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Shiny event picks for the week ahead

Thursday | 05

Six Weeks of Dance

Verb Ballets Kicks Off CPT's DanceWorks

It's time again for DanceWorks, Cleveland Public Theatre's annual showcase of local dance companies. This year, six celebrated troupes will perform over the course of six weekends, beginning tonight through June 5. This weekend's spotlight shines on the contemporary dance company Verb Ballets, which will be performing new, experimental works created by four of Verb's dancers and by artist-in-residence Terence Greene. Part of the company's "Fresh Inventions" series, the works come in a range of styles and themes, accompanied by everything from spoken-word poetry to a string quartet. Also on the program: a performance of Noumenon Mobilus, a 1953 modern-dance classic by choreographer and performance artist Alwin Nikolais. Verb Ballets performs tonight, Friday, and Saturday at CPT's Gordon Square Theatre, 6415 Detroit Ave. Tickets are $10 to $25; purchase by phone at 216-631-2727 or online at cptonline.org — where you will also find a full schedule of upcoming DanceWorks performances. — Elaine T. Cicora Fun at the Zoo

Party With the Pachyderms!

This morning marks the official opening of African Elephant Crossing, the Metroparks Zoo's 5-acre, $25-million home to gal-pal pachyderms Martika, Moshi, Jo, and Shenga, and their 13,000-pound bull buddy, Willy. More than 30 months in the making, the expansive exhibit has a herd of unique features, including a visitors' center, an African village, three ranges, and the Crossing Gate, which controls the movements of both the elephants and visitors. As for the five critters, they have a variety of habitats to choose from, including woods, a mud wallow, sand pits, and swim areas. The party begins this morning at 10, with a rousing performance by the James Rhodes High School Marching Band, and continues through Sunday — Mother's Day — when all moms will be treated to free admission. (See the May 8 listings for Mother's Day details.) In between, the fun includes African drummers, special "meet the keepers" programs, and a visit from Radio Disney. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; admission is $11 for adults and $8 for kids 2 to 11. For a full schedule of events, visit clemetzoo.com or call 216-661-6500. The zoo is at 3900 Wildlife Way. — Cicora

A Restaurant Is Born

Cropicana Hits the Waves

Restaurateurs Steve and Jackie Schimoler will be hoping for sun today as they launch their newest endeavor, the beach-inspired Cropicana, at the Whiskey Island Marina. On tap: a special Cinco de Mayo menu that includes chile-lime popcorn, chorizo-stuffed Cherry Bombs, chicken enchiladas, chorizo tacos, and $5 margaritas and Crop Punch from the fully stocked bar. Settled in the former Sunset Grille, the warm-weather joint will operate May through September and will eventually have a snazzy outdoor kitchen, smokers, fire pits, and a schedule of live rock, blues, and reggae on the weekends. There's also room nearby for beach volleyball, cornhole, and frisbee; small fry and leashed dogs are also welcome. Plans aside, the incessant rain has taken its toll. "The weather has been so bad," says Jackie Schimoler, "the outdoor kitchen is still a work in progress. We'll likely not have the full menu for a few more weeks to give us time to finish the build-out." Rain or shine, Cropicana opens today at 5 p.m. For details, including directions, call 216-631-1800 or visit cropicana.com. — Cicora

Cinco de Mayo

Celebrate at Paladar

Unnamed sources confirm that Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo with more gusto than most Mexicans. Considering that we've pretty much recast the holiday from one marking a military victory to a celebration of tacos and Dos Equis, that's not much of a surprise. Whatever May 5 means to you, you can party it out today from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar, where the Cinco de Mayo specials include $5 margaritas, $3 Mexican beers, and $3 soft tacos with fillings that range from slow-roasted pork to blackened tilapia. For serious celebrators, a half-dozen Latin-accented specials include fresh roasted corn and chipotle guacamole, prickly pear chicken salad, and for dessert, warm plantain bread spiked with chocolate chips, drizzled with orange dulce de leche, and topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Muy buena, you bet! For more info, call 216-896-9020 or visit paladarlatinkitchen.com. Paladar is at 28601 Chagrin Blvd. in Woodmere. — Cicora

