcom's creepiest duos, the greasy, bathrobe-wearing McPoyle Brothers. With the Lower 5th.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Dando Mambo will lead a salsa-dancing lesson from 8 to 9 pm, and then hips will swivel unassisted as Grupo Candela and DJ Rumba share red-hot Latin tunes.
Inferno, 9 pm
Riding chaps, French maid costumes and saucy club getups are fair game for this celebration of fanciful fetishes and devil-may-care dance moves. Armed with an arsenal of electronic music, DJs White Rabbit and Mike Carlson will create an atmosphere fit for carousal.
Alchemy Café, 9 pm
These east-side bluegrass enthusiasts will warm the café with toe-tapping rambles and summon chills with high-and-lonesome ballads. The performance will most likely showcase songs from their eponymous debut album, which they released at Alchemy back in April.
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
Members of singer-guitarist Weber's polished Milwaukee-based crew worked with blues heavyweights like Hubert Sumlin, Luther Allison, Buddy Guy and James Cotton before putting together their own Americana/roots act. Needless to say, they know all about vibing up a barroom.
Frequency, 10 pm
This group's cowpunk rave-ups may make you think of energetic alt-country avatars the Old 97's. So, for that matter, may the Madison quartet's power-pop songwriting. With Last False Hope and Nellie Wilson & the Hellbound Honeys.
NOTEWORTHY: 14-year-old Bobby Fischer wins his first U.S. Chess Championship, 1958.
Chazen Museum of Art, 12:30 pm
The Milwaukee-based combo of cellist Scott Tisdel, of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and pianist Stefanie Jacob, of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, perform music Leo Janá?ek, Eugène Ysae, David Popper and Johannes Brahms. The concert is part of Wisconsin Public Radio's chamber-music series Sunday Afternoon Live.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Drums and guitars join tuneful laptops and other futuristic tools to fuel this band's sets of live electronica. With Arp of the Covenant.
Mr. Robert's, 10 pm
This Philly-based four-piece fuse West Coast pop-punk with grizzled Midwestern pride, douses it in beer and presents it to the world in recordings such as Benefit Sesh, their 2010 debut on Evil Weevil Records. With Direct Hit, Masked Intruder and the Vipers.