Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee, through July 8
Milwaukee's sprawling music festival has something for every Madison music fan. On June 29, mild-mannered metallions Def Leppard are sure to bring nostalgic smiles. June 30 strikes mainstream country gold with an appearance by tabloid regular Sara Evans, but an appearance by the revitalized Lindsay Buckingham should offer more musical challenges. On July 1, Ludacris broadens the fest's scope with a welcome set of hip-hop hits, and Built to Spill give Neil Young fans and indie types something to cheer about. On July 2, Roger Waters steps in and out of the shadow of his old band, Pink Floyd, and the Wailers give repeated shout-outs to their late leader, Bob Marley. July 3 sees multi-platinum-selling singer-guitarist John Mayer and goth-brushed punkers AFI playing to utterly different crowds, whereas July 4 is reserved for an Americana-friendly performance by blues-rockers Los Lonely Boys and a grandiose main-stage show by weirdo rockers Tool. You want red, white and blue authenticity? July 5 features the indefatigable Bon Jovi flickin' their hair and tossing up a passel of Jersey-bred rock anthems at the Marcus Amphitheater, while blues legend B.B. King testifies on a much smaller stage, and Spoon demonstrates what it means to outgrow indie gracefully.
Intercontinental Dance Festival
UW Lathrop Hall, 5:30 pm
The UW Dance Program hosts this new event, featuring an eclectic array of participants and styles. The final show features two Chinese dances, African dance, solos by Elizabeth Gillaspy and Peter Wong, and a series of newly created two-minute dances by festival participants.
Drums on Parade
Memorial High School stadium, 7 pm
The Madison Drum & Bugle Corps sponsors an evening of soaring brass and thrilling percussion, featuring spit-and-polish groups from Minnesota, Kentucky, Washington and Wisconsin.
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown Hemsley Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday, June 28, 7:30 pm
Due to maintenance in the UW's Mitchell Theatre, the University Theatre offers only one production this summer. But it's a fun one. You can bring the kids along to see Linus, Lucy, Snoopy and the rest in this musical adaptation of Charles Schulz's comic strip. (The original production premiered in 1967, but the University Theatre uses the revival version from 1999.) The show is presented cabaret-style, with popcorn and drinks.
Queer Shorts 2
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm, sold out) & Saturday (2 & 8 pm), June 28 & 30
StageQ, Madison's lesbian-gay-bi-transgender theater troupe, presents its second annual three-day festival of short plays. The 11 one-acts were selected from over 125 submissions from around the country, all of them offering a perspective (generally a humorous one) on love.
Much Ado About Nothing
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 8 pm. Also Sunday (6 pm), Tuesday & Thursday (7:30 pm), July 1, 3 & 5
APT does a great job with Shakespeare's comedy of love, dueling wits and deception. Tracy Michelle Arnold and Ted Deasy are well cast as the romantic rivals Beatrice and Benedick.
Great Lake Swimmers
Cafe Montmartre, 9 pm
Sometimes we forget that Canada played a major role in the history of the great westward expansion. The NPR-endorsed Great Lake Swimmers may be based in the more citified reaches of Ontario, but their ambient indie folk and alt-country are shot through with the disquieting hush of the wide open spaces. Cameron McGill & the Quartet Offensive open.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 9:30 pm
The June series screens short indie films on MMoCA's rooftop sculpture garden. The final program, called "W.O.R.D. G.A.M.E.S.," is typically intriguing. It includes 1998's "Test," in which 4,000 questions flurry past in three minutes; and 1975's "Associations," in which magazine images accompany a spoken text from Herbert H. Clark's Word Associations and Linguistic Theory.
Annex, 10 pm
Don't know much about dancing to motivating Latin sounds? No problem. Show up a half-hour before local standouts Grupo Candela light their fire and take advantage of the dance lessons that precede the gig. You'll be stepping to their merengue, salsa and bachata in no time.
Rhythm and Booms
Warner Park, 10:30 am onward
The annual Independence Day extravaganza upholds the Declaration of Independence's support for life, liberty and the pursuit of really enormous explosions. The event includes a kids' decorated-bike parade (10:30 am), a carnival (11 am onward), music stages featuring the likes of Ryan Shaw and Bascom Hill (noon onward), a Madison Mallards baseball game (5:05 pm), a parachute jump (7 pm) and a fireworks display (9:45 pm) that would bring a smile to Thomas Jefferson's face.
Booked for Murder, 2 pm
The mystery writer reads from the latest entry in her Northern Wisconsin Loon Lake fishing series. In Dead Madonna, a small-town police chief has two seemingly unrelated murders to worry about.
Cafe Montmartre, 8:30 pm
Ott has served time in bands, but he's found his true calling as an acoustic-wielding, David Gray-style singer-songwriter. He's already placed a few polished folk-rock originals on Grey's Anatomy and Kyle XY. Gabriel Reed opens.
The Goodyear Pimps
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
After a brush with the majors, the Goodyear Pimps have concentrated on lathering up Midwesterners with a dance-floor-filling blend of punk, funk and metal. Tonight, they get eardrum-rattling support from ferocious Madison hard-rockers the Skintones. Rise or Rust and A Verse Unsung are also on the bill.
Annex, 10 pm
These Minneapolitans separate themselves from the North Country metal crowd by giving singer Amanda Harris plenty of room to purr and shout. Their CD-release appearance tops a full night of guitar-centric hard rock that also features On a Sun, Malice in Wonderland and Gnomeattic.
Doug Fath and Marsha McDonald
Watrous Gallery in the Overture Center, through July 8
Working from photographs, Madison painter Doug Fath makes small black-and-white paintings of scenes encountered on a cross-country trip: roadside motels, kitschy diners, laundromats and rural vistas. While these subjects are familiar in documentary photography, it's the translation of these images from their source photos into carefully rendered oil paintings that makes them interesting. Milwaukee painter Marsha McDonald's show forms an interesting counterpoint to Fath's. While his work revolves around manmade places and shades of gray, McDonald explores natural places and rich, luminous color.