August 2011 Event Highlights

It's summer lovin' throughout the local arts scene

Dane Dances

Dane Dances

We all want to be outside in August, soaking up summer and the festivals, concerts and plays it brings. And indoors there’s plenty of bold art to match this hot month.

In the Groove

Where’s the place to be on a Friday evening in August? Answer: On the Monona Terrace rooftop, grooving to the sounds of local and regional bands. Now in its twelfth year, Dane Dances (August 5–26, welcomes three thousand music lovers—not to mention the wide array of high-energy funk, Latin, jazz, reggae and R&B groups that get them out dancing—each week of its monthlong run.

Another weekly tradition not to be missed this month is Jazz at Five (August 10– September 7, Held each Wednesday
where State Street meets the Capitol Square, this eighteen-year-old event attracts big-name performers in the jazz world, as well as fans who appreciate a midweek music break.

Eclectic Fests

Classic and rare automobiles, fine wines and live music combine in a picturesque setting in Botham Vineyards’ sixteenth annual Vintage Celebration (August 14, At the Orton Park Festival (August 25–28,, catch
performances by Cycropia Aerial Dance Theater, Harmonious Wail and the Jimmys, plus a variety of acts from around the country.

The Clean Lakes Festival (August 27, pairs a full day of water activities at Olin Park with a full day of music; local reggae group Natty Nation wraps up the community event.Over in Sun Prairie, August means one thing: corn, corn and more corn! At the city’s Sweet Corn Festival (August 18–21,, eat your fill—more than seventy tons are served up each year—and enjoy parades, contests and music.

Music to Our Ears

Chamber music lovers look forward to this month, as it brings the annual Token Creek Chamber Music Festival (August 24– September 4, Featuring concerts, lectures, rehearsals and forums, the festival takes place in a quiet wooded setting, with musicians performing in a rustic barn-turned-recital hall. This year’s program themes range from piano and jazz to the music of Mozart and Bach. (Pictured above.)

And don’t miss the season’s last Concerts on the Square (August 3, The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s final Wednesday-evening performance on the Capitol Square is themed España! and highlights violinist Suzanne Bela and pieces by De Falla, Rodrigo and Rimsky-Korsakov.


Adventures in Color

At the James Watrous Gallery, Derrick Buisch and Tom Hollenback offer side-by-side solo exhibitions (August 23–October 9, that delve into abstraction. The bold colors and scribbly lines in Buisch’s paintings create a visual tension and a sense of humor, while Hollenback manipulates transparent acrylic into brightly hued geometric volumes.

Also vivid in color are twenty-five new paintings by artist Lois Silver. The works in Pensive Moods, Crazy Grooves at Janus Galleries (through August 31, capture the spirit of music. (Pictured below.)

Different Stages

Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle is at the heart of My Fair Lady, the latest production by Four Seasons Theatre (August 19–21, As Professor Higgins guides her through speech lessons, audiences enjoy “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and other classics from the musical, brought to life through a full pit orchestra, Edwardian costumes and talented local actors.

Mixing humor with sorrow, Rabbit Hole (August 26–September 17, is David Lindsay-Abaire’s drama about how individual members of a family deal with a tragic loss. Strollers Theatre presents this play that won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

And in honor of the Henry Vilas Zoo’s hundredth anniversary, the Madison Savoyards stage The Zoo (August 20–21,, a one-act comic opera by Arthur Sullivan (but no W.S. Gilbert), at the zoo.

Peak Performances

If you head to American Players Theatre (through October 16,, you’ll have to make some tough choices as all of the season’s plays are offered this month. Shakespeare’s The Tempest opens in the outdoor Up the Hill theater, where The Taming of the Shrew (pictured above), Blithe Spirit, The Critic and Of Mice and Men are also performed. At the indoor Touchstone Theatre, catch The Glass Menagerie, Crime and Punishment or the new The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes.

Saturday Special

After making the rounds picking up veggies and cheese curds on the Capitol Square, drop by Overture Center for the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s free Farmers’ Market Concert (August 13, This month’s installment features a stirring performance of organ music and basso profundo vocals by guest artist Glenn Miller.

New Views

Artists find inspiration everywhere, but Carmel Anderson and Joyce Koskenmaki truly examine the places, people and animals in the world around them. In Paintings from the Spirit, a new show at Grace Chosy Gallery (August 5–27,, the oil and watercolor artists pay homage to the wisdom of spirit, Anderson exploring the concept of the “wise woman” and Koskenmaki drawing parallels between animal and human lives.

In Cadence at Overture Galleries (through September 18,, Kathryn Wiggins and Jonathan McFadden remove geographic and weather symbols from their traditional contexts and reinterpret them with the help of bold lines and repeated shapes. (Pictured above.)

Meanwhile, Madison native Shannon Sullivan combines art and science in her sculptures, wall pieces and installations. In her self-titled exhibition at Paoli’s Artisan Gallery (through September 11,, she showcases works that resemble enlarged micro-scopic slides.

Dan’s the Man

What do members of the Clyde Stubblefield Band, Tony Castaneda Latin Jazz Sextet, Phat Phunktion, Honor Among Thieves, the New Breed Jazz Quintet, Black N Blue All Stars and half a dozen other local music groups have in common? A love of Steely Dan! These rock and jazz veterans join forces in Steely Dane: A Tribute to Steely Dan (August 25, at the High Noon Saloon.

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine. Find more arts and entertainment coverage in profiles and the Liberal Arts column.



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