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Plenty to do this holiday weekend

Thursday |30

Family Fun

The UniverSoul Circus Swings Into Euclid

The UniverSoul Circus launched in 1994 when founder and CEO Cedric Walker decided to put a hip-hop spin on a conventional circus. The soulful traveling act has come a long way since then, now dazzling crowds across the country and around the globe with a rousing blend of thrills, chills, and audience participation. Its next stop is the Old Euclid Square Mall parking lot, where tonight you'll find acts that far exceed the usual creepy clowns. Rahel of Ethiopia will make you cringe by contorting her body into unimaginable positions, rockin' biker chicks from China will perform extreme tricks that put Harley-riding dudes to shame, and trick dogs from Chile will bust moves better than you do. Also on the bill: Caribbean dancers, a high-wire act, and stilt dancers, along with tigers, elephants, an energetic ringmaster, and rappers. Tickets are priced from $12 to $26 and are available at ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. The self-styled "awesomest show ever" kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at 100 Euclid Square Mall in Euclid. If you miss out on tonight's performance, daily shows continue through July 4. Check out universoulcircus.com for more information.— Courtney Kerrigan

On the Wall

In Orbit at Lava Lounge

Attention, thirsty and astronomically inclined art lovers: Cleveland breakout painter Bob Peck's series In Orbit is now on display at the Lava Lounge. Peck first made his mark as a graffiti artist before buckling down and studying Picasso. There are still streetwise flourishes in his pieces, orbiting around more refined, abstract forms that seem to be in constant, enthused motion — like hectored personalities rushing breakneck through the decade's digital pace. You almost need a relaxing beverage (chosen from the Lounge's extensive cocktail collection) to take it all in. The exhibition runs through July 7 at 1307 Auburn Ave.; call them at 216-589-9112. For more information on the Rupnik Gallery, which has mounted the show, call 216-533-5575 or go to artchitecturegallery.com. — Joseph Clark

Friday | 01

Fit for Foodies

Life Is Good Down(town) on the Farm

Among the towering buildings of downtown Cleveland there's a weekly dose of country living for anyone who feels occasionally trapped by day-to-day urban life. Filled with everything from crimson strawberries and large, crunchy carrots to homemade pizza by the slice and overstuffed pulled pork sandwiches, Cleveland's Downtown Farmers Market has something for everyone who lives or works in the metropolis. Operating on Public Square each Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October, the market's dozen or so vendors provide a wholesome alternative to fast food, no food, or the same old brown-bagged lunches. Likewise, urban pioneers will undoubtedly welcome the opportunity to stock their lofty pantries with farm-fresh fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, and dairy products. Of course, not everything here necessarily qualifies as health food: The chocolates and bakery looked mighty tempting during a recent lunchtime sortie. You'll find them across from the Old Stone Church in the heart of downtown. For more information, call 440-821-0254 or visit the Downtown Farmers Market page on Facebook. — Max Hayden

The Hills Are Alive ...

It's Week 2 of the Boston Mills Art Fest

Boston Mills Ski Resort is more than just a place to mash your bones on treacherous slopes and curl up with tasty cocoa: For two consecutive weekends each year, it becomes home to one of the best fine arts and crafts shows in the country. In case you missed it last week, today marks the start of the event's second weekend: a tented, three-day, rain-or-shine bonanza of jewelry, pottery, sculptures, paintings, furniture, glassware, and whimsy. (There's also live entertainment, food, and beverages, so feel free to come hungry.) Today's hours are 6 to 9 p.m. You can park for free, but you'll pay for entry: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, and free for kids 12 and under. Boston Mills Ski Resort is at 7100 Riverview Rd. in Peninsula. For details, including a schedule and complete list of participating artists, visit bmbw.com or call 330-467-2242. — Kerrigan

On Screen

CMA Debuts a Modern Art-House Classic

Perhaps it's time to take a breather from those big-budget blockbusters at the gigaplex and enjoy a film centered on that other place you like to while away your summer: the backyard. Directed by Eric Mendelsohn — who earned the Best Director nod at Sundance for this flick, as well as for his 2000 film Judy Berlin3 Backyards is a drama set on one fall day in a suburb of Long Island. In essence, it connects the lives of a housewife, a businessman, and a schoolgirl to startling effect. Starring The Sopranos' Edie Falco, the 2010 release has earned kudos everywhere from The New York Times to Variety; the Huffington Post even went so far as to call it "the very definition of an art-house film." The local debut of 3 Backyards comes tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art's Morley Lecture Hall. Tickets are $9 for adults, and less for museum members, seniors, and students. Snag them at the door, by phone at 216-421-7350, or online at clevelandart.org. The art museum is at 11150 East Blvd. in University Circle. To learn more about Mendelsohn's film, go to 3backyards.com. — Hayden

Saturday | 02

Gin-dependence Day!

