Event picks for the week, because you should really leave your house

Get Out 

Event picks for the week, because you should really leave your house

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2

Onstage

Dinner Theater at CPT

Described as "a loving send-up of avant-garde pomposity" and "dinner theater of the absurd," Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant is like a trippy Tony n' Tina's Wedding meets the local-food movement. A cast of crazy characters cavorts through a loose plot line about one member of an oddball theatrical ensemble getting pregnant. Meanwhile, and in full view of the audience, the cast is preparing and serving a meal made with local, seasonal ingredients — and performing musical numbers while doing it. Tickets are $50 and include a menu worthy of the area's hottest bistros: roast chestnut and mushroom tartine, herbed apple and fennel salad, curried butternut squash soup, maple-glazed ham with cranberry compote, and more. The play opens this evening at 7 p.m. and runs through December 19 at Cleveland Public Theatre's Gordon Square Theatre, 6415 Detroit Ave. Call 216-631-2727 or go to cptonline.org. — Anastasia Pantsios

Comedy

Rahn Ramey: No Longer Legal

For a former lawyer, Rahn Ramey is a pretty cool dude. Since stepping away from the bar in the '80s, he's opened for such acts as Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and Smokey Robinson. And as one of the Original Kings of Comedy, he's toured with the likes of Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey. He's also appeared in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Escape From New York, as well as in numerous TV comedy specials. The sharp-dressed comedian will bring his intense brand of stand-up to the Cleveland Improv Comedy Club (2000 Sycamore St. at the Powerhouse) this weekend, with shows through December 5. Ticket prices range from $15 to $19. For more information or tickets, call 216-696-4677 or go to clevelandimprov.com. — Reed Hazen

Don't-Miss Basketball

The Cavs vs. Miami at a Sports Bar Near You

What's a Cleveland fan to do tonight as the Cavs take on the Miami Heat in their first showdown since you-know-who shoved his freakishly large finger in our collective faces? Do we take the high road and ignore him? Do we succumb to our baser instincts and let the Chosen Bum know what's what? However you decide to bear witness, this is a game you won't want to miss. While it's probably too late to snag tickets, you can always head to your favorite watering hole to watch on TNT; or go old school and listen in on WTAM-AM 1100. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. For more Cavs news, go to nba.com/cavaliers. — Hazen

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3

Hale Farm Holidays

Shed Some Light on Christmases Past

They didn't have Kindle in 1864. But when it came to Kringle (as in Kris), our pioneer forebears were totally hip. Now you can revisit those pre-electronic holidays, when the Amazon was just a river and an apple was merely a fruit, as Hale Farm & Village presents its annual Lantern Tours. These 90-minute journeys take visitors back to Christmas Eve 1864, with stops at homes around the village green. There, costumed interpreters recount the old-time traditions among the sights, sounds, and smells of a Western Reserve holiday. Today and tomorrow, the indoor-outdoor treks depart every 20 minutes beginning at 6 p.m. Additional tours are scheduled for December 10 and 11, 17 through 19, and 21 through 23. General admission is $18, with a discount for Western Reserve Historical Society members. For ticket availability and reservations, call 330-666-3711. Hale Farm & Village is at 2686 Oak Hill Rd. in Bath. For directions, go to wrhs.org. — Elaine T. Cicora

British Invasion Redux

Liverpool Lads at the Winchester

Where were you in 1964 when the Fab Four made their first concert appearance in Cleveland? Screaming your fool head off in Public Auditorium, perhaps? Floating on a cloud in some pre-corporeal nirvana? No matter. The Liverpool Lads have returned, in all their mane-shaking, scream-making, Mod-suited glory, and you can immerse yourself in their presence this evening at the Winchester Tavern & Music Hall. Composed of four northern-Ohio musicians and Beatle-maniacs, this popular tribute band does its best to recreate the authentic experience (albeit without 40,000 screaming fans), playing all the boys' best-loved songs of that early era while employing replicas of their original instruments, amps, and stage wardrobes. Which is just to say, a splendid time is guaranteed for all. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $7 and may be ordered by phone at 216-226-5681 or purchased at the door. The Winchester is at 12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood; check 'em out at thewinchester.net. — Hazen

World Music

New York Gypsy All-Stars at Severance Hall

Tonight's edition of Severance Hall's popular Fridays at Seven series is an international brew: It kicks off at 5 p.m. with Indian classical music in the Reinberger Chamber Hall, followed at 7 p.m. by the Cleveland Orchestra performing Mahler's Symphony No. 1. At 8:15, the evening culminates with a visit by the rambunctious New York Gypsy All-Stars, performing a cross-cultural mix of Balkan, Turkish, and Romany Gypsy music seasoned with a pinch of jazz. The band is led by 26-year-old clarinet virtuoso Ismail Lumanovski, a Macedonian who came to the U.S. for classical training at the Interlochen Academy in northern Michigan, which is not exactly the way we expect our Gypsy musicians to learn their craft. But thanks to that and his studies at Juilliard, he clearly has the chops. Doors open at 5 p.m. at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $36 to $87; to order, call 216-231-1111 or go to clevelandorchestra.com. — Michael Gill

