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Event picks for this post-holiday week in Cleveland

Thursday | 05

At Cleveland Public Theatre

Big Box o' Talent

Today marks the opening of Cleveland Public Theatre's annual Big Box series, an award-winning performance program that provides space, production staff, and marketing support to independent local playwrights, directors, actors, and designers. Extending across the next seven weekends, the series not only gives artists an opportunity to bring their visions to fruition; it also treats theatergoers to a host of new, exciting, and often-edgy experiences. This weekend, for instance, kicks off with a double bill that includes The Dreamer, a solo, multimedia performance by Cleveland dance artist Amy Compton centered on the theme of unrequited love; and the tender, angry, and humorous My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters Through the Ages, conceived and directed by Word Stage's Tim Tavcar. Other upcoming performances tackle topics ranging from rock operas to chaos theory, and from African-American history to the evolution of etiquette. (The image at right is from Week 4's The Art of Social Graces.) Performances are set for Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through February 18 in the James Levin Theatre; curtain is 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $10 to $15 by phone, at the box office, or online, where you'll also find a full schedule of upcoming performances. — Elaine T. Cicora

6415 Detroit Ave., 216-631-2727, cptonline.org.

High School Hockey

Wildcats and Eagles Clash on the Frozen Diamond

Hockey's "holy war" happens on a much bigger battlefield this year. For the first time ever, Progressive Field serves as the backdrop as the fearsome St. Ignatius Wildcats face off against the St. Edward Eagles — arch-rivals in pretty much everything for as long as any of us can remember. The usual "Snow Days" activities at the Prog will be suspended for the day (so no "Batterhorn" rides), but you can still grab a bite to eat from ballpark concessions at halftime; the toasty Terrace Club will also be peddling popcorn, pop, pizza, and hot dogs. Doors open at 6 and the puck drops at 7 p.m. on the regulation-sized "frozen diamond," the stadium's infield ice rink. Tix are 10 bucks online or at Indians Team Shops. — Phil Barnes

2401 Ontario St., 216-420-HITS,

cleveland.indians.mlb.com   

Funny Stuff

The Dude Says What He Wants

You probably know him as one of Chelsea Handler's verbal-abuse victims on late night's Chelsea Lately or in the scripted comedy series After Lately. But during his live stand-up, writer and comedian Chris Franjola gets to say whatever he wants. "My material is basically anything I can't say on TV," he says. So when Hollywood gets old, Franjola hits the road, often performing with Handler and co-comedians Sarah Colonna, Jen Kirkman, and Jiffy Wild. "We're all great friends," he says. "We hang out and go on vacations together." But tonight through Saturday at Hilarities, Franjola will be flying solo. Tonight's show is at 8 p.m., and tickets are 18 bucks. He's new to Hilarities, so let's give him a warm welcome. — Barnes

2035 East Fourth St., 216-736-4242, pickwickandfrolic.com/hilarities.

Friday | 06

Family Fun

Disney Princesses Glide Into Quicken Loans Arena

Dreams are easy. What's hard is making them seem real. Happily, the animated staffers at Disney on Ice are making fairy tales come true with Dare to Dream, the newest in a series of international ice-skating extravaganzas produced by Feld Entertainment. At almost two hours in length, the show features Disney's most recent crop of princesses — Rapunzel from Tangled, and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog — along with that classic crowd fave, Cinderella. All three gals will be skating their hearts out at Quicken Loans Arena in 16 performances through Monday, January 16. Tonight's show begins at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $11 to $70. Grab yours by phone, online, at the box office, or at your local Discount Drug Mart. For a sneak peek at the show, visit the official Disney website at disney.go.com. — Bentley Weisel

1 Center Court, 888-894-9424,

theqarena.com.

