If the pacts you made a few weeks ago to quit smoking or lose weight in 2009 have made it this far, congratulations. But the staff at Legacy Village's Bar Louie applauds those of us without will power at tonight's Screw Your New Year's Resolutions Party. "It's really about having fun and not caring about fleeting restrictions that people put on themselves," says Allison Bickhart, one of the club's managers. "Screw it. Eat, drink and be happy."
Temptation rears its head with $2 glasses of draft beer and $4 martinis and bomb shots. And between 8 and 10 p.m., revelers can pig out at a junk-food buffet of mac and cheese, fried Oreos and doughnuts. "Don't feel bad about what you're about to get into," says Bickhart. "The bottom line is recognizing the fact that there's nothing bad about feeling good. I mean, who gives a shit?" Resolutions go down the drain at 8 p.m. at Bar Louie (24337 Cedar Rd. in Lyndhurst). Admission: free. Call 216.325.1120 or visit barlouieamerica.com. - Chad Felton
A once-a-month "tryout" since April has resulted in weekly live neo-soul, R&B and hip-hop shows at the Sunset Lounge's new Jam Sessions/the Encore every Thursday night. The Unit steps into the spotlight tonight with a three-hour set of funk and jazz. "I think live urban music has been missing from downtown since 1999 or so," says organizer Tony Harris, editor of Talkofcleveland.com. "We've brought in live bands for folks who say, 'Hey! Where can I go to listen to some live music?' You have your Nighttown and Brothers Lounge, but there's nowhere in the Warehouse District."
After the band wraps up at 11 p.m., rapper and poet Q-Nice works the turntables with mashes and mixes until last call. "There's a younger generation that doesn't have the appreciation for this type of music, because everybody's used to only a DJ," says Harris. "We're bringing back a laid-back lounge atmosphere where folks can come in and appreciate live musicians." The jams start at 8 p.m. at Sunset Lounge & Martini Bar (1382 W. Ninth St.). Admission: $5 before midnight, $10 afterward. Call 216.535.0001 or visit talkofcleveland.com. - Cris Glaser
New Jersey-born comedian Bill Bellamy says hosting his second season of NBC's Last Comic Standing last summer invigorated him. "It was infectious being around funny people that are bringing it," says the 43-year-old Bellamy, who's in town this weekend for six shows at Hilarities (2035 E. Fourth St.). "It feels like I'm in a big comedy club all over the country. That's how we do it."
Bellamy got his big break on HBO's Def Comedy Jam in the mid-'90s, when he coined the phrase "booty call." Now on tour, he sprinkles his act with cracks on Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and pharmaceutical commercials. You'll also receive a crash course on his mother's disciplinary skills. "My mama didn't do nothin' about a time-out," says Bellamy, who's first cousin to basketball great Shaquille O'Neal. "She had a knockout. My mama would knock your ass out wherever you committed a crime." Showtimes are at 8 p.m. tonight, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $23-$25. Call 216.241.7425 or visit pickwickandfrolic.com. - P.F. Wilson
Japanese-punk fashionistas rock the Massillon Museum tonight, when it transforms into Club New Fukasuki to promote the February 8 opening of the Kimono as Art exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art. That means the dress code is all about the goth-anime style of Harajuku. "We've taken it up a notch to be a little more funky," says Laurie Fife Harbert, the exhibit's project manager. "It's a whole subculture in Tokyo where it's almost like an '80s-punk kinda thing, with knee socks over your knees, real short skirts and pigtails for the girls. And it's a lot of skateboard-ish black for the guys."
The party will also include Canton rockers Bloodline, a buffet of Japanese-style hors d'oeuvres in decorative Bento lunchboxes and a Harajuku fashion contest, where the winner will score a couple of tickets to the exhibit. Plus, organizers will try to explain what the name of the bar means. "Someone says it stands for 'I love fashion,'" says Harbert. "When I tried to translate it on the Internet, it just came up in Japanese characters. So who knows?"
The idea for the blowout came two years ago after Canton industrialist Jack Timken and his wife vacationed in Japan and toured a mini-museum of 8-foot kimonos that were hand-dyed by the late artist Itchiku Kuboto. The couple returned home and put together an exhibit featuring 40 of Kuboto's pieces - first in San Diego and now in Canton. (The local display runs through April 26.) "They were just so taken aback by the beauty," says Harbert. "The only thing I can tell anyone that they can relate to is that it's like tie-dyeing, but so beyond that. It's beautiful, colorful, intricate and detailed. It's breathtaking." Get your Harajuku on from 7-11 p.m. at the Massillon Museum (121 Lincoln Way E. in Massillon). Tickets: $25. Call 330.453.1075 or visit kimonoexhibit.com. - Glaser
Dan and Lisa Tang recently found out they're going to have a baby in June. That's good news for the Beachwood couple to mark the start of Chinese New Year 4707 today, because kids born this year under the sign of the ox tend to be "quiet and confident." "They are also eccentric, bigoted and get mad easily," laughs Dan, while he and his wife shopped for fortune cookies last week at Asia Plaza on Cleveland's east side. "Although they don't talk a lot, they are quite eloquent when they do speak because they are mentally and physically alert. But they are remarkably stubborn people."
