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Event picks for the week, because we don't want you to be bored

Thursday | 18

Funny Stuff

Tommy Davidson Tours Cleveland

For funny man Tommy Davidson, inspiration is everywhere. "My stand-up just comes from me being here," he says. "I'm on tour for life." A veteran comic who has starred in legendary shows like In Living Color and MadTV, Davidson has been selling out venues for decades. "Stand-up is like being a QB: The ball is in your hands," he says. But lately, Davidson has been pretty busy playing other positions. The SNL alum recently wrapped up shooting for his part in Cedric the Entertainer's directorial debut, Chicago Pulaski Jones, and is now doing voice work for the upcoming Black Dynamite animated series as the fabulously eccentric Cream Corn. As for Cleveland, Davidson is glad to be coming back to a city that shares his blue-collar sensibility. "I love Cleveland. People roll their sleeves up and go to work every day in Cleveland. You've got to respect a city like that." Catch him at the Cleveland Improv tonight through Sunday. Tonight's show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20; snag them on the website or by phone. — Ryan Young

1148 Main Ave. 696-IMPROV, clevelandimprov.com.

25 Hill

Free Derby Flick Screens at Stow Library

If you missed last month's pricey world premiere of 25 Hill at the Akron Civic Theatre, you can catch it free tonight at the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library. Not only do you get to see a film about the soap box derby shot right in the Rubber City, but you'll also get to meet Mary Ethridge, the film's executive producer. A talk-back session and a slide show from librarian Christina Getrost — a local who appears in some of the derby scenes — follows. "It was fun to see all the stuff I had only seen in behind-the-scenes specials," Getrost says. "It's a nice family film, and we wanted to help spread the word." The flick screens at 6:30 p.m.; admission passes will be available beginning at 6. — Lydia Munnell

3512 Darrow Rd., Stow; 330-688-3295; smfpl.org/calendar.

Friday | 19

Trash Talk

Treasures Galore Fill the Landfill Harvest

In the market for materials for your newest art project? ZeroLandfill Cleveland has you covered — albeit with scraps of carpet, wallpaper, fabric, tile, glass, paper, brick, stone, and metal, all donated by local architects and designers. The organization takes these unwanted or expired — but still very usable — materials and puts them in the hands of creative types by way of free "harvest" events. In the process, they keep thousands of tons of recyclables out of local landfills. There's a harvest happening today from noon to 3 p.m. at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management facility in Garfield Heights. Be sure to bring your own bags and boxes to cart home the treasure. — Young

4750 East 131st St., Garfield Hts., 888-471-4944 ext. 105, zerolandfill.net.

Family Fun in West Park

Asphalt Cinema Returns

Squeeze out the last drops of lazy outdoor fun tonight at Impett Park in the heart of Cleveland's West Park neighborhood. It's an outdoor showing of Disney's Tangled, an animated 2010 adaptation of the classic fairy tale Rapunzel. Featuring the voice of Mandy Moore, Tangled was big with the small fry when it was in theaters; it'll probably be even better under the summer stars. Come early for the whimsical jug band stylings of the Smokin' Fez Monkeys, and don't miss the games, activities, and ice-cream social. Best of all, the whole shebang is free. The music begins at 6:30; the film screens at 8:30 p.m. Find details on the Kamm's Corners website. — Munnell

3207 West 153rd St., 216-252-6559,kammscorners.com/events.

Fit for Foodies

Tabletop Travel at the Romanian Fest

The fine ladies of St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Cathedral want you to eat your sarmale. That's "stuffed cabbage rolls" in Romanian — and since the gals are cooking up more than 5,000 of them for this year's Romanian Fest, you should have no trouble finding plenty. Of course, there are other treats to enjoy at the festival, including the ever-popular mamaliga cu branza (polenta baked with sour cream and cheese), along with homemade sausage and sauerkraut, chicken, and delicious homemade pastries. Then wash 'em down with Romania's award-winning beer and wines. Cleveland's premier ethnic band, Harmonia, will be playing tonight, followed Saturday and Sunday by the Rapsodia Carpatilor Orchestra from Chicago. Today's hours are 4:30 to 11 p.m. Find a full schedule on the website. — Elaine T. Cicora

