Rebulú, Monday, Aug. 15, McKee Farms Park, Fitchburg, 6 p.m.: Afro-Cuban sounds will fill the air at McKee Farms when Rebulú takes the stage for the final 2022 edition of Concerts at McKee. The Madison-based group, led by drummer-vocalist Francisco Martinez, was an instant favorite of listeners and dancers after coming together in 2019. Warning: It's hard to sit still when Rebulú's grooves fill your ears. A youth band from Madison Music Foundry opens the show, and various food/beverage carts will be on hand for the evening.
A Conversation About Election Integrity in Wisconsin, Tuesday, Aug. 16, Zoom, noon: If you are expecting a program about how the 2022 primary election was stolen from so-and-so, this is not the talk for you. This livestream features Lake Geneva (and former Stoughton) City Clerk Lana Kropf and Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meghan Wolfe discussing the state's election system, including checks and balances to help prevent fraud, and ongoing efforts to keep the public informed of rule changes. The talk will be moderated by former La Crosse Tribune executive editor Rusty Cunningham, and it's sponsored by LeaderEthics Wisconsin, a nonprofit advocating for the importance of truthful, transparent and unifying government officials. Register here for the Zoom link.
Madison Black Restaurant Week, Aug. 14-21: A chance to support Black-owned businesses like these restaurants isn't a hard sell, especially since what you get is some of the best food in the county. African, African American and Caribbean cuisines are all on the big menu. At the Food Tasting Jamboree (2-5 p. m., Aug. 21, in the parking lot of FEED Kitchens, 1219 N. Sherman Ave.) the spotlight also shines on food purveyors you might not get a chance to eat at regularly because they're caterers or food carts, with $5 tasting plates available. Voting for favorites is new this year, and details on that and participating purveyors can be found at madisonblackchamber.com.
Marcus Porter, Tuesday, Aug. 16, Capitol Square, noon: The Madison Central Business Improvement District's YOUR Lunch Time LIVE concert series has presented music this summer from a wide range of genres; for the season's final concert, it's hip-hop's turn in the spotlight. Madison producer and performer Marcus Porter brings indie R&B grooves and raps that seek to uplift the spirit.
David Maraniss, Tuesday, Aug. 16, Central Library, 7 p.m.: Pulitzer Prize winner and part-time Madison resident David Maraniss sure knows how to pick subjects for his engrossing sports biographies: Vince Lombardi (When Pride Still Mattered), Roberto Clemente (Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero), and now Jim Thorpe. In Path Lit By Lightning, Maraniss’s massive new book, he deconstructs the myth surrounding arguably America’s greatest all-around athlete — a Native American whose misunderstood life was an endless struggle against the odds. Publishers Weekly hails the book as an “essential work [that] restores a legendary figure to his rightful place in history.” If you can’t make it to this Wisconsin Book Festival event, Maraniss also will be at First Unitarian Society for a talk hosted by Mystery to Me and the Cap Times IdeaFest on Sept. 20.
Hamilton, Aug. 9-21, Overture Hall: In the seven years since Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking hip-hop musical and history lesson hit Broadway, Hamilton has become a classic of American musical theater. Alexander Hamilton, the ten-dollar founding father without a father, takes his place alongside Jefferson and Madison, and the musical itself its place alongside giants like West Side Story as the perfect blend of street and stage. Shows at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday; check ticket availability at overture.org.
Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival, Aug. 17-21, Angell Park and downtown Sun Prairie: Visitors come from all over Wisconsin and even other states to attend this celebration of Sun Prairie’s agricultural roots, which also has been named one of Wisconsin's best food festivals. The five-day event begins with a parade and live music Wednesday evening in downtown Sun Prairie; the fest proper at Angell Park starts Thursday with carnival rides. Friday's festivities ramp up with food vendors, beer and live music. The fun continues with even more activities on Saturday and Sunday, which also will be the only days that cooked sweet corn will be served (from noon to 6 p.m.). Uncooked corn will be available by the bagful, too. More details at sunprairiecornfest.com.
Jazz at Five, Wednesdays, Aug. 17-31, The Forum, 4 p.m.: The annual Jazz at Five series, which started Aug. 3, is again dividing time between Fitchburg and the Capitol Square. The party moves to the top of State Street starting Aug. 17 with sets by Johannes Wallman & Precarious Towers and the Chris Rottmayer Quartet. Aug. 24 features swinging big bands Ladies Must Swing and the DB Orchestra, and the series concludes on Aug. 31 with a double bill of ensembles led by trumpeter Chad McCullough, his eponymous quartet and the UW-Madison Jazz Ensemble All-Stars. Youth bands open the concerts at The Forum. Find more info at jazzatfive.org.
Deanna Reed-Foster, Gina Daniels and Charence Higgins in the American Players Theatre production "A Raisin in the Sun."
