Rejoice! Summer leads off strong this weekend with a trifecta of festivals: Syttende Mai, the WORT Block Party, and Fiesta Hispana. There's much more on deck though, including: the Madison Poetry Slam team finals; productions of Faust, Little Dog Laughed, and Well; stand-up from The Comedy Craze and Christian Finnegan; and live shows by Yawo, Kelly Joe Phelps, All That Remains, Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks, The Type, a SWBMA benefit, Nick Jaina with Vid Libert, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir, Zebras with Screamin Cyn Cyn & the Pons, and Pistols at Dawn.
NOTEWORTHY: Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton establish National Women's Suffrage Association, 1869.
BIRTHDAYS: Artist Jasper Johns, 1930; rock offspring Ahmet Rodan Zappa, 1974.
Stoughton, through May 17
No one celebrates the signing of Norway's constitution as fervently as Stoughton -- probably not even Norway. The annual festival features dancing, music, a parade and a Saturday run/walk from Madison to Stoughton.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 6:30 pm
Twin Cities six-piece Yawo knows how to get a crowd in the mood for summer, even if it's the most bone-chilling stretch of winter. Thankfully, that season seems to have passed, and the Terrace is open for business -- and chillaxin'. Nomo and Toubab Krewe open.
Kelly Joe Phelps
Café Montmartre, 7 pm
Delta blues and jazz mingle and collide in the slide guitar compositions of Kelly Joe Phelps, especially his new release, the all-instrumental Western Bell.
All That Remains
Annex, 8 pm
The Massachusetts metal avatars pay a Madison call as they promote their latest CD, Overcome. The new disc features the precise guitar work and growling vocals we've all come to associate with metalcore. With Dirge Within, Luna Mortis.
Overture Hall, 8 pm. Also Sunday, May 17, 2:30 pm
In its season closer, Madison Opera presents Charles Gounod's 1859 version of Goethe's masterpiece. Go, and feel young again.
Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
It's been more than 40 years since Hicks and his Hot Licks first brought smooth vocal harmonies and jazzy string-band music to acid-addled rock audiences. He's still swinging with a vengeance, including on a brand-new release, Tangled Tales.
Little Dog Laughed
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (4 & 8 pm), May 14 & 16
Strollers Theatre presents Douglas Carter Beane's comedy about a film actor whose agent won't let him come out of the closet. Little Dog Laughed notched a 2007 Tony for Best Play.
MercLab, 8 pm. Also Saturday, May 16, 8 pm
Mercury Players Theatre presents Lisa Kron's acclaimed autobiographical play that meditates on memory, illness and racial integration. MercLab is the company's slightly unfamiliar warehouse location at 930 Fair Oaks Ave., so look sharp.
Frequency, 10 pm
The Type has a '90s indie vibe to it -- think Sleater-Kinney meets Veruca Salt -- but its members might never have found one another if it weren't for thoroughly modern inventions like MySpace. This Is What We Sound Like, the album tonight's concert celebrates, is even more modern -- brand new, in fact. Mannix and the Sensationalists open.
NOTEWORTHY: Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls named National Basketball Association's Rookie of the Year, 1985.
BIRTHDAYS: 007 star Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, 1953; singer/actress/wardrobe malfunction casualty Janet Jackson, 1966.
Southern Wisconsin Bluegrass Music Association Benefit
High Noon Saloon, noon-8 pm
More bluegrass bands than you can shake a stick at convene for a once-a-year fundraiser for -- you guessed it -- a local bluegrass nonprofit. Hear covers and originals, plus progressive and traditional styles by Liberty Bluegrass Band, the Oak Street Ramblers, Truman's Ridge and more while showing your support for the genre.
Madison Poetry Slam Finals
Genna's Lounge, 7 pm
Local wordsmiths/performers vie to represent the city in the nationals, coming up this August in West Palm Beach, Fla. Featured artist: Dan Vaughn.
Nick Jaina, Vid Libert
Project Lodge, 7 pm
Whether he's playing jangly guitar-pop or eerie acoustic melodies, Nick Jaina knows how to turn a song into a reverie. Get your fix and check out Vid Libert's new band while you're there. Also playing: Nuclear Woods.
Wisconsin Chamber Choir
Trinity Lutheran Church, 7:30 pm
The 28-voice ensemble ends its season with "The Voice of Joy," featuring music by Henry Purcell, Felix Mendelssohn, Heitor Villa-Lobos.
The Comedy Craze
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The east-side palace hosts a night of laffs featuring comics familiar from HBO's Def Comedy Jam and BET's Comic View. They include headliner Pierre, B Cole and the evening's host BLT, along with Kevin Craft and K Jay.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
The Majestic keeps at the standup comedy with an appearance by funnyman Finnegan, whom you might recognize from Chappelle's Show or VH1's Best Week Ever.
Zebras, Screamin Cyn Cyn & the Pons
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Just because school's out at the UW doesn't mean the Mad Rollin' Dolls -- or their after-parties -- are taking a break. At this bash, the prog/punk/experimental sounds of Zebras emerge after a winter hiatus, and Screamin Cyn Cyn & the Pons are sure to give them a run for their money in the energy department.
Pistols at Dawn
Crystal Corner Bar, 10 pm
It's the title of albums by both British punk band Consumed and American indie group Aqueduct, but it's also the name of a good local band that fuses metal, punk and a whole lot of surf rock. Whether you're drinking, dancing or spilling your drink while dancing, the music's sure to inspire at least a little hyperactivity.
NOTEWORTHY: U.S. Supreme Court hands down Brown v. Board of Education decision banning segregation in public schools, 1954.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor/filmmaker Dennis Hopper, 1936; folk-blues singer/songwriter Taj Mahal, 1942.
WORT Block Party
600 block of West Doty Street, 11 am-7 pm
The people's radio station takes it to the streets in this annual party, featuring kids' activities, a CD sale, food and the music of Ladies Must Swing, Cris Plata & Extra Hot, Cajun Strangers, Queenie & the Blue Cats, Rob Dz & the Funkalistics and Sleeping in the Aviary.
McKee Farms Park, Fitchburg, noon
The celebration of local Hispanic culture squeezes a whole world into one park. Expect lots of glorious eats and musical performers including DJ Panda, Sonidos Suaves, Soles, Guerreros del Amor and Grupo Candela.