Art Cart, through Aug, 18, various locations/times: The Art Cart continues to be one of the most joyous activities in town and still, absolutely free to all. The mobile studio, co-sponsored by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Madison School & Community Recreation, shows up with all the needed art supplies and plenty of inspiration at parks all over Madison on Monday-Friday, and surrounding communities on Saturday. Yes, it’s for kids — the only way you can make it in as an adult is to accompany someone younger than 6. For ages 3 and up. Find the full summer’s schedule at mmoca.org.
Universal Sound, Monday, June 27, Warner Park, 6 p.m.: The NewBridge Concerts at Warner Park have a nice setting — beneath “the tin cans,” with the lagoon in the background. They run through the end of July. Tonight’s offering, Universal Sound, plays from an astounding list of covers mainly from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, from Sinatra to K.C. & the Sunshine Band. There will be dancing. The series continues on Mondays from July 11-25; find the schedule at newbridgemadison.org.
Time(is): An Exploration of Black Art in Madison, through July 1, Central Library-Diane Endres Ballweg Gallery; reception 6-8 p.m., June 27: Works by four Black Madison-based artists — Sharon L. Bjyrd, Simone Lawrence, Alice Y. Traore and Teena Wilder — are currently featured in the light-filled third-floor gallery at Central Library. The wide-ranging exhibit is meant to inspire conversation and reflection. Guest curator Sophia Abrams included the artists’ individual curated book lists, a great tie-in to the library. A closing reception from 6-8 p.m. on June 27 will include artist talks and more activities.
Barenaked Ladies + Gin Blossoms + Toad the Wet Sprocket, Tuesday, June 28, Breese Stevens Field, 6 p.m.: The nostalgic-for-the-’90s show of the week is clearly this triple-headliner bill at Breese. All three bands had inescapable radio hits and many more good songs to boot, such as “One Week,” “Hey Jealousy,” “It’s All Been Done,” “Walk on the Ocean,” “Follow You Down” — if you can match song to band you were there (and can probably still sing along with them). All three bands have also remained active over the years and continued releasing new music, so this concert should be more than a hits rundown.
Greene/Drobka/Blair, Tuesday, June 28, Arts + Literature Laboratory, 7 p.m.: This concert reunites a trio of jazz composers and improvisers for the first time in years. Brooklyn-based sax player Will Greene returns to his former Madison home base to revisit a collaboration with Milwaukee percussionist Devin Drobka and Minneapolis keyboardist Matt Blair (frequent co-conspirators in bands such as Yins and Collector, and on the recent Devin Drobka Trio album Resorts). The bill also includes a duo performance by cellist Ishmael Ali and drummer Adam Shead.
The Resonant Rogues, Tuesday, June 28, The Bur Oak, 8 p.m.: The Resonant Rogues have traveled the U.S. (and farther-flung locales) learning about a diverse world of musical traditions, and incorporating what they have learned into their own winning blend of string band music. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, the duo features Sparrow on banjo, fiddle and accordion, and Menomonie, Wisconsin, native Keith Smith on guitar; both sing and write songs. Opening is Americana singer-songwriter Jason Dea West (also a Menomonie native and a former bandmate of Smith in folk-punk band Barefoot Surrender, a precursor to Lost Dog Street Band).
Stoughton Fair, June 29-July 4, Mandt Park, Stoughton: This community nonprofit event remains very 4-H- and FFA-centric, featuring youth and community livestock and other exhibits through the extra-long weekend. Evening highlights include bingo (Wednesday), tractor and truck pulls (Thursday-Friday and Monday), CC Bucking Bulls (Saturday), and fireworks (Monday). There’s also a music lineup with several intriguingly unGoogleable performers, including Irvine Bourke (Wednesday and Sunday), Jay Schroeder Band (Thursday), The Musician Billy G (Friday), John Solis and Star 67 (both Saturday), and The Britins (Sunday). Find more schedule details at stoughtonfair.com.
Concerts on the Square, Wednesdays, June 29-Aug. 3, Capitol Square, 7 p.m.: It’s not virtual; it’s not at Breese; Concerts on the Square is back on the grounds of the state Capitol once again, so get those picnic blankets ready. Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s iconic outdoor summer concert series returns to the King Street side of the Capitol Square this summer, kicking off June 29 with a revue of Motown music featuring guests Spectrum. The series continues each Wednesday through Aug. 3, weather permitting; find the full schedule and any weather-related updates at wcoconcerts.org. Read Sandy Tabachnik’s season preview here.
Squirrels to the Nuts, Wednesday, June 29, UW Cinematheque, 7 p.m.: The final fiction feature by director, writer and film historian Peter Bogdanovich, who died in January, came out as She’s Funny That Way in the mid-2010s to poor reviews and public indifference (though, it’s a more entertaining film than its rep). What was released was not Bogdanovich’s initial concept for the film, which was originally to be titled Squirrels to the Nuts; that version of the film was thought lost until City University of New York instructor James Kenney found a tape on eBay. UW Cinematheque kicks off its summer screening calendar with only the second public screening of this version of the film, joined by Kenney to discuss the film and its discovery. The summer also includes more (mostly) neglected Bogdanovich features, a series of films starring Alain Delon, and other gems; find the full schedule at cinema.wisc.edu.
Robin Jebavy + Andrew Reddington opening reception, Thursday, June 30, James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy, 6 p.m.: Coming up at the James Watrous Gallery is Seeing is Being, by Robin Jebavy, whose paintings make use of layers to create shimmering effects almost like stained glass. The exhibit is paired with Started with Good Intentions, by Andrew Reddington, who explores furniture forms in sculpture, utilizing old pieces and recreating new shapes with them. His prints will also be on display. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; the exhibits are up through Aug. 14.
National Women’s Music Festival, June 30-July 3, Marriott-West, Middleton: Founded in 1974 at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana to counter the under-representation of women in the music business, the National Women’s Music Festival grew into an annual can’t-miss event, which has made its home in Middleton since 2008. Following a pair of virtual events it returns to the Good Neighbor City for four days of concerts, workshops, speakers, film screenings, and more. The lineup includes legends such as Pamela Means and Melanie DeMore, rising artists e nina jay and Hardened & Tempered, comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer and many others. Find tickets and schedules at nwmf.info.
Sagashus T. Levingston, Thursday, June 30, Mystery to Me, 6 p.m.: The 2017 coffee table book Infamous Mothers: Women who’ve gone through the belly of hell…and brought something good back profiled more than 20 Madison-area women who “mothered from the margins of society.” Author Sagashus T. Levingston, a doctoral candidate at UW-Madison, returns with Covet: The “Disrespectful” Health and Wellness Journal, Volume One, a journal designed to guide women through three months of self-discovery and self-esteem. Levingston will discuss the new book at this Mystery to Me event; register here to attend in person, or here for a Crowdcast webinar.
Back Porch Concerts, Thursday, June 30, Dean House, 7 p.m.: The Back Porch Concerts kick off for the season with the Waunakee Big Band, a large ensemble that plays jazz, swing and blues. It’s a perfect combination with the backdrop of the Dean House, an historic pioneer home on the edge of the Monona Golf Course. Concerts take place weekly on Thursdays through Aug. 4, capped with an old fashioned ice cream social.
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.