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Center Stage: Picks of the Week

Friday, Sept. 26Follow Village Square Theatre “Into the Woods” with Sondheim’s twisted fairy tale. The musical opens tonight and runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Oct. 12. $14-$18; (803) 359-1436 or villagesquaretheatre.com

Explore art born through “Fire and Transformation,” a new installation and series of workshops sponsored by USC and the Columbia Museum of Art based on the “Seaforms” of glass artist Dale Chihuly.

The mercury is slowly slipping out of the 80s, making it all the more appealing to spend some time in Boyd Plaza at Main and Hampton streets for the Fall Main Street Marketplace. Live entertainment, food and arts and crafts are offered from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free; www.citycentercolumbia.sc

In “The Violet Hour,” Theatre South Carolina’s season opener, a young publisher must choose between printing his best friend’s book or his lover’s memoir. A magical machine that prints the future aids his decisionmaking. The show opens at 8 tonight and runs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Oct. 5 at Drayton Hall, 1214 College St. $10-$16; (803) 777-1111

Friday, Sept. 26 & Saturday, Sept. 27 Even if you shun the small green pods, it won’t stop you from celebrating at the annual Irmo Okra Strut Festival. Catch live music from The Fabulous Kays and The Men of Distinction plus the okra-eating contest 6-11 p.m. Friday. The festivities continue at 7:30 a.m. Saturday with the Irmo Dam Run and continue with more food and fun until 5 p.m. Free; www.irmookrastrut.com

Saturday, Sept. 27 “Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion” brings 40 of the Renaissance man’s inventions to life using the raw materials he would have employed. Visitors will be able to interact with the machines in the exhibition, which is up through Jan. 4 at the State Museum, 301 Gervais St. $3-$5; (803) 898-4921 or www.museum.state.sc.us

Will Stephen Garcia help the Gamecocks douse the UAB Blazers? If you can’t make it to the 7 p.m. kickoff at Williams-Brice, see it from your couch on pay-per-view.

Sunday, Sept. 28The final chords of the 2008 Cornelia Freeman University September Concert Series will begin at 3 p.m. at the USC School of Music recital hall. The program includes works by Johannes Brahms, Samuel Adler, Eric Ewazen and faculty member William H. Bates. $5-$10; (803) 777- 4336 or www.music.sc.edu

Fatback and the Groove Band will show a little sass at Jazz at the Village from 2-4 p.m. at Village at Sandhill Town Center Commons. Free; www.villageatsandhillonline.com

No need to travel to Mali for a taste of the Song and Dance of West Africa, a troupe of energetic dancers and musicians, at 3 p.m. at the Newberry Opera House. $30, $15 for students; (803) 276-6264 or www.newberryoperahouse.com

The Autumn Concerts at St. Paul’s gets an old-school start — very old school — when the Columbia Baroque Artists offer “A Baroque Banquet” of 17th- and 18th-century fare at 4 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1715 Bull St. A reception will follow. Free; (803) 779-0030 or www.stpaulscolumbia.com

Monday, Sept. 29Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St., is once again opening its doors in the name of democracy. The Rock the Vote: In the Vista concert will feature Daniel Machado and The Guitar Show Band, The Elements, This Machine Is Me, Harvard and Creatures! The Ghosts of FDR frontman Adam Corbett will kick the night off with an acoustic set at 6 p.m. The doors open for voter registration at 5 p.m. Free; (803) 254- 9732 or www.trustus.org

Tuesday, Sept. 30The Nickelodeon Theatre is turning off the projector for An Evening with Josh Roberts, co-sponsored by the Musicians and Songwriters Guild of S.C. The singer-songwriter will share stories and songs from 7-9 p.m. $15; (803) 254-3433 or www.nickelodeon.org

Thursday, Oct. 2Saluda Shoals Park will become a mixture of nature and art for “Unearth: A Celebration of Naturally Inspired Art” today through Oct. 5. The weekend kicks off at 5 p.m. with a food, art and business market. For a full schedule, visit www.icrc.net

Celebrate the impending weekend with Five After Five and the jazz drenched tunes of the Herbie Jeffcoat Project and opener Ten Toes Up from 6:30-10 p.m. at the fountain in Five Points. Free; www.fivepointscolumbia.com

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