The Wisconsin Film Festival, the centerpiece of Madison's spring arts season, is extending its run this year, with its eight-day series of screenings opening on Thursday. The calendar also includes: talks by Byron Pitts, Sandra Postel, and Maira Kalman; a production of Spring Awakening, performances by Max Raabe & Palast Orchester, the Pro Arte Quartet with Nobuku Imai, and Jeremy Denk; and, more live music from Warm Soda, That 1 Guy, Iceage, Kevin Mahogany, The Protomen, Denison Witmer, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Chris Trapper, Les Racquet, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, and Watsky.
Varsity Hall, UW Union South, 7:30 pm
The Emmy-winning journalist discusses his harrowing experiences in Iraq as chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News.
Max Raabe & Palast Orchester
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
The Weimar Republic's fusion of avant-garde art and pop culture inspires Raabe, who presents vintage tunes with a 12-piece orchestra and a dash of whimsy (see Music).
That 1 Guy
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
This one-man band's instruments are reason enough to attend this show. Prime specimens include a 7-foot-tall contraption made of steel pipes and bass strings and a musical saw hooked up to an effects box.
NOTEWORTHY: La Salle discovers mouth of Mississippi, 1682.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7 pm
Postel is the director of the Global Water Policy Project and the author of Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity. She'll discuss local and global water challenges in this Academy Evenings event. Earlier in the day (noon-4 pm) is a forum on Waters of Wisconsin at the UW Pyle Center.
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9 pm
This punkish Danish band's new album, You're Nothing, has drawn praise from the not-so-punk New York Times.
NOTEWORTHY: Titanic departs for first and only voyage, 1912.
Brink Lounge, 5 pm
Dubbed "the standout jazz vocalist of his generation" by Newsweek, Mahogany is known for spectacular scat singing. Proceeds will help fund the free, outdoor concert series Jazz at Five.
Pro Arte Quartet with Nobuko Imai
Mills Hall, UW Humanities Building, 7:30 pm
The viola often lives in the violin's shadow, but you'd never know it when listening to Imai, considered to be one of the instrument's finest living players.
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also April 11-13, 7:30 pm
Janesville's Bower City Theatre Company presents the Tony-winning rock musical, an adaptation of an 1891 German play about teenagers and their erotic preoccupations.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
If you've ever doubted whether videogames can inspire quality art, check out this band, whose best-known works are rock operas based on Mega Man.
Frequency, 9 pm
The troubadour performs folk-inflected rock featuring rich tenor vocals and warm acoustic guitar.
Wisconsin Film Festival
Through April 18, various venues
The festival expands to eight days this year, showcasing American indie films, world cinema, classics, experimental work and homegrown stories (see Wisconsin Film Festival).
UW Hillel, 7:30 pm
The author-illustrator shares her witty, humane perspective on the world, evident in her New Yorker covers. She'll present paintings from her new children's book, What Pete Ate, at the Madison Children's Museum beginning April 12.
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
The New York Times has deemed this singer-songwriter's tunes "classic pop perfection."
Mills Hall, UW Humanities Building, 8 pm
In addition to recording Ligeti etudes and Beethoven sonatas, this pianist has penned thoughtful essays for The New Yorker.
Rigby, 9 pm
By pronouncing their name as "less racket," this NYC power trio come off as clever nerds, not pretentious Francophiles. Geek out to their latest album, Whale Hail.
Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds
Frequency, 9 pm
Arleigh Kincheloe, the songbird known as Sister Sparrow, has a mesmerizing stage presence, especially when she teams up with the Dirty Birds, her eight-piece band of sultry soul men. With the Congregation.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Watsky's latest studio album, Cardboard Castles, blends catchy hooks with nimble wordplay he honed during his slam-poetry performances on HBO's Def Poetry Jam.