Bob Hope turns 100 today. In honor of the Cleveland-raised comedian's birthday, the Cinematheque has lined up a weekend series of the funnyman's finest films. It kicks off tonight with screenings of The Big Broadcast of 1938 (in which he debuted "Thanks for the Memory," which became his theme song) and the haunted house mystery The Cat and the Canary. Other Hopeful flicks include Road to Morocco (the best of Hope's road movies with Bing Crosby) and Son of Paleface. The Big Broadcast is at 7 and The Cat and the Canary plays at 8:50 p.m. at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard). Admission is $7, $4 for members; call 216-421-7450. See Film Repertory for complete schedule.
Friday, May 30
It's fitting that Courage of I, an original work co-developed by Cleveland Public Theatre, begins a three-weekend tour at the Elyria YWCA: The monologue-heavy play is based on the writings and experiences of several residents of the Y's Transitional Housing Center. "These women have been writing their hearts out," says director Holly Holsinger. "It's a really powerful piece, of voices being shared in different ways." The production features local professional actors, as well as a few of the women on whose lives the work is based. Courage of I is at the Elyria YWCA (318 West Avenue in Elyria) at 8 tonight (it's at Gould Auditorium in Lorain next week and wraps up June 13 at Cleveland Public Theatre). Admission is free; call 216-631-2727.
Saturday, May 31
More than 200 artists will display their work at the 13th annual Beachwood Art Festival, a two-day celebration that also includes live music and food. Painters, sculptors, photographers, and other artists from around the country are selling their wares and discussing their work throughout the city. The Beachwood Art Festival takes place in the parking lot of Beachwood Place, along Cedar and Richmond roads in Beachwood. It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow. Admission is free. Call 216-464-9460 for more information.
Cleveland Metroparks' Train Day is filled with locomotive goodies. From model railroads to train crafts for kids to memorabilia, this event lives up to its name: There'll be hobo sing-alongs, info-packed programs on the history of the railroad, and children's train rides. Operation Lifesaver, a presentation on railroad safety, and the Chugga Chugga Choo Choo Parade (in which kids dress up like engineers and participate) round out the festivities. Train Day takes place from noon to 4 p.m. at CanalWay Center (on Whittlesey Way, off the East 49th Street entrance of Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation in Cuyahoga Heights). Admission is free (there is a nominal fee for the train rides). Call 216-206-1000 for more information.
Sunday, June 1
Pete Docter -- the Pixar filmmaker who had a hand in Monsters, Inc. and both Toy Story movies -- will be in town today to screen a few of his shorts (including the Monsters, Inc. spin-off "Mike's New Car" and the pre-Pixar "Winter") and talk about his work. He kicks off the Cleveland Museum of Art's new film series, Panorama: Moving Pictures @ the Art Museum. "Pixar is making the best [movies] in American cinema," says the museum's John Ewing. "They're too witty, quick, and unpretentious to win Oscars, other than animated ones." Docter is at the art museum's Gartner Auditorium (11150 East Boulevard) at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 to $10; call 888-262-0033.
Monday, June 2
Case Western Reserve's annual Book Sale is beefing up its stock this year: Among the notable items in the 50,000 books that are up for grabs are special sections devoted to first-edition books and signed volumes; a great selection of art, religion, and history books; and a Welsh Bible from 1830. Also included is a copy of Nathaniel Ward's The Simple Cobbler Aggavvam in America . . . (we dunno what it is either, but it's from 1647, and apparently there are only four known copies of it), as well as a number of celebrity-signed books donated by local TV guy Fred Griffith, who interviewed the authors. The sale takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and today, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow (when $5 gets you a box of books) at CWRU's Adelbert Gym (2128 Adelbert Road). Admission is free; call 216-368-2090.
Tuesday, June 3
You have to wonder how bad off former Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts was to get fired -- allegedly for a drug problem -- by his band two years ago. After all, this is a group built on living hard for more than 30 years. Betts will talk about the split and other personal issues when he's featured at a Gibson Master Class at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum tonight. The singer and guitarist who composed "Ramblin' Man" will also lay down some cool riffs and licks, dispensing techniques for those hoping to replicate his quick-pickin' style. The program concludes with a short solo performance of Allman Brothers tunes as well as songs from his current outfit, the Dickey Betts Band. Betts is at the Rock Hall (1 Key Plaza) at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, available by calling 216-241-5555.
Wednesday, June 4
Your opportunity to see the Allen Memorial Art Museum's wonderful exhibit on the history of early modern art will be ending soon. Featuring the work of some of the period's finest artists -- including Sir Thomas Lawrence and Arshile Gorky -- the exhibition explores the roots of realism and follows its influence all the way to the abstraction movement of the 20th century. Figure to Non-Figurative: The Evolution of Modern Art in Europe and North America, 1830-1950 is also a walk-through primer on the history of the way art became less literal during the period. Figure to Non-Figurative is at Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum (87 North Main Street in Oberlin) through June 9. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Call 440-775-8665 for more information.