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Event picks for this sunshiny week in Cleveland

Thursday | 08

Fur a-Flyin'

Elmo on the Square

It's not easy being a singin', dancin' Muppet — especially if you're wearing Ernie's size-15 shoes. Take it from Jerry Du Mars, the Orlando-based director and dance captain for Elmo's Super Heroes, the current offering from Sesame Street Live opening tonight at Playhouse Square. How, exactly, does one snag the role? "Number one, we look for strong, strong dancers. It's a 90-minute show, with as many as three shows each day, all done from inside a custom-tailored costume. Obviously, we need actors who are physically fit." Next on Du Mars' list: an equally strong personality that can capture the iconic characters. "It's vital that what the kids see onstage is the same as what they see on television." And finally, it doesn't hurt to have a yen to serve as a role model. "That's what makes Sesame Street so timeless: It addresses real issues that parents and kids have to deal with, and does it in a way that is reliably entertaining." This time around, Elmo, Grover, and the gang are tackling the topic of healthy living, including nutrition, exercise, and sleep. The State Theatre curtain rises on the touring show tonight at 7 p.m.; all tickets are $14. Performances continue through Sunday, with tickets for those shows ranging from $10 to $21. Get yours at the box office, by phone, or online. — Elaine T. Cicora

1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Goes Great With Wine

Corks & Cupcakes at Shaheen Gallery

When you think of classic pairings — champagne and caviar, Chablis and oysters — prosecco and a cupcake seldom springs to mind. "And yet they work so well together," sighs Michael DeAloia, the mastermind behind the culinary-events creator Emerging Chefs. He should know, having spent the past few weeks developing tonight's six-course Corks & Cupcakes menu in concert with baker Lilia Lipps, owner of Indulgence Cakes, and the wine experts of Tuscany Distributors. The lineup is uniquely tempting. Think cannoli cupcakes (ricotta, bittersweet chocolate, and candied orange peel) partnered with a red Italian bubbly, or cheddar cupcakes (with candied pecans and blue-cheese frosting) paired with a luscious Lugana white. For Lipps, a Cleveland native and self-taught baker, tonight's festivities have been a chance to broaden both her fan base and her palate. "I'm not really a drinker, but I have to say: Cannoli cupcakes go awfully well with wine!" We'll drink to that. Discover your own surprise favorite tonight beginning at 6 p.m. at downtown's stunning Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery. Tickets are $40; get them online at the website below. — Cicora

740 West Superior Ave., emergingchefs 2012-1.eventbrite.com.

Friday | 09

Arty Party

Two Writers Read in Tremont

Author Mike DeCapite is a Clevelander now living in New York. Author Karen Lillis is a New Yorker now living in Pittsburgh. And their latest books are meditations on love, time, death, and geography that together straddle Cleveland, Paris, San Francisco, New York, and the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. Somehow, both writers have ended up in Tremont tonight, where they will be reading from their newest tomes. "Mike and I wanted to read together because we admire each other's work," says Lillis, who will be sharing pages from her novella Watch the Doors as They Close. That, plus DeCapite — a well-known talent among the Literary Café crowd who will be reading from his chapbook Creamsicle Blue — has apparently let out the fact that events at the Tremont staple are whole bunches of fun. According to Linda Baldizzi, who co-founded the Literary Café with her husband more than 20 years ago, that's fine by her. "We started out with the vague idea of having a place where artists could hang out, sell their works, and maybe throw us a few dollars for booze," she says breezily. Today, the spot has evolved into a habitat for creatives of all types, with a monthly poetry open-mic night, an internet talk show, and a drawing group that Baldizzi affectionately refers to as The Pretentious Tremont Artists' Club. Tonight's reading happens from 7 to 9 p.m. Bring a few bucks for the cash bar; otherwise, it's free. Find out more about the Café's programs at the website below. — Cicora

1031 Literary Rd., literarycafe.net.

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