Erstwhile Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson is aware of all the rumors: "I've heard that Kate [Hudson, wife of brother and ex-Crowes singer Chris Robinson] reunited the band. I've heard that Kate is writing songs for the band. And I've heard that we're touring in March. None of it's true, as far as I know."
But Robinson's debut solo CD, Paper, is truly a solo affair. In addition to writing and producing the Crowe-ing, bluesy rock album, Robinson makes nearly all of the noises on it. "It wasn't choice," he says. "It was necessity. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do [after the Crowes broke up], because I'd been in a band my entire life. I didn't want to get into the same old band bullshit. So I learned how to sing my own songs."
And unlike brother Chris -- whose solo records include embarrassingly starry-eyed tributes to his movie-star wife -- Rich Robinson keeps his songs more universal. "Some of these songs were going to be Crowes songs," he explains. "I didn't know who was going to be singing them." Robinson plays the Agora Ballroom (5000 Euclid Avenue) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $12; call 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
World Fest gathers artists and . . . cheerleaders?
There'll be plenty of capoeira action on view at the third annual World Festival Day, happening Sunday at the Rock Hall. In addition to dazzling displays of the Brazilian dance form (which incorporates martial arts), the four-hour tribute to Cleveland's melting pot of nationalities also brings Brazilian trio Moises Borges, the African-inspired Dance Afrika Dance, and the kids' division of the Ritmo y Raza Latino dance troupe to the Hall's Main Stage. But it's not all singing and dancing. Fresh from its gig at the International Children's Games in August, the Ohio Cheer Squad will show off jumps, pyramids, and spread eagles, while Ten Thousand Villages will sell crafts and tell stories about the poor in the Third World. (Uplifting ones, we hope.) The fest runs from noon to 4 p.m. at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, 1 Key Plaza. Admission is free. Call 216-515-1930 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
The brainy cartoon hero conquers the Historical Society.
Arthur's a pretty popular dude with kids. (We're talking about the affable aardvark, not Dudley Moore's lovable lush.) With a hit PBS show and dozens of adventure-filled books to his name, he's right up there with Elmo, Clifford, and the clue-spotting Blue. At Arthur's World, a hands-on exhibit opening Saturday, little ones can do stuff Arthur and his pals would do -- like crawl into a tent and read a spooky story or make something to eat in a makeshift kitchen. Arthur's World is at the Western Reserve Historical Society (10825 East Boulevard) through January 30. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7.50, $5 for kids; call 216-721-5722. -- Michael Gallucci
Once Upon a Thyme
We were all pumped for Saturday's Herb Fair . . . till we found out it's about basil, oregano, and other spice delights. Still, you gotta love all the homemade food and house products for sale and the tip-filled educational talks happening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Boulevard. Admission is $7, $3 for kids; call 216-721-2600. -- Michael Gallucci