Fall hits its first peak in Madison this weekend amidst a stunning abundance of celebrations marking the changing season, with the World Music Festival, Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival, Food for Thought Festival, Mexican & Centroamerican Independence Festival, Oktoberfest, and the Willy Street Fair. The calendar also includes: the opening of PhotoMidwest; productions of Paragon Springs and One Man/One Woman; performances by the Oakwood Chamber Players, Ancora String Quartet, and Pro Arte Quartet; and, more live music from Hometown Sweethearts, Shannon Blowtorch, Alameda with Raymond Byron and the White Freighter, Natty Nation with Naia Kete, You Knew Me When, Ron Pope, and Sons of Daughters.
NOTEWORTHY: Francis Scott Key pens words to "The Star Spangled Banner," 1814.
Through Oct. 13, various venues
The biannual celebration of photography is hosted by the Center for Photography at Madison. It features lectures, seminars, workshops and exhibitions all over the region, from Overture to the Union to restaurants. See World Music Festival
UW Memorial Union, 5 pm. Also Saturday, Sept. 15, 1:30 pm
The celebration of global music occurs at the Memorial Union and at the Willy Street Fair. At the Union, Friday's festivities include performances by Movits!, a Swedish group that blends hip-hop with swing music (5 pm); Pakistani pop group Zeb & Haniya (7 pm); Delhi 2 Dublin, a Canadian act that fuses Indian bhangra music with traditional Celtic tunes (8:30 pm); and MC Rai, a Tunisian-born artist who peppers Arabic sounds with American ones (10:30 pm). Saturday's highlights include the Brazil-meets-Appalachia sounds of Matuto (1:30 pm), roots-reggae treats from Taj Weekes (5:30 pm) and Japanese techno wizard DJ Warp (10 pm). Visit Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival
Art in the Barn, Fitchburg, 7 pm. Also Saturday, Sept. 15, noon
The ghost of Django Reinhardt will flit through this lively fest, which features gypsy-jazz gems from Harmonious Wail (7 pm), the Joscho Stephan Trio (7:30 pm), Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan (8:30 pm) and the Gonzalo Bergara Quartet (9:30 pm). Saturday features repeat performances by Friday night's lineup, plus an appearance by Garden City Hot Club (2 pm) and a casual campfire jam (10:45 pm). Visit Paragon Springs
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Sept. 15 & 20
Strollers Theatre presents Steven Dietz's adaptation of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, set in 1926 Wisconsin. It explores the power of capitalism and greed when the "healing waters" of a small town are poisoned.
Broom Street Theater, 8 pm. Also Saturday & Thursday, Sept. 15 & 20, 8 pm
Veteran Callen Harty returns to Broom Street to direct this comedy about the foibles of marriage and marriage equality. It's told through a series of vignettes, starting with Adam and Eve and Steve.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Though they're known for their covers of '80s gems such as Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself" and Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun," these local rockers will release their first album of original material. Crank up Isthmus' new local-music mixtape, to hear the album's title track, "Human Volcano."
Plan B, 10 pm
In addition to serving as sound engineer for the Le Tigre offshoot MEN, this Twin Cities DJ spins nearly every style of club music imaginable, from trendy dubstep and moombahton to classic funk, soul and rockabilly. With Lizzy T.
100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 8:30 am-1:30 pm
REAP's annual celebration of local food emphasizes health, sustainability and (last but not least) deliciousness. There will be over 40 booths from organizations, farms and restaurants; cooking demonstrations; kids activities; and the new Food Camp, a series of short educational opportunities.
Warner Park, noon-9 pm
The free Latino festival features performances, food, exhibits and kids activities. But wait, there's more! On Sunday, Sept. 16, the free Festival Viva México also celebrates Mexican independence at Oregon's Union Sports Club, beginning with a car parade at 10 am from the Villager Mall.
Essen Haus, noon-8 pm
Granted, it's not October, but it's never too early to roll out the barrel with fellow revelers at this outdoor oompah party, with traditional food (that would be pretzels, beer, pretzels, beer and beer), kids activities and music by the Rowe Brothers Band and Dorf Kapelle. At 8:30, the festivities move inside, where you can polka till the Holsteins come home with the Brewhaus Polka Kings.
900-1000 blocks of Williamson Street, 1:30-9 pm. Also Sunday, Sept. 16, 11 am-7 pm
Summer's almost gone, but that doesn't mean you have to pick up your toys and go inside. Join the east-side throngs at the Willy Street Fair for the last hurrah of the season. Saturday's lineup once again brings the World Music Festival Stage, and Sunday kicks off with the inimitable parade. Performers include Matuto, Zeb & Haniya, Taj Weekes and Paul Cebar.
Indie Coffee, 7 pm
Chamber-folk quintet Alameda will debut their sophomore LP, Procession, amid the sounds of percolating coffee and steaming milk. Formerly known as the freak-folk band Castanets, Raymond Byron and the White Freighter will perform Little Death Shaker, a bluesy folk album that's simple, accessible and only slightly freaky.
University Woods Auditorium at Oakwood Village, 7 pm This local chamber ensemble will perform Twenty-somethings, a program of original music by composers in their 20s. Can't make it Saturday? You can also catch them Sunday at 1:30 pm at the UW Arboretum Visitor Center.
First Unitarian Society Auditorium, 7:30 pm
The quartet will kick off its 12th season by performing John Michael Cooper's new edition of Mendelssohn's 12 Fugues for String Quartet. Later in the program, minor-key works by Beethoven and Schumann will start a goosebump epidemic.
Mills Hall in UW Humanities Building, 8 pm
Relish the last string quartet composed by the great Joseph Haydn, then savor a crowd-pleaser apiece from Schubert and Dvorak, all performed by the UW's internationally renowned ensemble.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Positive vibes will waft through the High Noon during this show featuring local reggae-rock purveyors Natty Nation and Naia Kete, a reggae-and-soul singer you may recognize from season two of The Voice. With DJ Trichrome.
Rigby, 10 pm
This husband-and-wife duo will drop by from Nashville with some folk-infused indie rock buoyed by a whimsical ukulele and glockenspiel. With Soul Low and Pale Girls.
NOTEWORTHY: Mayflower starts her voyage to America, 1620.
Redamte Coffee House, 8 pm
This soulful troubadour is touring Atlanta, a new album that's received a thumbs-up from American Songwriter. With Meghan Tonjes.
Audio for the Arts, 8 pm
This trio of Berklee and New School grads formed in Milwaukee two years ago, while sax player Patrick Breiner was living in Madison, and has since dispersed across the East Coast. During this stop, they'll share at least a few tunes from their latest release, Beyond Animals, which teems with free-jazz influences and more joy than a single album can hold.