Celebrate Your Freedom at Put-in-Bay

Come for the booze, stay for the tunes. This year's Put-in-Bay Freedom Concert is the perfect mix of patriotism and public intoxication, featuring the 65-member Central Ohio Symphony and, as always, more than 25 bars in which to celebrate your independence. Now in its fourth year, the concert will showcase the Delaware, Ohio-based orchestra performing a program of Broadway tunes, film scores, and traditional patriotic songs. The show begins at 6 p.m. on the back porch of the Perry Victory Monument Visitor Center, and it's free to all. Other things to see and do on the island include a walking maze, a butterfly sanctuary, explorable caves, and even a chocolate museum. Put-in-Bay is on Lake Erie's South Bass Island, just north of Port Clinton; access is by ferry or boat. For more info, check out visitputinbay.org or call 888-PIB-STAY. — Ryan Young

Fresh Air

Fun for Tree Huggers

The United Nations declared 2011 "The International Year of Forests" to raise awareness of the need to preserve the world's woodlands. In recognition of their efforts, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is hosting a series of guided hikes exploring Northeast Ohio's own beautiful forests. Join a CVNP ranger today for a free 1.5-mile walk on Oak Hill Trail, where you can experience prime examples of our evergreen and upland forests. Meet at 2 p.m. at the trail head, at 3901 Oak Hill Road in Peninsula; for more information, call 330-657-2752 or visit nps.gov/cuva. — Lydia Munnell

Time Warp

Rocky Horror Lives On at the Cedar Lee

Twenty-three years after its inception, the monthly screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is still selling out the Cedar Lee Theatre. "There's always a couple hundred in the crowd, at least," says David Huffman, director of marketing for Cleveland Cinemas. "People keep coming back because they love it." Among the monthly crowd: the regulars, the reenactors, and the ones who bring the toast. Some come in drag, á la that "sweet transvestite" Dr. Frank-N-Furter; others come in their undies, like the storm-tossed Brad and Janet. "Some people have dedicated their lives to the show," says Huffman. "It's because it isn't just watching a movie, it's a live experience." Be part of it tonight at midnight, as the 1975 cult classic once again merrily charts a course through the realm of mad scientists, glam rockers, and assorted sex fiends. You'll find Rocky and the gang at 2163 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $9 — or $6 if you're in costume! Find out more at 440-528-0355 or clevelandcinemas.com. — Kelly Maile

Sunday | 03

High Times

Hit the Deck at the Terminal Tower

Standing 42 stories above the heart of downtown, the Terminal Tower Observation Deck has been a part of local history since its opening back in 1929. Following the attacks of 9/11, the deck was temporarily closed; the upside was that it got its share of loving during the Tower's recent $40 million facelift. Beginning in 2010, occasional weekend openings drew sellout crowds, proving the deck's enduring popularity. Now, at last, the observation deck has launched a regular schedule of Saturday and Sunday openings that extend through December 18. It's no surprise that the deck is a big draw: On a clear day, you get 360-degree views extending for 30 miles. Among the landmarks: the Flats, Parma, Avon Lake — even the nuclear power plant in Perry can be seen smoking in the distance. Today's hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance, although a limited number are available for walk-up purchases at the guest services desk on Level 1. Otherwise, snag them at terminaltowerodecksun.eventbrite.com. Terminal Tower is at 50 Public Square. For more, look up or call 216-736-7646. — Young

Monday | 04

Happy Birthday, America!

Go Boom at Blossom

If a picnic, patriotic music, and fireworks are your idea of a July Fourth celebration, Blossom Music Center is where you want to be this evening. Pack a basket, put some Riesling in the cooler, and head out to the country for a pastoral reminder of what makes America great. High on that list is the Blossom Festival Band performing a stirring program of Sousa marches and more, under the direction of Loras John Schissel; among his other achievements, the dude is the world's foremost authority on Sousa's music — and he also cuts a dashing figure at the podium in his gleaming white uniform. Our favorite part of the evening? Maybe when the giant American flag unfurls during Stars and Stripes Forever ... or when the cannons blast during the "1812 Overture" ... or even when the fireworks launch an ephemeral canopy over the bucolic Blossom grounds. Go decide for yourself: Grounds open at 5:30, and the concert begins at 8. (Not up to packing a picnic? All-American cookout faves will be available for purchase.) Tickets are $19 to $43; order by phone at 216-231-1111 or online at clevelandorchestra.com. Blossom Music Center is at 1145 Steels Corners Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls. — Elaine T. Cicora

Family Fun

Red, White & Zoo

Even animals like to celebrate summer's iconic holiday: You can see for yourself at today's Red, White, and Zoo festivities at the Cleveland Metropark's Zoo. Last year, more than 7,100 people turned out to see the color-coded critters: the red kangaroos, white storks, and blue dart frogs among them. In keeping with the day's theme, staffers will also be treating some of their charges to flag-colored snacks from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. "Ingredients include strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, and sometimes Jello. In the past we've used fruit-stuffed Jello, or floated cranberries and blueberries in a pool so the animals can 'bob' for them," says zoo spokesman Joe Yachanin. The rest of the zoo's summer hot spots also will be open for viewing, including Australian Adventure, Professor Wylde's Live Animal Show, and the new Elephant Crossing. Today's hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Adult admission is $11, and less for children 11 and younger. The Zoo is at 3900 Wildlife Way. For more information call 216-661-6500 or visit clemetzoo.com. — Hayden

