Madison bids a formidable farewell to summer this weekend with the Orton Park Festival, the Middleton Good Neighbor Festival, the Clean Lakes Festival, the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, and Ride the Drive. The plenteous calendar also includes: the launch of the Crosshatxh poetry series; Focus/Madison exhibit opening at MMoCA; a production of Yours, Anne; Sound Spectrum and an Infernal Rock Radio benefit; and, much, much more live music by The Bigger Lights, Blueheels with Icarus Himself, Ozomatli, D. Rider, Drumcell, the Andreas Kapsalis Trio, Wanda Jackson, and Mirrors for Windows.
BIRTHDAYS: Actor/comedian Paul (Pee-wee Herman) Reubens, 1952; Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, 1956.
Middleton Good Neighbor Festival
Fireman's Park, Middleton, 5 pm. Also Saturday & Sunday, Aug. 28 & 29, 11 am
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 Lube, Whitney Mann, Little Vito & the Torpedoes and more. If you see people not being good neighbors, report them to the authorities.
Orton Park Festival
Orton Park, 5 pm. Also Thursday (6:30 pm), Saturday (noon) & Sunday (9 am), Aug. 26, 28 & 29
Once again, Orton Park Fest booker Bob Queen mixes and matches the weekend-long festival's musical acts with consummate skill. On Friday, Madagascan singer Razia Said tops the bill. On Saturday, Louisiana's Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble headline, and Sunday features roots rockers Dave Alvin & the Guilty Women. Cris Plata & Extra Hot, the Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Sextet, the Getaway Drivers and many more will also appear during the free, family-friendly party in the park. There are performances Thursday and Friday by Cycropia Aerial Dance Theater.
The Bigger Lights
Orpheum Theatre's Stage Door, 6:30 pm
The Virginia quintet may not yet have made a giant radio splash with catchy pop-rock tunes like "Skinny Jeans" and "Hey Summer," but don't be surprised if they do. With the Graduate, You Me and Everyone We Know, Weatherstar and Good News First.
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
The new series gets under way this evening with poets including acclaimed UW prof Jesse Lee Kercheval, making a rare local appearance. Also on the bill: Dasha Kelly, Timothy Kloss, host Laurel Bastian and, we're told, the ghost of Emily Dickinson.
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Aug. 26 & 28
Music Theatre of Madison presents the 1985 musical based on Anne Frank's tragic diary of the Nazi years. The story may seem unsuited for a stage musical, but director Meghan Randolph notes that many fine musicals have been based on troubling material.
Blueheels, Icarus Himself
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
This combination of world-weary tunes by Blueheels, Mayor Cieslewicz's favorite local alt-country band, and dark folk-pop offerings from Icarus Himself probably won't give you the dreamy high of a power-pop marathon, but it's likely to lift your spirits with quality songwriting and a sense of shared struggle. With Joey Ryan & the Inks and Crane Your Swan Neck.
Barrymore Theatre, 9 pm
This Los Angeles ensemble's sound has been compared to a drive down Sunset Boulevard, where salsa, cumbia and merengue mingle with hip-hop, funk and reggae. They've also boogied their way into several Hollywood movies and TV shows, including Weeds, Dancing with the Stars and the Drew Barrymore classic Never Been Kissed. With dumate.
Frequency, 10 pm
If this show was an episode of Pee-wee's Playhouse, "angular" would be the magic word. Explore the intersection of prog and math rock with local bands Kitty Rhombus and Czarbles, then glimpse the future of post-punk through the weird, warped sunglasses of hypnotic Chicago four-piece D. Rider.
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
This electro-disco extravaganza led by Chicago livetronica quartet the Coop will hit the spot if you're looking to dance your way into Saturday morning. Also playing: DJ P-Kayne.
NOTEWORTHY: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech at Lincoln Memorial, 1963; Barack Obama accepts nomination as Democratic Party's presidential candidate, 2008.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Nov. 14
MMoCA features Madison-centric works from its permanent collection, including Gary Knowles' photographs of political demonstrations from the 1970s and John Steuart Curry's painting of a Progressive Party rally. Works by Warrington Colescott, Gregory Conniff, Ellen Lanyon and others are also featured.
Clean Lakes Festival
Olin Park, 8 am-9 pm
Madison just wouldn't be Madison without the pretty lakes, so commemorate them at this fest featuring kayak races, a run-walk, water-ski clinics and music of Natty Nation, Druthers, Shelley Faith, more.
Infernal Rock Radio benefit
Frequency, 8 pm
Five local bands -- Wall of Funk, Meaning in Tragedy, Seven Signs, Buried Future and Government Zero -- are joining forces to raise money for the web-based radio station Infernal Rock Radio, whose DJs eschew advertising money so they can rock out with no strings attached. Comedians Dave Pickett, Alan Talaga, Stefan Davis and Nick Hart will add some laughs to the mix.
Token Creek Chamber Music Festival
4037 Highway 19 in DeForest
The annual festival is the brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison and his wife, violinist Rose Mary Harbison, who use their DeForest barn as a stage. At press time, tickets were still available for these first-week concerts: pianist Robert Levin playing Beethoven (Saturday, Aug. 28, 8 pm); a lecture-recital featuring commentator John Harbison and pianists Judith Gordon and Ryan McCullough (Tuesday, Aug. 31, 8 pm); and a jazz program focusing on Mary Lou Williams and Johnny Mercer (Thursday, Sept. 2, 5 pm).
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Drumcell isn't just a techno geek; he's a tech geek as well, using next-generation hardware and software to narrow the gap between live performance and traditional record-spinning. So what does it sound like? Consider the words of the artist himself: a "think blend of acidic techno and an aggressive but funky minimalist groove." With Tinhead, NeeHigh and Chris Rusu.
Andreas Kapsalis Trio
Restaurant Magnus, 9:30 pm
This Windy City jazz trio doesn't just heat up clubs with cool rhythms and hot improv. They've composed quite a bit of music for the silver screen, including the films Black Gold, Mulberry Street, Mexican Sunrise and Retaliation. Head down to Magnus and have them provide a chic soundtrack for your evening.
NOTEWORTHY: Beatles' last concert, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, 1966.
BIRTHDAYS: Singer Me'Shell Ndegeocello, 1969.
Ride the Drive
John Nolen Drive and other streets, 10 am-4 pm
Hey, bicyclists: If you long to cycle without fear of cars, your day is here. For six hours John Nolen Drive, East Washington Avenue and other downtown streets are closed to auto traffic. And here's a treat: Ride with superstar Lance Armstrong at 10:30 am, when he begins pedaling on East Washington Avenue at the Capitol Square. There's also music, activities and food at various sites.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Before she became known as the Queen of Rockabilly, the 72-year-old singer hit it big in the 1950s when her single "Let's Have a Party" raced up the charts. Big things have been happening lately, too: Last year she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Fall even covered her song "Funnel of Love" on their 2010 album, Your Future Our Clutter. (See Tour Stop.) With the Lustre Kings.
Mirrors for Windows
Frequency, 8 pm
A new local indie-rock outfit shaped by the sounds of the Kinks, the Shins and Big Star will share songs from its debut EP, Avoidance Conditioning. Check out the band's new track "Reconnaissance" in a MadTracks review. With Harriet Tweed, Pushmi-Pullyu and SoundRabbit.