Here are this week's Isthmus Picks. The Guide provides an extended listing of events in and around Madison.
Thur. Aug. 14
José Guadalupe Ríos Córdoba
Madison Municipal Building's Doty Street entrance, through Aug. 15. Dedication ceremony: Monday, Aug. 18, 12:30 pm
The renowned Mexican muralist is visiting as part of an artist exchange program (see Art). Watch him create a mural about Madison's human rights milestones on Thursday and Friday. The city will then dedicate the new work on Monday during a special ceremony.
Central Park Sessions: Don't Mess with Texas Edition
Central Park, 5 pm
Cris Plata & Extra Hot, a local band with roots in San Antonio, join excellent Austin acts Jon Dee Graham and Grupo Fantasma at this Texas-themed benefit concert for Centro Hispano and the Literacy Network.
Count This Penny
East Side Club, 6 pm
Come for this local band's stellar singing and instrumentals, and stay to get better acquainted with their songwriting skills, which are on glorious display in their Americana-informed pop songs. With Cereus Bright.
Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival
Angell Park, Sun Prairie, 6 pm. Also Friday (6 pm), Saturday (11:30 am) & Sunday (11:30 am), Aug. 15-17
Sun Prairie celebrates kernels and cobs with a carnival, a craft fair, bands and a Sunday-evening midget auto race, plus tons of chances to buy and consume your favorite yellow substance the last two days of the fest.
Thursday, Aug. 14, High Noon Saloon, 8:30 pm
Intertwining electronic beats and live drumming, Jordan Cohen's solo act has received quite a bit of critical acclaim, including a spot on Isthmus' 2012 list of albums of the year. He was signed to Seattle's Hush Hush records in 2013 and has since released an EP, Don't Miss U, and the full-length album I Feel Like It. With Midas Bison, Annabel Lee and Joey Broyles.
Fri. Aug. 15
StoryBook: Narrative in Contemporary Art
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through July 31, 2015
The art museum delves into its permanent collection to mount an exhibition about the many ways visual artists tell stories. Warrington Colescott's Dark Gondola, a 1971 etching that uses the power of suggestion to depict elements of Thomas Mann's novella Death in Venice, is reason enough to visit, but fine works by Robert Barnes, Richard Bosman, Roger Brown and others will also be on display.
Monona Terrace, 5:30 pm
The free series unites Dane County's diverse population with music, food and dancing. This week's show features In Black n White, DJ Pain 1 and Grupo Candela.
True Coffee Roasters, Fitchburg, 8 pm
Roohan is a soul-influenced singer-songwriter from Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She spent a year performing at pubs in Scotland before joining the cafe and festival scene in the U.S. She's likely to perform material from a new album, Skin & Bone. With Ryan Mauer and Kayla Selvaag.
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Master instrumentalists with a special flair for the mandolin and banjo, Frank Solivan and his band Dirty Kitchen have become a sought-after bluegrass act, winning five International Bluegrass Music Association awards last year alone. (See Tour Stop.) With Oak Street Ramblers.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9 pm
With lyrics like "I don't wear shoes 'cause/I'm artistic/I'm an artist/And I'm so much better than you," this singing guitarist's songs are more silly than deep. They're also the kind of fare that might get you to dance on top of the giant Terrace chair at Memorial Union after guzzling a few beers.
Sat. Aug. 16
Warner Park, 10 am-8 pm
The African Association of Madison presents this celebration of the cultural traditions of Africans and African Americans with an emphasis on education. The day starts off with the Strides for Africa 5K run/walk, with proceeds funding potable water wells in Africa. It continues with cooking demos, storytelling, crafts, food and music.
Agora Art Fair
5500 E. Cheryl Pkwy., Fitchburg, 10 am-5 pm
Fitchburg hosts its very own art fair with more than 100 local and regional artists. There's also music by Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz, the Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band and others; a kids' art yard; food and drinks from Liliana's, EVP Coffee, Roman Candle and more; and a beer and wine garden from Capital Brewery. Buying art has never been more fun or fattening.
Schenk's Corners Block Party
Atwood Avenue at Winnebago Street, 11 am-10 pm
This free outdoor music festival in one of the near east side's most bustling neighborhoods kicks off with a performance by country and soul act Wrenclaw. Jam bands are expected to make a strong showing throughout the day, with acts like 4th Coast (2:40 pm), New Speedway Players (7:20 pm) and Electric Spanking (8:50 pm) filling the bill.
