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Taste of Cleveland and the Air Show lead this week's event picks

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

DINNER & DIVERSITY AT LUCHITA'S

Eat, Drink, and Be Worldly

For more than 80 years, the Cleveland Council on World Affairs has taken it upon itself to mold our understanding of international relations through events that encourage discussion of global affairs. It sets the table for fascinating debates, but also for fascinating dinner: The Council's monthly EthniCity dinners welcome you to engage your fellow man in polite discussion on all things global, and to break bread — or, this month, tortillas — while you do it. Tonight's outing takes place at Luchita's Mexican Restaurant, home of some of Cleveland's finest south-of-the-border cuisine and delectable margaritas. Enter with an open mind and leave with a full stomach. You pay for your meal; they'll pay for your enlightenment. It starts at 6:30 at 3456 W. 117th St., near Lorain. For more information, call Luchita's at 216-252-1169 or the Council at 216-781-3730, or visit ccwa.org. — McKinsey

COMEDY

Better Call Him Finesse Mitchell

Alfred Langston Mitchell is a fabulous name for a butler, but there ain't nothing funny about it. That's why you might know him as Finesse Mitchell, a lofty moniker the young comic has managed to live up to. Mitchell was a football player at the University of Miami (the football powerhouse, not Ohio's scholarly powerhouse). But he ran a fly pattern straight to comedy, eventually landing on Saturday Night Live. Now he's doing standup for himself, specializing in impressions (O.J. Simpson, Bobby Brown, and other unlovable losers) and shifting on the fly. Alfred Langston Mitchell appears tonight through Sunday at Hilarities, but it's all Finesse to you. It's at 2035 East Fourth St. downtown; tickets are $15 tonight and Sunday, $18 Friday and Saturday. Show time is 8 p.m. tonight, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Learn more by calling 216-241-7425. — Ed Condran

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

LADIES NIGHT AT VIEW

Park Your Feminism Outside

Forget feminism. Forget the glass ceiling — forget everything except free admission to View Ultralounge's "Selective Thursdays" to all guests who can prove they're equipped with two X chromosomes. Ladies, this is your chance to have a blast on the cheap. (And gentlemen, this is what we call fish in a barrel.) Women still need to fork over for their drinks, but a little lapse in women's lib might help you charm a drink or two from the buddy who brought you — or the one you just met on the dance floor. Head to View at 618 Prospect Avenue E. For more information, call 216-664-1815. — McKinsey

THE GREAT GEAUGA COUNTY FAIR

The Granddaddy of County Fairs

One of Ohio's largest and most spectacular county fairs is right in our own backyard: the Great Geauga County Fair (yes, "great" is part of its official name). The sprawling fairgrounds in Burton (14373 N. Cheshire St.) boast every fair attraction there is — the rides, the livestock, the giant pumpkins, the funnel cakes, the cow-milking contest, the little kid with the big voice singing country hits. There's rooster-crowing and frog-jumping contests, a fireman's water battle, and a cowboy show. And it wouldn't be a county fair without a truck and tractor pull (6:30 p.m. Sunday) and demolition derby (this fair ups the ante with two: at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday). The Great Geauga County Fair runs from 8 a.m. to midnight through Monday, September 6; rides open at noon. Adults are $7; kids 12 and under are free. Motor events are extra and sell out, so get your tickets early. Go to geaugafair.com for schedule and information.— Anastasia Pantsios

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

CRASHING THE ROCK HALL

The Annual Rock Hall Ball

The 15th Rock Hall Ball happens tonight, but you might want to make a pre-party trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for costume inspiration. The annual event raises money for the museum's programs, but mostly it's just a blast: Come dressed as the rock star you always wanted to be and tailor the party to your energy level: Pony up $65 when the doors open at 8:30, and enjoy munchies, beer, wine, and entertainment. Pay $15 — less than the price of an everyday Rock Hall ticket — to join the party at 10 p.m. and sidle up to a cash bar, entertainment, and dancing until 2 a.m. DJ Tommie Sunshine will perform, along with Cincinnati rock band Foxy Shazam and neo-soul artist Eli "Paperboy" Reed. The Rock Hall's exhibits will be open all night, including the brand-new Leo M. Mintz Gallery, named for the owner of Cleveland's legendary Record Rendezvous. Call 216-515-1207 to reserve tickets for the reception. Go to rockhall.com or call 800-745-3000 to buy ball tickets. — Pantsios

