Various galleries, 5-9 pm
The semiannual orgy of art encourages vistors to take in the wares at 54 local galleries, including major institutions like the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, whose First Friday event features a gallery talk about the big George Segal exhibit (and the music of Lou & Peter Berryman). Other highlights: paintings by Yueh-Mei Cheng at Grace Chosy Gallery; works by S.V. Medaris, Audrey Christie and Alicia Rhea in "Seasons on the Farm" at Madison Central Library; mixed-media images by Cate Loughran at Common Wealth Gallery.
Kanopy Dance Company
Overture Center's Promenade Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Oct. 3 & 4
Featuring contributions by seven choreographers, "After the Fall: A Dance Opera in 2 Acts" expands on Kanopy work going back to 2000. The performance is, we hear, about a character named Mohawk Man who falls through a looking glass into a world controlled by the Puppet Master.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 7:30 pm
The Maine-based singer-songwriter with the impossibly plaintive pipes gives a long shout-out to Meg White, of all people, on his soon-to-be-released new CD, Gossip in the Grain. If you're looking to get your soul stirred, LaMontagne's your man. Leona Naess opens.
Walk With a Vampire
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (2 & 8 pm) and Thursday (8 pm), Oct. 4 & 9
The latest from Encore Studio for the Performing Arst, the theater company for people with disabilities, concerns a developmentally disabled woman who implicates a friend in a bloody crime.
Frequency, 9:30 pm
Is there still a place in this mean old world for fuck-all rock that strikes a chord with both contemporary stoners and members of the Thin Lizzy fan club? Absolutely. Just ask the Arge, who celebrate the release of a new EP tonight with a set of unbashed rockin'. Dick the Bruiser, Tancho Tancho and Black Sam open.
Pale Young Gentlemen
Cafe Montmartre, 9:30 pm
Local heroes Pale Young Gentlemen celebrate the release of Black Forest (Tra La La), a sophisticated, career-making indie excursion that matches elegant string arrangements with front man Mike Reisenauer's elastic warbling. She Is So Beautiful/She Is So Blonde and Time Since Western open.
Annex, 9:30 pm
Wolf Parade's Scott Krug pushes and pulls the limits of lo-fi with Sunset Rubdown, an inspired side project that's heavy on stream-of-consciousness musings and on-the-fly weirdness. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone open.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
DJ Jason Hann and String Cheese Incident percussionist Michael Travis eschew canned loops and other prerecorded material in their live grooving marathons. The jam-friendly duo improvises every trippy beat, every woozy synth line. Seeker open.
Madison Area Open Art Studios
Various artists' studios, 11 am-5 pm. Also Sunday, Oct. 4, noon-5 pm
If Gallery Night wasn't enough, check out this annual event's sixth staging, in which artists from Blue Mounds to Sun Prairie and points in between open their studios to you, the art-hungry public. Hand-bound books by Lorna Aaronson? Oils and watercolors by Daina Zemliauskas? You're covered. See Cardinology.