Cool things to do this weekend 

The back-to-school edition

The marquee happening of the weekend, in our humble opinion, is the Youth Gives Back music festival at Awendaw Green. Not only does this two-day event bring an impressive roster of old and new performers together, but it also puts a positive spin on the power of youth. Eddie White and the young musicians who organized this event are learning all about how to be musical philanthropists from some of the best in the region, including Danielle Howle, Sol Driven Train, and The Explorers Club. Make a weekend of it and camp there, just be on your best behavior.

Tonight is a good night for art lovers to head downtown. Down near Broad and East Bay streets in the newly-dubbed Gallery Row area of town, merchants and galleries invite you by for a low-key art walk from 5-8 p.m. And if you see something you love in Utopia, go ahead and buy it because tax-free weekend starts today too.

If Upper King is where you'll be tonight, get out there early and stop by the Benjamin Hollingsworth exhibit at Aster Hall (481 King St.), then head over to the Charleston Center for Photography to see Bob Croslin's work at the opening reception from 6-9 p.m. There will be performances by the KunFewZion Crew and DJ Natty Heavy along with food from Home Team barbecue.

If you've still got gas in the tank after all that, head over to Theatre 99 and get your redneck on at the 10 p.m. Neckprov show.

On Saturday, families who aren't in full-on back-to-school shopping frenzy mode should head out to the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island for the block party from 9 a.m.-noon. Or you could take the kids to the Aquarium for the final days of Shark Week (here's a lesson from Discovery Channel's Shark Week: don't let your kid who's at Jr. Lifeguard camp on Folly watch shark attack shows. It's a real inhibitor).

Later that night, the awesome new Mt. Pleasant Pier transforms into a shagadelic dance floor when The Coppertones kick into gear for Shagging on the Cooper. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the music starts at 8:30.

Scenesters might leave that event to the Baby Boomers and head downtown to Redux for a more eclectic performance by composer Jason Ajemian, a heavy in Chicago's underground music scene. His work includes AutoCAD blueprints, flow, motion, and musical improvisation. Don't know what that means? Get there at 6 p.m. and you can talk it over with Ajemian himself.

On Sunday, if you have the desire to leer at bikini-clad beauties in a more acceptable forum than the beach, the Windjammer's Bikini Bash finals will be going on. Cheer on your favorite girl and listen to hip-hop and reggae from Tropix and pop-rock from Pop Machine. The catwalk heats up at 3 p.m.

And finally, Sunday night winds down with Eye Level Art's new music series featuring the Hip Young Gunslingers, local indie rockers Taylor Townes, Zander Lyvers, and Brett Nash. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. And we suggest getting your fun in while you can, cause school starts much too soon.


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