The Hush Sound
Jess: To and From the Printed Page
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Sept. 23
Jess was an artist associated with Beat culture in 1950s San Francisco. MMoCA shows his surreal impastos, collages and designs, along with the books and magazines in which they were reproduced. Jess might be dubbed a proto-postmodernist, cleverly remixing bits and pieces of visual culture both high and low before postmodernism as such really existed. His vision is by turns funny, melancholy, erotic and mysterious.
Middleton Good Neighbor Festival
Fireman's Park, through Aug. 26. Parade: Sunday, Aug. 26, 12:30 pm
According to Money magazine, Middleton is the number-one place to live in the United States. That must mean Good Neighbor is the number-one community festival, right? Brace yourself for America's most awesome three-day experience.
Orton Park Festival
5 pm. Also Saturday (11:45 am) & Sunday (9 am), Aug. 25 & 26
The free fest has always prided itself on an extraordinary lineup of entertainment, and this year is no exception. You can park your folding chair for three days' worth of local and national acts, including Cycropia Aerial Dance Theater, El Clan Destino, Reptile Palace Orchestra, the Fareed Haque Group, Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Clear Blue Betty, Tret Fure and Marques Bovre & SoDangYang.
100 block of West Miffin Street & 100 block of North Carroll Street, 5-9 pm
Featuring Mercury Players Theatre, Kanopy Dance and visual artists, this happening is inspired by Hong Kong's night markets and India's art streets. It's part of the Madison Art Commission's BLINK! series of blink-and-you'll-miss-them art events.
Token Creek Chamber Music Festival
4037 Highway 19 in DeForest
The annual festival is the brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison and his wife, violinist Rose Mary Harbison. It features topnotch performers, challenging programming and a distinctive setting: the Harbisons' refurbished barn in DeForest. The festival wraps up with two programs. The first is devoted to jazz, featuring songs from John Harbison's After Hours collection (Thursday, Aug. 23, 8 pm; & Friday, Aug. 24, 5 & 8:30 pm). The second is a Haydn extravaganza, with John and Rose Mary, Parry Karp, Howard Karp, Eli Kalman and Avedis Manoogian playing a selection of trios (Saturday, Aug. 25, 8 pm; & Sunday, Aug. 26, 4 pm).
Monona Terrace Rooftop, 5:30 pm
The free, family-friendly dances attract a diverse crowd of Dane County booty-shakers on Friday evenings throughout August. This week's installment features Que Flavor, the David Family Band and DJ Laurie. (Remember, jumping off Monona Terrace is not allowed during the event.)
The Ditty Bops
Barrymore Theatre, 7 pm
Last year, the charming progressive L.A.-based folk-pop duo went green and used bicycles to pedal from gig to gig. For this summer's U.S. jaunt, the Ditty Bops are devoting themselves to raising awareness about sustainable family farming. The Madison show even includes a farmers' market in the lobby. Ice Cream Truck opens.
West Side Story
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30 pm) & Sunday (2 pm), Aug. 25 & 26. Pre-show talk by John DeMain: Friday (6 pm) & Sunday (12:30 pm), UW Memorial Union Four Seasons Theatre presents Leonard Bernstein's musical version of Romeo and Juliet, set on the streets of gangland New York. The production features a full orchestra and dancers from Madison Ballet.
Orpheum Theatre, 8 pm
Sure, it's been a couple decades since the heyday of the paisley underground, but that shouldn't bother fans of the jangly L.A. pop-rock princesses, whose hits included "Manic Monday" and "Walk Like an Egyptian."
Brocach Irish Pub, 10 pm
A little Guinness and whole lot of soul-stirring, politically aware Irish rock. Could there be a better recipe for late-summertime fun in the city?
Locos Por Juana
Crystal Corner Bar, 10 pm
Miami's spirited nine-piece party machine are adept at mixing and matching Latin sounds with rock, dub and hip-hop influences. This "Orton After Dark" concert is a perfect fit for world-music-crazy Madison.
King Club, 10 pm
The louche compendium of singing, dancing and burlesque-inspired humor gets a special poke in the pants this time around thanks to the return of longtime MC Pierce Bottoms.
Chazen Museum of Art, through Oct. 21
This touring exhibition features 43 still lifes from the famed Medici collection of the 17th and 18th centuries. It draws from Italian institutions such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Museum of Natural History and features work by Bartolomeo Bimbi, Giovanna Garzoni and other masters.
Farmers' Market Drop-In Concert
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 11 am
The Madison Symphony Orchestra unleashes the power and glory of its 4,000-pipe organ in the summer's last free drop-in concert. The HeartStrings Quartet joins MSO organist Samuel Hutchison.
Madison Roots Concert
Capital Brewery, 2 pm
If the sun manages to stay out for more than a few minutes, expect ex-Madisonian Willy Porter and current residents Mighty Short Bus, Natty Nation and Mike Droho to stoke plenty of brew-friendly grooves. Could this be summer's last gasp? Say it ain't so!
Night of the Iguana
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 8 pm. Also Thursday, Aug. 30, 7:30 pm
APT presents Tennessee Williams' 1961 play about a disgraced minister who looks for solace at a rundown Mexican resort. Colleen Madden is especially fine as a traveler passing through, with a pure, piercing quality that's just right for the character.
The Hush Sound
Orpheum Theatre's Stage Door, 8 pm
Perky boy/girl vocals, pulchritudinous melodies and punchy piano parts combine to make Chicago's Hush Sound one of those promising pop bands just a hit away from an enormous career. The Box Social and Villains of Verona open.
Bob Margolin & Lurie Bell
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
In this "Orton After Dark" gig, Muddy Waters alum Margolin and fleet-fingered second-generation Chicago bluesman Bell rattle the rafters for local blues cognoscenti. Barrelhouse Chuck, Katherine Davis and Cash Box Kings help make this all-night affair a must for 12-bar fans.
Annex, 9 pm
Already well regarded across the pond, the Glaswegian hotties traffic in melodic, guitar-soaked hybrids of grunge and shoegazer that cause the occasional Nirvana flashback. Lymbyc System and the One A.M. Radio also appear.