Analyzing the signs of China's lunar calendar is part of the celebration that'll ring in the new year. Asiatown alone will feature traditional lion dances, cocktail specials and all-you-can-eat dim sum at restaurants like Bo Loong (3922 St. Clair Ave., 216.391.3113), Li Wah (2999 Payne Ave., 216.696.6556), Tom's Seafood (3048 St. Clair Ave., 216.771.1928), Siam Café (3951 St. Clair Ave., 216.361.2323) and Sweethearts Café (3610 Superior Ave., 216.881.7777). Asians & Friends Cleveland will also host a $35 banquet and cultural show at 6 p.m. Saturday, January 31, at Hunan Gourmet (3614 Euclid Ave., 216.361.3535).
Chinese tradition also calls for symbolic foods - such as spring and egg rolls (which represent wealth), Peking duck (which honors fidelity) and lion's-head meatballs (for power and strength). But before the revelry starts, good luck comes to those who clean their houses, decorate them in bright colors and hand out red packets of gold coins to their kids. "This time next year, I'll give my baby his lucky money," says Dan. "Even if he is an ox, I don't think he'll get angry about that." Ring in the new year at 10:30 a.m. at various restaurants in Asiatown (2999 Payne Ave.). Admission: free. Visit asiatowncleveland.com for more information. - Glaser
To Sara Kass, poking a sharp weapon at an opponent is like playing a chess game. She should know, since the two-time national finalist at the U.S. Sabre Championships is starting Winter Fencing Sessions tonight at her Lakewood school. "This is all about problem-solving," says Kass. "It's an intellectual challenge, which most sports aren't. And it's like a real-life videogame for couch potatoes who'd rather not play only with their thumbs." Each weekly class for the next two months lasts an hour. Kass teaches the basic fencing component of foil, in which you use a lightweight weapon to thrust at your opponent's torso, while trying to block the challenger's attacks. "I like to compare it to an emergency situation," she says. "If there's a fire in your kitchen, you can either scream your head off - which is absolutely useless - or you can call 911 and think about what you have time to protect. You prioritize in a split second. It definitely teaches mental agility."The class fee also pays for a mask, jacket, glove, foil and a certain amount of common courtesy. "The beauty of the combat is that you get to fill your need for aggression through stress relief," says Kass. "Then you say, 'Thank you very much. That was exhilarating.' That tickles me." Classes start at 6 p.m. Mondays or Wednesdays for kids, and 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays or Wednesdays for teens and adults at Cyrano's Place (15629 Madison Ave. in Lakewood). Fee: $90. Call 216.227.3835 or visit cyranosplace.com. - Glaser
Bob the Builder and his "can-do crew" are building the world's first-ever recycling center and wind farm, where some crew members mysteriously disappear. Can the popular kids'-TV character sift through a mountain of trash to find them while dealing with the mischievous scarecrow? In Spud's Big Mess - a 90-minute stage version of the British-based PBS series that trucks into Akron tonight - Bob teaches kids about recycling, reusing and the magic of an optimistic attitude. "Bob the Builder's positive messages of teamwork and follow-through will resonate with kids and families," says promoter Gary Krakower. "All the wonderful lessons that come from the live show are a plus." The curtain goes up at 6 p.m. at E.J. Thomas Hall (198 Hill St. in Akron). Tickets: $10-$29.50. Call 330.945.9400 or visit broadwayinakron.com. - Glaser
Ever since Dave Schwensen published his book on the Fab Four in 2007, the Vermilion motivational speaker has come face-to-face with an unexpected reality check: He's getting old. He'll add another wrinkle tonight in Hudson, where he continues his Beatles in Cleveland: Memories, Facts & Photos About the Notorious 1964 and 1966 Concerts library tour, which features movies and memorabilia. "I've been getting a lot of teenagers lately," says Schwensen. "I'll say, 'You don't even remember the Beatles. You weren't even born.' They'll tell me their grandparents were fans. Man, that hurts."
The hour-long program starts with a 10-minute documentary of archived photos and interviews with John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It ends with a grainy 15-minute film of the band's riotous 1966 concert at Cleveland's Muni Stadium, where 13-year-old Schwensen watched 2,500 fans try to storm the stage. "I tell the stories about who was there," he says. "Then everyone else says, 'Here's what I remember.' It's like a Star Trek convention, but it's all about Beatlemania." The lecture starts at 7 p.m. at Hudson Public Library (96 Library St. in Hudson). Admission: free. Call 330.653.6658 or visit hudsonlibrary.org. - Glaser