April commences this week, and hopefully spring will really get started too. On tap for this transitional period are the opening of the Wisconsin Film Festival; talks by Anne Whiston Spirn, Jeremi Suri, and David Lowenthal; along with plenty of live music care of The Game, Tallest Man on Earth, Kalman Balogh & the Gypsy Cimbalom Band, The Big Gigantic, Barefoot Becky & the Ivanhoe Dutchmen, Mathematicians, Jil Aigrot, Joan Wildman, and Horse in the Sea.
NOTEWORTHY: Two police officers, press secretary James Brady & President Reagan wounded in assassination attempt, 1981.
BIRTHDAYS: Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/guitarist/deity Eric Clapton, 1937; singer-pianist Norah Jones, 1979
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Straight outta Compton, Calif., the Game helped spark a new wave of West Coast gangsta rap that was radio-friendly enough to earn him two Grammy nominations for his 2005 debut, The Documentary. He stops in Madison this week in support of his newest release, this year's The Red Album (see Tour Stop). Nipsey Hussle and dumate open.
NOTEWORTHY: Civilian Conservation Corps est., 1933.
BIRTHDAYS: Recent vice president Al Gore Jr., 1948; schoolboy uniform-wearing AC/DC guitarist Angus Young, 1959.
Chazen Museum of Art, 4 pm
The MIT landscape architecture professor discusses her new book, Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange's Photographs & Reports From the Field, about the Depression-era photojournalist who did pioneering work with the Farm Security Administration.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 7 pm
In this Academy Evening -- that's Academy as in the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters -- the UW history prof talks about "The Past and Future of American International Leadership." We were going to try to insert a joke about Bush and international leadership here but got too depressed.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
Swedish folk performer Kristian Matsson, a.k.a. the Tallest Man on Earth, has gained considerable momentum here in the States after releasing a Pitchfork-approved full-length debut last year, followed by a tour with indie folk dude of the year Bon Iver. Red Cortez opens.
Brink Lounge, 8 pm
Hungarian Kalman Balogh is a master of the cimbalom, the Eastern European hammered dulcimer, and his combo honors the gypsy-jazz tradition of Django Reinhardt. Balogh's music is frenetic, wonderful -- this could be the sleeper gig of the week.
Frequency, 9:30 pm
Not to be confused with the electronic hip-hop group Big Gigantic, the Big Gigantic is a hard-rocking four-piece with lots of cool vox effects. Plus, the group hails from Nebraska, not Colorado. Also playing: Ifrit, Black with Envy.
APRIL FOOL'S DAY
NOTEWORTHY: U.S. forces launch Okinawa invasion, 1945.
BIRTHDAYS: Reggae star Jimmy Cliff, 1948; fabulous MSNBC newsperson Rachel Maddow, 1973.
Monona Terrace, 5:30 pm
Iowa's Barefoot Becky & the Ivanhoe Dutchmen have been mixing German-style polka with traditional Czech music and a bit of big band and country for more than 20 years. Don't be surprised if people start kicking off their shoes in tribute -- or out of sheer exuberance -- this evening at Monona Terrace.
UW Humanities Building, room 2650, 7 pm
In this outing of the Gaylord Nelson Lecture Series, the emeritus professor of geography at University College London talks about "Earth Day or End Time? Reclaiming the Future." If we had to choose, we'd choose Earth Day.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Mathematicians promise a night of head-bopping good times thanks to their catchy electronic pop anthems. Just don't expect them to do your calculus homework. Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons open.
NOTEWORTHY: Milwaukee Bucks sign UCLA star Lew Alcindor to five-year, $1.4 million contract, 1969.
BIRTHDAYS: Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer/sexual healer Marvin Gaye, 1939; Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris, 1947.
The 11th annual event begins opens in downtown venues, and will run through the weekend. For complete listings visit Jil Aigrot
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7:30 pm
The chanteuse presents a tribute to Edith Piaf, the exquisite singer beloved by French people and gay men everywhere. Cannes-raised Aigrot sang the songs in La Vie en Rose, the Piaf-themed film from a few years back.
Capitol Lakes Grand Hall, 333 W. Main St., 7:30 pm
The eternally creative and curious avant-garde jazz keyboardist offers improvisations along with her own animated films. Wildman's accomplished trio includes drummer Benjamin Karetnick and bassist Joe Fonda, who's also worked with such jazz luminaries as Lou Donaldson and Anthony Braxton.
Café Montmartre, 9:30 pm
While Chicagoist has described Horse in the Sea's music as folk without Americana, the Windy City quartet seems to be more of a pop group than anything, one with both a strong sense of melody and a bit of '70s AM radio flair. Louis & the Hunt and Riot Riot open.