Here is this week's critics' choice calendar. The Guide provides an extended listing of events in and around Madison.
NOTEWORTHY: Florida secedes from Union before the Civil War, 1861.
Tree of Life
Overture Center's Playhouse Gallery, through March 8
Ten artists use the tree as a symbol of life on Earth, with humanity as one of the smaller branches. Prepare to be humbled.
Ikeda Manabu and Tenmyouya Hisashi
Chazen Museum of Art, through Feb. 16
The Chazen features two contemporary Japanese artists, each of whom has a new work in the museum's permanent collection. Manabu creates intricate, phantasmagorical images with pen and ink. Hisashi offers a personal twist on traditional Japanese painting, cheekily incorporating modern themes.
High Noon Saloon, 5:30 pm
Though they also specialize in honky-tonk, Western swing and roots music, the Dang-Its won the Bluegrass Performer of the Year title at the 2013 Madison Area Music Awards. Supporting them are Cris Plata & Extra Hot, who fuse Texan country with Norteño, a northern Mexican style that often features a button accordion.
Love & Trauma
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (2:30 & 7:30 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Jan. 11 & 12
When an abused woman goes on trial, the audience gets to be the jury in this new work written by local playwright Nick Schweitzer and produced by Wilder Theater. (See Theater.)
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & and Saturday (2:30 & 7:30 pm), Jan. 9 & 11
Theatre LILA's first Madison production is a one-woman play about the challenges facing American public schools. The chameleonic Marti Gobel portrays teachers, parents, administrators and more. For another taste of the project's work, check out No Story Left Behind, a free program of shorts from its local acting workshops, on Saturday at 5 pm, in Promenade Hall.
Red, Hot, and Cole!
Bartell Theatre's Drury Stage, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday & Thursday, Jan 11 & 16, 7:30 pm. Through Jan. 25
Madison Theatre Guild's tribute to Cole Porter features showstoppers from musicals like Anything Goes and Kiss Me Kate, plus intriguing anecdotes from the composer's friends and family.
Claddagh Irish Pub, Middleton, 8 pm
Distinctive, folk-inflected vocals mingle with tribal beats and unabashed swagger on the local artist's 2013 debut, In This Place.
Overture Hall, 8 pm
Finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises' worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest will celebrate the life and career of the King in a multimedia event that also features an Ann-Margret tribute.
Requiem for a Dungeon Master
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday & Thursday, Jan. 11 & 16, 8 pm. Through Feb. 1
Whether you're a fan of Wisconsin history, wizards and dragons, or nerd culture in general, this play by Scott Feiner offers plenty to geek out about. It takes the audience 40 years into the past, when two game lovers created Dungeons & Dragons in Lake Geneva.
Sandy Andina, Stephen Lee Rich
Wil-Mar Center, 8 pm
Andina got her start as a Chicago singer-songwriter and guitarist. She's performed her blend of sweet, charming vocals and multi-instrumental folk for more than 25 years, often with Rich, a Madison-based yodeler who was once her singing partner at comedy clubs.
Wisconsin Punk Festival
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
Masked Intruder's ski-mask-wearing bandits have harmonious voices and hearts of gold. They volunteered to be the event's main act when original headliners Direct Hit! had instruments, gear and their van stolen during a holiday-season tour. American Dead, Whisky Pig, Government Zero, 4 Aspirin Morning, IDFK and Help Desk will show off their own varieties of homegrown punk, too.
Brink Lounge, 9 pm
KWT4 brings together the talents of bassist Kevin Wells, guitarist Tom Theabo, drummer Tony Taylor and saxophonist Tom Washatka, who met at UW-Oshkosh in the 1970s and have played in a variety of solid acts ever since. Their sets often blend jazz, funk and R&B.
Oscar Wilson & Billy Flynn
Knuckle Down Saloon, 9 pm
Catch some authentic Chicago blues right here in Madison as a pair of masters show off their craft.
Against the Grain, Nice Hooves
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Two heavy bands from Detroit join forces on this bill. Nice Hooves have carved out a spot in the world of hardcore punk, while Against the Grain straddle doom, thrash and rock territory. With Panther.
