Event picks for this lovely week in Cleveland

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Event picks for this lovely week in Cleveland

Thursday | 10

Comic Erik Rivera

Get Him While He's Cheap

Someday — probably soon — comedian Erik Rivera is going to make it big. That's why you should see him this weekend at the Improv. "Tickets are only $15!" says the native New Yorker. "Why wait till I'm at the Q and tickets cost $100?" He might have a point: While he started doing standup way back in 2004, his late-night TV debut (on Leno) didn't arrive until this May; he followed up that breakthrough with a move to L.A., where he's shopping around plans for a comedy special and a series. Still, Rivera's growing fame hasn't affected his mellow brand of humor. "I'm just telling my life story," he says. "I don't have much anger or bitterness in me." Among his favorite topics: his family and his Latino heritage. "Plus, I just got married in July, so now I can add the craziness of being married!" Speaking of relationships, we had to ask: How has it helped his career to look so gosh-darned adorable? Remarkably, Rivera says he's never thought about it. "But I hope it helps me sell tickets!" Check him out tonight at 7:30 at the Improv; a second performance is set for 7 p.m. on Sunday, November 13. Tickets can be had by phone or online: For now, at least, they're still only $15. — Elaine T. Cicora

1148 Main Ave., 216-696-4677,

clevelandimprov.com.

TGIT

A Social Networking Site Turns 1

The only requirement for heading out to tonight's Yelp Cleveland first-anniversary bash is that you are the proud owner of a free Yelp account. In return, you get to eat, drink, dance, and make merry — all on Yelp's dime. According to Yelp mouthpiece Cara Lageson, the free fun is a 21-and-over mingler for the online community. "And since Yelp is all about community, we partnered with the Cleveland Foodbank, which will be collecting donations of non-perishable food and money tonight in advance of the holiday season," she says. Party eats will be provided by a convoy of local food trucks including Touch Supper Club, Umami Moto, and Zydeco Cajun Bistro. Meantime, Goose Island, Harpersfield Winery, and Honest Tea and Ade will be bringing the beverages, boozy or otherwise. You can expect heaps o' entertainment as well: a photo booth, tunes from DJ Misterbradleyp, and appearances by the Caricature Guy and Amanda's Elaborate Eye & Face Painting, to name a few. The party runs from 7 to 9 p.m. inside the 78th Street Studios. Make your reservations online — and don't forget your canned goods for the Foodbank. — Logan Boggs

1305 West 80th St., 216-939-0533,

Yelp.com/events/cleveland-yelp-

cles-first-burstday-party.

Jewish Speed Dating

Meet Your Mench at Myxx

The term "speed dating" may conjure up some cringe-worthy visions — but hey, you never know where you might find the perfect partner. Tonight's high-speed hunt for love is brought to you by JCLE, a project of the Cleveland Hillel Foundation that specializes in creating fun events for Cleveland's Jewish twentysomethings. Helping with the heavy lifting: the online dating service Kick Start Love. The goal is to expose the city's most eligible Jewish singles to one another in short, four-minute doses. And while you're mingling, you'll have a chance to enjoy Myxx's exclusive party room and a free beer or cocktail. Tonight's event focuses on Jewish singles between the ages of 22 and 32, and runs from 7:30 to 10 p.m. (Older singles get their turn next week.) Admission is $28 for early registrants and $35 for procrastinators; register online at the website below. Proceeds go to the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Association. Find out more about JCLE at jclecity.org. — Boggs

12459 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-MYXX, kickstartlove.com/events.

Friday | 11

Fun for Foodies

The Food Show Is Back

It's a groaning board of food, wine, and celebrity chefs this weekend at the sixth annual Fabulous Food Show at the IX Center. Among the main courses: demos by Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Duff Goldman, Robert Irvine, and Michael Symon; a Saturday-afternoon gathering of hometown culinary greats, including chef Steve Schimoler (Crop Bistro) and author Michael Ruhlman; and the ever-popular Grand Tasting Pavilion, featuring a knockout assortment of wines, spirits, and speciality beers for sampling. Other tasty tidbits include the Chocolate Bar (featuring chocolate and wine pairings) and the Culinary Celebration Theatre, where you'll find flair bartenders, Master Chef finalists, and former White House Chef Sam Morgante dishing on the preferences of former Presidents. General admission is $25 online and $30 at the door. Grand Tasting Pavilion Passports are an additional $10 and include six samples and a Schott Zwiesel wine glass. Today's hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the fun continues through Sunday. — Cicora

One I-X Center Dr., 877-772-5425,

fabulousfoodshow.com.

