Arts and Culture

Weekend in the 608: Book festivals, empowered women on stage and Kenny G

Magazine writers featured during book talks

Madison will be overrun this weekend by authors, science educators, norm-breaking female performers and Grammy-winning jazz musicians. I’m not kidding. Between the Wisconsin Book Festival, Wisconsin Science Festival and various concerts, theater and dance performances, the city will have so many creative people worth seeking out.


Wisconsin Book Festival, Madison Central Library and other locations
Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 11-14
While the mission of the Wisconsin Book Festival is to engage authors and readers at events held year round, this is the weekend when the most literary talent converges at the Madison Central Library and other downtown venues. Among them, Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Cullen, author of “Storm Lake” (6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12, Central Library); Rebecca Traister, author of “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger” (6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, Central Library); and panels of Midwest writers of young adult fiction (7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11, Room of One’s Own); and women writers of science fiction (10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, Room of One’s Own). 

Three writers for Madison Magazine have new books they will discuss at the festival: Local historian Stu Levitan, author of “Madison in the Sixties” (5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11, Central Library); former editor and current columnist Doug Moe will appear with former Gov. Tommy Thompson to discuss their collaboration on “Tommy: My Journey of a Lifetime” (noon, Saturday, Oct. 13, Central Library); and John Roach, with a new collection of his back-page columns in Madison Magazine, titled “While I Have Your Attention” (7:30 p.m., Oct. 13, Central Library).

View all events here.

Wisconsin Science Festival
Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 11-14
The eighth-annual Wisconsin Science Festival, a four-day affair taking place on and off the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, aims to spark interest in science and discovery in people of all ages. The event starts Thursday night in the Discovery Building with “Big Ideas for Busy People: Contagion!,” a series of rapid five-minute presentations from infectious disease experts. Friday night, “Science on the Square” will involve dozens of Capitol Square locations — including the Madison Children’s Museum, Fromagination and Parthenon Gyros — for informal science talks, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Check out the full schedule here.

The Urban Cabaret, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
Friday, Oct. 12, 6-10 p.m.
The Urban League of Greater Madison celebrates 50 years of community impact with its annual Urban Cabaret, a variety show including aerialists, poets, musicians and more at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. For more information, click here.

Dane Arts Buy Local Art Market, Yahara Bay Distillery
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13
Dane Arts Buy Local is an annual pop-up art market connecting local business with local artists. This time around, the art market has expanded to two days and will take place at Yahara Bay Distillery on Nesbitt Road on Madison’s westside. DABL is a way for the community to experience art and support artists’ important role in the economy. Click here to learn more.


Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Majestic Theatre
Friday, Oct. 12, 9 p.m.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood, fronted by Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson, plays “acid-Americana” — a blend of folk, blues, rock and psychedelia, complete with stream-of-consciousness lyrics. The band is touring to support its new album “Barefoot in the Head,” its third studio album in two years. Find tickets here.

Con vivo … music for life! Fall Concert, First Congregational Church
Saturday, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.
The seven-piece chamber ensemble con vivo … music for life! rings in its 17th season with fall concerts at First Congregational Church featuring works by Bach, Mozart and Rheinberger. At a post-concert reception, attendees can meet and talk to the musicians. Learn more about the show here.


Kenny G, Capitol Theater, Overture Center for the Arts
Friday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m.
Kenny G’s signature smooth jazz saxophone playing has sold 75 million records worldwide and won Grammy Awards over his nearly 30-year career. Friday night he’ll play his Latin-, R&B- and pop-inflected jazz at the Capitol Theater. Click here for tickets.

Milwaukee Connection, Wyndham Garden hotel, Fitchburg
Sunday, Oct. 14, 1-4 p.m.
Milwaukee Connection — a jazz band in the tradition of Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton —merge swing with mainstream and classic jazz. The band, featuring some of the Midwest’s best jazz musicians, will put on a lively, three-hour show Sunday afternoon at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Fitchburg. Learn more here.

An Evening with Pat Metheny, Shannon Hall, UW–Madison Memorial Union
Sunday, Oct. 14, 8 p.m.
Guitarist Pat Metheny — another distinctive Grammy-winning jazz performer with a decades-long career — comes to town this weekend. He’ll lead a four-piece band Sunday night at the Memorial Union that will likely delve deeply into improvisation. Click here to find out more about the show.


"Unpresidented," Broom Street Theater
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12-13, 8 p.m.; Oct. 18-20, 25-27 and Nov. 1-3
Chosen from some 300 submissions, the nine original short plays in “Unpresidented” produced by the Broom Street Theater follows the lives of the residents of the White House “with no mention of the current occupant.” The theater website indicates the production is not family friendly. For more on the show, click here.

“Beyond the Ingenue,” The Brink Lounge
Friday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.; Oct. 16, 19, 21 and 24 (at other locations)
“Beyond the Ingenue” by Music Theatre of Madison challenges the definition of the ingenue — portrayed in much musical theater as naïve and unsophisticated female characters. This revue will show women on stage dealing with real issues and singing the songs of works by famous female musicians such as Sara Bareilles and Dolly Parton. See it at the The Brink Lounge this weekend and in Black Earth, Stoughton, Middleton and elsewhere thereafter. Find other shows here.


“Dancing on the Ceiling,” Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall
Friday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 13, 2:30 p.m.
Co-presented by Li Chiao-Ping Dance and UW–Madison Dance Department, “Dancing on the Ceiling: Performances by Women of a Certain Age” will consist of seven solo female dancers over 50 “exploring the fabric of women’s lives with strength, poignancy and wit.” The performance will take place in the UW–Madison Dance Department's Margaret H'Doubler Performance Space in Lathrop Hall. The dancers will also offer a 90-minute dance class at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Studio 349 at Lathrop Hall. The dance class is free and open to the public. Click here to find tickets.

Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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