This is the quintessential spring weekend in Madison. The wealth of opportunities for fun includes: the season opener of the Dane County Farmers Market; the KlezKamp Road Show and Literacy 24/7; productions of Alcina, Hair, and Stomp and by The Mayhem Poets; and a flood of live music by the UW Varsity Band, Will Hoge, the Ahn Trio, Ezra Furman & the Harpoons, Mason Jennings, The Handsome Family, U-N-I, Sloppy Joe with Joel Paterson, UW Choral Union and Symphony Orchestra, G Love & Special Sauce, The Von Ehrics, Oedipus Tex with Icarus Himself, and the United States Air Force Concert Band.
ORTHODOX GOOD FRIDAY
BIRTHDAY: Provocative singer/songwriter Liz Phair, 1967.
UW Music Hall, 7:30. Also Sunday (3 pm) & Tuesday (7:30 pm), April 19 & 21
University Opera presents Handel's 1735 work -- set, for this staging, in 1950s Hollywood.
UW Mitchell Theatre, 7:30. Thursday, Saturday & Sunday, April 16, 18 & 19, 7:30
University Theatre presents the hippie musical that got the wags' tongues wagging back in the '60s, what with the insouciance and the nudity. The kids in this production don't remember those days -- their parents may not remember those days -- but singing and dancing are timeless (see preview).
UW Varsity Band
Kohl Center, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, April 16 & 18, 7:30 pm
In this 35th anniversary outing, Mike Leckrone's band stirs the Badger faithful with selections from The Lion King and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Café Montmartre, 7 pm
After breaking dozens of bones in a scooter accident last summer, the Nashville rocker resumed touring this month, adding a spate of acoustic sets to his physical-therapy routine, including this week's performance at the Momo.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
Angella, Lucia and Maria Ahn are, yes, sisters. They were schooled at, yes, Juilliard, and their piano trio has made a splash in the classical world with interpretations of familiar works and commissions.
Overture Hall, 8 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 8 pm) & Sunday (1:30 & 7 pm), April 18 & 19
For years now the British-born dance and percussion troupe has roamed the earth, using trash cans to make their big sound. The effect is exhilarating.
Ezra Furman & the Harpoons
Orpheum Theatre's Stage Door, 9 pm
Who says kids at elite colleges can't rock? The music of Ezra Furman & the Harpoons started shaking dorm walls at Tufts University three years ago, leading to their 2007 album, Banging Down the Doors, lots of critical praise and a deal with Minty Fresh Records. The Hard Lessons open.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Minnesota troubadour and frequent Madison visitor Jennings has long made a virtue of wry lyricism, impassioned politics and sweet chord progressions. With Haley Bonar.
The Handsome Family
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
No, it's not Hanson (the '90s boy band) or the Hanson Family Jazz Band (playing at Liliana's at 6:30 pm), it's the cult-classic gothic folk of Brett and Rennie Sparks (see Tour Stop). Marissa Nadler opens with some dark and dreamy new tunes.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
The Inglewood, Calif., duo crafts its rap out of reggae, soul and a lot of West Coast pop culture. Madison's hip-hop powerhouse Dumate and Phonetic One open.
NOTEWORTHY: Great San Francisco Earthquake, 1906.
BIRTHDAY: Grunge baby Frances Bean Cobain, 1992.
KlezKamp Road Show
Various UW campus sites, through April 20
Explore Yiddish folk art with this traveling festival, which includes workshops, presentations and concerts. Saturday's concert (7 pm, UW Humanities Building's Morphy Hall) features the KlezKamp Roadshow Orkester and author Michael Wex, plus our own Yid Vicious and the Madison Yiddish Choir. For full schedule, visit conneyproject.wisc.edu.
Dane County Farmers' Market
Capitol Square, 6 am-2 pm. Also Wednesday, April 23, Martin Luther King Blvd., 8:30 am-2 pm
The season kickoff. Life is worth living again.
Borders Books West, 9 am-9 pm
This reading marathon benefits the Literacy Network. Each hour features a short reading by a local notable, followed by silent reading by folks who've raised pledges.
The Mayhem Poets
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
These young spoken-word performers met at Rutgers University, and it shows. Their sly, hip-hop-inflected work is decidedly cerebral, and also very funny. Winners of the Madison High School Poetry Slam are special guests.
Sloppy Joe, Joel Paterson
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Madison's Four Lakes Traditional Music Collective is giving fans a taste of the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival this week with a benefit concert featuring a solo appearance by Joel Paterson and a one-night-only discount on tickets for the two-day fest, slated for July 31-Aug. 1. Also playing: Art Stevenson & High Water.
UW Choral Union and Symphony Orchestra
Luther Memorial Church, 8 pm. Also Sunday, April 19, 7:30 pm
The combined units give the deluxe treatment to Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," with an assist from Madison Youth Choirs' boys choir.
G. Love & Special Sauce
Barrymore Theatre, 9 pm
The Philadelphia threesome amalgamate hip-hop, blues and alternative influences, to very danceable effect. Also appearing: Elmwood.
The Von Ehrics
Willy Street Pub & Grill, 10 pm
Following a happy-hour (5:30 pm) CD-release show at the Frequency, the Von Ehrics take the party to the Wisco for more drunk-punk antics and down-home hell-raising (see The Bin). For a sample, check out the band's new song "Loaded All Day" in a MadTracks review. Also playing: Dead End Rejects and the American Dead.
Oedipus Tex, Icarus Himself
Frequency, 10 pm
Two talented local solo projects -- Eric Caldera (Oedipus Tex) of El Valiente and Nick Whetro (Icarus Himself) of National Beekeepers Society -- release CDs and take the stage tonight (see Music). Also playing: National Beekeepers Society, Thunder Power.
NOTEWORTHY: 86 Branch Davidians die as compound burns near Waco, 1993.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor/singer/Rocky Horror star Tim Curry, 1946; tennis pro Maria Sharapova, 1987.
United States Air Force Concert Band
MATC-Truax's Mitby Theater, 3 pm
In addition to the fighter jets and stuff, the U.S. Air Force also deploys a crackerjack band. Hear for yourself at this event, which also features the Singing Sergeants.