Ten years is a lifetime, and the community the anniversary of the September 11 attacks with a first responder's story from Tony Rajer, a program of panel discussions titled "Perspectives on a Post-9/11 World," and "Madison Remembers: A September 11 Concert Observance" by the MSO. Meanwhile, the autumn arts season hits its stride this weekend, and the calendar includes: Geek.Kon, the Midwest Quilt Expo, the Sun Prairie Blues Fest, and the beginning of Taiwanese Arts Week at the UW; the opening of a Chicago Imagists exhibit at MMoCA; a production of [title of show]; a book reading by Joan Peterson and Terese Allen; standup by Paula Poundstone; live music from Tommy Emmanuel, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Flosstradamus, Sleeping in the Aviary, The Know-It-All Boyfriends, Pepper, TV Ghost, Vieux Farka Touré, The Waco Brothers, the Lawrence Faculty Jazz Quartet, and Peter Mulvey; and, the Wisconsin Ironman Triathlon.
NOTEWORTHY: Elvis debuts on The Ed Sullivan Show, 1956.
Marriott-West, through Sept. 11
The nerd-a-thon features three days' worth of videogames, science fiction, anime and role-playing games. Special guests include anime voice actors Sonny Strait and Jerry Jewel and Dork Tower creator John Kovalic. There's music, costumes and gaming competitions of the video, board and role-playing variety.
Alliant Energy Center's Exhibition Hall, 9 am-6 pm. Also Thursday & Saturday, Sept. 8 & 10, 9 am-6 pm
Quilt Expo has earned a reputation as a major Midwestern event. It features diverse quilts from across the U.S., along with lectures, workshops, presentations and vendors. On hand will be Nancy Zieman, of Wisconsin Public Television's Sewing With Nancy.
Wisconsin Veterans Museum, noon
Rajer, a UW instructor, was in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, and he spent two weeks helping to deal with the calamity as a Red Cross volunteer. He tells his story in a talk called "Ten Years After: A First Responder's Story of 9/11."
UW Vilas Hall's Mitchell Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Saturday (7:30), Sunday (2 pm) & Thursday (7:30 pm), Sept. 10, 11 & 15
For back-to-school time, University Theatre revives its summer 2011 musical. This unlikely Broadway production is a self-referential, Tony-nominated show about a couple of guys who write a show. The more you know about musical-theater arcana, the more fun you'll have.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
Named Best Acoustic Guitarist in Guitar Player's 2010 readers poll, this Aussie fingerpicking wonder presents his latest album, last year's Little by Little, at Overture. With Joe Robinson.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
After a two-year hiatus, the experimental psychmeisters from the recesses of Pennsylvania have returned with a five-piece lineup and peeks at a forthcoming album called Psychic Love Damage. With Dosh and the Marshmallow Ghosts.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
In addition to touring with Chromeo and releasing a mix CD for Vice Records, Chicago DJs J2K and Autobot have rocked Rothbury, Lolla and SXSW. Hear what's new in their world at this show. With DJ Herreradise.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
This goof-rock quintet with Madison roots return to their stomping grounds with a new release: You and Me, Ghost, a breakup album clad in a sweater of fuzz and a letter jacket of influences from the 1950s and 1960s (see Music). With Nice Purse.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:45 pm
Butch Vig and Freedy Johnston's star-studded cover band emerges from hiding to whoop it up at one of Willy Street's most illustrious watering holes. With Fedora.
BIRTHDAYS: Filmmaker Chris Columbus, 1958.
Through Sept. 18
University of Wisconsin arts groups join forces to celebrate the culture of Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China. The highlight of the festival's opening days is Tiers, a concert by festival organizer and UW dance professor Jin-Wen Yu (Lathrop Hall's H'Doubler Performance Space, Sunday at 2 pm, Monday at 8 pm and Tuesday at 8 pm, Sept. 11-13). There are also Taiwanese films at Cinematheque, art at Memorial Union, lectures, music and more. Visit dance.wisc.edu for the rundown.
Fromagination, 10 am
The Madison authors discuss their new book, the 2012 edition of Wisconsin Local Foods Journal. Fittingly, the event takes place in a Wisconsin-loving cheese shop on the edge of the local-food bonanza that is the Dane County Farmers' Market.
Sun Prairie's Angell Park Pavilion, noon-10 pm
Enjoy the many shades of blue that local and regional artists are mixing up these days with performances by Playground of Sound, Alex Wilson Band, A.J. Love and the All Star Blues Showcase, the Jimmys, Ken Saydak and W.C. Clark.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, through Jan. 15 With this show, MMoCA shares its impressive collection of works by the Chicago Imagists, the bold, pop-culture-influenced artists who thrived in the Windy City 40 years ago (see Art). The museum is also presenting a companion show, "Chicago School: Imagists in Context." The exhibits formally open Sept. 11, but you can get a preview at tonight's MMoCA Nights shindig, 6:30 p.m.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The standup comic is a veteran of Saturday Night Live, game shows, cable specials, late-night television and all the venues where funny people crack wise. She hits the big east-side stage for a night of wry observations.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
The Hawaii-bred threesome bring their reggae-inflected rock to downtown Madison. Their breakthrough single, 2006's "No Control," sounded a lot like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, confusing everyone. With Ballyhoo!, T.U.G.G.
UW Union South Sett, 9 pm
This post-punk band from Indiana share their new album, Mass Dream, which explores a psychic nightmare in twitchy guitar solos, ever-changing rhythms and lyrics that are downright demented.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm Touré brings his captivating Malian blues -- including his new album, The Secret -- to the Terrace for a performance at WSUM's Snake on the Lake Fest, which doubles as a warmup for World Music Fest. For starters, Prussia will get the crowd buzzing with drum loops, a cappella grooves and some unusually rousing waltzes.
Frequency, 9:30 pm
The Wacos' live shows are nothing short of a spectacle, evolving into wedding proposals one moment and riots the next. Led by the Mekons' Jon Langford, the evening promises to be as musically thrilling as it is laugh-inducing. With Semi-Twang.
NOTEWORTHY: Terrorists slam two planes into the World Trade Center towers, one into the Pentagon and a fourth into a Pennsylvania field, killing thousands, 2001.
Begins at Law Park, 7 am
Cheer on a lot of really intense people as they converge on the city for a 2.4-mile swim in Lake Monona, a 112-mile bike ride out to Mount Horeb and a 26.2-mile run that ends on the Capitol Square, all before supper. First prize is $4,500, but that hardly seems the point.
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 1 pm
The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters presents a series of panel discussions about the terrorist attacks 10 years ago (see Arts).
Overture Hall, 3 pm
The Madison Symphony Orchestra performs a solemn musical memorial (see Arts).
Brink Lounge, 3:30 pm
The Madison Music Collective kicks off its fall season with this performance by a quartet of four teachers from the esteemed music program at Appleton's Lawrence University: saxophonist José Encarnacion, pianist Bill Carrothers, bassist Mark Urness and drummer Dane Richeson. They're all highly regarded in their field, so expect the best.
East Side Club, 6 pm
The folk-rock singer-songwriter from Milwaukee brings his dark, rhythmic tunes to the performing space by Lake Monona. With Brianna Lane.