FOOD FEST

Taste of Cleveland

Labor Day weekend means a day off of work, but it also means vacation for your taste buds: The 15th annual Taste of Cleveland takes place all weekend at Time Warner Cable Amphitheater downtown. Between today and September 6, more than two dozen area restaurants will sling their wares — read: food samples flying everywhere. Admission is $8 (free for children under 12), but you can stop by for free before 3 p.m. today through Sunday, plus the cost is only $1 all day Monday. (There's also a $3 discount coupon at cleveland.com/tasteofcleveland.) It's open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. today, noon-11 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, and noon-8 p.m. Monday. Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City is at 234 W. Huron Rd.; call 440-247-2722 for more info. — Rebecca McKinsey

OKTOBERFEST

Raise a Glass and Down a Few

Now that the Browns have cleared up their annual quarterback controversy, there's no surer sign that fall is near than the annual Oktoberfest at the Berea Fairgrounds. And you know what that means: Beer, fabulous beer — plus food and assorted merriment, including the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the "Best Oktoberfest Microbrew" competition, wiener dog races, a vintage car show, a 5K Bier Run (because who doesn't love to drink beer and run) and more. General admission is $8 each day and free for kids under 12; seniors ages 60 and up get in free from noon-3 p.m. Sunday. It runs from 5 p.m.-midnight today, noon-midnight tomorrow and Sunday, and noon-9 p.m. Monday; the Berea Fairgrounds are at 164 Eastland Rd. For more information, visit clevelandoktoberfest.com. — McKinsey

Elyria Music Fest Weekend

From Bluegrass to Big Band

The Elyria Music Fest ain't no disco, but it's just about everything else: The weekend-long event in the Lorain County burg kicks off tonight (from 4:30 to 9) with bluegrass served up by Muddy Creek, the Green Mountain Boys, and Tommy Hall and the Sunlighters. From 5 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, big band/orchestra music is delivered by the renowned Cleveland Pops Orchestra. And from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church sponsors its jazz and blues festival with featured performers Becky Boyd and the Bad Boys of Blues. It all takes place at Ely Square (124 Middle Ave.), and it's all free. Call 440-322-5000 for more information or go to mainstreetelyria.com. — Pantsios

GrounDworks Dance Theater

A Dance Before Goodbye

GroundWorks Dance Theater's upcoming world premiere offers its creators a kind of closure that doesn't shut the door: It's closure because after 12 years of working with artistic director David Shimotakahara, artistic associate Amy Miller is about to move to New York. But she plans to keep creative ties with the company. In addition to their duet, the program includes the premiere of a commissioned dance by New York choreographer Jill Sigman, with a score by GroundWorks music director Gustavo Aguilar. The program concludes with the Akron premiere of Diane McIntyre's "Just Yesterday," a dance theater piece interweaving the dancers' family histories. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Ice House, 129 North Summit Street in Akron; call 216-691-3180 ext. 2 or visit groundworksdance.org. Tickets are $12 to $18. — Michael Gill

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA

Joffrey Ballet Visits Blossom

When Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater came to Blossom earlier in the summer, he hinted at the possibility of an ongoing relationship between the acclaimed dance company and the Cleveland Orchestra. The Joffrey performed at Blossom last summer for the first time in thirty years, and their return this year suggests a bright future full of men in tights gallivanting with our orchestra. This go-round, the company will dance Gerald Arpino's "Reflections" (with music by Tchaikovsky), George Balanchine's "Tarantella" (with music by Louis Gottschalk), James Kudelka's "Pretty Ballet" (with music by Bohuslav Martinu), and Marius Petipa's pas de deux from Le Corsaire, with music by Riccardo Drigo. Tito Munoz conducts. Performances are at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Blossom Music Center (1145 West Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls, 216-241-6000, clevelandorchestra.com). Tickets are $23 to $93. — Gill

THE AIR SHOW

Daring Men and Their Flying Machines

Cuban 8, Hammerhead Stall, Pugachev’s Cobra, Immelmann Turn — you’ll never know what the heck these are unless you check out the Cleveland National Air Show. The festivities start tonight and run through Monday, featuring demonstrations and kid-friendly activities — including an interactive NASA display. For the adventurous, there are rock walls, bungee jumps, and simulators — plus the nonstop, unmistakably awesome aerial show that fills the sky all weekend. Doors are open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today through Monday; tickets are $21 at the gate ($14 for kids 6-14; free for kids 5 and under). For more information, visit clevelandairshow.com. — McKinsey