3256 Warren Road, 216-941-5550, www.smroc.org.

Music in the Air

Free Jazz Concert in Lincoln Park

Playing in a high school band pays off — just ask Paul Ferguson. The jazz man has made a big name for himself on the local and national scene as a composer, teacher, and lead trombonist and arranger for the the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra. Plus, he has five CDs under his belt and wrote three musical arrangements for The Drew Carey Show. (No, not "Cleveland Rocks.") So yeah, the dude is kind of a big deal. Tonight, Ferguson is bringing his talents to Tremont's Lincoln Park as part of the Arts Renaissance series, and it won't cost you a dime. Joining him is vocalist Evelyn Wright. Bring a blanket, a chair, or even a picnic. The concert begins at 7 p.m. To hear a sample of Ferguson's music beforehand, go to paulfergusonmusic.com. — Kerrigan

W. 14th St. and Starkweather, 216-575-0920, tremontwest.org.

On Stage

Five Flights Makes Its Midwest Debut

Convergence-Continuum continues its 2011 season at the Liminis theater with tonight's opening of Five Flights, which we are told is "a touching comedy" by Adam Brock. Even after studying the press release, we're not entirely sure what it's all about. But we can tell you that it involves an aviary, religious convictions, fear of commitment, and the ways in which Russian ballet resembles a hockey game. There's also stobe lights, male nudity, and exposure to bird plumage — but don't worry. We're sure artistic director Clyde Simon makes sense of it all. Tonight's curtain is at 8 p.m., and performances continue through September 10. Tickets are $10 to $15; snag 'em by phone or on the website. — Cicora

2438 Scranton Rd., 216-687-0074,convergence-continuum.org.

Saturday | 20

National Hamburger Festival

Want Fries With That?

Akron's annual homage to wonderful fast food returns this weekend to Lock 3 Park, where the National Hamburger Festival marks its sixth year of artery-clogging deliciousness and quirky burger-themed fun. Among the highlights: the crowning of the Burger Queen, a chance to bob for burgers in a vat of ketchup (tip: keep your eyes closed!), and a Baby Burger contest that, it turns out, is a pageant for babies, not a chance to eat them. Also on the menu: live music, a "best burger" competition, and kids' activities. Of course, the eats are the main event. In that category, you'll find 15 restaurants, including Menches, Barley House, Metro Burger, and White Castle, grilling up more than 30 varieties of beefy goodness; on the side, enjoy funnel cakes, fruit smoothies, ice cream, and more. Plus, be sure to catch the debut of the slider-sized, deep-fried burger: a batter-dipped doozy that inventors claim tastes like a funnel cake-burger hybrid and stands as proof that Americans come by their girth honestly. Today's hours are noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday's hours are noon to 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. — Courtney Kerrigan

200 South Main St., Akron, 330-375-2877,hamburgerfestival.com.

Diversity Dance

Joffrey Ballet Returns to Blossom

The world-renowned Joffrey Ballet returns to Blossom Music Center this weekend for the third time in as many years, bringing with it a troupe of extraordinary dancers drawn from places as near as Ann Arbor and as far as Madrid, Istanbul, and Manila. Those international roots reflect the Chicago ballet's commitment to diversity and to crafting a repertoire that ranges from classical story ballets to contemporary works. (Joffrey was, after all, the first company to commission a rock & roll ballet.) This weekend's bill includes five far-ranging dance numbers, including a Tchaikovsky pas de deux choreographed by the legendary George Balanchine, and Julia Adam's Night, a 2000 ballet based on the dreamscape paintings of Marc Chagall. The performance begins at 8 p.m.; come early to enjoy a picnic or a stroll through the Blossom grounds. Tickets are $23 to $93; available by phone or online. And don't forget: Dance fans under 18 are free on the lawn with an adult. — Cicora

1145 Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls,216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

Lakewood Crawl

Who Will Be the King o' Wings?