Friday | 06

Onstage

Into the Woods With the Near West Theatre

Take equal parts Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk, blend in a rapping Witch and a philandering Prince Charming, and what do you get? Not just a mouthful, but Into the Woods, a fractured fairytale by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Stephen Sondheim and Tony Award-winning director James Lapine. A hit on Broadway when it premiered in 1987, the dark yet redemptive tale now springs to life at the Near West Theatre, a grassroots, intergenerational group that believes in the transformative power of the arts to create community and healing. Weekend performances begin tonight and continue through May 22. Ticket prices range from $6 to $20; get yours at 216-961-6391 or online at nearwesttheatre.org. Performances take place at 3606 Bridge Ave., inside the St. Patrick's Club Building in Ohio City. — Chrissy Niehaus

Saturday | 07

Fit for Life

Diversity Run at the Rock Hall

Whether you want to walk, run, or rock, you can find plenty to do today at the Diversity Center's 9th annual Walk and Run at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The day begins at 7 a.m. with registration: Participation in the three-mile walk is free, while 5K runners pay a $25 fee that also snags them a T-shirt. Not that ambitious? Enjoy live music on the Rock Hall Plaza, massotherapy in the Cleveland Clinic Health and Wellness Pavilion, and a chance to talk with personal trainers from Aspire Fitness in the Aetna City tent. As a final treat, runners and walkers are rewarded with free admission to the Rock Hall and the nearby Great Lakes Science Center. Founded in 1927, the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio is dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry, and racism. All proceeds from today's event go to support the center's work. For more information and online registration, go to diversitycenterneo.org. The Rock Hall is at 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd. For directions, check out rockhall.com/visit-the-museum/. — Cicora

Art Happening

Spring Thing at the Screw Factory

There are only three times a year when the artists of the Screw Factory in Lakewood open their doors to the public: Today is one of them. From 1 to 7 p.m., you'll find nearly three dozen artists displaying and selling artwork at their studios inside the historic Lake Erie Building at Templar Industrial Park. Among the offerings: jewelry, glassware, ceramics, fiber arts, sculpture, paintings, and mixed-media collages. You'll also find a display of the Templar motor cars that once were made in the building, and the popular food truck Umami Moto, which will be serving up a menu of Asian-accented eats in the parking lot. For more information, including a complete list of participating artists, go to screwfactoryartists.com. You'll find them on the second and third floors of the building at 13000 Athens Ave. Follow the signs to the proper entrances. — Cicora

This Bud's for You

Weed March on Public Square

Not that you need an invitation to toke up, but today's weed march on Public Square is quite the opportunity. President of the Ohio Cannabis Society Laura Kosa-Thomas (motto: "If you got it, smoke it, bitches!") says the annual event, co-sponsored by Cleveland and Ohio NORML, is a buzz-worthy affair. "I love to see Clevelanders come together in support of legalized marijuana. Black, white, young, old: We all just get together and have a good time. As a woman and a mother, I am very proud of that fact." The fun begins at high noon with entertainment and prizes for the best costume, best parade sign, and best performance in the bong relay and other Weed Olympics events. The march follows at 1 p.m., and the day concludes with a Peace and Freedom Rally across the street from the Justice Center. Kosa-Thomas says last year's march attracted almost 1,000 participants. "The police were cool. They just sat back and laughed at us, and everybody got along." To find out more about today's happenings, grab some munchies and check out clevelandohiomarijuanamarch.com. — Cicora

Battle of the Hands

Drawn & Quartered at Wall Eye Gallery

You can find a battle of the bands anywhere. But how often can you see a sketch-off? For the third year running, Wall Eye Gallery's Drawn & Quartered pits four local figure-drawing groups (the Murray Hill Drawing Group, Dr. Sketchy Cleveland, Pretentious Tremont Artists of the Literary Cafe, and the Northern Ohio Illustrators' Society) against each other to vie for prizes, glory, and the votes of established artists and the engaged audience — including you. "Think Wide World of Wrestling meets art-school cabaret!" says Wall Eye Gallery partner Stephanie Lipscomb. Among the bouts: caricatures, gestures, and left-handed sketching (or right-handed, if you're a leftie). Food and drink will be provided, as will drawing materials for individuals who feel up to the challenge. Some rounds will even feature live models, including the costumed performers of Morrison Dance. Finished artwork will be available for purchase. It's all free and happening this evening from 6 to 10 p.m., with the contest starting at 7 p.m. Wall Eye Gallery is at 5304 Detroit Ave. For more information, call 216-640-7769 or go to walleyegallery.com. — Joseph Clark

