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The Week: Madison calendar for February 7-13, 2014

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

Friday 2.7
NOTEWORTHY: U.S. bans all Cuban imports and exports, 1962.

Garden Expo
Alliant Energy Center-Exhibition Hall, 3-9 pm. Also Saturday (9 am-6 pm) & Sunday (10 am-4 pm), Feb. 8 & 9
Though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year, you can still experience spring in February at this Wisconsin Public Television fundraiser brimming with tips on gardening and landscape design. Exhibitors will peddle seeds and lawn gear, UW-Extension horticulture experts will answer questions about local plant-rearing, and radio personality Melinda Myers will give two presentations: "A Bounty of Seasonal Fruits and "Vegetables" (Friday, 5:45 pm) and "Low-Maintenance, High-Impact Perennial Gardens" (Sunday, 12:45 pm).

Brian Regan
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
The stand-up comic fills stories about everyday life with well-timed physical humor and delicious sarcasm. Time Out Chicago praised a recent performance, noting that "every bit receives the same amount of passion and energy."

Jason Isbell
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The former Drive-By Truckers guitarist is excelling in his solo act, which has earned praise from Rolling Stone, Mojo and, of course, Isthmus. The focus of the show will be Southeastern, a new album filled with spare arrangements and lots of emotion. With Robert Ellis.

Madison Opera
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm. Also Sunday, Feb. 9, 2:30 pm
The Daughter of the Regiment, Donizetti's comedy about an orphan raised by a group of soldiers, comes alive in a production featuring stunning soprano Caitlin Cisler. Come an hour early for a discussion of the work with Kathryn Smith, Madison Opera's general director, and stick around afterward for a Q&A.

UW Dance Faculty Concert
UW Lathrop Hall, 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Feb. 6 & 8, 8 pm. Through Feb. 15
The dance faculty showcase their artistry in a concert titled "Unearth." One highlight will be a work by guest artist Joe Goode, a San Francisco-based choreographer keen on "acknowledging human imperfections" through a fusion of dance and theater.

Pert Near Sandstone
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles says this Twin Cities group are one of his favorite contemporary bluegrass acts. They plan to release their seventh album, The Hardest Part of Leaving, in April. With WheelHouse and the Whiskey Farm.

Trampled Under Foot
Frequency, 9 pm
These International Blues Challenge winners deliver a one-two punch of impressive vocals by Danielle Schnebelen and Albert King Award-winning guitar work by her brother Nick. With the Ben Miller Band.

Chicago Afrobeat Project
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
This vibrant eight-piece ensemble fuses Afrobeat with other musical styles that have African American roots, including hip-hop, funk and jazz.

The Usual Things, Lake Avenue
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
Two Minneapolis-based rock bands visit the UW for a free show. The Usual Things play songs from a finely crafted new album, Sweet Home Alone, and Lake Avenue are as energetic as noise-pop maniacs Japanther, but with a bit of a Replacements-style rock vibe.

Local Love Fest
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm. Also Saturday, Feb. 8, Crystal Corner Bar, 9 pm
Got a crush on the local music scene? This event is just the place to make it known. Droids Attack, Warhawks, Real Knives and Old Buffalo Money will perform covers of other Madison bands' tunes, which are recorded on a new album called Local Love Fest. The festivities continue on Saturday with Government Zero, Kill Junior and Damidol. (See Music.)

Saturday 2.8

Polar Plunge
Alliant Energy Center's Willow Island, 10 am-3 pm
Show winter who's boss by stripping down to your skivvies and diving into icy water at this Special Olympics Wisconsin benefit. Luckily, you'll gain plenty of warm, fuzzy feelings to help you recover. Advance registration required.

Temple Grandin
UW Gordon Dining & Event Center, 5:30 pm
The best-selling author and animal-behavior expert is an ardent advocate for others on the autism spectrum. She's also the inventor of the hug box, which provides comfort to people with the disorder. She'll tell stories about her own experience and autograph books.

Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
Combining blues and classical music, this band sound like what might have happened if Beethoven had been raised in the Chicago blues scene. With Sons of the Never Wrong.

Mason Jennings
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Born in Hawaii, this singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist makes folk-rock that is heartfelt and lyrically poignant. The crowd's in for a treat if he plays "Wilderness," a tune off his new album, Always Been. With Rebecca Pidgeon.

Windsor Drive
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
The sweet, thoughtful pop of "Make Believe," a track from this Wausau-based act's Under the Weather, helped win them a spot on the Vans Warped Tour. With Circus Fires.

Sunday 2.9
NOTEWORTHY: British Parliament declares Massachusetts in rebellion, 1775.

