Country star Jason Aldean performs Friday night at First Niagara Pavilion.
The Westmoreland Fair opens the gates at 4 p.m. Friday with daily family events including a petting zoo, camel rides and a circus.
On Friday, the annual Westmoreland Fair Queen Contest opens at 6 p.m., followed by The Farmers Olympics at 8 p.m. with hay hauling, tractor driving, skid loader rodeo, and team cow milking. The opening day special is $5.
Saturday's activities include a concert by Totally 80s at 7 p.m. and Monster Truck Races featuring Black Stallion, Higher Education, Iron Warrior, Storm Damage, Hurricane Force at 8 p.m. ($5; $3 children 3-12).
Sunday is the lawn mower tractor and old school rules demolition derby at 8 p.m.
Daily family events include a petting zoo, camel rides and a circus.
The fair runs through Aug. 24. Admission is $7, with extra fees for some events. Opening day is $5. Early bird admission $3 per person before 2 p.m. every day except Aug. 22 and 24. Children 2 and under are free. Take Pennsylvania Turnpike to Irwin exit and head east toward Greensburg. Follow Route 30 to the Mount Pleasant exit and go south 6 miles. Information: 724-423-5005 or www.westmorelandfair.com.
The Washington County Agricultural Fair continues through Saturday with a professional rodeo at 8 tonight, street stock trucks and mini modified tractors at 7 p.m. Friday and a demolition derby at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The musical lineup includes Southern rock group Joseph Sisters at 8 tonight, drummer boy Avery Molek at 7 p.m. and the Ruff Creek Band at 8 p.m. Friday, and Silent Partner at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Admission is $9; $6 today. Take I-79 south to exit 41 (Racetrack Road); follow signs to the fairgrounds in Arden. Information: 724-225-7718 or www.washingtonfair.org.
• The Lawrence County Fair runs through Saturday and features a Country Music Festival with Morgan Frazier, Frank Foster and Bucky Covington at 7 p.m. Friday, and draft horse pulls at 10 a.m. and drag racing, truck and tractor pulls at 6 p.m. Saturday, followed by a fireworks display.
Admission is $8; rides and parking included, grandstand extra. Take Route 108 three miles east of New Castle to the Lawrence County Fairgrounds, across from Laurel High School. Information: 724-654-7745 or www.lawrencecountyfair.com.
Dominique at Improv
Dominique, a former Washington, D.C., postal worker who hit it big in the comedy clubs, will appear at the Pittsburgh Improv, The Waterfront at Homestead this weekend.
Dominique is featured on the nationally syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show," and has appeared on Comedy Central's "Chapelle's Show," and HBO's "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam."
Of her career switch, she says in her bio, "I didn't do anything special. I just talked about what I knew and the next thing you know I'm on TV. I quit that job and took about 20 books of stamps. I figured they owed me."
Showtimes are 8 tonight; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday; and 7 p.m. Sunday. For more info and tickets, $20, www.improv.com or 412-462-5233.
The Mickey Hart Band, led by the former Grateful Dead drummer, headlines Mr. Smalls at 8 tonight, touring on the new album, "Superorganism," which features lyrics from GD lyricist Robert Hunter.
The show features longtime bandmate Sikiru Adepoju, Tony Award-winning vocalist Crystal Monee Hall, singer and multi-instrumentalist Joe Bagale, drummer Greg Schutte, guitarist Gawain Matthews, bassist Reed Mathis, and keyboardist/sound engineer Jonah Sharp.
On this tour, Mr. Hart is doing a piece of music each night with an EEG cap on his head while he plays the sounds of his brain, thanks to a collaboration with Dr. Adam Gazzalley of the University of California, San Francisco.
He said of the collaboration, "The brain, Rhythm Central, the place of dreams is explored. My brain wave signals are reimagined in sound using a cap with electrodes that can read the throbs and signals of the brain. I have also sonified the sounds of stem cells and heart rhythms for this recording. I've been working in my field for many years, and so has Adam. It's a handshake between science and art. Life is all about rhythm, and the brain is Rhythm Central."
CBS Radio is hosting the Marcellus Shale Festival from 2 to 10 p.m. today at Stage AE on the North Shore. The event features concerts by The Stickers (4:45 p.m.) and country artist Phil Vassar (8:15 p.m.).
Before that, there will be informational exhibits, breakout sessions, a KDKA Town Hall Meeting (3 p.m.) and the local premiere of the movie "FrackNation."
Admission is free with a $5 donation to the Mel Blount Foundation. Go to KDKA.com/Marcellus.
Jason's Kinda Party
The latest country hunk to take over First Niagara Pavilion is Jason Aldean, who broke big in 2010 with his fourth album, the triple-platinum "My Kinda Party," led by the single "Dirt Road Summer" and the Kelly Clarkson duet "Don't You Wanna Stay."
Touring on his latest chart-topping album, "Night Train," the 36-year-old singer-songwriter from Georgia told Lancaster Online, "Country music is what I love the most and obviously was a huge influence on me, but I also grew up watching MTV and watching rock bands -- Guns N' Roses and Def Leppard -- and seeing how they did stuff. There were certain things I liked about both. I put it together."
