Lakeview Park in Middleton
Summer just got a little better, and a little wetter, for kids. Middleton's new splash park features giant water-spraying leaves, whirligigs, a water tunnel and other interactive features.
Observatory Drive, between UW Ingraham Hall and Social Science Building, 1 pm
Lyle Anderson performs a holiday program on the UW's iconic Memorial Carillon. It's timed to coincide with "Let Freedom Ring," a Philadelphia-based project that's been coordinating Independence Day bell-ringing nationwide since 1963. The overlook opposite the UW's Washburn Observatory is a good place to put your blanket.
Fourth of July Fireworks
There are several places to see the rockets' red glare, including the Monona Community Festival in Winnequah Park, the Evansville Fourth of July Festival in Lake Leota Park, the DeForest Fourth of July Festival in Fireman's Park, Shorewood Hills' Blackhawk Country Club, and Elver Park. The booms start at dusk.
Robbie Fulks and Friends
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
One of the most underappreciated performers and songwriters around, the omni-talented Fulks contributes his country- and roots-rockin' and spectacular sense of humor to the High Noon's "Stars and Stripes Extravagonzo." Minneapolis Americana types Romantica aren't very gonzo, but Irish expat Ben Kyle has the Gram Parsons thing down cold.
Foxy Veronica's Peach Pies
Frequency, 10 pm
Kudos to the Frequency for getting patriots all hot to trot with this inspired pairing of FVPP's cheeky burlesque and National Beekeepers Society's deliciously bent indie. Shanghai Party Boss also appears.
The Paoli gallery features ceramics by Whitewater's Rick Hintze, a group show on contemporary animal imagery, and forest photography by Miles Lowry.
Club Tavern, Middleton, 2 pm
A hard-rocking party band with humor to spare, the reanimated Wizenheimers know exactly what brew-quaffing Wisconsinites want in their bacchanal. That makes them the perfect choice for this holiday-weekend offering of the Isthmus-sponsored Madison Music Project Club Tour. Lube, Muzzy Luctin, Love Monkeys and Sand will also be on hand for this day-long event, which features performances inside and outside the Club Tavern.
Pacific Before Tiger
Nottingham Cooperative, 8 pm
Composer Andrew Weathers' Pacific Before Tiger tops a night of ambient and experimental sounds that form the basis of a much mellower holiday party. Praw, Eric Hall, the Belief Action Nexus, Ki Wilhelm and the Bilderberg Group also appear.
Annex, 9:30 pm
The Mother Truckers' furiously fun boy-girl honky tonkin' gets its ass-shakin' vibe from the Stones and its twang from the great state of Texas. Far as we're concerned, that's a damn fine thing. The Overserved open.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
Who says the Fourth of July weekend has to be all about brats, potato salad and sparklers? Natty Nation's roots reggae will take you places the Founders would never understand. Except perhaps for gentleman hemp farmer George Washington.
Cafe Montmartre, 10 pm
Madison's answer to Townes Van Zandt, Thomas pens well-turned country-folk that often cuts straight to the bone. He celebrates the release of Flatlands.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
One of the city's most successful and focused hip-hop acts, the Crest have toured extensively, received wide distribution for recent recorded work and placed music on the soundtrack of the popular NBA 2K videogame series. They celebrate their 10-year anniversary; you should, too. Carnage, the Last Hope, Me & You Crew, and R.O.D. fill out the night with multiple sets of funky beats and linguistic acrobatics.
Sleeping in the Aviary
Frequency, 10 pm
Arty, indie, bracing, crazy? All those epithets apply to Sleeping in the Aviary's energetic sonic cement-mixing. They'll be moving soon, so now's an excellent time to give 'em the sendoff they deserve. Impressive, historically minded guitar-poppers the Midwest Beat are also on the bill. The Hussy opens.
A Room of One's Own, 2 pm
The Madison novelist reads from No One Tells Everything, a mystery about a copy editor who investigates a murder after sensing that the accused -- a complete stranger to her -- is innocent. The book has a compelling plot, but it's also an insightful look at family relationships.