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Event picks for you, our wonderful readers

Thursday | 20

Top Pick:

Naturally 7 at Playhouse Square

If a cappella is defined as singing without instruments, what do you call it when the singers sound as if they actually are instruments? "Voice play" is the term coined by Naturally 7, and it emphasizes the fact that every guitar, drum, trumpet, flute, and clarinet you'll hear in their music is really a member's voice. Founded in N.Y.C. in 1999, the group first scored big in Europe, with chart busters in France, Belgium, and South Africa. (Their now-famous performance on the Paris subway has received more than 5 million YouTube hits.) Lately, though, they've been making noise stateside, in collaborations with performers like Ludacris, Quincy Jones, and Michael Bublé, and on their fifth album, VoicePlay, containing their new YouTube sensation, "Feel It." You can feel it — and hear it too — tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square. Tickets are $10 to $35, and can be ordered at 216-241-6000 or online at playhousesquare.org. — Elaine T. Cicora

Lake Erie Monsters

Cheap Beer & Hockey

You might think that Cleveland sports teams learned their lesson back in 1974 about the risks of providing fans with cheap brewskies. We are referring, of course, to that infamous ten-cent beer night at the old Municipal Stadium when the Indians took on the Rangers. By the second inning, a female fan had jumped the fence, removed her top, and tried to plant a wet one on the home-plate umpire, much to the fans' delight. Fireworks flew into the air! Full cups of beer flew through the stands! It all came to a head when the entire Texas Rangers team grabbed bats and sprinted onto the field to defend one of its players who had punched a fan who tried to steal his glove! Cleveland's next lesson could come tonight at 7 p.m., when our hockey team, the Lake Erie Monsters, plays the Rochester Americans at the Q: Not only is it Dollar Beer Night, it's College I.D. Night too! Okay, even if it's not a repeat of the 1974 meltdown, it should be a whole bunch of fun! Tickets are $8 at the box office with your college I.D.; everybody else pays $10 to $60. For info, visit lakeeriemonsters.com or call 888-894-9424. —Nathaniel Maund

Friday | 21

Funny Stuff

Seinfeld!

Hailed by The Washington Post's Tom Shales as "the master stand-up comedian of his generation," Jerry Seinfeld brings his routine to Cleveland tonight for nearly sold-out shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Critical praise aside, you need only whisper "soup Nazi" at a cocktail party to get a sense of Seinfeld's pop-cultural impact. But while his eponymous '90s sitcom lives on in reruns, its creator has tackled new projects ranging from The Bee Movie to HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's his stand-up gigs, though, that generate the most buzz: genial, mostly G-rated rambles focused on the minutiae of daily living. While not everyone appreciates his sardonic take on the inanities of our times, those who do will likely find tonight's shows as cathartic as they are hilarious. Limited seats may still be available. For more information, visit playhousesquare.org or call 216-241-6000. — Chrissy Niehaus

Postmodern Problems

Oddy Fest in Cleveland Heights

The Oddy Festival, a theater troupe based in Cleveland Heights, can be read a couple of ways. The name recalls the titular Greek wanderer of Homer's epic The Odyssey, which lends it classical heft. Or you can take the "odd" at face value — as in "Odd theater every odd Friday," which we lifted off their Twitter bio. Either way, you can expect a one-of-a-kind performance tonight at Oddy Fest #29: Postmodern Problems at the Cleveland Heights Public Library. Billed as an eclectic selection of monologues from 20 different plays written and compiled by founder Matt Greenfield and collaborator Ian Adler, Postmodern Problems unfolds at 7 p.m. in the library's Brody-Nelson Room. Admission is free. Find them at 2345 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights or call 216-926-8641 for more information. — Bill Delaney

Natural History Museum

Dino Talk With a Jurassic Park Expert

In the world of paleontology, Dr. John "Jack" Horner is a rock star. Among his groundbreaking discoveries he counts the first dinosaur embryos, the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere, and the first evidence that dinos cared for their young. If that doesn't impress you, please note that Dr. Horner also served as technical advisor on each of the Jurassic Park films, as well as serving as the inspiration for the character of Dr. Alan Grant. Tonight at 7:30, Horner brings his famous self to the Murch Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where he will discuss Dinosaurs: How to Get Rid of Some Old Ones and Make Some New Ones. As you might gather, the gist of the talk is how we someday may be able to create a living, breathing dinosaur of our very own. And you thought a Friday night at a museum might be boring. The fun kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with live music, a chance to view the galleries, food and drink for purchase, and a raffle sign-up. Tickets are $10 for adults and $9 for students and seniors; registration is required at cmnh.org. For more information, call 216-231-4600. — Delaney

