Earth, Wind & youthful Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire has figured out the right elements for enduring success: youth mixed with experience. With two heyday members leading the way — heavenly voiced Philip Bailey and hyper bassist Verdine White — these Rock Hall of Famers, reinvigorated with younger players, are headed to the Minnesota State Fair with their high-energy show and still-potent R&B smashes, including "September," "Shining Star" and "Boogie Wonderland." Opening is veteran comedian Sinbad, who logged time in the Twin Cities filming 1996's "Jingle All the Way."JON BREAM

7:30 p.m. Sun., Minnesota State Fair grandstand. $39-$49,

No, the "Ordway" below is not a misprint. Alice Cooper, the once-notorious, pioneering shock-rocker of "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and snake-cradling fame, has been booked into St. Paul's regal fine arts center, promising the first beheading there. Ol' Alice still has a few new tricks in store for what's billed as "A Paranormal Evening," named after last year's album "Paranormal," which reunited him with his band's classic, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted lineup for three songs.


7:30 p.m. Thu., Ordway, St. Paul. $58-$100,

Marsha Norman's clear-eyed drama " 'Night, Mother" takes place in real time as a desperate woman (Sally Wingert) pleads with her daughter (Sara Marsh) not to commit suicide. The intimate playing space — a warehouse room, the audience on two sides of the action — gives theatergoers a close-up view of the actors' quicksilver expressions as they navigate the Pulitzer Prize-winning play's devastating emotional terrain.


7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., Dark & Stormy, Grain Belt Warehouse, Mpls. $15-$39,

A decade into his country career, Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish remains one of the most distinctive male voices in Nashville, enjoying two hits off his fifth and current album, "When Was the Last Time." His latest single, "Straight to Hell," features Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum. Look for Kelley to join Rucker for the carefree romp because Lady A is on tour with Rucker, promoting its sixth album, "Heart Break."


7 p.m. Fri. Treasure Island amphitheater, Red Wing. $49 and up,

Letters to and from Leonard Bernstein are interspersed with performances of his musical theater classics in an affectionate tribute to the late maestro. "Dear Lenny" showcases the talents of creators Dan Chouinard, Diana Grasselli, Bradley Greenwald and Prudence Johnson, especially in a painful snapshot of Bernstein's marriage that segues into Johnson and Greenwald dueting on "Make Our Garden Grow" and Grasselli's bravura "Glitter and Be Gay."


4:30 p.m. Sun. & 7:30 p.m. Mon. Open Eye Figure Theatre, Mpls. $26,

In Christopher E. Harrison's artwork, glitter, fur, sand, plaster and acrylic paint are essential materials for creating an imagined species' new world mythology. His amorphously shaped creatures are birthed into the universe, exploded and then destroyed by forces of nature. The work in Harrison's exhibit, "A Monster Anthology," is inspired by science fiction, African, pre-Columbian and Native American cultures, science and more.


Ends Sept. 8. Soo VAC Visual Arts Center, Mpls.

After helping shape the cool psychedelic Latin-funk sounds of Grupo Fantasma, producer/guitarist Adrian Quesada of Austin, Texas, teamed with younger singer Eric Burton to form the similarly spacey, retro-­flavored soul-rock band the Black Pumas. The group has been earning a strong critical buzz and smattering of public-radio airplay with its debut album, "Black Moon Rising," equal parts Curtis Mayfield and Charles Bradley.


8 p.m. Sun., Turf Club, St. Paul. $12-$15,

Alice Eve Cohen's autobiographical one-woman play "What I Thought I Knew" talks about a late-term abortion, a later adoption of a child and then how, at age 44, thinking herself infertile, she discovers that she's six months pregnant. Performed with immediacy, power and occasional humor by Kim Kivens, this play takes us on a gripping ride while raising moral and practical questions. There's insight for anyone who's blindsided by unexpected news.


Ends Aug. 30, Highland Park Community Center, St. Paul. $23-$38,

Summer fun is coming to an end, and it's time for all little farmhands to get back to the three R's. The growing season has yielded some hefty crops at the historic Oliver Kelley Farm, and farmers need help harvesting. Use an 1856 Cox and Roberts horse-powered threshing machine and bag up the grain. Compare the historical experience with a modern combine at the farm lab. In the Learning Kitchen, explore a variety of grains, their flavors and uses.


10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Labor Day Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River. $6-$12,