Measha Brueggergosman is going to be spending a lot of time with the Cleveland Orchestra in the next month: first at Severance Hall to sing Wagner's Wesendonck songs (Thursday and Saturday) and then again January 22-24 to join the orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus in Janácek's Glagolitic mass. Franz Welser-Mšst conducts both. Then the soprano, conductor and company take the same programs on tour, traveling first to Florida (January 30-31), where Brueggergosman will sing the Wagner, and then New York (February 4 & 7), where she'll sing the Janácek at Carnegie Hall.
To call Brueggergosman "versatile" is just about as understated as saying the woman - who's been photographed in a gold lamé dress topped by a bright white and very large Afro - has "personality." Sure, lots of singers are as at home concertizing songs as singing opera. This one is also at ease trading wit with the crowd and singing about the sultry side of life in cabaret performances, like at a stand last year at the Berlin techno club Berghain. Also on the program, at 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, is Shostakovich's "Leningrad" symphony. The orchestra performs just the "Leningrad" at 11 a.m. Friday. Tickets: $25 to $110. Call 216.231.1111 or go to clevelandorchestra.com.
The lunacy continues with the fifth production in Matt Greenfield's Oddy Fest. This time, the triple feature starts with a movie called Stairwell, written by Greenfield, directed by Tom Kondilas and starring … a stairwell. Also on the program is a staged reading of Cat R. Kenney's Conspiracy Theory, a play in which an Obama/Hilary ticket wins the White House, and Steve Maistros' Do I Have to Walk? A pre-show musical performance begins at 7, with curtain time at 7:30. The whole thing is reprised January 21. It's at Heights Arts Studio, 2340 Lee Rd. Tickets: $10. Call 216.926.8641 or e-mail email@example.com.
Zap! Pow! Bam!
In case you missed it, Zap Pow Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comics 1938-1950 has been held over at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage (2929 Richmond Rd., Beachwood), giving you a few more weeks to take in the history and nostalgia of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel and other superheroes, whose creators were predominantly Jewish artists and writers, including Glenville boys Jerry Siegel and Joseph Shuster, who created Superman. Call 216.593.0575 or visit maltzjewishmuseum.org.
DIY resonates on the music scene in a way that tells you the people involved don't care too much about the money and care a whole lot about keeping artistic control. Running like that allows for music that doesn't sound like regurgitated Twinkies and also puts shows in makeshift venues-storefronts, basements, re-purposed office space, and anywhere else a band and promoter might find. Sometime Cleveland Scene photographer Laura Webb has travelled the country taking pictures of such venues and will show a selection of the results in The Music Underground, a photodocumentary of DIY music spaces and the people who make them go. "I believe these spaces play a key role in expression, alternative thinking and the birth of new ideas," she says. "Their existence is fleeting. The life span of each venue is directly affected by each cooperative's ability to dedicate the time, money and energy necessary to keep them open." The show is at Bela Dubby (13321 Madison Ave, Lakewood), opening with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, featuring an acoustic performance by The Ghostwrite. Call 216.221.4479.
Accumulations Retraced/in Fluid Space
As sculptors, Susan McClelland and Don Henson could hardly be more different, and yet each has an exhibit at the Sculpture Center (1834 E. 123rd St.) opening with a reception from 5:30-8 p.m. Friday. McClelland, whose show is called Accumulations Retraced, seems to work the territory of the known, familiar and resonant as she wraps existing objects, especially furniture, in oodles of cloth. Henson's In Fluid Space goes for an imagined future of formal exploration, building abstractions out of carefully shaped aluminum and wood. McClelland will talk about her work with Cleveland artist and educator Kim Bissett at 6:15 p.m. in the Center's main gallery. Henson will discuss his work at 7 p.m. in the Center's Euclid Avenue Gallery. Call 216.229.6527 or go to sculpturecenter.org.
Jules Verne's 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days tells the story of wealthy bachelor Phileas Fogg who, in the midst of an argument about whether a newly completed section of railroad on the other side of the globe actually makes it possible to circumnavigate the earth in 80 days, takes a bet to make the trip in the allotted time. His adventures - with his sidekick and butler Passepartout - have been told and re-told, in a 1956 film starring David Niven, a 1972 cartoon series, a 1989 TV series (with Pierce Brosnan as Fogg), a 2004 film starring Jackie Chan and a stage adaptation by Mark Brown, which opens Friday at the Cleveland Play House (8500 Euclid Ave.). Bart DeLorenzo directs. Keythe Farley plays Fogg and Brian Sills is Passepartout. Performances are at 8 p.m. through February 1. Tickets start at $43. Call 216.795.7000 or go to clevelandplayhouse.com.
One doesn't really need an excuse to have a drink, take a walk and look at weird things, but just in case you feel like you do, the Tremont Art Walk comes along from 6-10 tonight with a neighborhood full of galleries, shops, restaurants and bars with open doors and arms. This month, Derf signs his graphic novel at Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave.); Asterisk (2393 Professor Ave.) features a show by the Akron-based art collective Raw Umber; and Eye Candy (2173 Professor Ave.) will show work by more than 80 artists. Don't forget Doubting Thomas (856 Jefferson Ave.), Studio 11 (2337 W. 11th St.) and all the rest.
Robert Spirko's book The Palestine Conspiracy is a spy thriller, but it's one that plays on the real-world challenge of finding peace in the Middle East. The author's credibility runs deep: He's advised the National Security Council and participated in the 2000 Camp David peace talks with President Clinton. He makes a bold prediction: "We're not talking about a serpent-tongued false prophet who will negotiate this peace between Israel and the Islamists. It will be done by a U.S. president and those parties involved in the peace process who will finally achieve it through hard work, tough compromises and by making specific decisions fair to both sides to agree to end the violence once and for all - by those leaders who want a future for their children." Fans are invited to discuss the situation when Spirko signs his book at Borders Books, Music & Café (3737 W. Market St., Fairlawn) from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Call 330.666.7568 or go to borders.com.
Jerry Herman's self-described lifelong romance with show tunes played out in some of the most lucrative musicals ever to hit Broadway, including Mame, Hello Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles. Cleveland musical-theater guru Bill Rudman has conceived and written a celebration of the songwriter and his output titled Open a New Window: Songs of Jerry Herman. Part biography and part revue, it features vocalists Adina R. Bloom and Patrick Janson under the musical direction of Nancy Maier. Rudman himself hosts. It's at 2 p.m. at the Tri-C East Performing Arts Center, 4250 Richmond Rd., Highland Hills. Tickets: $12 to $24. Call 866.546.1358 or go to clevelandjcc.org.
The Argentine artist Mario Kujawski is known for his work in a range of media - from stone and metal sculpture in abstract forms to his "prayer sticks," which are assemblages of branches, fibers and other natural objects. Today he changes not only media but art form when he joins Dan Rourke and Miles Budimer for a 7 p.m. reading of his poetry at the Bertram Woods Branch of the Shaker Heights Public Library (20600 Fayette Rd.). It's free. Call 216.991.2421 or go to shakerlibrary.org.
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