The suits at Sony Pictures Television think sitcom fans can't get enough of puffy shirts, Junior Mints and Estelle Costanza dolls. That's why they're rolling out the Seinfeld Campus Tour bus, a 60-foot-long museum-on-wheels that comes to Case Western Reserve University today. Not that there's anything wrong with that. "People just love the iconic nature of the show," says Alan Daniels, the company's vice president of marketing. "And we thought, 'How can we reach the young-adult viewers who maybe didn't grow up with Seinfeld when it was on NBC?' We felt there was that kind of viewer who can still discover the show."
The bus contains many of the program's props, costumes and even a replica of the frozen-yogurt restaurant that Kramer ran in one episode. The tour also doubles as a canned-food fundraiser - a tribute to the Soup Nazi, one of the show's most memorable characters. "He is one of those people that viewers want to meet," says Daniels, who spearheaded the show's advertising campaign from 1989 to 1998. "Phrases like 'No soup for you!' still make people laugh. I don't think the humor is dated at all." Outside the bus, fans can play Seinfeld-inspired carnival games and "Marine Biologist Hole-in-One" putt-putt golf, which references another of the show's 180 episodes. "There's not a dud among them," says Daniels. "I still see things that I never noticed before. Maybe I forgot them, and I'm discovering them all over again." See for yourself from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Case Western Reserve University's Veale Athletic Center, 2128 Adelbert Rd. Admission is a canned-food donation. Visit seinfeld.com for more information. - Cris Glaser
TV Guide once called Omarosa "the top reality-TV villain of all time." But that's all right with the Youngstown native, who's in town today for a couple of book-signings to promote her how-to manual, The Bitch Switch: Knowing How to Turn It On and Off. "I feel very lonely being the only woman in most situations who is outspoken and aggressive," admits the 34-year-old Omarosa, who captured Donald Trump's attention during the debut season of The Apprentice in 2004. "As I started to write, my good-girl, nice friends said, 'If it takes me being a bitch to get to the top, I'll just settle with what I have.' I'm telling women to go after what they want." The book is based on more than 6,000 e-mails from gals who asked for tips on business and love lives. For starters, Omarosa found that three out of every four women back off from negotiating their salaries. "Women are terrified in those situations," she says. "We have been socialized as women to feel as though, if we demand the best, we are punished with a label that starts with a 'b' and ends with an 'h'. Women are less likely than men to be go-getters."
Omarosa's own role models range from her mother, who raised four kids after her dad was killed when she was in the first grade, to 19th-century entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, who built a humble hair-care business into a million-dollar-a-year, beauty-products empire. These women, says Omarosa, knew when to flip the "b-switch" on and off. "I don't encourage the demeaning, debilitating, derogatory use of the word 'bitch,' since it's a power that most women don't know they have," she says. "In my dictionary, it means sexy, sassy, go-getter hurricane-on-heels who goes for what she wants and never, ever apologizes for being fabulous." You go, girl! The signings are at 11:30 a.m. at Crooked River Books (1301 E. 9th St., 216.830.2665) and 6 p.m. at Borders Books (30121 Detroit Rd. in Westlake, 440.892.7667). Admission is free. Visit borders.com for details. - Glaser
Fresh off Team USA's gold-medal victory at the Beijing Olympics, LeBron James and the rest of his team are ready for a new season. It all starts tonight at the Cavs' Home Opener against the Charlotte Bobcats. The team seems to be in pretty good shape, after last season's gutsy acquisition of forwards Ben Wallace and Joe Smith (from the Chicago Bulls) and guard Delonte West and forward Wally Szczerbiak (from the Seattle SuperSonics). "They made moves just like other teams do in hopes to improve," says spokeswoman Karen Wade. "Two years ago, they reached the finals. It's time to go back and win."
Is this the season the Cavaliers finally grab the NBA crown? Will King James bolt for money-green pastures in some other city's suburbs? Stick around, says Wade. "Stay positive about LeBron and the team," she advises. "He is a hometown boy, and this place loves him. He won't find bigger, better fans anywhere than here in his own backyard." Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena (100 Gateway Plaza). Tickets: $10-$120. Call 800.820.2287 or visit cavs.com. - Chad Felton
More than a dozen electro-noise, bluegrass and acoustic-folk bands celebrate Halloween in a former Transylvanian community center for the first-ever Freakin' at the Freakers' Ball. Rockers Mr. Gnome and the Uncanny XeLa will headline the costume party. "Most of these bands are those we know and have worked with," says XeLa drummer Chris Maneri. "It's kind of an excuse to get together and have a party."
The bill also includes country-rockers Lost State of Franklin and G.S. Harper, and acoustic guitarists Charlie Mosbrook and Istvan Medgyesi. Open-mic vets Green Escalators, Boy Meats Grill, Vel and Bliss will also perform on four stages set up in the three-story Sachsenheim Hall on Cleveland's West Side. "Having a good time is everyone's goal," says Maneri. "The lack of stress and doing what everyone wants make these our favorite big shows. A lot of times, your band plays and then you pack up for somewhere else. This time, everybody can relax for an evening, and the payout is pretty fun." Get your freak on at 9 p.m. at Sachsenseim Hall (7001 Denison Ave.). Tickets: $10. Call 216.651.0888 for more information. - Glaser
Psst … want some free booze? Just look for Erika Wilke, who'll be wearing a black-cat costume at tonight's Halloween Booze Bus tour of five Cleveland and Lakewood clubs. When you find her, she'll let you sample shots of Three Olives vodka and 1800 tequila (courtesy of entertainment website Metromix.com). "When we pull up, some of us will come inside and say, 'Hey, guys! We have this bus outside. Come on out and drink for free!'" says Wilke, the website's events manager. "It's just a big party for 45 minutes, [then] we move on to the next bar."