To Your Health!

Tip a Few for the Free Clinic

Celebrate 11-11-11 tonight with brews, food, and live music at the Free Clinic's 14th annual Microbrew Extravaganza. Set inside Massimo da Milano, in the landmark Forest City Trust Building, the shindig stars suds from Great Lakes Brewing Company, Indigo Imp, Brew Kettle, and Buckeye Beer Engine, to name just a few. There's also a catered buffet, music from the local cover band Punch the Clown, and dancing. "It's a great time among the biggest group of friends you never knew beforehand," says John Hagerty, development manager for the Free Clinic. "I have a blast just talking with the brewers and trying the different beers." The suds start flowing at 6:30 p.m. General admission is $60. Tickets can be purchased online. — Boggs

1400 West 25th St., 216-707-3405,

thefreeclinic.org.

Arty Party

A Hand-Painted Book Debuts at Aperture

For creative types like Lakewood's Anthony Zart, one career is not enough: The graphic designer also wants to be a writer — and he's well on his way, with four self-published books to his credit. His newest creation — Grobin the Dog Presents Home Sweet Home — is a delightful hand-painted kids book that channels the feel of the iconic black-and-white cartoons of the 1920s and '30s. "It's my homage to Max Fleischer and Ub Iwerks," says Zart. "And I also wanted to make something that was more personal — and more craftsmanly — than the computer-generated kids' books that are out there." Told in verse, the story follows the plucky Grobin, a victim of foreclosure, as he leaves his home in the country to make a new life in the city. "I was trying to come up with a gentle way to deal with the topic," says Zart. "But the real point of the story is that Grobin makes things better and comes out shining at the end." Home Sweet Home makes its debut tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. at Aperture in Tremont. Besides signing and selling copies of his $20 book, Zart will be exhibiting his sketchbooks, notes, clay models, and original drawings, some of which are for sale. It's all free, including giveaways, sweets, and seasonal refreshments for grown-ups and kids alike. — Cicora

2541 Scranton Rd., 216-574-8977, grobinthedog.tumblr.com.

Saturday | 12

Family Fun Run

Join the Great Amazing Race

Fun, fresh air, and time for parent-child bonding are among the reasons to hit the trail today in the Great Amazing Race in Brecksville. Loosely based on TV's Amazing Race, the not-too-arduous trek calls for contestants to traverse a one-mile cross-country course, with stops along the way for fun challenges: games, relays, obstacle courses, and more. Contestants will be running in two-person teams. At least one team member must be in grades K through 12; ideally, the other one will be Mom or Pop. Teams will compete in age categories, with winners in each category snagging bragging rights and prizes. Two races are on the docket: the first, at 1 p.m., is aimed at "leisure" athletes, while the second, at 2:30 p.m., is for more competitive sorts. Everyone is welcome to the rain-or-shine event: boys, girls, moms, dads, runners, joggers, walkers, and even amblers. The fun begins at the Oak Grove Pavilion in the Cleveland Metroparks' Brecksville Reservation. Entry fee is $20 per team online or $30 at the race. A post-event party costs an additional $5 to $7. Participation is limited to 50 teams per race. For registration, check out the website. — Cicora

9305 Brecksville Rd., Brecksville, greatamazingrace.com.

Feel the Burn

Get Your Grind On with Bella Sin

We're not sure which ta-ta muscles make those tassels twirl, but we are sure they'll get a workout during the five-week Burlesque Basics class taught by Cleveland dancer Bella Sin. Founder of Le Femme Mystique Burlesque troupe, Bella has developed a curriculum that uncovers everything about the art form, from its history to how to pick a stage name. The current class sequence begins today and costs $75. She says the response has been awesome. "Women attend for all sorts of reasons. A lot of girls want to rediscover their sexy selves. Others are just looking for something new to try." Classes are held today and each Saturday through December 17 from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Find them at Be Studio on Clifton Blvd. Register by phone at the number below. Check out Bella's website for class details. — Cicora

10400 Clifton Blvd., 216-227-9710,

bellasin.weebly.com.

