Both the Vancouver Olympics and the last full month of winter end this weekend, but their spirit will thrive at the USA Club Curling National Championship in McFarland. The busy calendar also includes: the opening of the "Stitched Ground" exhibit; the Wisconsin Teen Poetry Slam Finals; Bockfest; productions of Meg, Narukami, the UW Dance Program's Spring Student Concert, and The Rocky Horror Show; performances by the MSO, James Keelaghan, the Festival Choir of Madison, and Yonim; book readings by Sandra Adell and Cathy Erway; standup by Ralphie May; a Purim celebration with Yid Vicious; and, live music by the Jangeun Bae Trio, Red Stick Ramblers, Ghosts of Venice, Justin Townes Earle with Joe Pug, Sean Michael Dargan, Huun Huur Tu with Carmen Rizzo, Sick of Sarah, and Laura Veirs & the Hall of Flames.
NOTEWORTHY: Explosion in World Trade Center garage, killing six and injuring more than 1,000, 1993.
Stitched Ground: Four Artists Embroider the Land
James Watrous Gallery, Overture Center, through April 11
This show highlights provocative works by Wisconsin textile artists Terese Agnew, Chris Niver, Leah Evans and Sarah Gagnon (see Art).
USA Curling Club National Championship
Madison Curling Club, 4802 Marsh Rd., McFarland, 7 pm. Also Thursday, Feb. 25, 8 am & Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 am
Sure, this winter sport is exciting on TV, but you can't beat live action. The week-long tourney concludes with a full day of play on Thursday, the semifinals Friday night and, on Saturday, finals for women (10 am) and men (2 pm).
Wisconsin Teen Poetry Slam Finals
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7 pm
Emoting is the watchword as youths from Milwaukee and Madison compete to represent the Badger State at an international competition in Los Angeles next July.
Madison Symphony Orchestra
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Feb. 27 & 28
The young Estonian Anu Tali, back for a second consecutive year, guest conducts as pianist and MacArthur genius grant recipient Stephen Hough performs Tchaikovsky's famous "Piano Concerto No. 1." Also on the program: Estonian composer Heino Eller's "Dawn" and Sibelius' first symphony.
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (3 pm), Feb. 25 & 27
Madison Theatre Guild presents Pulitzer winner Paula Vogel's 1977 play, which tells the story of Sir Thomas More through the eyes of his daughter. More, you'll recall, lost his head in a spat with Henry VIII.
Narukami: The Thunder God
UW Vilas Hall's Mitchell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Feb. 27, 7:30 pm
University Theatre stages its first-ever production of Kabuki, the highly stylized Japanese dramatic form. In this classic 1684 work, a priest imprisons the gods of rain, causing drought. Also on the bill: The Zen Substitute, a one-act.
Jangeun Bae Trio
Brink Lounge, 8 pm
Though she began her career composing songs and playing keyboards for pop groups in her native Korea, Bae soon discovered that jazz was her calling and moved to the U.S. to pursue a degree in it. Her jazz interpretations of classical repertoire such as Tchaikovsky's "Serenade for Strings" are particularly stunning. If you can't make it to the show on Friday, catch Bae at Restaurant Magnus on Saturday (9:30 pm) or at the Brink on Tuesday with Mad Toast Live (8 pm).
First United Methodist Church, 8 pm
Here's a rare treat: A performance by the highly decorated Canadian singer-songwriter, who brings a keen sense of history to his folk tunes. With Michael Bryant, Tracy Jane Comer.
Red Stick Ramblers
UW Music Hall, 8 pm
The young spitfires of this Cajun dance band claim to play everything Louisiana is known for. They succeed in that effort thanks to the efforts of guitar phenom Chas Justus.
Spring Student Concert
UW Lathrop Hall, 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Feb. 25 & 27, 8 pm
Student choreographers in the UW Dance Program show their stuff, including work representing the UW at the upcoming Great Lakes Regional American College Dance Festival.
Ghosts of Venice
Cardinal Bar, 9 pm
U.K.-based producer Lee Dunn does some of his best work as one-man remixing sensation Ghosts of Venice, creating a tantalizing blend of French pop and disco house, even with unexpected tunes like Shakira's "She Wolf." With Le Principle and DJ Foundation.
Justin Townes Earle, Joe Pug
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Two of the country's freshest purveyors of country-tinged Americana visit the High Noon with their newest tunes. Pug's got a new backing guitarist for this tour, Madison's own Andrew Harrison, who you may recognize from Brown Derby and Whitney Mann.
The Rocky Horror Show
Orpheum Theatre, midnight. Also Thursday (10 pm) & Saturday (8 pm & midnight), Feb. 25 & 27
Live theater comes to the Orpheum stage as Broadway Madison presents the show (indelible, thanks to the movie) about an uptight young couple and the house of freaks they wander into.
BIRTHDAY: Stanford graduate/former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton, 1980.
Capital Brewery, Middleton, noon-5 pm
The taps will flow freely at this beery extravaganza, spiced up with a 1 pm performance by Pupy Costello & His Big City Honky Tonk.
South Madison Library, 2 pm
The UW professor of Afro-American studies discusses her new memoir Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen, about her struggle with gambling addiction.
Rainbow Bookstore, 2 pm
The New Yorker talks about The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove, her new memoir about swearing off restaurant food (see Cooking).
Sean Michael Dargan
High Noon Saloon, 5 pm
Dargan channels the spirit of Elvis Costello at times, but he does it with Midwestern flair and a little bit of country. Tonight he'll release a new CD, Snap Your Fingers & Stomp Your Feet, and play from tunes from it as well.
Festival Choir of Madison
First United Methodist Church, 7:30 pm
The choir blends voices in a program called "Down Tin Pan Alley," a departure from the group's usual classical fare that features works by the likes of George Gershwin and Cole Porter.
Huun Huur Tu, Carmen Rizzo
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
The Tuvan throat singing ensemble Huun Huur Tu collaborates with producer Rizzo, who adds drum loops and ambient sounds to that unmistakable vocalizing (which, truth be told, freaks us out a little).
Sick of Sarah
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
The band from Minneapolis has a radio-friendly sound, but these girls aren't short on heart. Their Sleater-Kinney-style attitude and catchy melodies helped them win MTV's virtual battle of the bands competition. They'll visit the Rat as they gear up for their appearance at South by Southwest. With High Lifes.
NOTEWORTHY: Michael Jackson cops eight Grammys for Thriller, 1984.
Waisman Center, 1 pm
The Israeli folk dance troupe performs in this Waisman Center Children's Theatre event.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
The comedian was, some felt, robbed in the finals of NBC's Last Comic Standing. But he has soldiered on with TV specials and live performances featuring what he styles "equal-opportunity offender" shtick.
Laura Veirs & the Hall of Flames
Frequency, 8 pm
The Portland-based singer-songwriter has a voice that glides effortlessly between low notes and high ones, and from one genre to the next. The exquisite personal details in her lyrics might be the most memorable part of her performance. With Old Believers and Cataldo.