Here are this week's Isthmus Picks. The Guide provides an extended listing of events in and around Madison.
Thursday, Aug. 21
Various venues, through Aug. 28. See forwardfest.org
Entrepreneurs, designers and hackers congregate at this celebration of technology and innovation (see Technology). The week's events include the Madison + Ruby conference (Aug. 21-23), the Wisconsin Innovation Awards (Aug. 26) and a startup showcase (Aug. 27).
Pick of the Week
Orton Park Festival featuring Lydia Loveless
Thursday, Aug. 21, Orton Park, through Aug. 24
The Marquette neighborhood shows its east-side pride at this free event featuring circus-arts demos by Cycropia Aerial Dance (Thursday, 7:45 pm, Friday, 8:30 pm), beloved local bands like the Midwest Beat (Sunday, 1 pm), and killer national acts such as punkish soul band JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound (Saturday, 6:30 pm), the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Saturday, 8:15 pm), outlaw country songstress Lydia Loveless (Sunday, 3:30 pm) and the funky Pimps of Joytime (Sunday, 5:15 pm).
Vilas Zoo Benefit with Sam Lyons
Capital Brewery, Middleton, 5 pm
Lyons, an R&B-influenced singer-songwriter whose last name is perfect for a zoo-themed gig, comes from one of Madison's most musical families. His dad is Phil Lyons of Primitive Culture, brother Clay plays sax, and fellow brother Isaac is a hip-hop artist. This benefit will debut Capital Brewery's new Grizzly Bear Growler, a lager crafted to raise money for the Arctic Passage exhibit at Vilas Zoo.
High Noon Saloon, 6 pm
This singer-songwriter has been playing violin since age 7, studying Texas fiddle, Finnish folk and more. She's known for a percussive fiddling style known as "chopping" and soothing performances at local yoga studios. At this show, you can enjoy an al fresco set on the High Noon patio.
Frequency, 9 pm
Megan Thomas and multi-instrumentalist Eric Hill helm this prog-rock project, sharing vocal duties in heavy songs that have earned comparisons to Soundgarden. With Wall of Funk and Dead End Moves.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Dave Parasite, frontman of this pop-punk band, will look familiar to folks who attended a lot of shows by the likes of Bad Religion, Jawbreaker and Green Day in the late '80s and early '90s. The lineup's changed but the name hasn't, and neither has the sound, which descends from such punk legends as Buzzcocks and the Undertones. With Jetty Boys and Flamingo Nosebleed.
Friday, Aug. 22
Jason S. Yi
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Nov. 9. Reception and artist talk: 6-9 pm
Yi unveils A Fragile Permanence, a site-specific 3D installation he's been constructing for several weeks. It spans the length of the State Street Gallery and looks a bit like a snow-capped mountain from afar. He'll also give a talk and mingle with museum visitors during a performance by the Jason Seed Stringtet.
Middleton Good Neighbor Festival
Fireman's Park, Middleton, 5 pm-midnight. Also Saturday (9 am-midnight) & Sunday (9 am-5 pm), Aug. 23 & 24
This end-of-summer festival packs a lot into a weekend, with three entertainment stages, a 5K walk and run, a dog show, a carnival, and music by the likes of Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo, Prairie Bayou Cajun Band and the Mad City Jug Band.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 5 pm
This local band often combine lighthearted Celtic rock with political messages inspired by world events. With Tallymoore and Slainte Irish Dancers.
Monona Terrace Rooftop, 5:30-9:30 pm
Part of a month-long series of shindigs, this free event features dance-friendly sets by DJ Fabulust, R&B and blues act Altered Five, and disco divas VO5.
Joel Paterson Trio
Wisconsin Brewing Company, Verona, 6 pm
A Chicago blues guitarist who also performs in swing and honky-tonk acts like the Western Elstons, Paterson founded the Ventrella Records studio, which specializes in roots music. With Jim Liban.
Live on King Street featuring Deer Tick
100 block of King Street, 6 pm
Southern indie rockers the Weeks and deliciously dark soul-pop band Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas will get the crowd pumped for Deer Tick, whose rustic blend of rock, blues and alt-country often inspires fans to throw caution to the wind. (See Tour Stop.)
Kiss Me, Kate
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Aug. 23 & 24
Four Seasons Theatre visits the newly renovated Union Theater with Cole Porter's delightful musical based on The Taming of the Shrew, the first play ever presented at the historic venue. This show-within-a-show follows the offstage love-hate relationship of an acting couple as they star in a production of Shakespeare's romantic comedy. There are lots of Porter hits to enjoy, including "Too Darn Hot" and "So in Love."
Stephanie Rearick & Andy Ewen
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
Rearick is one busy lady: In addition to releasing six solo albums, the piano-pop artist owns Mother Fool's, a favorite hangout for local musicians in need of a caffeine fix. She'll perform with Ewen, a member of Kicksville and Honor Among Thieves.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Some say you're not truly a rock star until you've endured a scandal. If that's the case, Screeching Weasel frontman Ben Weasel has cemented his status. After punching two women at South by Southwest 2011, he lost his bandmates and numerous gigs despite issuing an apology. Now he's got a new crew to help him perform his irreverent, Ramones-esque punk. With Flatfoot 56 and the Hypnic Jerks.
