Summer in Madison and its parade of festivals comes to a glorious end this weekend with the Willy Street Fair, the Forward Music Festival, the Madison World Music Festival, the MSO Organ Festival, and BamFest. The calendar also includes: more live music by Richard Davis, Patrick Breiner & Luke Polipnick, Noëlle Hampton, Ellis Paul with Ari Hest, and Carbon Leaf; the production of Acts to Grind II by Encore Studio; Urban Spoken Word Poetry; the Dog Jog; and, a reception for the new Coree Coppinger photo exhibit.
NOTEWORTHY: FBI captures fugitive publishing heiress Patricia Hearst, 1975.
BIRTHDAYS: Sopranos star James Gandolfini, 1961; seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, 1971.
Forward Music Festival
Downtown venues, Sept. 17-19
The sprawling tunes confab enters its sophomore year with an emphasis on showcases of similar acts. Here are some highlights. Thursday: the bearded lads of Megafaun at High Noon Saloon. Friday: indie-electronica sensation YACHT (Orpheum Theatre Lobby), Madison/Milwaukee math-rock supergroup Collections of Colonies of Bees (Overture Center's Capitol Theater); hyperactive baroque-pop band Ra Ra Riot (High Noon); hardcore techno DJ Delta 9 at the Reverence Showcase (Orpheum Stage Door); the Amble Down Records showcase featuring the Cloud Hymn and the Daredevil Christopher Wright (Overture Rotunda); Dan Wilson of Semisonic (Majestic). Saturday: headliner Low (High Noon Saloon), among the best practitioners of beautiful, minimal, turtle-paced indie rock; South African indie rockers BLK JKS (Orpheum Stage Door); whistling, fiddling postmodern pop star and headliner Andrew Bird (Overture Hall); Minneapolis synth-poppers Solid Gold (High Noon Saloon). See for a complete lineup.
Wisconsin Historical Museum, 7 pm
If you're new to town, and if even if you're not, you owe it to yourself to hear the UW jazz bassist extraordinaire, who has made Madison something of a bass mecca. With Sam Lyons and Stereocolor in a "Blues Meets Jazz" concert.
Madison Symphony Orchestra's Organ Festival
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
The Madison Symphony Orchestra showcases its glorious 4,000-pipe organ in the annual festival. It includes a concert Friday night by the MSO's Samuel Hutchison and trumpeters Andrew Balio and John Aley, plus a community hymn sing on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Acts to Grind II
Encore Studio for the Performing Arts, 1480 Martin St., 8 pm. Also Saturday, Sept. 19, 8 pm
The theater company for people with disabilities presents original one-act plays by KelsyAnne Schoenhaar, Wendy Prosise and Kevin Evans, including Karma, Extra Cheese, Penny from Heaven and Disposable Friends.
Patrick Breiner & Luke Polipnick
Capitol Lakes Grand Hall, 8 pm
In an event called "New Faces of Madison Jazz," the Madison Music Collective presents two young newcomers to the local scene, saxophonist Breiner, who performs solo, and guitarist and sound designer Polipnick, who'll accompany his guitar improvisations with computer-based soundscapes.
NOTEWORTHY: Mexico City rocked by earthquake measuring 8.1 on Richter scale, 1985.
BIRTHDAYS: Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons, 1948; broadcast newsie Soledad O'Brien, 1966.
Willy Street Fair
800-1000 blocks of Williamson Street, 2 pm. Also Sunday, Sept. 20, 11 am
Traditionally, Willy Street's freaky alfresco get-together marks the end of the summer festival season. Thanks to a partnership with the UW's World Music Festival, this year's musical lineup mixes creative global acts with all manner of rockers, folkies, alt-twangers and groovists, like Yid Vicious, Josh Harty, the Shake Daddies, Truly Remarkable Loon, dumate and Lou and Peter Berryman. All will take to the fair's multiple stages over its two-day run. See the Guide on page 25 for a full schedule.
East Side Club, 10 am-8:30 pm
This year the blues schmooze moves from nearby Belleville to the big city. The headliner is Texas-based blues rocker Chris Duarte. With Electric Road Kings, Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo, Su DaBaco & Wise Fools, Joel Pingitore & the Playground of Sound, and Bobby Messano.
Urban Spoken Word Poetry
Genna's Lounge, 7 pm
This group's events prove that poetry is better not only when it is recited aloud, but also when it is loudly evaluated by raucous spectators. Tonight: "Page vs. Stage" readings and discussion, and an open mike with featured poet Korim.
NOTEWORTHY: Billie Jean King crushes chauvinist tennis has-been Bobby Riggs at Houston Astrodome, 1973.
BIRTHDAYS: Oscar-winning actress Sophia Loren, 1934; Green Bay Packers running back/Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Taylor, 1935.
UW Parking Lot 60, 801 Walnut St., 10 am
Bring the faithful hound to this two-mile run/walk, which benefits rescued animals. Heel!
Coree Coppinger: Fight Club
Steenbock Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy, through Oct. 10
Yes, guys really do join clubs and beat the crap out of each other for fun, or something. This collection of Coppinger's photographs documents a Milwaukee organization that's all about doing just that. See for yourself at today's reception, 1-4 pm.
Frequency, 5:30 pm
After performing at the Lilith Fair in the late '90s, Hampton hit a rough spot as female singer-songwriters fell out of favor in the recording industry. However, a call from Mark Hallman (producer of Ani DiFranco and Carole King), led to an excellent new CD (Thin Line) that fuses alt-rock and country-folk with bits of Cajun, swing and blues. The Kentucky Waterfalls open.
Ellis Paul, Ari Hest
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Starting in the 1980s the prolific Maine singer-songwriter made his name on Boston's folk circuit with his literate tunes. His current release is The Day After Everything Changed, featuring the post-post-Katrina reflection "Hurricane Angel."
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
For 17 years now the Virginia rockers have pleased audiences with a punchy, sometimes jangly folk-rock sound. The group has roots in Celtic music, but that's hard to tell these days. With Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers and Toby Lightman.