Live music leads the way around Madison over this first weekend of June, opening with the Isthmus Jazz Festival, and building with TerraceFest, the Brooklyn Bluegrass Festival, and more shows by Straylight Run, Lil Rev, Portugal. The Man, Pretty Lights, and Rock Plaza Central. This is but the soundtrack to a busy summer arts and festival schedule, which also includes the First Friday opening to Curator's Choice at MMoCA, the Wisconsin Wrights New Play Development Project, the kickoff of Bike to Work Week, Cows on the Concourse, the Clean Lakes Festival, the Hot Rod Power Tour, and an Access to Health Care fundraiser.
NOTEWORTHY: U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, 1968.
BIRTHDAYS: Emmy-winning broadcast journalist/author Bill Moyers, 1934; outre singer/songwriter Laurie Anderson, 1947.
UW Memorial Union, 4 pm-midnight. Also Saturday, June 6, 12:30-midnight
Isthmus' annual jazz extravaganza offers two days of free concerts on the Terrace by local favorites, including the Tim Whalen Nonet, the New Breed Quintet and Madisalsa, plus the great singers Gerri Dimaggio and Jan Wheaton. The festival's headliner is Latin-bop saxophonist David Sanchez, who plays a ticketed concert at the Wisconsin Union Theater on Saturday, June 7, at 8 pm (see preview). See the ad on back page for more information.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Nov. 8
The new collection gathers museum acquisitions from the last three years, including works by Claes Oldenburg, Sol LeWitt, Cindy Wright and others. Accompanying the exhibit tonight are a 5:30 First Friday event, with music of Harmonious Wail and a 6:30 talk by curator Jane Simon; and the return of Rooftop Cinema at 9:30 with short films by Emily Hubley.
Legion Park, Brooklyn, 7 pm. Also Saturday, June 6, 10 am
New North String Band, Truman's Ridge and other acts descend on the small town south of Madison for a two-day picking party.
UW Vilas Hall's Hemsley Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, June 4 & 6, 7:30 pm
The works of three Badger State playwrights are presented at these readings, which end a weeklong workshop. Tonight's play is Rand Higbee's The Lightning Bug, while David Schanker's Kiritsis and Kurt McGinnis Brown's Broken and Entered are on Thursday and Saturday, respectively (see preview).
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Though Straylight Run began as an offshoot of Taking Back Sunday, it's developed a sound and an identity all its own -- one that's attracted tons of followers from New York to D.C. to college towns like Madison. Also playing: Lovedrug, Start From Scratch, The Selfish Gene.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Vanderslice seems to bring good fortune to almost every other performer he collaborates with, from Okkervil River to the Tallest Man On Earth, whom he's used as backup at his live shows; to Spoon and the Mountain Goats, whose albums he's produced. Sample his new work from Romanian Names, plus some old favorites, at this week's show.
NOTEWORTHY: Allied troops storm the beaches at Normandy on D-Day, 1944.
BIRTHDAYS: Tony-winning actor/playwright Harvey Fierstein, 1954; rock guitarist Steve Vai, 1960.
Through June 12
Step off the gas and onto the bike path, starting with today's Art Bike Parade (11 am) on the Capitol Square. See the Guide for the full schedule of two-wheel events.
Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at Main Street, 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.
Olin Park, 8 am-9 pm
Take a stake in the lakes with kayak rides, a run/walk, water-ski clinics and live music beginning at 12:30 pm.
Alliant Energy Center, 9 am-7 pm
Thousands of hot rods, street rods, custom trucks and sports compacts from around the world gleam and roar on the Alliant lot. Wear a black armband for Pontiac, Saturn, Oldsmobile....
UW Memorial Union Terrace, noon-midnight
The Union's extravaganza kicks off another lazy, hazy summer on the Terrace. There'll be henna tattoos, boat rides, a climbing wall, beer and brats and the Isthmus Jazz Festival.
Frances Street Park in the 500 block of State Street, 1 pm The storyteller and folksinger -- sometimes called the Jewish Pete Seeger -- kicks off the summer-long Folk on State series. With the trio of Laurel Premo, Anna Ash and Andrew Kratzat.
Café Montmartre, 9:30 pm
Portugal. The Man's tunes have been some of the more soulful, bluesy ones in the world of indie rock over the past few years. Get a taste of the direction they're heading next from their upcoming album (The Satanic Satanist), which will hit stores July 21.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Pretty Lights creates epic electronic visions of the future from lovely sonic debris of the past, stopping in Madison on the way to Bonnaroo. The Histrionic opens.
BIRTHDAYS: Music artist Prince, 1958; tennis pinup Anna Kournikova, 1981.
Dardanelles, 5 pm
The fundraiser features food from area restaurants, wine, music and a silent auction. Proceeds go to the medical expenses of Dardanelles owner Barbara Wright and Access Community Health Centers.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The Canadian indie rockers and Pitchfork darlings made a lot of top-10 lists for their 2006 album Are We Not Horses and their 2007 cover of Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack." Decide if their new album should make this year's lists by checking out their live show. Also playing: Laura Gibson, Musee Mecanique.