Summer is the season for both hot dogs and brats, so what better time is there to celebrate the condiment the covers both with National Mustard Day in Middleton. The calendar also includes: the opening of the Wisconsin State Fair; the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival; Dane Dances, an invention-themed Saturday Science at Discovery; a gallery opening for Matt Berbee and Romano Johnson and new art exhibits at Memorial Union; a production of The Merchant of Venice; performances by the Isthmus Vocal Ensemble, Madison Mellophonium Jazz Ensemble, Echelon String Quartet, and Frank Glazer; the Jock Jams Pajama Jam party and a dance party with DJs Lady Raven and Dyreckt; and, more live music from Tyranny Is Tyranny, Steve Earle & the Dukes, Pokey LaFarge, and Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound.
NOTEWORTHY: Iraq invades Kuwait, 1990.
State Fair Park in West Allis, through Aug. 11
It's worth a drive out to West Allis to eat a cream puff (or five). You can also pet the sheep, meet Alice in Dairlyland and check out the main-stage music, including Weird Al Yankovic (Aug. 2), country singer Gary Allan (Aug. 3) and prog-rock veterans Yes (Aug. 8).
Absolutely Art & Cafe Zoma, through Aug. 31. Reception: 5-9 pm
Prepare for a blast of color and glitter as Absolutely Art presents watercolors by Minnesota's Matt Berbee and Cafe Zoma presents large acrylic paintings by Madison's Romano Johnson. The reception features music by Phoebe Frenette & Friends.
Lake Farm County Park, 5 pm onward. Also Saturday, Aug. 3, 10:30 am onward
The family-friendly festival pays tribute to traditional music and dance, with performances and workshops. For its 10th anniversary, Sugar Maple features Freakwater, Martha Redbone, the Steel Wheels, the Revelers, and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, among others. Bring your own instrument for jamming purposes.
Monona Terrace Rooftop, 5:30 pm
It's the return of the free all-county parties, which turn the Monona Terrace rooftop into a scene on Fridays in August. This week's event features music by Streetlife and Orquesta de Kache.
UW Memorial Union Exhibits
Through Sept. 17. Reception: 6-8 pm
Overture Center's Rotunda Stage, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday, Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Aug. 1, 3 & 4
A new local troupe called Fermat's Last Theater Co. stages one of Shakespeare's most vexing plays, telling the story of the merchant who owes a pound of flesh to a Jewish moneylender. The production opts for a minimalist set and modern dress.
Luther Memorial Church, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday, Aug. 4, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 3 pm
Each year, this choral group convenes for two weeks of rehearsals and a pair of elegant concerts. Masterworks by Bach, Brahms and Britten are on the docket.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
At this benefit for the Mad Rollin' Dolls roller derby league, DJs Wyatt Agard and Mike Carlson will bust out '90s gems like Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There It Is)" and 2 Unlimited's "No Limit," which many fans discovered through ESPN's Jock Jams albums. Admission is free if you show up in PJs.
Inferno, 9 pm
This dance party will dazzle the senses with lasers and hula hooping, plus dubstep from Chicago DJ Lady Raven and Bay Area DJ Dyreckt. With DJs Pickles and Dub Borski.
Dragonfly Lounge, 9 pm
This crew of capitalism crushers investigate the territory that lies beyond the noise-rock world, shattering the hypnotic calm of repeated musical phrases with startling dynamic shifts. With absurdist post-punk from Like Like the the the Death and exacting post-rock from Set & Setting, you'll feel thoroughly postmodern before the night is over.
NOTEWORTHY: U.S. ratifies Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, 1972.
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 10 am
The invention-themed family event allows you to make robots, musical instruments and jewelry with help from such creative souls as Lynda Barry and Sector67.
National Mustard Museum, 9:30 am-4 pm
The world would be a dull place indeed without mustard, and what better way to salute it than with its own special day and street party? Join the sunny condiment's acolytes for samplings, hot dogs, Klement's Racing Sausages, a costume contest, music by Harmonious Wail and the Red Hot Horn Dawgs, and much more.
First United Methodist Church, 3 pm
This tribute to Stan Kenton's early-'60s big band features Kenton alum Joel Kaye. UW jazz professor Johannes Wallmann helms the piano, while the mellophonium section adds unique texture.
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
While studying at UW-Whitewater, this ensemble received a grant to perform Seven Sultry Gothic Love Songs, a recent work by New York City composer Eric Schwartz. Their repertoire also includes rock, metal and works from the classical canon.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Dubbed a "near instant classic" by the Huffington Post, the tough troubadour's new album, The Low Highway, brims with stories about characters living on the margins, whether weakened by hunger or traumatized by combat. With the Mastersons.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
The slick-haired St. Louis songsmith explores the American roots tradition with a quintet that plays everything from washboard to clarinet. The group will highlight LaFarge's new, self-titled album at this free performance. (See Tour Stop.)
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
The Milwaukee group explore funk's nooks and crannies with sweet jams that feature Cebar's guitar skills and a talented rhythm section.
Farley's House of Pianos, 4:30 pm
Strengthened by years of intense practice, this classical pianist's spry fingers belie the fact that he's 98 years old. Watch him perform works by Haydn, Beethoven and Verdi at this intimate performance.