Jake Owen opens the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $25.50-$55.25; ticketmaster.com.
As part of The Andy Warhol Museum's Sound Series, PTV3 will perform at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side, at 8 p.m. Friday.
An earlier incarnation of the band, active in the 1980s and '90s, was known as Psychic TV and combined psychedelic elements, dance and industrial sounds. This rebranded group will be fronted by performance artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
The concert, which will open with a debut screening of a film about Psychic TV, is presented in connection with "Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: S/HE IS HER/E," an exhibit on view at The Warhol until Sept. 15. The show starts at 8 p.m. For tickets, $20-$25, www.warhol.org.
Back to Big Country
Big Country, part of the new wave of UK bands in the early '80s that also produced U2, was best known for its signature song "In a Big Country," from the 1983 debut "The Crossing."
It was their only album that made a big impact in the States, but the Scottish band continued to churn out records through the late '90s. In 2001, singer Stuart Adamson committed suicide in Hawaii.
After several years off, the band reunited, and now features two original members (guitarist Bruce Watson and drummer Mark Brzezicki) with Mike Peters (from the Alarm) doing the lead vocals and Simple Minds bassist Derek Forbes. This spring it released "The Journey," the first Big Country album in 14 years, to mixed reviews.
• Altar Bar also has Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke tonight at 7 p.m.; twin sister pop duo Meg & Liz Friday at 8:30 p.m.; and one-man band Alex Goot on Sunday (7 p.m.).
"Garden in the Parks Field Day" is a an open house at the demonstration gardens in North Park and South Park, presented by the Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A crew of about 30 Penn State master gardeners will be on site to offer garden tours, provide information about bees, advice on composting, and offer brochures and pamphlets to help gardeners.
For kids, there will be games and samples of lavender shortbread cookies. Garlic from the demonstration gardens, and tomatoes from the home gardens of master gardeners will be available to taste.
The Demonstration Garden at North Park is at Wildwood and Ingomar roads; at South Park, at Corrigan Drive and McConkey Road.
The fourth annual Pittsburgh Crossword Puzzle Tournament will be held at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland at 1 p.m.
Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword puzzle editor, will provide the puzzles, which will range in difficultly from easy to moderate and will be able to be solved by contestants of all ages and abilities.
The Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire, at Buhl Community Park and the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh on the North Side, is a chance for local roboticists, hackers and kid inventors to show their stuff.
It features handmade or homemade projects by individuals, clubs or start-up companies, and projects that use new technologies or old technologies in new ways.
Highlights include PowerWheels Car Races, the Robot Takeover, Game of Drones, Handmade Arcade and Learn to Solder workshop and Blacksmithing Demonstration. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $13; $12 kids. Go to www.pghmakerfaire.com.
In December, indie-rocker Beck released an album, but it wasn't your typical CD. "Song Reader" has 20 songs, but the singer-songwriter didn't play any of them. Instead, Beck only published the album's sheet music, challenging interpreters to come up with their own renditions.
The Electric Laboratory Chamber Orchestra recently performed two of Beck's pieces at a gallery crawl, and has decided to devote a show to the album, at 8 p.m. at the Grey Box Theatre (3595 Butler St., Lawrenceville). The group of 23 instrumentalists and two vocalists will also play works by John Dowland, a British composer whose life spanned the 16th and 17th centuries.
Pairs of tickets can be reserved ahead of time for $35, to help with the group's Kickstarter campaign. Otherwise, they can be purchased at the door, for $10 to $15.
The free Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park series continues with the fantasy adventure "Jumanji" screening tonight in Brookline Memorial Park; Friday in Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville; Saturday in Grandview Park, Mount Washington; and Sunday on Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park, Oakland. Also on Saturday, Riverview Park, Observatory Hill, screens the classic "Casablanca." The films begin at dusk.
• The free County Concert Series features Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre at Hartwood Acres at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Rootsy singer-guitarist James Hunter performs the free show at South Park at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
• Marty Ashby Quartet performs at the Stars at Riverview Jazz Series in Riverview Park at 7 p.m. Saturday.
• The Reservoir of Jazz continues in Highland Park, Highland Avenue and Reservoir Drive, at 5 p.m. Sunday with Flexure, featuring saxophonist Ben Opie.
• Chris Higbee, formerly of Povertyneck Hillbillies, plays the Shadyside Summer Jam on Walnut Street with Abacus Jones at 7 p.m. Saturday. www.thinkshadyside.com.
• Pittsburgh Musical Theater's annual Broadway at the Overlook is a free event featuring young performers and one of the city's top skyline views. An outreach to the West End Community through City Parks, the show at the renovated West End Overlook Amphitheater is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Visit pittsburghmusicals.com for more information.
• Beth Henley's Southern-fried comedy "Crimes of the Heart" opens today at Little Lake Theater in Canonsburg, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through Aug. 31, plus 2 p.m. Aug. 25. The play is directed by Sunny Disney Fitchett and features Deborah Bender, Lily Junker and Jena Oberg as the Magrath sisters. Tickets are $18 Thursday and Sunday, $20 Friday and Saturday and $12 for age 15 and under at 724-745-6300 and www.littlelake.org.