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The Week: Madison calendar for January 17-23, 2014

Here is this week's critics' choice calendar. The Guide provides an extended listing of events in and around Madison.

Friday 1.17
NOTEWORTHY: U.N. Security Council holds first session, 1946.

Bryan Bowers
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
This master autoharpist and storyteller is likely to make the audience laugh, cry and cheer during an intimate folk performance.

Overture Center's Playhouse, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Jan. 16, 18 & 20. Through Feb. 2
Forward Theater Company kicks off 2014 with a play about abstract painter Mark Rothko, whose artistic integrity is tested when he receives a commission from a powerful company in the early 1950s. Featuring a Tony-winning script and American Players Theatre favorite Jim DeVita in the central role, the production is poised to pack the Playhouse. (See Theater.)

Betty Who
Frequency, 8 pm
This Australian dance-pop artist is also a classically trained cellist. Just try to keep from dancing like Hugh Grant in Love Actually when you listen to her 2012 debut single, "Somebody Loves You." With Sombear.

Brianna Lea Pruett
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
A poet and painter as well as a songwriter, Pruett plays haunting Americana that blends her Appalachian heritage with folk influences from northern California.

Briar Rabbit
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
B.B. King's nephew is also a talented musician, but he doesn't channel his sadness through a blues guitar. Instead he nods to artists like Bright Eyes and Bob Dylan when crafting brainy folk-pop. (See Tour Stop.) With Todd Kessler.

Sister Act
Overture Hall, 8 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 8 pm) & Sunday (1 & 6:30 pm), Jan. 18 & 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.

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
Croatian guitar virtuoso Ana Vidovic is the guest star at this Masterworks concert featuring Castelnuevo-Tedesco's Guitar Concerto No. 1, but the orchestra may steal the show with Bruckner's meaty and mighty Symphony No. 2.

High Noon Saloon, 9 pm. Also Thursday (8 pm), Saturday (9 pm) & Sunday (8 pm), 16, 18 & 19
Madison concertgoers won't let a blizzard get in the way of their weekend fun. Even if you have to ski, skate or snowshoe to the High Noon, you'll want to catch this solid-as-ice lineup of indie acts, beginning on Thursday with soul songbird Caroline Smith and concluding on Sunday with indie-rock icons Superchunk. Other highlights include rap diva Lizzo on Thursday, psychedelic pop group Milagres on Friday, and the delightfully dark Weekend and Nothing on Saturday. (See Music.)

Jon Pardi
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
This country singer-songwriter followed his passion from California to Nashville to make rowdy, in-your-face country music. He debuted in 2012 with the well-received "Missin' You Crazy." With Pat Watters.

Saturday 1.18
NOTEWORTHY: Martin Luther King Day officially observed in all 50 states for first time, 1993.

Children of the Rainforest
Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 10:30 am & 1:30 pm
Escape from Wisconsin with Hale O Malo Polynesian Dance. The Milwaukee-based troupe's island rhythms are sure to melt the most frozen of hearts -- and booties.

Kids' Day
High Noon Saloon, 11 am & 1 pm
Musician, storyteller and former first-grade teacher David Landau presents a pair of fun-filled concerts that may even teach the grownups a thing or two.

Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest
Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall, 2-6 pm
Hobnob with scores of the state's finest brewers and cheesemakers and enjoy the fruits of their labor at Isthmus' annual event. In addition to the eating, drinking and schmoozing, there's a brewing competition, presentations on specialty beers, and more gemütlichkeit than you can shake a pretzel stick at.

Kitt Reuter-Foss
Arboretum Cohousing, 7 pm
The accomplished local soprano performs songs from Broadway and the classical world and shares anecdotes from her experiences on stages near and far. In addition to this musical treat, you can enjoy snacks, drinks and the camaraderie of fellow music lovers.

MadFest Juggling Extravaganza
Barrymore Theatre, 7 pm
If you like having your mind boggled, this variety show is the event for you. Expect the unexpected as flying objects, pointy objects, flaming objects or all three whiz through the air. It's part of the MadFest Juggling Festival held at the Alliant Energy Center (Jan. 17-19), with vendors, demos and open juggling.

