Seasonal celebrations make for another lively early summer weekend, with Verona Hometown Days, Cambridge Pottery Festival & U.S. Pottery Games, Parade of Homes, Marquette Waterfront Festival, and Mounds Dog Fest. The calendar also includes: the Clips of Faith Beer and Film Tour and Rooftop Cinema; the AcroCats circus; productions of Myth America, Sweet Cannoli Nuptials, and The Taming of the Shrew; a book reading by Dean Bakopoulos with Patrick Somerville; the opening of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society's 20th anniversary series and a performance by Samuel Hutchison with Eleanor Bartsch; the Launchpad Battle of the Band Finals and Madison Jazz Society Year-End Party; and, more live music from Kyle Henderson's Blue-Eyed Soul, Rising Gael, Hanggai, Jeremy Messersmith, Carrie Newcomer, Undercover Organism, The Zodiac Ensemble, and The Atomic Duo.
NOTEWORTHY: R&B genius Ray Charles dies, 2004.
Hometown Park, Verona, June 9-12
Verona grows and grows, but still it hangs on to small-town traditions. And what's more traditional than a town fest, complete with fireworks, carnival rides and a parade?
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 5 pm
Led by vocalist extraordinaire Kyle Henderson, bassist of the popular 1980s new-wave group the Producers, this local group puts a soulful spin on pop and rock covers.
High Noon Saloon, 6 pm
The youthful quartet gets the crowd jigging and reeling to a host of traditional Emerald Isle tunes and their own Celt-pop treats, which feature flutes, whistles, Highland pipes and fiddling. The band is releasing a new CD, IV.
Bartell Theatre, 7 pm. Also Saturday, June 11, 4 & 7 pm
Cats walk the tightrope and jump through hoops in this traveling, Chicago-based circus. These trained felines should prove inspirational to cat owners who wonder why their pets don't $#&*(@! come when called.
The spirited local chamber ensemble celebrates its 20th anniversary with Bach to the Future: A 20th Season Bacchanale, a three-weekend series. The first weekend features two programs: tonight's Bach Around the Clock (repeated Sunday afternoon in Spring Green), with music of Bach, Vaughan Williams, Haydn and Derek Bermel; and We Will, We Will Bach You, tomorrow night at Overture (repeated Sunday evening in Spring Green), with music of Bach, Ned Rorem and César Franck.
Olin Park, 7:30 pm
Part of Bike to Work Week, this New Belgium Brewing-sponsored event lets you lounge around outside, watch short films and drink beer.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Blending Mongolian folk music with American punk rock, this band from Beijing, China has found the secret to success. Learn more in this week's Tour Stop.
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), June 11 & 12
Callen Harty, formerly the artistic director of the eccentric east-side theater company, is the writer of this irreverent look at familiar stories from U.S. history.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
NPR declared the Minneapolis chamber-pop artist's 2010 album, The Reluctant Graveyard, one of the year's best. Catch him for free before he treks to Philly to perform on World Café Live. With the Daredevil Christopher Wright.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 9:30 pm
The museum's outdoor series of avant-garde films continues with 1940s and 1950s shorts by the pioneering Canadian animator Norman McClaren.
BIRTHDAYS: South African national hero Nelson Mandela, 1918; ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard, 1949.
Lake Ripley Park, Cambridge, 9 am-5 pm. Also Sunday, June 12, 10 am-4 pm
The annual clay-a-palooza features work by 40 professional potters from around the country, along with demonstrations, competitions, auctions and hands-on activities.
Overture Hall, 11 am
Two Madison Symphony Orchestra musicians, organist Hutchison and violinist Bartsch, perform a free concert in Overture's cool confines. Stop by during your farmers' market run for music of Strauss, Bach and more.
11 am-5 pm. Also Sundays (11 am-5 pm) & Mondays-Fridays (3-7 pm), through June 26
The Madison Area Builders Association opens up its latest showplaces for folks with big wads of cash and those of us who just like to dream. You can check out homes at Scenic Ridge (Verona), Southbridge (Waunakee) and the Legend at Bergamont (Oregon).
Yahara Place Park, noon. Also Sunday, June 12, 11:45 am
It's officially summer on the east side when this fest gets under way. There's music of Taki Allstars, Sleeping in the Aviary, Robbie Fulks, the Bottle Rockets and much more.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 4 pm
Watch more than a dozen high school rock bands compete for this year's Launchpad crown -- including Isthmus Band to Band Combat winners Sleeping in the Stereo, at 7:20 p.m.
Pancake Cafe, Fitchburg, 6:30 pm. Also Wednesday, June 15, 6:30 pm
Back for the second time this year, the locally produced improv show-cum-catered affair simulates every wedding reception you've ever attended, and captures many comic truths about those often uncomfortable affairs. The experience is immersive -- performers have been known to put wedding cake directly into the mouths of (hopefully) willing patrons.
Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, 7 pm
Named one of the most influential artists of the past quarter-century by Boston radio station WUMB, this folk-influenced singer-songwriter and activist visits Madison to raise funds for Courage to Teach, an organization that organizes much-needed retreats for public school teachers.
Gates of Heaven, 7:30 pm
Novelist Bakopoulos, who lived in Madison for a long time before departing for Iowa, reads from his latest, My American Unhappiness, about an academic type who's surveying, yes, American unhappiness, and looking for a mate. Former Madisonian Somerville's fourth novel, This Bright River, is due out this summer.
American Players Theatre, Spring Green, 8 pm
The strong-willed woman of the title is bullied into submission in Shakespeare's comedy. It's one of just two works by the Bard APT is presenting this summer.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
This Milwaukee jamtronica band improvises like it's going out of style. Show them it's not by cheering them on. With Bonzo Terks.
Project Lodge, 10 pm
Founded by three Stevens Point natives turned New York City music makers, this group blends jazz-influenced improvisation, Armenian folk, sacred music and much more -- with mind-blowing results. With the Luke Polipnick Trio.
NOTEWORTHY: NAACP official Medgar Evers assassinated in front of his home, 1963.
BIRTHDAYS: Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, 1951.
Angell Park Pavilion, Sun Prairie, 10 am-4 pm
The free event features contests, demonstrations and almost too much cuteness to bear.
Coliseum Bar, 1 pm
Local jazz aficionados gather to dance to the Retro Swing Band, compete for door prizes and elect their next generation of bebopping officers at this free event.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Bad Livers guitarist Mark Rubin and mandolin-playing firebrand Silas Lowe team up to explore hot-button issues -- from immigration to the modern mortgage crisis -- through folk music. Enjoy selections their latest live recording, Fat Man and Little Boy, and some unreleased gems being readied for a studio album. With Oak Street Ramblers.