Aldo Leopold Nature Center
Maple Syrup Fest
A transitional season delivers a multifarious array of entertainment choices this weekend. The calendar includes: a production of Laundry & Bourbon; ArtWorks: Madison; a Launchpad Battle of the Bands and the MAMAs nomination party; more live music by Harry Manx, These Are Powers, Cowboy Junkies, Gladys Knight, Peggy Seeger, the WCO, Pert' Near Sandstone, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Peter Mulvey, Br'er, Four Bitchin' Babes, Coolio, Del tha Funky Homosapien, and Woodhands; Opera Up Close and Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School; a talk by Steven J. Apfelbaum; and, Maple Syrup Fest.
NOTEWORTHY: Guns N' Roses sign with Geffen Records, 1986.
BIRTHDAYS: Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler, 1948; actress Keira Knightley, 1985.
Waunakee High School, 4 pm
Tonight 15 bands duke it out for a berth at the next round of this statewide competition for high school rock bands.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
Though he started as a slide guitarist in the blues world, Manx's claims to fame are his marriage of this tradition with the classical music of India and his collaborations with Indian slide-guitar legend Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Canadian jazz guitarist Kevin Breit.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The Canadian alt-country band best known for their haunting cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" share that and at least a few other favorites from 1988's The Trinity Sessions, along with selections from their 2009 release, Acoustic Junk. With Lee Harvey Osmond.
Overture Hall, 8 pm
The Empress of Soul never ceases to wow, especially when she belts out "Midnight Train to Georgia." Most recently, she brought peace and hope to mourners at the King of Pop's funeral, where she performed a chilling rendition of "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."
827 E. Washington Ave. (formerly Lussier Teen Center), 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, March 25 & 27, 8 pm
The Bricks Theatre, one of the companies that sprang from the ashes of Madison Repertory Theatre, touches down in yet another unusual venue for James McLure's one-act about three boozing Texas women. It's a companion to McLure's Lonestar, which Bricks presents next weekend in the same space.
Brink Lounge, 8 pm
Half-brother of Pete, brother of Mike, Peggy Seeger is folk-music royalty, though the famous lefty would doubtless cringe at that metaphor. She has performed, composed and recorded tirelessly, and Madison is lucky to be on the itinerary of what is being billed as her farewell tour.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
The group is joined by virtuoso trumpeter Ryan Anthony, formerly of Canadian Brass, in Tomaso Albinoni's "Concerto St. Marc" and Haydn's "Trumpet Concerto." Also on the program: Shostakovich's "String Quartet No. 8" and Rudolf Barshai's "Chamber Symphony Op.110a."
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The string band from the Twin Cities tickles fans' eardrums with splashes of bluegrass, old-timey harmonies and lots of energetic, dance-friendly melodies. With Head for the Hills.
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
Slide guitarist Lil' Ed Williams, nephew of Chicago blues great J.B. Hutto, has been performing the Windy City's signature music since the 1970s, and his ferocious playing and raspy singing do the city, and his uncle, proud.
NOTEWORTHY: FDA approves Viagra, inadvertently launching former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole on new career path as potency pitchman, 1998.
BIRTHDAYS: Oscar-winning filmmaker/screenwriter Quentin Tarantino, 1963; Grammy-winning vocalist & would-be actress Mariah Carey, 1970.
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 10 am-4 pm
In this juried event, more than 30 fine and craft artists display their wares, including paintings, photographs, jewelry, fiber works and glass art.
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
Finalists are announced for the May 8 awards ceremony celebrating the best in local music. To entertain you, there are performances by Madison County, Beth Kille, Julia McConahay, Katelyn Adzima, Jay Barbeau and Waunakee Fiddle Band.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
The folk-rock singer-songwriter from Milwaukee brings a new batch of dark, rhythmic tunes to the High Noon. With Hayward Williams.
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
If Benjamin Schurr's experimental pop project is anywhere near as good as his description of it on MySpace, this should be the show of the week. It's a prose poem that juxtaposes a scene in which Throbbing Gristle and Einstruzende Neubuaten listen to the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack with another scene involving self-mutilation and dressing in drag while watching Degrassi. With Arborea.
Overture Hall, 8 pm
The witty singer-songwriters delve into subjects that a mature female audience can relate to, including married life, PMS and the yearning for Botox. Expect equal measures of humor and harmony.
Scatz, Middleton, 9 pm
Whether you're a fan of his indelible hip-hop singles like "Gangsta's Paradise" or of his droll television work on shows like Cookin' With Coolio and America's Funniest Home Videos, you just can't pass up a Coolio appearance, especially in an intimate nightclub setting. With Off Tha Hook.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
If you've been browsing Bandcamp lately, you may have stumbled upon "Do It Right Now," a new, free Modern Science track featuring this hip-hop fave from Oakland. Check out his live act to see what else he's got up his sleeve, including songs from his 2009 releases, Funk Man (The Stimulus Package) and Automatik Statik. With Bukue One, Weapons of Mass DeFunktion and Rob Dz.
NOTEWORTHY: Three Mile Island nuclear plant meltdown, 1979.
BIRTHDAYS: Oscar-winning actress Dianne Wiest, 1948; Grammy-winning rapper Cheryl "Salt" James, 1969.
Aldo Leopold Nature Center, 1 pm
Spring is here, and the sap is rising. Kids can learn up close how Native Americans and pioneers tapped trees for maple syrup and sugar, and try the techniques out themselves. All very educational, but did we mention that the event includes fresh syrup served over ice cream?
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 1 pm
Madison Opera presents a multimedia preview of the company's season-closing event, Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. It will be the company's first staging of a Wagner opera.
UW Arboretum Visitor Center, 2 pm
Apfelbaum, who owns and operates Applied Ecological Services in Brodhead, talks about his book Nature's Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm. It's a memoir of how he rehabbed his farm, and how that process helped him to step away from his more scientific obsessions and learn to live.
High Noon Saloon, 2 pm
The monthly life-drawing event allows artists of every skill level to sketch in a debauched cabaret-style setting, complete with drinks, contests and prizes. This time the theme is lucha-libre wrestling.
Frequency, 8 pm
This duo from Toronto venture into a wild forest of sounds using the conventions of ambient electronica as their compass. Their new release, Remorsecapade, showcases the breadth of their collective imagination, ranging from dark electro ballads to digital hardcore à la Atari Teenage Riot. With Surgeons in Heat and Your Best Friend.