1. If the organizers of the Buffalo Irish Festival wanted to get special attention for their 30th annual cultural celebration, they couldn't have picked a better location. Opening at 5 p.m. today and continuing Saturday and Sunday, it's the first public event to take place in the Statler Towers since refurbishing began. In addition to Irish food and beverages, there will be Irish bands from Ireland, Canada and across the U.S. playing on three stages, more than two dozen vendors with Irish goods and crafts and, in the restored Georgian Room, "The Rainbow's End," a play about the Irish at the Pan-American Exposition written and produced by Mary Kate O'Connell.
2. Alice Cooper was there first. Before Marilyn Manson. Before Ozzy Osbourne. Before Kiss. He had the mascara. He had the macabre. And he had the flair for the shocking gesture. Inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame this year, he not only continues to relish being outrageous, he also has the loud, hard music to back it up. He opens the third and final weekend of the 13th annual Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor concert series tonight at Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf. Opening at 6 p.m. are Anvil and Klear. Tickets are $20.
3. There's a reason why the renowned Boston Pops is bringing its Hollywood Hits Tour to the ballpark tonight. The program under the direction of Keith Lockhart at 7:30 p.m. at Coca-Cola Field is billed as a celebration of America's pastimes and one of them is baseball. The selections include a rousing John Philip Sousa "National Game" march, musical highlights from "The Natural," the baseball movie filmed here in Buffalo; and actor Jeremiah Kissel narrating "Casey at the Bat." Helping with the Hollywood part of the program is one of the most successful movie songwriters of the 1980s, Kenny Loggins, who will be singing "I'm Alright" from "Caddyshack" and the theme song from "Footloose." Tickets start at $35.
4. All those boats out in the water this weekend are here for the first (Great) Lake Erie Small Craft Festival, sponsored by the Buffalo Maritime Center. Organizers were unable to get approval in time for their preferred site, Buffalo's Outer Harbor next to Times Beach, so they've gone to the opposite shore -- the Buffalo Yacht Club's facility in Point Abino, Ont. There will be camping on the grounds, a potluck supper this evening and informal races on Saturday, followed by an awards dinner. Registration is $30 per adult and includes coffee and doughnuts Saturday and Sunday morning. For info, call 881-0111.
5. The price is right for the 10th annual Lewiston Jazz Festival. It's free. Mainstage concert at 8 tonight at Fourth and Center streets features Cuban pianist Hilario Duran's 13-piece Latin Jazz Band with vocalist Jane Bunnett, but there will be music all along Center Street, on the street and indoors, today and Saturday, along with a jewelry show, classic cars, food and wine. Featured at 8 p.m. Saturday is award-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling.
6. To bid a proper modern farewell to summer, you really need the Boys of Summer in person -- the Beach Boys. Chautauqua Institution, which is closing its 2011 meeting on Saturday, has them at 8:15 tonight in the amphitheater. Earlier today, the M&T Plaza Event Series, which began back in June, ends its seasonal run on a blue note with veteran local blues-rock singer Billy McEwen. He plays in front of M&T Bank headquarters in downtown Buffalo from noon to 1 p.m.
7. The movie studios still have a few summer films in the pipeline. Opening here today are the comedy "Our Idiot Brother," with Paul Rudd in the title role and Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer as the sisters who have to deal with him; "Columbiana," with Zoe Saldana as a professional killer out to avenge the murders of her parents; and "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," a horror film with Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison.
News entertainment reporters Jeff Miers and Mary Kunz Goldman talk music and more with you at noon in a traditional love chat before answering questions directly into the camera at 12:30 p.m.