The summer festival season jumps into a higher gear this weekend with Fitchburg Days, Fiesta Hispana, and the WORT Block Party. The calendar also includes: the Wirld's Mightiest Programmer competition and a Mad Rollin' Dolls bout; the "Picturing Technology" exhibit at MmoCA; a book reading by Joe Palca; productions of Rockin the Rotunda!, Peep, Thy Will, and The Pirates of Penzance; performances by Con Vivo, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir, and the Oakwood Chamber Players; Kenny's Mustache Bash, and more live music from Madison County, Bun B, Pat Watters Band, Lucinda Williams, Kimya Dawson, DJ Vadim & the Electric, Cork n' Bottle String Band, Bill Bynum, Cains & Abels, Bruce Cockurn, and Allstar Weekend.
BIRTHDAY: Go Go's singer-guitarist Jane Wiedlin, 1958.
McKee Farms Park, Fitchburg, 5 pm-midnight. Also Saturday (10 am-midnight) & Sunday (noon-6 pm), May 21 & 22
The festival recalls Fitchburg's Irish roots with performances by Trinity Irish Dancers, Pat McCurdy, the Jimmys, Lube, Braceros Del Norte and more.
Brink Lounge, 7 pm
Whether you're sporting a Charlie Chaplin costume or an authentic, Rollie Fingers-style twirler, the Lucas Cates Band's sixth annual celebration of lip fuzz is for you. The Mighty Short Bus, T.U.G.G., Funktion, Derek Ramnarace and Joe Anderson will also rock 'staches and songs onstage. Learn more about the Mighty Short Bus in this week's Madison County
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 7 pm
Madison County doesn't sing about the bridges of the place in Iowa that shares their name. They play honest-to-goodness country songs from right here in Wisconsin. With Main Street Wisdom and Jessi Lynn & Michael Alexander.
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 7:30 pm The chamber music group's program "Eight Is Enough" features not Dick Van Patten but rather music by Schubert.
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (2:30 & 7:30 pm), May 19 & 21
The gay theater group is filled with teenagers determined to make the world a more tolerant place. A show called Proud Theater: Rockin' the Rotunda! features their original drama, music, poetry and dance.
Trinity Lutheran Church, 7:30 pm
The choir presents "She Is One of Us," a program celebrating Native American artists and themes. The program's title work is by composer Brent Michael Davids, and there are pieces by Dvorak, New Zealand composer Jenny McLeod and more.
Orpheum Theatre, 8 pm
The rapper has dedicated his solo career to Chad "Pimp C" Butler, his fallen comrade from the hip-hop duo UGK. Check out Bun B's latest release, Trill OG, a follow-up to his smash-hit 2008 release, II Trill. With Calliko, L Frost, King Louie, Korim and DJ Illy Holiday.
MercLab, 930 Fair Oaks Ave., 8 pm. Also Saturday, May 21, 8 pm
In its east-side space, Mercury Players Theatre stages a kinky comedy by Madison playwright Douglas Holtz, who got toupees spinning a couple of years ago with the anonymous-gay-sex-themed Tearoom Tango.
827 E. Washington Ave., 8 pm. Also Saturday, May 21, 8 pm
The Bricks Theatre presents a staged reading of an original play by Sarah Hoover about a Midwestern farm family. Hoover is managing director of the Bartell Theatre when she's not writing plays.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Winner of the People's Choice crown at last year's Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards, this fun-loving five-piece from western Wisconsin gets the crowd singing, dancing and clapping to rockin' country tunes. With Stealing Angels.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
Named America's best songwriter by Time in 2002, Williams hasn't let fans down since winning a Grammy for her 1998 release, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Her new album, Blessed, explores southern R&B, garage-tinged rock, barroom blues and more with heart and sophistication (see Tour Stop). With Cory Chisel.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Half of the Moldy Peaches and 100% fun, Dawson will drop some hints about her forthcoming album, Thunder Thighs. Alt-hip-hop guru Aesop Rock will perform as well. With Rob Sonic & DJ Big Wiz.
Majestic Theatre, 10:30 pm
Born in St. Petersburg, raised in London, and currently residing in both Berlin and New York City, DJ Vadim's no stranger to culture mixing. His musical endeavors combine hip-hop, electronica, reggae, soul and more in innovative ways. With Dr. Israel.
BIRTHDAYS: Fool pitier Mr. T, 1952.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Aug. 21
This exhibit gathers drawings, photographs, prints and other works in which artists examine technology in rural settings. Artists like Warrington Colescott, Jim Dine and Claes Oldenburg are represented.
Overture Center Playhouse, 11 am & 3 pm
Opera for the Young presents Gilbert and Sullivan's classic The Pirates of Penzance, which is sure to get the little ones singing along to "With Cat-like Tread, Upon Our Prey We Steal."
Fireman's Park, Middleton, noon
Being a technology professional doesn't have to mean just code and Mountain Dew. In this strong-man contest, computer geeks engage in feats of strength like the monitor toss and the server drag-and-carry (see Recreation).
Barnes & Noble-West Towne, 2 pm
The NPR science correspondent talks about Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, which he wrote with Flora Lichtman. When we get irked by things like people blabbing on their cellphones, science can explain why.
High Noon Saloon, 5:30 pm
The bluegrass ensemble named themselves after an East Johnson Street liquor store 15 years ago, then began gigging like crazy. They're still gigging. Cheer them on as they celebrate their anniversary.
Alliant Energy Center's Coliseum, 6 pm
The roller derby league's regular season is over, which means it's time for interleague play as Madison's Dairyland Dolls take on the Naptown Tornado Sirens of Indianapolis. In non-chartered action, Madison's Team Unicorn skates against the Naptown Warning Bells.
Oakwood Village-West Auditorium, 7:30 pm. Also: UW Arboretum Visitor Center, Sunday, May 22, 1:30 pm
The local ensemble concludes its season with a program called "Garden Gateway," with music by Stravinsky, Elaine Fine and Zoltan Kodaly.
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
Venturing through the worlds of country, bluegrass and good old-fashioned folk, Bynum and his crew bring the noise with guitar, pedal steel, fiddle, bass and lovely vocal harmonies.
Project Lodge, 7 pm
These four Chicago rockers have won praise from numerous critics in the blogosphere, from Said the Gramophone to Pitchfork. Form your own opinions by checking out their live show. With Crane Your Swan Neck, Stumblesome and Pioneer.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The Canadian folk rocker made a mark in 1980, when his single "Wondering Where the Lions Are" reached No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Get to know songs from his newest album, Small Source of Comfort, at this performance. With Jenny Scheinman.
NOTEWORTHY: Johnny Carson signs off as host of The Tonight Show, 1992.
600 block of West Doty Street, 11 am-7 pm
The people's radio station takes it to the streets in this annual party, featuring kids' activities, a CD and record sale, food and the music of Harmonious Wail, Little Red Wolf, SweetGrass, the Charles Walker Band and the Shtetlblasters.
McKee Farms Park, Fitchburg, noon-6 pm
The celebration of Hispanic culture squeezes a whole world into one park. Expect lots of glorious eats and musical performers including Braceros del Norte, Grupo Improvisa and Chicos de la Kumbia.
Majestic Theatre, 6:30 pm
The Cali four-piece became a fan favorite on Disney's Next Big Thing, nabbing second place and a contract with Hollywood Records. Their forthcoming album, All the Way, drops this July. With Action Item, Mechanical Kids and Challenger.