Inside the 45-seat party bus, a chauffeur will crank up a 5,000-watt sound system while revelers grind on a stripper's pole. Wilke and her crew will hand out swag bags featuring T-shirts, cups, photo frames, bottle openers, key chains and Mardi Gras beads to anyone dressed in costume. "Halloween is one of those nights when people like to go out," says Wilke. "So we wanted to throw an event and make it something really fun for people to do." Hop on the bus between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. at West Park Station (17015 Lorain Ave., 216.476.2000), Harry Buffalo (18605 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood, 216.221.1313), Hi-Fi Concert Club (17015 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood, 216.521.8878), Twist (11633 Clifton Blvd., 216.221.2333) and Cadillac Ranch (200 Euclid Ave., 216.685.0000). Admission: free. Visit cleveland.metromix.com for details. - Glaser
Halloween is a perfect time for folks to dress up and pretend to be somebody else. It's also a perfect time to get rip-roaring wasted without raising an eyebrow - especially at the Silk Halloween Bash. "Crazy-ass behavior is definitely expected for this party," says Jenny Franko, who tends bar at the chic Flats nightspot Silk. "Costumes and alcohol seem to have an effect where we're not sure how an evening will end."
Shooters' sister club boasts a 6,000-square-foot dance floor, state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, and more than a dozen 50-inch plasma TVs beaming video DJs. To soak up the vibe, you can get hammered at three specialty bars stocked with martinis, tequila and champagne. Plus, pop-rockers the Spazmatics will play cover tunes, and folks wearing the most inventive costumes will snag some cash. "It's perfect that Halloween falls on a Friday this year," says Franko. "Middle-of-the-week parties have done well in the past. But when they are on the weekends, they definitely do soar." The party runs from 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. at Silk (1148 Main Ave. on the West Bank of the Flats). Admission: $5. Call 216.861.6900 or visit silkcleveland.com. - Felton
On a crisp, autumn evening a couple of Fridays ago, rockers Cream of the Crop took over the front of Crop Bistro's dining room with a three-hour set of acid-rock covers by bands like the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. Drummer Scott Schimoler then leaned toward his mic and announced the sextet's finale for the night. "We're gonna do a little Hendrix, Crop-style," he told the audience. "It's about being in the kitchen next to the fire." He should know. Besides owning the restaurant, the 49-year-old Schimoler is a veteran musician who grew up on New York's Oyster Bay and took up the drums after seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. "I would sit as a 5-year-old and play over and over until my mother was fucking crazy," he recalls. "Music is my therapy."
As a teen, Schimoler played in garage bands that were "hooked on" Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service tunes. By 23, he had taught himself to cook and launched three Long Island restaurants. Then he surprised foodies by selling the businesses, moving to Vermont and starting a product-development firm that will debut nine prepared foods - like smoked black beans and cranberry-orange relish - in regional Super Target stores on Sunday.
But every Friday night, Schimoler is at his Cleveland restaurant with a band he's pieced together with former and current employees - like pastry chef Olena Gudz on vocals, waiter Neehar Menon on woodbox, and chefs Donnie DeCarlo and Mark Hart on guitar. Chef-de-cuisine Tom Moran also occasionally sits in on percussion.
"Résumés don't mean a lot to me, because I ask anyone who's applying for a job if they play an instrument," says Schimoler. "To me, there's a correlation between music and food. The menu is a set list, and every entrée is like the notes. And in the kitchen, you have to have rhythm. When the kitchen doesn't have rhythm, it shows in the dining room. When a kitchen is out of meter, it's fucked up." The jams start at 10:30 p.m. at Crop Bistro (1400 W. 6th St.). Admission: free. Call 216.775.0056 or visit cropbistro.com. - Glaser Saturday 11.1
The Great Lakes Brewing Company wants to wait until Halloween is officially over to celebrate the Feast of All Saints, Christmas Ale-Style. That's why owners Pat and Dan Conway will hold off until after midnight this morning to sell six-packs of the brew for one hour in their gift shop. "Introducing a Christmas beer on Halloween is sorta pagan," says spokeswoman Kami Dolney. "That's why we're doing it at 12:01." (The ale will be served on tap at Great Lakes starting this afternoon.)
Brewed since August, the copper-colored beer is made with a mix of ginger, honey and cinnamon. Its 7.5-percent alcohol content also puts it on the low end of the brewery's buzz-meter. "People want it all year round, which is kinda weird for a Christmas beer," says Dolney. "It definitely has its own cult following." The suds go on sale from 12:01 to 1 a.m. at the Great Lakes Brewing Company (2516 Market Ave.). Admission is free. Call 216.771.4404 or visit greatlakesbrewing.com. - Glaser Wednesday 11.5
After spending years on the road, New York comedian çngel Salazar plans to settle down in his hometown to host a "Hispanic In Living Color"-type TV show. So his gigs at the Improv this week may be his last in town for a while. "In Cleveland, the crowds really get into it," says Salazar, 43. "And they love to be picked on. They love when you mess with them. But it's time to move on to the next level."
Best remembered for his "sheck it out" catchphrase, Salazar is also notorious for lampooning his fellow Cuban Americans. "Where are the Latinos?" he always asks his audience. "What are you doing out here? You should be back there doing the dishes." Showtimes are at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Improv (2000 Sycamore St. on the West Bank of the Flats). Tickets: $13-$17. Call 216.696.4677 or visit clevelandimprov.com. - P.F. Wilson