Summer in Madison passes all too quickly, but the season closes on a high note over the next few days with Geek.Kon, Snake on the Lake Fest, the conclusion of the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, the Taste of Madison, Recreational Rhythms, and Venetian Night. The calendar also includes: productions of As You Like It and The Circle by APT and Last Summer at Bluefish Cove by StageQ; performances by Dave Stoler & Rich Perry, the Marlin McKay Quartet; and, more live music by Asumaya, Hometown Sweethearts, and National Beekeepers Society. The long holiday weekend closes with LaborFest, Jolly Bob's Anniversary Party, The Dan Potacke Show, and the Karp Family Opening Concert.
NOTEWORTHY: Former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi dies, 1970.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor Charlie Sheen, 1965; snowboard star Shaun White, 1986.
Marriott-West, through Sept. 5
The nerd-a-thon features three days' worth of videogames, science fiction, anime and role-playing games. Special guests include actor and writer Chris Ayres, Dork Tower creator John Kovalic and writer/game designer Matt Forbeck. There's music, costumes and gaming competitions of the video, board and role-playing variety.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 4 pm
Chicago's Maps & Atlases, headliner of WSUM's back-to-class bash, are more about geometry than geography, combining angular melodies and unusual time signatures to create songs that please math-rock jocks as well as listeners who like freak folk and experimental pop. In addition, Flight, Phonetic One and Meteorade will provide a Madison Music 101 crash course, showcasing the talent and diversity of the local scene.
4037 Highway 19 in DeForest
Pulitzer-winning composer John Harbison and his wife, violinist Rose Mary Harbison, conclude their late-summer series this weekend. At press time, tickets were still available for these events: singer Nicole Pasternak and trombonist Tom Artin performing, in a jazz program, music of Mary Lou Williams and Johnny Mercer (Thursday, 5 & 8 pm; & Friday, 5 & 8:30 pm, Sept. 2 & 3); and performers from Boston's Emmanuel Music playing music of J.S. Bach (Saturday, Sept. 4, 8 pm).
Project Lodge, 7 pm
The solo project of This Bright Apocalypse's Luke Bassuener is steeped in the sounds of Ghana, where he's taught school and made recordings of the country's musical traditions, and peppered with ideas he's gleaned from Fugazi, Peter Gabriel, the Police and others. With Julian Lynch.
Steinway Piano Gallery, 7:30 pm
Elegant Madison pianist Stoler and Perry, the New York-based saxophonist with a list of credentials going back to the 1970s, collaborate on an evening of jazz in this intimate setting.
American Players Theatre, Spring Green, 8 pm
APT's crisp production, set in 1930s America, is crammed with some of Shakespeare's favorite comic tropes, including a mind-altering magic forest, a cross-dressing heroine who's loved by just about everyone, and a troublemaking nobleman who ultimately comes to know himself.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Sept. 4 & 9
At a seaside getaway, eight friends grapple with relationships, feminism and the closet. Jane Chambers' groundbreaking 1981 play has been called a Big Chill for lesbians. The production, presented by StageQ, kicks off the Bartell's season.
Inn on the Park, 8 pm
The Jazz at the Park series begins its fall run with up-and-coming trumpet player Mckay, who studied jazz at UW-Stevens Point and recently completed a degree at Indiana University's prestigious Jacobs School of Music. His sophomore release, The Look, is due out this fall.
NOTEWORTHY: Los Angeles est., 1781.
BIRTHDAYS: Actress Ione Skye, 1970; destined kid Beyonce Knowles, 1981.
Capitol Square, 2-8:30 pm. Also Sunday, Sept. 5, 11 am-7 pm
The annual food fest features more than 80 restaurants serving delectable samples. They set up booths around the Capitol and practically dare you to overeat. Helping you transition from crab Rangoon to jerk chicken are dozens of national and local bands, including American Idol alum Danny Gokey, nerdy '90s alt icon Lisa Loeb and Australian Rockers Karnivool.
American Players Theatre, Spring Green, 8 pm
In W. Somerset Maugham's tale of two romantic triangles, Lady Kitty left her family 30 years ago, ditching her husband to run off to Italy with Lord Porteous. Now, the grown son she abandoned is in the midst of a triangle of his own. Do people ever learn from the past?
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Few bands can do a convincing cover of both R. Kelly and Primus, but Madison's Hometown Sweethearts pull it off with gusto, along with tunes by David Bowie, Cake, Van Halen, Billy Joel, Outkast, the Misfits and more than 100 other artists. Watch them work their magic and get a taste of their new album, For Your Party, which they'll release at this show.
Frequency, 10 pm
The punchy, Pavement-style indie-rock band that spawned local folk-pop project Icarus Himself hasn't been terribly active as of late and has decided to throw in the towel. Come bid the Beekeepers adieu and wish them luck on their future endeavors. With Sleeping in the Aviary and His & Her Vanities.
NOTEWORTHY: Cassius Clay wins boxing gold medal at Rome Olympics, 1960.
BIRTHDAYS: Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, 1950; musical offspring Dweezil Zappa, 1969.
Elvehjem Park Shelter, 2 pm
Local performers Grasshoppers, the Mustache, Art of the MC, Taki Allstars, Electric Spanking, the Full Watts and DJ Samrock will fill the east-side park with music, and the Second Harvest Foodbank with comestibles, at this bountiful benefit.
Lake Mendota's southern shore, 7:45 pm
A parade of lighted boats makes its way from Maple Bluff Beach to UW Memorial Union in this annual event. Watch from parks along the route, then check out the fireworks.
NOTEWORTHY: Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa dies, 1998. BIRTHDAYS: Pink Floyd bassist-songwriter Roger Waters, 1944; Emmy-winning actress/Saturday Night Live alumna Jane Curtin, 1947.
Madison Labor Temple, noon-5:30 pm
How better to celebrate Labor Day than to keep it real at the Labor Temple? Arise, ye workers, and enjoy food, fun activities for the kids, and the music of West Side Andy/Mel Ford Band and Paul Cebar & the Milwaukeeans.
Jolly Bob's, 2 pm
After a fire that scorched the kitchen a few months ago, the Jamaican restaurant has bounced back with an extra dose of gratitude for its patrons. Come celebrate its 18-year history with reggae and calypso tunes by the Gibraltar Rockets, and with DJ Rootsy Tootsy's tribute to some of the ska stars who've played there, from Justin Hinds to the Skatalites' Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso.
Frequency, 6:30 pm
The comic and genial host puts on another of his zany nightclub shows. This one's guests all are writers: Isthmus political scribe Jack Craver and playwrights Rick Stemm and Christian Neuhaus.
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 7:30 pm
The UW School of Music's traditional kickoff concert features the Karps, Madison's musical dynasty. Brothers Parry and Christopher, along with their parents Howard and Frances and violinist Suzanne Beia, perform works by Frank Bridge, Karol Szymanowski and Johannes Brahms. There's also a premiere of a new work, Joel Hoffman's Three Paths for Cello and Piano.