Ironman Wisconsin is one of the last big hurrahs of summer in Madison, but the busy festival slate this weekend also extends to the Midwest Quit Expo, Fighting Bob Fest, a Mexican Independence Festival, the Sun Prairies Blues Festival, the Thirsty Troll Brew Fest, and the Viva Mexico Festival. The calendar also includes: openings of Cigar Box Art in Monona, a Pedro E. Guerrero exhibit in Paoli, and Robert Rauschenberg's America at MMoCA; Cat's Paw by Strollers; and live music by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Matt & Kim, Tony Furtado, Dr. Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys, and a tribute to Eddie Higgins.
Friday 9.11,br> NOTEWORTHY: Terrorists slam two planes into the World Trade Center towers, one into the Pentagon and a fourth into a Pennsylvania field, killing thousands, 2001.
BIRTHDAYS: Actress Virginia Madsen, 1963; techno-ambient composer Moby, 1965.
Midwest Quilt Expo
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 9 am-6 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Sept. 10 & 12, 9 am-6 pm
The Quilt Expo has earned a reputation as a major Midwestern event. It features diverse quilts from across the U.S., along with lectures, workshops, presentations and vendors. Don't miss a special exhibition of recent works by national-award-winning quilter (and former Isthmus staff writer) Kent Williams.
Cigar Box Art
Tasting Room of Monona, through Oct. 11
The Monona wine and cigar boutique adds art to its portfolio with this exhibit of creations by local artists (Isthmus' own Brian Strassburg, Barb Walsh and many others) who've fashioned real live art objects from, appropriately, cigar boxes. We thought those were only good for rubber-band guitars. Have a smoke at tonight's reception, 5-9 pm.
Pedro E. Guerrero
Paoli House Gallery in Paoli, through Oct. 15
The gallery starts an American Icons series with this collection by Guerrero, who famously was Frank Lloyd Wright's official photographer. There's Wright stuff on display as well as some 1930s nudes that got Guerrero the gig with the master. Meet Guerrero at tonight's reception, 6-9 pm.
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
Though Owen Ashworth's solo project doesn't involve musicianship so much as playing with musical toys such as cheapo keyboards and goofy drum machines, it's mighty fun to watch and sing along to -- ironically, of course.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (4 & 8 pm), Sept. 10 & 12
Strollers Theatre presents William Mastrosimone's play about an eco-terrorist and a television journalist covering him. Rob Matsushita directs.
Matt & Kim
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
Matt & Kim return to Madison to promote a big album (the chart-climbing Grand, released in January) at a bigger, fancier venue -- the Majestic instead of Club 770, where they played last time they visited (see Tour Stop). Amanda Blank opens.
NOTEWORTHY: CIA-backed military junta overthrows duly elected Chilean President Salvador Allende in violent coup, 1973.
BIRTHDAYS: Towering NBA star Yao Ming, 1980; actress-singer Jennifer Hudson, 1981.
Fighting Bob Fest
Sauk County Fairgrounds, Baraboo, 8:30 am-5:30 pm
Progressive political types converge on Baraboo for fiery speeches and intelligent discussions, not to mention food and entertainment. (Fiery speeches can make you awful hungry.) The big-name participants include Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Tom Harkin, Jim Hightower and Ed Garvey.
Mexican Independence Festival
Warner Park, 11 am
Recall Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's cry for independence at this fest, with entertainment, food, fun for the kids and music of Korcel de la Sierra, Complize Musical, Banda Eterna and more.
Sun Prairie Blues Festival
Angell Park Pavilion in Sun Prairie, noon-10 pm
Time's running out for outdoor music confabs. This one features Chicago's legendary Magic Slim & the Teardrops and local wunderkinds Perry Weber & the DeVilles, plus Cajun Strangers, Tallan "T-Man" Latz and the Jimmys.
Thirsty Troll Brew Fest
Grundahl Park, Mount Horeb, 1-5 pm
The prizewinning brewpub hosts a fete featuring the finest locally brewed craft beers. Music by Jim Curley and the local Celtic folk rockers called, appropriately, the Pints.
High Noon Saloon, 6:30 pm
Furtado was weaned on bluegrass -- he was a prizewinning banjoist at an age when most of us were trying to figure out algebra. But his eclectic career has also seen him dabble in rocky, jazzy, rootsy sounds.
Dr. Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
The living legend of bluegrass, known to many from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, visits with his banjo in hand and his seven-member entourage in tow.
NOTEWORTHY: Rapper Tupac Shakur dies six days after drive-by shooting in Vegas, 1996.
BIRTHDAYS: Village People cowboy Randy Jones, 1952; singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, 1977.
Robert Rauschenberg's America
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Jan. 3
The major new exhibit gathers three print series from 1969 and 1970 by the master painter/assembler/sculptor. Reels (B+C) incorporates images from the movies; Stoned Moon Series (all 34 pieces of it) meditates on the Apollo program; and Surface Series (from Currents) examines shattering events in the news.
Wisconsin Ironman Triathlon
Begins at Law Park, 7 am
Cheer on a lot of really intense people as they converge on the city for a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Monona, a 112-mile bike ride out to Mount Horeb and a 26.2-mile run that ends on the Capitol Square, all before supper. First prize is $8,500, but that hardly seems the point.
Viva Mexico Festival
Union Sports Club in Oregon, noon-8 pm
The weekend-long Mexican celebration rolls on in the southern burb with food, a car parade that leaves Villager Mall at 10 am, and entertainment by Ballet Folklórico México, Banda Preciosa de Durango and more.
Tribute to Eddie Higgins
Coliseum Bar, 1 pm
Though this luminary of jazz piano died away before his performance with the Madison Jazz Society, it will go on in his honor with the swingin' Johnny Varro leading the way.