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Beer, brats, bocce, bikes, belly laughs and more in this week's event picks

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 25

UNIVERSITY CIRCLE

The Final Wade Oval Wednesday

Summer's wind-down has hit the fast-forward phase, so get out there and enjoy what will probably be some of the nicest days of the year after the blistering summer we've endured. Tonight's the final Wade Oval Wednesday, the summer-long series of midweek concerts at University Circle. Bring a blanket or a chair and your appetite: Local food vendors serve up their specialties in booths around the Oval. And tonight wear your tie-dyes or your India-print skirt and pack the Hacky Sack: The Cleveland jam band Sultans of Bing, who boast of their "cosmic grooves" and "positive vibrations," will provide the music. Wade Oval Wednesday runs from 6 to 9 p.m., and it's free. Go to universitycircle.org for more information. — Anastasia Pantsios

BOOK SIGNINGS

Local Authors Unveil Their Work

First-time novelist Amanda Flower's Maid of Murder is the story of a bridesmaid, India Hayes, whose best friend is getting married. But wearing the bridesmaid's dress feels to her like betrayal of her brother — who's still in love with the bride. When the bride is murdered and evidence points to India's brother as the culprit, our heroine — a mild-mannered librarian/starving artist — turns private eye to prove his innocence. According to the author, the book will be the first of many adventures for India Hayes. Flower is just one of several local authors appearing to discuss and sign their work at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Joseph Beth Booksellers (24519 Cedar Road, Lyndhurst, 216-691-7000, josephbeth.com). Also appearing are Raymond Holanda (The Golfer of the Decade on the PGA Tour), Karen J. Common (Held in Heaven's Arms), and Alyson Denny (The Kriana Factor). It's free. — Gill

THURSDAY, AUGUST 26

COMEDY

Large Man Angelo Tsarouchas

There are two reasons Angelo Tsarouchas opens his mouth. "I'm either joking around or eating," the burly Greek-Canadian says during a telephone interview from Miami. "I'm a big man in a thin world. People say that they don't know why they're so big. I know why I'm so big: I eat. There's no mystery there. I'm so big that I'm the guy people stare at coming down the aisle on a plane wondering, 'Is he going to sit next to me?' I have no problem joking about that stuff." Tsarouchas is a playful, good-natured comic actor with appearances in Cinderalla Man, John Q, and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle under his belt. Not exactly Oscar material, but not bad for a guy who came late to the game. During the late '80s, Tsarouchas dabbled in stand-up but focused primarily on his travel agency. "I was married at the time and only had so much time for comedy." When the marriage soured by the mid-'90s, Tsarouchas gave himself a career makeover. "It was the best move I ever made," he says. "This is what I was meant to do." He appears Thursday through Sunday at the Improv, 2000 Sycamore Street in the Flats. Tickets are $12 Thursday and Sunday, $17 Friday, and $18 Saturday. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 216-696-4677. — Ed Condran

FAMILY FUN

Creature Feature at the Botanical Garden

For young fans of the beautiful, the exotic, and the little bit weird, Cleveland Botanical Garden's summer-long Creature Feature captivates them every time. Today marks the last day for the program, which spotlights chameleons, butterflies, lizards, geckos, and frogs — all of which hail from Costa Rica and Madagascar but have also opened up shop at the Garden's Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse. Check them out from 2-3:15 p.m. for the price of admission: $8.50 for adults and $3 for children over 3. Call 216-721-1600 or visit cbgarden.org. — Rebecca McKinsey

DRINKING AT THE HISTORY MUSEUM

Beer, Brats, and ... Nature

It doesn't take much of a study to reveal that, as humans, it is our nature to enjoy beer and bratwursts. But that doesn't mean other aspects of nature aren't worth studying while you munch on a brat, or that animals and beer (for you) don't mix wonderfully. With its Birds, Beasts, Brats and Beer program, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History wants to get your natural state (ie, beer and brat in hand) acquainted with the rest of the world. The Wildlife Resources staff will offer a glimpse of some of Ohio's most fascinating native fauna. The event — and the suds — goes down at the Perkins Wildlife Center and Woods Garden at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (1 Wade Oval Drive, University Circle) from 6-8:30 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $10 for Nature League members, $15 for the rest of us. The event is 21 and over only. — Nick Baker

FRIDAY, AUGUST 27

CELEBRATE, ITALIAN STYLE

The Cleveland Cup of Bocce

The Wickliffe Italian-American Club (29717 Euclid Ave.) welcomes guests of all heritages to enjoy a super-sized dose of Italian culture during its crowning event of the year, the 27th annual Challenge Cup of Bocce. Starting at 6 p.m. today and running through Sunday, 96 teams from around the region and as far away as Florida will compete in this quintessentially Italian form of bowling on nine courts. Spectators will be treated to Italian food, wine, and Italian music Friday evening, classic rock on Saturday, and Family Day on Sunday. From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Italian Cultural Exposition will feature cooking demonstrations, a wine-making workshop, Italian dancers and musicians, and a book signing by Mario Pagnoni, the author of Joy of Bocce. And this year for the first time, there'll be a special women's division competing on Sunday. Play takes place until 11 p.m. tonight, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. tomorrow, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, with the championship round at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. It's free. Go to wicklifeeianda.com for more information. — Pantsios

