Madison celebrates bovines, hot rods and bikes this weekend with a trio of downtown outdoor festivals, namely at Cows on the Concourse, Cars on State, and Ride the Drive. The calendar also includes: Festa Italia and the Wisconsin Bat Festival; the "Remembering Nancy" tribute by CTM; productions of Nevermore, Fearless Hearts, Wicked, Lekker Mann, and Cinderella; a performance by the Wisconsin Chamber Choir; a release party for Madison Ballet's Dracula soundtrack; the Paulie Fest tribute and fundraiser; more live music by American Opera, Mark Kroos, Stephen Kellogg, Tweed Funk, Indians, Roots Collective, Alan Munde, and Kyle Motor with Matt Joyce; a show by the Mad-City Ski Team; and, the Miss Gay Isthmus 2013 pageant.
McKee Farms Park, Fitchburg, 5 pm-11 pm. Also Saturday (11 am-11 pm) & Sunday (11 am-7 pm), June 1 & 2
The annual celebration of Italian culture features musicians, folk dancing, a bocce tournament and food galore. Yes, friends, you've entered pasta paradise.
Overture Center Playhouse, 7 pm
In this free event, Children's Theater of Madison pays tribute to its dear departed founder, Nancy Thurow. After a short presentation by producing artistic director Roseann Sheridan, attendees can share memories in an open-mic format.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm. Also Saturday, June 1, 7 pm
This tribute to local musician Paulie Heenan, who was killed last fall, features the Oregon High School jazz combos, Beyond Reason, Mojo Radio and Hometown Sweethearts on Friday. Saturday's lineup includes Lorenzo's Music, Cowboy Winter, All Tiny Creatures and Solid Gold. (See Music.)
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, May 30 & June 1, 7:30 pm
Music Theatre of Madison explores the dark life and death of Edgar Allan Poe, author of such soul-chilling stories as "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum." Nevermore explores Poe's relationship with the women in his life and seeks to find the source of his inspiration.
Edgewood College's The Stream Black Box Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (2 & 7:30 pm), May 30 & June 1
Proud Theater, the local LGBTQ youth troupe, offers an evening of original theater, music, spoken word, poetry and dance. Its goal: changing the world.
Overture Hall, 8 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 8 pm), Sunday (1 & 6:30 pm), Tuesday-Thursday (7:30 pm), June 1-2, 4-6; through June 9
The spectacular Broadway musical turns the Wizard of Oz story on its head by focusing on the witches. (See Theater.)
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday & Thursday, June 1 & 6, 8 pm
Tracy M. Smith's play imagines a weather disaster in Madison. Six friends are confined to a small east-side flat, searching for peace.
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
Don't expect this one-man band to serenade you with arias, unless you consider Modest Mouse's Moon & Antarctica a postmodern opera. Frontman John Bee's voice does capture attention, though.
Brink Lounge, 8 pm
The 2011 winner of Guitar Player's international competition, Kroos is Internet-famous for playing both parts of "Dueling Banjos" on his double-neck guitar. His live sets are even more impressive, incorporating polyphonic textures and influences that range from American punk to Celtic folk.
Frequency, 9 pm
Though his bandmates, the Sixers, are taking a breather from the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, the Live on King Street alum has got some new tunes to share. With Milow.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9 pm
The WAMI-winning six-piece from Milwaukee will fill the Terrace with fun and funky blues. A protégé of Curtis Mayfield, frontman Joseph "Smokey" Holman is both a talented singer and a masterful showman.
Regent Street Retreat Stage, 9:30 pm
Indians isn't a band per se, but the multifaceted project of Danish musician Søren Løkke Juul, whose impressive demos landed him beside Bon Iver and St. Vincent on 4AD's roster. He'll perform songs from his debut album, Somewhere Else, which Pitchfork says "dissolves the boundaries between folk, piano balladry, arena rock and post-rock." With Cedarwell and Asumaya.
NOTEWORTHY: Heimlich maneuver for rescuing choking victims published in Emergency Medicine journal, 1974.
Capitol Square, 8 am-1 pm
Kick off June Dairy Month at this bovine meet-and-greet. Pet a cow, drink some milk, eat a cream puff, listen to some music. Gotta love this state.
Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 10 am-6 pm & 7-10 pm
This benefit for the Wisconsin Bat Conservation Fund features rare bats, bat experts, and hands-on activities. During "Bat Science Night," which begins at 7 pm, biologists demonstrate how they catch wild bats and "listen" for bats in the area. (See Nature.)
State Street, 10 am-3 pm
This lineup of more than 100 classic cars and motorcycles will get your pistons pumping. Among this year's featured automobiles: a 1928 Ford Roadster, a 1928 Packard sedan and -- flower-power alert -- a 1966 VW bus with camper interior. Road trip!
Overture Center's Playhouse, 1 & 3:30 pm
Opera for the Young presents this rags-to-riches story as part of its Family Opera Day. The young 'uns can show up an hour and a half before each performance to make costumes and props and learn the show's choruses, with a little help from the Madison Children's Museum and Madison Youth Choirs.
St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, 7:30 pm
The local choral ensemble will honor Benjamin Britten's 100th birthday with his enchanting cantata Rejoice in the Lamb, plus works by Henry Purcell and Arvo Pärt. With the Britten Boy Choir.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9 pm
Even if it's 60 degrees with a light drizzle, this local band will make the Terrace feel like a tropical island using their signature combination of rock and roots reggae. With Sebeh Tree.
NOTEWORTHY: P.T. Barnum's circus starts first U.S. tour, 1835.
John Nolen Drive, Capitol Square and State Street area, 10 am-3 pm
For one day only, cars lose. John Nolen Drive and other downtown streets will be closed to auto traffic, so you can cycle, skate, walk or run on them all you want. There will also be music, family activities and information booths.
High Noon Saloon, 1:30 pm
Madison Ballet turned Bram Stoker's vampire tale into a daring rock ballet last winter, and now it summons goose bumps again by releasing the soundtrack on CD. Composer Michael Massey and his crew of tunesmiths will perform the score from start to finish with a projection of Nosferatu as the backdrop. (See Music.)
Law Park, 5:30 pm
Daredevil stunts, human pyramids, speeding boats, dazzling smiles -- the award-winning Mad-City Ski Team bring it all in this free, family-friendly extravaganza on the shores of beautiful Lake Monona. If you miss the show, don't worry -- they'll be back most Sundays through Labor Day.
Brink Lounge, 6 pm
After performing as one of Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys in the late '60s, the five-string banjo whiz became a Flying Burrito Brother. Now he's a bluegrass icon himself. With Art & Stephanie Stevenson.
Broom Street Theater, 7 pm
With rock that ranges from jittery to jangly, the frontmen of the Motorz and the Midwest Beat will demonstrate just how rich Madison's music scene is.
Five Nightclub, 10 pm
Watch a pageant and show featuring local drag superstars Kandi Barr and Lucy Von Cucci. You can also blow kisses at 2012 winner Ava Stone, who's about to move to California.