Welcome to the wonderful world of independent films.

Dirty Dolls and Tricky Dick's Dog 

Welcome to the wonderful world of independent films.

20,000 Leagues Under the Industry Film Festival - surfaces this weekend.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Industry Film Festival surfaces this weekend.
10/1-10/2

For those of you who've been pining for movies offering political commentary from Richard Nixon's dog, we have some good news: This weekend's 20,000 Leagues Under the Industry Film Festival features a flick (7 Days) with that very premise! "We saw it in Chicago," says filmmaker Matthew T., who programs the two-day fest with collaborator Marcel DeJure. "And it just blew us away."

The fifth annual event includes such diverse offerings as Dirty Baby Does Fire Island, a stop-motion short about a doll that gets caught in a downward spiral of huffing and voyeurism, and Man on a Hydrological Dam, about a guy who's more than a little displeased with his life in an alternate dimension. Best, however, are Tales of Mere Existence (a collection of animated tales about sex) and Argent Liquide, a cross between THX 1138 and Brazil.

"We created [the indie showcase] out of spite," says Matthew T. "We were frustrated by the lack of access to this type of work in Cleveland." The films screen at 9 p.m. Friday and 1, 3, 6, and 9 p.m. Saturday at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road. Tickets are $5, available by calling 216-383-1124. -- James Renner

Lost Cause
Movie digs obscure singer.

10/1-10/3

Jandek is a reclusive and mysterious Houston-based singer-songwriter who's self-recorded and -released 35 albums over the past 25 years. His fan base is made up of obsessive music types, like college-radio DJs and music critics. He releases his work under an enigmatic imprint, Corwood Industries. And his music -- damaged folk-blues, usually played on out-of-tune guitars -- is, to put it mildly, difficult. Yet the documentary Jandek on Corwood, which explores the man's mythos, is enthralling . . . even if it never really grounds its subject (who doesn't do interviews or make appearances; in fact, nobody even knows who he is). "We were just looking for a good story," says Paul Fehler, who produced the film. "He wasn't part of the punk movement, but you get the feeling he wanted to do this for a long time and just did it. Just like the punk kids." Jandek on Corwood plays at 7 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Boulevard. Admission is $7; call 216-707-2465. -- Michael Gallucci

The Greatest Interaction of Matter and Energy on Earth
Science Center takes all the fun out of the circus.

10/2-1/2

Don't try this at home: Circus! Science Under the Big Top is for physics geeks who want to know how daredevils defy the odds without killing themselves. The hands-on exhibit teaches kids in harnesses how physics, biology, and psychology help them cross a tightrope nine feet in the air. And a sword swallower shares secrets on how to plunge a long, steel blade down your throat. Get the lawyers on the phone . . . Circus! opens Saturday and runs through January 2 at the Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Avenue. It's open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $12.95, $4.95 for kids; call 216-694-2000. -- Cris Glaser

Labor Day

10/1-10/2

Heather Drago will turn photographs of children into life-sized images in charcoal and pastels at City Artists at Work. "There's a balance I try to portray between the natural naïveté inherent in all children and a strong sense of individuality," she explains. More than 40 artists will ply their trade from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at nine locations around town. Admission is free. For a complete schedule, visit www.cityartistsatwork.com. -- Cris Glaser

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