Welcome to summer in Madison. The calendar this weekend includes: Fitchburg Days, the "I Am Empowered" celebration, and the opening of the 2010 Wisconsin Triennial; Naked Girls Reading, the Mad Rollin' Dolls season championships, and stand-up by Paul F. Tompkins; Music Theatre Idol and productions of The Adventures of Beatrix Potter, 3D: In Stunning Queer-O-Rama, and The Lion King; performances by Con Vivo, Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus, Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, Midwest Vocal Express, and Sotavento; live music by Crash Test Dummies, Gary Louris, MC Chris, Icarus Himself, Youngblood Brass Band, and Reptile Palace Orchestra; and, the WORT Block Party.
NOTEWORTHY: Charles Lindbergh lands at Paris to complete first nonstop solo trans-Atlantic flight, 1927.
McKee Farms Park, 5 pm-midnight. Also Saturday (noon-midnight) & Sunday (noon-7 pm), May 22 & 23
The festival emphasizes Fitchburg's Irish roots with Saturday performances by Leahy's Luck and Rising Gael. Sunday sees Latin fare with Sonidos Suaves and Madisalsa.
I Am Empowered
Edgewater Hotel, 6 pm
The Urban League of Greater Madison celebrates its centennial with dance by Crushin' All Force, spoken word by Johnson Brothers Entertainment and the music of the always entertaining Eddie Butts Band.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Aug. 15. Reception: 6:30-9 pm.
The 2010 Triennial makes the most of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's expansive space with a strong and varied exhibition, featuring almost 50 artists. It's a testament to the health of Wisconsin's visual art community. The reception, which is the first MMoCA Nights event, features music by the East Avenue Jazz Group.
Music Theatre Idol
First United Methodist Church, 6:45 pm
Music Theatre of Madison presents this competition, modeled on a certain popular reality television show, for would-be musical theater stars age 14 and up.
The Adventures of Beatrix Potter
Overture Center's Playhouse, 7 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, May 20 & 22, 7 pm
MadCAP Theatre presents this musical for kids about the beloved creator of characters like Squirrel Nutkin and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. The show depicts events in Potter's life and stages five of her tales.
Crash Test Dummies
Majestic Theatre, 7 pm
Deep-voiced vocalist Brad Roberts and his band visit town to release their first new album in six years: Oooh La La, a homage to the Optigan, a vintage keyboard that uses rotating celluloid discs to create the sounds of different instruments. With Rob Morsberger.
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 7:30 pm
The chamber-music ensemble's program "Mainly Mozart" features the "Quintet for Clarinet and Strings" by you-know-who, plus Haydn's "Piano Trio No. 39."
Naked Girls Reading
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
The international phenomenon, which got started a year ago in Chicago, is simple: Women read literature out loud, in public, naked. As you might imagine, it's catching on. This edition, called "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll," features readings from the works of Henry Rollins, Patti Smith and other rock scribes.
3D: In Stunning Queer-O-Rama
UW Memorial Union's Play Circle, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (2:30 & 7:30 pm), May 20 & 22
The gay theater group Proud Theater is filled with teenagers determined to make the world a more tolerant place. This show features their original drama, music, poetry and dance. No special glasses required.
The Lion King
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 8 pm) & Sunday (1 pm), May 22 & 23.
This weekend, Disney's big event winds up its almost month-long run. This staging of the innovative musical has proven a big hit, critically and commercially. It's a staggeringly entertaining show. Go.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The singer, guitarist and songwriter from the Jayhawks often receives credit for creating the poppier sound the band adopted before breaking up in 2005. Since then, he's written songs for Nickel Creek and the Dixie Chicks, and released Vagabonds, a solo album of songs that walk the line between rockin' and reflective. With Ben Kyle.
Annex, 9:30 pm
Though he hates being pegged as a nerdcore rapper, MC Chris epitomizes the genre's characteristics, covering Weird Al's "Dare to Be Stupid" on his 2009 album Apple Tummy and, most recently, penning a number of songs about Star Wars bounty hunters. With Math the Band.
Frequency, 10 pm
Ex-National Beekeepers Society members Nick Whetro and Karl Christenson will present high-concept lyrics to a lo-fi sound and release an EP in the process. Plus, Minneapolis-based Madison transplants Sleeping in the Aviary will stop by to do a round-robin set. With Flight.
NOTEWORTHY: Johnny Carson signs off as host of The Tonight Show, 1992.
Mad Rollin' Dolls
Alliant Energy Center's Coliseum, 6 pm
The roller derby season comes to a close as the Vaudeville Vixens battle the Unholy Rollers for first place, and the Quad Squad take on the Reservoir Dolls for third. Congrats on another season, ladies.
Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 7 pm
The gay men's choral ensemble performs a program called "Broadway, Our Way," featuring songs from Sondheim musicals, Wicked, Jersey Boys and other shows from the Great White Way. You can't go wrong with show tunes.
Paul F. Tompkins
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
You might know brainy funnyman Tompkins from his TV work, including appearances on The Daily Show, Real Time With Bill Maher and VH1's Best Week Ever, which he hosted for a time. He's a fine standup comedian as well.
Youngblood Brass Band
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The band has been spiking the New Orleans brass concept with hip-hop, jazz and punky, funky surprises since its members got together at Oregon High in 1995. Find out what they're cooking up for their summer shows. With El Valiente and Fatbook.
Reptile Palace Orchestra
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
These musicians aren't any old reptiles; they're lounge lizards, creating wacky world beat out of Balkan sounds, klezmer music and much more. Expect the crowd to turn into a bunch of dancin' fools long before bar time.
BIRTHDAY: International Boxing Hall-of-Famer & former middleweight champ Marvelous Marvin Hagler, 1954.
WORT Block Party
600 block of West Doty Street, 11 am
The people's radio station takes it to the streets in this annual party, featuring kids' activities, a CD and record sale, food and the music of Mash'Allah Reggae, Clovis Mann, Jeremiah Nelson & the Achilles Heel, Grupo Candela, Earl Foss & the Brown Derby, and the Midwest Beat.
Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras
Mills Hall in the UW Humanities Building, 1:30 pm
Salute the kids and their hard musical work as you take in performances by the Harp Ensemble and Sinfonietta Orchestra, the Percussion Ensemble and Youth Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Midwest Vocal Express
Stoughton Opera House, 2 pm
What's better than a barbershop quartet? A barbershop harmony chorus, like this Greendale, Wis.-based one, 60 men strong. They're singing a program called "Americana Celebration." With OC Times.
Waisman Center, 6 pm
Members have come and gone over the group's 29 years, but Madison's Sotavento maintains the very highest level of musicianship. The group's Latin American songbook will convert even those who claim not to like folk music.