Whether the focus is on startups, anime, cheese or simply spending time outside in what remains of summer, Madison offers numerous opportunities for communities to get together this weekend with the Forward Technology Festival, Middleton Good Neighbor Festival, Geek.Kon, Orton Park Festival, Curdfest, and Token Creek Chamber Music Festival. The calendar also includes: the Los Grandes del Arte Moderno Mexicano opening at MMoCA; Dane Dances and the Wonder Prom; productions of Surviving, Hoping and Surrendering and Antony and Cleopatra; a performance by the Ekaterinburg Classical Trio; the Brazilian Spectacular fundraiser and the Haiti Allies benefit with Dar Williams; Live on King Street with the Reverend Horton Heat; and, more live music from Russell Howard, The Eastern Sea, Mitch Rossell with The Hoyle Brothers, The Wiggles, Adam Zwig, and The English Beat.
NOTEWORTHY: César Chávez leads largest farm worker strike in U.S. history, 1970.
Multiple venues, through Aug. 24
It's the home stretch of this gathering of entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and techie types from across the Midwest. Highlights include a free, beer-fueled meetup with Kurt Brenkus, CEO of Aver Informatics (gener8tor headquarters, Friday, 5 pm) and a trio of sessions where fledgling companies can gather tips on investor recruitment and team building from experienced execs (MGE Innovation Center, Saturday, 8:30 am).
Through Aug. 25, Fireman's Park
The suburb's charm has received its share of national attention. The annual festival shows why it's one of the nicest places in the U.S., with such homey pleasures as a parade, kids' activities and local music.
Marriott-West, through Aug. 25
The nerd-a-thon features three days' worth of anime, sci-fi and videogames. Expect panels, music and a galaxy's worth of costumed characters.
Through Aug. 25
The Marquette Neighborhood Association does itself proud with the annual event, featuring four days of entertainment on one of Madison's most appealing patches of grass. Highlights include the low-flying trapeze troupe Cycropia Aerial Dance (Thursday and Friday); Paul Cebar (Friday), the Kissers, the Bottle Rockets and Jon Dee Graham & the Fighting Cocks (Saturday); and the Richard Slayton Trio and Big Sam's Funky Nation (Sunday). (See Music.)
100 block of King Street, 5 pm
Juke-joint swing sultan Wayne "The Train" Hancock and honky-tonk honchos White Iron Band will warm up the crowd at this free, outdoor party. Then the Rev and his band will melt faces psychobilly style. (See Tour Stop.) With DJ Nick Nice.
Monona Terrace rooftop, 5:30 pm
The free events run Fridays in August, uniting Dane County residents under a groove. This week's installment features Nabori and VO5, who know a little something about getting a party started.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 6 pm
MMoCA hosts a celebration for its exhibition on the masters of Mexican Modernism, such as Diego Rivera, Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Frida Kahlo. The event features a gallery talk, a film screening and Latin-themed hors d'oeuvres.
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Aug. 24, 2 & 7:30 pm
With help from StageQ and the Rape Crisis Center, local singer Sandy Andersen presents a program on surviving sexual abuse, subtitled "Songs, Stories and Laughter Along the Path of Healing."
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
The Charlotte, N.C.-based singer-songwriter just released an expanded edition of his Kickstarter-funded debut EP, City Heart. With a clear, innocent tenor reminiscent of Michael Buble but enough guitar chops to hint at an edgy substratum, his sound is polished and honest. With Sydney Prall and Tristan Freides.
Frequency, 9 pm
Originally the pet project of singer-songwriter Matthew Hines, this band released their second album, Plague, to critical acclaim in 2012. Fans of Death Cab for Cutie are likely to enjoy the group's immediately engaging indie pop. With Grandchildren and the Recreation Station.
Cardinal Bar, 8:30
What better way to spend a sultry summer night than at this fundraiser for martial arts group Omulu Capoeira Guanabara? There'll be demos of capoeira -- the body-twisting Afro-Brazilian combination of self-defense, dance and acrobatics -- as well as samba workshops, salsa, DJs and more. You'll swear you're in Rio.
Inferno, 9 pm
Cheer on these local rockers as they release the vinyl edition of their latest album, Head Out Of Your Mind. With Cowboy Winter, Peel a Peel, Colorphase and the Vipers.
NOTEWORTHY: Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1991.
Warner Park Duck Pond, 1-5 pm
The free event promises the best cheese curds Wisconsin has to offer -- and that's saying something. Expect vendors from around the state, curd-eating contests, music and kids' events. Oh, and lots of squeaking, of course.
Memorial United Church of Christ, Fitchburg, 7 pm
This Russian violinist, clarinetist and pianist specialize in original arrangements of classical works and Scott Joplin's rags.
Art in the Barn, Fitchburg, 7:30 pm
The folk songbird will use clever lyrics and sweet, soulful vocals to raise money for Haiti Allies, which provides education, food and housing in one the world's poorest countries.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 8 pm
The Hoyle Brothers pair their old-school country chops with vocals from an impressive young showman.
Madison Children's Museum, 9:30 pm-midnight
Maybe you missed your prom, or maybe you just wish you had. In either case, you get do-overs at this rooftop party, the more informal (and affordable) adjunct to the blacktie Wonder Ball taking place downstairs in the museum proper. You'll dance the night away to VO5 and DJ Matt Album, and even get a prom photo. Best of all: no chaperones!
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 2:30 & 6:30 pm
It'll be hard to keep your preschooler from rushing the stage as the veteran children's entertainment group kicks out the jams. There will be a colorful new lineup and catchy new music, but you can be sure that favorites Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wags the Dog will be in the house.
Frequency, 5:30 pm
The Shapeshifter frontman considers himself as a healer rather than an entertainer, calling his solo act "rock 'n' roll therapy." It just might calm your nerves, considering that Zwig is a psychotherapist by day. With Max Dvorak and Science.
American Players Theatre, 6 pm. Also Wednesday, Aug. 28, 7:30 pm
APT experiments with its first indoor Shakespeare production. James DeVita stars as ancient Roman general Marc Antony, while Tracy Michelle Arnold plays Egyptian Queen Cleopatra -- one of the greatest female roles in world theater. (See Theater.)
Token Creek Festival Barn, DeForest, 4 pm. Also Aug. 27 & 28, 8 pm
The eclectic fest continues on Sunday, as three members of New York ensemble Open End put a unique spin on works by Charles Ives, J.S. Bach, and their own violinist, Andrew Wagonner. Then, on Wednesday and Thursday, the group accompany soprano Mary Mackenzie and actor Allison Schaffer with improvised music during scenes from Shakespearean classics like Hamlet and The Tempest.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Bringing soul, pop-punk and two-tone ska to a decade rife with political turmoil, the English Beat have influenced generations of musicians since their debut in 1979. Original member Dave Wakeling fronts this incarnation of the band.