Summer kindles its way into full florescence this week, and it's going to be a hot one. The calendar includes: Downtown Works Week; opening night of this season's Concerts on the Square; a trio of new art exhibitions at Overture and a book reading by Judith Leavitt; and plenty of live music by X, Amy Curl & Dan Kennedy, Them Damn Kids, Cribshitter with Butt Funnel, Au Revoir Simone, Silverstein, John Primer, and the Chicago Afrobeat Project.
BIRTHDAYS: Actress Meryl Streep, 1949; pop chanteuse Cyndi Lauper, 1953.
Downtown Works Week
The free event emphasizes the upside of working in downtown Madison. It features a week's worth of fun activities for employees, including opening ceremonies at Monona Terrace (Monday, 11:30 am); an Urban Obstacle Course with MadParkour at the MATC downtown campus (Tuesday, 11:30 am); a Lunchtime Live concert on the Capitol Square (Tuesday, noon); PowerPoint-Oke at the Overture Center's Rotunda (Tuesday, 5 pm); Madison's Largest Coffee Break at Monona Terrace (Wednesday, 9:30 am); and Madison's #1 Happy Hour at Brocach, the Great Dane and Zander's (Thursday, 5 pm). See downtownworksweek.com for a complete schedule.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
Though vocalist Exene Cervenka's diagnosis with multiple sclerosis has been big news since she announced it June 2, the more important story is how X helped punk music establish an identity of its own in the United States, especially on the West Coast, during the late '70s and '80s. (See Tour Stop.) Steve Soto & the Twisted Hearts open.
BIRTHDAYS: Actress Frances McDormand, 1957; singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, 1977.
Overture Center, through Sept. 14
New exhibitions called "Navigating Home" feature prints by Driscoll Hixson and Tyanna Buie, photographs and paintings of local landmarks by Jon Pfeiffer and Phil Porter and sculpture by Rhea Vedro and Graham Yeager.
BIRTHDAYS: Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood, 1942; former Badger hockey star Gary Suter, 1964.
Amy Curl & Dan Kennedy
Brink Lounge, 6:30 pm
The singer-songwriter duo will perform tunes from their well-received 2008 EP Sharing a Head for the Brink's "Songwriters in the Round" series. Take a listen to "Siamese Babies," a track from the disc, in MadTracks. Also playing: Tracy Jane Corner, Nancy Rost.
Concerts on the Square
Capitol Square, 7 pm
The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra has had a tough year of musician-management strife and canceled concerts. But the conflict has been settled, and the musicians are back on board for a new season of Concerts on the Square, the WCO's beloved pops series. The first concert features guest pianist Christina Naughton; let the healing begin.
Them Damn Kids
Indie Coffee, 7 pm
Get it while it's hot: The Chicago-based acoustic-folk outfit will do a live rendition of their new album, Arm Yourself With Perspicacity, released just a day before they come to town.
Cribshitter, Butt Funnel
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 8 pm
Two of town's most unusual and over-the-top bands join forces to confuse and amuse you on Hump Day of all things.
Au Revoir Simone
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
These three musical ladies aren't French; they're New Yorkers, and their band's name is a Pee-Wee's Big Adventure reference. Their music, on the other hand -- electronic pop heavy on keyboard razzle-dazzle -- is featured from time to time on Grey's Anatomy. English singer-songwriter Findlay Brown opens.
BIRTHDAYS: Comedian Mike Myers and pop singer George Michael, 1963.
A Room of One's Own, 6:30 pm
The UW professor discusses Make Room for Daddy, which looks at the changing role of expectant fathers in America from the 1940s to the 1980s. Drawing on journals, interviews and pop culture, Leavitt shows how men slowly moved from the hospital waiting room to the birthing room.
Majestic Theatre, 6:30 pm
For some reason, the band's not worried that being named after a children's author or covering a Fleetwood Mac song on their newest album, Vices, will sully their hard-edged reputation. Nope, the Canadian five-piece are much more concerned about being labeled a screamo band. No matter what you call their style, their live show is a great way to work off some angst. Poison in the Well, the Sleeping and Oceana open.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
While Primer is used to playing backup for Chicago blues legends like Muddy Waters and Magic Slim, he's now got a band of his own (the Real Deal Blues Band) to add some extra pizzazz to his slinky slide guitar and powerhouse of a voice. The Oscar Wilson Band opens.
Chicago Afrobeat Project
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
CAbP pepper their version of Afrobeat music with bits of '70s funk and jazz, giving the Terrace the vibe of a groovy open-air club for the evening.