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Friday, October 31, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 43.0° F  Overcast

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Empress Of's songs are sexy, hazy sonic selfies

Lorely Rodriguez, the 23-year-old singer known as Empress Of, creates songs so arty and high-concept that The Guardian called her pretentious. Do a bit more digging and you'll see that she doesn't take herself that seriously. >More
 American Players Theatre's 2015 season includes Shakespeare's Othello and works by Homer, Coward and Austen

American Players Theatre, the 36-year-old repertory theater company based in Spring Green, has released the schedule for its upcoming season, which runs June 6 through Oct. 18, 2015. In addition to presenting Othello and The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare, its specialty, APT will stage works by such famous writers as Noël Coward, Tennessee Williams, Jane Austen and Homer. >More
 Halloween 2014: Madison after dark

Let's face it: Halloween has been sanitized for the young and innocent. Trick-or-treating starts on Oct. 31 at the not-so-scary hour of 4 p.m. in a number of Madison neighborhoods, and many of the weekend's parties are designed for toddlers, ending well before the average disco napper wakes. What's a thrill-seeker to do? >More
 Dum Dum Girls turn sweet pop ditties into aching lo-fi ruminations

It's tempting to call Dum Dum Girls' music bubblegum pop, but the term is not a perfect fit. "Bubblegum" brings to mind the sweet yet wholesome hooks of late-'60s acts like the Osmonds and the Monkees. While Dum Dum Girls make melodies that are as toothsome as the lollipops of the same name, they also entice listeners with danger. >More
 Wisconsin Book Festival 2014 fills downtown Madison with lively discussions about medicine, math, mini-golf and more

The Madison Public Library Foundation has transformed the Wisconsin Book Festival into a year-round celebration of authors and reading. It doesn't just honor the written word, but pays homage to the things that inspire authors to write and the big ideas that make storytelling so exciting. >More
 The sounds of Freakfest 2014: Atmosphere and American Authors

Twin Cities hip-hop act Atmosphere and New York City alt-rock band American Authors are poised to electrify the crowd at this year's festivities on Nov. 1. >More
 A dark, dramatic singer joins the Sills for The World Was Wonderful

A lineup change for an existing band can be just as exciting as the unveiling of a fledgling act. Just ask Blair Clark and Leah Brooke Conway of the Sills. Conway made her Sills recording debut on the new album The World Was Wonderful, taking the band into sublimely shadowy territory with her dark, enchanting vocals. The group sound more melancholy and menacing than they did on previous recordings, such as their self-titled 2012 debut. >More
 Wisconsin Book Festival 2014 is a celebration of authors, libraries and bold ideas

Madison Public Library and its foundation have transformed the Wisconsin Book Festival into a yearlong feast of stellar storytelling and intriguing ideas. With many events at the Central Library, the main portion of the fest (Oct. 16-19) is also a chance for attendees to enjoy the new building's art, gathering spaces and, of course, books. Here are some of the events we're most excited about. >More
 Carolina Chocolate Drops give vintage string-band music a very bright future

Old-time music, from banjo-driven bluegrass to square-dance fiddling, is experiencing a renaissance in Madison and beyond. Ask listeners about its origins and they'll likely point to the Appalachian Mountains, or perhaps the Irish countryside, where several elements of bluegrass were born. >More
 Madison Fall Arts Preview 2014: Film

Madison's movie calendar plumps up in the fall as Sundance's screening room announces its offerings, the UW Cinematheque starts its semester, and the Spotlight Cinema and Duck Soup Cinema series return to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Overture Center. >More
 Madison Fall Arts Preview 2014: Show tunes

Some show tunes are so good that they stand on their own in concert. Here are five chances to hear live renditions of Broadway hits and other goodies from now through the start of winter. >More
 Madison Fall Music Preview 2014: Touring

Concert announcements rain down on Madison this time of year, like colorful leaves making their descent to the earth. Isthmus has raked through the pile and chosen more than 50 essential shows that haven't sold out yet, all of which take place between now and mid-December. >More
 Madison Fall Music Preview 2014: Local

Hundreds of fantastic touring acts will visit town this fall, but there's also a staggering amount of talent growing in our backyard. The local concert calendar is just beginning to fill out, so consider this list of over 25 must-sees a starting point >More
 Madison Fall Music Preview 2014: Welcome back, Wisconsin Union Theater

Wisconsin Union Theater's recently finished facelift took more than two years, but now the university's Langdon Street theater is back, complete with a spruced-up Play Circle and spiffy Shannon Hall, which has better lighting, acoustics and seating than the old main room. Here are a few of the most exciting music events coming to these two spaces this fall. >More
 Madison Fall Music Preview 2014: Go play outside

Madison has figured out how to throw impressive outdoor concerts in recent years, thanks in part to many years of neighborhood festivals. Here are four gigs to enjoy in the fresh air before the temperatures get frosty. >More
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