Cornell University Glee Club

Conflict and Reconciliation in Akron

He's heard it all before, but sophomore Eric Burkholder remains remarkably polite in the face of the inevitable question: Is being in the venerable all-men's Cornell University Glee Club anything like TV's Glee? "Well, we are a very different kind of choir," explains the tour manager patiently. "We aren't a show choir, we steer away from pop, and generally we perform without instrumentation." And yet with its collection of 55 voices under the direction of conductor Scott Tucker, the glee club packs a busload of entertainment onto its 90-minute frame. This time last year, it was performing at the Kennedy Center. Now the group is in the midst of a national tour with the theme of Conflict and Reconciliation — meaning that most of the songs tackle tough issues of war, peace, and how we make sense of them. Their repertoire includes works by Schubert, Monteverdi, Britten, and several folk songs and spirituals arranged specially for the 143-year-old chorus. But the centerpiece is "Last Letter Home," based on a posthumous missive from an American soldier killed in Iraq, set to music by composer Lee Hoiby. "It's very moving," says Burkholder. "It's the piece that seems to represent the theme the best." You can hear it — and the rest of the concert — tonight at 8 p.m. at Akron's Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The concert is free, although donations will be accepted at the door. — Cicora

50 North Prospect Street, Akron,

gleeclub.com.

Saturday | 07

The Beets Go On

The Winter Market Returns to Shaker Square

The holiday feasts may be over, but you still gotta eat. Lucky for you, today marks the return of the indoor Winter Farmers Market to Shaker Square. Brought to you by the fine folks of the North Union Farmers Market, the cold-weather edition takes place inside the Square's northeast quadrant, just west of CVS. Neither rain nor sleet nor snow will halt the march of locally produced eggs, cheese, poultry, mushrooms, greens, potatoes, root veggies, and apples to the weekly sale. Don't let them stop you either. The market takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon through March 24. Free parking is available in the lot behind Dewey's Coffee. For a map and directions, visit the website. — Cicora

13209 Shaker Square, 216-751-7656, northunionfarmersmarket.org.

Saturday | 07

Fresh Air

Skiing by Moonlight

Finding joy in the outdoors can be an arduous undertaking come winter. Besides the bad weather, there's a paucity of life that makes the search for natural beauty all the more difficult. Who better, then, to follow into the wilderness than a trained naturalist — someone learned in the ways of plant and animal life in their natural surroundings? Tonight, that would be naturalist Dottie Mathiott, who will be leading a Full Moon Ski adventure through the tundra of Chesterland's Orchard Hills Park. The outing begins at 6:30 p.m. and promises plenty of the nuanced beauty that only winter can offer. "Cross-country skiing is an excellent chance to listen for the sounds we miss when we are closed up indoors — including calls of owls and coyotes — and to see the shadows and silhouettes of winter trees on the sparkling snow!" says Mathiott, who clearly loves the stuff. But should the park remain green, she'll be changing the ski to a hike. Regardless, the three- or four-mile ski is free to anyone with the requisite stamina; no registration is required. Skis can be rented in advance from Geiger's Ski & Sport Haus, at 440-247-4900. Call the park after 2 p.m. today to check on weather conditions. — Smith

11340 Caves Rd., Chesterland, 440-286-9516, geaugaparkdistrict.org.

Free Flick

Time for Neo-Noir at the Lakewood Public Library

Despite what your local cinephile may tell you, film noir is not dead. Its influence lives on in contemporary directors like the Coen brothers, Quentin Tarantino, and Christopher Nolan, who continue to incorporate noirish elements into their works. With help from local film buff Terry Meehan, the Lakewood Public Library has been putting the spotlight on some of the better movies in this "neo-noir" genre; today's installation is 1994's The Last Seduction. The story is a classic: A wife (played with evil gusto by Linda Fiorentino) seduces her doctor husband (Bill Pullman) into pulling off a $700,000 drug deal before making off with the money. Then Peter Berg makes the mistake of picking her up in a small-town bar. Trouble — you guessed it — ensues. The film screens at 6 p.m. in the main library auditorium and will be followed by a friendly discussion. It's free. — Smith

15425 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-226-8275, lkwdpl.org.