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

SKATE OR DIE LAUGHING

Adult Night at the Roller Rink

Roller rinks may be kid stuff, but they're a hard habit to outgrow. Tonight you don't have to at the Pla-Mor Roller Rink in Euclid: It's Adult Fun Night, so lace 'em up and keep the kids at home. Let the disco ball, colored lights, fabulous music, and spinning mirrors take you back — even if it's for the first time. Admission varies by day, but hovers under $10; arrive with a group of 10 or more and a discount awaits you. The rink is located at 22466 Shore Center Dr. in Euclid; call 216-731-5000 or visit pla-morskating.com for more info. — McKinsey

TAKE A HIKE

Get to Know the Buckeye Trail

Had enough stale inside air for one week? Maybe it's time to spend your Sunday participating in the "Healthful Hikes" series on the Buckeye Trail, Ohio's 1,440-mile path that winds throughout the state — including our own Cuyahoga Valley National Park up in these parts. Today's trek is seven miles long, and five more Sunday hikes (ranging from 6 to 7.5 miles) will follow between now and the end of November. Best part: Complete five or more hikes, win a free mug. You can't beat Mother Nature's parting gifts. Show up by 9 a.m. at the NPS Park Headquarters at 15610 Vaughn Road in Brecksville. For more information, visit nps.gov. — McKinsey

EAST SIDE PARADE

Big Fun, No Boring Speeches

A tradition started by Louis Stokes when he was a congressman from Cleveland's East Side, the 11th District Community Caucus Parade and Picnic is always a gala affair that brings together families, marching bands and drill teams, social service groups, fraternal organizations, and a veritable army of politicians, candidates, and judges. Current Congresswoman Marcia Fudge will lead the parade, which steps off from East 146th Street and Kinsman Avenue at 11 a.m. Marchers end up at Luke Easter Park (3090 MLK Jr. Dr.), where they'll be greeted by vendors, food, entertainers on the big stage, games for kids, and a program introducing the dignitaries — but no long speeches, because this is primary an afternoon for socializing and fun. Always a highlight: the face-off of the high-school bands. It's free. Go to marciafudge.com for information. — Pantsios

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

AIR SHOW ALTERNATIVE

Buckle Up for the Peace Show

While the military planes are doing their maneuvers over the city as part of the annual Cleveland National Air Show, a group of peace-minded folks will be gathering across the Shoreway at Willard Park in the shadow of the Free Stamp (E. 9th St. and Lakeside Ave.) for the annual Cleveland Peace Show. Started in the early '00s to provide an alternative to the warfare hardware showcased at the Air Show, the Peace Show offers a relaxed afternoon of music, food, crafts, and games, with absolutely no aerial acrobatics or wholesale slaughter. Entertainment ranges from the acoustic songs of Charlie Mosbrook to the body-moving blare of the Revolution Brass Band. The Bloodmobile will be on site for those who want to donate, and the Great Peace Plane Launch happens at 4:45. It runs from noon to 6 p.m., and it's free. — Pantsios

ANTIQUES SHOW

Treasure Hunt in Hudson

The campus of Western Reserve Academy in Hudson boasts no shortage of vintage beauty anytime of year, but it goes crazy each Labor Day with its annual Antique Show. Top dealers from around the country offer relics ranging from a few bucks to quite a few thousand. You'll find everything from toys, tools, and jewelry, to furniture, rugs, and fine and folk art. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; admission is $8. But serious antique hounds can pay $28 to start shopping at 8:30 a.m. and enjoy a gourmet breakfast too. Go to antiquesfestival.com for more information. — Pantsios

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

COMEDY

Pickwick & Frolic Turns 8

Tuesday may not be your first choice for a night on the town, but Pickwick & Frolic is making it worth your while: Today and tomorrow the East Fourth venue is celebrating its eighth birthday with two bills jammed with five comics each. Ohio comedian Mike Farrell hosts both nights, but the lineups — and the laughs — will be brand-new each night. The show starts at 8 p.m. each night, and tickets are $10. Hilarities is at 2035 E. 4th Street. For more information, call 216-241-7425 or visit pickwickandfrolic.com. — McKinsey

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