Rockets Red Glare I

Rock & Boom Onboard the Mather

The parades are over, the picnic is packed away, and now the real Fourth of July fun — the fireworks! — is about to begin. One of the best downtown vantage points for the Cleveland pyrotechnic blowout is from the deck of the historic Steamship William G. Mather. The 618-foot ship was once used for transporting coal, stone, and grains throughout the Great Lakes, but now it's a floating museum permanently berthed at North Coast Harbor, with panoramic views of the skyline. Tonight's fun begins at 6 p.m., allowing you plenty of time to tour the ship before the 10 p.m. fireworks. Then settle back in your lawn chair and enjoy the show. Tickets are $12, or $10 for members. Call 216-621-2400 for reservations. You'll find the ship next to the Great Lakes Science Center at 601 Erieside Ave. For more information on the Mather, visit greatscience.com. For more on the fireworks, check out downtowncleveland.com. — Kerrigan

Rockets Red Glare II

Take a Fireworks Cruise on the Goodtime III

The Cleveland skyline by night is a beautiful thing, especially when seen from the waters of Lake Erie. Now imagine that glittering skyline punctuated by the city's annual Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza, and you'll have some idea of what awaits you on tonight's Fireworks Cruise on the Goodtime III. Cleveland's largest passenger ship, the Goodtime III has four decks from which to watch the 10 p.m. pyrotechnic extravaganza, which will be set off on Dock 20 in the Flats. You have two options for seeing the show: A dinner cruise that runs from 7 to 11:30 p.m., and a dance cruise from 9 to 11:30 p.m. Prices range from $20 to $74.95, depending on the cruise you choose and the deck you select. Make reservations at 216-861-5110 or at 825 East Ninth St. Pier at North Coast Harbor. For more about the Goodtime III, check out goodtimeiii.com.; to learn more about the fireworks, visit downtowncleveland.com. — Cicora

Tuesday | 05

Smart Talk

Heights Arts Hosts Designing Minds

Heights Arts recently reopened its renovated gallery in Cleveland Heights with an architecture exhibition. Called Building Below the Radar, the show uses models and visual displays to demonstrate three distinctive building approaches, as practiced by three small, independent firms. That show — the first by a Cleveland arts organization to focus on living, local architects in a generation — runs through July 23. In conjunction, the gallery is also hosting a series of free Tuesday-night talks on related topics: Tonight's "radar report" focuses on sustainable design. The lineup is impressive: Among the talent you'll find Chuck Miller, designer of the innovative SmartHome now on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; straw-bale construction pioneers Jan and Gus Kious; and Cleveland Clinic sustainability director Christina Vernon. "We really want to recognize the talent we have in our own community," says Heights Arts Executive Director Peggy Spaeth. "There is quality design in Cleveland, and there are thoughtful conversations happening; we want to bring them together and celebrate them." The celebration starts tonight at 7 p.m. at 2175 Lee Rd. For more info, call 216-371-3457 or visit heightsarts.org. — Clark

Peace, Love & Reggae

Taj Weekes Performs at the Beachland

Peace, love, and a syncopated beat you could set a watch to: Taj Weekes and his band of prodigious reggae lifers, Adowa, are coming to the Beachland Tavern tonight. Since 2010's A Waterlogged Soul Kitchen, Weekes has been hitting festivals, bars — even the reggae showcase at Austin's South by Southwest, showing off his unique blend of Caribbean reggae, rock, and Ethiopian funk. Often inspired by current events, songs like "Rain, Rain" demonstrate Weekes' penchant for politically inflected poetry with lines as thought-provoking as they are groovy. "If the people suffer, no matter where they are, we have to say it," says Weekes. "We all have to hold each other's hand and walk the path together." Doors open at 8:30 p.m.; tickets are $10. Visit beachlandballroom.com for more information or call 216-383-1124. The Beachland is at 15711 Waterloo Rd. — Young

Wednesday | 06

Out Standing in Their Field

The Speedbumps Play ... Howe Meadow?!

Dark clubs and dank halls are fine for winter concerts. Come summer, though, even hipsters need a dose of fresh air and Vitamin D. You'll get all that and free music too this evening at Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Part of the Music in the Meadow series, tonight's family-friendly fun begins at 5:30 p.m. with lawn games and a musical craft. A concert by the alt-acoustic Speedbumps follows at 6:30. Then cap off your evening with a ranger-led walk or a twilight talk about local wildlife. In the 1980s, Howe Meadow was home to the National Folk Festival, making it a good fit for the folk-inflected Speedbumps, whose complex sound incorporates drums, saws, and a variety of hollow-bodied instruments like cellos and an upright bass. Grab a blanket, a picnic, and your Ray Bans, and prepare to see the light. Howe Meadow is at 4040 Riverview Rd. in Peninsula; call 330-657-2752 or visit dayinthevalley.com. — Cicora

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