Jeremy Wolf James Watrous Gallery in the Overture Center, through Oct. 14. Reception and gallery talk: Sept. 7, 5:30 pm
The Milwaukee artist shows an installation called "All Natural," which includes animal sculptures and kinetic mobiles. The whimsical sculptures examine the connection between nature and human culture, sometimes blurring the boundary between the two.
Nottingham Cooperative, 8:30 pm
The Aussie sonic experimentalist travels from the other side of the world to create her eerie aural landscapes on the fly for big-eared Badgers.
Riddle of Steel
King Club, 9 pm
It's a strong week for progressive hard rock, and while St. Louis faves Riddle of Steel (whose tuneful rumblings sometimes recall Queens of the Stone Age) don't have a high profile, they do have a forceful sound. The Headcases and Things Fall Apart open.
The Gray Kid
Annex, 9:30 pm
A hip-hop savant with a taste for party-enhancing beats, pop-flavored tone poems and electronic music, the L.A.-based Gray Kid pretty much owned MySpace awhile back. Now the animated, falsetto-friendly polymath is making another play for greatness with the just released Vultures. Oliver Future and Dumate open.
Deceptively Simple: The Art of Camouflage
UW Design Gallery, 1300 Linden Dr., through Oct. 21. Reception: Sept. 16, 1 pm
This exhibition explores the history of camouflage from World War I to the present, ranging from military uniforms to hunting apparel to street wear. You'll learn about new patterns that have emerged in recent decades, including those designed to confuse night-vision devices.
Jazz at Five
State Street and the Capitol Square, 5 pm
The free outdoor series concludes with the Tim Whalen Septet, which performs its exciting hard-bop tribute to Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers. The string-oriented Stellanovas swing in the opening slot.
Barnes & Noble West, 7 pm
The prolific Madison author reads from her latest novel, Still Summer. Female friends reunite for a sailing adventure in the Caribbean, but the idyll is threatened by bad weather and modern-day piracy.
Monona Terrace, 7 pm
Everyone's waiting for PBS to screen The War, Ken Burns' epic documentary on World War II. The seven-part TV series won't air until Sept. 23, but you can check out a 100-minute preview at Monona Terrace and lord it over all your friends. The screening will be followed by an informal discussion.
Borders West, 7 pm
Tisserand discusses his book Sugarcane Academy, which offers a unique perspective on New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The award-winning journalist evacuated his family to New Iberia, where he joined with other parents and a dedicated teacher to start a makeshift school amid the sugarcane fields. The book is a moving tribute to human resourcefulness.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
No longer working under his old Pedro the Lion moniker, this thoughtful tunesmith now balances his brooding Pedro persona with the buzz and bleep of his other band, the electronic act Headphones. He performs solo; Casiotone for the Painfully Alone opens.
UW Memorial Union Terrace, 9:30 pm
The groundbreaking Seattle duo set spoken-word poetry against ambient jazz piano, haunting strings and hip-hop beats. Expect trenchant takes on the Iraq War and the immigration debate.
Club 770 in UW Union South, 9:30 pm
The Milwaukee geek-rapper blasts off directly into the fun zone. He isn't changing anyone's life, but he'll clean out those tired, misfiring synapses with a vengeance. Terrior Bute and Squidbotz open. Free!
Room 325 Pyle Center, 4 pm
The Amherst College professor won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Critics Award for his biography Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. He'll tell you everything you need to know about the Soviet leader, who was both a beast and a reformer.
Borders West, 7 pm
The UW's renowned animal behaviorist discusses her book For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend. She's sure to have the entire audience rolling over by the end of her talk.
Pro Arte Quartet
Mills Hall in the UW Humanities Bldg., 7:30 pm
The UW's famed ensemble kicks off its season with string quartets by Haydn (F major, Op. 74, No. 2), Beethoven (D major, Op. 18, No. 3) and Dvorak (C major, Op. 61). Anyone interested in minor keys will have to look elsewhere.
Sandip Burman & Friends
Well Within Center for Yoga & Health, 7:30 pm
The tabla ace is known for his Grammy-winning collaboration with Bela Fleck, and he's also performed with jazz stars like Jack DeJohnette and Al DiMeola. No fusion here, though -- he performs straight Northern Indian music accompanied by sitar.
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm
Apparently, the much-anticipated Mekons tour won't be making it to Madison. But that's not such a loss when we get a club show by the prolific head 'kon, the ever entertaining Jon Langford (Waco Brothers, Three Johns, Pine Valley Cosmonauts), in their stead. Dollar Store opens.
Brink Lounge, 9 pm
The local jazz guitarist was showered with three Madison Music Awards last spring. She puts herself in the running for a few more with a new CD, Running Free, which she'll debut at this gig.
Café Montmartre, 9 pm
Singer Matthew Kerstein has perfected a low, portentous vocal delivery that fits hand-in-glove with the Chicagoans' gorgeous, highly arranged guitar-pop settings. He's definitely ready for bigger things.