NOTEWORTHY: First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient, 1922.
Overture Center's Rotunda Stage, 9:30 & 11 am & 1 pm
The yo-yo master and juggler nonpareil who founded MadFest, Madison's annual juggling festival, is a surefire crowd-pleaser. Follow his ups and downs -- and ups again -- at this free Kids in the Rotunda event.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 11 am
This one-man silent comedy tells the story of Snowflake, who lives alone in a vacant lot and entertains himself by recycling found objects into fanciful treasures. The play is sweet and often hilarious, and is suitable for children of all ages.
Red Zone, 6 pm
A seasoned country, folk and blues songwriter, Kille led the WAMI-award-winning band Clear Blue Betty from 2002 to 2008 before launching a solo career. She's also the 2009 winner of the Nashville Songwriters Association International Song Showdown.
Wisconsin Bluegrass Festival
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
Part of the Majestic's January series of one-day music fests, this event celebrates the burgeoning statewide bluegrass scene with bands such as Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Evergreen Grass Band and Smokin' Bandits, as well as folk-grass acts like Dead Horses and Chicken Wire Empire.
Alison Margaret Trio
Tempest Oyster Bar, 9:30 pm
Margaret is a Chicago-born jazz singer who's a force to be reckoned with on the local scene. She negotiates tricky intervals, scat-sings and luxuriates in complex rhythms.
Red Zone, 10 pm
The local pop-rock trio performs sensitive, harmonious and fun tunes that recall Barenaked Ladies' best tracks. The band won the Rock Album of the Year award at the MAMAs in both 2004 and 2010.
NOTEWORTHY: Congress authorizes use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait, 1991.
NOTEWORTHY: Johnny Cash performs at Folsom State Prison, 1968.
Jack of Heart, The Periodicals
Frequency, 8:30 pm
Jack of Heart will show Madison what scuzzy, fuzzy garage rock from the south of France sounds like. (See Tour Stop.) This concert also includes the debut of the Periodicals, an upbeat pub-rock outfit featuring members of Baristacide and Awesome Car Funmaker. With the Delphines.
NOTEWORTHY: Huygens probe lands on Saturn's largest moon, 2005.
Pamela Callahan, Rhea Vedro
Wisconsin Academy's James Watrous Gallery, through March 2. Reception and artist talks: Friday, Jan. 17, 7:30 pm
Callahan draws inspiration from the curving peaks and shadowy valleys near her home in southwest Wisconsin, using her paintbrush to explore both tangible landscapes and places that exist only in the mind. Vedro uses paintings and sculpture to dig into humankind's relationship with metal, spanning such subjects as mining, warfare and architecture.
Barnes & Noble-West Towne, 7 pm
In a departure from her Elm Creek Quilts mystery series, the Madison-based quilter and best-selling author reads from her latest tome, Mrs. Lincoln's Rival, and signs copies afterward. The book tells the story of the first lady's very public social and political contest with Washingtonian Kate Chase Sprague.
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Wednesday & Thursday, Jan. 15 & 16, 7:30 pm; through Jan. 19
This touring Broadway show is a rollicking musical comedy, following the antics of a wannabe diva and a convent full of singing, dancing nuns. With an award-winning score by Alan Menken, we feel pretty certain even Pope Francis would be tapping his toes.
NOTEWORTHY: Green Bay Packers defeat Kansas City Chiefs in first Super Bowl, 1967.
NOTEWORTHY: Last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, flees to Egypt with his family, 1979.
Ancora Coffee-King Street, 8 pm
The quippy bassist from local honky-tonk act Brown Derby is also a talented solo artist. His 2013 album, Slow Boat, is a delicious combination of songs that reference beer drinking, self-destructive habits, and Ken and Barbie's torturous relationship. An acoustic performance of at least a few of these tunes is likely.
Frequency, 9:30 pm
Hip-hop is gracing the Frequency's stage once again thanks to the efforts of the Urban Community Arts Network. Sole, an indie-rap icon and cofounder of Anticon Records, headlines, and DJs Pain 1 and Memory provide support.
Edited by the Supreme Leader & the Worm