Summer in Madison takes a final bow this busy weekend at the World Music Festival, Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival, Food for Thought Festival, Fighting Bob Fest, Monroe Street Festival, Oktoberfest, Willy Street Fair, Pipers in the Prairie, and the close of Taiwanese Arts Week. The calendar also includes: Adult Swim Night at the Madison Children's Museum; standup by Michael Ian Black and the "Laughter Against the Machine: Guerilla Standup Comedy" showcase; a book reading by Paul Street; performances by the MSO and Mikrokolektyw; and, more live music from Crystal Bowersox, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, MC Chris and MC Lars, Tiny Riots, John Hiatt, Company of Thieves, and Margot & the Nuclear So and So's.
BIRTHDAYS: Comeback actor Mickey Rourke, 1956.
Through Sept. 18
University of Wisconsin arts groups join forces to celebrate the culture of Taiwan. The fest concludes this weekend with talks, food, film and a performance by Taiyuan Puppet Theatre (Overture Center's Rotunda Stage, Saturday, Sept. 17, 9:30 & 11 a.m.). Visit dance.wisc.edu for the schedule.
UW Memorial Union, Sept. 15-17; Willy Street Fair, Sept. 17
World Music Fest takes listeners on a multi-day trek around the globe. On Friday, Italy's Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Terrace, 5:30 pm) enchant the crowd with violins, bagpipes, organs, and stunning vocal harmonies, and Ghanaian-American hip-hopper Blitz the Ambassador shares raps from his latest album, Native Sun (Wisconsin Union Theater, 9:30 pm). Saturday's highlights include Colombian electro quintet Bomba Estereo (Willy Street Fair, 7:30 pm) and French sensation Sergent Garcia (Terrace, 9:30 pm), who spikes salsa, dancehall and ska with punk-rock attitude. Visit uniontheater.wisc.edu for a complete lineup.
Madison Children's Museum, 6-10 pm
If you'd like to check out the spiffy new digs of the children's museum but don't have kids -- or want to get away from your kids -- here's your chance. Tonight all exhibits are guaranteed child-free, including the human gerbil wheel. With music by Mambo Blue.
Art in the Barn, Fitchburg, 7 pm. Also Saturday, Sept. 17, 3 pm
The two-day celebration of Django Reinhardt-inspired jazz features Newport Jazz Fest alums Ameranouche and homegrown wow factor from Harmonious Wail on Friday. Saturday's lineup includes gypsy-flavored French chansons from Jessica Fichot and Amsterdam jams from the Robin Nolan Trio.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
After busking at Chicago train stations for several years, the folky, bluesy singer-songwriter nabbed the runner-up spot in ninth season of American Idol. Her debut album, Farmer's Daughter, earned a thumbs-up from The New York Times when it hit stores in December.
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Sept. 17 & 18
The MSO kicks off its season with "On the Transmigration of Souls," which John Adams composed to memorialize 9/11. Guest artist André Watts performs Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor, and then comes Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (see Music).
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
Black is an actor for TV and movies, and he's also a standup comedian. You may have heard his goofy podcast with fellow former Ed star Tom Cavanagh, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
Named after a line in Cervantes' Don Quixote, this literate two-piece featuring Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeremy Barnes explore Balkan and Eastern European melodies on their latest release, Cervantine. Fans of Beirut know that the duo contributed to that band's debut, Gulag Orkestar.
Inferno, 10 pm
Nerdcore rap -- or something like it -- takes over the Inferno for the night as two of its finest purveyors rip into topics like Star Wars and Legos with hilarity and aplomb. With Mega Ran and Adam Warrock (see Music.)
Frequency, 10 pm
A collection of heartrending love songs and breakup soundtracks, Tiny Riots' recent EP Love in the Autumn Leaves sends a chill down the spine faster than the first cold fall breeze. See if their first LP, Platonic, does the same when they release it at this show. With Omninaut and the Type.
NOTEWORTHY: M*A*S*H premieres on CBS, 1972.
Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 8 am-1:30 pm
The annual food fiesta explores ways to make eating more healthy, sustainable and -- last but not least -- delicious. There's a cook-off, a talk by author Susan Troller, demonstrations, fun for the kids and, of course, food. (See Food.)
Alliant Energy Center's Coliseum, 9 am
Since it started in 2001, Fighting Bob Fest has been held in Baraboo. But this year the progressive-politics confab named for named for the great Wisconsin politician Robert La Follette moves to the city. Speakers include Jim Hightower, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, former Rep. Dave Obey, Sen. Bernie Sanders and many more. There's also music and the requisite tabling.
1600-3500 blocks of Monroe Street, 10 am-5 pm
Time once again to pay tribute to the great west-side thoroughfare. There'll be stuff for sale from the street's boutiques, activities for the kids and entertainment by Caravan Gypsy Swing, Mark Shanahan & Utopian Rag and Gabe Burdulis, among others.
Essen Haus, noon-8 pm
Fall is nigh, so it's time to truck to the city's only dedicated polka venue for food, fun and, lest we forget, beer. The polka comes courtesy of Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones. If you're allergic to polka, shame on you, but there's also the Americana music of the Midwesterners.
8001000 blocks of Williamson Street, 1:45 pm. Also Sunday, Sept. 18, 11:45 am
In addition to hosting World Music Fest performers (see Friday), Saturday's music lineup includes folk-inflected acts Blake Thomas and Josh Harty (2 pm), Eric Schwartz (3:30 pm) and Chris Plata (5:30 pm). Sunday's highlights include local Irish-rock band the Kissers on the Main Stage (5:45 pm), the Afro-Cuban sounds of Charanga Agosa on the Culture Stage (6 pm) and Canadian alt-country gods the Sadies on the WORT Underground Stage (5:50 pm). The parade at 11 am on Sunday is -- well, it just doesn't get more Madison.
Aldo Leopold Nature Center, 4:30 pm
The center holds a fundraiser featuring entertainment by West Wind, Ken Lonnquist and the dancers of Cashel Dennehy. There will be fancy food and drink and a gigantic bonfire, to say nothing of those blasting bagpipes. They get the blood flowing.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Hiatt performs selections from his new album, Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns, beneath the stars of the Barrymore ceiling (see Tour Stop).
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm
San Francisco comics W. Kamau Bell, Nato Green and Janine Brito present an evening of pointed laffs.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
Before their first LP, Ordinary Riches, debuted in the number-five slot on Billboard's Heatseekers chart in 2009, this Chicago indie-rock band won the New York Songwriters Circle contest with their single "Oscar Wilde," which went on to star in a Dove commercial and an episode of Gossip Girl. Check out their 2011 release, Running From a Gamble, at this show. With Save the Clocktower.
BIRTHDAYS: Actress Jada Pinkett Smith, 1971.
Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, 2 pm
The author talks about his book Crashing the Tea Party: Mass Media & the Campaign to Remake American Politics.
Audio for the Arts, 7:30 pm
Made up of a trumpeter and a drummer with a penchant for electronic rhythm loops, this Polish avant-jazz duo has been creating a stir across Europe.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Employing melodicas, bells and banjos, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's aren't your usual chamber-pop band. Their 2010 release, Buzzard, showed off their rock 'n' roll side, and their forthcoming album, Rot Gut, Domestic, is likely to explore this territory further thanks to Grammy-nominated alt-rock producer John Congleton. With Deleted Scenes and Land of Vandals.