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A particularly eclectic array of entertainment options await Madisonians this weekend. Everything from a two-day Halloween costume and live music event at the High Noon Saloon, a 50th anniversary ZZ Top concert at The Sylvee and not one but two unrelated adult-themed puppet shows.
There's more, too. (What's not listed below are the two sold-out Rhiannon Giddens shows at the Stoughton Opera House this weekend. Consider yourself lucky if you snagged tickets to see the Grammy Award-winning founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops.)
Maxine Gordon and the UW Blue Note Ensemble, Hamel Music Center
Thursday, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m.
A Dexter Gordon Tribute Concert with Maxine Gordon, Café CODA
Friday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m.
Two events this weekend will celebrate the life and music of the late, great jazz tenor saxophone player Dexter Gordon. First, on Thursday night in the Collins Recital Hall of the newly opened Hamel Music Center, the musician's widow and manager Maxine Gordon will read from her biography "Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon." Maxine will also be interviewed onstage by Ethelene Whitmire, a University of Wisconsin–Madison Afro-American Studies professor, and the UW Blue Note Ensemble will perform Gordon's music. Then on Friday night, Maxine will appear at Café CODA as will a band of three saxophonists and a rhythm section of jazz faculty members from UW–Madison Mead Witter School of Music directed by UW Jazz Studies Director Johannes Wallmann. Café CODA owner and saxophonist Hanah Jon Taylor will also play, joined by Sharel Cassity and Eric Koppa.
Freakin' Halloweekend, High Noon Saloon
Friday-Saturday, Nov 1-2, 8 p.m.
Costumed bands and music fans will fill the High Noon Saloon on both Friday and Saturday nights for the venue's annual Freakin' Halloweekend. Before costume contests at 11 p.m. both nights, several local bands will join each other to perform as their favorite pop and rock stars. On Friday night that will include members of Damsel Trash, Dash Hounds and others playing the music of Sarah McLaughlin and The Earthlings paying tribute to Animal Collective. On Saturday night, the music of Indigo Girls (played by German Art Students and others), Elton John (by The Shabelles), Prince (by Don't Mess with Cupid) and Culture Club (by Bing Bong, German Art Students and The Fauxtons) will be heard like never before.
ZZ Top, The Sylvee
Friday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m.
Fifty years since the band's founding in Houston, Texas, ZZ Top still consists of its three original members — guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard. The trio is celebrating its half century as a blues-rock band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 with a tour stopping at The Sylvee Friday night. Hear The Texans play their hits, including "La Grange," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Gimme All Your Lovin'." Marquise Knoz opens.
Alessia Cara, The Sylvee
Saturday, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Before winning the 2018 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, Canadian R&B singer-songwriter Alessia Cara was known for singing "How Far I'll Go" on the "Moana" soundtrack, "Scars to Your Beautiful" and "Out of Love." She released her second album, "The Pains of Growing," in November 2018 and an EP, "This Summer," this past July. See her at The Sylvee with fellow Canadian Ryland James opening the show.
Patchwork Puppets Parading on Mercury, Bartell Theatre
Thursday-Friday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 2, 4 p.m.
In just one week, members of Are We Delicious? and Mercury Players Theatre wrote and rehearsed this musical comedy performed with puppets. This is the second and final weekend for Patchwork Puppets Parading on Mercury, a funny, frenetic and adults-only puppet show.
"La Traviata," Madison Opera, Overture Hall, Overture Center for the Arts
Friday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 3, 2:30 p.m.
Madison Opera takes on "La Traviata," the three-act opera by Giuseppe Verdi and possible the most frequently staged opera. It concerns Violetta, a woman who trades her lavish lifestyle for a modest, rural life with a new lover. But things get complicated when illness, jealousy and gambling get involved.
That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody, Capitol Theater, Overture Center
Saturday, Nov. 2, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 3, 2 p.m.
The 1980s Miami roommates Dorothy, Blanche and Rose return as full-size puppets in this popular Off-Broadway parody of NBC's "The Golden Girls." If you miss the quick-witted saucy talk between these three women in their 60s, this loving tribute is for you.
"FLIGHT: torn like a rose," Margaret H'Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall
Thursday-Friday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 2, 2:30 p.m.
In "FLIGHT: torn like a rose," Peggy Choy, a choreographer and professor of dance and Asian American studies at UW–Madison, interprets through movement and costuming the 12th century Sufi poem "Conference of Birds." A diverse company of dancers will perform the piece three times this weekend.
Jim Breuer, Barrymore Theatre
Saturday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m.
Late 1990s "Saturday Night Live" alum Jim Breuer — remembered on the show as "Goat Boy" and for his Joe Pesci impression — brings his nonpolitical, family-centric act to the Barrymore Theater on Saturday night. For a taste, check out "The Jim Breuer Podcast" available on jimbreuer.com.
Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.
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