April is passing by quite quickly, and brings another week filled with words and tunes to town. The calendar includes: a forum about the impact of video games; talks by Jerome Ringo, Michio Kaku, Leo Bersani, and Marc Vallon; and live music by Lyrics Born, Tesla, Roman Candle, Ellis Paul, The Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, and Zebras with E=MC Hammer.
BIRTHDAYS: World chess champion Gary Kasparov, 1963; singer-songwriter Nellie McKay, 1982.
Game On! The Culture of Video Games
UW Memorial Union, 6 pm
This community forum considers the impact of video games on our culture, so brush up your Mario. Appearing is the UW-Milwaukee anthropologist Thomas Malaby, whose forthcoming book is called Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life.
NOTEWORTHY: John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln at Ford Theater, 1865.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor/comedian/playwright/author/philosopher Steve Martin, 1945; actress/vampire slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, 1977.
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 7:30 pm
In this final event, till fall, of the UW's Distinguished Lecture Series, the environmentalist talks about "the new color of green." Ringo promotes more diversity in the conservation movement, which can only be a good thing.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Half of the trailblazing underground hip-hop group Latyrx and the founder of Quanuum Projects -- home to Apsci, Blackalicious, DJ Shadow and others -- Lyrics Born's got a knack for making old-school grooves sound fresh and new rhymes sound vintage but not derivative. With Dumate, Weapons of Mass Defunction and DJ Vilas Park Sniper.
NOTEWORTHY: British and Canadian troops liberate Bergen-Belsen death camp, 1945.
BIRTHDAYS: Screenwriter/Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, 1959; saucy pop singer Samantha Fox, 1966.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
Tesla are still making bluesy, '80s-style metal-rock and, despite their name's homage to the famous electrical engineer, dissing the synths and electronic effects that even the most mainstream bands have adopted. The Leo Project and Damage open.
Frequency, 10 pm
Roman Candle's pop-rock nuggets are especially smooth and shiny thanks to producer Chris Stamey, the mastermind behind some of the most popular work of Ryan Adams, Yo La Tengo and R.E.M. See if the band's 2008 album, Eden Was a Garden, translates onstage, and check out songs from their brand-new EP, They Say, in the process. The Deep Vibration opens.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor/all-time NBA career scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1947; Grammy-winning Tejano singer Selena, 1971.
Borders West, 7 pm
It's impossible not to be fascinated by the topics that CUNY physics prof Michio Kaku explores in his latest book, Physics of the Impossible. Invisibility, time travel, wormholes, parallel universes -- the stuff you wanted to study in physics instead of memorizing KE = 1/2 * m * v2.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
Starting in the 1980s the prolific Maine singer-songwriter made his name on Boston's folk circuit with his literate tunes. Last year he released The Dragonfly Races, a children's and family-themed disc.
UW Pyle Center, 7:30 pm
The eminent literary theorist and French professor emeritus at the University of California lectures on "Ardent Masturbation (Descartes, Freud, et al.)" in this Humanities Without Boundaries event. Man, Freud had an explanation for everything.
UW Humanities Building's Morphy Hall, 7:30 pm
In this faculty concert, the bassoonist is joined by violist Sally Chisholm, pianist Todd Welbourne and, on tabla, Todd Hammes in new music for that big tall woodwind.
The Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Rock and experimental jazz crash and commingle in the hands of Minneapolis trio the Bad Plus -- and their covers of favorites by Blondie, Rush, David Bowie and numerous others.
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Isbell wasn't exactly overshadowed during his time with Drive-By Truckers, thanks to his strong narrative tunes and smooth, folk-rock-quality tenor. On his own he has mined Skynyrd and soul, including on a new release with his new combo the 400 Unit. With Justin Townes Earle.
Zebras, E=MC Hammer
Frequency, 10 pm
Madison's prog-punk pioneers team up with E=MC Hammer, a noisy experimental duo from Milwaukee, for what promises to be an intense show to celebrate the release of a split LP featuring both groups. United Sons of Toil and Heart Shaped Hate will rile things up beforehand.