Feed or flea – Isthmus
Effective Aug. 19, Public Health Madison and Dane County reinstated a face covering requirement for public indoor spaces, which may affect whether some performances or events can take place. Many venues and businesses also have instituted requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test to attend events. Before heading out, check for current guidelines on the relevant business websites or social media accounts.
CCBC Book Sale, Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 2-4, UW Teacher Education Building-Room 401: The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, or CCBC, is a noncirculating research library and a Shangri-La for anyone interested in children’s and young adult literature. Part of the School of Education, the center evaluates and recommends children’s books, works with schools and libraries and sponsors discussions and public lectures. This book sale fundraiser features thousands of new and gently used books for children and teens; most were published in the last three years. This is the first CCBC book sale in more than two years, so bring your tote bags. Books are $4 (hardcover) or $2 (paperback) and the final hour each day is a $5 bag sale for a plastic grocery bag-size haul. The sale takes place from noon-8 p.m. on Sept. 2, noon-6 p.m. on Sept. 3, and 8 a.m.-noon on Sept. 4 at 401 Teacher Education Building, 225 N. Mills St.
Robert J., Thursday, Sept. 2, Buck & Honey’s, Sun Prairie, 5:30 p.m.: Robert J. Conway has been a part of the Madison music landscape for decades, both as a solo performer and in bands such as The Moon Gypsies and Rowdy Prairie Dogs. Earlier this summer Robert J. announced a move to Connecticut, and the last shows before that happens are taking place up until Labor Day. In addition to this Sept. 2 show, you can find Robert J. solo at 5 p.m. on Sept. 4 at 1855 Saloon, Cottage Grove; and with The Moon Gypsies at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Capital Brewery, Middleton, and at 2 p.m. on Sept. 6 at Christy’s Landing. (Hot tip: The new Rowdy Prairie Dogs album, Barland, isn’t out until later in September, but you can get a copy ahead of time at shows.) Robert J. is also auctioning his long-serving acoustic guitar as a fundraiser for MAMA Cares; bidding closes at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 3. Find more info at robertj.com.
Moors & McCumber, Thursday, Sept. 2, The Bur Oak, 7:30 p.m.: This duo harks back to the harmony-folk sound of the 1970s, with a modern Americana spin. James Moors (who lives in Superior, Wisconsin) and Kort McCumber are on tour ahead of the October release of their seventh studio album, Survival, and visit Madison for a Music Makes a Difference concert to benefit The Rainbow Project. With local singer-songwriter Hannah Busse. Tickets here.
Summerfest, Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18, Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee: Are you ready for Megan Thee Stallion…Dave Chappelle…Guns N’ Roses…Run the Jewels…and about 1,000 more performers? It could only be Summerfest, still the biggest music festival of them all. The format is a bit different in 2021, with the fest broken up over three weekends in September rather than during its traditional midsummer perch. Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test are required for entry during the festival, or for any of the American Family Amphitheater concerts scheduled adjacent to fest days. Find all the details at summerfest.com.
Comedy at the Cabaret, Thursday, Sept. 2, North Street Cabaret, 7:30 p.m.: This monthly stand-up series hosted by Allie Lindsay established a dedicated following at the cozy confines of the Cabaret in the Before Times. Comedy at the Cabaret makes its return to in-person action this month with a show featuring a headlining set by Sasha Rosser (Madison Indie Comedy). The bill also includes Nick Ledesma, David Schendlinger and Samara Suomi, as well as host Lindsay and music by the multi-talented Jake Snell. Tickets here.
Verona Hometown Days, Friday-Sunday, Sept. 3-5, Hometown Festival Park, Verona: We hope by now you have found a way to be fully back in summer festival mode in a safe and comfortable manner. One of the most comfortable and kid-friendliest area fests is Verona’s annual fete, which along with a carnival features a petting zoo and pony rides for the young ones plus a Sunday morning kids’ fun run (register 11:15 a.m., Sugar River United Methodist Church). The weekend also features fireworks (9:30 p.m. Friday) and favorite regional bands such as WheelHouse (8 p.m. Friday) and Your Mom (4 p.m. Saturday). Find the full schedule at veronahometowndays.com.
Party in the Park + Party in the Dark, Friday, Sept. 3, James Madison Park, 2 p.m.; UW Memorial Union Terrace, 7:30 p.m.: “Sensitive” by Serena Isioma blew up the internet in 2020, racking up millions of streams and inspiring a pile of TikTok videos. Their newest single, “Really, Really,” is a seemingly effortless blending of pop, soul and hip-hop — like most of Isioma’s music so far. They rocked Lollapalooza in July, and the Terrace is sure to be similarly blown away by this Chicago-based songwriter. Also on the bill at Party in the Dark is Minneapolis up-and-comer Miloe and Chicago rockers Moontype. Earlier in the day, WSUM’s Party in the Park returns, with music by Friko, Deryk G., Gentle Brontosaurus and Silk Stranger.
