While this is one of those times of year that can be overwhelmed by family visits along with too many eats and sweets, there's always timefor a little fun on the town. The calendar this weekend includes: an Easter Hat Parade; the Horror Show Matinee and Duck Soup Cinema; a book reading by Jane Hamilton; standup by Bill Cosby; and, live tunes by the Madison Bach Musicians, Rodriquez, DJ Rehka, Suffocation, Natalia Zukerman with Antje Duvekot, Todd Snider, Mark Croft, Diplo, John Wesley Harding, Dub Trio, and Alexi Murdoch.
NOTEWORTHY: Paul McCartney formally leaves the Beatles, 1970.
BIRTHDAYS: Football coach-turned-TV commentator/author/video-game marketer John Madden, 1936; singer Shemekia Copeland, 1979.
Madison Bach Musicians
First Unitarian Society Music, 7 pm. Also Saturday, April 11, 7 pm
For Easter weekend the local ensemble presents J.S. Bach's 1727 St. Matthew Passion on period instruments, with a little help from the Madison Youth Choir. We hear this version's even better than Mel Gibson's.
High Noon Saloon, 9:45 pm Rodriguez's psych-folk debut, Cold Fact, didn't impress the American public in 1970 but became a soundtrack for revolution in South Africa, unbeknownst to the artist himself. It's no surprise: His tales about society's seedy underbelly are both honest and poetic (see Tour Stop, page 15). Diplomats of Solid Sound open.
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
Rekha is a practitioner of bhangra, a genre that, much like hip-hop music in the United States, has served as a voice for the marginalized and is a spectacular basis for musical fusion in the United Kingdom. The sound hit the mainstream here in music by M.I.A., Missy Elliott and Jay-Z.
NOTEWORTHY: Euro-Disney opens in Marne-le-Vallee outside Paris, 1992
BIRTHDAYS: Quirky actress Louise Lasser, 1939; King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, 1945.
Easter Hat Parade
Capitol Square, noon
The annual parade allows you to see and be seen in your fanciest or silliest hat. Kids can make hats beginning at 10 am at Capitol Kids, 8 S. Carroll St., or from 11 am at Madison Children's Museum. The parade includes live farm animals from A-Z farm.
Horror Host Matinee
Market Square Cinema, 11:30 am-4:30 pm
We always thought Plan 9 From Outer Space got a bum rap. Worst movie ever? Really? There are other films with effects as cheap and acting as leaden, but without the trashy beauty of Ed Wood's mise-en-scène. Decide for yourself at this screening, which also features Vampira: The Movie and American Scary, as well as Mr. Mephisto, Dr. Ivan Cryptosis and other late-show icons.
Borders West, 1 pm
The brilliant Rochester, Wis., author is on hand to promote Laura Rider's Masterpiece, a hilarious satire about a would-be romance novelist (see Books, page 16).
Duck Soup Cinema
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 2 & 7 pm
Overture's delightful series brings back the old-time vaudeville era with a lively variety show followed by a silent movie: Harold Lloyd's The Freshman, accompanied live on organ.
Overture Hall, 5 & 8 pm
He's funny in sitcoms but preachy on social issues, and the less said about Leonard Part 6 the better. But when Cos is on a stage doing comedy, he is alone in the universe, the best. We started laughing uncontrollably in 1983 at the "Dad is great" standup bit from Bill Cosby: Himself, and we're still laughing.
The Loft at Goodman Community Center, 6:30 pm
Suffocation isn't just a super-technical death-metal band, it's a pioneer of that beloved branch of the genre known as brutal death metal and the inventor of the low-pitched death growl, among other innovations. Also playing: Whitechapel, Decrepit Birth, Veil of Maya, Psyocroptic and After the Burial.
Natalia Zukerman, Antje Duvekot
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
This joint billing features guitar whiz Zukerman, who has a pleasant voice and a knack for composing hooky blues and folk; and thoughtful folk phenom Duvekot.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The Oregon singer-songwriter has mellowed since his 1990s debut, but he can still crank out those trademark rollicking, twangified, humorously cynical songs. With Pat MacDonald.
Brink Lounge, 8:30 pm
The local rocker and songwriter, he of the aggressively strummed acoustic guitar, celebrates a new release, The Possibility of Disaster. With Amy Curl and Dan Kennedy.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9 pm
Though his moniker is shorthand for Diplodocus, Diplo is anything but an ancient, slow-moving dinosaur. The young Philadelphia DJ has been moving at warp speed the past few years, introducing Brazilian funk carioca to American pop culture, touring with Justice and Switch and collaborating with big names such as M.I.A. and Santogold. The Battle Royale and OCD Automatic open.
John Wesley Harding
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Whether you know him from his contribution to the High Fidelity soundtrack ("I'm Wrong About Everything") or one of his bestselling novels, written under the name Wesley Stace, he's worth checking out. Also playing: Eugene Mirman, Prestige Atlantic Impulse, Mark Bazer and the Zombeatles.
NOTEWORTHY: Confederate troops attack Fort Sumter to ignite Civil War, 1861.
BIRTHDAYS: Late Night host David Letterman, 1947; Indigo Girl Amy Ray.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The Brooklyn, N.Y., trio adopts the old-school echo-and-reverb tradition of King Tubby but does so using punk, metal and a handful of other styles and clever use of samplers, keys and delay pedals. See if you can figure out their tricks as they take their craft to the High Noon stage. Gutbucket and Dick the Bruiser open.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The Glaswegian singer-songwriter broke the mold at CD Baby with his self-published 2003 EP Four Songs, which became the retailer's top seller. Its most popular track, "Orange Sky," appeared everywhere from Garden State to Ugly Betty. These days, his 2006 single "Breathe" is powering Nissan commercials.