Live performances of many stripes crowd the calendar this first weekend of February. The fun includes: First Fridays at MmoCA, a Warrington Colescott opening at Grace Chosy, and a talk by Makoto Fujimura; productions of Ulysses' Crewmen and 10 Perfect: A Lynching Survivor Story; performances by the Jazzworks Dance Company, the MSO, and Alonzo King's LINES Ballet; Kids Rock!; benefits for Haiti at the Annex and High Noon and the Great Midwestern Bluegrass Bash; and, more live music by Dr. Dog, Matt Hires with Jason Castro, Love in October, DJ Mike Carlson, Frank Catalano, Orquesta Fuego Latino, the Alex Wilson Band, Freedy Johnston, and The Midwest Beat with Eric & the Happy Thoughts.
NOTEWORTHY: National Wildlife Federation est., 1936.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 5:30 pm
Each month MMoCA organizers create a pocket of sophistication with these events, which see patrons sipping cocktails, enjoying performances (tonight: Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets members and musicians Jane Reynolds and John Mesoloras) and examining art, including the recently opened Apple Pie showcase of Americana-themed works.
Grace Chosy Gallery, through Feb. 27
This show gathers works by the storied printmaker and former University of Wisconsin art professor, who is celebrating the publication of The Prints of Warrington Colescott: A Catalogue Raisonné, 19482008. Meet the scathing satirist at a signing and reception tonight (6-8 pm).
Project Lodge, 6:30 pm
Radical Milwaukee-based Insurgent Theatre presents a touring performance of this political play, which sets a political kidnapping in the context of Homer's Odyssey. Our Town it ain't.
Jazzworks Dance Company
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7:30 pm
The dynamic Madison troupe presents a jazz dance, modern dance and contemporary ballet. Among the works are "A World Without Walls," which melds global dance styles, and "Elvis Is in the Building," employing music of the King, who was no slouch of a dancer.
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Feb. 6 & 7
Violinist Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth are husband and wife, and tonight they perform music of Mozart, Saint-Saëns and Max Bruch. The capper is Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3, featuring MSO organist Samuel Hutchison.
UW Pyle Center, 7:30 pm
The New York-based painter, in town thanks to Geneva Campus Church, talks about the need for nurturing "cultural estuaries" in his talk "Prodigal Art: Restoring Health to the Cultural Ecosystem."
10 Perfect: A Lynching Survivor Story
UW Lathrop Hall's H'Doubler Performance Space, 8 pm
UW acting professor Patrick Sims performs his one-man play about James Cameron, who survived a 1930 lynching in Indiana and went on to open America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee.
Dr. Dog, The Growlers
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
SoCal psych-meets-surf band the Growlers make their melodies ebb and flow with distorted guitars and lots of reverb. Philly's Doctor Dog takes a different but equally retro approach to psych-rock, building complex harmonies and staging guitar duels so epic that Wilco and the Raconteurs have invited them on tour.
Matt Hires, Jason Castro
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
Two Atlantic Records up-and-comers hit the Rat to get the UW crowd stoked about their upcoming albums. While they may draw a similar set of singer-songwriter fans, Hires falls somewhere between Jack Johnson and John Mayer, while Castro, an American Idol finalist, is more into Ben Harper, Ray LaMontagne and the folky sounds of the ukulele. With Caitlin Crosby.
BIRTHDAY: Howling Guns N' Roses banshee Axl Rose, 1962.
Regent Street Retreat Relief for Haiti
Annex, noon and 8 pm
The Retreat and the Annex will host nearly 12 hours of music to encourage local music fans to donate to the Red Cross' Haiti relief efforts, whether that means giving $5 at the door or entering a prize raffle. The first round of sound includes the funky fun of the Mighty Joe White, Tex-Mex tunes by Sinchiladas, and the PlayGround of Sound's engaging blues-rock. The second round has a hip-hop theme and features L.O.S.T S.O.U.L.S, Young Deucez, Opal Ellyse, MC Starr, Smokes, Dudu Stinks of dumate, Born Brothaz, Rambunxious, Prophet, MSP, Isodynamics, Zubie and Rob Dz.
High Noon Saloon, 1 pm
The fundraiser for the Madison Children's Museum features performances by Ken Lonnquist and the Kenland Band, Truly Remarkable Loon, Laboratory Theatre and Kidoke with the Gomers. It may be a saloon, kids, but you'd better stick to sarsaparilla.
Love in October
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
Started by two globetrotting, Moog-loving Swedish brothers, this Windy City band have added emo to their power pop at some times and dance-club flair at others, attracting the attention of Spin and CMJ and earning them gigs alongside Shiny Toy Guns, the Apples in Stereo and Hot Hot Heat.
High Noon Haiti Relief Benefit
High Noon Saloon, 7:30 pm
The reggae community has booked the High Noon for its Haiti benefit, which will feature music by Natty Nation, Tropical Riddims Sound System, Zach Deputy and Heatbox. Mt. Zion Soundsystem will release a new CD in addition to playing a live set.
Insomniac Gypsy, The Hillside Ramblers
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The stately Majestic will morph into a bluegrass hootenanny as fingerstyle favorites Insomniac Gypsy join Appleton-area acoustic quartet Past Blue Rhythm, Fond du Lac's Hillside Ramblers and Madison's own SweetGrass.
Alonzo King's LINES Ballet
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm
The classically trained troupe pushes the ballet form to the limit, with a wildly idiosyncratic style and powerhouse dancers. San Francisco-based King is a revolutionary choreographer.
DJ Mike Carlson
Inferno, 9 pm
The longtime local DJ and his family lost their home and a large collection of vinyl records in a Jan. 26 fire. So enjoy a set of his music at this Leather & Lace party, and show your support. With WhiteRabbit.
Restaurant Magnus, 9:30 pm
The Grammy-winning sax player has set fire to the Billboard jazz charts with his last two albums, and Downbeat magazine has compared his energy to that of John Coltrane. He's likely to break into the pop charts, too, thanks to his performances with famous folks like Jennifer Lopez and John Legend, and his ability to explore funky and psychedelic detours while staying true to his roots.
Orquesta Fuego Latino
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
Get ready to salsa, merengue and much more: This ensemble of 10 musicians from both sides of the Equator play rousing, rhythmic Latin music with roots in Montevideo, Mexico City and even Madison.
Alex Wilson Band
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
Milwaukee singer-guitarist Wilson turns heads with a polished sound that draws on everything from gutbucket Chicago blues to Hendrix.
Frequency, 10 pm
The Kansas-born, NYC-based singer-songwriter considers Madison his second home and, as a result, is giving fans here a special treat: a small-venue show to promote his new album, Rain on the City, even though he's been selling out venues in much bigger cities.
The Midwest Beat, Eric & the Happy Thoughts
Crystal Corner Bar, 10 pm
Two bands with a thing for '60s-style bubblegum pop and '90s-style lo-fi will shift your weekend into high gear while DJ 45 Freakout's record-spinning will leave your head spinning with joy. Also playing: The Motorz, in a reunion performance.
NOTEWORTHY: President Kennedy orders Cuba blockade, 1962.