Saturday | 22

Wine Tasting

Grapes on a Train

In Napa, where the sun always shines, you can ride a limo from one winery to the next, drinking in the natural beauty and the winemaker's pride without fear of a DUI. In NEO, where it mostly snows, you still can achieve nearly the same effect. Just book passage on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Grape Escape, a wine-tasting excursion through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Today's trip features five international red wines, each paired with an appropriate appetizer; the commemorative glass is yours to keep. The train pulls out of the Brecksville station at 1:45 p.m. and returns around 4:15 p.m. Ticket prices range from $55 to $90 — depending on whether or not you think a reclining seat with a foot rest could come in handy! For tickets and more information, go to cvsr.com or call 800-468-4070. — Cicora

Spring Preview

Home & Garden Show

After 68 years, you know the drill: Step out of the cold and into the Home & Garden Show, where you'll instantly warm up to the sight of gardens, greenhouses, ponds, and porch displays, along with crafters, interior designers, and a roster of master gardeners. This year's theme — Beautiful Canada! — pays homage to our neighbors to the north with a 2,400-square-foot feature garden filled with ferns, evergreens, and birch trees. Meantime, home-remodeling experts will be on hand on the NARI Stage to offer tips, hints, and how-to's. The display that intrigues us most? "Floral Fashions," featuring a stylish lineup of shoes, bags, belts, and hats embellished with live, dried, and preserved floral materials. Kinda puts a whole new spin on those Kate Spades, doesn't it? The show continues through January 30 at the recently renovated Great Lakes Expo Center, 1200 Babbitt Rd. in Euclid. Adult admission at the door is $12.50; kids 12 and younger are free, and so is parking. For information and hours, call 800-600-0307 or visit homeandflower.com. — Cicora

Hilarities

The Booty-licious Bill Bellamy

Wikipedia defines a booty call as "a late-night call to a potential paramour with the intention of meeting strictly for sex." If you've never known whom to thank for coining that oh-so-useful term, you can give your props to the originator tonight when comic and wordsmith Bill Bellamy brings his stand-up act to Hilarities 4th Street Theater. Adding sexual slang to the American lexicon via HBO specials isn't Bellamy's only claim to fame. Along with being an established stand-up performer, the versatile comic has starred in numerous sitcoms and movies, and hosted a season of NBC's popular Last Comic Standing. He'll do two shows tonight for the 21-and-up crowd; tickets are $25. For more information, visit pickwickandfrolic.com. Hilarities is at 2035 East Fourth St. — Delaney

Sunday | 23

Fascinating Rhythms

Astaire's Timeless Tunes

For a man who doubted his ability to carry a tune, Fred Astaire made quite an impact on the Great American Songbook. Throughout his Hollywood career, the slender dancer with the equally slim voice introduced scores of classics into the public consciousness, including George and Ira Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek." Experience 30 of his most memorable tunes in today's 3 p.m. performance of Fascinating Rhythm: Fred Astaire and the American Song at Cuyahoga Community College's Metropolitan Campus theater. Part of Tri-C's Performing Arts series, the show is hosted and directed by the award-winning arts educator Bill Rudman and features jazz pianist Joe Hunter and vocalist Vince Mastro. General admission tickets are $20; to order, call 216-987-4444 or visit tricpresents.com for more information. The Metro Campus is at 2900 Community College Ave. downtown. — Delaney

Jam Fest

Students Swing at Brothers Lounge

A mere five bucks will get you a full afternoon of entertainment today as three youthful ensembles from University School take over the Brothers Lounge music hall. Lest you think this is mainly entertainment for the parental units, please note: Some of these kids will be heading to the Big Easy this spring to perform in Preservation Hall as the opening act for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band! The fun begins at 4 p.m. with the jazz ensemble playing tunes from Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Jaco Pastorius. Next up, the U.S. jazz combo takes the stage with music by Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis. Then at 6 p.m., the guitar ensemble lets loose with Black Sabbath, Edgar Winter, and Eric Clapton tunage. Proceeds from your $5 admission help fund the trip to Nawlins. Brothers Lounge is at 11609 Detroit Ave. For more information, check out brotherslounge.com or call 216-226-2767. — Cicora

