This weekend offers plenty to feed both imaginations and stomachs, along with a well-stocked array of treats for the eyes and ears. The calendar includes: Geek.Kon and the Madison Food & Wine Show; a production of The Imaginary Invalid and performances by Li-Chiao Ping Dance; a John Cage and Merce Cunningham opening at MMoCA; Ballpark Blast and Duck Soup Cinema; Women Rock for the Cure; and, more live music by the WCO, the MSO, Jane Monheit, Great Lakes Swimmers, Los Cojolites, Daughtry, Kaki King, Langhorne Slim, The Bel-Airs, Pretty Lights, Jonathan Coulton, and Julian Marley & the Uprising.
BIRTHDAYS: Filmmaker Ang Lee, 1954.
Women Rock for the Cure
Local music venues
Tonight's concerts benefit the Komen Foundation and the fight against breast cancer. Events include singer-songwriter Denise LaGrassa at Brink Lounge, metal act Erebus at the Frequency and more. Check womenrockmadison.com for listings.
Sheraton Madison Hotel, through Oct. 25
The nerd-a-thon features three days' worth of games, science fiction and anime, plus a costume contest. Guests include author Chad Corrie and hometown videogame heroes Raven Software.
Madison Food & Wine Show
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 5 pm. Also Saturday (noon-7 pm) & Sunday (noon-4 pm), Oct. 24-25
Follow your gastronomic bliss at this culinary expo, featuring cooking demonstrations, displays by food vendors and the annual nail-biter that is the Dueling Chef Competition. Hungry yet?
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Mitby Theater, MATC-Truax, 7 pm
The WCO's annual Halloween concerts are the perfect combination of spooky and kooky, musical and magical. Bring the kids for a night of costumes and mood music.
The Imaginary Invalid
Mitchell Theatre, UW Vilas Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 24, 7:30 pm
University Theatre presents a steampunk-inflected, health-care-preoccupied staging of Molière's 1673 play about a hypochondriac. It's a new translation by UW grad student Arrie Callahan.
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Oct. 24 & 25
Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg joins the group to perform "Four Seasons of Buenos Aires," by Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla. Also on the bill: the overture to Mikhail Glinka's opera Ruslan and Ludmilla and Mahler's first symphony.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm
NYC jazz singer Monheit gathers chestnuts old (Cole Porter's "Get Out of Town") and new (the Muppets' "Rainbow Connection") on her latest CD, The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me. Expect a night of smooth music-making at this Isthmus Jazz Series event. (See preview.)
Great Lake Swimmers
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
The Canadian five-piece brings pretty, atmospheric folk reminiscent of Nick Drake and Bonnie "Prince" Billy to put you in a dreamy mood for watching falling leaves -- and perhaps football -- over the weekend. With Wooden Birds.
NOTEWORTHY: United Nations charter takes effect, 1945.
John Cage, Merce Cunningham: Chance, Time and Concept in the Visual Arts
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through May 9
Composer Cage and choreographer Cunningham were life partners and collaborators, and this exhibit gathers works related to the pair by artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and ellsworth snyder. On Friday, Oct. 24, a 5:30 pm panel discussion of Cunningham and choreographer Pina Bausch gathers local art and dance luminaries.
Warner Park Duck Pond, 10 am
Insurer Physicians Plus joins the Mallards in an event that promotes kids' fitness, baseball-style. The young'uns can run the bases and get their pitching speed tested. But will that prepare them for free agency?
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: Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr., accompanied live on organ.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 7 pm
Los Cojolites' genre of music, Son Jarocho, is 350 years older than rock 'n' roll, but most Americans have never heard of it, despite its wonderful arrangements of stringed instruments and its often-hilarious lyrics about Veracruz, Mexico. Fellow Mexican groups Buya, Los Vicios de Papa and Olmeca round out the bill.
Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center, 7:30 pm
American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry bucked tradition and joined up with a band to cash in on the connections he gained from the prime-time singing competition. The band is promoting a new album called Leave This Town. With Cavo and Theory of a Dead Man.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
King doesn't just use her guitar for melodies and harmonies; it's also a first-rate percussion instrument thanks to her extensive background as a drummer. That's just one reason Foo Fighters and Tegan and Sara have sought her out for their recordings.
Li Chiao-Ping Dance Company: Pagoda
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday, Oct. 25, 2 pm
The UW dance prof choreographs eight works drawing on Asian motifs, including "Mandala" and "Feng Shui." Two premieres are planned.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The rockin', blues-infused folk of Langhorne Slim started out as a warmup for the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, then found its way onto a Rolling Stone editor's top-10 list. Slim appears with his three-piece band this week to share his new release, Be Set Free. With Dawes and Corey Hart.
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
The Missouri bluesmen bring their acclaimed act to the east-side tap, as reliable an outlet for American roots music as you'll find in Madison.
Pretty Lights, Dark Party
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
The dark electro melodies and spooky beats of Dark Party will set the mood for soul-searching, after which beat-busting producer Derek Vincent Smith and drummer Cory Eberhard will tag team the dance floor in Pretty Lights, blending old-school samples with futuristic sounds to create an avalanche of nostalgia and fear for the future.
NOTEWORTHY: Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), his wife, daughter and five others killed in plane crash, 2002.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Ex-computer programmer Coulton has made fans out of all sorts of fellow nerds with his acoustic cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" and his theme song for the videogame Portal. Comedy duo Paul & Storm opens.
Julian Marley & the Uprising
Barrymore Theatre, 8:30 pm
One of Bob Marley's many rasta-and-reggae-lovin' progeny will turn the Barrymore into an island paradise for an evening with tunes from his band's new album, Awake. With Javaughn and Gully Bank Sound.