Madison will be clad in cardinal this weekend at the Badger Homecoming Parade on Friday and the big UW football game against Minnesota on Saturday. The rest of the calendar is likewise going for the win, and includes: Bodies: The Exhibition at Hilldale; Kids in the Rotunda at Overture and Talking Spirits XII at Forest Hill Cemetery; productions of A Year With Frog and Toad, Ding Dong the Diva's Dead, and The Velvet Sky; performances by Kate Corby & Dancers and Dance Wisconsin; concerts by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Ancora String Quartet, and Frank Glazer; and, more live music from Stars, Joan Baez, Bobby Bare Jr. with Blue Giant, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Grupo Candela, Faun Fables, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Peter Wolf Crier, Knuckel Drager, and Suzanne Vega.
BIRTHDAYS: Emmy-winning former Saturday Night Live star Chevy Chase, 1943; actress/Alien slayer Sigourney Weaver, 1949.
Badger Homecoming Parade
Gilman and State streets, 6 pm
Nostalgia ain't what it used to be, but that won't prevent UW alumni from coming together for the annual frenzy of football and reminiscing. The parade is followed by a pep rally and fireworks at Memorial Union. We've got spirit. Yes, we do.
A Year With Frog and Toad
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7 pm. Also Thursday (7 pm) & Saturday (2 & 7 pm), Oct. 7 & 9
Local theater-for-kids group MadCAP mounts a stage production featuring characters from Arnold Lobel's much-loved series of books. Frog and Toad carry the banner for inter-species friendships everywhere.
Ding Dong the Diva's Dead
Overture Center's Playhouse, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 9, 7:30 pm
The scrappy local musical group Fresco Opera Theatre brings an irreverent sensibility to opera, and for proof of that look no further than tonight's program. It places famous death sequences from operas in settings inspired by famous horror movies.
Kate Corby & Dancers
UW Lathrop Hall's H'Doubler Performance Space, 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Oct. 7 & 9, 8 pm
This program, called Manifold, features pieces choreographed by UW dance prof Corby, as well as Madison's Collette Stewart; Riverside, Calif.'s Julie Mayo; and New York's David Parker and Denise Posnak. Corby's "Feeling Into" and "Brute" are part of her larger project exploring human violence.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The band's close affiliation with Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene has won them lots of fans, but their amalgam of indie rock and pop has earned its own following as well. Their latest album, The Five Ghosts, a collection of synth-pop-laced ghost stories, is particularly well suited for an October show. With Wild Nothing.
The Velvet Sky
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday & Thursday, Oct. 9 & 14, 8 pm
Mercury Players Theatre presents Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's macabre play about a boy who, with his dad, flees to New York City to escape his delusional mother. Aguirre-Sacasa has written for HBO's Big Love series.
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
The group's first Masterworks concert of the season features guest violinist Linda Wang, who performs on Vivaldi's familiar Four Seasons. Also on the program: Michael Daugherty's Strut (1989), inspired by Paul Robeson; and Beethoven's Eighth Symphony.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8:30 pm
The legendary folksinger and activist returns to Madison to show off her powerhouse soprano and magnificent vibrato, as well as her most recent studio album, 2008's Day After Tomorrow. It was produced by outlaw country hero Steve Earle.
Bobby Bare Jr., Blue Giant
Frequency, 10 pm
He has a famous name, but the son's brand of country is more alt-rock than that of the "Detroit City" father. Bare Jr.'s latest album, A Storm a Tree My Mother's Head, takes its name from an event that really did involve his mother, a storm and a tree.
NOTEWORTHY: Latino revolutionary icon Che Guevara executed in Bolivia, 1967.
Kids in the Rotunda
Overture Center's Rotunda Stage, 9:30 & 11 am and 1 pm
Comedy and juggling are the watchword at this performance of the Wild Rumpus World Circus, the Mazomanie-born troupe that has taken its shtick to far-flung locales in the Middle East and Europe.
Bodies: The Exhibition
Hilldale Shopping Center, 10 am-10 pm. Also Sunday-Thursday, 10 am-8 pm. Through Feb. 6
Not to be confused with the similar "Body Worlds," this show features carefully preserved human remains in various stages of dismemberment. Check out a smoke-ravaged lung, then bodies arranged in athletic poses.
Ancora String Quartet
First Unitarian Society, 7:30 pm
The meeting house's resident foursome performs Beethoven's "Harp" quartet, No. 10 in E-Flat Major, and, with pianist Myung Hee Chung, Brahms' Piano Quintet in F-Minor.
Madison College-Truax's Mitby Theater, 7:30 pm The troupe kicks off its season with Expressions, which features dance works in ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz and tap styles. Artistic director JoJean Retrum choreographs, as do Chelsey Dahm, Ashley Dahm and a host of others.
Farley's House of Pianos, 7:30 pm
Born in Chester, Wis., in 1915 and raised in Milwaukee, Glazer made his New York debut at Town Hall in 1936, had a Milwaukee TV show in the 1950s and taught at the Eastman School of Music and Bates College. Tonight he plays music of Chopin, Schubert, Haydn and Ravel.
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
Though Franti was known as an angry young rapper early in his career, his newest album, The Sound of Sunshine, is full of feel-good melodies and celebrations of love and community. Check out the live rendition for an infusion of positive vibes. With Tamarama.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The local Latin ensemble celebrates five years of saucy salsas, luscious merengues and spicy bachatas with an event that will feature cake, dance lessons and lots of treats for your ears. Learn more about the group and the event in this week's music column. With DJ Rumba.
Frequency, 9 pm
Bandleader Dawn "The Faun" McCarthy channels the spellbinding presence of Polish "sung poetry" icon Ewa Demarczyk -- and, at times, Bjork -- in her theatrical performances of psych-folk and experimental music. Bandmate Nils Frykdahl (of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum fame) will provide guitar, flutes and an extra helping of avant-garde awesomeness. With Stephanie Rearick.
Collections of Colonies of Bees
UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, 9:30 pm
Fans of Explosions in the Sky will dig the instrumental post-rock of this Milwaukee-based six-piece that includes members of Madison-area groups Volcano Choir and All Tiny Creatures. With Male.
Peter Wolf Crier
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The Minneapolis-via-Eau Claire duo make folk-pop that's more M. Ward than John Denver. During this visit to town, they'll highlight their enchanting, understated new release, Inter-Be. With Jeremiah Nelson and Conrad Plymouth.
BIRTHDAYS: Rock caricature David Lee Roth, 1955; aging former Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre, 1969.
Talking Spirits XII
Forest Hill Cemetery, noon-4 pm
Local actors don period dress and perform as Civil War-era Madisonians buried in the west-side graveyard. Example: Lieutenant Colonel Henry Harnden, who led the detachment that captured Confederate president Jefferson Davis in 1865.
Parade for the Planet
Lisa Link Peace Park, noon
As part of a worldwide effort, groups working to help the environment march up State Street to the Capitol Square. Root them on -- the parade starts at 1 pm -- and check out the booths at the Sustainability Fair, which goes on till 4 pm.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
The creator of '80s faves "Luka" and "Tom's Diner" will unveil the second volume of her Close Up album, which features new, minimal arrangements of both of these hits, plus 11 other selections from her vast catalogue.