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Wednesday 9.10

MATCH GAME

Fill in the blank: "Dumb Dickie is so dumb that when he had a garage sale, he sold his _________." If your answer is the same as those given by a panel of four "celebrities," you have a good shot at scoring $25 at tonight's Match Game at the gay-friendly Twist nightspot. On the second Wednesday of every month, host "Big Daddy" invites patrons to play a rotating series of '70s game shows like Password, Tattle Tales and Win, Lose or Draw. At tonight's outing, a pair of contestants squares off to see who can match answers with the panelists. Between rounds, "Big Daddy" plays trivia with the audience and awards prizes like X-rated flicks and sex toys from Body Language, Diverse Universe and the Dean Rufus House of Fun. Get your game on at 11 tonight at Twist, 11633 Clifton Blvd. Admission is free. Call 216.221.2333 for more information. Ð Cris Glaser

Thursday 9.11

OUT OF DARKNESS DVD RELEASE PARTY

Meet the cast and crew of a locally shot internet series tonight, when director Alex Michaels takes a bow at the Out of Darkness DVD Release Party. The 1984 Shaw High School grad says the three half-hour episodes on the disc are a cross between Law & Order and The X-Files. "This is a Cleveland thing, and people should be behind it because Cleveland needs to be the home of some TV shows," says Michaels, who runs the Prelude2Cinema production company. "Part of the problem is that people don't think about Cleveland when it comes to TV and movies."

The show was taped at various places around town, like Whiskey Island, the Velvet Dog nightclub and Lucy's Sweet Surrender bakery. Bratenahl police even locked up Michaels to let him get a taste of slammer life. "I was scared straight," he says. "It's an old-time jail, with the bars on the windows and an inch-and-a-half of steel separating you from the outside. It's pretty scary."

Since he started posting Out of Darkness episodes on YouTube last year, Michaels has received feedback from viewers as far away as Australia. But the global attention hasn't prompted him to move his company to entertainment meccas like the Big Apple or Tinseltown. "Every other filmmaker picks up and leaves here," he says. "I don't want to be one of those guys who decide they want to use Cleveland as a stepping stone to L.A. With the internet, you don't need to leave." The party runs from 6 to 8 tonight at Anatomy, 1299 W. Ninth St. Admission is free. Call 216.363.1113 or visit anatomycleveland.com. Ð Glaser

GARY OWEN

Although he plays a career coed in the recently released movie College, stand-up comedian Gary Owen never thought much about higher education after he graduated from high school in the Cincinnati suburb of Hamilton. Then a friend rousted him out of bed one sticky summer morning and took him to a naval-recruitment office to get his life back on track. "That's how I got to college," says Owen, who's in town this weekend for a slate of shows at the Improv. "The character I play is a legacy. You don't really know how old he is, but you know he's been there a long time. He's one of those guys that never graduate. He's still coordinating all the parties, and all the trouble ensues."

Owen's naval experience included a stint with the presidential honor guard in Washington. To be part of the prestigious group, he had to stand at attention at all times. Owen couldn't even keep a straight face. "I had a hard time, because I didn't take anything too seriously," he recalls. "I was always trying to make people laugh."

These days, Owen makes the audition rounds to try and land more film roles. He says he doesn't want to be a movie star; he just wants to fill more seats at his shows with fans who've seen his films. "I want a part that's going to make me stand out a little," says Owen, whose other onscreen credits include Rebound with Martin Lawrence and Daddy Day Care with Eddie Murphy. "I'm not going to do one line, like a waiter saying, 'Can I take your order?' I can make more money on the road." Showtime is at 8 tonight, 8 and 10:15 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Improv, 2000 Sycamore St. on the West Bank of the Flats. Tickets are $15 and $17. Call 216.696.4677 or visit clevelandimprov.com. Ð P.F. Wilson

Friday 9.12

CLEVELAND WOMEN'S SHOW

Jackie Walker sees a closet as a "room of emotion." And the veteran Chicago fashion consultant will show you how to choose the right clothes to bring out your happy inner self at today's start of the first-ever Cleveland Women's Show. "A few years ago, I had my a-ha! moment that said, 'Jackie, you need to decide to take clothing to a higher purpose,'" says Walker, who not only refers to herself in the third person, she's also anointed herself "the doctor of closetology." "You need to figure out who people are on the inside, what their fears are and what they see when they look in the mirror. Then you need to take the inside and bring it into harmony [with] who they are on the outside."

Along with today's 11 a.m. demonstration and signing of Walker's Closetology CD, the show will also include tips on shopping, travel, health, cooking and home décor. There will also be celebrity meet-and-greets with Chilean-born actor and Dancing With the Stars hottie Cristián de la Fuente and Hannah Montana's Jason Earles. Plus, "Garage Sale Lady" Shelley Kincaid will host workshops on how to turn trash into treasure. Walker will also help you decide which clothes you can weed out of your closet, so you're not taking up too much valuable space. She compares it to a "psychological how-to" on assembling a wardrobe. "When a woman says, 'I don't have a thing to wear,' she's actually saying, 'Nothing makes me feel good,'" says Walker, who estimates that gals hang on to 80 percent of clothes they never wear. "I say, 'Let me hold a mirror up to your life.' If I see something that doesn't belong, let's put it in another closet so you don't trip over your past life every morning." The show runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the I-X Center, 6200 Riverside Dr. Admission is $9 ($5 for kids). Call 800.849.0248 or visit clevelandwomensshow.com. Ð Glaser

