The Wisconsin Book Festival is the main event this weekend, but there is much more to be found between its covers. The fun includes: productions of Forever Plaid, Vin, and Little Women: The Musical; performances by the Milwaukee Symphony, the WCO, Dance Wisconsin, and The Capitol Steps; a talk with Stephanie Miller and Bill Press; and, more live music by Mambo Blue, Over the Rhine, MC Chris, Crocodiles, Drunk Drivers, EOTO, Fortune & Glory, Kelly DeHaven with Gerri DiMaggio and Marilyn Fisher, They Might Be Giants, Gabriel Iglesias, and Eric Hutchinson.
NOTEWORTHY: Latino revolutionary icon Che Guevara executed in Bolivia, 1967.
BIRTHDAYS: Bride of Ozzy Sharon Osbourne, 1952; musical love child Sean Ono Lennon, 1975.
Wisconsin Book Festival
Through Oct. 11. See wisconsinbookfestival.org for complete schedule.
The annual readers' fiesta rolls on. Highlights include UW Press editors David Bergman and Raphael Kadushin on gay autobiography (Friday, A Room of One's Own, 8 pm); Verse Wisconsin editors Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman (Saturday, Central Public Library, 1:30 pm); Obama kaffeeklatschers Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn (Saturday, Overture Wisconsin Studio, 7:30 pm); writers of Wisconsin-set novels Dwight Allen, Debra Spark and Agate Nesaule (Sunday, A Room of One's Own, 2 pm); and sustainability avatar Wendell Berry in the keynote (Sunday, Overture Hall, 4 pm).
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (3 pm), Oct. 10 & 11
Madison Theatre Guild presents the popular 1950s-themed musical revue about a quartet of clean-cut singers who come back from the dead for one last gig.
Merclab, 930 Fair Oaks Ave., 8 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 10, 8 pm
Mercury Players Theatre presents Stephen House's play about sexuality and friendship, in which a schemer enlists two youths in a moneymaking plot. House will be on hand for this weekend's performances.
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm
WUT's concert season begins as the Brew Town crew pops over to play music of Mozart and Brahms, plus Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, featuring the allegretto movement that got tongues wagging in 1813.
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
The WCO's strike-devastated 2008-09 season was one of many recent colossal bummers for Madison arts lovers. So hooray that the fighting is over and the group is back to start its season with music of Resphigi and Mozart, plus Augustin Hadelich playing Mendelssohn's violin concerto.
Over the Rhine
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The perennial Paste magazine favorite return to town in support of the fourth installment in their Live from Nowhere series of albums. With Vienna Tang.
Annex, 9:30 pm
MC Chris' high-pitched voice hasn't steered him away from hip-hop; in fact, it's increased his demand, landing him lots of voice work on Adult Swim cartoons such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force and plenty of fans from the world of Nerdcore rap. With Whole Wheat Bread and I Fight Dragons.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
The San Diego noise-pop duo with a "dysfunctional punk past" (as per Spin magazine) is likely to please fans of both Wavves and No Age, the latter of which raved about the group's single "Neon Jesus" on Stereogum's "Top 10 Shredders of '08" list. With Netherfriends.
Frequency, 10 pm
The four-member Crustacean Records band from Eau Claire makes punk, post-punk and something in between, spiced up with small-town Wisconsin flavors: cheap whiskey, Old Style and occasionally a breath of fresh air. With Uncle Eddie and the Jim Pullman Band.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Since EOTO are composed of one current member and one former member of the String Cheese Incident, jam-band fans show up to their shows in droves. However, the duo's improvised-on-the-spot electronic creations will also interest fans of house music, glitch and the fine art of mixing, matching and mashing together beats. With Sub Swara and DJ Nasty Nate.
NOTEWORTHY: Vice President Spiro "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism" Agnew resigns in disgrace, 1973.
BIRTHDAYS: Rock caricature David Lee Roth, 1955; aging football turncoat Brett Favre, 1969.
Majestic Theatre, 7 & 10:30 pm
Still a teenager, comic and songwriter Burnham already has been picketed for songs like "My Whole Family (Thinks I'm Gay)" and "Klan Cookout." And then there's the Holocaust humor.
Fortune & Glory, Direct Hit
Area 51 Bar & Grill, 7 pm
A roster of party-hearty pop-punk bands -- including Direct Hit, the raucous pet project of ex-Box Social member Nick Woods -- team up to celebrate the birthday of Fortune & Glory's drummer as well as the release of a debut EP, S/T. Download Fortune & Glory's single "It's Our Time" from the MadTracks column. With Pussy Vultures, Conductors and Weekend FM.
Dance for Life
Mitby Theater, MATC-Truax, 7:30 pm
Dance Wisconsin stages new works, including "Serenade" by Seattle's Jason and Nicole Cisler and Danielle Dickert Fuhrmann's "Run for Life," set to Melissa Etheridge's music and dedicated to breast cancer survivors.
Little Women: The Musical
Overture Center's Playhouse, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday, Oct. 11, 2 pm
Children's Theater of Madison and Four Seasons Theatre present a musical version of Louisa May Alcott's classic 1860s novel about Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. The women may be little, but we bet their singing voices aren't.
The Capitol Steps
Overture Hall, 8 pm
The political satirists are former congressional staffers who specialize in putting topical lyrics to popular songs. Just think of all the juicy material they've had to work with since their last Madison show.
Kelly DeHaven, Gerri DiMaggio, Marilyn Fisher
Inn on the Park, 8 pm
Along with a crack team of jazz musicians, the chanteuses perform music of Cole Porter. There is a multimedia element in the form of projected images and scores.
Stephanie Miller, Bill Press
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
In the Barrymore's series of shows featuring progressive radio hosts, smart cookies Miller and Press talk about whatever it is that gets talked about on progressive radio.
NOTEWORTHY: Hillary Rodham marries Bill Clinton, 1975.
BIRTHDAYS: Actress Joan Cusack, 1962; actress Jane Krakowski, 1968.
They Might Be Giants
Barrymore Theatre, 4 pm
Attention, small-glasses-wearing hipsters of a certain age: You loved They Might Be Giants when you were in college. But will your children love their children's-music material? Find out this afternoon.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
The comic brings his "I'm not fat...I'm fluffy" shtick to the big east-side stage.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The folky power-pop artist rose to fame two years ago via props from Perez Hilton, and he's still going strong thanks to a solid 2008 release, Sounds Like This. Jessie James opens.