Four siblings and a family friend form tonight's Team Lungevity, which will pour shots, shake martinis and tap draft beer to make some cash for lung-cancer research. Just don't ask team captain Jennifer Christie to make you anything from too far back in the day. "My mom ordered a Harvey Wallbanger once," she says. "I had no idea what the heck that was. I still have no idea."
The 33-year-old Christie will share bar space with her 31- and 30-year-old sisters Laura and Sarah, 25-year-old brother Bill and 25-year-old BFF Katie Settle. To raise even more cash for the Lungevity Foundation, they'll race the 26.2-mile Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., on October 26. But tonight, the quintet will prepare for a run on the booze. "We can pour beer and do the basic drinks," says Christie. "But there will be a professional bartender helping us, just in case somebody asks for something weird." The pours start at 6 p.m. at Around the Corner, 18616 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. Admission is free. Call 216.521.4413 or visit atccafe.com. - Cris Glaser
British drum-and-bass pioneers LTJ Bukem & MC Conrad make a rare North American appearance tonight, when the duo spins a late show at Mercury Lounge.
The artists are in town to promote their latest collaboration, a 12-inch vinyl single featuring Bukem's "Switch," backed with Conrad's "Drum Tools." Fans can also grind to tracks from their February release, Total Science, where Conrad teamed up with DJ Craze, Armanni Reign and vocalist Laura Pacheco. "Drum-and-bass has more crossover appeal than any other dance genre, due to its more aggressive beat structure," says Jessica George, the show's promoter. "It's almost the heavy metal of dance music. But Bukem's production work and DJ sets are funky-like, intelligent hip-hop, which always makes his draw extremely diverse." The spins start at 11 p.m. at Mercury Lounge, 1392 W. Sixth St. Admission: $5-$10. Call 216.566.8840 or visit themercurylounge.com. - Glaser
If you're heading to Tower City this afternoon, you may stop in your tracks after you see a girl painted like a tiger and hanging out in a 3-foot-high cage on Public Square. That's 24-year-old PETA activist Virginia Fort, who'll wear only a pair of panties and a couple of pasties to protest alleged animal cruelty by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey trainers, who'll be in town with the circus in two weeks.
"When people see me, they ask, 'What are you doing out here naked?'" laughs Fort, whose body will be striped with black and orange paint. "Then they'll say, 'What's wrong with the circus?' People just don't know."
Here's the scoop: Last spring, the animal-rights group issued a 13-page complaint that accused the circus of abuse since 1994. The accusations range from caging lions in poorly ventilated boxcars while traveling through the Mojave Desert to torturing Asian elephants with sharp bull hooks during rehearsals. The circus denies the charges. "Animals are kept in confinement when they're not performing," argues Fort. "They're in fear of pain every day when they're being trained to do these confusing and unnatural tricks. If people only knew about the constant beatings, shockings and burnings, I think they would be absolutely horrified. We want people to know what goes on behind the scenes before they buy tickets." Since December, the Toronto-born Fort has spread PETA's message throughout the country. And shedding most of her clothes in unpredictable autumn weather is just part of the job. Says Fort: "Compared to what the animals go through - they're left in boxcars for hours at a time in all extreme weather conditions - for me to be dressed like that is really nothing." See for yourself from noon to 1 p.m. on the northwest corner of Public Square at Superior Avenue and Ontario Street. It's free. Visit peta.org for more information. - Glaser JON REEP
Long before he scored top prize in last year's season of Last Comic Standing, Jon Reep was just a redneck from tiny Hickory, North Carolina, which the locals call "the furniture capital of the world." "[And that's] not including all the stuff on the front porches," says Reep, who's at the Improv for a series of stand-up shows this weekend. "Even our one homeless guy has a nice living-room set."
As a broadcasting major at North Carolina State, Reep stumbled into comedy in the stands at a Carolina Panthers game. During timeouts, his dancing attracted the team's mascot, which coaxed him onto the field to boogie in front of fans. Their cheers turned to boos when the cops hauled him out of the stadium.
These days, the 36-year-old Reep still feeds off his southern roots when he talks about the topics he knows best: beer, football and growing up in rural America. "It's not easy living in Los Angeles and being from the South," says Reep, who made his big-screen debut this year in Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. "They hear my accent, and they're just waiting for me to say something like, 'What are shoes for?'" Showtimes are 8 and 10:15 p.m. today and tomorrow and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Improv, 2000 Sycamore St. on the West Bank of the Flats. Tickets: $21. Call 216.696.4677 or visit clevelandimprov.com. - P.F. Wilson Saturday 10.11
Mix Master Mike gives props to "a bunch of Cleveland kids" for the Velvet Dog stop on his 10-city Bacardi Live Tour. If he hadn't been spinning hip-hop, electro and funk tracks in Cincinnati this summer, Cleveland would have flown off his radar when he set up the tour with the rum giant. "These kids at the show came up and said, "Why don't you ever come to Cleveland?'" says Mike, a.k.a. Michael Schwartz. "I had to put in a good word about Cleveland and say, 'Hey, you can't forget about them.'"
For the past six weekends, the 38-year-old Mike (along with opening act DJ JS-1) has hit clubs across the Midwest, spinning mixes from his upcoming album, Beta Capsule. After each show, he flies back to his Southern California home. "It's kinda like The Dark Knight," laughs Mike, whose résumé boasts a stint as turntablist for hip-hop heroes the Beastie Boys. "They send the signal up to the sky, I fly in to do a show and fly back. I have no complaints, and I can't wait for the next show."
