The Wonderful World of Ohio Mart, happening this weekend at Stan Hywet, is sorta like a Renaissance festival without all the medieval freaks. Yes, many of the 100-plus vendors sport ages-old apparel, but the 37-year-old fest's emphasis is on arts and crafts (as opposed to people knocking each other senseless with archaic weapons). In addition to the strolling musicians, live music, and good eats (including the tasty cookies found in the Gingerbread Tent -- always a popular attraction, we're told), many hands-on activities can be found on the grounds. The Wonderful World of Ohio Mart runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Sunday at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (714 North Portage Path in Akron). Admission is $7, $2 for kids. Call 330-836-5533 for more information.
Friday, October 3
This weekend's Murray Hill Autumn Art Walk includes more than 35 of the area's art galleries displaying their wares. This is one of Cleveland's best annual art walks, typically attracting thousands of folks to the city's largest concentration of art galleries. Some of the places featured are Galeria Quetzal, Pennello Gallery, Bockrath Gallery, and Galleria Gianna. Also, 10 of Little Italy's restaurants will be open for business, offering everything from cannoli to cavatelli for you to nosh on while perusing fine art. The Murray Hill Autumn Art Walk happens 5 to 9 p.m. today, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday on Murray Hill Road in Little Italy. Admission is free. Call 216-231-5540 for more information.
Ohio Ballet kicks off its new season tonight with Romeo and Juliet. Choreographer Bengt Jorgen's version of Shakespeare's classic -- which is set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev and features extravagant sets and costumes -- is a hit across the continent, as well as in China and Hong Kong. It plays at 8 tonight and at 2 and 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Ohio Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue). Tickets range from $5 to $40, available by calling 330-945-9400.
Saturday, October 4
Tonight's Soul Survivor, presented by b-boy crew Illstyle Rockers, is touted as a "night of floor war and spitboxing." It includes b-boy and b-girl contests (that would be break- dancing competitions to the unhip) and an MC battle (just like in 8 Mile!). Cash prizes are up for grabs. "We just want to keep the culture alive," says Illstyle Rocker Forrest Webb. "Hip-hop is about more than just rap. The dancing doesn't get its just due. Breaking essentially put rap on the map." DJ Johnny O spins old-school hip-hop, NYC b-boy pioneer Frosty Freeze makes an appearance, and the Illstyle crew shows off its skills. "We'd like to make this an annual event," Webb says. "With the amount of crews popping up around here, there's no reason we can't do it." Soul Survivor takes place from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Radisson Hotel Grand Ballroom (20 West Mill Street in Akron). Admission is $5. Call 330-376-8967 for tickets and more information.
Sunday, October 5
Clevelanders Bernard F. Bunye and Nicholas J. Peterka wanted to make a movie. So they wrote a script, gathered their friends for filming in town and in Columbus, and put together Renaissance, which premieres tonight at the Cedar Lee Theatre. "We racked up quite a credit-card debt," says Bunye, who also directed. "We really wanted to do a film, and guys in Cleveland just aren't going to get an L.A. contract to make a film they wrote." The story is an autobiographical coming-of-age tale revolving around a recent college grad. "Most kids end up doing something that has nothing to do with their degree at all," Bunye, 25, says. "There's a cultural clash between our generation and our parents' generation that we wanted to talk about." Renaissance shows at the Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights) at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, which also includes admission to a post-screening party at Halite (2800 Clifton Avenue). Call 440-623-9092 or visit www.i71productions.com for more info.
Monday, October 6
Back in the day, Brian Auger was making some far-out music. Dubbed the Godfather of Acid Jazz, the keyboardist has played with the Yardbirds, Rod Stewart, Jimmy Page, and Sonny Boy Williamson over his 30-plus-year career. His pet project, Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, which has been around since 1970, is still making new music (it released an album at the top of the decade). The Express's latest touring incarnation is a family affair and includes Auger's son on drums and his daughter on vocals. But it's Auger's skill on the Hammond B3 -- he conjures sounds from the instrument that are both otherworldly and warmly human -- that drives this vehicle. Brian Auger's Oblivion Express performs at Night Town (12387 Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights) for shows at 7 and 9 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. Tickets are $20. For more information, call 216-795-0550.
Tuesday, October 7
Dan Bern used to obsess over the small things. Nothing was too minute for dissection, which was fitting for a neo-folkie who likes his subjects compact. But lately Bern's been gazing at a bigger picture. On his most recent album, Fleeting Days, he toes the rocker line, beefing up his sound, production, and themes. It's his most likable and listenable disc. Still, he can't completely shake his past. He's a Dylan disciple, dropping songs that name-check Ernest Hemingway, and he still pulls out a novelty tune or two when he's onstage. Bern plays the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Road) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $14, available by calling 216-383-1124.
Wednesday, October 8
While we're totally pumped to visit Mr. Slaptail's House at the Western Reserve Historical Society's My Home Planet, it's the opportunity for navigating dust particles through a giant nasal passage that has us giving endless praise to the new hands-on exhibit. My Home Planet is an exploration of environmental health, so that trip through the super-sized snout does have educational value (it's all about allergens). Food, water, and air are big themes here, and interactive stations like Rosie's Treehouse and Marigold Marsh instill lessons on the ickiness of mucky water and the joys of recycling. My Home Planet Earth is at the Western Reserve Historical Society (10825 East Boulevard) through May 24. It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission ranges from $5 to $7.50. Call 216-721-5722 for more information.