SATURDAY, AUGUST 28

ETHNIC FESTIVAL

Celebrate Parma's Ukrainian Village

Short of hopping on a plane and plopping down in a remote village somewhere across the pond, Cleveland's fabulous ethnic festivals are a wonderful way to experience Old World cultures up close and personal. Today in Parma, the Old World happens to be Ukraine, and St. Vladimir's Cathedral will offer a slew of Ukrainian cultural fun: food, traditional dancing and entertainment, arts and crafts, and even a tour of the cathedral. The Ukrainian Village Festival takes place at St. Vladimir's Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral (5913 State Road, Parma) from noon to 11 p.m. Learn more by calling 440-886-3252 or visiting stvladimirs.org. — Baker

BIKING

Critical Mass Monthly Ride

With about 250 cyclists pedaling the downtown streets, July's Critical Mass ride was Cleveland's biggest ever. For the uninitiated, Critical Mass is the "organized coincidence" that brings together bicyclists on the last Friday of each month to show that bikes are traffic too. As usual, the August ride will commence at 6 p.m. Friday on Public Square, setting off for points unknown and wrapping up by about 8 p.m. Several hundred cyclists touring downtown in a pack is enough that motorists typically leave them alone, so don't wuss out because you're afraid to ride in the street. It's easy, and it's a great way to score a date. Just keep it below the speed limit, don't ride more than two abreast, and if you remember to stop at the stop signs, even the police will leave you alone. It's free. Learn more at clevelandcriticalmass.com. — Michael Gill

SUNDAY, AUGUST 29

Exercise With a Side of Cheese

The Great Melt Marathon

When the manager of the new East Side Melt Bar and Grilled was recently asked how many patrons request a doggie bag, his answer came as no surprise: “Almost everyone.” The grilled cheese emporium has earned a reputation for serving up sandwiches that are two meals in one — or more, in case you’re sizing up the five pounds of food featured in the Melt Challenge Monster. Today’s Melt Marathon provides a chance to work off those sandwiches. It all starts at Melt’s Lakewood location (14718 Detroit Ave.), where you’re invited to make your way to the Cleveland Heights restaurant (13463 Cedar Rd.) via “manual transportation” — feet, skates, bicycles, scooters, skateboards, or whatever else comes to mind. Raise more than $100 in pledges, and your sandwich and beverage are free; lesser amounts get a discount — so that weight-loss thing is going to be a wash. The event benefits Heights Arts and the Lakewood Arts Fest. Check-in starts at 8:30 a.m.; start time is 9. Sign up by visiting one of the restaurants or log on to meltbarandgrilled.com. — Pantsios

Fun at the Rock Hall

The Latino Heritage Festival

Rock & roll has always been color blind, even if you can't say the same of its devotees. Contributions from artists across the sprectrum of cultures and backgrounds have resulted in the rich aural landscape we enjoy today. The Latino Heritage Festival celebrates that diversity and serves as a kick-off for Latino Heritage Month, honoring Latino contributions to rock & roll over the decades. Last year's festival was held in honor of the late Richie Valens. And while no one artist is singled out this year, the party will feature performances by Latin bands, dance ensembles, and vocal groups — and even a Salsa contest. The Latino Heritage Festival takes place at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum today from 3-7 p.m. The festival is free; tickets to the museum are $22. — Baker

MONDAY, AUGUST 30

FARMERS MARKET FEAST

North Union's Farm to Table Celebration

Fifteen years ago, when the first North Union Farmers Market started at Shaker Square, few people were talking about locally grown food. Since then, the number of farmers markets has exploded — North Union itself sponsors seven of them — as more people are thinking about how and where their food is grown. Each year North Union hosts the Farm to Table benefit to continue its work and showcase local food purveyors: two dozen restaurants, caterers, and cooking schools dedicated to using quality local ingredients. It kicks off at 5:30 with a presentation from Cleveland based chef/author Deborah Madison; eating starts at 6:30 outside in the gardens at the Cleveland Botanical Garden (11030 East Blvd.). Tickets are $90; $75 for members of the market and the botanical garden. To make a reservation, call 216-721-1600 ext. 100. Go to northunionfarmersmarket.org for more information. — Pantsios

TUESDAY, AUGUST 31

DINING ADVENTURE

Pig Roast in Ohio City

If you're craving a little luau vibe in your culinary landscape, Touch Supper Club's Tuesday-night pig roast is just what you need. It's the perfect chance to kick back, meet people, and fill your stomach. Best part: The main attraction and special side dishes from the chef will put you back just $19. Touch Supper Club is at 2710 Lorain Ave., near the West Side Market. Call 216-631-5200 or visit touchohiocity.com for details, including what's happening on the Touch music scene. — McKinsey

DINNER & GUITAR

A Daring Duo Hit Nighttown

Nighttown in Cleveland Heights is rightfully well known for its food and atmosphere. Tonight it's all served up with a side of innovative guitar music from the Andreas Kapsalis & Goran Ivanovic Guitar Duo. The twosome "nods its head towards tradition but totally disregards technical conventions" — which just might be code for "they taught themselves." Either way, it'll bump an otherwise fine night on the town into the memorable category. The music starts at 7 p.m. Nighttown is at 12383 Cedar Rd.; call 216-795-0550 for details. — McKinsey

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