Tri-C JazzFest

Smokey Robinson at the State Theatre

The 32nd annual Tri-C JazzFest winds down this weekend with a handful of events, most notably a concert by the iconic R&B singer, songwriter, and performer Smokey Robinson. Both as a solo artist and as a member of Motown Records' first vocal group, the Miracles, Robinson delivered 37 Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1987. Among them: "Shop Around," "Tears of a Clown," and "I Second That Emotion." In fact, there aren't many honors that Robinson hasn't snagged: His bio includes multiple Grammys, gold records, and a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You can catch the 71-year-old master tonight at 8 p.m. at the State Theatre on Playhouse Square. Ticket prices are $30 to $50; purchase yours by phone at 216-241-6000 or online at playhousesquare.com. The State Theatre is at 1519 Euclid Ave. — Cicora

Sunday | 08

Mother's Day

Moms Roam Free at the Zoo

How many times has she told you? Life with you kids is like living in a $%*&@ zoo! Today, you can finally prove to Mom that your home life was tame — at least compared to the elephants, lions, and monkeys living it up in the real zoo. Not only can human mothers visit for free today, but they can commiserate with moms of other species, including Mama Tamarin, who is raising two babies in the Rainforest, and Mama Koala, who is caring for her joey in the Australian Adventure. Other free-for-Mom attractions include a photo booth, live entertainment from 1 to 2 p.m. by the Tam Tam Magic Drummers, and a special display about what elephants eat for dinner. (We're betting it's not Kraft macaroni & cheese.) Of course, if you want to spend $23 on your giver of life, you can always start her day with brunch in the Rainforest; doors open at 8 a.m., and the buffet — complete with omelets, bacon, fruit, waffles, and more — begins at 8:30 a.m. (Kids 3 to 11 eat for $19; those under 3 eat free.) Your brunch ticket also includes admission to the zoo and the Rainforest; reservations are required at 216-635-3300. Zoo and Rainforest hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 3900 Wildlife Way. Find out more by calling 216-661-6500 or online at clemetzoo.com. — Cicora

Sunday | 08

Family Fun

Mom, Meet Stan Hywet

Family was important to Akron rubber mogul F.A. Seiberling. And when he decided to build Stan Hywet, his ginormous estate on Portage Path, it was as a family home first and a showplace second. So we think Seiberling would be down with today's doings at his former crib, which feature free admission for Mom to the 65-room house and the 70-acre grounds and gardens. Besides the gawking and strolling, Mom can also enjoy a plant sale in the Corbin Conservatory, where — assuming you haven't already lavished her with tokens of your affection — you might buy her a hanging basket or patio pot as her Mother's Day gift. (Hint: Tell her that was your intention all along.) Stan Hywet is open today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the day's final house admission at 4:30 p.m. Adults who aren't moms will pay $14; offspring ages 6 to 17 are $6. Find out more at stanhywet.org or by calling 330-836-5533; Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is at 714 North Portage Path in Akron. — Cicora

Mother's Day Cruise

Ply the Lake on the Nautica Queen

Even if she doesn't know her bow from her stern — or her Mary Ann from her Ginger — Mom would likely dig spending part of her day cruising the Lake Erie waters on board the Nautica Queen. Besides the awesome views of the city's skyline, she'll be treated to an unlimited buffet, a full bar, a DJ, dancing, and the always-entertaining sight of skippers in natty uniforms. Both a brunch and an early dinner option are available. The brunch cruise runs from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a 10 a.m. boarding time; all-inclusive cost is $38.68 for adults and $18.73 for kids 11 and younger. The dinner cruise happens from 4 to 7 p.m. with a 3 p.m. boarding time; all-inclusive cost is $44.55 for adults and $22.25 for kids. Yes, it is a three-hour tour. But this is not the S.S. Minnow, and we'll almost guarantee you won't end up on a tropical island. For reservations, call 216-696-8888 or go to nauticaqueen.com. You'll find the ship docked at 1153 Main Ave. on the west bank of the Flats. — Niehaus