Break out your bib: It's time to stuff your face with some of the messiest wings around. Sponsored by Pillars, the young professional division of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, Lakewood's annual Wing Crawl "started with just an idea over a beer and has improved each year," says Shawn Juris, event coordinator since 2005. Today's sixth-annual crawl will have you ambling along Detroit Avenue from 1 to 7 p.m., sampling four wings at each of the 11 participating bars. Start anywhere and proceed in any order, but it's up to you to decide whether Riverwood Café will hold onto its "best wings" title or a new bar will rule the roost. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door at Around the Corner Tavern — assuming they haven't sold out — and include free shuttle service, so you can safely chase those wings with brewskis. Check the website for ticket information and a list of participating locations. — Munnell

216-226-2900, pillarsoflakewood.org/wingcrawl.

Deep Space

What Happened to Pluto?

Can you remember the day you learned that Pluto was no longer a planet? Shocking, wasn't it? All those wasted years making models, learning mnemonics, and for what? But astronomers had their reasons for revoking Pluto's planetary membership. And in case you've forgotten what they were, the Great Lakes Science and Nature Center in Bay Village is offering a brush-up today at 1:30 p.m. "So Why Isn't Pluto a Planet Anymore?" will explain the reasoning behind the big decision and inform you about the dwarf planets (Pluto's new designation) inhabiting our solar system. Planetarium admission is $2, and the 30-minute program is recommended for those ages 7 and up. Find details on the website. — Hayden

28728 Wolf Rd., Bay Village, 440-871-2900,lensc.org.

Stage Craft

A Warehouse Worth of Poe

By day, Canal Fulton's Warehouse on the Canal looks like your typical building of its era. But by night, the space transforms into something far more creepy, filled with spirits, corpses, and some of the best storytelling of the 1800s. Take tonight, for instance, when Edgar Allan Poe expert John Kiste hosts another edition of Poe Live Theater, ushering guests into the bizarre and sometimes humorous world of the legendary author. Dressed in period garb and reciting Poe's words as if they were his own, he sometimes clouds the line between our world and Poe's decidedly spine-tingling alternative. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8. Tickets are $20, which includes coffee, dessert, and brandy; a cash bar is also available. Reservations are suggested; ravens are welcome. — Hayden

239 North Canal St., Canal Fulton, 330-854-1111, theghostsofcanalfulton.com.

Go for Baroque

Classical Music in a Classical Space

For a scholar and musician, giving a mandatory lecture recital is a dry, didactic thing. It's another thing entirely, says baroque oboist Sian Ricketts, to give a voluntary concert "of music I know, like, and want to share with others." That's the program tonight at Harkness Chapel, as the 25-year-old Ricketts — a native Minnesotan who is pursuing a graduate degree in historical performance practices at CWRU — performs some of her favorite pieces. Joining her on stage will be some of her favorite colleagues and instructors: preeminent early oboist Debra Nagy, soprano Elena Mullins, harpsichordist Peter Bennett, and Daniel Escobar on cello and gamba. Highlights of the two-hour program include an early trio sonata in D minor and an Italian cantata that's "all about love." Ricketts can hardly wait. "What better way to spend one of the last evenings of summer than making beautiful music in a wonderful space?" Tonight's recital is free and open to the public; the music begins at 7 p.m. — Cicora

11200 Bellflower Rd.

Sunday | 21

Wheely Cool

Race for the House in Painesville

They're not just spinning their wheels today at the Lake County Speedway. They're taking part in the second-annual Race for the House, a fund-raiser for the Cleveland Ronald McDonald House. Among the activities: bike races, go-cart races, live music and games, a NASCAR ride-along, raffles, auctions, and a chance to win prizes. Admission is free, although many of the activities involve a small fee. The good news is that every cent of the proceeds goes to the Ronald McDonald House, serving families who are seeking medical care for their children. The wheels go 'round from noon to 5 p.m. Spin over to the website for more information. — Munnell

500 Fairport Nursery Rd., Painesville ; 216-229-5757; rmhcleveland.org/race-for-the-house1.

At Howe Meadow

It's a Boomerang Extravaganza!

