Dane County Fair
Alliant Energy Center, through July 20
The fun continues with a Wild West Show, a Sea Lion Splash, corn dogs, a carnival, and a swine-judging contest where the winners look more nervous than happy.
Maxwell Street Days
State Street, 8 am-6 pm. Also Saturday (8 am-6 pm) & Sunday (10 am-5 pm), July 19 & 20
Downtown merchants revive the spirit of Chicago's old Maxwell Street market by piling the sidewalks with their wares. The people-watching is primo, the bargains can't be beat, and the two entertainment stages allow you to spell yourself between purchases.
UW Music Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (3 pm), July 19 & 20
The Madison Savoyards like all Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, both major and minor. This one is major. Set in Japan, it's a tuneful satire about a strolling minstrel in love with a woman pledged to another.
Madison Early Music Festival
Concerts at Mills Hall in the UW Humanities Building, 7:30 pm
This year's celebration of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music offers an array of classes, lectures and concerts emphasizing the music of George Frideric Handel. Performances include the Baroque Band (Friday) and an all-festival concert (Saturday) featuring "Ode for St. Cecilia's Day." 6:30 pm lectures precede each performance in the Humanities Building.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The tragic loss of drummer Michael Dahlquist in a car accident caused members of Silkworm to regroup as Bottomless Pit, an experimental, at times somber indie act that employs some of the stuttering structures of their former band. The Kadane Brothers (who feature members of Bedhed and the New Year) also appear. El Valiente opens.
Alliant Energy Center Coliseum, through July 24
The spiritual head of Tibet, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and all-around good guy comes to Madison for a talk (Saturday, July 19, 3 pm), four days of teaching, and an elaborate Long Life Prayer Offering, the first of its kind to be held in the Western Hemisphere. Tibetans and other supporters from around the world will travel to Madison for the rare prayer ceremony. See deerparkcenter.org for more information.
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 4-9 pm. Also Sunday, July 20, 11:30 am-7 pm
Unless the gods whip up a tornado or turn us into swans, we'll be heading to the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church to eat, drink and be merry. The Panopoulos Orchestra performs on Saturday, Chicago's DJ Gre-Gre on Sunday. There will also be a Greek market, children's activities and, of course, gyros.
Loft in the Lussier Teen Center, 7 pm
The Milwaukee metalcore enthusiasts have made a strong impression around the country and abroad. With a CD set to come out mere days after this show, they certainly won't be coasting. Noris, Oregon Falls, As Above So Below, and Serianna also appear.
The Art of the Duo
Capitol Lakes Grand Hall, 333 W. Main St., 7:30 pm
The revitalized Madison Music Collective continues a series that allows jazz musicians to test the boundaries of the duo format. This concert features two pairs: singer Marilyn Fisher and bassist Laurie Lang; and drummer Ben Karetnick and saxophonist Clifford White.
Crustacean Records Party
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
All ages are welcome to join Crustacean artists Mad Trucker Gone Mad, the Skintones, the Gusto and Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons in saluting the DVD release of Drown Out the Daylights, a rockumentary about the savvy Madison-based label and the punk-leaning artists that record for it. A screening of the DVD precedes the live music.
Tim Whalen Nonet
Restaurant Magnus, 9:30 pm
Pianist Whalen leads one of the area's most exciting jazz groups. They find the perfect balance between composition and improvisation and keep the listener in a state of perpetual surprise. This concert marks the release of a live album called Magnus.
Cafe Montmartre, 9:30 pm
The Boston band offer up adventurous reworkings of back-porch gospel, droning juke-joint blues and trad Appalachian sounds that'll pique the interest of the most committed rocker. Brown Derby and Whitney Mann open.
Colony of Watts
Frequency, 10 pm
Sadly, the roiling post-punk inheritors take their leave after this show. Blind Shake and Driftless Pony Club help 'em end on a high note.
The gay community's annual event has been scaled back after financial problems with last year's celebration. But that doesn't mean the crowd will be any less spirited. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and others speak at the Capitol beginning at 11 am, followed by a march. Then comes a picnic at Brittingham Park from noon to 6 pm, where we all make plans for a reinvigorated 2009 affair.
Harmony Bar, 3 pm
You can make it an early evening and still catch folk-rockers Dear August, straight-shooting twangers Brown Derby and lush, lonesome moodists A Catapult Western as they raise some dough for a dormitory that will house Kenyan orphans.
Advent Lutheran Church, 7:30 pm
It's an evening of traditional music and dance from western coastal Norway. Arngunn Timenes Bell plays the Hardanger fiddle, a beautifully decorated instrument with a shimmering sound. Two dancers will also display their prize-winning style.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Hip-hop firebrand Immortal Technique honed his technique in MC battles, and the politically minded Afro-Peruvian rapper still prefers the underground to glossy commercial success. His new release, The 3rd World, is a gripping indictment of the status quo. Thanks to DJ GI Joe, it's also crammed with smart, aggressive backing tracks. Poison Pen, the Circle and DJ Arch open.