Summer eases into its final third this weekend, but the season isn't slowing down. The calendar includes: the opening reception for the Artists of Union Cab exhibit; productions of Renewsical, Storyshare, and Melting in Madras; the Johnny Winston, Jr. Streetball and Block Party and Atwood Summerfest; a talk by Ira Sukrungruang; live music by Golpe Tierra, Alison Margaret Quartet, Busdriver, Lucero with Ha Ha Tonka, Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble, John Eddie, The Honey Slides, and at Band Bingo Night; and, a performance by Bill Maher.
NOTEWORTHY: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Social Security Act establishing Medicare and Medicaid, 1965.
BIRTHDAYS: Bodybuilder/barbarian/kindergarten cop/terminator/California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1947; actress Hilary Swank, 1974.
Artists of Union Cab
Gallery at Yahara Bay, through Sept. 30
If you hire a Union Cab, chances are your driver either has a new CD out or is a committed visual artist. Works by drivers in the latter group are featured in this show, including sculpted glass by Ron Esser, drawings by Emilio Lanier and photography by Jeremy Parker. Meet the gang at tonight's reception, 7-10 pm.
A Crush on Yesterday
Mother Fool's, 8 pm
Germany's Chris Weiduwilt lived in Madison as a high school exchange student, and tonight he revisits our city with a set of dark acoustic music, which he performs as A Crush on Yesterday (see Tour Stop). With Adam Pedersen.
Inn on the Park, 8 pm
Madison boasts several solid Latin jazz acts, but this one blends a variety of African rhythms with melodies from the Andes Mountains and features a super-cool Peruvian drum called the cajon, which might just cajole you into dancing. The event is part of the hotel's ongoing Jazz on the Park series.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
A grant from the Environmental Protection Agency helped fund this traveling show, which is just what you'd guess it is from its name: a musical about sustainability issues. Music, poetry, puppets and dance convey lessons about all matters green, from solar power to local food. Bring the kids.
Alison Margaret Quartet
Brink Lounge, 9 pm
Margaret's honey-smooth voice sweetens up almost any style of music, from jazz standards to funky blues numbers; plus she's a whiz at the piano.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
Indie rock fans may recognize Busdriver from Islands' 2006 album Return to the Sea, and from the Unicorns' hip-hop-happy side project Th' Corn Gangg. He's been serving up rhymes to the experimental hip-hop crowd for more than 15 years, after cutting his teeth with friend and collaborator Aceyalone at L.A.'s famous Good Life Cafe in early '90s. With Star Persons.
Lucero, Ha Ha Tonka
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Lucero picks up where the Replacements left off, funneling grit and guts galore into punk-infused Memphis twang. Ha Ha Tonka channels a similar chutzpah, but from more of a roots-rock angle, whether the object of protest is patriotism, prejudice or the failings of America's health-care system.
NOTEWORTHY: Thomas Eagleton withdraws as Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern's running mate after it comes to light that he was once treated for depression, 1972.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor Wesley Snipes, 1962; best-selling Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, 1965.
Johnny Winston, Jr. Streetball and Block Party
Penn Park, noon-8 pm
Winston, till lately a school board member, throws his annual bash, with food, bingo, fun for the kids and an all-day basketball tournament. Entertainment by Black Star Drum Line, Jenewein Music Makers, Crushin' All Force and many more.
2000-2010 blocks of Atwood Avenue, noon-7 pm
Nearly a dozen musical acts gather in the Schenk's Corners neighborhood, along with food carts and other vendors, to raise money for the Goodman Community Center. Highlights on two stages include country songstress Kristy Larson (noon), electro-klezmer by Shtetlblasters (noon), rock and blues by Milwaukee's Alex Wilson Band (2:20 pm) and the infectious disco of VO5.
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
The Wisconsin Story Project, which recently staged a collection of stories about cancer at Overture Center, returns to the familiar confines of Project Lodge, where audience members are asked to share a story that touches on a particular theme. The theme this week: A Bird in the Hand. With music by Swim Team.
Melting in Madras: Seeking, Singing & Sickness in India, 1995
MercLab, 8 pm. Also Sunday, Aug. 1, 2 pm
Overcoat Theater presents this monologue by former UW student H.R. Britton, who tells of traveling to India to study yoga and music, then falling seriously ill. A Massachusetts resident, Britton made something of a name for himself doing spoken word in New York.
Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble
Brink Lounge, 9 pm
It's hard to tell what this instrumental ensemble love more: Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt or the roomy-yet-intimate performance space at the Brink Lounge. Either way, you're in for a treat as they play some swingin' French and American numbers that are perfect for a sweltering July night.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Eddie may be from New Jersey, but his rock 'n' roll tunes have heartland written all over them. Unfortunately, they've got heartbreak written all over them, too. A few years after releasing a chart-climbing single (1986's "Jungle Boy") and gigging with Bob Seger, Columbia Records kicked him to the curb. After joining Lost Highway Records in 2003, he's found his groove anew. With the Rowdy Prairie Dogs.
The Honey Slides
Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 pm
This side project of local faves the Midwest Beat, the Hussy and the Grizzlies is threatening to become even more popular than its members' primary projects, thanks to a sparkly, catchy fusion of jangle and twang.
NOTEWORTHY: I-35 bridge collapses in Minneapolis during rush hour, 2007.
BIRTHDAYS: Public Enemy rapper Chuck D, 1960.
A Room of One's Own, 2 pm
Sukrungruang reads from his memoir, Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, about growing up as part of an immigrant Thai family in 1980s suburban Chicago.
Band Bingo Night
Frequency, 8 pm
The Frequency's adding some Bingo-themed excitement to sleepy nights this summer by featuring unlikely combinations of bands and all sorts of cool prizes. This lineup, which features Motorboat, Circle Number Dot, Formosa Triangle, Cinco de Gatos and JC Wainstead, pairs math rockers with metalheads and much more. Learn more about Band Bingo here.
Overture Hall, 8 pm
The famously irascible comedian and television host patented the brittle humor that reflects his sharp political perspective, which is neatly encapsulated by this bon mot from his old Politically Incorrect show: "Bush's lies are worse than Clinton's." These days he's in the middle of the eighth season of Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. But he still digs his standup. (See preview.)