Deanna Reed-Foster, left, Gina Daniels and Charence Higgins in the American Players Theatre production 'A Raisin in the Sun,' 2022.
A Raisin in the Sun, Aug. 5-Oct. 7, American Players Theatre, Spring Green: A family in 1950s Chicago wrestles with big questions of race, identity, racism, and what to do with a life insurance check — and it is still relevant today. Tasia A. Jones directs Lorraine Hansberry's iconic drama A Raisin in the Sun, which joins other diverse plays in this APT season that proves the company knows how to produce more than just Shakespeare. Find the schedule and tickets at americanplayers.org.
courtesy The SoapGirls
The SoapGirls on stairs with guitars.
The SoapGirls, Wednesday, Aug. 17, Crucible, 7 p.m.: Alternative rock ‘n roll and post grunge duo The SoapGirls is on their worldwide “Don’t Give A Damn Tour.” Born in France and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, sisters Camille and Noemie Debray got their start as street performers at ages 8 and 9; they released their fourth album, In My Skin, in June. The duo is already legendary for their live performances, and kept it up through the pandemic with more than 400 livestreams. The SoapGirls will be joined by Madison pop-rock band KMRC and several burlesque performers.
Andy Narell + Panchromatic Caribbean Jazz, Wednesday, Aug. 17, Bur Oak, 8 p.m.: Trinidad steel drum sensation Andy Narell has worked across genres in his career and with artists ranging from Bela Fleck to Tito Puente. Narell is in Madison as artist-in-residence with the Sessions at McPike Park, and wraps up his time here by collaborating with Panchromatic Caribbean Jazz, an ensemble pulled from the larger Panchromatic Steel to focus on improvisational music. Find advance tickets for this BlueStem Jazz concert here. The night before, Narell will also give a lecture and participate in a jam session as part of the New Breed Jazz Jam (9 p.m., Aug. 16, Robinia Courtyard).
Eat Local, Give Local, Thursday, Aug. 18, various Dane County restaurants: Supporting local businesses is as simple as eating at one this Thursday. Stop in for a bite at one of more than 40 participating restaurants in Dane County and you'll also support Dane Buy Local; 10 percent of your bill will be donated as part of its annual Eat Local, Give Local day. The nonprofit Dane Buy Local works to raise awareness of how building a vibrant local economy benefits everyone. In other words, think local first for goods and services. Find a complete list of participating restaurants at danebuylocal.com.
The Sessions at McPike, Aug. 18-19, McPike Park, 5-10 p.m.: Summer in Madison is good, and the music is terrific, and frequently, free. This is true of the Sessions at McPike Park — these volunteer-run events benefit area nonprofit organizations, this week NAMI Dane County and WORT-FM. Thursday's “Biscuits and Gravy Session” features Madtown Mannish Boys (5 p.m.), Vandoliers (6:30 p.m.), and Lilly Hiatt (8:30 p.m. and yes, she’s the daughter of John Hiatt), plus Annie & the Oakies in the tent between main stage sets; Friday's “Kiki's Fourth Righteous Session” has The Low Czars (Isthmus calendar editor Bob Koch is a member) at 5 p.m., Split Single (the solo project of Superchunk touring bassist Jason Narducy) at 6:30 p.m., and Aaron Lee Tasjan at 8:30 p.m., with the Bill Roberts Combo holding court in the tent. The Sessions wrap up Aug. 31-Sept. 1; visit sessionsatmcpike.org for the complete schedule of events.
Sun Prairie Civic Theatre, Aug. 18-21, Sun Prairie East High School: More than 100 young actors are involved in this summer's double feature by and for kids of all ages from Sun Prairie Civic Theatre. Grades 3-8 star in a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, and grades 9-12 take on another musical, Disney's Newsies. Performances are at 7 p.m., Aug. 18-19; 2 and 7 p.m., Aug. 21; and noon and 4 p.m., Aug. 22. Find advance tickets at sunprairiecivictheatre.com or at the Piano Gal Shop.
Able Baker + New Primals, Thursday, Aug. 18, High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.: Madison's own dreamy, strummy, indelibly catchy Able Baker is on the bill with Minneapolis's noisier New Primals, Milwaukee indie rockers The Nile Club and Madison's lo-fi Mickey Sunshine. This looks to be a terrific quadruple bill of young upper Midwest bands.
We hope it’s handy for you to find Picks grouped together in a single post. The individual Picks can still be found in the usual places online: collected here, and sprinkled throughout all the events.
Note: Many venues and businesses may continue to maintain individual requirements for masking, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or a negative test for entry. Before heading out for any in-person event, confirm it is still taking place and check for any attendance guidelines on the relevant business websites or social media accounts.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to correct the location for David Maraniss' September event.