Russ Feingold + Peter Prindiville, Thursday, Sept. 29, Mystery to Me, 6 p.m.: Feingold, a former U.S. senator who represented Wisconsin for 18 years, is currently president of the American Constitution Society. His latest book, co-written with Washington-based attorney Peter Prindiville, examines a campaign that has been threatening democracy since long before Trumpism. The Constitution in Jeopardy: An Unprecedented Effort to Rewrite Our Fundamental Law and What We Can Do About It, focuses on the right’s efforts to force a national constitutional convention. Register on Eventbrite for the in-person talk, or on Crowdcast for the livestream.
Lawnmower, Thursday, Sept. 29, Harmony Bar, 7:30 p.m.: This new bluegrass-focused project made its debut at Atwood Fest this summer. With a lineup including guitarist/songwriter/educator Louka Patenaude, Starr Moss (a former member of Henhouse Prowlers), and Isaac de Broux-Slone (of rock heroes Disq), it will be interesting to hear what sounds emanate from the stage of the venerable Harmony at this free concert.
Shrek: The Musical, Sept. 23-Oct. 8, Bartell Theatre: Mercury Players Theatre, generally one of Madison’s more experimental troupes (leaning toward new or unusual works), is starting the season unusually — with a crowd-pleasing surprise: Shrek: The Musical, a Broadway concoction based on the animated film. It’s produced in collaboration with OUT!Cast Theatre. Shows at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays (4 p.m. on Oct. 8) and 4 p.m. Sundays.
Two Feet, Thursday, Sept. 29, Majestic Theatre, 8 p.m.: New York musician Two Feet has a knack for finding reward in risk. With songs that can lack bridges, hooks and even choruses, he’s found platinum-selling status in his single “Go Fuck Yourself” and major praise for his 2020 album Pink. By combining hypnotic guitar with smoky undertone beats, Two Feet cemented a place in bedroom pop. With Brothel.
Press Play: Recorded Sound from Groove to Stream, through Dec. 22, UW Memorial Library-Special Collections: Long before there was a recording industry, inventors were trying to figure out how to preserve and reproduce sound. Since the late 1800s the results have been available in a multitude of ways, up to today’s plethora of streaming choices. “Press Play: Recorded Sound from Groove to Stream,” a new exhibit on display through Dec. 22 in the UW-Madison Memorial Library’s ninth floor Special Collections area, catalogs and explains formats both ubiquitous (LPs) and forgotten (minidiscs, anyone?). Curated by Nathan Gibson, an author, musician and preservation archivist, and the staff at Mills Music Library, the exhibit works as a basic beginner’s overview of recording formats and the cultures that developed around them, and offers many examples of Wisconsin’s part of the history. The exhibit is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; a visitor’s pass can be acquired at the Memorial Library front desk. Preview a playlist of recordings in the exhibit and find more info here.
Disney Junior Live on Tour, Friday, Sept. 30, Overture Hall, 6 p.m.: Join Mickey, Minnie, Spidey, Doc McStuffins and more at this Disney Junior Live on Tour’s Costume Palooza. The national tour boasts an immersive and interactive performance, complete with singing, dancing, acrobatics and 3-D special effects. When bad weather keeps ruining Mickey and Minnie’s costume party, it is up to Team Spidey to save the day. Purchase tickets for the show here.
Artful Felt on the Farm, Sept. 30-Oct. 8, Four Winds Farm, Fitchburg: Felt does not come from the kids’ aisle at Michael’s. It’s what happens when you get wool wet and rub or agitate it until it becomes very dense. Do it right and you have an art form — felting — or more properly a variety of forms, from 2-D art to sculpture to rug making to clothing and accessories. This event, hosted by The Madison Area Felters’ Guild, features wool and felting demonstrations, beginning felting classes, and felted art from 13 Wisconsin artists in the farm’s new gallery space. The opening reception takes place from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 30; workshops and activities take place Oct. 1-2 and 8, and the gallery is also open for viewing selected hours Oct. 3-7. Find the schedule (and registration for some events) at fourwindsfarmfitchburg.ticketleap.com.
Madison Ballet, Sept. 23-Oct. 2, Overture Center-Promenade Hall: “Next Steps” kicks off a new season for Madison Ballet and also marks the first program at Overture Center for new artistic director Ja’ Malik. An evening of world premieres includes “Fury and Forgiveness” by San Francisco choreographer Marika Brussel, as well as new works by Richard Walters and Malik. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; find more info and tickets at madisonballet.org.
Pro Arte Quartet, Friday, Sept. 30, UW Hamel Music Center-Mead Witter Hall, 7:30 p.m.: One of the great pleasures of being near the UW music department is being able to go hear the Pro Arte Quartet, with David Perry, violin; Suzanne Beia, violin; Sally Chisholm, viola; and of course Parry Karp, violoncello. This concert features Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor and Beethoven’s String Quartet in G Major. Tickets (including a livestream option) at artsticketing.wisc.edu.