In Cleveland, Mike is pumped to re-create his signature Tweak Scratch - basically just a scratch performed while the record is stopped. The technique, he says, should rev up the audience. "Cleveland has good kids," says Mike. "They like to party, and they work hard at it. You gotta let loose somehow." Doors open at 8 p.m. at the Velvet Dog, 1280 W. Sixth St. Admission is free, but registration is required. Call 216.664.1116 or visit velvetdogcleveland.com. - Glaser
College coeds usually write term papers so they can pass their classes. As a wannabe pediatrician at Case Western Reserve University three years ago, Jeff Day of Solon used to plow through his schoolwork with visions of turning his term paper into a book. The result is his debut how-to primer, Don't Touch That!: The Book of Gross, Poisonous and Downright Icky Plants and Critters, which also includes his original drawings. "In all my assignments, I came up with an excuse to go back to my interest in nature," says Day, who signs his book at the Cleveland Botanical Garden this afternoon. "So I was happy that the professors let me do whatever I wanted and still be able to meet the criteria. I didn't have to turn in artwork, but I did anyway because that's my thing."
The book is divided into five chapters: spiders, insects, mammals, plants and reptiles. It's targeted to middle-school kids, who aren't aware of some of the dangerous wildlife in North America. "The blister beetle secretes a goo that can cause blisters in humans," says the 28-year-old Day, who earned his pediatrician's license in 2006. "I write more in detail about ticks and mosquitoes because they can pass on diseases. In addition to pain and itchiness, they can bring out an extra bit of badness."
With his first book under his belt, Day continues to put pediatrics on the backburner. "I have not ruled out practicing," he says. "But I must admit I am looking for an unusual path to satisfy all of my interests." The book-signing runs from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd. Admission is free. Call 216.721.1600 or visit cbgarden.org. - Glaser
It's bad enough that the organizers of the Great Beer Run will make two-person teams perform stunts during today's foot race. But they also won't tell participants the course route until someone yells, "Go!" to start the 2.5-mile competition at Berea's Cornerstone Brewing Company. "They're not going to have a piece of paper to show them where to run," says Erik Rothschiller, the brewery's general manager. "They'll have to follow the markings on the trail."
Along the way, teams will have to complete tasks at four pit stops to see who can toss a beer keg the farthest and sink the most beanbags into a cornhole table. To score even more points, judges will rate each pair on the Halloween costumes they're required to wear. "If I can dress them up, I will," laughs Rothschiller. "The only thing is, the city wants the costumes decent, because they'll be running through neighborhoods and the main strip where Baldwin-Wallace College is. We can't have any naked people running out there."
After the race, runners will meet at the brewery for complimentary spaghetti dinners and pints of home-brewed ale, including the pumpkin-flavored Linus' Revenge. The beer is so popular that Rothschiller ordered his brewmaster to make 13 barrels of it. "It definitely brings out the flavors and aromas of this time of year," he says. "It flies off the shelf, and it probably won't make it to Thanksgiving. People in Cleveland really thrive on the fall and all the beers associated with it." The run is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cornerstone Brewing Company, 58 Front St. in Berea. Team fee is $45; it's free to watch. Call 440.239.9820 or visit cornerstonebrewing.com. - Glaser
You don't have to ditch your inner wimp during the Myths, Legends and Graveyard Tours in Lake County; they're not as scary as they sound. "There is nothing ghoulish or macabre about our tours," says Karen Sawitke, president of the county's History and Heritage Center. "We're not out here looking for ghosts or performing exorcisms. But there are surprises and things most people are completely unaware of."
For starters, did you know there were rampant body-snatchings during the 1800s in the three cemeteries spotlighted on the two-and-a-half-hour tour? A cast of actors will reenact some of the local myths and legends of the region. Afterward, spectators will feast on bread-bowl stew, salad and dessert. "It's a good place to start in the spirit of the season and Halloween," says Sawitke. "We do have a lot of secrets in all this, but I'm not going to tell you. You have to come and see it." Get your spook on at 1:30, 2, 4 and 4:30 p.m. at the Lake County History and Heritage Center, 415 Riverside Dr. in Painesville Township. Tickets are $33 for center members ($38 for nonmembers). Call 440.639.2945 or visit lakehistory.org. - Chad Felton Monday 10.13
The Cleveland Browns, with their 1-3 record, haven't fared as well as fans had hoped. But they get to shine tonight at Cleats Club Seat Grill's Monday Night Football Tailgate Party, when the team takes the field against the New York Giants in its first regular-season Monday game since December 2003. "It's going to get rowdy, that's guaranteed," says bartender Jeffrey Finley. "The primetime setting is the perfect place for this team and its fans to show what we can do. We're much better than people think."
While fans pray to the NFL gods during commercial breaks, $1.75 libations will be only a bartender away. The booze could help ease the tension before the 8:30 p.m. kickoff, since the Giants are the reigning Super Bowl champs. "This town has the most loyal fans," says Finley. "It would be nice to see the team turn the corner this year. It's a long season, and real fans believe that the Browns can bounce back and make it respectable." The party starts at 11 a.m. at Cleats Club Seat Grill, 7693 Reynolds Rd. (Route 306) in Mentor. Admission is free. Call 440.953.9464 or visit cleatswings.com. - Felton
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