Another sign that winter is waning arrives this week in the form of Fat Tuesday and its post-indulgence companion Ash Wednesday. Don't hold back and take full advantage of: The Big Eat; a talk by Deepak Chopra; and live music by The Visitations, Mama Digdown's Brass Band, The Appleseed Cast, Harlan Jefferson & So-So Tight, Jonathan Coulton, Cornmeal, and Po' Girl.
Noteworthy: Marines raise U.S. flag at Iwo Jima, 1945.
Birthdays: Filmmaker/Easy Rider/acting-dynasty black sheep Peter Fonda, 1939; actress Dakota Fanning, 1994.
The Big Eat
Monona Terrace, 5:30 pm
Isthmus' benefit for Family Centers features tasty morsels from 20 local food purveyors, plus a children's cooking demo and music of Harmonious Wail. Rarely has stuffing your face been such a boon to the community.
Masonic Center, 7 pm
The internist, endocrinologist and big kahuna of alternative medicine appears to spread wisdom and sign books.
Frequency, 9 pm
The latest offspring of the Athens, Ga., indie-rock movement -- and the Elephant 6 Collective, which spawned Of Montreal, Elf Power and Neutral Milk Hotel -- visit Madison to show off their latest album, 2008's The Conundrum Tree. Also playing: Zola Jesus, Alex DeGroot, Peaking Lights, the New Loud.
Noteworthy: Voice of America takes to the air, 1942.
Birthdays: Apple Computer visionary Steve Jobs, 1955; singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked, 1962.
Mama Digdown's Brass Band
Great Dane-Downtown, 10 pm
Wear your favorite plastic beads and dance to Mama Digdown's funky sound at this Mardi Gras celebration. And amid the debauchery think soberly of New Orleans, if even for a moment.
Noteworthy: Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) defeats Sonny Liston in seventh round to take heavyweight title, 1964.
Birthdays: CBS news correspondent Bob Schieffer, 1937; actress Tea Leoni, 1966.
The Appleseed Cast
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
The Appleseed Cast -- known for its intricate, guitar-heavy post-rock -- visits town with a new drummer and bassist and a soon-to-be-released album, Sagarmatha. Learn more about the band and the recording from guitarist Aaron Pillar in this week's Tour Stop. El Valiente and Frail By Design open.
Harlan Jefferson & So-So Tight
R Place on Park, 9 pm
Born into a musical family, Jefferson began playing jazz saxophone professionally when he was 13. Over the years, he's worked soul, funk and gospel into the mix and has opened for Funkadelic, Regina Carter and pre-scandal R. Kelly. His weekly set with drummer Rick Flowers and keyboardist Cheeseburger McClain is a surefire way to liven up a Wednesday night.
Noteworthy: Bomb explodes in World Trade Center garage, killing six and injuring more than 1,000, 1993.
Birthdays: R&B great Fats Domino, 1928; R&B great Erykah Badu, 1971.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
Ex-computer programmer Coulton has made fans out of all sorts of fellow nerds -- viewers of The Daily Show, readers of the comic strips Penny Arcade and xkcd, and Popular Science enthusiasts, who know him as the magazine's "Contributing Troubadour" -- with his acoustic cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" and his theme song for the video game Portal. Comedy duo Paul & Storm opens.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
A lot of bands are into roots rock these days, but few put on a live show as solid as Cornmeal's, which takes cues from both traditional and progressive bluegrass forebears. With the Henhouse Prowlers, the Station.
Cafe Montmartre, 9 pm
Though Canadian threesome Po' Girl has been compared to Tracy Chapman and 10,000 Maniacs, its style of music --which features gutbucket bass, dobro, accordion and a host of other instruments -- is a unique blend of vintage and modern, northern and southern, urban and rural. Also playing: JT & the Clouds.