Pretentious Tremont Artists draw the crowd at the Literary, Friday, October 31
Timothy Herron is president of the PTA, and Brian Pierce is vice president. They conduct their regular business meetings at 9 p.m. every Friday at the Literary Café in Tremont (1031 Literary Rd.). The business: a drawing salon, open to anyone with a sketchpad, for which volunteers sign up to sit as models. Pierce says the two art-school graduates started weekly meetings of the Pretentious Tremont Artists back in 2003. Pierce draws the whole scene, but Herron draws portraits, which he gives to the model at the end of the night. A few other regular members of the PTA do the same. They book models about six months in advance, because who doesn't want to get their portrait done for free? Poets Ray McNiece, Rafeeq Washington and Jack McGuane are among the hundreds who have modeled for the PTA. A few weeks back, the guest model was artist Angelica Pozo (pictured). Free. For information, call 216.861.3922.
With echoes of Terry McMillan's romantic Waiting to Exhale ringing in the title, the off-Broadway hit Waiting to End Hell starts after the wedding bells. The Joneses have been married 12 years, and Diane is wondering if she has all she wants in husband Dante. Relationships, family values and divorce all loom in William A. Parker's comic drama, which Karamu opens in preview performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The official opening is at 8 p.m. on Halloween, with performances through November 23. Terrence Spivey directs. Tickets: $10-$25. Call 216.795.7077 or go to karamu.com.
Look in Cleveland Public Theatre's Little Box this week, and you'll see three plays. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Adrienne Gosselin lifts the curtain on her five-act The Conjure-Man Dies - about the murder of scientist and African king N'Gana Frimbo, who resurrects himself to find his killer but gets killed again in the process. Gosselin adapted it from Rudolph Fisher's book of the same title, which is reputedly the first African-American mystery detective novel, dating to 1932. She directs it herself. Then at 7:30 p.m. Friday, it's a doubleheader, with Jeffrey Grover's 5:40 a.m. and Mike Geither's It's Okay to Cry: A Personal History of Cleveland Baseball. The first tells of a fiftysomething man who faces a divorce and the loss of his mother to find himself wondering how he can die content. The second has similar themes: It's a Cleveland sports fan's attempt to negotiate bitterness, death and middle age while loving his perennially frustrated home team. Both productions will be directed by Jacqi Loewy. Tickets: $7-$10. Call 216.631.2727 or go to cptonline.org.
The New York Times took note of Amy Casey's images of houses teetering on stilts and used one of her paintings to illustrate a story on the foreclosure crisis, but she's hardly alone as an artist responding to the real estate mess. No Copper: Artists Address the Foreclosure Crisis presents the work of 12 artists with Cleveland roots. Besides Casey, there's Donald Black Jr., Lee Chilcote, Ronald Clayton, Artemis Herber, Nate Hoelzel, Jud Kline, Julius Lyles, Chuck Mintz, Michelle Muldrow, Greg Ruffing and Afi-Odelia Scruggs. An opening reception is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Cleveland Public Art (1951 W. 26th St.). Call 216.621.5330 or go to clevelandpublicart.org.
Before his show at the Beachland Ballroom, Jon Langford - frontman of the seminal British band the Mekons - opens an exhibit of his paintings and prints down the street at Waterloo 7 gallery (16006 Waterloo Rd.). Langford's portraits of country music's heroes have the patina of age and the aura of respect. The perspective and proportions are photorealistic, but the way he gets there isn't pretty. "Basically, I create a very unstable surface with acrylics and pastel on top of each other, and work on top of that with Sharpies, felt pens, White Out, gunk, snot and whatever comes to hand," he says. An opening reception with the artist is from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Free. Call 239.293.9548.
The Bang and The Clatter Theatre Company presents the world premiere of the dark comedy International House of Hamburgers, by Cleveland playwright Cliff Hershman. It's the second time Bang and the Clatter has staged his work; the first was A Narrow Bridge in 2007. Hershman got a fast start in his comedy and theatrical career, with an early play reaching the semi-finals in the Eugene O'Neil playwriting competition in 1979. That earned him a foot in the door at Saturday Night Live, but then he stopped writing for 25 years. He bills his IHOH as "a dark, comedic tale about doing your job as if your life depended on it!" Performances are Friday through November 22 at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Sometimes in the Silence Theatre (224 Euclid Ave.). Tickets: $15. Call 330.606.5317 or go to bnctheatre.com.
Remarkably, there have been at least two Engelbert Humperdincks in the music world. One, whose given name was actually Arnold, gave us the 1976 hit "After the Lovin'." The other, a 19th century German composer, is best remembered for his 1891 hit, Hansel and Gretel. Based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, it originally told the story in 16 songs with piano accompaniment. Humperdinck gave that version to his fiancée as an engagement gift, then developed a full orchestration of the music that saw full-scale production as an opera two years later. Using updates of the set and costumes, Opera Cleveland brings the once-upon-a-time story to the stage Friday through November 8 at the State Theatre in PlayhouseSquare. Chuck Hudson directs Patricia Risley (as Hansel), Anya Matanovic (as Gretel), Dana Beth Miller (as the Mother/Witch), Todd Thomas (as the Father) and Natasha Ospina (as the Dew Fairy/Sandman). Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $25-$130. Call 216.241.6000 or go to playhousesquare.org.
Touring for the first time since 1995, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a program that's all about men. It's highlighted by one of Lubovitch's most acclaimed pieces: "Concerto Six Twenty-Two," which was created in 1986, when the AIDS crisis was new and at the forefront of public discussion. The dance tells no specific story but celebrates the simple idea of men dancing. Also on the program is his more recent "Men's Stories," created in 2000, which explores masculinity and character. DanceCleveland and Tri-C bring the company to town. It's at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Ohio Theatre in PlayhouseSquare. Tickets: $20-$45. Call 216.241.6000 or go to playhousesquare.org.
The fourth annual Day of the Dead celebration has moved from the St. Clair Superior Art Quarter to the Detroit Shoreway Gordon Square Arts District - specifically, Orthodox Church and Parish Hall (6205 Detroit Ave.). Coordinated by artist Hector Castellanos Lara, the event explores both the celebration and mourning of death through elaborate altars, dances, a parade, music, lecture and more. The festivities take place from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Free. Call 216.235.0811.