June opens with a classic Madison summer weekend, starting with the Isthmus Jazz Festival and continuing with Fiesta Italia, Cows on the Concourse, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Burgers & Brew, the return of Ride the Drive, and the kickoff of Bike to Work Week. There's much more on the calendar, including: MMoCA Nights; a production of The Wild Party and performance by the Wisconsin Chamber Choir; an acoustic showcase at Zuzu and birthday parties for Mother Fool's and the Frequency; and, more live music from Duke Shin, The Nod, Houses in Motion, You & Yourn, and Motion Potion.
NOTEWORTHY: Chinese troops open fire on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, 1989.
BIRTHDAY: Human-rights advocate & Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie, 1975.
Isthmus Jazz Festival
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 4:30 pm-midnight. Also Saturday, June 5, 2 pm-midnight Whether you're a seasoned jazz listener or a curious newb, this mostly free, two-day fest has something for you. Highlights include Friday's performance by Chicago's tenor-sax dynamo Frank Catalano (see preview) and the sole ticketed set, Saturday's 8 pm performance by one-of-a-kind singer Tierney Sutton at the Wisconsin Union Theater (see preview).
McKee Farms Park, Fitchburg, 5 pm-midnight. Also Saturday (11 am-midnight) & Sunday (11 am-7 pm), June 5 & 6
The legendary Greenbush neighborhood is gone, but Madison's Italian American community lives on. You don't have to be Italian, of course, to enjoy this weekend of pasta, meatballs, music and dancing, though the DNA helps in the pasta-eating contest.
Zuzu Cafe, 6:30 pm
Enjoy a coffee, an ice cream cone or a Wisconsin-made beer after a day at the zoo or the Arboretum as local musicians Brian Thomas, Sheree Lu and Joe Sokolinsky provide a soundtrack for cooling down and unwinding.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 6:30 pm
Get in your museum-going after business hours and take in the Wisconsin Triennial exhibit. The evening's schedule includes a talk by Triennial artist Kim Cridler (6:30 pm) and music by Chick Singer (7 pm). Then the museum's avant-garde Rooftop Cinema series kicks off for the summer with films by John Smith (9:30 pm).
The Wild Party
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, June 3 & 5, 7:30 pm
Music Theatre of Madison presents Andrew Lippa's 2000 musical, based on the 1926 poem by Joseph Moncure March. It's a Jazz Age tale of romantic rivalry set at the titular soiree.
Mother Fool's Birthday Party Variety Show
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
Coffeehouse owners Stephanie Rearick and Jon Hain, who met and fell in love at the java joint during a Your Mom SRO gig, will resurrect the spirit of that band, along with friends such as Honor Among Thieves' Andy Ewen, to celebrate 15 years of music and caffeine. Partygoers are also invited to compose an original Mother Fool's jingle and share it with the crowd.
Inferno, 9 pm
The Chicago-based record spinner and MP3 slinger will serve up house, techno and nu-disco with a side of indie rock. When consumed with a cocktail, it should be delicious. With DJs Wyatt Agard, Moldover and Nick Nice.
Frequency, 9 pm
Brett Newski and his two sidekicks in local pop-inflected rock will unveil a new CD, Easy, Maverick, and get their songs ready for just-around-the-corner shows in Nashville, Chicago and, yes, a Minocqua, Wis. beer garden. With Rescue School and Automata.
Houses in Motion
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
The local Talking Heads tribute band won't burn down the house, but they're likely to bring it down with covers of "Life During Wartime," "Psycho Killer" and much more.
NOTEWORTHY: U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy assassinated during California presidential primary victory celebration at Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, 1968.
BIRTHDAYS: Outré singer/songwriter Laurie Anderson, 1947; actor/singer Mark Wahlberg, 1971.
Cows on the Concourse
Capitol Square, 8 am-1 pm
Some cow is responsible for that ice cream you're eating, so why not take time to appreciate the cows? Pet real live bovines, learn what makes them tick, and eat more ice cream.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Alliant Energy Center's Willow Island, 8:30 am
The race helps raise funds for local and national breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs. There are 5K runs and walks, as well as a one-mile course perfect for the stroller set.
Burgers & Brew
Capital Brewery, Middleton, 4 pm
REAP, the local sustainable-food group, puts its own spin on two iconic Wisconsin foodstuffs. It brings together local chefs, brewers, farmers and cheesemakers for an afternoon of mini-burgers (including the veggie variety) and beers. The event raises funds for REAP's Buy Fresh Buy Local program.
Frequency Birthday Party
Frequency, 7 pm
Come celebrate what the two-year-old venue is all about -- marvelous music -- by catching sets by Pistol Pete, Orphan Bloom, Sunspot and Sexy Ester & the Pretty Mama Sisters, plus some between-acts funny business by Dan Potacke. If you've got a taste for PBR, be sure to show up early: The bar will be serving free pints of the stuff from 7 to 8.
Wisconsin Chamber Choir
First United Methodist Church, 7:30 pm
The ensemble ends its season with a concert of Broadway selections, including music by Sondheim, Gershwin, Bernstein and Weill.
You & Yourn
Project Lodge, 8 pm
This husband-and-wife alt-folk duo from Urbana, Ill., make melancholy metaphors and mournful melodies with an acoustic guitar, a harmonium and lovely vocal harmonies. With the Baker Family and the No & Maybe Game.
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
This isn't just any show by the funky Frisco party DJ: It's a tribute to James Brown and the many throwback acts the Godfather of Soul has inspired of late. Plus, Majestic owner Matt Gerding is so exited about the event that he's publicly predicted that it will be the best dance party of the year. Get your groove on and see if he's right.
NOTEWORTHY: Allied troops storm the beaches at Normandy on D-Day, 1944.
BIRTHDAYS: Visionary record producer Jimmy Jam, 1959; rock guitarist Steve Vai, 1960.
Bike to Work Week
Through June 11
A week of special events promotes pedal power, tempting would-be riders with free goodies at bike shops and bike paths. Highlights include Sunday's Ride the Drive (see below), a screening of Breaking Away (Barrymore Theatre, Thursday, June 10, 9 pm) and a final fiesta at Tenney Park (Friday, June 11, 4:30 pm).
Ride the Drive
John Nolen Drive and other streets, 10 am-4 pm
Hey, bicyclists: If you long to cycle without fear of cars, your day is here. For six hours John Nolen Drive, East Washington Avenue and other downtown streets are closed to auto traffic. So cycle, walk or run on them all you want, and enjoy music and food at various sites. Tomorrow you can get back to running stoplights in heavy traffic. You know who you are.
Tommy Awards Ceremony
Overture Hall, 7 pm
Named for Dairyland's own Tom Wopat, Overture's Tommy Awards celebrate the best in local high school musical theater. The event features performances and production numbers from nominated shows.