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The Week: Madison calendar for January 31 - February 6, 2014

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

Friday 1.31
NOTEWORTHY: Avatar becomes first film to gross more than $2 billion worldwide, 2010.

Lois Lowry
Central Library, 7 pm
The Newbery Medal-winning YA author visits as Children's Theater of Madison readies a February production of her dystopian novel The Giver. She'll read from the book, and American Players Theatre's Paul Bentzen will share some scenes from the play. Recommended for ages 8 and older, this free event also includes a book signing and a Q&A session to help young readers grapple with the difficult issues the story raises (see Theater).

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Feb. 1 & 6
Strollers Theatre presents Rajiv Joseph's 2009 play, a phantasmagorical reflection on Iraq during the U.S. invasion. The central figure is a tiger who puzzles over the absurd situation he finds himself in as the war rages.

Justine Blazer
Ho-Chunk Gaming, 8 pm.
Also Saturday, Feb. 1, 8 pm
The Nashville-based recording artist brings her catchy country-rock to the casino for two free shows.

Madison Ballet
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday, Feb. 1, 2 & 8 pm
You may have seen the troupe on the grand stage of Overture Hall, but here's a chance for a more intimate encounter. The promising program includes W. Earle Smith's new Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, a neoclassical work set to music by Alexander Scriabin; Jin-Wen Yu's tango-oriented "Transit"; Marlene Skog's un-tango-oriented "Un-Tango"; and Nikki Hefko's "Mandolin Amble," which moves in time with Vivaldi.

Blackberry Smoke
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The Atlanta band list Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top among their top influences, and they've had the good fortune of opening for both of these acts. Expect layers of gospel, soul and bluegrass on a base of hard Southern rock. With the Delta Saints.

UW Union South-Sett, 9 pm
For an introduction to this Minnesota rapper's wordplay and cheeky interplay between serious themes and self-deprecating humor, check out "Sweet Chin Music (Fisher King's Anthem)," from his performance on the Kinda Neat podcast. With CrashPrez, hitmayng and Night Channel.

Cowboy Winter
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The Madison band revel in '60s-style garage rock, soul and R&B, and their onstage energy is positively contagious. With Paint, Lover's Spit and Royal Station.

Evan Murdock & the Imperfect Strangers
Tempest Oyster Bar, 9:30 pm
Murdock's been a Madison music fixture for more than a decade, performing with the Lonesome Rogues, then with the Kentucky Waterfalls, and now with the Imperfect Strangers, an Americana act that will make fans of Flogging Molly and Alison Krauss smile.

Saturday 2.1
NOTEWORTHY: Texas secedes from U.S. during Civil War, 1861.

Orchid Quest
Alliant Energy Center-Exhibition Hall, 10 am-5 pm. Also Sunday, Feb. 2, 10 am-4 pm
This Madison Orchid Growers Guild event features seminars, artwork, a raffle and some of the prettiest petals you'll see before spring.

Grillin' for Peace
Lake Wingra near Vilas Beach, 10:30 am-1:30 pm
In this unique fundraiser, cooks set up old-school Weber grills in the shape of a peace sign on frozen Lake Wingra, frying up meat and veggies. It's a fundraiser for Savory Sunday, a weekly meal for the needy downtown.

Kids Rock!
High Noon Saloon, 1-4 pm
The young 'uns, whether glam, garage or goth, take center stage at this fundraiser for the Madison Children's Museum. There'll be Kiddy-oke with the Gomers, a performance by Black Star Drumline, guitar decorating, facepainting and a photo booth.

Souper Bowl
West High School, 2-8 pm
Stuff yourself with soup, salad, bread and dessert at this evening of edibles and entertainment that benefits the UW chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Plus, attendees receive ceramic bowls for future soup adventures.

Sugar Stems
High Noon Saloon, 5 pm
The Milwaukee act pair twangy rock and pop with modern power-pop and nostalgia for the 1950s. "Never Been in Love," from their 45 Like I Do, is a good introduction. With the Midwest Beat.

Oakwood Chamber Players
Oakwood Village-University Woods Center, 7 pm. Also at UW Arboretum's Visitor Center, Sunday, Feb. 2, 1:30 pm
The local chamber-music ensemble embraces the season with a Nordic-themed program featuring a string trio by Jean Sibelius, a woodwind quintet by Carl Nielsen and a piece by Svein Sveinbjornsson, composer of Iceland's national anthem.

Rene Hell, Noxroy
Good Style Shop, 8 pm
Rene Hell is Jeff Witscher, a noise-rock purveyor who crafts tracks filled with shimmering synths and complex percussion rhythms. Andrew Fitzpatrick takes the experimental vibe a step further as Noxroy, his computer-driven music project with a new release on Signal Dreams (see Music). With Circulation of Light and Victor Portsmouth.

