Middleton Good Neighbor Festival
Fireman's Park, Middleton. Also Saturday & Sunday, Aug. 23 & 24
Did you know Middleton is the Good Neighbor City? Now you do. Find out why at the Good Neighbor Festival, site of a carnival, a craft fair, a parade, a 5K run and the music of Apparently Nothing, Midlife Crisis and Krauss Family Bluegrass. If you see people not being good neighbors, report them to the authorities.
Orton Park Festival
Orton Park, 5 pm. Also Saturday (11 am) & Sunday (9 am), Aug. 23 & 24
Once again, Orton Park Fest booker Bob Queen mixes and matches the weekend-long festival's dozen or so musical acts with consummate skill. On Friday, the St. Lucia reggae band Taj Weeks and Adowa top the bill. On Saturday, blues guitarist Sonny Landreth headlines, and Sunday features jazz-funkers Garaj Mahal. Natty Nation, Pale Young Gentlemen, Peter and Lou Berryman, the Blueheels, Vibe Syndicate and Bill O'Connell's Latin Jazz Trio will also appear during the free, family-friendly party in the park.
Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival
Art in the Barn, Fitchburg, 7 pm. Also Saturday, Aug. 23, 2 pm
The spirit of Django Reinhardt endures at this annual festival, featuring local favorites Harmonious Wail as well as the Gypsy Rhythm Project, the Twin Cities Hot Club, the Hot Club of Detroit and Alfonso Ponticelli. Close your eyes and you'll swear you're in a chic Parisian bote, not a barn in Fitchburg.
Henry IV: The Making of a King
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 8 pm
APT combines both parts of Henry IV into one evening, allowing us to see the full flowering of Prince Hal into King Henry V and his fitful relationship with that towering comic masterpiece, Falstaff.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Wave-form freaks, drum programmers, Goths and ordinary folk jonesing for their weekly dose of electronic sounds are sure to pack into the old saloon for the big Reverence Festival event. Tonight, Norway-bred electro sex god Scandy pumps and pulses well beyond the witching hour. Claire Voyant, Sensuous Enemy, Cervello Elettronico and DJs White Rabbit and I.Z. are also on hand to get the children of the dark appropriately hot and bothered.
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Aug. 23 & 24
In Broom Street's latest, writer and director Heather Renken examines attention-deficit disorder by way of vaudeville.
Wisconsin Pottery Association Show & Sale
Exhibition Hall at Alliant Energy Center, 9 am
Browse the wares of 50 dealers of pottery old and new, and check out the exhibit "Pauline & the Pottery of Edgerton." Seems a whole lot of pottery came from Edgerton. Who knew?
Inferno, 6 pm
The Reverence Festival's other big showcase features electro/industrial man-machine Soman and his brain-smashing beats. It's one of just a handful of dates the German club sensation is playing in the U.S. this summer. The Gothsicles, Boole, Ego Likeness, Parasite Twin, Marching Dynamics and the Dark Clan make it a feverish all-night affair.
Project Lodge, 7 pm
Vermilion Lies are hardly polite cabaret artists. The storytelling sisters who helm this delightfully weird act are apt to augment their live sound with the odd barbecue grill or typewriter as they dip into creepy ditties that owe a little something to the great Edward Gorey.
The Art of the Duo
Capitol Lakes (formerly Meriter-Main Gate), 7:30 pm
The Madison Music Collective's adventurous concert series comes to an end with two sets of duets. Indefatigable free-jazz saxophonist Joanne Powers and percussionist Tim Daisy hold one conversation, and two strong improvisers with a long history in the Madison area, pianist Jane Reynolds and bassist Hans Sturm, hold another.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 8 pm. Also Tuesday, Aug. 26, 7:30
Shakespeare's lost-in-the forest masterpiece is a perfect choice for APT's sylvan setting. The production is directed by Bill Brown, a Chicagoan with a knack for comedy.
Token Creek Chamber Music Festival
Festival Barn, Deforest, 8 pm. Also Sunday (4 pm), Tuesday (8 pm), Wednesday (8 pm) and Thursday (8 pm), Aug. 24, 26, 27 & 28
In a sure sign that summer is rapidly passing (and we never even made it to the Dells!), this cozy fest kicks off with music of Mozart and Haydn over the weekend, Bach and Kurtág's Bach transcriptions at next week's hump and, starting Thursday, jazz sounds.
The Frequency, 9 pm
Irreverent local rockers Ladybeard hurtle through their punk-inflected fare for the benefit of the Community Action Coalition of Southern Wisconsin, which coordinates the Dane County Food Pantry Network. White Light Riot are also on the bill.
Tea Leaf Green
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
The prog-leaning San Francisco jammers close out the Memorial Union's popular "Hot Summer Nights" concert series with a night's worth of shaggy-haired grooving. Attention Phish phans!
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Stupendous slide guitarist Sonny Landreth gives Orton Park Festival-goers even more to celebrate at this special "Orton After Dark" event. Joey B. Banks' sprawling Black 'n Blues All-Stars (who include the Funky Drummer himself, Clyde Stubblefield) also appear.
High Noon Saloon, noon
It's a pillow-fight competition! To benefit AIDS Network! We have a sneaking suspicion this could end up like the kickball revival of a few years' back. You know -- it's a kids' game, so you're lulled into believing it will be gentle, childlike fun, but then it turns out the people who were aggressive and hostile when they played games as kids are still aggressive and hostile. Bring your own pillow.
Project Lodge, 7 pm
Prolific noise artist John Wiese's work can be too clinical at times, but there's no arguing that he's trapped in an arcane musical space. Whether he's working with Wolf Eyes, Merzbow or Evan Parket or generating sound all by his lonesome, he's never content to stand still. Burial Hex and ParFaxitas Face Plant also appear.