Sunday| 08

Kid Stuff

It's a Land o' Sand at the Children's Museum

You gotta hand it to the folks at the Children's Museum: While most parents freak out at the notion of a backyard sandbox, museum staffers have dumped 70 tons of the gritty stuff right in the middle of their metaphorical living room. But don't worry: It's educational — by which we mean that all the sand that Junior brings home in his Underoos is in the service of learning about the flora, fauna, and history of the Galapagos Islands. Among the highlights of the hands-on exhibition: a chance to dress up like a research biologist, discover turtle eggs, dig for treasure, and sail a pirate ship. The fun continues through April 15. Today's hours are 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and admission is $7. Find out more on the website. — Cicora

10730 Euclid Ave., 216-791-7114,

clevelandchildrensmuseum.org.

Monday| 09

Family Fun

Full Moon Walk in the Park

We can't stress this enough: Winter walks are fun! And about the only thing better than a January shamble is a January shamble 'neath the light of the full moon. That's the ticket tonight, as the Cuyahoga Valley National Park hosts a 3.5-mile round-trip stroll from the Canal Visitors Center to Lock 39. Depending on the weather and the whims of nature, you can expect to see coyotes, owls, and other denizens of the night, prowling the park in search of food, shelter, or whatever else passes as a good time. Walkers are asked to meet at the Canal Visitors Center at 6:30 p.m. With any luck, the park naturalist will return you to the same location by 8:30. Dress warm, but leave the flashlights at home: This walk is all about the moonlight. — Cicora

7104 Canal Rd., Valley View, 330-657-2752, nps.gov/cuva.

Arab Winter

An Expert Talks Politics

The U.S. helped clobber Gaddafi, but it whiffed on Bashar al-Assad. Mubarak has been stomped, but the monarchies in Bahrain and Yemen are still standing tall. Middle East expert and advisor to two decades' worth of State Department heads, Aaron D. Miller describes our Middle East strategy as "a giant game of Whack-a-Mole." From "Arab Spring" to a possible "Arab Winter," Miller reveals how the U.S. is likely to fare with a changing Middle East. He'll be taking the Ohio Theatre stage at 6 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $45. Miller won't be delivering all good news, for sure, but he is certainly worth hearing — especially if we lost you at "Arab Spring." — Barnes

1511 Euclid Ave., 216-241-1919,

townhallseries.org.

Tuesday | 10

Acoustic Sounds

The Winchester Welcomes Singer-Songwriters

Having trouble making your voice heard over the amplified din? Then check out tonight's Acoustic Open Mic Night at the Winchester Music Hall in Lakewood. Acoustic guitars are expected, keyboards are allowed, and drum kits should be left in the basement. Other than that, all are welcome to get up onstage and rock their acoustic hearts out. Just show up any time after 8 p.m. and sign up for a free time slot. Performances take place on the front Tavern Stage, and a CD of your set will be available for $5 immediately following your mini-concert. To keep up your courage, Long Island Iced Teas are pegged at only $2. Best of all, you never know who you'll see at this top music venue: Besides the usual crop of locally grown singer-songwriters, the pros drop in from time to time for a little open-mic fun, meaning tonight — or any Tuesday night — could be full of surprises. — Weisel

12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-226-5681, thewinchester.net.

Wednesday | 11

Double Feature Gallery

The Many Faces of Marilyn

As a sex symbol and fashion icon, Marilyn Monroe has few peers. But in The Marilyn Project, now on display at Double Feature Gallery, photographer Alena Rosa Reyes questions who Marilyn was as a person. "What initially inspired me was seeing the way that people constantly emulate her. Although she died alone of a drug overdose at the young age of 36 she is ultimately remembered for her beauty," says Reyes. "She represents an ideal that is still relevant in our society: Women are primarily valued for what they look like." As an antidote to that unfortunate tendency, Reyes hopes to humanize Monroe through a series of 18 photographs featuring a diverse group of Clevelanders — young, old, black, Hispanic, transgender, and various body types — all giving up their best Marilyn interpretations. "The more you look at the series, the more universal her experience becomes," says Reyes. The exhibit is phase one of an ongoing exploration of female sexuality and social justice. The Marilyn Project will be on display through January 18. Today's gallery hours are 2 to 8 p.m. Find out more on Facebook. — Jackie Bon

1392 West 65th St., 440-263-2254.

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