At Lakewood Library

Funny People: A Movie About Something

Judd Apatow's 2009 film Funny People starred Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Jonah Hill in what most critics considered a better-than-expected blend of pathos and laughs. The story deals with the struggles of comedic jackass George Simmons (Sandler, perfectly cast), who alienates friends and family before contracting cancer. "The thing about Funny People," wrote Roger Ebert in a 2009 online review, "is that it's a real movie — and it's about something. It sees George Simmons' struggle within the hermetically sealed world of the standup comic, a secret society that has merciless rules, one of which is that even sincerity is a joke." It's unusually dark subject matter for Apatow, but shines an insightful light on the lives of those who make us laugh for a living. And yes, there is a point to all this movie-geek blather: Funny People screens for free tonight at the Lakewood Public Library beginning at 6 p.m. — Stafford

15425 Detroit Ave, 216-226-8275,

lkwdpl.org.

Sunday | 13

Creep & Peep

Welcome to the Houses of Delaware Drive

It's more than just a clever way to peek in other people's windows: Today's Houses of Delaware Drive walking tour is also a fund-raiser for Verb Ballets. The seven Cedar-Fairmount homes on the tour are far from your run-of-the-mill tract houses. In fact, the lineup of circa-1900 domiciles includes a Tudor, a spacious brick, and even a 1915 "Stratford" kit home. More intriguing still, each house shelters members of that odd species known as "artists" — a group that organizers claim includes dancers, directors, lighting designers, a glass blower, and an organist. (Who knows what skeletons you may find hidden in their closets?!?) In any case, it all sounds like a hoot, especially when you factor in the eats and entertainment by Verb Ballets dancers that will be served up at every stop. The tour takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. A contribution of $40 gets you admission to all the homes, food, music, and dance vignettes. A $100 donation gets you all that, plus a VIP appetizer reception and a post-tour dessert. Order tickets in advance by phone or online, or snag them at the door. All proceeds benefit the Ballet's winter productions and outreach programs. — Cicora

2285 Delaware Dr., Cleveland Heights, 216-397-3757, verbballets.org.

Monday | 14

The Whore of Akron

Debating LeBron at Happy Dog

The Decision is in the rearview mirror, but The Derision lives on. The Whore of Akron — Cleveland native and Esquire writer Scott Raab's book about LeBron James, Cleveland fandom, and life as we know it — hits the shelves today. The title alone gives plenty to talk about, and talk there will be — starting tonight at Happy Dog. Ohio City Writers, a non-profit youth creative writing center, will host Raab and fellow writer Jimi Izrael tonight at 7 p.m. in a debate on "The Decision" and LeBron's legacy. Raab's opinion is pretty clear from the title; Izrael's is the exact opposite. But it won't be all LeBron all the time. Despite appearances, The Whore of Akron isn't all James bashing. It's part memoir, part chronicle, part rumor, part sports journalism, part Cleveland sports history, and all eloquent, honest, and funny. Plenty to talk about there, with the bonus of hot dogs and beer. The event is free, but a hat will be passed for donations to the Ohio City Writers organization, so don't be stingy like LeBron "no tip" James. (Busy tonight? Catch Raab at Tremont's Visible Voice Books on November 17 — or hell, read this week's cover story just a few pages behind you.) — Vince Grzegorek

5801 Detroit Ave., 216-651-9474,

happydogcleveland.com.

Tuesday | 15

Cleveland Comedy Festival

On Track for Laughs

The fourth-annual Cleveland Comedy Festival returns today for a nine-day run, complete with 50-plus comics, 13 shows, five venues, and the 2011 Standup Comedy Contest. Professional laff makers come from Cleveland, Akron, and across the country to take part in the hilarity. Among them: natives like Maria Borgio, Chad Zumock, and Chris Hegedus, as well as nationally known talent like headliner Ryan Stout (right), winner of the 2005 Boston Comedy Festival. How did something so major ever get started? It just took local comics J.D. Sidley, Joe Hannum, and John Wellington deciding to go big. Sidley elaborates: “We saw all these comedy fests in Boston, Las Vegas, and New York, and thought, ‘Why can’t we have one of those here?’ The idea had been around for years, but no one had done anything. So in 2008, we took the plunge.” Their timing was perfect: The festival has grown larger every year since, and now has gained enough momentum to force a move from its original home in the Hermit Club to Kennedy’s Cabaret and the 14th Street Theatre in Playhouse Square. “We’ve had to branch out to grow,” says Sidley, “but at heart we’re still a Cleveland festival.” Ticket prices range from $10 to $20 and are available online at the fest’s official website, where you’ll also find the schedule, venue info, and comic bios. — Matt Staffordclevelandcomedyfestival.com.