Summer is Dead, Friday-Sunday, Sept. 3-5, Driftless Music Gardens, Yuba: Driftless Music Gardens is sending off summer the only way it knows how: with a three day music festival featuring artists playing music by The Grateful Dead (Seaside Zoo, High & Rising, People Brothers Band and Chicken Wire Empire), plus sets featuring tributes to the Allman Brothers Band, Neil Young and Bob Marley. Located in Yuba, the venue also offers opportunities for camping, fishing and outdoor activities of all kinds; it was founded by members of The People Brothers Band, who will perform on Saturday night. Chicken Wire Empire, a Milwaukee contemporary bluegrass band, will close out the weekend with back-to-back sets on Sunday night. Purchase tickets for the festival and campground online.
UW Cinematheque, Friday-Saturday, Sept. 3-4, 4070 Vilas Hall, 7 p.m.: UW-Madison’s real film cinema turns on the projector for the fall season once more. Friday boasts the first Madison theatrical screening of Roy Andersson’s About Endlessness, a satirical, experimental construction utilizing a locked-down camera and deep focus long takes. That coup is topped (arguably) on Saturday with a showing of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, the first time a 35mm print of the film has been screened in Madison. In Tarantino’s 2019 film, Leo and Brad take on Hollywood of the late 1960s and the Manson family. All Cinematheque screenings are free and open to the public. See the complete fall schedule at cinema.wisc.edu.
Grace Pettis, Friday, Sept. 3, The Bur Oak, 8 p.m.: “Thank god for the working woman, this country is run by the working woman,” Grace Pettis sings in the title track of the new album Working Woman. And the album is indeed a tribute to the female workforce from top to bottom, featuring an entirely female and non-binary band, mixer and producer. The second track, “Landon,” featuring the Indigo Girls, serves as an apology to Pettis’s best friend for not being there for him when he came out as gay after high school. The song’s video debuted in Rolling Stone. The country singer is joined on the bill by Minnesota singer-songwriter Rachael Kilgour. Purchase tickets online.
Midwest Vintage Flea, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 4-5, Garver Feed Mill, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Whether you’re heading back to school or the office, or just need a fall wardrobe refresh, shop for unique vintage clothing at Midwest Vintage Flea. Forty stores and independent vendors from across the Midwest will gather at Garver Feed Mill to sell their one-of-a-kind pieces. From 19th century fashion to Y2K streetwear, this Labor Day weekend sale will have it all. The event is hosted by Madison independent vintage clothing store the Good Style Shop.
Taste of Madison Off the Square, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 4-5, Breese Stevens Field, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.: Taste of Madison has fashioned a new iteration of its annual event during these unprecedented times. As usual, there’s diverse food offerings and beverages from more than 40 Madison restaurants, food carts and catering companies, and live music, mostly by local favorites. But to aid in keeping attendance numbers at safe levels for social distancing, this year’s event features ticket sales ($10) in three-hour blocks of time. Find tickets, a complete list of vendors, and the music schedule at tasteofmadison.com.
Suzanne Caporael, through Sept. 12, Chazen Museum of Art: American artist Suzanne Caporael was a Guggenheim Fellowship awardee in 2020. A new exhibit at the Chazen, “The Nature of Things,” features paintings and related prints (published by Tandem Press) from three decades of Caporael’s work drawn from the museum’s permanent collection. The museum is currently open Tuesdays-Fridays, and reservations are recommended.
Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 4-5, Festival Barn, 4 p.m.: The final weekend of performances at the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival features the mighty cello. “Strings” includes works by Menotti, Vivaldi and fest co-artistic director John Harbison. While attendance in person is limited, the concerts will also be available to stream the following day and through Sept. 13. Find tickets and program info at tokencreekfestival.org.
Rodrigo Villanueva Experimental Jazz Trio, Sunday, Sept. 5, town of Wyoming Garage, 2:30 p.m.: Artist John Himmelfarb began the series now known as “Trucks” in 2004; what started with drawings eventually came to include real-life trucks reimagined as mobile sculptures. One of them, a 1946 International KB-3 repurposed as a musical instrument, will be employed by percussionist Rodrigo Villanueva, bassist John Christensen, guitarist Fareed Haque, and guests in a Rural Musicians Forum concert at the town of Wyoming garage, 6294 State Highway 23, north of Spring Green. The ensemble will play both arrangements of jazz standards and new compositions by Villanueva created for the KB-3. Find tickets here.