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4

Gay Tidings

North Coast Men's Chorus at the Hanna

The annual Christmas show presented by the North Coast Men's Chorus is the pinnacle of yuletide gaiety in just about every way you could hope for. This out-and-proud ensemble of volunteer voices (as many as 70; the number varies with members' outside commitments) always puts on a show that covers every emotional base, from teary sentimentality to uproariously outrageous. They'll feature numbers that range from full-throated inspirational tunes to flashy, fully costumed dance extravaganzas. This year's show, There's Something About Merry, offers traditional and pop tunes. It also celebrates the release of the group's latest CD, Swingle Bells, so you can take a bit of the merriment home with you. Performances are at 3 and 8 p.m. today and 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th St. Tickets are $10 to $45 at 216-241-6000 or playhousesquare.org. To learn more about the chorus, go to ncmchorus.org. — Pantsios

FOODIE FEST

Sustainablity Champs Celebrate a Decade

Industrial engineer Holly Harlan founded Cleveland's Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, or E4S, ten years ago. But it's only been in the past few years that the ideas it champions — like energy conservation, zero waste, and local food production and consumption — have captured widespread public attention. So there's a lot to celebrate tonight when E4S holds its Champions of Sustainability Awards and 10th Anniversary Party. The agenda is filled with honoring, socializing, eating, drinking, and dancing. Not surprisingly, the comestibles will be provided by local businesses. Music is courtesy of the Tofu Fighters, an eclectic cover band whose members share a background working in health-food stores. Dress is formal, but guests are encouraged to come in vintage wear or clothing made from recycled materials. The celebration takes place from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at the Vocon offices at 3142 Prospect Ave. Tickets are $75 ($50 for E4S members) and $25 for students. Go to e4s.org for reservations and information. — Pantsios

HOLIDAY TOURS

Backstage at Playhouse Square

Not only will you get a peek behind the curtain at today's free tours of Playhouse Square, you'll get to see the entire performing arts complex (the largest in the country outside NYC) dressed up in its holiday finery. It's the first time the historic theaters have been open for December tours, and beyond the fun facts and views of the fanciful decor, each attendee will go home with a commemorative Princess of the Palace holiday ornament. The indoor tours depart from the State Theatre Lobby (1519 Euclid. Ave.) at 15-minute intervals, from 10 a.m. through 11:30 a.m.; reservations are not required. As a final gift, discounted $2 parking will be available in the Playhouse Square parking garage on Chester Avenue at East 15th St. For more information, go to playhousesquare.org. — Cicora

Holiday Fun

Ohio City Festival and Walk

One of Cleveland's coolest neighborhoods catches the Christmas spirit today with a lengthy lineup of holiday activities. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., check out the Ohio City Christmas Festival on Market Street across from the historic West Side Market. Vendors will line the closed-to-traffic street, selling wares that include chocolate, bakery, spices, nuts, ornaments, and assorted gifts. Also on hand: a local farm selling Christmas trees and greenery; Yesteryear Horse & Carriage offering old-fashioned carriage rides; and that peripatetic dude with a beard, Santa Claus. Come dusk, the festival closes and the Ohio City Christmas Walk begins, with indoor-outdoor tours of six fully decked-out houses along historic Whitman Street. Tours step off from Lelolai Bakery & Cafe at 6, 7, and 8 p.m. Tickets are $16 in advance ($20 if you wait until today) and include transportation from Lelolai to Whitman Street via Lolly the Trolley, as well as street-side entertainment and light refreshments. For tickets and more information, call 216-781-3222 or go to ohiocity.com. — Cicora

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5

COOL CHRISTMAS

Rock & Roll Flea Market

There's an out-of-the-(big)-box Christmas shopping opportunity popping up today at the Beachland Ballroom: the groovy-sounding Rock & Roll Flea Market. More than 30 vendors will be on hand, with a tuneful assortment of records, CDs, vintage wares, and art of all kinds. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and admission is free. The Beachland is at 15711 Waterloo Rd. in Collinwood. For more information, call 216-383-1124 or go to beachlandballroom.com. — Hazen

Joyful Noise

Messiah Rocks at the Palace Theatre

Classical music purists are going to cringe at this one: It’s Handel’s venerable masterpiece, the Messiah, tarted up with electric guitars and retooled for the Facebook generation. But heck, anything that brings classic culture up-to-date for today’s iPhone-tethered masses is good by us, even if it is — in the words of its director and lyricist Dani Davis — “a contemporary oratorio in three parts ... exploring the Mystery of Faith, the Power of Love, and the Hope for Peace.” The touring company rolls into the Palace Theatre today with a full complement of high-tech production values and big Broadway voices, including Mike Eldred, whose credits include a stint as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $10 to $55 and can be ordered by phone at 216-241-6000 or online at playhousesquare.org. To find out more about Handel’s Messiah Rocks, go to handelsmessiahrocks.com. — Cicora

