1. Just Buffalo Literary Center’s 2012-2013 Babel reading series kicks off its sixth season of great writers from around the world at 8 p.m. in Kleinhans Music Hall. Featured is a novelist from a nation not usually represented in the series – the United States. Russell Banks, considered by some to be the leading voice of the working-class experience in modern American letters, has made his home in upstate New York since the 1980s. He’s probably best known for his 1991 novel, “The Sweet Hereafter,” set in Lake Placid, which was made into an award-winning film.
2. This weekend’s Roycroft Campus Arts and Crafts Conference in East Aurora gets under way today with a pair of events – the screening of the WNED-produced documentary “An American Original: Elbert Hubbard” at 4 p.m. in the Aurora Theater, 673 Main St., followed by “A Well-Crafted Wine Tasting” at 6 on the Roycroft Campus on South Grove Street. Tickets for the wine-tasting are $30. Total package for the weekend, including presentations, lectures, tours and well-crafted meals, is $240. Call 655-0261.
3. Eugene Mruk was too young to be drafted into World War II, but old enough to get a 65-cent-an-hour job assembling P-40 Warhawk fighter planes at the Curtiss-Wright plant on Kenmore Avenue at Vulcan Street. Now 85, Mruk returns today to the old factory, now the home of the elementary school for the Charter School for Applied Technologies, to speak with a group of 30 eighth-graders about his days at Curtiss-Wright and the importance of keeping Buffalo history alive.
4. The documentary that won this year’s Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, “The Invisible War,” which exposes the rampant occurrence of rape in the American armed forces, will be screened at 7 p.m. in Burning Books, 420 Connecticut St. Also appearing will be Columbia University journalism professor Helen Benedict, whose 2007 article about rape in the military inspired the film. Benedict discovered that women in combat zones are more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by the enemy. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.
5. Think of tonight as kind of an echo of last month’s Curtain Up! Three theaters in the area are opening offbeat plays. At the Jewish Repertory Theater in the Jewish Community Center, 2640 N. Forest Road, Getzville, it’s Matthew Lopez’s popular Civil War-era play, “The Whipping Boy,” which played on Broadway in 2011. At the American Repertory Theater of Western New York, 16 Linwood Ave., it’s “The Dead English,” which reimagines the Dracula story just in time for Halloween. And at the recently renovated William P. and Marie Leary Theatre at Niagara University, it’s Lanford Wilson’s “The Rimers of Eldritch,” a dark tale of murder in a small Midwestern town.
6. The memory of Alix Rice, the 18-year-old longboarder who lost her life to a drunken hit-run driver last year, will be commemorated tonight in the Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. Rockin’ For Rice, which will raise funds for the Alix Rice Peace Park Foundation, will feature the donated talents of six local bands – Son of the Sun, just back from appearing in a CMJ showcase in New York City, plus the Chosen Ones, Come Honor, Wolf Tickets, Red Delicious and Shout It Out. Doors open at 6:30. Music starts at 7. Tickets are $20. Liberty Cab will have taxis on hand for drivers who may have had one too many.
7. Lisa Oz, author of best-selling books of health, relationships and self-improvement such as the “YOU: The Owner’s Manual” series, talks about “The New Normal” when she appears today in Adam’s Mark Hotel, 120 Church St. Oz, who is co-producer of her husband’s “Dr. Oz Show,” is the keynote speaker for the first Western New York women’s leadership conference sponsored by the Western New York Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association, which has seminar sessions from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For info, visit www.abwawny.com.