It's Labor Day weekend! Summer is ending, school is starting, and Madison celebrates working people at LaborFest and the Justice Tour with Tom Morello and Tim McIlrath. The calendar also includes: Taste of Madison and Venetian Night; Saturday Science; a book reading by Breena Wiederhoeft; a production of The Tempest and Geekesque Burlesque; the conclusion of the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival and the Karp Family opening concert; the Recreational Rhythms benefit show; and, more live music from the Frode Gjerstad Trio, The Terminal Orchestra, BoomBox, Venus in Furs, Budos Band, RJD2, and White Rabbits.
NOTEWORTHY: Great Fire of London, 1666.
BIRTHDAYS: NFL Hall-of-Famer/TV goofball Terry Bradshaw, 1948; Keanu Reeves, 1964.
Washington Hotel Coffee Room, 5:30 pm
Portland, Ore.-based Wiederhoeft promotes her new graphic novel, Picket Line, about a Midwesterner caught in a California environmental dispute. There's music by Recreation Station, Kitty Versus Wolf and Fishboy.
Audio for the Arts, 7:30 pm
Rooted in the European free-jazz scene, this Norwegian trio cultivates creativity with clarinets, alto sax, acoustic bass and drums. Catch them at Audio for the Arts' intimate space after they play big gigs at Chicago's Hideout and Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom.
Project Lodge, 7:30 pm
Inspired by spaghetti Western film soundtracks and the intense seasonal changes of Michigan's upper peninsula, this instrumental project brings its dark and beautiful soundscapes to the ProLo stage. Learn more in this week's Tour Stop. With Asumaya.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The fearsome twosome from Muscle Shoals, Ala., make a mighty big, mighty catchy, mighty danceable sound with just a few elements: voice, guitar and an assortment of keyboards, sequencers and other devices. Call it what you will. They call it rock 'n' roll. With Sovereign Sect, DJ Solo.
Frequency, 9 pm
Fresh off a Thursday-night performance on WORT's "Psychoacoustics," these local ladies will unveil their debut album of disco-laced surf-punk (see Music). Whether you're crowd-surfing or doing the Swim, this show promises to celebrate every last drop of summertime. With the Barrettes and Sons of Atom.
NOTEWORTHY: Former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi dies, 1970.
BIRTHDAYS: Sleek Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund, 1984; Olympic gold-winning snowboard phenom Shaun White, 1986.
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 10 am (English) & 11 am (Spanish)
For the kids, UW scientists talk all things Antarctic in a program called "Extreme Science of the South Pole." The South Pole is a place that's cold, snowy and bleak. Not that Wisconsin kids would know anything about that.
Capitol Square, 2-8:30 pm. Also Sunday, Sept. 4, 11 am-7 pm
The annual food fest features more than 80 restaurants serving delectable samples. They set up booths around the Capitol and practically dare you to overeat. Helping you transition from crab Rangoon to jerk chicken, from buttermilk hush puppies to pineapple mango curry with rice, are dozens of national and local bands, including country hitmaker Josh Thompson, hip-hop hitmaker Big Sean, nerdy '90s alt icons Crash Test Dummies and Floridian rockers Nonpoint.
American Players Theatre, Spring Green, 3 pm
There's a lot to like about APT's production of Shakespeare's romance set on a supernatural island, where the magician Prospero whips up the spell of a lifetime in an attempt to restore order in the universe. As Prospero, Kenneth Albers thunders when he needs to, and at other moments he's compassionate and delicate. Best of all is the strange, marvelous performance by Deborah Staples, who as the sprite Ariel channels a sort of very smart cat robot. It's hard to explain. You'll like it.
4037 Highway 19 in DeForest, 8 pm. Also Sunday, Sept. 4, 4 pm
The annual festival, brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison and his wife, violinist Rose Mary Harbison, winds down with one more weekend of music, an all-Bach program.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Midwestern entertainers of the burlesque, drag and bellydance persuasion perform around the theme of geek culture, so the routines have geeky themes like Star Trek and Mario Brothers. If you thought Trek couldn't get any sexier, you thought wrong. Madison electronica star Matt Fanale emcees.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
This instrumental group from NYC melds the sounds of Ethiopian music, Afrobeat, retro funk and classic soul, landing singles on HBO's Entourage and commercials for the NFL Network. With .357 String Band and Taalbi Brothers.
Majestic Theatre, 10 pm
In addition to being one of the reigning masters of instrumental hip-hop, RJD2 crafted the award-winning Mad Men theme song and delved into funk on his 2010 album, The Colossus. With Man Mantis.
NOTEWORTHY: Geronimo surrenders, 1886.
BIRTHDAYS: Golf legend Tom Watson, 1949; pregnant pop siren Beyoncé Knowles, 1981.
Elvehjem Park Shelter, 2-9 pm
Local performers Whiskey Doll, Phocus, the Mustache, Art of the MC and New Speedway Players fill the east-side park with music, and the Goodman Community Center coffers with well-deserved donations, at this beneficent event.
Lake Mendota's southern shore, 7:45 pm
A parade of lighted boats makes its way from Maple Bluff Beach to UW Memorial Union in this annual event. Watch from parks along the route, then check out the fireworks.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 10:15 pm
After watching this Brooklyn six-piece perform at South by Southwest in 2008, NME declared that their live show is among the best in the world. In addition to trading instruments mid-set -- and sometimes mid-song -- the indie rockers amuse fans by playing cover songs in a host of unexpected styles.
NOTEWORTHY: Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, wins heavyweight boxing gold medal at Rome Olympics, 1960. BIRTHDAYS: Est founder Werner Erhard, 1935; actor/Mr. Mom Michael Keaton, 1951.
Madison Labor Temple, noon-5:30 pm
If you've postponed checking out the yearly salute to working men and women, 2011 might be a good year to go. And how better to celebrate Labor Day than to keep it real at the Labor Temple? Arise, ye workers, and enjoy food, fun activities for the kids, the magician Scott the Great and the music of West Side Andy/Mel Ford Band and Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound.
UW Humanities Building's Mills Hall, 7:30 pm
The UW School of Music's traditional kickoff concert features the Karps, Madison's musical dynasty. At this 35th anniversary edition, various Karps and their guest instrumentalists play music of Sol Cohen, Schumann, Brahms and Zdenek Fibich.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
Morello, the Grammy-winning guitarist from Rage Against the Machine, and McIlrath, lead singer of Rise Against, return to Madison to support Wisconsin's workers-rights campaign. Proceeds will benefit the Nation Institute, and Morello will celebrate the release of his new EP, Union Town, a collection of songs inspired by his performance at February's protests against Gov. Walker's bill to end collective bargaining rights for public employees. With Wayne Kramer.