Night will once again outpace day as autumn formally arrives this weekend, but thankfully Madison's evenings remain replete with arts and music. The calendar includes: #MyMadisonDay, standup by John Oliver and Natasha Leggero; productions of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Lettice and Lovage, Truth Values, September Silence, and Corpus Christi; Geekesque Burlesque; performances by the Madison Symphony Orchestra; the Snake on the Lake Fest, Turkeyfest 2012, and the Joey's Song release party; more live music from Pearl & the Beard, Claudia Schmidt with Sally Rogers, The David Mayfield Parade, Red Wanting Blue, There for Tomorrow, Conor Oberst, Kathy Mattea, and Peter Mulvey; and, a St. Mary's Hospital centennial party.
NOTEWORTHY: J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit published, 1937.
Starting at 6 am, for 24 hours
Isthmus is chronicling a day in the life of Madison, with help from anyone who wants to participate. You can join the fun by documenting your own experiences that day: tweeting words and photos with the hashtag #MyMadisonDay (same hashtag for Instagram or Flickr); posting on our Facebook page (facebook.com/isthmusmadison); or emailing words, photos and YouTube video links to email@example.com. We'll pull it all into a live blog at Snake on the Lake Fest
Terrace at UW Memorial Union, 7 pm
Fear not: The only hissing on the Terrace will be that of the brat stand's grill. The most pleasant sounds will emanate from the student radio station's live-music showcase. This year's lineup includes All Tiny Creatures, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Phonetic One, One Last Run, Wild Rose Harmonic the Daze.
Overture Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (8 pm) & Sunday (2:30 pm), Sept. 22 & 23
Piano virtuoso Garrick Ohlsson joins the MSO for works by three Russian titans: Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Stravinsky (see Music).
Overture Center Playhouse, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm), Saturday (7:30 pm), Sunday (2 pm) & Wednesday (7:30 pm), Sept. 20, 22, 23 & 26
Forward Theater Company's production narrates the lives of all the U.S. presidents, pulling no punches. Expect music, dance and wild comedy.
Bartell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday & Thursday, Sept. 22 & 27, 7:30 pm
In Peter Shaffer's play, Madison Theatre Guild blurs the lines between history and fiction when a docent at a British historical home decides to spice up her tours.
Mitchell Theatre in UW Vilas Hall, 7:30 pm
Subtitled One Girl's Romp Through M.I.T.'s Male Math Maze, Gioia DeCari's one-woman show critiques the idea that innate gender differences hamper women in the sciences. DeCari brings 30 characters to life in a production that originated at the New York International Fringe Festival.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The sharp-witted Brit won an Emmy for his brilliant political satire on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. All sacred cows will be skewered in his standup routine, which he's honed on Comedy Central.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Nerdity rules at this raunchy dorkfest hosted by comedian Alan Talaga and featuring burlesque troupes Peach Pies Caburlesque, Cruel Valentine, Brew City Bombshells and more.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
These Brooklynites may look like a bunch of eyewear models, but they're actually a band of versatile indie musicians. Watch them blend folk, pop and gospel using cellos, accordions and three-part vocal harmonies. With PHOX and Anna Vogelzang.
Bartell Theatre, 10:30 pm. Also Saturday, Sept. 22, 10:30 pm
Madison's Are We Delicious? Ensemble Theatre writes, rehearses and performs a show in one week, hoping to strike sparks with the tight deadline.
Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 pm
Garage punk and bubblegum pop will compete for the crowd's affections at this yearly event hosted by local record label Kind Turkey. Bands include the Hussy, the Midwest Beat and the Arkoffs (see MadTracks).
NOTEWORTHY: Iraq invades Iran, 1980.
First United Methodist Church, 7 pm
Two regulars from A Prairie Home Companion will perform selections from a collaborative album, Evidence of Happiness.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
This award-winning guitarist and his folk-rock band will share tunes they've polished for the Grand Ole Opry and NPR's Mountain Stage.
Majestic Theatre, 8 pm
The glamorous comedian is a regular on E!'s Chelsea Lately. Check out her standup show, which will likely make fun of a celebrity or two.
Redamte Coffee House, 9 pm
These Ohio rockers will show off From the Vanishing Point, their first album to make the leap from AAA radio to the Billboard Heatseekers chart. With Oedipus Tex.
St. Mary's, 700 S. Park St., noon-4 pm
The local institution turns 100, celebrating with historical exhibits, cake and tours. The fun includes a free Zumba class and a rare look at the hospital's helipad.
Pooley's, 1 pm
Three musicians who call Madison their second home -- former Bodean Sam Llanas, singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston and alt-country artist Robbie Fulks -- join forces to raise money for kids with special needs.
Barrymore Theatre. Film: 2 pm. Symposium: 4 pm. Play: 7 pm
A touring company presents Terrence McNally's 1997 controversial play, which imagines Jesus and the Apostles as gay men living in 1950s Texas. The event also features a screening of Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption, a documentary about anti-gay bias sparked by productions of McNally's play; and a town hall meeting.
Loft at Goodman Community Center, 6:30 pm
These Vans Warped Tour veterans draw inspiration from early-'00s sensations Jimmy Eat World, Blink-182 and the Hives when crafting MTV-friendly alt-rock and pop-punk. With Deaf Havana, Set It Off, Divided by Friday, Juneau and Headlines.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 7:30 pm
The sensitive Bright Eyes frontman has reclaimed his birth name for his latest solo tour (see Music). With the Mynabirds.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
After achieving country-music stardom in the late 1980s, Mattea traveled to the U.K. to study the connections between Scottish folk and American twang. This concert will revolve around Calling Me Home, her second album to explore coal mining's impact on Appalachian communities.
Frequency, 7:30 pm
This Milwaukee singer-songwriter honors his folk roots and jazz heroes on The Good Stuff, a new album that includes covers of gems by Tom Waits, Bill Frisell and Duke Ellington. With Hayward Williams.