The semiannual showcase for Madison's visual-arts scene includes special events at 50-plus galleries, museums and businesses. Highlights include a 6 pm lecture by photographer Michael Kienitz at the Chazen Museum of Art, in conjunction with his exhibition "Small Arms: Children of Conflict"; the Les Blank documentary In Heaven There Is No Beer? and live polka music at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; S.V. Medaris' pig-oriented "The Whole Hog" at the Madison Public Library-Central; a print exhibition called "Warm Rain in Mexico" at Absolutely Art; an exhibition on the theme "Dreamweavers" at Fanny Garver Gallery; and "Dendritic Visions" at Commonwealth Gallery.
Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival
Cardinal Bar, 5 pm. Also on Library Mall: Saturday (noon) & Sunday (12:30 pm), Oct. 6 & 7
No, pot advocates aren't always mellow, especially when they're pushing for legalization. The annual event features a fund-raiser on Friday, speakers and music on Saturday, and a march up State Street on Sunday.
Steve Burke Benefit
High Noon Saloon, 5 pm
Guitarist Burke has entertained a couple generations of music fans with acts like the Gomers, NoahJohn and Cement Pond. Now it's time to return the favor and help out with some of his medical bills at this special edition of Rock Star Gomeroke.
Loft at the Lussier Teen Center, 7 pm
Red's success indicates that there are still hundreds of thousands of suburban teens who embrace wall-of-sound hard rock and lulling ballads that validate the emotional cement-mixer that is adolescence.
Cafe Montmartre, 7 pm
The engaging "David Duchovny" scribe lends her quavering pipes to this "Hoe-Down for Animals" benefit for MAPPAR, the Pardeeville sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals. Don DiLego and Tim Hoger as appear.
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
The WCO's season opener includes Arensky's "Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky" and Mozart's Symphony No. 39." The highlight will be Ravel's radiant "Piano Concerto in G Major," featuring soulful Canadian pianist Janina Fialkowska.
Wisconsin Union Theater, 8 pm
The sitar master studied at the feet of her famous father, Ravi. She plays music from her album Rise, which combines traditional and western instruments.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Oct. 6 & 11
StageQ presents Paul Rudnick's comedy, which intertwines the stories of a 1940s Texas teenager and King Ludwig of Bavaria. It's filled with Rudnick's signature quirk and camp.
Pat McGee Band
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
These ultra-competent folk-rockers were shaken in 2006 by the death of their drummer. They still traffic in ringing ballads and swelling mid-tempo material, but their hopeful vibe is now tempered by moments of moodiness. Josh Kelley and the Kin open.
Sound Tribe Sector 9
Barrymore Theatre, 8:30 pm
STS9's early hybridization of electronic dance music and jam-friendly improvisation was a masterstroke of genre-blending. Their dance parties are sweaty marathon sessions. Sub-ID opens.
Annex, 9:30 pm
The country- and folk-rock hemisphere of indiedom owes a huge debt to Gelb's singular evocations of his desert home. Sidle up close and get lost in his desiccated aura. Eleni Mandell opens.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
Bombarding the jam concept with additional electrons, Future Rock burble and groove with a blend of old-school-sounding synths and organic instruments. Tonight they unbind their minds in celebration of a new CD. Eoto opens.
UW Humanities Building, through Oct. 7
The nerd-a-thon features two days' worth of videogames, science fiction, anime and role-playing games. Special guests include Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda of Chad Vader fame, fantasy novelist Sarah Monette, and Dungeons and Dragons honcho Monte Cook. Free registration at the door!
Madison Area Open Art Studios
11 am-5 pm. Also Sunday, Oct. 7, noon-5 pm
Over 150 area artists throw open their doors, allowing us to ogle their work in its natural habitat. You can find maps at galleries around town or at maoas.com.
Quivey's Grove Beer Fest
6261 Nesbitt Rd., noon-5 pm
The Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band provide the bluesy soundtrack for a sampling of 60-plus beverages from area breweries.
Pipers in the Prairie
Aldo Leopold Nature Center, 5-8:30 pm
This family-friendly fundraiser for the nature center features hors d'oeuvres, storytelling, bagpipes and drums, culminating with a magnificent bonfire.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
Gilkyson is a rootsy singer-songwriter with a knack for story-songs and dark musings that cut directly to the bone. Her recent live CD Your Town Tonight is about much more than entertainment.
Rock for Rights
Labor Temple, 7:30 pm
The Madison Arcatao Sister City Project sponsors this free event to draw attention to a recent crackdown in dissent in El Salvador. Salvadoran economist Pedro Juan Hernández speaks, with music by Marques Bovre & SoDangYang, Tony Brown and Bonobo Secret Handshake.
Madison Symphony Orchestra with Joshua Bell
Overture Center's Overture Hall, 8 pm
The star violinist joins the MSO for a one-night-only program of Bruch, Manuel Ponce and John Corigliano.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The edgy standup comedian appears regularly on late-night TV and starred in his own promising HBO sitcom. He's raw and honest and savagely self-deprecating.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pmM
Yamin was one of the more soulful American Idol contenders last year. Naturally, he got the boot. Here's you're chance to make it up to him. Josh Hoge and the Last Goodnight open.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The Annex, 9:30 pm
Is Alec Ounsworth the second coming of David Byrne? Did Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's extraordinarily successful promotion of their self-released debut CD foreshadow Radiohead's recent DIY death blow to what's left of the old music industry? Yup. No doubt, the quirky, melody-savvy music on this year's Some Loud Thunder will complete their apotheosis. Elvis Perkins opens.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm
The Shabelles return from a layoff to celebrate a new CD's worth of jaunty, minty-fresh pop music. German Art Students and Midwest Beat are also on the bill.
High Noon Saloon, 9:30 pm
Electric Six's new dance-rock explosion, "Down at McDonnelzz," gives unctuous front dude Dick Valentine a very funky showcase for his talents. No, it ain't pushing any boundaries, but it'll motivate its share of booties. Louche garage-rockers Gore Gore Girls and We Are the Fury open.
Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 pm
Big vocal hooks that at times recall Sting and a preference for syncopated rhythms made Mute Math into instant radio fodder. If "Typical" hasn't stroked your cochlea, you've been living far beneath the proverbial rock. Eisley opens.
Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers
Annex, 8 pm
The affable Arizona-bred rock 'n' rollers recently worked up a new song for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Wonder if they're brave enough to play it in Brewers/Cub country? The Alternate Routes open.