Del McCoury Band
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Jan. 18, 7:30 pm
Active since the 1960s, the band formerly known as Del McCoury & the Dixie Pals won a Grammy for best bluegrass album a few years ago. With the Deadly Gentlemen.

Eliza's Toyes
Chocolaterian Cafe, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday, Jan. 19, Gates of Heaven, 4 pm
The six-piece choral ensemble performs a program of medieval and Renaissance works titled "A British Winter." Seasonal music by composers like William Byrd and Christopher Tye should pair well with a hot beverage at the chocolate-focused cafe, which will offer desserts and wine.

Keller Williams & More Than a Little
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Keller's folk music has a huge following of "freakers by the speaker." Check out his cover of Ani DiFranco's "Freakshow" for a look at his multi-instrumental skills and whimsical vocals.

Sunday 1.19
NOTEWORTHY: Apple announces Lisa, its first personal computer with a mouse and graphical user interface, 1983.

Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Combining heavy electronic production and live instruments, this act has been a fixture on the festival circuit since 2011. With the Main Squeeze and Ifdakar.

Monday 1.20
NOTEWORTHY: Hungary agrees to armistice with Allies during World War II, 1945.

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Events
Friday-Monday, various locations
After a weekend's worth of community events (including a free community dinner on Friday, Jan. 17, 4:30-7 pm, UW Gordon Dining & Event Center), the city, county and state pay homage to Martin Luther King's civil rights dream on Monday. The state observance is at noon in the Capitol Rotunda. The city-county celebration, at 6 pm in the Overture Center's Capitol Theater, features a keynote speech by Andrew Young, the King Humanitarian Awards presentation and performances by the MLK Community Choir.

Shawn Hamilton
Middleton Library, 7 pm
Drawing upon the speeches and writings of Martin Luther King Jr., Hamilton presents a one-man show that honors the life and legacy of the civil rights leader.

The Toasters
Frequency, 9 pm
This New York City ska band's hyperactive, horn-powered tunes are a blast and a half, especially the ones with bits of rap and calypso music. Whether you're skanking, moshing or simply people-watching, you'll have a story to tell on Tuesday morning. With Something to Do and Supervillain Fire Drill.

Tuesday 1.21
NOTEWORTHY: President Jimmy Carter pardons most Americans who evaded Vietnam War draft, 1977.

Wednesday 1.22
NOTEWORTHY: Kmart becomes largest U.S. retailer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, 2002.

The Life and Death of a Drop
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 7 pm
Sidney Nagel of the University of Chicago department of physics discusses the surprising life history of a drop -- from its birth to its eventual demise -- in this free lecture presented by the Center for Complexity and Collective Computation (motto: Nothing's ever simple).

Wayne "The Train" Hancock
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Though he's been blending rockabilly, honky-tonk and Texas swing since 1995, Hancock has been writing since age 12. There's something classic about his sound, which has led critics to compare him to Hank Williams. With Nellie Wilson.

Communion Madison featuring the Weeks
Frequency, 9 pm
The live music series introduces audiences to new bands; this installment features the Weeks. Check out "Stigmata" off their album Gutter Gaunt Gangster for a taste of their Ted Leo-esque indie-rock sound. With Bailiff and Double Ewes.

Thursday 1.23
NOTEWORTHY: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts first members, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, 1986.

Jay LaMonica
University Club, 5:30 pm
In a talk titled "Al Jazeera America: Bringing a Complex World to U.S. Audiences," the executive producer of America Tonight will discuss his 30-year career reporting on national security issues, especially the challenge of interpreting American perspectives for a foreign news network.

High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Folk, blues and indie rock combine in glorious ways when this experimental Chicago act performs. Check out"Frosted Tips" on their new album, Stitches, and "Better Angels" from 2009's acclaimed All My Friends Are Funeral Singers. With William Tyler.

War Poets
Frequency, 9 pm
Influenced by Tom Petty and U2, this Minneapolis classic-rock act perform socially conscious ballads like 2012's "Close Enough," which they dedicate to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.

Edited by the Beer Brigade

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