The season may be wearing on, but ice and snow continue to provide opportunities for celebrations both in open air and indoors, including this weekend with the Madison Winter Festival and the Midwinter Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival. The calendar also includes: Darwin Day at UW-Madison; the Mad City Model Railroad Show; the 1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibit at the Chazen; productions of West Side Story, The Story of My Life, Not the Artist, Guess How Much I Love You and I Love My Little Storybook; and Too Many Frogs!; a UW Dance Department Faculty Concert and Muntu Dance Theatre Group shows; a performance by Pro Arte Quartet; comedy by Upright Citizens Brigade; the Mardi Gras Funk Fest featuring J.C. Brooks & the Uptown Sound and two nights of the Local Love Fest; and, more live music from Musikanto, Vusi Mahlasela, Elephant Revival, Ballyhoo!, Martin Sexton, Field Report, The Fuck Knights, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
NOTEWORTHY: Worldwide protests erupt against Iraq war, 2003.
UW campus, through Feb. 16
The UW celebrates Charles Darwin's birthday by looking at (what else?) sex and reproduction in the natural world. Most events are at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, including talks by visiting academics on "The Most Remarkable Fertilization System" (Saturday, 10:30 am) and "Dolphin Pelvic Bones Evolve in Response to Sexual Selection" (Saturday, noon).
Midwinter Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival
Brink Lounge, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (workshops 3:30 pm; concerts beginning at 5:30 pm), Feb. 14 & 16
This immersion in Django Reinhardt-inspired swing music features Harmonious Wail, Opus 4 and other hot ensembles. The highlight is a 9:30 pm performance on Thursday by Stephane Wrembel, a celebrated guitarist who has composed music for Woody Allen films.
West Side Story
Overture Hall, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (2 & 8 pm) & Sunday (1 & 6:30 pm), Feb. 14, 16 & 17
A touring company presents Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's brilliant musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, set on the streets of gangland New York. (See Theater.)
UW Dance Department Faculty Concert
UW Lathrop Hall, H'Doubler Performance Space, 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Feb. 14 & 16, 8 pm
The concert features original works from dance faculty members. Germaul Barnes, a former member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, will restage Jones' dazzling "D-Man in the Waters (Part I)."
The Story of My Life
Bartell Theater, 8 pm. Also Thursday, Feb. 14, 7:30 pm
StageQ presents Neil Bartram and Brian Hill's musical about the lifelong love between two men, told through a series of songs.
Upright Citizens Brigade
UW Memorial Union, Great Hall, 8 pm
The comedy troupe graduated Amy Poehler and Ed Helms, and its New York and L.A. theaters give Second City a run for its money. This performance by its touring company is free, but tickets are required.
Not the Artist
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday & Thursday, Feb. 16 & 21, 8 pm
Kurt McGinnis Brown's comedy is about a painter who claims her lover's works as her own.
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
Critics have compared Musikanto's folk-infused rock to Ryan Adams' sound, but seductive whispers of soul also filter into songs like "Awful Mind."
Mardi Gras Funk Fest featuring J.C. Brooks & the Uptown Sound
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The Uptown Sound's concerts brim with daring vocals, killer drumming and lots of sweat. The group will add an extra helping of funk to their blend of post-punk and soul at this show, and the Majestic will reciprocate with Fat Tuesday-themed drink specials and free beads.
Local Love Fest
Frequency, 9 pm. Also Saturday, 9 pm
Send Madison a Valentine by attending this two-night celebration of locally made rock 'n' roll. Friday night's lineup includes Beefus, Venus in Furs and Way Off the Horse, and Saturday night features Droids Attack, Shotdown and Sir! No Sir!
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
This Colorado quintet draws inspiration from Kentucky bluegrass and traditional Celtic music to craft enchanting folk-pop featuring mandolins and a musical saw.
1934: A New Deal for Artists
Chazen Museum of Art, through April 28. Lecture and reception: Thursday, Feb. 21, 5:30 pm
This exhibition celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Public Works of Art Project, a New Deal initiative intended to provide employment and inspiration during the dark days of the Depression.
Madison Winter Festival
Capitol Square, 9 am-9:30 pm. Also Sunday, Feb. 17, 9 am-4 pm
You can't beat the cold, so join it. The festival offers races, tubing, ice-sculpting and other family events.
Mad City Model Railroad Show
Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall, 9 am-5 pm. Also Sunday, Feb. 17, 9 am-5 pm It's a choo-choo lover's paradise, with exhibits, vendors and lots of moving parts.
Muntu Dance Theatre Group
Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 10:30 am & 1:30 pm
The Chicago troupe offers two family-oriented performances of African and African American dance, music and folklore.
Guess How Much I Love You and I Love My Little Storybook
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 2 pm
The Wee Generation is sure to delight in this production by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, which brings beloved characters Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare off the page and onto the stage.
Too Many Frogs!
Overture Center Playhouse, 6:30 pm. Also Sunday, Feb. 17, 2:30 pm
Children's Theater of Madison presents an adaptation of Sandra Fenichel Asher's picture book for kids 4 and up, featuring both actors and handcrafted puppets. An orderly rabbit's house is overrun by frogs demanding bedtime stories.
Pro Arte Quartet
Mills Hall in the UW Humanities Bldg., 8 pm
The UW ensemble presents the world premiere of Joel Hoffman's "another time, variations for string quartet." Free!
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
This energetic Maryland quartet, who bridge pop and punk with reggae grooves, recently landed on New Music Seminar's Top 100 Emerging Artists list. With Kayavibe.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
This self-taught folksinger has a gift for soulful delivery, which has dazzled famous fans like John Mayer.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm. Also at Strictly Discs, 3 pm.
Chris Porterfield and crew will dig into their small but sturdy repertoire of lyrical folk-rock, which has earned praise from Prefix, Paste and several Isthmus critics.
The Fuck Knights
Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 pm
Don't expect chivalry from these Minneapolis garage-rockers. They're more interested in razzing the crowd with provocative antics.
NOTEWORTHY: Blaine Act ends Prohibition, 1933.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
This South African chorus popularized mbube and isicathamiya, a cappella singing styles that build complex harmonies with male voices, by appearing on Paul Simon's Graceland in 1986. Since then, they've racked up several Grammys.