Overture Center, 8 pm
Madison puts on the Ritz at this gala featuring entertainment by the Dick Judson Orchestra and local jazz musician Doug Brown. Stick around for performances by the Fred Astaire Dance Studios, hors d'oeuvres, desserts and champagne. Tiaras optional.

'80s Prom
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
From the bespectacled stars of Revenge of the Nerds to the mean girls of Heathers, movie-inspired cliques should be all the rage at this '80s prom-themed bash featuring Sixteen Candles, a Chicago band that rocks the shoulder pads off the decade's hits. DJ Nick Nice will project period music videos on a big screen, and there will be prizes galore. You could even be crowned king or queen, so practice your Moonwalk and make your bangs stand tall.

People Brothers Band
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
The eight-piece rhythm-and-soul band have built a large following in Madison since they formed in 2009. For a taste of their funky side, check out their track "Livin' It." With 4th Coast and Circle of Heat.

UW Memorial Union-Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
Formed in Denver but based in Brooklyn, N.Y., this experimental act combines energetic beats, psychedelic cacophony and introspective ambiance for a trippy walk in the woods.

Sunday 2.2

Monona Terrace Grand Reopening Celebration
Monona Terrace, 1-4 pm
The Wrightian convention and community center will hold an open house to reveal its recent makeover, which includes a new multimedia gallery, plug-and-play workstations, a photo and poetry exhibition, spiffed-up restrooms and (drumroll) new carpeting! Come see what all the fuss is about and meet the architects, designers, artists and poets responsible for the new look.

Opera Up Close
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art-Lecture Hall, 1 pm
Madison Opera previews its upcoming production of The Daughter of the Regiment. Expect a multimedia presentation, commentary and behind-the-scenes tidbits, all geared to helping you better appreciate Donizetti's sparkling comedy.

Madison Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Overture Center-Promenade Hall, 2 pm
The chorus, which raised the rafters at the MSO's holiday concerts in December, steps out on its own with a program called "Apple Pie America: A Slice of Choral Americana." It's a tour of homegrown choral traditions that covers classical music, folk songs, hymns and spirituals.

Monday 2.3
NOTEWORTHY: Illinois Territory created, 1809.

All Good Things
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Led by Milwaukee artist John Petty, this group create experimental folk and alt-rock filtered through pop, hip-hop and electronic music. Many of their songs feature samples and unique instrumental elements including the guitjo, a guitar-banjo hybrid. With Chants and Griswald.

JD Samson & MEN
Frequency, 9 pm
Best known as members of electronic band Le Tigre, Samson and Johanna Fateman formed the DJ-and-production project MEN in 2007. Beware: Samson's songwriting chops are so sharp that she's penned earworms for Christina Aguilera and Junior Senior. With Modern Mod.

Tuesday 2.4

The Black Angels
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
On the heels of their fourth full-length album, Indigo Meadow, the Austin psych-rock act rocks hard and dark. Check out the track "Black Isn't Black" off their latest for a taste. (See Tour Stop.) With Roky Erickson and Golden Animals.

Wednesday 2.5
NOTEWORTHY: UW-Madison's first class meets at Madison Female Academy, 1849.

Segredo, 9 pm
Hailing from western Canada, this young dubstep artist collaborated with Jonathan Davis on Korn's 2011 album The Path of Totality. "Oxygen," which features Zyme, reflects Datsik's kitchen-sink approach to dub and his hip-hop influences. With Must Die, Deletah and Swagu.

Thursday 2.6

Marion Kahnemann
UW Hillel, through April 6. Reception: 5-7 pm
Chernobyl is the city in Ukraine evacuated in 1986 after a terrible nuclear accident. Artist Marion Kahnemann explores the region from a Jewish perspective in "Behind the Back of Time: A Chernobyl Project."

Judith Gwinn Adrian
Mystery to Me, 7 pm
The local author and educator reads from In Warm Blood, a fictionalized biography she co-wrote with incarcerated artist DarRen Morris. The book weaves together the story of a man sentenced to life in prison and a family whose power and privilege allow one of its members to trade his own prison sentence for a military career.

RAW: Awakening
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
The local chapter of RAW, an organization that helps artists find their footing early in their careers, presents an array of visual and sonic spectacles. Highlights include music by six area bands, a breakdancing performance and a runway fashion show.

Wil-Mar Center Food Pantry Benefit
Crystal Corner Bar, 7:30 pm
Roots Collective and Tropical Riddims Sound System will take the bite out of a cold winter night with hot dub and reggae at this musical fundraiser. With the David Hecht Trio.

Edited by the Banjo Man

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