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'Made in the 216' hits Detroit Avenue Friday

With LeBron's pending free agency pounding against our heads like a bad hangover, many Clevelanders are asking Why wouldn't you just stay in Cleveland, LeBron? Change "LeBron" to "local businesses," and that's the same question Danielle DeBoe is asking area vendors. She's gathered 60 local designers, along with local bands and independent caterers, to line Detroit Avenue with "Made in the 216," a showcase of some of Cleveland's most creative businesses — like clothing labels Wrath Arcane (pictured) and Small Screen Designs, which will display and sell their apparel, jewelry, and much more. Indie rockers Filmstrip and Clovers will bring the noise. And if your stomach starts rumbling for something, you can pick up some homegrown food and drinks to feed it. And if that's not enough Cleveland flavor for you, there's a midnight screening of Out of Place, a movie about our city's underground surfing community. Yes, there is such a thing. Made in the 216 — part of Gordon Square Arts Day — takes place on Detroit Avenue (at West 65th Street) from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. It's free. Visit madeinthe216.com for more info. — Jordan Zirm

Wednesday, June 9

Kris Kristofferson

It's hard to remember a time when Kris Kristofferson wasn't an icon — a terrific singer-songwriter who parlayed his fame into a prolific if somewhat scattershot acting career. But as his movie and TV work devoured more of his attention, the songs he conceived in the most turbulent part of the '60s and '70s grew in stature, claiming a rightful place among the most influential and affecting of the 20th century. Long before he became a household name, Kristofferson's work was recognized by some of the most potent voices of the past 50 years, including Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin. As singer-songwriter Kinky Friedman describes his pal in the liner notes of a new compilation, Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-72, Kristofferson was "the most talented janitor in Nashville." This much is certain: Kristofferson's powerful and timeless songs will outlive us all. He performs at the Kent Stage (175 E. Main Street, Kent, 330-677-5005, kentstage.org) at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $75. — Brian Baker

Thursday, June 10

She & Him

What do you get when you mix a Hollywood star with one of our generation's most valuable songwriters? A band of pronouns. Zooey Deschanel (from [500] Days of Summer) and M. Ward (lately of Monsters of Folk) inject She & Him with equal doses of sharp songwriting (she) and a history-scanning range of production tricks (him). They may repackage retro sounds into today's new alternative from time to time, but fans don't seem to mind digging up their '60s AM gold. On their recently released second album, Volume Two, She & Him cover Skeeter Davis' "Gonna Get Along Without You Now" and get their Supremes on in the Motown-flavored "Over It Over Again." They play House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583, houseofblues.com) at 8 p.m. The Chapin Sisters, a band of three female sibs with killer harmonies, open. Tickets are $22 advance, $24 day of show. — Danielle Sills

Sweeney Todd

The grisly story of a barber who kills his clients and, with the help of his landlady, grinds them into meat pies sure doesn't sound like promising material for a musical. But Stephen Sondheim's 1979 Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has proved to be enduringly popular — even for summer theaters like Cain Park (14591 Superior Rd., 216-371-3000, cainpark.com), where light fare is the norm. Even though Cain Park has downsized from two full-scale productions each summer to a single one in the intimate Alma Theatre, this one promises to be topnotch. It's directed by Paul Gurgol, co-founder of the late, lamented Kalliope Stage, which specialized in professional-quality productions of infrequently staged musicals. Avoiding the pitfall of some recent Cain Park productions, which featured talented students too young for their roles, Sweeney Todd's cast includes Baldwin-Wallace prof Benjamin Czarnota and 2008 B-W grad Patty Lohr in the lead roles, plus noted area actors like Nick Koesters, Amiee Collier, and Kalliope's other creative half, John Paul Boukis. The show previews at 7 tonight, with an official opening at 7 p.m. tomorrow. It runs through June 27. Tickets are $15 to $24. — Anastasia Pantsios

Roy Wood Jr.