Shifting Gears, Monday, Sept. 6, along city bike paths, noon-6 p.m.: Shifting Gears: Bike Path Dance Festival is the first large-scale work for the new Isthmus Dance Collective, composed of Madison-based dance professionals. Performances will take place at Wirth Court Park, McPike Park and Olin Park (at “the vantage,” the nearest point to downtown, with the city’s skyline as a backdrop). It will feature pieces that showcase contemporary ballet, contemporary/modern, aerial, contact improv, tap, flamenco, Bharatanatyam (classical Indian dance), and indigenous Mexican, Afro-Peruvian, Mongolian, Irish and Scottish Highland dance, collaborating with other area dance groups. More info at isthmusdancecollective.org.
J.S. Dewes + Christopher Paolini, Monday, Sept. 6, online, 6 p.m.: J.S. Dewes continues “The Divide Series” with its second installment, The Exiled Fleet, in which main character Adequin Rake and the Sentinels must escape the edge of the universe (known as The Divide) in order to survive. Dewes is joined by Christopher Paolini, author of “The Inheritance Cycle” and most recently To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. This talk, hosted by A Room of One’s Own, is on Crowdcast; register here for a link.
The Grouvin Brothers, Tuesday, Sept. 7, Olin Park Pavilion, 6 p.m.: The Friends of Olin Turville usually hosts a concert series each spring, the last two of which were postponed, but they are back with another round of excellent local bands for listening or dancing this September. The series kicks off with The Grouvin Brothers, who mix up honky tonk, blues, Americana and more; the band features a potent mix of local players including Frankie Lee, Doug DeRosa, Brian Bentley and others. The series continues Tuesdays with Cris Plata & Extra Hot, Sept. 14; The Whiskey Farm, Sept. 21; and Ladies Must Swing, Sept. 28.
American Aquarium, Tuesday, Sept. 7, High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.: Rolling Stone calls American Aquarium frontman BJ Barham a “Southern Springsteen,” and it’s easy to hear why. For Lamentations, the band’s Shooter Jennnings-produced 2020 album, Barham took influences from the Old Testament Book of Lamentations and wrote about a broken America and, in his words, “all the things that lead a human being to doubt something.” To counteract that somberness, the band earlier this year released a surprise album of fun covers featuring songs by such ’90s country favorites as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Faith Hill and Toby Keith. American Aquarium formed in 2006 and proves that alt-country (or whatever you want to call it) is still alive and kicking. Katie Pruitt — whose 2020 debut album, Expectations, explores the struggles of growing up gay in the Christian south — will open the show.
Searchlights, Wednesday, Sept. 8, High Noon Saloon, 7:30 p.m.: Get ready for a full night of ambient music and experimental instrumentals from three regional artists and bands. The Wisconsin post-rock trio Searchlights makes enthralling music using only bass, guitar, drums, and distant and dreamy vocals. Lakewaves is the solo stage name for Graham Marlowe, Madison-based keyboardist, musician and composer, who combines electronics and other instruments into experimental sounds. Genre-bending artist Def Sonic produces a hypnotic folk vibe featuring melodic vocals.
Great Wisconsin Quilt Show, Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 9-11, online: The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show is virtual again this year, but the quilts are real. Buoyed somewhat by the successful translation of last year’s show to a digital event, organizers opted to play it safe and stay online in 2021. There’s a vendor mall and a curated showcase of prior-year Quilt Contest winners as well as exhibits featuring this year’s quilt challenges, but the heart of the show is a slate of educational sessions ranging from activism to exercising and lots of practical advice. Participating is free, but donations are appreciated. Full schedule and workshop registration at quiltshow.com.
Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles? Sept. 9-26, Overture Center-Playhouse: In the mid-1960s, poet and playwright Adrienne Kennedy co-wrote a stage adaptation of two books written by John Lennon. Titled after the first, In His Own Write, the play premiered in London later that decade. Kennedy’s memories of the time are also now a play, written in an interview-style format with her son, Adam Kennedy. Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles? is making its regional premiere in a production by Forward Theater. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, plus 2 p.m. on Sept. 18 and 25.
Punkie Johnson, Thursday, Sept. 9, Comedy on State, 7:30 p.m.: As a regular performer at the Comedy Store in Hollywood and a featured player on the just-completed season of Saturday Night Live, up-and-coming stand-up comedian Punkie Johnson is making a name for herself across the country. The comedian’s fresh perspective and raw honesty make for a hilarious combination. Join Johnson for a laugh (or 20) at Comedy on State at this three-night stand rescheduled from June. ALSO: Friday-Saturday, Sept. 10-11, 7:30 & 10 p.m.