Madison and its environs make the most of the waning summer this weekend with outdoor celebrations, including the Orton Park Festival, Middleton Good Neighbor Festival, and Clean Lakes Festival. The calendar also includes: the continuing Democracy Convention and the continuing Token Creek Chamber Music Festival; Dane Dances; the Community Gardens Bike Tour; productions of Rabbit Hole, Dirty Little Showtunes, and The Critic; live "Lube-Ra-Dora" wrestling; a Michael Jackson edition of '80s vs. '90s; live music from Ida Jo & the Show, Peter Bjorn and John, Tony Brown, Droids Attack, Steez, Star Persons, Ladies Must Swing, VO5 with Michelle Shocked, and Czarbles; and a screening of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with live musical accompaniment.
NOTEWORTHY: Krakatoa explodes, 1883.
BIRTHDAYS: Garbage singer Shirley Manson, 1966; actor/homebody Macaulay Culkin, 1980.
Madison College-Downtown & Madison Concourse Hotel, through Aug. 28
The remaining days of this sprawling progressive confab are filled with panel discussions examining issues related to defense, media, voting and more. Noted speakers include Matt Rothschild, Bill Lueders, Ben Manski and John Nichols. See Middleton Good Neighbor Festival
Fireman's Park, Middleton, through Aug. 28
Did you know Middleton is the Good Neighbor City? Now you do. Find out why at the Good Neighbor Festival, site of a carnival, a craft fair, a parade and the music of Lube, Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo, Bonobo Secret Handshake, Beth Kille and more. If you see people not being good neighbors, give them gentle encouragement.
Orton Park, through Aug. 28
Once again, Orton Park Fest booker Bob Queen mixes and matches the weekend-long festival's musical acts with consummate skill. On Friday, Austin-based Latin funk combo Grupo Fantasma tops the bill. On Saturday, underground hip-hop star Lyrics Born headlines, and Sunday features Cuban star Ernan Lopez-Nussa. Cycropia Aerial Dance Theater performs Thursday and Friday.
Monona Terrace Rooftop, 5:30 pm
Two Milwaukee favorites hit Monona Terrace for an evening of sultry solos and dance-ready rhythms. Afro-Cuban jazz purveyors De La Buena warm up, and then Milwaukee Bucks house band Streetlife take over to share their WAMI Award-winning fusion of R&B and smooth jazz. With DJ Vilas Park Sniper.
High Noon Saloon, 6 pm
Ida Jo can fiddle with the best of 'em, wowing crowds with percussive sounds from her bow. Join her for the release of a new album, Singer in the Band, which nods not only to the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" but Van Morrison, the Band and lots of good old-fashioned folk sounds. With Corey Hart.
Majestic Theatre, 7 pm
The Majestic is taking the proverbial "it" to the streets for a free show featuring Swedish indie rockers Peter Bjorn and John, who'll share their 2006 smash "Young Folks" and their new album, Gimme Some (see Tour Stop). With JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound and DJ Nick Nice.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Aug. 27 & Sept. 1
For its season debut, Strollers Theatre presents David Lindsay-Abaire's searing look at a couple devastated by the death of their young child. The play was recently made into a film with Nicole Kidman.
Brink Lounge, 8 pm
Brown helped reggae music cultivate a following across the country during his three decades as a Madison resident. See what he's been up to since departing for greener -- and warmer -- pastures several years ago.
Inferno, 9 pm
Video gamers, unite: Local stoner-metal gods Droids Attack will transform the Inferno into an old-school arcade as they film a video for their song "The Arcade Bully." Fans can thrash and head-bang as they get their Galaga scores to non-embarrassing, pre-Wii levels. With Lo-Pan and Sweet Cobra.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
Urban Dictionary readers know that "steez" means "style with ease," but the Madison-bred band of the same name are giving the term a whole new meaning with their jam-tastic sonic parties, which fuse the organic energy of funk with the transcendent aura of electronica. With Funktion.