Five years ago, a number of up-and-coming comics made some noise at Montreal's prestigious Just for Laughs Festival. John Caparulo and Bob Marley both jumped to the next level courtesy of killer sets. But Roy Wood Jr. massacred everyone in sight. Adept at delivering both personal and observational humor, the clever Alabama native moved from a morning-news radio gig to a stand-up comedy career. His albums, My Momma Made Me Wear This and Confessions of a Bench Warmer, are filled with self-deprecating barbs. Wood — who performs at 8 tonight, 8 and 10:15 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and at 7 p.m. on Sunday at the Improv (2000 Sycamore St., 216-696-4677, clevelandimprov.com) — is very relatable, joking about things most of us have lived through. Catch him now — it's only a matter of time before he becomes a regular on the larger theater circuit. Tickets range from $12 to $18. Ed Condran

Friday, June 11

Hot Club of Detroit

While often and easily associated with legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt and his singular brand of swing, Hot Club of Detroit have made it a point to stretch beyond mere tribute-band status. They'll be working even harder this year, since their gigs will inevitably be linked to Reinhardt Centennial celebrations. On their latest CD, It's About That Time, Hot Club interpret pieces by Charles Mingus, Pat Martino, and Chopin. Yet they don't abandon their Reinhardt roots, including three of the guitarist's more obscure tunes on the album: "Duke and Dukie," "Noto Swing," and "Sweet Chorus." All of this comes together in an effortless-sounding mix of new and old — swing, bop, and fusion are rendered with technical prowess that matches each player's spirited soloing. So while the Reinhardt base remains solid, really anything goes here. Hot Club of Detroit play Nighttown (12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216-795-0550, nighttowncleveland.com) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Matt Marshall

Screaming Tiki!

Don't even think of asking me to do something this weekend, because I'm going to be at the Screaming Tiki! comics, toys, and pop-culture convention spending my next three paychecks. There's gonna be video-game tourneys, costume contests, and meet-and-greets with the actor who played the Flash on TV (John Wesley Shipp), a guy who's voiced tons of geek-approved cartoons (Michael Bell), and some dude who played a stormtrooper in one of the Star Wars movies (you never heard of him). Best of all, there'll be tons of vendors selling everything from old monster magazines and superhero action figures to near-mint copies of Amazing Spider-Man No. 175 and old-school Atari games. Oh yeah! Screaming Tiki! takes place at the Eastwood Expo Center (5555 Youngstown Warren Rd., Niles) from noon to 8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $15; kids 12 and under get in free. See screamingtikicon.com for more info. — Michael Gallucci

Evil Toasters & Friends

This year's Smaller Sculptures From the Region exhibit at the Sculpture Center sounds like a fantasy world. Look to the right and you'll see an evil toaster with eyes glaring and mouth glowing, exposing a set of sharp teeth. Look to the left and you'll find a camel with a human head. There's even a piece that includes a peephole that reveals a whole world of other, tinier sculptures, just like something from Alice in Wonderland. True to its name, the 20 works in the sixth annual Smaller Sculptures From the Region range from a little more than an inch in height to three feet. It launches today at 5:30 p.m. at the Sculpture Center (1834 E. 123rd St., 216-229-6527, sculpturecenter.org). The show runs through July 31. Admission is free. — Jordan Zirm

Saturday, June 12

Battle of the Jazz Orchestras

The executive director of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, drummer Bob Breithaupt, gives high praise to his Cleveland Jazz Orchestra counterparts, calling bandleader and trumpeter Sean Jones "a spectacular talent." But building a jazz scene is about more than just skills: It takes organization, consistency, and audience outreach — areas where Columbus handily beats Cleveland. The Columbus Jazz Orchestra is the city's third-largest performing-arts institution (behind the symphony and ballet), boasting a much higher profile there than the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra does here. The two ensembles face off this week in a musical battle that will feature the big bands onstage at the same time, trading tunes and soloists right up to a battle-style finale. The Battle of the CJOs begins at 8 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre (1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, clevelandjazz.org). Tickets range from $18 to $32.50. — Gill

