The Nutcracker in 3D
If you can't get enough of the holiday classic, or want to literally be onstage with the dancers, indulge in a screening of this performance by one of the world's great dance companies, the Mariinsky Ballet. Filmed at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, where The Nutcracker had its world premiere in 1892, this production features two of the company's rising stars, Alina Somova (as Clara) and Vladmimir Shklyarov (as the Nutcracker), and one of Russia's greatest conductors, Valery Gergiev, at the podium. The one day-only screening, at 2 & 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, is showing at six area cinemas, include three Cinemark theaters in 3D. Check the website for more information.
From the outside, your house will never look as cool as the steel-and-glass monolith that is the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland's new home in University Circle. But inside, it can be every bit as elegant after an indulgent shopping trip to MOCA's Home Décor and Furniture Design Showcase, which runs from 5 – 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7. Along with the usual tasteful selection of gift items in the museum shop, you'll find exceptional furnishings and home accents, with designers giving live demos of their products. The event also marks the debut of Floorscape, an annual design competition for artisans vying to provide unique furniture for MOCA's public spaces. This year's winner is recent CIA graduate David Pickett. Admission is free for MOCA members, $10 for nonmembers.
11400 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, mocacleveland.org.
The Higbee's Building on Public Square was once a star-studded Christmas wonderland during the holidays. Then Dan Gilbert went and installed a bunch of slot machines, which are slightly less festive. But to make up for the incessant bells and whistles, and to throw a billionaire's nod to Cleveland history, the Horseshoe Casino will be stringing up Christmas decorations from the good old days—back when Santa had a nip before setting out on his Christmas Eve run, and Red Ryder BB Guns were all the rage. Old Christmas trees from Higbee's storage will be refurbished with 9,000 lights, and the front windows—famous for their supporting role in A Christmas Story—will turn back the clock, too. This, of course, is all an excuse to get you in the front door in the name of nostalgia to spring a few bucks loose from your wallet. But it's a beautiful excuse to overindulge. Just don't blow your gift bankroll.
100 Public Square, Cleveland, horshoecleveland.com
Stone Mad Party
Over the past four years, the Stone Mad Pub's holiday party has become a legendary holiday indulgence. There are not many places in Cleveland where you can literally roast chestnuts over an open fire. And if that's not enough, how about a ride in a horse-drawn carriage? Starting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 17th, "American" Pete Leneghan and his crew will kick off their annual customer appreciation night by pouring vast amounts of perfect pints while customers relax in front of the four-sided fireplace on the patio. The Ohio City Singers will lead sing-alongs, and admission is free. If the North Pole had a pub, this would be it.
1306 West 65th St., Cleveland, 216-281-6500
The Perfect Day
It's hard to image having a truly perfect day during the hectic holidays. But the Perfect Day Package at Marengo Luxury Spa at The Arcade downtown will get you close, with five hours of total, blissful self-indulgence. It includes an Aromatherapy Massage, a Swedish massage with blends of pure essential oil: Deep Cleansing Facial Treatment and heated hand treatment; Shea Butter Body Wrap; Pedicure with Paraffin Treatment; and Manicure with Paraffin Treatment. At $425, it would make a wonderful gift — for yourself.
401 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-621-4600, marengospa.com
Shhhh. keep this to yourself. Insiders get pretty touchy when it comes to revealing the truth about the Schvitz. But the nondescript building at East 116th St. and Luke Ave., just off Kinsman, offers the male counterpart to a ladies' day at the spa: a place where a guy can settle in for a little "me time." And before the holidays are over, you're going to need it. Originally a centerpiece of Eastern European bro culture, today it's a Cleveland staple among certain classy dudes. At the Schvitz a guy can sneak away for a steam, 30-minute massage, and a steak without racking up a huge bill or losing his masculinity. Best enjoyed in the company of fellows, especially given the dicey neighborhood. So round up a few pals, look for the deserted dead end alley, park the car, go up the dark stairway and sign in for an escape from reality. You deserve it.
Yuletide hangovers may be unavoidable, but you can customize them with a holiday brew of your own design. Call The Brew Kettle in Strongsville and make an appointment to cook up your own seasonal beer. The staff has the recipes, the ingredients, the patience, and the zymurgy expertise to ensure you don't screw it up, no matter how many you've tipped beforehand. About $150 scores you at least 72 22-ounce bottles. Do the math. And pace yourself. Or better yet, don't.
8377 Pearl Rd., Cleveland, 440-239-8788, thebrewkettle.com
The release of the new biopic Hitchcock has prompted Cleveland Cinemas to reprise four of the master of suspense's most famous films. Aficionados feel it's impossible to indulge in too much Hitchcock; this is a good time to find out. The festival includes a new 3D version of the stage-bound but enjoyable Dial M for Murder, with Grace Kelly at the center of a deadly love triangle (Capitol Theatre, Dec. 2); the exquisite Rear Window, with James Stewart as an injured photographer who believes he witnessed a murder while spying into an apartment across the way (Chagrin Cinemas, Dec. 3); Strangers on a Train, in which a charismatic madman (Robert Walker) proposes trading murders with an unhappily married tennis champion played by Farley Granger (Shaker Square Cinemas, Dec. 4); and Psycho (Cedar Lee Theatre, Dec. 5). Tickets ($5, $6.50 for Dial M for Murder) are available at clevelandcinemas.com.
Home Furnishings Makeover
You've finally thrown out that old table and chairs, and are ready to step up to furnishings befitting a person of impeccable style and taste—and a little more money to spend. Tim Kempf, proprietor of the fashion-forward duoHOME interior boutique in the Gordon Square Arts District, suggests the following items for the indulgent holiday shopper:
The GT Rocker A contemporary take on the rocking chair, with a black, powder-coated frame and architecturally styled cushions inspired by 1970s car interiors and airport lounge seating, available in citrine, nickel, or husk ($1,150).
The Capelli Iron/Brass Side Table An open fretwork base is capped by a burnished vintage brass top ($1,195).
The Manchester Mirror A 47-inch-diameter "statement piece" that consists of dozens of individually framed mirrors with a silver leaf finish ($995).
6507 Detroit Ave., 216-651-4411, duohome.com
Holiday Chocolate and Truffles
Is there a more sublime holiday indulgence than chocolate? Don't wait and hope for that special someone to fulfill your sweet dreams. Sign up for the Holiday Chocolate and Truffles class at Sur la table on Dec. 8, where you'll learn to make decadent delights like Chocolate Eggnog Truffles, Chocolate-Walnut Rum Balls, Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Cherries, and Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Fudge. Elegant and delicious, they add a special touch to holiday gatherings. And if you can bear to give them away, they make great gifts. Seats are $79, and reservations can be made at 800-243-0852.
28819 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, surlatable.com
Mike Belsito on how he found a contemporary niche in an antiquated business...providing a morbid service... and launching a tech start-up in Cleveland.