In Japan, Aki means "autumn." At the Cleveland Museum of Art, it means eclectic songs from around the world. Its Aki Festival of New Music is a two-month string of performances and lectures by more than 60 composers. Looking for a Sunday-afternoon brass band concert? You won't find it here.
The fest kicks off Sunday with the winding of 100 metronomes that will accompany musicians playing György Ligeti's Poeme Symphonique. Later, three performers lead the audience to the museum's south entrance, where five sets of dancers move to Greg D'Alessio's electronic compositions. The longer they dance, the faster the music becomes -- until all the performers meet under a large sculptural instrument on the museum plaza. When the piece ends, the performers leave, and the audience is left to interact with the instrument -- what organizer Robin VanLear calls the "electronic soundscape." "The sculptural instrument now becomes their musical playground," she offers somewhat cryptically.
Not surprisingly, Aki aficionados crave adventure, according to festival producer Paul Cox. "They try new restaurants, travel to places they've never been, go to museums, and indulge in the occasional Kieslowski film or bite of kim chi." They're also crazy about sculptural instruments. Join them from 1 to 5 p.m. at the art museum (11150 East Boulevard). Admission is free; call 216-421-7350. -- Cris Glaser
Cleveland Public Theatre plays the Waiting game.
Behind-the-scenes stage shows are always tough to pull off. Play to theater insiders, and you lose the audience; play to the audience, and the material rings false. But Wait! playwright Julie Jensen thinks she's found the common ground. "I hope this isn't too inside," she says. "Theater should be a redemptive experience. I get furious when I run into [theater] people who are so self-absorbed." The comedy is about a UPS driver determined to restore an old theater. Along the way, she gets tips from someone called Floating Piñata Head and the super-flamboyant, "full-of-shit" Lu. "It's all about artifice and truth," Jensen says. Wait! is at Cleveland Public Theatre's Upstairs Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) Friday through October 11. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 and $15. Call 216-631-2727 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
Second City riffs on affairs of city and state.
Although Second City Cleveland's new revue is called No Shirt, No Shoes, No Weapons of Mass Destruction, the comedy troupe doesn't favor a particular political perspective, claims member Kiff Vanden Heuvel. "We have a clear point of view within the cast," he says. "And both political views end up getting represented." So expect sketches based on current events. "Social and political satire is what our theater was founded on, but trying to bring true satire to Cleveland has been a challenge. Sometimes folks just want to laugh." The show is at 8 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Second City Cleveland (2037 East 14th Street). Tickets are $18; call 216-466-2222. (See Stage for a review.) -- Diane Sofranec
Orange County ska-punk refugees Rx Bandits have gotten ambitious on their new CD, The Resignation. Dabbling in dub, pop, and reggae, the sextet has grown as a songwriting unit, opening up sonic holes that previously were nowhere to be found. They also leave room to wildly thrash and tear. They're at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Exit, the Format, and Polysics open. Tickets are $10; call 216-241-5555 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci