Earnest discussions about hip-hop, humanities, neuroscience, and urban agriculture dominate this early fall semester week in Madison, with talks by Jeff Wang, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Davidson, and Will Allen, respectively. The calendar also includes live music by Shinedown, Japandroids, Michelle Shocked, Kyle Henderson's Blue-Eyed Soul, Mark Mallman, Big John Bates & the VooDoo Dollz, and Buckethead; and, the opening of the Madison World Music Festival.
NOTEWORTHY: Ground broken for United Nations headquarters in New York, 1948.
BIRTHDAYS: Kiwi actor Sam Neill, 1947; British R&B/soul singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, 1983.
UW Grainger Hall, 7 pm
This semester-long lecture series begins tonight with talks by Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, and black-culture scholar Mark Anthony Neal.
Chazen Museum of Art, 7 pm
The University of Chicago philosopher helps launch UW chancellor Biddy Martin's Year of Humanities with a talk called "Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities."
Orpheum Theatre, 7 pm
If you missed the WWE's recent smackdown at the Alliant Energy Center, you can still celebrate its soundtrack with the metal rockers of Shinedown, who penned the theme song from WWE's 2008 "Night of Champions." Or simply relive last year by rocking along to the chart-topping 2008 single "Devour." With Sick Puppies, Cavo and Adelitas Way.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Emergency surgery forced the Canadian indie garage-rock duo to cancel their first major tour this spring, despite releasing a debut (Post-Nothing) that reached No. 22 on the most mainstream of lists, Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Luckily, they're back in good health -- and good form -- and ready to rock Madison. With Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The folky college-rock sweetheart of the '80s has been going strong as of late, releasing a live gospel album in 2007 and a new rock album, Soul of My Soul, earlier this year.
NOTEWORTHY: Greenpeace est., 1971.
BIRTHDAYS: Filmmaker Oliver Stone, 1946; Prince Henry Charles Albert David Windsor, 1984.
High Noon Saloon, 6 pm
Though he used to sing in the '80s New Wave group the Producers, these days Kyle Henderson's putting a killer soul spin on pop songs from a variety of eras.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 7 pm
The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters kicks off its "Wisconsin 2050: Pioneering the Future" lecture series with Davidson, the UW-Madison psychiatry and psychology professor. He'll touch on scientific research and contemplative traditions as he discusses "Happiness 2050: Neuroscience, Education and the Compassionate World Citizen."
Frequency, 9 pm
Film soundtrack composer by day and performer by night, Mallman has tapped into some kind of renewable energy source that most of us dream of finding. In fact, this energy has led to epic performances of single songs, including one dubbed "Marathon 2," which clocked in at 52.4 hours at the Twin Cities' Turf Club five years ago. With Sunspot.
NOTEWORTHY: Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, 1620.
BIRTHDAYS: Comeback actor Mickey Rourke, 1956; Saturday Night Live alumna/film actress Molly Shannon, 1964.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Big John sings the blues, but it's some of the dirtiest, crustiest and most punked-out you're likely to come across. His partners in crime, the VooDoo Dollz burlesque troupe, add some extra sass -- and a touch of class -- to the performance. Madtown Hellcats Burlesque opens.
NOTEWORTHY: Miss New York Vanessa Williams is first African American to be crowned Miss America, 1983.
BIRTHDAYS: Aussie filmmaker Baz Luhrman, 1962; rapper Doug E. Fresh, 1966.
Goodman Community Center, 6 pm
In this preview of the Wisconsin Book Festival, the Milwaukee farmer and activist talks about his pioneering work in urban agriculture.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 6 pm
This year's headliner is the Kusun Ensemble, a 10-member group of Ghanian singers, dancers and instrumentalists that delves into the improvisational side of jazz and modern dance, plus their country's colorful musical history. Also playing: Kepa Junkera and Red Baraat Festival (see preview).
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
Multi-instrumentalist Brian Patrick Carroll is as well known for his guitar skills as wearing a KFC bucket on his head. Guitar World has honored him at least twice on best-of lists, including its "25 all-time weirdest guitarists" list and its "50 fastest guitarists of all time" list. Heatbox and Wolff open.