One of the last weekends of summer is one of the busiest in Madison when it comes to festivals, with celebrations including Wisconsin Capitol Pride, the Color Field Festival, the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival, Africa Fest, the Isthmus Madison's Favorites Party, Triangle Ethnic Fest, and UW Football Family Fun Day. The calendar also includes: Dane Dances and MMoCA Nights; productions of My Fair Lady and The Zoo; live music from Lyle Lovett & His Large Band, Rose Polenzani, Dwarves, JWreck, Jeff & Vida, Mama Digdown's Brass Band, Nashville Pussy, MC Frontalot, Bryan Lee & the Blues Power Band, Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands, and Ted Nugent; and, a screening of The Golem with Yid Vicious.
Through Aug. 21
Madison's LGBT community throws its annual festival, with a commitment ceremony, a parade, a rally, dancing, dining, drag shows, parties, lots of glitter, more drag shows and more parties. See the cover story, for a schedule.
Monona Terrace Rooftop, 5:30 pm
The late-summer hip-shaking series rolls on with Motown, rock and R&B sounds from the Associates; R&B, funk and jazz by Altered Five; and spins from DJ Tempest.
Capitol Square, 6 pm; and Overture Center's Rotunda Stage, 8 pm. Also: Rotunda Stage, Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Aug. 20 & 21
Hosted by the Color Field Ensemble, this fest celebrates postmodern music-making with guests from New York, L.A. and Chicago, including percussionist Owen Weaver, flutist Domenica Fossati and local musicians from the Surrounded by Reality collective. Sample the oeuvre at a free concert on the Capitol Square at 6 pm, then savor the full flavor as the weekend unfolds at Overture.
Angell Park Pavilion, Sun Prairie, 6 pm. Also Thursday (6 pm), Saturday (11:30 am) & Sunday (11:30 am), Aug. 18, 20 & 21
Wisconsin rarely seems as bountiful as it does during the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival, with golden cobs overflowing from cardboard containers. Corn is sold only from noon to 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday; on the other days you'll have to content yourself with a carnival and miscellaneous entertainment.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 6:30 pm
The museum creates lovely pockets of sophistication at these little soirees. At this one you'll find art, hors d'oeuvres and music of Tani Diakite and the Afro Funk Stars. Hit the museum's roof at 9:30 pm for the Rooftop Cinema program "Animating the Apocalypse," featuring shorts about the end of the world.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Aug. 20 & 21
Four Seasons Theatre's summer musical is the Lerner and Loewe extravaganza, based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. It's about a young Cockney woman and the professor who teaches her not to say "the ROIN in SPOIN."
Overture Hall, 8 pm
The Grammy-winning country artist brings his heartfelt tunes to the heartland this summer, stopping at Overture Center to share a few new songs and some fresh renditions of tried-and-true favorites (see Tour Stop).
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
The Wisconsin-bred Lilith Fair alum recruited members of Session Americana and the Josh Ritter Band, plus a mesmerizing chorus that includes Elana Arian of the Catie Curtis Band, for her new album, The Rabbit. Hear her perform its tunes, which brim with moments of dark contemplation and whimsical wonder.
Frequency, 9 pm
These legendary punks take the term "hardcore" seriously, evidenced by a sordid history of onstage sex and self-mutilation. They've mellowed out a bit since those days, adopting a poppier sound but maintaining their famous tongue-in-cheek humor for recent albums such as this year's The Dwarves Are Born Again. With Funrod, Pyroklast and Warhawks.
Inferno, 9 pm
Ohio-based dubstepper JWreck will make fellow turntablists and controllorists salivate as he creates an audiovisual spectacle with a quartet of JazzMutant Lemurs and a nifty Ableton Live sequencer. With Pantha, Von and Swampp Cat.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm
Profiled alongside Nashville neighbors Gillian Welch and Old Crow Medicine Show in The New York Times Magazine, this rockabilly-inflected bluegrass duo unite girl-next-door vocals with stunning mandolin solos that sound equally at home on front porches and the dark, beer-stained stages of bars like the Crystal. With the Josh Harty Band.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
These hometown legends channel the spirit of a good old-fashioned New Orleans brass band at each performance, bringing a double-dose of booty-shaking rhythm to their outdoor performances at parades, festivals and our very own Memorial Union Terrace. With the Right Now.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
How fitting that this group plays Madison the same weekend as Ted Nugent, the living inspiration for their crass moniker. What with their hard-rocking guitar solos and razor-sharp wit, you'll want to brace yourself for an explosive fusion of boogie, metal and over-the-top psychobilly. With Whisky Pig.
NOTEWORTHY: Groucho Marx dies, 1977.
BIRTHDAYS: Sand-raising former Led Zep frontman Robert Plant, 1948; actress Joan Allen, 1956.
Warner Park, 10 am-10 pm
The annual event brings Africa to your doorstep with food, music, dancing and educational activities for kids.
Vilas Zoo, 3 & 6:30 pm. Also Sunday, Aug. 21, 3 pm
Madison Savoyards, the Gilbert and Sullivan troupe, present Sir Arthur Sullivan's one-act comic opera about a vendor of zoo refreshments, her admirer, and a lovelorn apothecary. The performance is part of the Vilas Zoo's centenary celebration.
Zimbrick-Fish Hatchery Road, 6 pm
Isthmus fetes the winners of our Madison's Favorites poll and celebrates the publication of the Annual Manual, our comprehensive guide to Madison. Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz provides the soundtrack, and beverage sales benefit the Urban League. What's not to like?
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
The father of nerdcore hip-hop returns to show fans just how much his spawn has grown -- and perform raps from a new album, Solved. Expect lots of 8-bit bleeps, old-school record scratching and song titles like "Tongue-Clucking Grammarian" and "I Hate Your Blog." With Fambly Fun! and Brandon Patton.
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
New Orleans guitarist and singer Lee -- the "Braille Blues Daddy" -- brings his searing sound to the east-side redoubt.
NOTEWORTHY: Nat Turner rebellion, 1831.
BIRTHDAYS: Libidinous urban actress Kim Cattrall, 1956; actress Carrie-Anne Moss, 1967.
301 Bayview, 11 am-6 pm
The fest demonstrates that all races, colors and creeds can party in peace. The diverse lineup of entertainment includes Salaam Shalom, Ballet Folklorico Mexico de Los Hermanos Avila, Viv Ncaus Hmong Dancers and the Mesoghios Greek Dance Troupe. There will also be kids' activities and ethnic food.
Camp Randall Stadium, 3-5 pm
The Badger players and coach Bret Bielema are available for photos and autographs at this free event. Kids, please be very careful around QB Russell Wilson's arm.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
The Grammy-winning bluegrass artist brings her honeyed voice and sweet-talking fiddle to the High Noon stage to share selections from her 30-year career and her 2010 album Blossoms.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7:30 pm
The 1970s rocker's right-wing stances are bound to give liberal Madisonians a case of the cat scratch fever, or worse (see Music). With Mojo Radio.
James Madison Park, 8:30 pm
The klezmer band Yid Vicious accompanies this outdoor screening with an original score. In the 1920 silent German film, a rabbi makes a giant creature out of clay.