Cleveland State's Home Opener

Because Other People Play Basketball Too

That peace and quiet you've noticed lately is the sound of NBA ballers not counting your money for a change. Though the lockout continues, the rest of us can turn our attention to the mighty Cleveland State Vikings, who will play their regular season home opener tonight in a matchup against the squad from Rio Grande in southeastern Ohio. Last year's Vikings wrapped up play at 27-9. What can you expect this year? A lot of energy, according to head coach Gary Waters. "We have a mix of seasoned veterans and energetic young players," he says. "We play an exciting brand of basketball, and defensively we're one of the better teams in the Midwest." Offense is the concern now, however: One of the Vikings' best players, Norris Cole, recently moved on to life with LeBron and the Miami Heat. This season, a trio of seniors should lead the way: Trey Harmon, Jeremy Montgomery, and D'Aundray Brown are each expected to surpass 1,000 points. "Most teams only have one player who does that per season," says Waters. "We have three." Tonight's game is at 7 at the Wolstein Center. Tickets are $8 to $50 by phone, at the box office, or online. — Stafford

2000 Prospect Ave., 216-687-4848,

wolsteincenter.com.

Wednesday | 16

Look and Listen

Music Meets Art at MOCA's Harmonic Hues

Composed in 1988, Steve Reich's Grammy Award-winning Different Trains is a novel musical experiment, blending stringed instruments, recorded speech, and the sounds of passing trains to reflect upon World War II. It's heavy stuff, wandering into the realms of physical fear and psychological anxiety. Still, where better to indulge in a contemporary classic than at Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art? Better yet, tonight's 7 p.m. performance by the Cleveland Institute of Music's New Music Ensemble is free and offers a before-or-after chance to take in the museum's striking current exhibitions: colossal sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard and the Cuba Project, featuring works by five contemporary Cuban artists commenting on their native art, culture, politics, and society. It's all part of MOCA's Harmonic Hues series, blending the best in contemporary sights and sounds. Come early for the pre-concert reception at 6:30 p.m. While there's no cost, reservations are required at the number below. — Cicora

8501 Carnegie Ave., 216-421-8671 ext. 71,

mocacleveland.org.

Kerplunk. It Sunk

A Titanic Musical Docks at Baldwin-Wallace College

It's been nearly 100 years since Kate and Leo made whoopee in the cargo hold of the Titanic, and ... Wait. What? Oh yeah, that was the movie. In real life, the theater departments of Baldwin-Wallace College are marking the centennial of the infamous sinking with a massive production of Titanic: The Musical. Launched under the direction of B-W's faculty of experienced theater pros (including artistic director Scott Plate) and starring a lineup of madly talented student-actors, the musical by Peter Stone takes an in-depth view of the greatest disaster of the 20th century, including the causes, the conditions, and the personalities involved in the compelling drama. It's been an, ahem, titanic undertaking, says Plate, who calls the show "one of the most ambitious single productions we've ever attempted." Catch one of the final performances today through Sunday at B-W's Kleist Center for Art and Drama. Tonight's curtain is at 7:30; Saturday's performance is followed by an 11 p.m. showing of the James Cameron movie, and Sunday's matinee is at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $25 and are available at the box office or by phone. Check out the website for more information. — Cicora

95 East Bagley Rd., Berea, 440-826-2240, bw.edu/news/titanic.

Big Bang

Drumline Live! at

Playhouse Square

Clevelanders love their marching bands. Must be why Drumline Live! is back in town for the second time in ten months. Then again, what's not to love about a high-stepping, colorfully costumed, tightly choreographed crew of young musicians toting enough drums and brass to fill a football field? (The fact that the State Theatre is considerably smaller than a football field should not be seen as a negative.) The concept is based on the marching-band tradition that arose among America's historically black colleges and was popularized in the 2002 movie Drumline. In Drumline Live!, you get all the musical sizzle — everything from traditional brass-band tunage to hip-hop, R&B, and Motown — sans the sappy teen-movie plot. That alone is worth a rimshot. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow at the State Theatre. Tickets range from $10 to $39.50. Grab them by phone or online. — Stafford

1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000,

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