Wisconsin State Fair
State Fair Park in West Allis, through Aug. 10
The annual confab of cream puffs and racing pigs enters the home stretch. On the main stage: new jack swing sensations Boyz II Men (Aug. 8), problematic but entertaining fiddler Charlie Daniels (Aug. 9), energetically wholesome singers and dancers the Kids from Wisconsin (Aug. 10).
Steve Feren and Marna Goldstein Brauner
James Watrous Gallery in the Overture Center, 5:30 pm
The gallery features side-by-side exhibits of two Wisconsin artists' work. Oregon's Feren, who teaches art glass at UW, embeds haunting imagery in glass, while in her works Shorewood's Goldstein Brauner combines antique textiles -- doll's clothes, handkerchiefs, doilies. Artists' talks at this opening reception begin at 6:30 pm.
Ken Schneider: Paintings 2008
Grace Chosy Gallery, 6 pm
Working in oil and watercolor, Schneider paints dense, vibrant landscapes of autumnal trees, snow-covered forests, shimmering streams. He'll be on hand for this opening.
Dance Gavin Dance
Loft (Lussier Teen Center), 7 pm
Sacramento-based post-hardcore enthusiasts Dance Gavin Dance top a hefty, screamo-leaning bill that should have kids of all ages bouncing off the walls. Caffeinated Golden Staters A Static Lullaby, Four Letter Lie, Secret & Whisper and Lower Definition also appear.
The Rocky Horror Show
Middleton-Cross Plains Area Performing Arts Center, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday, Saturday & Thursday, Aug. 7, 9 & 14, 7:30 pm
Before it was a global cinematic audience-participation freakout, Rocky Horror was an entertaining stage musical. Middleton Players Theatre brings it to the burbs. Chant along if you know the story: Dull newlyweds stumble into the home of a transvestite mad scientist and assorted freaks; singing and dancing ensue.
National Poetry Slam
Overture Center, 8 pm. Also Saturday, Aug. 9, 8 pm
The weekend sees the final rounds in the slam-poetry contest that has brought 76 teams of competitive wordsmiths to our burg. The semifinals are Friday, and Saturday night's event determines the winner.
She & Him
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Performing under the She & Him moniker, indie mainstay M. Ward and waifish film actress Zooey Deschanel work an easygoing sound that touches on '60s folk-rock, shimmery girl groups and amiable alt-country. Without question this is the "it" show of the week. Ex Lavender Diamond open.
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Aug. 9 & 10
In Broom Street's latest, writer and director Heather Renken examines attention-deficit disorder by way of vaudeville.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
The Milwaukee area singer-songwriter with the magic fingers can ruminate with the best of 'em, but it's his more anxious acoustic blues, folk and rock that'll make Terrace habitués look up from their beers in wonder.
Johnny Winston Jr. Streetball & Block Party
Penn Park, noon
The school board's Winston once again throws his annual bash, with food, bingo, pony rides and an all-day basketball tournament. Music by, among others, the great Rick Flowers Band and local hip-hop mainstays L.O.S.T.S.O.U.L.S.
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 3 pm
Eugene O'Neill's story of a teenager's coming of age in a turn-of-the-century family is not much like the playwright's dark masterpieces. It's a large, big-hearted comedy that makes a good fit with American Players Theatre's outdoor space.
Project Lodge, 7 pm
Tonight the man behind Southerly keens and moans under his own name. If you're up front, you'll feel the warmth of his breath as he parses the complexities of growing up young and talented. With A Catapult Western.
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 8 pm. Also Tuesday, Aug. 12, 7:30 pm
In the first play by George Bernard Shaw, a young couple tussle because he hates that her father is a slumlord. Pack a picnic dinner and enjoy the class politics.
People in Planes
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Passionate vocals and big hooks that recall the likes of Muse and Coldplay have served Welshmen People in Planes quite well. Tonight they debut material from a new album with support from Australian rockers Skybombers and Wisconsin's Freshwater Collins.
Cafe Montmartre, 9:30 pm
Cahoone's career as an indie-rock drummer is currently on hold thanks to a pair of country-brushed singer-songwriter discs that explore fear, loneliness and soul-ache with brutal clarity. NPR's a supporter, and it's plain why.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Supersuckers' aggressive, meat-and-potatoes approach to garage and country punk has filled clubs for the past couple decades, and that streak is bound to continue. The Rebuilts and the Suckers' own Eddie Spaghetti open.
Paoli House Gallery, Paoli, 2 pm
Drive or bike out to Paoli today and you get: 1) pleasant scenery; 2) the opportunity to check out this gallery in the restored, turn-of-the-century Paoli Hotel and 3) the music of Hagens, harpist with St. Olaf College's orchestra.
Majestic Theatre, 7:30 pm
WWE-endorsed Memphis hard rockers Egypt Central are sure to vibrate the walls of this old movie house with their overheated power ballads and chunky metal.