Mother's Day Eats

Swing Brunch at the Beachland

Eggs, bacon, and Cleveland jazz legend Ernie Krivda are all on the menu today at the Beachland Ballroom, where you'll find a special Mother's Day swing brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Together with his 19-piece (!) Fat Tuesday Big Band and featured vocalist Erin Kufel, Krivda's sweet tenor sax is almost guaranteed to get the old gal off her seat and on her feet; boost the odds by signing Mom up for pre-show swing dance lessons from 11 a.m. to noon. Snag the entire package — brunch buffet, dance lessons, and Krivda's performance — for a mere $23. But be sure to make reservations soon: Space is limited, seats are likely to go fast, and Mom hates to be disappointed. For information and reservations, call 216-383-1124 or check out beachlandballroom.com. The Beachland is at 15711 Waterloo Rd. — Cicora

Monday | 09

Fresh Air

Take a Walk at Lake View Cemetery

Lake View Cemetery — "Cleveland's outdoor museum" — has a full roster of weekly tours, events, and nature walks that may or may not match your schedule. So it's worth remembering that drop-ins are always welcome to stroll the grounds, enjoy the landscape, and ponder the dual puzzles of history and mortality. The business office, located just inside the gates at 12136 Euclid Ave., offers a wealth of resources. Want to see the grounds from the comfort of your car? Pick up an audio-tour cassette or CD for $5. Prefer to walk? Grab a $3 map and trail guide. Want to know more about early settlers? Check out the free Past and Present brochure, with a guide to 32 historic grave sites. Or buy a copy of Cleveland's Cemeteries, Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery, or Cleveland on Foot for tours of your own devising. No matter how you choose to explore, remember that cameras and dogs on leashes are welcome. Bicycles, skateboards, and motorcycles are not. Today's office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at lakeviewcemetery.com or by calling 216-421-2665. — Cicora

Tuesday | 10

CityMusic Cleveland

Free Concerts Bring Harmony

CityMusic Cleveland debuts a new piece today by local composer Margaret Brouwer: Daniel and Snakeman, a musical story promoting tolerance, peace, and understanding. The composition makes its world premiere at 10 a.m. at St. Colman's Church. Much like Peter and the Wolf, the story's characters are represented by specific instruments. Scott Plate, award-winning actor and chair of the Music Department at Baldwin-Wallace College, serves as narrator, and Joshua Weilerstein, 2009 winner of the International Malko Competition for Young Conductors, leads the CityMusic Orchestra. While a weekday morning might seem like an odd time for a world premiere, the choice was intentional. By targeting groups like retirees, the very young, and those who are out of work, organizers are hoping the concert can foster an intergenerational sense of mutual respect and understanding. Then again, you could just think of it as a chance to hear some cool music. St. Colman's Church is at 2027 West 65th St. The 10 a.m. concerts continue all week in other churches around town, winding up this Saturday, May 14, at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights. For a complete list of venues and other details, go to citymusiccleveland.org or call 216-321-8273. — Cicora

Wednesday | 11

Coffee With the Stars

Observatory Park Series Launches Tonight

If you like your astronomy served with a side of pastry, tonight's 7 p.m. coffeehouse program at Observatory Park is for you. Going up in Montville Township, Observatory Park is the Geauga County Park District's newest and largest endeavor. When completed, it will boast a 150-seat Public Viewing Building, a Warner-Swasey 36-inch "deep sky" research telescope, a seismograph station, and a one-mile Planetary Trail that offers a simulated walk across the solar system. Besides education, one of the park's top priorities is minimizing light pollution over Geauga County; already it has received provisional certification as a Dark Sky Park from Tucson's International Dark Sky Association. Tonight marks the launch of a series of five evening coffeehouses at the park: learned but informal discussions of the facility's unique astronomical significance. On hand will be a panel of physics and astronomy experts and enthusiasts, along with coffee, tea, and pastries. The event is free, but seating is limited; reservations are required at 440-286-9516 or foundation@geaugaparkdistrict.org. Find them at 10610 Clay St. in Montville Township. For more info, check out bit.ly/opcampaign. — Cicora

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