1. Theater lovers will see the stage lights go up for the first time since 2008 this weekend in the venue formerly known as the Studio Arena at 710 Main St. MusicalFare Theatre's 24-Hour Musical Festival will be the first show to tread the boards in the revived 625-seat playhouse. It starts when MusicalFare's Randall Kramer gathers four teams of writers, along with sponsors and guests, at a VIP kickoff party in the lobby tonight. Each team will base its musical on a photograph of some aspect of Buffalo. They'll spend all night writing, then call in actors Saturday morning. After a technical rehearsal Saturday afternoon, the actors will perform the musicals -- without scripts -- Saturday night. For tickets and information, call 839-8540.
2. If you are in the mood for theater but afraid you might not like a production, Buffalo United Artists may have the perfect answer: If you don't like one of its mini-plays opening tonight, there are others waiting in the wings. "BUA Takes Ten: GLBT Short Plays" opens at 8 in the Buffalo United Artists Theatre, 119 W. Chippewa St. The festival was co-curated by local playwrights Donna Hoke and Matthew Crehan Higgins, both of whom will present their own work alongside that of 10 other writers.
3. Books can be judged by their covers and by their inventive typography and, in some cases, their sculpted shapes at the fourth annual Western New York Book Arts Collaborative Members' Exhibition, which opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St. As organizers note, "The definition of 'book' is left to the widest possible interpretation." It's free and open to the public. For information, visit www.wnybookarts.org.
4. Movies opening on local screens today include "Brave," the first Pixar movie to have a girl as the hero; "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," which imagines our 16th president with a secret identity; and "Moonrise Kingdom," in which director Wes Anderson uses a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDermond and Tilda Swinton to tell the tale of a hunt for two kids missing from summer camp.
5. The Boston Hills BBQ Fest has come to the flatlands of Hamburg for three days of food, fun and music at the Erie County Fairgrounds. It runs from 5 to 11 p.m. with food vendors and music by Laughing Bandit. Things really get cooking from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, when visitors can sample the entries in the Kansas City BBQ Cookoff, and the musical offerings include the Commander Cody Band in the evening. Admission is $5. Kids 12 and under get in free.
6. There's no baseball at Coca-Cola Field tonight. Instead, at 7:30, it's BaseBrawl, presented by TNA Impact Wrestling. Appearing will be Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, James "The Cowboy" Storm, current TNA world heavyweight chap Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy, who's billed as "The Charismatic Enigma." TNA, by the way, stands for Total Nonstop Action, so you know what kind of show they intend to offer. Also on hand will be the TNA Knockouts, the ladies who grace TNA's weekly show on the Spike Channel. Tickets start at $20. A $50 VIP ticket includes a meet-and-greet session at 5:30.
7. A staple of Citybration every year is the Sunset Reception atop Buffalo City Hall. There will be hors d'oeuvres and refreshments, as well as downtown's best view of Lake Erie from the observation deck from 6 to 9 p.m. The $10 ticket includes a beverage coupon, plus there's a cash bar. There's also a great view to be had on the Citybration hot air-balloon rides originating from NFTA property in the outer harbor from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. Citybration continues Saturday and Sunday.