Fests! Get your fill of films, improv comedy and puppets

When did festivals stop being almost exclusively observances of religious rites or muddy music bacchanals? Now, it seems that any reason people get together around a common interest or theme gets named a fest.


That’s not a complaint, especially if the fests themselves are fascinating multi-day affairs with popular followings. For example, the 19th year of the Wisconsin Film Festival hits Madison movie screens starting this weekend and will likely bring out crowds of cinephiles.


Additionally, this weekend is the fourth annual Endurance Improv Fest put on by the funny folks at Atlas Improv Co. on East Washington Avenue. Also billed as a fest—and the first annual, at that—is the Puppets Festival at the Overture Center for the Arts. 


Other one-night-only weekend standout events have populist bents, too: The Madison Musical Idol competition and Madison Symphony Orchestra playing Led Zeppelin sound sure to please.


So get festive, folks!


Wisconsin Film Festival, UW Cinematheque, Union South-Marquee & Chazen Museum of Art; Barrymore Theatre; and Sundance Cinemas 608

Thursday, March 30-April 6

The Wisconsin Film Festival will screen more than 140 films this year, from documentaries about local characters (such as Michael Feldman, host of the long-running Wisconsin Public Radio-produced quiz show “Whad’Ya Know?,” now canceled but continued as an independent podcast) and foreign films by Oscar-winning directors. Waste no time perusing the list of films and reserving seats at http://wifilmfest.org/2017/.


Madison Musical Idol, Wisconsin Union Theater

Friday, March 31, 7 p.m.

The Madison Musical Idol competition, now in it’s 10th year, is no insignificant talent competition. While audience approval does determine the winner (from the top three singers who perform, selected by judges in a preliminary closed round), the list of patron organizations for the arts supporting the…

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