Madison may be consumed with its annual ritual of mass migration this weekend, but it will be accompanied by a flurry of late summer festivals. Take your pick between Wisconsin Capitol Pride, Africa Fest, the Triangle Ethnic Fest, the Gandy Dancer Festival, and the conclusion of the Wisconsin State Fair. The fun also includes: productions of The Producers, Romance, and Henry V; Dane Dances and a Rape Crisis Center benefit; and more live music by Metro Station, Headlights, Biff Blumfumgagnge, Joy & the Boy, Bi-Polar Bear, Cash Box Kings, All The Pretty Horses, Frank James, and the Kruger Brothers.
NOTEWORTHY: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Social Security Act, 1935.
BIRTHDAYS: Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson, 1950; actress/Miss USA runner-up Halle Berry, 1966.
Wisconsin State Fair
State Fair Park in West Allis, through Aug. 16
If you've put off going to this annual celebration of Dairyland bounty, don't fret -- you still have the weekend to eat a cream puff, buy a ShamWow specially priced for you and enjoy main stage entertainment Davy Jones (Aug. 13), Rick Springfield (Aug. 14), Gladiators Cage Fighting (Aug. 15) and the Wisconsin School Music Association Showcase (Aug. 16).
Monona Terrace, 5:30 pm
This event features the canny Milwaukeeans Altered Five, who deviate from the tried-and-true blues repertoire and give familiar rock and pop hits rollicking blues and R&B treatments. With In Black 'N White, DJ Laurie.
Majestic Theatre, 7:30 pm
The pop-rock combo surely owes much of its success to the keyboardy infectiousness of hit singles like "Seventeen Forever" and "Shake It." It also can't hurt that singer Trace Cyrus is brother of Miley "Hannah Montana" Cyrus, who has had a little success of her own. With Mayday Parade, Evan Taubenfeld and Mitchel Musso, who's profiled in this week's Tour Stop.
Middleton Performing Arts Center, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, Aug. 15, 7:30 pm & Sunday, Aug. 16, 2 pm>br? The western burbs keep it gay as Middleton Players Theatre stages the Broadway version of Mel Brooks' classic movie about the world's worst musical, which becomes the biggest smash ever. There's a lesson in there somewhere.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (4 & 8 pm), Aug. 13 & 15
Strollers Theatre presents David Mamet's 2005 courtroom farce, which pulls no punches. Gays? Jews? Arabs? Mamet has choice words for all of them. Also lawyers.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9 pm
The Champaign, Ill., five-piece with ties to Maeserati and Decibully bejewels the Terrace with pop for the evening, along with Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, yet another group whose name suggests hand-clapping Jesus music but whose songs are the rock of ages for heathen hipsters and skeptical scenesters.
Rape Crisis Center Benefit
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
The punky, riot-grrrl stylings of the Type and the fuzzy, lo-fi powerpop of the Rogue Dolls converge to raise money for programs that serve survivors of sexual assault, including counseling, community education, and medical and legal advocacy. Linda opens.
Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 pm
The local personality from the Gomers will craft a live soundtrack to Luis Buñuel's 16-minute surrealist masterwork Un Chien Andalou, a film that's inspired at least a few musical masterpieces, including the Pixies' "Debaser."
NOTEWORTHY: Woodstock begins, 1969.
BIRTHDAYS: The The singer-songwriter-guitarist Matt Johnson, 1961; actress Natasha Henstridge, 1974.
Warner Park, 11 am-7 pm
The annual event brings Africa to your doorstep with food, music and dancing from the continent's diverse cultures. You can eat, tour an African market, watch a fashion parade, check out vendors and groove to gospel singing, dance troupes and more.
Gandy Dancer Festival
Promenade Park in Mazomanie, 11 am-8 pm
"Gandy dancer" is slang for railroad workers, says this Wikipedia article right here. It's also a train-themed festival in Mazo, featuring food, fun for the kids and music of Art Stevenson & High Water, Mama Digdown's Brass Band, Cris Plata & Extra Hot and the Kruger Brothers.
Wisconsin Capitol Pride
Alliant Energy Center, 2-9 pm. Also Sunday, Aug. 16, 2-7 pm
Seize the day, gay Madisonians, and celebrate your own sweet selves in this festival of all things queer. Entertainment includes drag performers, Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus, Ann Christoffer, Lynette's Enchanted, comedian Vickie Shaw and, gloriously, a hometown performance by lesbian rapper God-des and her trusty singer She. The parade around Capitol Square begins Sunday at 1 pm.
Joy & the Boy
High Noon Saloon, 6:30 pm
Two Madison exports to New York City -- singer/songwriter Joy Dragland and multi-instrumentalist and Academy Award-winning producer Leo Sidran -- return home to perform songs from Secret Place, the brand-new album they're releasing this week.
King Henry V
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 8 pm. Also Tuesday & Thursday, Aug. 18 & 20, 7:30 pm
The APT gang go once more unto the breach with Shakespeare's 1599 play. Impetuous Prince Hal becomes king, rallies England, defeats France. All without a BlackBerry.
Alchemy Café, 9 pm
The lovable and slightly crazy hip-hop duo formerly known as Horton & August left Madison for Brooklyn, N.Y., a little while back, taking their touring act to the next level in the process. They visit to release their new CD, Today I Found Happy, then head out to play festivals in New York, Boston, Chicago and Spain. With Aunt Martha.
Cash Box Kings
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
The local combo successfully negotiates the sound of old-school Chicago blues, thanks in no small part to the expert harp playing of front man "Low Rollin'" Joe Nosek.
All The Pretty Horses
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Minneapolis' Venus DeMars and her bandmates build a shrine to David Bowie not only with dark-and-dirty glam rock but Sabbath-style riffage and hints of T. Rex and Patti Smith. Madison's the Motherhive Syndicate opens the show with a tidal wave of aggression balanced with currents of thought-provoking lyrics. (Read more about Motherhive in a new MadTracks review) Also playing: Human ID.
NOTEWORTHY: Elvis dies at Graceland, 1977.
BIRTHDAYS: Pop-chart queen Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone and actress Angela Bassett, 1958; Dixie Chick Emily Robinson, 1972.
Triangle Ethnic Fest
Triangle of South Park and Regent streets and West Washingon Avenue, 11 am-6 pm
Enjoy the food and culture of the city's ethnic communities at this annual party. Performing: Gaelic Fusion Dance Company, Salaam Shalom, MadCity Tango, Goon Goo Peas, Mesoghios Greek Dance and many others.
VFW Post 7591 (Cottage Grove Road), 4 pm
The winner of numerous local music awards and a former writer for TNN's Fandango game show in Nashville, the country singer has been at it for more than 35 years. Watch and reminisce as he and his left-handed guitar bring the atmosphere of an old-fashioned honky-tonk to the local VFW.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
Swiss expatriates Jens and Uwe Kruger have been blending European classical music and down-home Americana for more than 35 years, wowing acoustic music fans from here to Geneva with their slick improvisational skills.