Event picks for this transcendent week in Cleveland

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Event picks for this transcendent week in Cleveland

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Joan Rivers at Playhouse Square

Can She Talk? Oh Yes She Can

Her 2010 documentary title pretty much says it all: Joan Rivers is A Piece of Work. But whether you admire her as a tough-as-nails survivor or distain her as a Hollywood caricature, you have to admit she's a pretty funny comedian — and a pioneering one at that. Especially in her stand-up act, the 78-year-old grandma still kills. A Columbus Dispatch review of her recent stop in that town tossed around words like "outrageous," and "hilarious," noting "profanity was in abundance." (Oh, grow up!) Rivers' next stop is in Cleveland, where she hits the Palace Theatre tonight at 7:30. Ticket prices are $10 to $55 by phone, online, or at the box office. — Cicora

1615 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Family Fun

A Cabin Fever Reliever in Peninsula

There will be fun things to do, see, and eat in nearly every corner of Peninsula today, as the historic little town in the Cuyahoga Valley launches its annual Cabin Fever Reliever tour. At the Log Cabin Gallery, for instance, you'll find an inventory reduction sale of artwork by 17 local artists. At the venerable G.A.R. Hall, you can take in the free traveling exhibit Ohio & the Civil War, then dig into bowls of freshly made soup: $5 gets you a sampling of five. Also happening: bird-watching hikes led by rangers from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Spring Fever excursions aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and Lambing Days at the Spicy Lamb Farm. Stick around until evening, and you can sit in on the blues jam at the Peninsula Art Academy or gather around a campfire at the nearby Ledges Shelter. There's lots of other stuff too. Get a full rundown — including hours and directions — on the website. — Cicora

Explorepeninsula.com.

Funny Stuff

A Comedian of Notes

"I still don't think of myself as a musician," says up-and-coming comedian Brian O'Sullivan. "Which is weird, because about 90 percent of my act is songs." So it's a good thing those songs are hilarious: parodies like Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" turned into an ode to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and originals like "Santa Is Just My Fuckin' Dad." ("Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 26 times, FUCK YOU!") The 27-year-old comic taught himself to play guitar about five years ago, but was an admitted Weird Al protégé from the time he hit sixth grade. ("I was just trying to impress the girls on the playground. It still hasn't happened.") His real training is in stagecraft: He earned a BFA in acting from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and spent several years studying improv with Chicago's top troupes. Regardless, he says he never takes himself too seriously. "Everything I say is tongue in cheek. For me, the comedy comes first. The guitar is just my way of getting the jokes out." O'Sullivan takes a break from the college circuit tonight with a stop at Big Dog Theater in Cleveland Heights. Opening the 9 p.m. show is Torque ... Full Throttle Improv. Tickets are $8, or $6 with a student ID; cash only at the door. Or reserve seats by phone or on the website, where you'll also find a dollar-off coupon. — Cicora

2781 Euclid Hts. Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-472-3636, bigdogtheater.com.

Sunday | 25

Local History

When Rich Guys Go Broke

Ever wonder what became of the Van Sweringen brothers — that is, after they built the Interurban Railroad, the Rapid Transit, and Terminal Tower, and accumulated land and railroad holdings of around $3 billion? Turns out, the Great Depression did them in. "They got way overextended," explains local historian Virginia Dawson. "When the stock market crashed in 1929, the writing was on the wall." Hanging in the balance, it turns out, was the fate of Shaker Heights, where the brothers had turned nearly 4,000 acres of farmland into one of the nation's first planned communities, where restrictive covenants and deed restrictions controlled the placement of every brick, shingle, and sidewalk. As the Vans sank, how would Shaker Heights survive? Dawson, who is writing a book on the city's history, reveals the answers today at the Shaker Heights Historical Society. Her talk is part of the exhibit Shaker Heights 1905-1930: The Selling of Peaceful Shaker Village, which continues through March 30 as part of the city's centennial celebration. The conversation begins at 4 p.m. Non-members pay $5, members pay nothing, and everyone has to make reservations by phone at the number below. — Cicora

16740 South Park Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-921-1201, shakerhistory.org.

Welcome to the Club

It's Romanian Night at Roma

Thumping techno, writhing belly dancers, and Euro videos? Yup, it's just another Sunday night at Club Roma, producer Franco Bucci's weekly international dance party. Bucci founded the "club within a club" back in 2004. "I felt there was a large void in the area's entertainment. We had nothing for an international audience," he says. While it has had several homes in its lifetime, Club Roma has been happening at Drop, in the Warehouse District, since August 2011. A DJ spins the tunes, and sometimes a percussionist joins in. Belly dancers and the occasional burlesque troupe provide live entertainment, and the everyone-is-welcome crowd consists mostly of Central and Eastern Europeans. Turns out tonight is Romanian Night, featuring all of the above but with a Romanian twist — including a gypsy belly dancer. Doors open at 9 p.m., the belly dancing begins at 11 p.m., "and then the music gets louder and the energy level soars." There's no cover charge. Check them out on Facebook. — Cicora

1392 West Sixth St.

Monday | 26

Good for You

Blankets for Burritos

There may be easier ways to score free food, but probably none that are more worthwhile: Today and all through the month of March, bring in a new, unopened blanket, bath mat, towel, or twin-sized sheet set, and get a free burrito of your choice at Moe's Southwest Grill in North Olmsted or Avon. The linens go to benefit Laura's Home, a women's crisis center that's part of the City Mission. It's the second benefit that franchise owner Andrea Graham has coordinated for the organization; if you enjoy the freebie, remember that Graham also will be dedicating 10 percent of all sales on March 31 to the shelter. — Cicora

36050 Detroit Rd., Avon, 440-934-5663;

25102 Brookpark Rd., North Olmsted, 440-801-1974, moes.com.

Tuesday| 27

St. Paddy's Day Redux

Celtic Woman Plays the Akron Civic

Truth in labeling doesn't apply to bands. Take Celtic Woman. The Irish singing troupe is actually made up of a rotating corps of four Celtic women — three vocalists and a fiddler — although you'd never guess it from the name. In any case, the current crop of colleens is bringing their lovely selves to the Akron Civic Theatre tonight for one beautifully gowned performance. Part of their 58-city Believe tour, the show features a mix of Irish classics, pop anthems, and the gals' version of inspirational ditties like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "You'll Never Walk Alone." It's all in support of their Believe CD, which dropped in January. Tonight's show begins at 7:30. Tickets are $41 and $71 by phone, online, or at the Akron Civic Theatre box office. — Cicora

182 South Main St., Akron,

330-253-2488, akroncivic.com.

Wednesday | 28

Spoken Word

Smoke Signals Author in Kent

Native American poet and writer Sherman Alexie will be at Kent State University tonight, delivering witty, ascerbic tales of contemporary American-Indian life. Should be fun. After all, Men's Journal calls the author of the 1998 film Smoke Signals "the world's first fast-talking and wisecracking mediagenic American-Indian superstar." The 6 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public in the Student Center's Kiva.

1065 Risman Plaza Dr., Kent, 330-672-2554, kent.edu.

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