Queenie McCarter Band
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 7 pm
One of Madison's hottest blues and gospel vocalists, McCarter and her band have collected Madison Area Music Awards for their debut and sophomore albums and performed with blues greats like Billy Flynn and John Primer. Come early or stay late, and you can also catch Johnny Chimes (4:30 pm) or Paul Filipowicz (10 pm).
UW Football Family Fun Day
Camp Randall Stadium, 5-7 pm
You a football fan? Like the Badgers? Have a family? (You can always borrow one.) Like fun? Still not enough? How about free? This is your big chance to get autographs and pose for pictures with your favorite team. Don't forget to wear red!
The Doctor's Dilemma
American Players Theatre, Spring Green, 8 pm. Also Tuesday, Aug. 19, 7:30 pm. Through Oct. 3
A doctor faces some difficult decisions after discovering a cure for tuberculosis in this play by George Bernard Shaw. Humor and social commentary intersect in fascinating ways that should help the actors show off their skills.
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
When John Gray's book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus came out in 1993, it jump-started discussions between members of the opposite sex. Who knew we were from different planets? Storyteller, actor and comedian Peter Story mines this planetary collision for all it's worth in a one-man show exploring dating, marriage, sex and miscommunication.
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
Formed in Amherst, Mass., an arts-loving college town, this junk-folk act has been getting rave reviews all over the Northeast. Their favorite piece of praise is from the Vermont newspaper The Message, which apparently called them "a band that can hand you your ass or make you miss your mom."
Overture Hall, 8 pm
The legends of classic rock recorded seven platinum albums featuring their signature funk, jazz, R&B and pop fusion in the '70s and early '80s. Known for perfectionist recording tendencies that frequently kept them in the studio for long periods of time, they've sold over 30 million albums and received a berth in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
Mickey's Tavern, 10 pm
Armed with more profanity than an entire ship of pirates, the Drain know how to grab the crowd's attention. Their appealing blend of garage, grunge and blues-rock influences get heads bobbing and fists pumping. With Red Tape Diaries and Perverse Engineer.
Jolly Bob's House of Love
Jolly Bob's, 10 pm
The Jamaican bar and restaurant on Willy Street turns into a house music hotspot on Saturday nights. This week's esteemed guests are Madison super-DJ Nick Nice and Brad Owen, who became the music director of Chicago's Smart Bar after making a name for himself as rave fave DJ Synergy. With DJs Lovecraft and Wyatt Agard.
Sun. Aug. 17
Triangle Ethnic Fest
Braxton Place at the triangle of Regent Street, South Park Street and West Washington Avenue, 11 am-6 pm
This festival in the heart of the old Greenbush neighborhood is probably the city's most ethnically and culturally diverse and, at 30 years, one of its oldest. You'll feel like a world traveler as you sample food from Cambodia, Jamaica and Vietnam and enjoy performances ranging from salsa to breakdancing to folkdances. There's also a non-ethnic dunk tank and zoo animals for the youngsters.
Kiki's House of Righteous Music, 8 pm
This artist is now based in Brooklyn, N.Y., but his concerts were staples for folk and Americana fans in Chicago in the 1990s, especially when alt-country was all the rage. Songs from Alexandria, his latest album, earned high marks at South by Southwest 2013.
Mon. Aug. 18
Pick of the Week
Drunken Catfish Ramblers
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
This Delta blues band are a fixture at jazz festivals in New Orleans and Montreal, and they're seasoned buskers as well. Their danceable jug-band sound features tuba, washboard and elements of many Americana traditions. With Jack Klatt and Boo Bradley.
Tue. Aug. 19
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
Hailing from Scotland but influenced by American blues and roots music, Arcari has performed with Steve Earle and other notables. After making a name for himself at European festivals, he debuted in the U.S. with a massive tour last year. Now he's back for round two; expect songs from his upcoming album, slated for early 2015. With Nellie Wilson.
Mickey's Tavern, 10 pm
Spastic, fantastic displays of psychedelic garage rock are this local duo's calling card, though recordings such as False Trails/Hash Grails, a split release with Digital Leather, are mighty fine as well. They've won praise from critics across the country, including tastemakers at Time Out Chicago and Pitchfork. With Obnox and Disembodied Monks.
Wed. Aug. 20
Jazz at Five featuring the Arturo O'Farrill Trio
100 Block of State Street, 4:15 pm
O'Farrill is the artistic director and founder of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Latin and Afro-Cuban music in the world of jazz. He's also a Grammy-winning pianist and composer, an accomplished soloist who's performed with jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie, and a skillful bandleader. With the Sweet Minute Band and the West End Combo.
Edited by Captain, My Captain