Irreversible is a gimmick film: Its narrative plays out backward (as it does in the clever 2000 murder mystery, Memento). But the nucleus of the movie (and the part that makes it an apt choice in the Cinematheque's "Not a Pretty Picture: Classics of Transgressive Cinema" controversial-film series) is a horrific and unflinching nine-minute rape scene that culminates in a coma-inducing beating. Ultimately, Gasper Noe's tale of crime and punishment (the retribution, incredibly, is even more brutal than the rape) is a triumph of style. The claustrophobic and disorienting opening scenes in a gay nightclub slowly give way to ones of peaceful domestic bliss in the suburbs. And Monica Bellucci's performance as the victim is as brave as any ever filmed. Irreversible shows at 9:05 tonight and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard). Admission is $7, $4 for members. Call 216-421-7450 for more information, and see Film Repertory to learn more about the other controversial films in the Cinematheque series.
Friday, September 12
The natural history museum kicks off a new season of Explorer Series lectures tonight with "Global Death: Earthquakes on an Urban Planet. " Roger Bilham, professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado, discusses the hows (expect plenty of seismic info) and whys (too many large buildings, he says) of quakes and the damaging effects they've had over the past hundred years. And, Bilham says, things will only get worse in the next century. His handy tips on preventing the annihilation of the human race begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (1 Wade Oval Drive). Admission is $7 and $8. Call 216-231-1177 for more information.
Ensemble Theatre's production of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune is the company's first performance in its new home at the Cleveland Play House. It's also a fitting show to launch the affiliation, says director Lucia Colombi. "It takes a leap of faith and a search for joy in life to be able to find happiness," she says. "It's about finding the courage to take a chance on love. There's a romantic in all of us." McNally's 1987 comedy -- about a relationship that grows out of a one-night stand between a never-married waitress and a divorced short-order cook with a criminal record -- received a Tony nomination earlier this year for Best Revival of a Play. It's at the Play House's Brooks Theatre (8500 Euclid Avenue) through September 21. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $15 to $20. They are available by calling 216-321-2930.
Saturday, September 13
Tonight's Baile! Throw Some Salsa on It! dance party is about more than just shaking your groove thing to hot salsa rhythms. It's also about how to bust a move properly. Instructors will teach the ins and outs of the hottest Latin dance to hit town since the lambada. Learn the basic steps of salsa and merengue, and then try 'em out to the muy caliente sounds of DJ Guiro. Traditional food and beverages will be served. The salsa dance party starts at 7:30 and runs to 11 p.m. at Art House (3119 Denison Avenue). Admission is $8 and $10. Call 216-398-8556 for more information.
Sunday, September 14
Jonathan Knight had a very good reason for writing Kardiac Kids: The Story of the 1980 Cleveland Browns. "I missed out on it the first time," says the 26-year-old Dayton native. "They were the perfect team at the perfect time." The book details the Browns' 1980 season, which ended in a playoff game against the Oakland Raiders, when quarterback Brian Sipe threw a crucial interception late in the fourth quarter. "We haven't had a true champion since then," Knight says. "Clevelanders have to be a little more creative in what makes them passionate. And even though the 1980 Browns didn't win, and, along the way, it seemed destined that they were going to [lose], they did something that no other Cleveland team has done since then: Not only did they win, but they won in such an exciting fashion. They won in ways that confound the imagination." Knight discusses and signs copies of Kardiac Kids at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (13217 Shaker Square) at 2 p.m. today. Admission is free; call 216-751-3300.
Monday, September 15
Everything Trains, an exhibit of memorabilia and art at Penitentiary Glen Reservation, details the past 20 years of the Lake Shore Live Steamers, a local train club. Plenty of restored miniature steam engines and cars are on display, along with locomotive artwork from members' collections. It's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through October 12 at Penitentiary Glen Reservation (8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland). Admission is free; call 440-256-1404 for more info.
Tuesday, September 16
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Hang On Sloopy: The Music of Ohio exhibit plugs in tonight, when Rick Derringer takes the stage. The Celina native founded the McCoys (the band that took "Sloopy" to the top of the charts in 1965) with brother Randy while still in high school. And he played with both Johnny and Edgar Winter's bands in the early '70s, before embarking on a solo career that yielded a few minor hits ("Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo" is the biggest of 'em). Derringer and his band perform at the Rock Hall (1 Key Plaza) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10, available by calling 216-241-5555.
Wednesday, September 17
The 30 black-and-white prints in the Cleveland Museum of Art's Peru 1983: Aaron Siskind Photographs may not sound like much. The veteran photographer was 80 years old when he went to Peru two decades ago and shot pictures of decaying walls, piles of rocks, random graffiti, and abandoned billboards. But through Siskind's lens, they become more than just symbolic. The details, textures, and scales he applies turn the almost-abstract photos into personal statements of desolation. Peru 1983 is at the art museum (11150 East Boulevard) through November 19. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except for Monday, when it's closed). Admission is free. Call 216-421-7340 for more information.
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