825 E. Johnson St., 5-10 pm
This new gallery is the brainchild of FoRCE, the foundation dedicated to fostering local arts. It opens as part of FoRCE's monthly arts crawl, with a collection of time-obsessed paintings by David Nielsen.
100 block of West Miffin Street & 100 block of North Carroll Street, 5-9 pm
Featuring Mercury Players Theatre, Kanopy Dance and visual artists, this happening is inspired by Hong Kong's night markets and India's art streets. It's part of the Madison Art Commission's BLINK! series of blink-and-you'll-miss-them art events.
Making Visible the Invisible
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Preview: 5:30-8 pm, in conjunction with MMoCA's First Fridays
MMoCA has put together an exhibition of abstract works from its permanent collection, featuring major names such as Alexander Calder, Ellsworth Kelly and Sol LeWitt.
Grace Chosy Gallery, through Sept. 29. Reception: 6-8 pm
Klebesadel explores our emotional connection with nature in an exhibition of striking new watercolors.
Chazen Museum of Art, through Oct. 28. Kienitz lecture: 5:30 pm. Reception: 6:30-8 pm
In an exhibition called "Small Arms -- Children of Conflict," the veteran Madison photojournalist assembles images from a 10-year period, chronicling the lives of children in war-torn areas.
Fighting Bob Fest
The political gathering offers progressive solutions for an ailing world. The kickoff event at the Barrymore Theatre (Friday, Sept. 7, 7 pm) will feature thoughtful speeches by Bob McChesney, John Nichols and Jeremy Scahill. Then comes the big day out at Baraboo's Sauk County Fairgrounds (Saturday, Sept. 8, 8:30-5:30 pm), with appearances by Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Jim Hightower, Rep. David Obey, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton and other liberal stars.
Loft in the Lussier Teen Center, 7 pm
The post-hardcore faves pound that nasty teenage angst into a bloody pulp. Damiera, Oregon Falls, Noris, and As Above So Below also give underagers something to scream about.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (4 & 8 pm), Sept. 6 & 8
Strollers Theatre presents Yasmina Reza's hit comedy, a sharply satiric tale of three guys whose friendship is threatened by an all-white painting.
Timon of Athens
American Players Theatre in Spring Green, 8 pm. Also Tuesday, Aug. 21, 7:30 pm
APT does a great job with Shakespeare's rarely performed tragedy, setting it in modern times. Brian Mani has a commanding presence as a man who squanders his wealth on fair-weather friends.
Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles
Cafe Montmartre, 9:30 pm
The Boston band excel at mixing Bakersfield country with the best of Elvis Costello & the Attractions. They're exactly the kind of twang types urbanites can get next to. The Blueheels open.
Kids in the Rotunda
Overture Center Rotunda, 9:30 am, 11 am & 1 pm
Overture's free series is one of the best reasons to be a kid (not to mention a parent) in Madison. The new season kicks off with the Figureheads, the local band that uses hip-hop to communicate positive messages.
Monroe Street Festival
10 am-5 pm
State Street's the great street, but Monroe is pretty wonderful too. Stroll the length for a day's worth of live music, juggling, demos, food and kids' activities, not to mention bargains at the charming shops.
Sun Prairie Blues Fest
Angell Park in Sun Prairie, noon-10 pm
Chicago's Wayne Baker Brooks Band cap off a full day of rollin', tumblin' and moanin' out in the open air. Shari Davis & the Hootchy Kootchy Band, Tate & the 008 Blues Band, Queenie & the Blue Cats, Cash Box Kings and Paul Filipowicz Blues Band are all slated to appear.
SoCo Music Experience
Alliant Energy Center's Willow Island, 2-10 pm
Who would have thought the Flaming Lips' tripped-out contributions to the alternative music world would survive everything from grunge to electroclash? They join Cold War Kids, Cowboy Mouth, Sick Puppies, Goat Motor, Shoeless Revolution and more at the free, alcohol-centric Soco Music Experience.
Snake on the Lake Festival
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 3 pm-midnight
WSUM-FM student radio celebrates the return of a new semester (and itself) with help from German Art Students, Stink Tank & DLO, Maps & Atlases, Pale Young Gentlemen, the 1900s, Leslie & the Ly's and the Ponys. Free!
Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival
Art in the Barn, 5927 Adams Rd. in Fitchburg, 4-10:30 pm
The Gypsy jazz legacy of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli gets a full reading from Chicagoans Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan, Parisian jazz guitar phenom Stephane Wrembel, Croatian guitarist Kruno Spisic and Madison favorites Harmonious Wail and Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble. Original visual art is also part of the creative mix.
High Noon Saloon, 7 pm
As a songwriter, Nashville's Richey has placed her folk and pop-country with major players, including Mary Chapin Carpenter and James Morrison. These days she's focusing on her own disc Chinese Boxes, a warm, jangly affair that's custom-made for the Grey's Anatomy demographic. Peter Bradley Adams opens.
Mother Fool's Coffeehouse, 8 pm
The Grammy-winning Norah Jones collaborator is covered by Cat Power, M. Ward and other exemplars of post-collegiate coolness on the soundtrack for Ethan Hawke's film The Hottest State. He couldn't have found a more intimate local venue to showcase the airy pop and folk-rock on his new album, Feel.
King Club, 9 pm
A diva for a new age, the dramatic Baker uses processed vocals to give your favorite arias indie-cabaret appeal on the new CD she's feting tonight. Totally wired local art punks Screamin Cyn Cyn & the Pons headline.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm
Texas-bred Temple took time out from graduate work to put together some strong honky-tonk and twangy rock for his new CD, Two Thousand Miles. He kicks off its release with help from Earl Foss & His Brown Derby Boys.
High Noon Saloon, 10 pm
On You Are This, the San Francisco expermentalists have jerked and clanged away from their No Wave-inspired roots and are now playing footsie with chunky trance-rock. Not a bad development at all. Thieves on Holiday, Frail by Design and antic electronic-weirdo Trin Tran open.
Wisconsin Ironman Triathlon
Begins at Law Park, 7 am
Come out to cheer your frighteningly fit friends as they bear down for a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Monona, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run that ends on the Capitol Square. (The race is best viewed from a comfy lawn chair.)
Borders Books West, 2 pm
The novelist reads from Loving Frank, which mixes fact and fiction in recounting the scandalous love affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and a client's wife, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. The story comes to a horrific end down the road in Spring Green.
Come Play With Us
Club Tavern, 3-10 pm
Why should kids have all the fun? This fund-raiser for the arts foundation FoRCE allows grownups (in teams of five) to compete for prizes in Twister, Operation and other games. Seven musical acts provide the soundtrack.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
The Austin Americana band still trot out their bluegrass-flavored take on "Gin & Juice" when the time is ripe, but these days they're also working up some crafty ballads and zydeco-shaded dance tunes. Cornmeal opens.