Madison rarely bursts with as much life and activity as it will this weekend. Summer gatherings abound with the Hometown USA Fest in Verona, the Marquette Waterfront Fest, the Cambridge Pottery Fest, Middleton's Big Event, Parade of Homes, A Toast to Our Veterans at Truax, and the Mounds Dog Fest. The action continues with a final party for Bike to Work Week; week two at Rooftop Cinema; productions of Blitz by Mercury Players and The Comedy of Errors at APT; a poetry marathon, the debut of Collective Escape; and an insane wealth of live shows from the likes of The Tennessee Three, Alice Peacock, Eric Hutchinson, Fat Maw Rooney, Skindred, the Bach DDS, John Eddie, Locksley with Fever Marlene, The Lee Boys, the Bryan Lee Band, and Vanishing Kids.
NOTEWORTHY: South African court sentences Nelson Mandela to life in prison, 1964.
BIRTHDAYS: Holocaust diarist Anne Frank, 1929; Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, 1951.
Hometown Park in Verona, June 11-14
Verona's annual festival offers bingo, a carnival, a parade and helicopter rides. No, you don't get to fly the helicopter yourself, even if you ask nice.
Vilas Park, 4:30 pm
You peddled hard all week; now take a load off at this final celebration, sponsored by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and Planet Bike.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
The folk-loving Chicago singer-songwriter and Lawrence University alum has quite a pedigree for greatness: Her grandfather was an actor in Fritz Lang's classic M, her grandmother composed cabaret tunes, and her mother was a familiar face on TV. At her High Noon gig, she'll show off her own talents as both a composer and a singer with tunes from her new release, Love Remains. The Compass Rose opens.
Warner Park. 5:30 pm concert, 7:05 game
The local baseball club's "Johnny Cash Night" features the Tennessee Three, Cash's backup band, led by his longtime guitarist Bob Wootton. Yep, it's an authentic connection to the Man in Black. The Tennessee Three also perform at the Essen Haus at 10:30 pm after the game.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday, June 13, 8 pm
Mercury Players Theatre presents its annual showcase for creativity-on-the-fly: short plays written, designed and rehearsed over the course of 24 hours. Roller-derby queens from the Mad Rollin' Dolls appear at Saturday's show.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The 28-year-old singer-songwriter and pianist was a bit bummed out when his label, Madonna's Maverick Records, shut down. Then, lo and behold, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton praised Hutchinson's self-released album, Sounds Like This, sending it to the top of the iTunes charts. Take that, Madge. Meiko opens.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 9:30 pm
The series screens short avant-garde films each Friday in June on MMoCA's lovely rooftop sculpture garden. This week's sky-themed program is called "Above and Beyond."
Fat Maw Rooney High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
The five dudes in Fat Maw Rooney describe their craft as "Northern Rock," a combination of blues, funk and good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. What's so northern about that? Perhaps it's the band's shared bills with Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident and other favorites around these parts. Eufoquestra opens.
Annex, 9 pm
Blending punk, metal and a bit of reggae to form a style they call "Ragga metal," the Welsh band march to the beat of their own drummer, both literally and figuratively. They also do a killer cover of "Electric Avenue."
BIRTHDAYS: Quirky actress Ally Sheedy, 1962; those annoying Olsen twins, 1986.
Yahara Place Park. Also Sunday, June 14
The annual fest offers sports, food and kids' activities. There's an awesome slate of bands for this 20th anniversary celebration, including Vieux Farka Toure and Rupa & the April Fishes. (See article.) Rupa also performs at the High Noon Saloon at 10 pm on Saturday.
Lake Ripley Park in Cambridge. Also Sunday, June 14
The annual clay-a-palooza features work by 40 professional potters from around the country, along with demonstrations, competitions, auctions and hands-on activities.
Middleton's Big Event Middleton's second annual Event features sales at local stores, kids' games, recreational activities, a craft fair, walking tours, sample-size portions at 40 restaurants, and a 9:30 pm fireworks display near Greenway Station. The music format has changed this year, featuring performances spread out at more than a dozen venues.
11 am-5 pm. Also Sundays (11 am-5 pm) & Mondays-Fridays (3-8 pm), through June 28
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 in Bristol Gardens (Bristol), Middleton Ridge at Misty Valley (Middleton), and the Southbridge Kilkenny Addition (Waunakee). A Toast to Our Veterans
VFW Post 8483 at Truax Field, 2-9 pm
This event honors our brave vets with family activities, military vehicles, sports, food and live music. We'll drink to that.
Escape Java Joint, 7 pm
The Madison Music Collective helps open Escape Java Joint's new space at 940 Williamson St. with a weekly series of challenging improvised music called "Collective Escape." The kickoff concert features out-there sounds by the JoAnne Pow!ers Chicago Trio, Sharp Stick in the Eye and the Connors/Kalfayan/Randolph Trio.
Overture Center Playhouse, 7:30 pm
Every summer, the locally based chamber ensemble tries to take the stuffiness out of classical music performance while maintaining a high standard of excellence. The first program in its three-week series features a typically cheeky theme -- "The Dating Game" -- and works by Haydn and Schubert, including the latter's "Die schöne Müllerin" for baritone and piano, featuring photographs by Katrin Talbot. (Bach Dancing and Dynamite also performs Friday at the Stoughton Opera House and Sunday at Taliesin in Spring Green.)
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 8 pm
American Players Theatre has a solid track record with Shakespeare's farcical comedy. Two sets of identical twins who have been separated at birth end up in the same town, leading to...a comedy of errors. (See story.)
Club Tavern, 8:30 pm
Eddie's roots-rock is made for live performances, blending the earthy, introspective qualities of alt-country with the edgy energy of rockabilly. He'll be preceded by an equally energetic early (1 pm) show by country-music rabble-rouser and Grand Ole Opry favorite Dale Watson.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Though they got their start in Madison, Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Locksley sound more like the British Invasion. Fever Marlene, Milwaukee's most radio-friendly rock band in years, open the show with songs from their latest release, Febrile State.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
The Florida ensemble's combination of pedal steel and electric lap steel guitars -- which revolutionized music in Pentecostal churches across the country, including the one the six Boys attended during the '70s -- is sure to get you thinking about your higher calling, even if you're simply sipping a beer and gazing at the lake.
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
As leader of the Jump Street Five Band in the 1980s and '90s, Lee helped make New Orleans a blues destination. These days he's been collaborating with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and touring bars across the country like there's no tomorrow.
U.S. FLAG DAY
BIRTHDAYS: Tennis champ Steffi Graf, 1969; screenwriter Diablo Cody, 1978.
Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, 10 am-3 pm
The free event features contests, demonstrations and almost too much cuteness to bear.
Olbrich Gardens, 1 pm
Fifteen poets from around the state read in Olbrich Gardens, with words to match the beauteous setting.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
So Pitchfork wasn't a big fan of The Selfish Mirror, Vanishing Kids' 2005 release. Big deal: Madison's still proud to say they're homegrown post-punk, even if they've moved to Portland, Ore. Plus, they've got some new material -- a split 7-inch single with Street Pyramids -- that sounds promising. Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons, Merrick and Zebras open the show.