Frequency, 10 pm
Garage and soul will collide gleefully as this local band celebrate the release of the EP Girl Trouble. With the Noise FM, Middle Twin and the Flavor That Kills.
Saturday, Aug. 23
Token Creek Chamber Music Festival
Token Creek Festival Barn, DeForest, through Aug. 31
John and Rose Mary Harbison, a composer-violinist couple, mount their 25th celebration of chamber music in a cozy barn just north of Madison. The event kicks off with a program featuring the world premiere of a Jeff Stanek composition (Saturday, 8 pm), and the entire festival celebrates C.P.E. Bach, a noteworthy composer who worked in the shadow of his famous father, J.S. Bach. (See Classical Music.)
Celebrate South Madison
Madison Labor Temple, 11 am-7 pm
This festival, now in its sixth year, boasts music by the Davis Family Band, Indigo Mood and Tony Castañeda, as well as dance performances, kids' activities and, of course, plenty of food. Go, south side!
Whiskey of the Damned
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 4:30 pm
This Milwaukee-based act will appeal to fans of the Pogues and Dropkick Murphys. Gina Romantini's impressive fiddling powers a high-energy combination of punk rock and Irish traditional music. With Free & Easy Band, Myserk and Capitol Ceili Band.
Jeff Daniels & the Ben Daniels Band
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
Yes, it's that Jeff Daniels. The star of classics like Dumb and Dumber and Pleasantville is now a folk and blues singer-songwriter. He's earned excellent reviews for the band he formed with son Ben.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Along with punk group Masked Intruder, this surfy act is in the running for the title of Madison's favorite masked band. With Bereft and the American Dead.
Jolly Bob's House of Love featuring DJ Hyperactive
Jolly Bob's, 10 pm
Otherwise known as Joseph Manumaleun, Chicago's DJ Hyperactive is a vinyl aficionado with house roots and more than 20 years of experience at the decks. Yan Cook's "Suspense" and Truncate's "Concentrate" were among his favorite tracks to play earlier this year. With DJs Lovecraft and Wyatt Agard.
Madison Children's Museum, 9:30 pm-midnight
Wonder Ball, the museum's black-tie benefit, is sold out, but there's a free Wonder Prom dance on the rooftop the same night, with music by Primitive Culture and DJ Matt Album, plus edible-insect appetizers.
Frequency, 10 pm
Isthmus recently praised this local band's new record, Senses Growing Dull, which features gloomy lyrics and sounds reminiscent of Nada Surf and Sleater-Kinney (see The Bin). With Midwestern Charm and Little Legend.
Sunday, Aug. 24
Ride the Drive
Atwood and South Fair Oaks avenues (family activities at OB Sherry and Olbrich parks), 10 am-3 pm
At long last the east side gets its own Ride the Drive, and it promises to be a doozy. Cars take a back seat on the 2.2-mile route dedicated to bikers, skaters and promenaders. There'll be bike demos and games galore, food vendors with summer-friendly vittles like smoothies and ice cream, and lots of kids' activities. Local radio stations WORT and Triple M provide the music, and you provide the people power.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
These California alt-rockers are known for quite a few things: their 2013 song "San Francisco," appearances at Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, jumping into the audience to interact with fans during their shows, and irritating grammar nerds with their misused apostrophe, though they've since learned how to punctuate properly. With MisterWives.
Monday, Aug. 25
Mickey's Tavern, 5:30 pm
Drawing from French swing, Hawaiian slack key, Parisian waltz and other styles, Mal-o-Dua's sound is one of the most eclectic in town. Hear it for free during a happy-hour set.
Tuesday, Aug. 26
Bob Log III
Frequency, 9 pm
A one-man band with serious slide-guitar chops and the ability to drum with his feet, Log builds upon the Delta blues tradition in ways most artists wouldn't dare. Bonus: He usually dresses as a human cannonball, motorcycle helmet and all. With Roboman.
Wednesday, Aug. 27
Jazz at Five featuring the Tizer Quartet
100 block of State Street, 4:15 pm
This contemporary jazz quartet have performed alongside Zappa Plays Zappa and Soulive, seamlessly incorporating world-music influences picked up while visiting places like Santiago and Dubai. With the Big Payback.
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
Harty's honest country songs focus on travel, heartbreak, whiskey and more. With Sandy Andina, Tracy Jane Comer and Stephen Lee Rich.
Mickey's Tavern, 10 pm
This trio of locals describe themselves as "burlap sacks filled with dub and surf and punk and a million sharp shale pieces." Decipher what that means with a little help from a cocktail. With Cumstain and the Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps.
Edited by Wally the giraffe