MONDAY, DECEMBER 6

Rising Stars

Tomorrow's Pros Shine at Nighttown

In just a few short years, the musical theater program at Baldwin-Wallace College has gained a national reputation as one of the nation's foremost incubators of exceptional talent. Under the leadership of highly accomplished director Victoria Bussert (who also serves as Great Lakes Theater Festival's resident director), the program routinely graduates actors who go on to careers throughout the country. We can't promise that the next Lea Michelle or Michael Arden are among them, but you can catch a performance by B-W's newest crop of could-be stars tonight at Nighttown. Featuring solos and ensemble pieces drawn from new musicals including Factory Girls, Avenue X, and Lizzie Borden, the show kicks off at 7 p.m. Nighttown is at 12387 Cedar Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Tix are $10; for reservations, call 216-795-0550 or go to nighttowncleveland.com. — Cicora

Telling Tales

Story Swap at Mac's Backs

Addams or Waltons? Whichever family your own brood most resembles, spending winter holidays with them undoubtedly provides fodder for the family storyteller. If that's you, you'll be glad to know there is an outlet for your recently composed Parable of Uncle Al or your Fable of Four Divorces. Take those oral tales — funny, insightful, or otherwise — to tonight's story swap at Mac's Backs, the venerable used bookstore on Coventry. The monthly get-together is coordinated by members of the Western Reserve Association for the Preservation & Perpetuation of Storytelling, and provides a supportive environment for both experienced and novice storytellers to try out their stuff. No tales to tell? Then just come and give a listen: You never know what could inspire your inner yarn-spinner. The free story swap starts tonight at 7 at Mac's Backs, 1820 Coventry Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Call 216-321-BOOK or visit booksite.com for more info. — Cicora

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8Food & Drink

A Taste of Italy's Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast in Italy is famous for its pristine waters and hillside vineyards. Local, seasonal foods dominate the table, accompanied by wines crafted with grapes from venerable Greco, Aglianico, and Savuto vines. Tonight, you can taste Amalfi's bounty for yourself at Sapore Restaurant, part of the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking in Chesterland. Guiding your tour will be winemaker and importer Claudio Salvador, a native Venetian who currently owns Firelands Winery in Sandusky, and Chef Paganini, a local culinary icon whose roots run deep into Italian culture and cuisine. The menu is a big one, including fresh mozzarella stuffed with roasted red peppers, handmade pasta, veal scallopini, and more, all accompanied by select Amalfi wines. The two-and-a-half-hour dinner begins at 6 p.m. and costs $75 plus tax and tip. Sapore is at 8623 Mayfield Rd. To register or for more information, call 440-729-1100 or go to lpscinc.com. — Cicora

Classical Music

CityMusic Plays Around Town

Violinist and Cleveland Institute of Music president Joel Smirnoff made his Cleveland conducting debut almost a year ago — not with the conservatory's orchestra but with the community-minded CityMusic, which specializes in bringing accessible classics to area neighborhoods. Having recently returned from making its New York debut, the orchestra resumes its customary rounds this week with Smirnoff at the helm. Other than some excerpts from the Messiah, the program avoids most of the seasonal stuff, featuring music from Handel and Tchaikovsky, as well as Vivaldi's Four Seasons with violinist Kyung Sun Lee as soloist. It all starts tonight at 7:30 at Fairmount Presbyterian Church (2757 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights), with additional free performances scheduled for tomorrow through Sunday in Elyria, Willoughby, and Cleveland. For a complete schedule and information, call 216-321-8273 or go to citymusiccleveland.org. — Gill

City Living

Historic Warehouse District Tour

You won't learn much about the Warehouse District's past on this annual holiday tour. You'll see its present and future, though, with an emphasis on how its formerly gritty real estate has been transformed into snazzy living and office spaces. Residents of the Grand Arcade, the Cloak Factory, the Pinnacle, and more throw open their doors to visitors who'll get to sample food from the district's restaurants at each stop. Tours step off at the Bridgeview Apartments Atrium (1300 West Ninth St.), where you can pick up a wristband and enjoy some eats before taking off on your own or with a tour guide. It all wraps up at Constantino's Market (1278 West Ninth St.), with entertainment and a dessert finale. Tickets are $60 in advance, $75 at the door, and only $45 for nosy Warehouse District residents who want to see how their neighbors live. The event runs from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and is sponsored by the Historical Warehouse District Development Corporation. Call 216-344-3937 or go to warehousedistrict.org for more information. — Pantsios

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