Saturday 9.13

CIVIL WAR ENCAMPMENT

Tremont's Lincoln Park turns into a 19th-century soldiers' settlement this weekend, when 20 members of Hale Farm and Village's 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry re-enact their second annual Civil War Encampment. One of the highlights will be the 1 p.m. firing demonstrations by the infantry. "The sergeant orders the men to pull out their gunpowder and load their weapons, then they shoot their rifles into the air," says Eileen Sotak, who heads the Tremont History Project. "It's an exciting part of the living history." The encampment is set up near the former Camp Cleveland, where more than 15,000 soldiers Ð or 5 percent of Ohio's troops -- trained for the Civil War in 1862 on 35 acres of land between West Fifth and Seventh streets and Railway and Marquardt avenues. At noon both days, the 19th Ohio Light Artillery will fire a cannon into the Industrial Valley, while history buffs take bus tours downtown to see the Grays Armory military museum and the Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument on Public Square. "When you think of Tremont, you think of trendy restaurants," says Sotak. "But it's a unique blend of the old and the new. And we're determined to keep alive its rich history." The encampment is on display from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at Lincoln Park between West 14th Street and Starkweather Avenue. Admission is free; bus tours are $10 ($5 for kids). Call 440.785.6315 or visit tremonthistory.com. Ð Glaser

SKUNK FEST

Renée Pearlstein of Madison is all ready to field the question she's likely to hear many times at today's Skunk Fest: Do her five pet skunks spray? The answer is an emphatic no. "Skunks that are actually domestic have to be pen-raised and de-scented when they're three or four weeks old," says Pearlstein. "People think we just pick them up from outside and make them our pets. That's just not the case."

Pearlstein's seven-year-old skunk Priscilla will join dozens of other critters at the fifth annual bash, which includes costume contests, a beauty pageant and high-speed races on a U-shaped course. Furry contestants will also play games like "Pet Detective." "You put a piece of food in a paper bag, then you put your skunk in a pen, and it's timed to see which skunk can find the food in the bag the quickest," explains Pearlstein. "I'll stand and cheer Priscilla on. It takes her awhile, but she eventually finds it."

To get into the fest, all you have to do is donate some food to the SkunkHaven sanctuary. Contributions can range from boxes of rice and organic pasta to natural-grain cereal. "That's why skunks aren't for everybody," says Pearlstein. "They think they can go out and buy a bag of dog food and be done with it. I've also seen skunks that were just so heavy and overfed. People don't realize you have to feed them a mixture of proteins. And they need their carbs."

Skunk owners also need some respect. Year-round, the shelter's volunteers tour schools, churches and summer camps, teaching kids about skunk culture. The exposure has drawn hundreds of members to the shelter. "People think I'm the crazy skunk lady," says Pearlstein. "I'll send out our newsletter, and I'll see the addresses of skunk owners who are living around me that I didn't even know about. We're all over the place." The fest runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at SkunkHaven Shelter & Rescue, 32072 Center Ridge Rd. in N. Ridgeville. Admission is a box of food; competition fee is $15. Call 440.327.4349 or visit skunkhaven.net Ð Glaser

Tuesday 9.16

ZAP! POW! BAM!: THE SUPERHERO

The Maltz Museum of Jewish History packs a powerful punch of comic-book nostalgia when it unveils the Zap! Pow! Bam!: The Superhero exhibit today. Museum Director Judi Feniger readily admits her bias for a certain red-caped superhero with a Cleveland connection. "Working in this environment, I've learned so much about Superman -- from his roots in Glenville, where my dad grew up, to his unshakable values of truth, justice and the American way," she says.

While grown-ups can reminisce over vintage comics and 1940s-era serials at the Superhero Cinema, kids can try on costumes, touch kryptonite and make up their own heroes in the Comic Studio. They can also pore over inaugural issues of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Captain America, as well as the first issue of Action Comics (where Superman made his debut), which is valued at $350,000. "I am enjoying so many of the stories," says Feniger. "It's a terrific blend of the fun and the serious, mixed with the fascinating history of their creation by Jewish writers. There are the underlying themes that bind superheroes in fiction." The collection is on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through January 4 at the Maltz Museum of Jewish History, 2929 Richmond Rd. in Beachwood. Admission is $12 ($5 for kids and free for museum members). Call 216.593.0575 or visit maltzjewishmuseum.org. Ð Marge Perko

Wednesday 9.17

GAME NIGHT WEDNESDAY

Even though he sold Truffles eight months ago, you can still catch former owner J.P. Smith working the counter at the west-side coffee-and-pastry shop. He'll be busy tonight, serving the dozens of card fans who show up every week for Game Night Wednesday. "Last week, they had four tables pushed together playing Uno," says Smith. "It's just a great time." While the bakery dishes out sweets and pours steaming cups of java, a regular crowd of players, from 21 to 45 years old, gather for some heated competition. "Some of my closest friends I've met here," says Smith. "It's the perfect time to come in and meet new people because there is always something going on here." Pull up a seat at 9 tonight at Truffles, 11122 Clifton Blvd. Admission is free. Call 216.961.7439 for details. Ð R.C. Out

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