Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker isn't quite the mindfuck that his masterpiece Solaris is, but it's pretty close. Ostensibly the story of a guide (the titular Stalker) who leads a writer and a scientist on a journey into the forbidden Zone (a post-apocalyptic wilderness), Tarkovsky's futuristic 1979 film tackles such weighty issues as desire, happiness, and existence. It's a talky, thoughtful, and deliberately paced movie -- go in with a clear head and an appreciation of beautifully photographed wastelands, and you'll be fine. Stalker shows at 7 tonight and at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Cleveland Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard. Admission is $7, $5 for members. Call 216-421-7450 for more information.
Friday, April 11
The Lego Olympiad, happening today at Lorain County Community College, involves a little more technical know-how than you applied to the interlocking blocks as a child. With three categories -- Computer-Controlled, Theme, and Open Division -- and projects that end up looking like something from NASA's research lab, the 13th annual competition is hardly kids' stuff -- though the competition is open only to kindergartners through high schoolers. It's geek heaven . . . but in a good way. The Lego Olympiad takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at LCCC's Field House, 1005 Abbe Road in Elyria. Entry fee is $4 ($5 day of the event). Call 440-366-7041 for more information.
Saturday, April 12
Mozart's The Magic Flute is sorta old news. Almost everyone is familiar with the story of a prince who withstands various pains in the ass -- imprisonment, the elements, a dragon -- and the enchanted instrument that helps him through it all. What makes Cleveland Opera's production special are Maurice Sendak's sets and costumes. The writer-illustrator of the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are obviously knows a thing or two about creepy ambiance, and his sets here are simultaneously playful and imaginative. The Magic Flute is at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 8 tonight and 2 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets range from $22 to $106, available by calling 216-241-6000.
Sunday, April 13
Lake Metroparks is celebrating Earth Day today. And just because our President is determined to blow it all to hell, that doesn't mean we should ignore our planet's assets. "The earth supplies all of our food and life support, and we need to take care of it -- now more than ever," observies Ray Patacca, an education specialist at Lake Farmpark, which is hosting one of two Metroparks festivities. Energy conservation is the theme at Lake Farmpark, where energy-intensive games, displays, and a Bike and Blade Expo are planned. Penitentiary Glen Nature Center focuses on animal preservation, with crafts, games, and music. "We hope people go to both," Ray says. Lake Farmpark (8800 Chardon Road in Kirtland; 440-256-2122) is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Penitentiary Glen (8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland; 440-256-1404) is open noon to 4 p.m. Admission to Lake Farmpark is free for Lake County residents, $4 to $6 for everyone else; admission to Penitentiary Glen Nature Center is free for everybody.
It's not every day Itchy and Fuzzy get to watch a real live baseball game, which makes today's Pet Day at Canal Park certifiably cool. The Humane Society of Greater Akron and the Akron Aeros are sponsoring a day of activities for you and your animal friend (cats, dogs -- even a monkey attended last year's Pet Day). In addition to the Aeros' 2:05 p.m. game against the Erie SeaWolves, there's a pregame pet parade on the field, prize baskets, a raffle, and photos of you with your furry pal. Pet owners pay $6 to get in; your pet gets in free (and even gets his own seat -- just be sure he's leashed). Most of the proceeds go to the Humane Society. Gates to Canal Park (300 South Main Street in Akron) open at 1:05 p.m. Call 330-657-2010 for more information.
Monday, April 14
Michael Ruhlman's Walk on Water: Inside an Elite Pediatric Surgical Unit details the ins and outs of organ transplants and, even more important, the medical errors that sometimes accompany them. It's a timely issue. His main subject is Dr. Roger Mee, head of the Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Diseases at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the leading units in the country. The book has the potential to be stuffy and pedantic, but Ruhlman's writing is sharp and refreshingly unscientific. His depiction of the surgical team and their work breathes with life. Ruhlman talks about and signs Walk on Water at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (13217 Shaker Square) at 7 p.m. Admission is free; call 216-751-3300.
Tuesday, April 15
The Perpetual Motion Roadshow is like "what old punk-rock bands used to do," says Wred Fright, host of tonight's local stop. It's a traveling caravan of independent artists, including transgender author Charlie Anders, cartoonist Marc Ngui, "anti-travel travel writer" Corey Frost, and Fright himself, who recently unveiled the fourth issue of his serialized 'zine, The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus. "These aren't standard readings," Fright says. "This is a little bit different, because there's more emphasis on performance and bringing art out to people." It takes place at Mac's Backs Paperbacks (1820 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights) at 7. Admission is free; call 216-321-2665.
Wednesday, April 16
It's the most unDisneylike of Disney's big stage productions, but Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida still betrays its family-entertainment-factory origins: There's big, splashy Broadway-meets-Top 40 songs, a love story revolving around a princess, and enough theatrical razzle-dazzle to amuse even music-hating cranks. All this and former Monkee Micky Dolenz (who plays the father of the princess's love interest). Aida is at E.J. Thomas Hall (198 Hill Street in Akron) through April 20. Show times are 8 tonight, Thursday, April 17, and Friday, April 18, and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 19, and Sunday, April 20. Tickets range from $20 to $60, available by calling 330-972-7570.