Monday | 24

Funny Stuff

Chucklefck at Bela Dubby

For almost four years, Mondays at Bela Dubby coffeehouse and beer bar have been laugh riots. That's when a lineup of comedians — amateurs, pros, locals, and out-of-towners — turn up for Chucklefck, the weekly open-mic night. Local funny dudes Ramon Rivas and Lee Honeycutts host the 8:30 p.m. shows. While amateurs are mainstays, they often have to share the spotlight with the big guns who "love to stop in and work out new material," says Rivas, a Chucklefck founder. "And recently we've had comics from New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago drop in to do sets." That includes comedian Al Jackson, whose Comedy Central Presents premieres in February. "He was by just a few weeks ago getting a new late-night set together. He said Chucklefck is one of the funniest non-club shows he's done in the country!" Would-be performers can reserve a spot at an upcoming show by emailing chucklefckpod@gmail.com. Would-be attendees are urged to arrive by 8 p.m. to snag a seat. It's all free. To learn more, visit the Chucklefck page on Facebook. Bela Dubby is at 13321 Madison Ave. in Lakewood. — Cicora

Tuesday | 25

Photography

Get Your Pics on Route 66

Cleveland photographer David J. Schwartz has traveled Route 66 with camera in hand since 2004. The result of these annual pilgrimages down America's iconic highway is a collection of 60 or so images of southwestern landmarks and landscapes, each one brimming with deep-seated nostalgia. Whether his focus is on an abandoned cafe, a faded gas pump, or a western sunset that transforms the highway into a golden ribbon, Schwartz' precisely composed photos evoke the region's romance and natural beauty. "Documenting the highway was something I had always wanted to do," says the photographer. "Once I made my first trip out there, the people, the geography, and the Americana of it all just hooked me." Whether or not you ever plan to motor west, these images can't help but hook the traveler in us all. View them through February 1 at the Western Reserve Historical Society, 10825 East Blvd. in University Circle. Today's hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; your $8.50 admission gets you into the exhibit, the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, the History Museum, and the Library. For more info, call 216-721-5722, visit wrhs.org., or check out picsonroute66.com. — Cicora

Wednesday | 26

At the Rock Hall

Who Made the First Rock Record?

Name notwithstanding, tonight's installment of the Rock Hall's monthly Rock and Roll Night School — "The First Rock and Roll Record" — won't name a particular artist. That's because most experts, including Rock Hall President Terry Stewart, say there is no single song that marks the dawn of the era. "Rock & roll covers so many decades," says Stewart, whose own record collection spans more than 400,000 titles. "It's not just the Big Bang era of Elvis Presley and Little Richard." What attendees will hear is a slew of contenders from the '20s through the '50s, along with an animated discussion led by Stewart and the Rock Hall's resident experts. Listen and learn tonight from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rock Hall, 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd. downtown It's free, and registration is not required. For more information, go to rockhall.org. — Maund

Fit for Foodies

Aphrodisiac Dinner

Arouse your appetites at tonight's Aphrodisiac Dinner at the Velvet Tango Room, as chef Matt Mytro cooks up a quartet of sensual dishes designed for your dining pleasure. Sponsored by Emerging Chefs, a Cleveland-based firm specializing in a monthly series of distinctive dining experiences, the four-course feast is an orgy of indulgent ingredients — think caviar, truffles, oysters, chocolate, figs, champagne, and asparagus — known for their stimulating properties. Among Chef Matt's favorite creations for tonight's dinner: the "poke a dot" scallops, a visually compelling dish that finds a firm gelee inserted into each quivering bivalve. To go with, VTR owner Paulius Nasvytis will be pouring petite cocktail portions to match each course; of course, a full cash bar also will be available. The earthly delights go down inside the VTR's sexy back room — an exclusive setting Mytro describes as "a perfect match for the food." (How exclusive is it? Admittance will require a secret password which will be e-mailed to attendees just hours before the 6 p.m. start time!) Rub elbows with Chef Matt and Paulius at the chef's table for $60, or score general seating for $50. Tickets and more info are available at emergingchefs3.eventbrite.com. — Cicora

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