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
DJs Nick Nice and Mike Carlson will throw down the King of Pop's best videos from the Reagan Years and the Clinton Era. At midnight, revelers can compete for prizes by displaying their mad moonwalking skills or their best Bad-inspired werewolf costume or another getup that calls MJ its muse.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Few know how to work the publicity machine quite like Madison's Star Persons, a posse of six rap-loving, pop-hook-wielding electronica enthusiasts. Swing by this show to see how they've used their promotional prowess to spin their brand-new album, Esc Artist. With Sexy Ester & the Pretty Mama Sisters and Man Mantis.
NOTEWORTHY: Stevie Ray Vaughan dies in helicopter crash after performance at Alpine Valley, 1990.
BIRTHDAYS: Professional wrestler/noncommissioned officer Sgt. Slaughter, 1948; actor/comedian Paul (Pee-wee Herman) Reubens, 1952.
Olin Park, 8 am-9 pm
Madison just wouldn't be Madison without the pretty lakes, so commemorate them at this fest featuring log rolling, water ski clinics, the Mad-City Ski Team and music of the Lucas Cates Band, Kero One, Roots Collective and Steez.
Sheboygan Community Garden, Hill Farms DOT, 9 am
This leisurely, four-hour ride offers visits to four west-side community gardens, those oases of fecundity, plus kids' activities and meet 'n' greets at each stop. The end of the line is Eagle Heights Community Center.
High Noon Saloon, 5 pm
Break out your dancing shoes and dust off your jitterbug moves for a rousing show by this 19-lady big band, which performs classics such as "In the Mood" and newer material like "Zoot Suit Riot." A raffle and part of the cover charge will benefit Primates Inc., a nonprofit working to build a monkey sanctuary in southern Wisconsin.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 7 pm
At this capper for the Democracy Convention, the divos and divas of VO5 will usher in fall on the Terrace with some hip-shaking disco tunes, and alt-folk singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked will most likely share a few of her hits from the late 1980s and early 1990s. With Emma's Revolution.
4037 Highway 19 in DeForest
The annual festival is the brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison and his wife, violinist Rose Mary Harbison, who use their DeForest barn as a stage. At press time, tickets were still available for pianist Robert Levin playing an all-Mozart concert (Saturday, Aug. 27, 8 pm); and jazz programs with songs of Burton Lane and Jule Style (Wednesday, Aug. 31, & Thursday, Sept. 1, 5 & 8:30 pm). See Dirty Little Showtunes
Pancake Cafe-Marquis Ballroom, Fitchburg, 9 pm
WhoopDeDoo Productions unveils its latest stage provocation, a revue of filthy, gay-themed rewrites of familiar Broadway songs.
Inferno, 9 pm
Nothing says nightlife quite like members of a coed squad of colorfully costumed and masked contestants grappling in lubricant, and we don't mean motor oil. The wrestlers have names like El Barbaro and Moxie Rocosas Rodas. You can root for your favorite.
NOTEWORTHY: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers "I Have a Dream" speech at Lincoln Memorial, 1963.
BIRTHDAYS: Country chanteuses Shania Twain, 1965, & LeAnn Rimes, 1982.
American Players Theatre, 1 pm
This seldom-performed 1779 satire by Richard Brinsley Sheridan is, by APT standards, pretty adventuresome, eschewing traditional plotting in favor of a simple premise: A critic goes to see a play, and the play-within-the-play is performed in its uproarious, gloriously terrible entirety. There's singing and dancing, hilariously overwrought acting and a bravura comic performance by Sarah Day. A mustn't-miss for APT fans.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm Behold the hypnotic power of time-signature changes with this local prog-rock trio, whose sludgy sound built a cult following in Madison and beyond after they released a gem of a self-titled recording in 2007. With Full Vinyl Treatment and Zero Beat.
James Madison Park, 8:30 pm
Here's a novel experience. Watch a classic German Expressionist film outside while local musicians improvise a score (see Arts).