Parade the Circle

When families, neighborhood groups, scout troops, clubs, and bands step off for today's Parade the Circle in their colorful costumes and masks — toting homemade props, puppets, and hand-pulled floats — you'll be seeing a culmination of months of work. Some folks attend workshops at the Cleveland Museum of Art, while others work on their own. For the event's 21st year, participants — anyone from the community can take part in this annual favorite — were asked to reflect on the theme "Zounou Younou Hèrè/Une Porte S'Ouvre/A Door Opens," a reference to the reopening of the museum's ancient, Middle Ages, and African art galleries later this month. Dancers, musicians, and mask-makers from Burkina Faso will join the hundreds of Clevelanders who walk the parade route at noon and enjoy the festivities in the Circle Village from 1 to 4 p.m. It's all free. Go to clevelandart.org for more information. — Pantsios

Fusion Football

Maybe the Browns could learn a thing or two from the Cleveland Fusion. As the Brown and Orange head into training camp after yet another losing season, the female football squad has been treating its opponents the way most NFL teams treat the Browns. With only one game remaining in the regular season, the Fusion boast a stellar record, showing opponents no mercy. They took out Kentucky 54-6. Pittsburgh went down 60-3. And after their lone loss of the season, the Fusion shut down Toledo 62-0. Quarterback Danisha Garrison has led the charge as a dual threat, throwing for more than 800 yards and 15 touchdowns, while leading the team in rushing with more than 550 yards. Receivers Lisa Heinl and Mandy Milhoan have been Garrison's main targets this season, so keep an eye on them when the Fusion seek revenge against Western Michigan — which shut us out 55-0 earlier this year — at Byers Field (7600 Day Dr., Parma, 216-337-9101, clevelandfusion.com) at 7 p.m. for their final game of the season. Tickets are $5 and $10. — Zirm

Italian-American Summer Festival

There's usually a faint scent of despair in Berea this time of year. Browns training camp is starting up, and while a sizable crowd is never scarce, you can smell the doubt a mile way. Thankfully, today's Italian-American Summer Festival will cover up that stench with some delicious aromas. The festival is packed with so much good food that you might go up a full waist size. Seriously. Sausage and peppers, cavatelli, meatballs, pizza, eggplant rolatini and clams ... who can resist? And what meal would be complete without dessert? Cannoli, lemon ice, and gelato galore will top off your main course. There's also dance music from the Bruno Brothers, La Flavour, and others, as well as authentic Italian music. The festival takes place from 2 p.m. to midnight at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds (164 Eastland Rd., Berea, italianamericansummerfestival.com). Tickets are $2 to $7. — Zirm

Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo

Sorry, kids, you can't take home a tiger or a wolf. But the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500, clevemetzoo.com) is offering its annual opportunity to acquire a smaller, tamer animal at today's Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo. More than 20 humane and rescue organizations will be setting up in tents from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to introduce you to adoption-ready cats and dogs. They'll help you figure out what pet work best for your family and tell you how to care for it. And yes, if you're ready, you can bring your new cat or dog home with you today. Yay! It's free. — Pantsios

Sunday, June 13

Chef Jam

Steve Schimoler is not only chef and owner of Crop Bistro — he's also a musician. Last year, he combined his two loves by founding Cleveland Food Rocks. At 7 tonight, the group hosts Chef Jam 2010 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-781-7625, rockhall.com) to benefit the Rock Hall's education programs and Tri-C's culinary arts program. More than two dozen restaurants will be on hand to serve up dishes inspired by their favorite bands, with chefs dressing up like rock stars to add a little pizzazz. Presenter Maker's Mark bourbon is challenging chefs to use the libation in their creations, which should give the food some rock-and-roll authenticity. Bands made up of employees from the Greenhouse Tavern, Melange, and the Happy Dog will perform, with headliner Todd Rundgren providing some real star power. The $50 tickets include food samples, plus beer, wine, and the chance to check out all of the Rock Hall's exhibits. Go to clevelandfoodrocks.com for information. — Pantsios

Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life

Humans, music, and nature are all deeply intertwined. At the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life, you can see firsthand how connected to nature we really are. The new exhibit encourages folks to expand their minds about how music is made. You can experience how sound travels underwater and analyze bird songs. You can walk into a studio to produce your own symphony of nature sounds, percussion, and human vocals. And you can compare how the human voice compares with a bird's. Plus, you can sit back and watch a video that explains how animals understand each other. When you leave, you'll probably feel a little more in touch with nature. Just don't take off your clothes and start wandering around University Circle making animal noises. Wild Music runs through August 29 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, (1 Wade Oval Dr., 216-231-4600, cmnh.org). It's open from noon to 5 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday. Admission ranges from $7 to $10. — Zirm

Monday, June 14

Warszawa Festival and Market at Slavic Village

Slavic Village, just south of downtown, boasts a large minority of Polish and Czech citizens. Traces of those immigrants who first settled in the village can still be found in the classic century homes that rub against the new housing developments and renovations taking place in the area. With so much culture thriving there, it seems natural that a festival or two will pop this summer to show it off. That's what the weekly Warszawa Music Festival is all about. Name a genre of music — country, jazz, Latin, polka — and you'll probably hear it here. And while all that sweet music is ringing in your ears, take a stroll on over to the Warszawa Farmers' Market (6-8:30 p.m.) for some fresh fruit and vegetables. Watermelon goes great with live music. The festival starts at 7 p.m. every Monday through September at Dan Kane Park (at East 65th St. south of Broadway Ave.). Admission is free. Call 216-469-4806 or visit slavicvillage.org for more information. — Zirm     

Tuesday, June 15

Damien Jurado

Like all great folk musicians, Damien Jurado creates worlds for his songs to inhabit. The Seattle-based singer-songwriter had been quietly fashioning beautiful and somber dreamscapes long before delivering his 1997 debut album, Waters Ave S. Perhaps it's the delicate and shy nature of Jurado's universe — hard-to-reach visions where sparse guitars sparkle like lonely stars, slow drums echo over empty canyons, and Jurado's hoarse vocals tell gloomy stories in Nick Drake's earthy timbre. Over the course of ten full-length albums and a catalog of EPs, singles, and demos, Jurado has become a formidable underground balladeer, often mixing his lonesome basement folk with hip indie-rock (think Elliott Smith or M. Ward). His new album, Saint Bartlett, is certainly one of his most heartfelt. Recorded over one week, with low-fi pioneer Richard Swift producing, the album shrinks away from the up-tempo rock vibe of 2008's Caught in the Trees and returns to Jurado's hallmark: brooding folk panoramas. Songs like "Kansas City," "The Falling Snow," and "Cloudy Shoes" feature some of his most visceral landscapes autumnal worlds where guitar and bard sit in solitary meditation of the beauty and pain of the human condition. Jurado plays the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com), with Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground and Kate Tucker opening at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 day of show. Keith Gribbins

Take a Hike!

John D. Rockefeller helped bring us the Cleveland Arcade, Western Reserve Historical Society, and Rockefeller Park. Progressive mayor Tom Johnson expanded our parks and lowered streetcar fares. Alan Freed coined the term "rock and roll" and was nicknamed Moondog (who still romps around in some form at the Q as the Cavaliers mascot). What do all these guys have in common, besides being influential Clevelanders? You can meet them! No, they're not zombies roaming our streets. They're part of a guided walking tour happening downtown, where actors portraying them and other dead local legends will fill you in on a little bit of history. It starts at 6 p.m. at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Ave.). Admission is free. Call 216-771-1994 or visit historicgateway.org for more information. — Zirm

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