Waunakee Artisan Market, Saturday, Oct. 1, Schumacher Farm Park, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: More than 45 exhibitors will gather at the 40-acre Schumacher Farm Park to showcase their work: creations of all kinds, including pottery, jewelry, handmade bags, glass, sculpture, painting, photography and more. The $2 admission fee helps the artisan market support newer artists and fund scholarships for student artists — 10 of whom will show work at the market. In addition, there will be music from Harlan Jefferson and Mark Croft, and food carts. Find more info at createwaunakee.com.
Kids in the Rotunda, Saturday, Oct. 1, Overture Center-Rotunda Stage, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.: The Overture Center’s free, family-oriented Kids in the Rotunda series opens its 2022-23 season with a fan-favorite, the Black Star Drum Line. The group was founded by drummer and percussionist Joey B. Banks, whose goal is to educate and empower youth artists. Black Star Drum Line features local dancers, singers, rappers and beat-boxers during their performances. Check out the complete list of shows scheduled for the season at overture.org.
Madison Vegan Fest, Saturday, Oct. 1, Lunney Lake Farm County Park, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.: For vegans, the vegan-friendly, the vegan-curious — does that cover everybody? — Madison Vegan Fest is always a fun and edifying event, with 17 food vendors, live music, kids’ activities, educational exhibits, and more. Plus, it’s at one of the area’s most beautiful parks. Find the schedule at madisonveganfest.org.
DCFM 50th Anniversary Picnic, Saturday, Oct. 1, Capitol Square, noon-3 p.m.: Celebrate 50 years of the Dane County Farmers’ Market with a picnic on the Capitol lawn. When the DCFM was founded in September 1972, just a few farmers would bring their produce to Capitol Square. Half a century later, the farmers market has grown to more than 230 producers who line the streets each Saturday in the spring, summer and early fall to bring fresh food to the heart of Madison. The bring-your-own picnic event will kick off at noon, followed by entertainment at 1 p.m, and an anniversary program at 2:30 p.m.
Farm/Art DTour, Oct. 1-10, Sauk County: This annual combination of rural food traditions with art — visual, literary, music — is spread across Sauk County this year in a route that’s closer to Madison than in previous years. Seven artists will be installing site-responsive artworks in farm fields along the 50-mile route, which starts at County Highway PF just east of Prairie du Sac and winds through the scenic Baraboo Hills, hitting Leland, Witwen and Plain among other settlements. Weekend “pasture performances and pop-up fermentation events” will take place along the route. The event is best understood through the program (at wormfarminstitute.org) and by taking in the sights.
Roberto Torres Mata reception, Saturday, Oct. 1, Edgewood College Gallery, 2-4 p.m.: Mata’s textile and multi-media works are the heart of “Clandestine,” which explores the theme of migration in many ways. Mata earned a master of fine arts degree in 2021 from the UW-Madison’s stellar printmaking program. The exhibit runs through Oct. 16.
Gary Clark Jr., Saturday, Oct. 1, The Sylvee, 8 p.m.: Grammy Awards may not mean as much as they used to, but Gary Clark Jr. certainly deserves the four he’s won. The genre-defying musician who blurs blues, rock and soul with seismic guitar playing is fresh off an appearance as American blues singer-songwriter Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup in the Baz Luhrmann film Elvis. Clark Jr. also reportedly is working on a follow-up to his third studio album, 2019’s This Land, which is highlighted by the scorching title track — a blunt look at racism in America that also showcases the man’s indomitable fretwork.
A Raisin in the Sun, Aug. 5-Oct. 7, American Players Theatre, Spring Green: A family in 1950s Chicago wrestles with big questions of race, identity, racism, and what to do with a life insurance check — and it is still relevant today. Tasia A. Jones directs Lorraine Hansberry’s iconic drama A Raisin in the Sun, which joins other diverse plays in this APT season that proves the company knows how to produce more than just Shakespeare. Find the schedule (shows at 8 p.m. on Oct. 1 and 7 still had tickets available as of this week) at americanplayers.org
Duckwrth, Saturday, Oct. 1, Majestic Theatre, 8 p.m.: From lo-fi beats to funk remixes, Duckwrth can join any beat to his smooth-as-butter rap style. His most recent album, SuperGood, features songs heard in film and brand campaign placements across the globe. Following an appearance on Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” tour, Duckwrth visits Madison with fresh style and a promising new flow.
Tuath Baladna, Sunday, Oct. 2, James Madison Park, noon-3 p.m.: This celebration of Palestinian culture features Palestinian food, music, dance, poetry, and lots more. Firket Al Azdeekah from Chicago will be performing the traditional Palestinian dance debka. Find more info on Facebook.
World Dairy Expo, Oct. 2-7, Alliant Energy Center: If you think the World Dairy Expo is for “other people,” you should give it a whirl. This huge event draws dairy experts from around the world, and at center stage are top cows in breeds from Ayrshires to Holsteins. Don’t miss the grilled cheese sandwich stand staffed by UW-Madison dairy science students as a fundraiser. Monday features muenster, Tuesday is three-chile pepper gouda, Wednesday is Colby Swiss, Thursday it’s a sharp white cheddar and the week closes with havarti. Evening events even include a concert by Madison area favorites The Jimmys (led by dairy farmer and Hammond organ master Jimmy Voegeli). Find the full schedule at worlddairyexpo.com.