McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg, 5 pm-midnight. Also Saturday (11 am-12:30 am) & Sunday (11 am-7 pm), May 31 & June 1
The annual celebration of Italian culture features musicians, folk dancing and enough pasta to last you through June. Don't expect to beat the old Greenbush residents in the bocce tournament.
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7 pm
Rhapsodie is the resident quartet of the Madison Symphony Orchestra's award-winning HeartStrings program, which brings music to people with special needs. This free concert gives the public a chance to hear the ensemble in a professional recital setting, playing quartets by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn.
The World Goes 'Round
UW Music Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday, May 31, 7:30 pm
Four Seasons Theatre presents a revue of Kander & Ebb songs, drawn from such memorable shows as Cabaret, Chicago and Funny Lady. A jazz orchestra will give "All That Jazz" and "New York, New York" the brassy bump they deserve.
The Great White Jenkins
Project Lodge, 7 pm
The Virginia band showcase their idiosyncratic mix of Appalachian sounds, psych-folk and free jazz at this unexpected freebie.
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (2:30 & 7:30 pm), May 29 & 31
The gay theater group is filled with teenagers determined to make the world a more tolerant place. A show called "Proud Theater: Loud and Clear" features their original drama, music, poetry and dance.
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
As always, the Texas-born, Louisiana-bred roadhouse pianist will rock this old theater down to the studs. The Midwesterners open.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Even with good press and label support, the New York indie types never enjoyed the success of "garage revival" contemporaries like the Strokes. These days they're less quirky and often rather wistful. Openers Frightened Rabbit, emotive Scots with a developed sense of grandeur, could easily steal their thunder.
Annex, 10 pm
Back in the day, the blood-'n'-guts metallions incurred the wrath of Tipper Gore during her crusade against sex and violence in music. They still revel in fake blood, Beelzebub and high decibels. Harsh Reality, Flat Atom, Niobium and Evoked are also on the bill.
Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, 2 pm
The University of Illinois professor, communications scholar and trenchant media critic discusses his book The Political Economy of Media. He offers a progressive critique of corporate media and commercialism, finding hope in a media-reform movement.
Burgers and Brew
Capital Brewery, 4-7 pm
REAP, the local sustainable-food group, puts its own spin on two iconic Wisconsin foodstuffs. It brings together Dane County 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.
UW Memorial Union, 4:30 pm-midnight
The Union's extravaganza kicks off another lazy, hazy summer on the Terrace. There'll be henna tattoos, free boat rides, a climbing wall and (as if you didn't know) beer and brats. Music by DJ Tom Garcia, Primitive Culture and VO5 will ease you into a June state of mind.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Alliant Energy Center's Willow Island. 6-7:30 am registration, 8 am opening remarks, 8:30 am races
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.
Oakwood Chamber Players
Oakwood Village Auditorium, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday, June 1, 2 pm
The local chamber ensemble performs a concert called "Summer Advent." Guest soprano Mary Mackenzie is featured in Danielpour's "Sonnets to Orpheus," along with works by Ravel and Chaminade.
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 8 pm
The eccentric comedian's one-man tour de force features characters he developed on such shows as SCTV, Saturday Night Live and Primetime Glick. Expect world-class improvisation, as well as merciless Hollywood satire.
Ancora String Quartet
First Unitarian Society, 7:30 pm
The local chamber ensemble wraps up its season with a hearty program called "Russian Soul," featuring Beethoven's "Razumovsky" quartet and Tchaikovsky's "Quartet No. 2."
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
These Jah-besotted Missourians have established themselves as a jam-land favorite by feinting and jabbing their way through convincing dancehall and roots-style reggae. Nama Rupa, 77 Jefferson and Tropical Riddims Sound System also appear.
Andreas Kapsalis Trio
Restaurant Magnus, 9:30 pm
The youthful Chicago guitarist is a finger-style Houdini. Michael Hedges fans take note.
Kate Walsh and Brandi Shearer and Quincy Coleman
Cafe Montmartre, 10 pm
Walsh, a Rolling Stone-endorsed U.K. folkie, has a high, flexible, bittersweet voice that's sure to find thousands upon thousands of converts.
Madison Jazz Society
Coliseum Bar, 3 pm
The Madison Jazz Society's commitment to traditional jazz is now 23 years old and counting. The group celebrates the end of another swingin' season with a free concert by local musicians, including pianist Harris Lemberg and vocalist Tara Ayres.
Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, 4 pm
As a leader of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Mathews has learned to play the media game, staging outrageous protests and enlisting stars in the cause. He'll discuss his memoir, Committed, and we assume you know better than to wear a fur coat to the event.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
The white mask strapped to his face and the inverted Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket perched on his head are gimmicks. The things he does on the neck of an electric guitar aren't. That 1 Guy opens. Fret-head pick of the week #1.