Progressive politics, music at one terrace, and a cheering crowd-lined 140.6 race that starts and ends at the other terrace are a fair distillation of life in Madison, and are all wrapped up into a busy weekend with Fighting Bob Fest, Snake on the Lake Fest, and the Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon. The calendar also includes: the Quilt Expo; a June Gengler gallery show and the Clothing, Culture & Context in South Asia exhibit; the Monsters of Poetry slam and a show by Will Durst; a performance by Stanislava Varshavski & Diana Shapiro; the Color Field Festival; the electroLUST dance party; the Honor the Earth benefit with the Indigo Girls; more live music from Cas Haley, Local H, DJ Jonathan Toubin, and Jim James; and, the Capital K9s Dog Paddle.
NOTEWORTHY: Puritans settle Salem, 1628.
Alliant Energy Center-Exhibition Hall, 9 am-6 pm. Also Thursday (9 am-6 pm) & Saturday (9 am-5 pm), Sept. 5 & 7
Wisconsin Public Television's event allows you to keep up to date with the latest in fabric. Expect lectures, vendors and a dazzling exhibition of quilts.
Absolutely Art, through Sept. 30. Reception: 5-9 pm
Gengler practices Scherenschnitte, a Swiss and German art form that involves cutting intricate designs into a single sheet of black paper. Tales from nursery rhymes and operas often take shape in her meticulously crafted pieces, which have been shown at the Scherenschnitte Museum in Vreden, Germany.
UW Design Gallery, 1300 Linden Dr., through Oct. 20. Reception: 5-7 pm
Learn how gender, ethnicity, politics and religion are woven together on the Indian subcontinent at this exhibition of saris, tunics and other beautiful items from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. Included are examples of intricately embroidered Kashmir shawls from the 19th century and pieces that illustrate the contemporary dialogue between Hindu and Muslim styles of dress.
Audio for the Arts, 7 pm. Also Saturday, Sept. 7, Capitol Square, noon, and Frequency, 7 pm
This Friday, the downtown recording studio will host a set by experimental UW percussion group Clocks in Motion, followed by the Color Field Ensemble's performance of new works by Ryan Carter, Ravi Kittappa and Chris Cerrone. Saturday includes a world premiere of Tony Marasco's new work at noon, followed by an evening performance by Brothers Grimm and the Anubis Saxophone Quartet (see Music).
Dragonfly Lounge, 7 pm
Carroll University instructor B.J. Best, Ploughshares contributor Rebecca Morgan Frank and MAKE poetry editor Joel Craig read original verse about topics ranging from world travel to 8-bit Nintendo games.
>Kickoff: Barrymore Theatre, 7 pm. Main event: Saturday, Sept. 7, Alliant Energy Center Coliseum, 8:30 am-5 pm
Progressive activists gather in an impressive show of strength, with speakers including Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Mayor Paul Soglin, Jim Hightower and lots more. The Friday kickoff features Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
In addition to harmonizing on popular folk-rock tracks like "Galileo" in the '90s, Indigo Girls became known for their activism by defending LGBT rights and cofounding Honor the Earth, a nonprofit that fights for Native Americans and the environment. With Kelly Jackson.
Redamte Coffee House, 9 pm
Hailing from Paris, Texas, this performer combines soul, blues, funk and reggae for a summertime sound filled with sweet vocals and guitar. With Gabe Burdulis.
Majesitc Theatre, 9 pm
Enterprising local DJs Wyatt Agard, Manny Fresh, Dyrekt and WhiteRabbit unleash techno, trap and dubstep on a crowd of dance-crazed souls dressed to the nines.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Known for energetic, creative live shows, these alt-rockers have handed out "ballots" resembling sushi menus at all-request performances. At other shows, they've allowed fans to select an album name out of a hat to be played from start to finish. With Fort Wilson Riot.
NOTEWORTHY: ESPN debuts, 1979.
Farley's House of Pianos, 7:30 pm
After selling out a concert of works by Ravel and Rachmaninoff at Farley's last summer, the piano duo return to perform more pieces for four hands. Selections by Schubert, Stravinsky and Mozart are on the docket this time.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 8 pm
Grammy-nominated singer, rapper, songwriter and producer Ryan Leslie headlines this free annual event hosted by the UW's student radio station, WSUM. On tap are tunes from his new album, Black Mozart, and lots of frosty Terrace beer. With Psymun & K.Raydio, Lord of the Fly, CrashPREZ and Dada x Oppi.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
Known for throwing "the raddest underground rock parties in New York," according to Paper, this musical mastermind will rouse the Sett from its summer slumber with his New York Night Train Soul Clap and Dance Off.
Monona Terrace, 7 am
Viewers will have a first-rate perch to watch this triple torture fest, which starts with a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Monona, followed by a 112-mile bike race through the hills of Dane County and ending with a grueling full marathon that finishes at Martin Luther King Boulevard. Participants get major bragging rights and permission to wear trinkets with the iconic Ironman "M" logo.
Goodman Pool, 10 am-4 pm
Wet dog alert: Lassie and Fido can splish and splash to their hearts' content in this annual benefit for the Madison Police Department's canine unit. They'll compete to see who can jump the longest, retrieve the fastest and perform the best pool tricks.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The Milwaukee-raised political satirist, television commentator and standup comedian visits Madison with his latest bipartisan laugh-fest, which highlights the most absurd aspects of American democracy (or lack thereof).
Majestic Theatre, 8:30 pm
Expect to hear enthralling tales from the road: My Morning Jacket's frontman shares his first solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, after a series of gigs with Wilco and Bob Dylan. (See Tour Stop.) With Basia Bulat.