Concourse Hotel, through May 28
Madison's renowned science fiction convention emphasizes issues of feminism, race, gender and class. This year's guests of honor are novelists Kelly Link and Laurie Marks, who will read at A Room of One's Own (Thursday, May 24, 6:30 pm). British author Nicola Griffith will also read at A Room of One's Own (Sunday, May 27, 2 pm). Registration for the convention itself is closed, but you can find waiting-list information at wiscon.info.
World's Largest Brat Fest
Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center, 11 am-8 pm. Also Saturday, Sunday (11 am-8 pm) & Monday (11 am-6 pm), May 26-28
The Brat Fest has been raising money for local charities for the past 23 years. It cooks up 2,500 brats per hour on the world's largest touring grill, so feel free to order one or two hundred for yourself. There will be music by both local bands (Super Tuesday, Clear Blue Better, Mighty Short Bus) and national bands (Orleans and Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane). There will also be a push to break the brat-consumption record of 189,432, heartburn be damned.
Booked for Murder, 7 pm
The UW professor unveils his latest mystery, Twin Killing, the third in the Monona Quinn series. Mo heads to Iowa to help her twin sister, whose son is arrested for drug possession and later suspected of murder.
Booked for Murder, 2 pm
The Edgar-winner reads from Dead Boyfriends, his latest Mac McKenzie mystery. This time, the former cop is called on to help clear a woman accused of murdering her boyfriend.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Tabla? Didgeridoo? Not your average rock-band instruments, but the New Monsoon aren't your average rock band. Their world vibe is a new take on jam, even if their fans call themselves Monsoon-Heads and carry little tape recorders. Skip the Middle Man opens.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm
The Madison singer-songwriter (and Isthmus sales rep) comes from Iowa by way of Nashville, and you can hear the journey in his repertoire, which features both sad country ballads and tough Midwestern rock 'n' roll. He has a new CD, Brand New Bag. Also appearing: Dear August, the roots combo formerly known as Box Elder.
Jim Schwall Band with Andy Ewen
Harmony Bar, 9:45 pm
Schwall and Ewen are both masters of the electric guitar, and both steeped in the blues. Together, they??ll play like there's a hellhound on their trail.
Starting at the Capitol Square between 7 and 8 am The annual event features a full marathon, half marathon, and 10K and 6K courses. You can either join the race, cheer on the runners, or slink away in shame.
Avol's Bookstore, 2 pm Schimel's work has been anthologized in books such as The Random House Treasury of Light Verse and Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Book of Dreams. He reads from Fairy Tales for Writers, which offers archetypal tales from the creative life.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The Dallas metal ensemble boasts members of Pantera, Mudvayne and Nothingface, proving that the supergroup didn't die with Velvet Revolver, much less Damn Yankees. Soil opens.
Monona Memorial Day Parade
Monona Grove High School to Owen Road, 10 am
Time to remember the (too) many American soldiers who've died this year, as well as others who've served their country. Monona's parade is followed by ceremonies at Blooming Grove and Roselawn cemeteries, Highland Memory Gardens and Ahuska Park.
Jolly Bob??s 15 Anniversary Party
The Willy Street institution celebrates 15 years of Caribbean-flavored food and entertainment with an all-day party featuring Aswah Greggori & the Enforcers, along with a small army of DJs.
James Madison Park, 1 pm
As we remember our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, the Madison Veterans for Peace ask us to think about preventing more deaths. The rally features a keynote speech by Elliott Adams, national president of Veterans for Peace.
The Nation Beat
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The Brooklyn band offers a dance-happy fusion of Brazilian rhythms and New Orleans funk. The Handphibians open.