Aborigines use boomerangs to kill bats and small birds for dinner. Yummy as that all sounds, there won't be any bat-wing buffets at Howe Meadow today. Instead, expect plenty of high-flying fun as members of the Cleveland Boomerang School show you how it's done. If you're feeling good about your skills after the 30-minute practice sesh, enter one of the distance or accuracy contests to win some cool prizes. The fee for competitors is $3, which comes with a boomerang for competition use. Spectators get in free. Practice fields open at 9 a.m., and competitions run from 11 to 4. — Barnes

4040 Riverview Rd., 800-257-9477,Clevelandboomerangschl.com.

Monday | 22

Climate Change

Al Gore Was Right

An ex-VP preached about it. Your weatherman warned you about it. And public-service announcements made you feel guilty as hell for not doing more to stop it. But no matter how hard you tried to deny it, global warming is here, and we can no longer ignore its effects. You can consider all the issues surrounding the phenomenon in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's newly opened Climate Change exhibition. Featuring everything from dead coral to stuffed polar bears scrounging for imaginary food, the interactive exhibits provide an honest picture of how climate change is affecting the world. The exhibit continues through December 31. Today's hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10, and less for students and seniors. — Hayden

1 Wade Oval Dr., 216-231-4600, cmnh.org.

Tuesday | 23

Battle of the Bulge

A Survivor Speaks

With his chin buried in a snow bank, private Robert Sabetay lay frozen in anticipation in the Ardennes Forest. Two teenage German soldiers filled his crosshairs, unarmed and trembling as they listened for the gunshot that would end their lives. That was 67 years ago. But you would never know it from listening to Sabetay speak. The WWII vet narrates his Battle of the Bulge experiences in precise, hair-raising detail, and you can hear all about them tonight at the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library. "I want to let people know how horrible war really is," the vet says of his decision to go public with his private memories. Sabetay speaks at 7 p.m. His presentation is free, and registration will be accepted at the library information desk. And those German soldiers? Sabetay never pulled the trigger. — Barnes

3512 Darrow Rd., 330-688-3295, smfpl.org.Downtown Doings

Beats & Eats

on Public Square

You can't really break bread with Mayor Frank Jackson today, but you can enjoy your lunch at the Beats & Eats Fest on downtown's Public Square. Brought to you by the Mayor's office each Tuesday of this month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the festival comes fully stocked with eats from food trucks like StrEat Mobile Bistro, Jibaro Gourmet, Zydeco Bistro, and Umami Moto. Today's beats arrive via funky pop artist Robin Stone. Also on hand: a lineup of arts & crafts vendors offering a bit of mid-week retail therapy. — Kerrigan

Northwest Quadrant of Public Square,216-420-8760.

Wednesday | 24

Roots of History

The Cultural Gardens Go Deep

For Rebecca McFarland, Cleveland's famed Cultural Gardens are more than just flowers and foliage. They are a living reminder of the city's ethnic heritage: a reflection of our identity and a comment on our communities. A trustee of the Northeastern Ohio Inter-Museum Council, McFarland will discuss the gardens during a free talk tonight at the Independence Library. Originally planted during the depths of the Great Depression, the Cultural Gardens have attracted thousands of visitors from around the globe. Yet to most Clevelanders, the 36 gardens are just a blur of greenery along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. McFarland hopes to change that and to restore the gardens' status as one of the city's important cultural icons. Her presentation begins at 7 p.m.; registration for the free event is required via the library website. — Young

6361 Selig Dr., 216-447-0160, cuyahogalibrary.org.

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