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The Daily
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The Week[end]: August 3-5, 2012

Rain may be in short supply, but August opens in Madison with a deluge of live music, starting with the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival. The sounds of the weekend continue with: performances by the Isthmus Vocal Ensemble; Live on King Street with Mat Kearney, Dane Dances with VO5, the Leonard Cohen Event, and Summer Sambafest; the Beats by 608 hip-hop fest and '80s vs. '90s: Old-School Hip-Hop Edition; and, more shows by Technicolor Hearts, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shonen Knife, Tennis, Mindy Smith, Charlie Abbot, Oedipus Tex, Sidewalk Chalk, The Willies, and Kopecky Family Band. The calendar also includes: the opening of the Wisconsin State Fair, the That's What She Said: Welcome to My Life monologue series, and APT productions of Richard III, Heroes, and Twelfth Night.

Friday 8.3
NOTEWORTHY: Germany declares war on France, 1914.

Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival
Lake Farm County Park, through Aug. 4
Bring your own camping gear and settle in for this two-day fest, which features alt-country stalwart Robbie Fulks, Dominican bachata ace Joan Soriano, folk duo Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz, and much more. You should also bring your own instrument, for jamming purposes.

Wisconsin State Fair
State Fair Park in West Allis, through Aug. 12
It's a state law that all Wisconsin residents must visit the fair and eat at least one cream puff. They must also check out the furniture-sized livestock, the rides and the music acts, including popsters Neon Trees (Saturday, Aug. 4), the Band Perry (Monday, Aug. 6) and Styx (Tuesday, Aug. 7), whose 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here stoked fears of job-stealing robots.

Mat Kearney, Kiernan McMullan
100 block of King Street, 5 pm
The Majestic Theatre's Live on King Street concert series continues. Bask in the sunset during free outdoor performances by globetrotting singer-songwriters Kearney and McMullan. Afterward, DJ Nick Nice leads the crowd into the Majestic Theatre for a free disco party featuring tunes by the Bee Gees, Donna Summer and Gloria Gaynor.

Dane Dances
Monona Terrace, 5:30 pm
The annual, month-long concert series gets under way with the disco revivalism of VO5 and the jazz and R&B of the Davis Family Band. They really are a family.

Isthmus Vocal Ensemble
Luther Memorial Church, 7:30 pm. Also Covenant Presbyterian Church, Sunday, Aug. 5, 3 pm
This ensemble comes together for only one performance a year, but it's a doozy. Top regional singers rehearse intensely for two weeks under the direction of Scott MacPherson, then perform an eclectic program that includes music by Mendelssohn and Brahms as well as a world premiere by adventuresome Madison composer Jerry Hui.

Technicolor Hearts
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
Using drum machines, synthesizers, violins and vocals, this duo from Austin, Texas, blends tribal and futuristic sounds into transcendent experiences. With Treefort and Problem Child.

Leonard Cohen Event
UW Music Hall, 8 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Aug. 2 & 4, 8 pm
New York's Joy Dragland, the golden-voiced former Madisonian, performs at tonight's concert in this multi-day tribute to music legend Cohen, as do the local country musicians of the Fingers. Thursday night's event features the music of John Kloberdanz and Bill Camplin, and on Saturday, it's Sylvie Simmons. We don't really need to hear Cohen's overexposed "Hallelujah" ever again -- unless Dragland is singing it.

Mary Chapin Carpenter
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The singer-songwriter and five-time Grammy winner showcases her new album, Ashes and Roses. She might also surprise the audience with smooch-themed hits such as "Passionate Kisses" and "Shut Up and Kiss Me." With Tift Merritt.

That's What She Said: Welcome to My Life
Brink Lounge, 8 pm. Also Thursday, Aug. 2, 8 pm
To benefit Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, the Bricks Theatre presents an evening of monologues written and performed by local women.

Shonen Knife
Terrace at UW Memorial Union, 9:30 pm
Though this Japanese trio have been rocking for more than three decades, their giddy, boisterous pop-punk continues to entrance fans and influence contemporary genres such as J-pop and K-pop. The show will revolve around Pop Tune, the band's 18th studio album (see Music). With White Mystery.

High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
This husband-and-wife duo and their trusty drummer have toughened up their breezy pop with some rockin' production by the Black Keys' Patrick Carney (see Tour Stop). With Brokeback and Sat. Nite Duets.

Saturday 8.4
NOTEWORTHY: Federal Communications Commission rescinds the Fairness Doctrine, 1987.

Beats by 608
James Madison Park, 1 pm
Local producers brandish their finest beats at this battle for a cash prize and promotional package. You can also catch free performances by hip-hoppers such as A.N.T., DrT Mindz, C.M.E., Yung Saint and Young Maine.

Richard III
American Players Theatre, Spring Green, 3 pm
APT stalwart James Ridge is chilling as the title character of Shakespeare's powerful tragedy, in which a greedy nobleman destroys everyone in his path to the throne. APT acting favorite James DeVita directs.

Mindy Smith
High Noon Saloon, 6 pm
This singer-songwriter's new, self-titled album broke the top 20 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart with a blend of raw emotions and sounds that flirt with country, folk and jazz. With Rosi Golan.

Charlie Abbott
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
Abbott draws inspiration from Modest Mouse's tight and affecting songs as he channels the swagger of bluesy rockers like the Rolling Stones. With Mikayla Brown and Max Dvorak.

American Players Theatre, Spring Green, 8 pm
In this indoor production of Tom Stoppard and Gérald Sibleyras' play, Paul Bentzen, John Lister and Jonathan Smoots play French World War I veterans who sit around talking in an old soldiers' home. The uncomplicated plot and complicated characters are a perfect combination.

Oedipus Tex
Project Lodge, 8 pm
El Valiente's Eric Caldera infuses indie-rock ballads with Tex-Mex flavors when performing as Oedipus Tex, his acoustic solo project. At this show he shares songs from his new album, Borracho Corazon, whose half-whispered vocals and atmospheric guitar melodies conjure deep thoughts and romantic daydreams. With Pushmi-Pullyu, Jackraasch and Adelyn Rose.

Twelfth Night
American Players Theatre, Spring Green, 8 pm
In one of Shakespeare's great comedies, Viola (Cristina Panfilio) is shipwrecked in a strange land, so she does what anyone would do: dresses as a boy in the local duke's court. With a slightly awkward, aw-shucks way, APT newcomer Panfilio captures the absurdity.

'80s vs. '90s: Old-School Hip-Hop Edition
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
DJs Fusion and Vinnie Toma throw down tracks and videos by artists such as the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls.

Summer Sambafest
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
This festive set of performances highlights music and dance from places like Brazil, Cuba and several African countries. The lineup includes Handphibians, El Clan Destino, West African Dance of Madison and Evolucao Dance Company.

Sidewalk Chalk
Terrace at UW Memorial Union, 9:30 pm
This group of young Chicagoans expands the definition of hip-hop with an MC-and-vocalist duo, a horn section and, on many occasions, a tap dancer who serves as an unconventional percussion instrument. With K. Raydio.

Sunday 8.5
NOTEWORTHY: Marilyn Monroe found dead, 1962.

The Willies
High Noon Saloon, 6:30 pm
These veterans of Club de Wash, O'Cayz Corral and other Madison venues past show whether they've got the pop chops they had in the late 1980s.

Kopecky Family Band
Frequency, 8 pm
Though the members aren't related by blood, this jovial band is tightly knit thanks to a shared love of folk music, which they enliven with attractive harmonies and lyrics that teem with emotion. With River City Extension.

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