Summer moves immediately into overdrive with an abundance of seasonal festivities this weekend, including the Isthmus Jazz Festival, Festa Italia, Cows on the Concourse, Cars on State, Ride the Drive, and Boombox the Weekend. The calendar also includes: MMoCA Nights and the opening night of Rooftop Cinema; the Wisconsin Wrights New Play Project; WTF! Fest, the MAMAs, '80s vs. '90s: Prince Birthday edition, and more live music from Delta 9 and Hometown Sweethearts; standup by Carlos Mencia; and, the opening of Bike to Work Week.
NOTEWORTHY: Actress Valerie Solanas shoots artist Andy Warhol at his New York film studio, 1968.
Through June 10
A week of special events promotes pedal power, tempting would-be riders with free goodies at bike shops and bike paths. Highlights include Sunday's Ride the Drive (see below) and Tuesday's Bike With Mayor Soglin, which starts at 8:30 a.m. on the southwest path at Glenway Street. Soglin has said bicyclists should be taken out and shot, but he was talking about winter bicyclists, so you'll probably be okay.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 4:30 pm. Also Saturday, June 4, 1 pm
Isthmus' free two-day fest kicks off with the High School Jazz All-Stars this Friday and wraps up with Grupo Candela Saturday night. Friday highlights include the Madison Mellophonium Jazz Orchestra (7:30 pm) and the Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Super Group (10 pm), while Saturday promises topnotch performances by the Jan Wheaton Quartet (4:30 pm), the Marlin McKay Quintet (6 pm), the Mike Frost Project (8 pm) and others (see Music).
McKee Farms Park, Fitchburg, 5 pm-midnight. Also Saturday (11 am-midnight) & Sunday (11 am-7 pm), June 4 & 5 The annual celebration of Italian culture features musicians, folk dancing and enough pasta to last you through July 4. Don't expect to beat the old Greenbush residents in the bocce tournament.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 5:30 pm
The downtown museum throws another one of its swanky soirees with music, hors d'oeuvres and gallery talks. At 9:30 pm, this summer's Rooftop Cinema series of avant-garde films kicks off with shorts by the Russian animator Yuri Norstein.
UW Vilas Hall's Hemsley Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, June 2 & 4, 7:30 pm
The works of three Badger playwrights are presented at these readings, which end a weeklong workshop. Tonight's play is Lori Matthews' October, Before I Was Born, about a family awaiting word from the scene of an industrial accident. Thursday's Oatesland, by Sam White, concerns ghostly happenings at an Antarctic station, and in Saturday's The Kid Thing, by Sarah Gubbins, two lesbian couples face a change.
The downtown rock club celebrates three years of live music and libations with three days of music from musicians near and far. Enjoy electro klezmer by the Shtetlblasters on Thursday and Misfits covers by All Murder on Friday, and on Saturday it's psychedelic syncopators Mr. Gnome and indie-soul-rocksters JT & the Clouds.
Inferno, 9 pm
Chicago DJ Dave Rodgers -- a.k.a. Delta 9 -- has released more than 40 solo albums since blasting onto the industrial-music scene in 1994. Sample his latest blend of thrash, industrial, electro and more at this show. With DJs Gene Farris, Wyatt Agard and Hypnoassassin.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
This local party band isn't ashamed to play covers, as long as they get the crowd dancing. Come celebrate a decade of music-fueled booty shaking at this festive 10th anniversary show.
NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
BIRTHDAYS: Activist & Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie, 1975.
Capitol Square, 8 am-1 pm
Some cow is responsible for that ice cream you're eating, so why not take time to appreciate the cows? Pet real live bovines, learn what makes them tick, and eat more ice cream.
Alliant Energy Center's Willow Island, 8:30 am
The race helps raise funds for local and national breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs. There are 5K runs and walks, as well as a one-mile course perfect for the stroller set.
State Street, 10 am-3 pm
The car show lines the downtown thoroughfare with classic automobiles, including a 1981 Delorean and a 1959 Edsel station wagon. Marvel at what life was like before cup holders.
Capital Brewery, Middleton, 4 pm
REAP, the local sustainable-food group, puts its own spin on two iconic Wisconsin foodstuffs. This event brings together local chefs, brewers, farmers and cheesemakers for an afternoon of mini-burgers (including the veggie variety) and beers. The event raises funds for REAP's Buy Fresh Buy Local program (see Food & Drink).
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7 pm
Watch as Mighty Short Bus, Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo, Sexy Ester & the Pretty Mama Sisters, Lucas Cates Band and Beth Kille compete for the Local Artist of the Year crown at the scene's annual salute to itself, with tunes provided by Ester, Williams, Gerri DiMaggio and more (see '80s vs. '90s: Prince Birthday Edition
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
DJs Nick Nice and Fusion will play tons of The Artist's funky, sexy jams to celebrate his birthday, pitting '80s classics such as "When Doves Cry" against '90s hits such as "Cream" while videos stream on a huge screen.
NOTEWORTHY: U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy assassinated during California presidential primary victory celebration at Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, 1968.
BIRTHDAYS: Outré singer-songwriter Laurie Anderson, 1947.
John Nolen Drive and other streets, 10 am-3 pm
Hey, bicyclists: If you long to cycle without fear of cars, your day is here. For five hours John Nolen Drive, East Washington Avenue and other downtown streets are closed to auto traffic. So cycle, walk or run on them all you want, and enjoy music, art and food at various sites. Tomorrow you can get back to running stoplights in heavy traffic. You know who you are.
Roundabout at Sixth & Winnebago streets, 1:30-7:30 pm
The Union Corners moonscape is a colossal bummer, which is why today, boom-box-bearing aesthetes gather there to tune their radios en masse to WORT-FM and enjoy performances by Forward! Marching Band, Dando Mambo, Limanya Drum and Dance ensemble and more (see News).
The Comedy Club, 7 pm
The comedian's fame has spread through HBO specials and the Comedy Central series Mind of Mencia. He's proudly raunchy and un-PC, with a particular animus toward stupid people -- though that's not the term he prefers.