Halloween and Madison are nigh synonymous, with the big shindigs like Freakfest, Dane101's Freakin' Halloweekend, Night of the Dead, HalloQueen, the Halloween Mustache Masquerade, and the Frequency Halloween Party only scratching the surface of celebration. This weekend offers much more, though, including: productions of Thas, The Stops, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, and Drakula; a James Gill exhibit at the Chazen, a Ron Dayne book signing, and Opera Up Close; and, a monster lineup of live music by Ben Folds, Ludacris, the Pro Arte Quartet, the Lucas Cates Band, Mad Trucker Gone Mad, and Downtown Brown.
NOTEWORTHY: Muhammad Ali K.O.s George Foreman in eighth round to regain heavyweight crown at Kinshasha, Zaire, 1974.
BIRTHDAYS: Bush singer Gavin Rossdale, 1967.
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
The dorky, sarcastic and eminently lovable drummer-turned-piano-rocker brings tunes from his highest-charting album, last year's Way to Normal. Making matters even more complicated, he's added a synthesizer to his songs for the past several tours, giving the Bösendorfers and Steinways a run for their money. With Kate Miller-Heidke.
Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center, 7:30 pm
The best-selling rap star and nemesis of Bill O'Reilly visits Madison less than three days after the debut of his reality TV show Inside DTP, which chronicles behind-the-scenes drama at his Disturbing tha Peace record label. Expect stories from this endeavor, plus a preview of songs from his forthcoming album, Ludaversal.
UW Music Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday (3 pm) & Tuesday (7:30 pm), Nov. 1 & 3
University Opera presents Jules Massenet's 1894 opera about a lusting monk who tries to convert a seductive courtesan. This staging is set in disco-era New York, where there sure were a lot of seductive courtesans.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Oct. 31 & Nov. 5
StageQ presents the story of three church organists -- women, but they're played by men -- who perform songs (e.g., "It's Raining Amen") in support of their recently outed mentor. Church organists are widely misunderstood.
Mills Hall, UW Humanities Building, 8 pm
The university's resident foursome, till 1940 the Belgian court quartet, performs music of Haydn, Prokofiev and Beethoven.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (4 & 8 pm), Oct. 29 & Nov. 1
Strollers Theatre presents John Bishop's 1987 romp about theater people who are stalked by a killer. When you die on Broadway, you really die on Broadway.
Stoughton Opera House, 8:30 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 31, 8:30 pm
Stoughton's StageWorks Projects uses contemporary music and original choreography to tell the tale of a certain bloodsucking freak.
Barrymore Theatre, 8:30 pm
Three local bands perform at the Barrymore's annual Halloween party. Just for fun, show up in costume as an east-sider.
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 31, 8:30 pm
The local news and culture blog throws a party in which local acts dress up as their favorite music legends. Tonight check out acts paying tribute to Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Neil Young and Led Zeppelin. Tomorrow: homage to Joan Jett, Cheap Trick, Foo Fighters and AC/DC.
Brink Lounge, 9 pm
Local rocker Cates plays a set of his very appealing, very assured pop music. With Soul Shaker.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The gay-nightlife promoters indie Queer throw their annual spooky bash with the help of DJs Nick Nice, OCD Automatic, Chen Cheng, Mikey D and VJ Tele-Assassins.
Frequency, 10 pm
Whether you call their music twang-punk, psychobilly or something else, this local trio know how to get the crowd to slosh their beers in delight -- especially when they release a new CD, as they will at this show. Check out this week's MadTracks review for details and to download a new song from the disc. With Lorenzo's Music and the Rebuilts.
NOTEWORTHY: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassinated, 1984.
BIRTHDAYS: Middle Earth filmmaker Peter Jackson, 1961; Beastie Boys rapper Adam "Ad Rock" Horovitz, 1966.
Chazen Museum of Art, through Jan. 3
This exhibit collects large-format portraits by photographer Gill of Wisconsin Vietnam War veterans. A panel discussion and reception are on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11 (6 pm). Thanks, veterans.
University Book Store-State Street, 3 pm
If you cared about UW football on Nov. 13, 1999, you remember where you were when, as the Badgers played Iowa, star running back Ron Dayne set the NCAA rushing record. Here's your chance to relive the memory, meet Dayne and grab a copy of his new book, The Dayne Game: Ron Dayne and the Greatest Day in Wisconsin Football History.
Various downtown locations, 7 pm
Madison-bred MTV stars Locksley join 2008 South By Southwest favorites Cage the Elephant, '90s radio hitmakers Third Eye Blind and others to rock the socks off Halloween revelers on State Street and the Capitol Square (see stories here and here).
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The jam band with a soft spot for jazz have shared the stage with Michael Franti, String Cheese Incident, the Disco Biscuits and many others, but they're here to light the Majestic's stage on fire for Halloween with some party-ready, drum-'n'-bass-bumping tunes and support from Prepschool and Steez.
Frequency, 10 pm
The Frequency challenges Dane101 to a duel by offering kickass tributes to Joy Division (Leaders of Men), the Misfits (the Misfigs), the Buzzcocks (B'Dum B'Dum) and Ween (Wet Rag) for its Halloween and end-of-daylight savings celebration.
ALL SAINTS DAY
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS (FALL BACK)
BIRTHDAYS: Red Hot Chili Peppers vocalist Anthony Kiedis, 1962.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, noon
Brush up your Bizet as Madison Opera offers a multimedia presentation of its season opener, Carmen.
Annex, 8 pm
The live shows of this punky, funky Detroit metal/rock band are way more fun -- and hilarious -- than the nasty, dried-up weed their name references. With Lords of the Trient, Ideadmen and Super 8-Bit Brothers. Bonus: Download all of the band's albums for free via their MySpace page to warm up your laughin' muscles.