United Way Bluegrass Benefit
Barrymore Theatre, 1 pm
Six local bluegrass bands, including Oak Street Ramblers, Daylight in the Swamp and the Old Tin Can String Band, perform at this musical hootenanny to raise money for the United Way of Dane County. There will be more than four hours of bass pluckin', banjo pickin' fun and a set for the kids by David Landau (1:40 pm).

The Marquis Hill Blacktet
Brink Lounge, 3 pm
At 26, Hill is already a fixture on the Chicago jazz scene, having won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and earned a faculty position at the University of Chicago. His new album, The Poet, showcases his elegant, melodic trumpet work as well as his excellent band.

Defeating Dollarocracy
Barrymore Theatre, 7 pm
At this benefit for WORT-FM, authors Robert McChesney and John Nichols join former FCC commissioner Michael Copps to discuss the importance of community reporting and the threats that wealthy corporate media conglomerates pose to democracy. The event also includes appearances by The Progressive's Ruth Conniff and Rep. Mark Pocan.

Leslie & the Ly's
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Ugly sweaters aren't just for Christmastime. This group rocks them all year long in live shows featuring big hair, tight spandex and crazy dance-pop tunes with names like "Blame the Booty." With Dean & the Delilahs and Boone County Comedy Troupe.

Monday 2.10

Man Man
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The Philly band's 2013 album, On Oni Pond, didn't crack the Billboard 200 like their previous two releases, but its unusual combination of Balkan brass and bossa nova beats is pure bliss. With Xenia Rubinos.

Tuesday 2.11
NOTEWORTHY: First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam, 1973.

Transforming Healthcare Through Physics
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery-DeLuca Forum, 7 pm
At a free talk, Northwestern University physicist Luis Amaral discusses one of his specialties: the evolution of complex social and biological systems in the world of medicine.

Unveiling the Secrets of the Universe
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art-Lecture Hall, 7 pm
This free Wisconsin Academy talk centers on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a high-powered telescope stationed a kilometer beneath the Antarctic ice sheets. IceCube physicist Francis Halzen will discuss the many wonders of the neutrino, a building block of life that formed within a second of the universe's birth. Advance registration required.

Birds of Paradise: Extreme, Bizarre, Extraordinary
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7:30 pm
This National Geographic Live! event features Tim Laman, a photographer who spent eight years capturing images of all 39 species of the elusive bird of paradise, several of which are facing extinction. He and collaborator Ed Scholes will share discoveries from their 18 journeys, along with photos, video and audio recordings.

Robert Cray
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Before Cray's soulful crooning and blues guitar won him five Grammys, he was the uncredited bassist in Otis Day & the Knights, the house-party band in the 1978 film National Lampoon's Animal House.

Rachel Ries & the Never Lonely
Frequency, 8:30 pm
With creative folk vocals, unique arrangements and witty lyrics, Ries has landed tour gigs with fellow Righteous Babe artist Anaïs Mitchell. Her third full-length album, Ghost of a Gardener, drops later this month. With Corey Hart and Anna Vogelzang.

Wednesday 2.12
NOTEWORTHY: President Bill Clinton acquitted by U.S. Senate in impeachment trial, 1999.

Heather Mann
Central Library, 7 pm
In 1996, this environmental advocate founded the Center for Resilient Cities, which helped neighborhood groups in Wisconsin develop sustainable, Earth-friendly practices. After retiring in 2007, she sailed the Atlantic and Caribbean, encountering pirates, dangerous storms and more while gathering information from countries facing dire threats due to climate change. She'll share photos and stories.

Lawrence Krauss
UW Union South-Varsity Hall, 7:30 pm
It's time to practice your Vulcan salute: The award-winning theoretical physicist and author of the bestseller The Physics of Star Trek kicks off this spring's Distinguished Lecture Series.

Felix Cartal
Segredo, 9 pm
The Vancouver-based electronic producer and DJ is the creator of the popular Weekend Workout podcast. With Soundkill3r and Pasha.

Love and Light
Frequency, 9 pm
A fixture at Burning Man, this DJ pair perform bass-heavy dance music that fuses glitch-hop, dubstep and trance. With Spankalicious.

Thursday 2.13

Jeremy Messersmith
High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
This Minneapolis indie artist peppers his songs with geek-culture references and plays Dungeons & Dragons with science-fiction writer Rob Callahan. Time recently placed him on its list of 14 acts to watch in 2014. With Tristen.

Big Gigantic
Orpheum Theatre, 9 pm
The hip-hop-meets-jazz act incorporates live instrumentals, production wizardry and visual effects. Festival favorites, they've played Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and even Madison's Freakfest. With Manic Focus and Teknicolor.

Edited by Baron Pierre de Coubertin

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