The Barons are the only team in town that can claim more wins than losses this season. Yes, it's hockey. But they're a joy to watch: They've got decent defense, good scoring punch, and enough muscle to keep things lively. Tonight they're up against the unfortunately named Manitoba Moose -- opponents in the tough North Division. Now's the time to jump on the bandwagon. The Barons are not only playoff-bound; they also have a league-leading scorer (in Miroslav Zalesak). When's the last time the Browns, Cavs, or Tribe made that boast? The puck drops at 7 at Gund Arena, 100 Gateway Plaza. Tickets range from $9 to $25, available by calling 216-420-0000.
Friday, February 6
J.G.M. "Hans" Thewissen has a great tale to tell tonight: "How the Whale Lost Its Legs: Stories From the Himalayan Foothills. " The anthropologist and professor stumbled upon 50-million-year-old fossils while traipsing through the hills of Pakistan and India 20 years ago. Since then, he's spent the better part of two decades trying to find the missing link between the relics he discovered and modern marine mammals. Hear all about Dino, Shamu, and their ancestors at 7:30 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive. Tickets are $7 and $8. Call 216-231-1177 for more information.
Saturday, February 7
Get ready for a night of musical nostalgia. First up is Forever Fab: 40 Years of the Beatles in America, which is a wordy way of saying that the Beatles tribute band Hard Day's Night is performing. These guys go all out -- accents, suits, boots, equipment, probably even underwear. Tonight's show is split in two, with the first part replicating an early concert, like the one made famous on The Ed Sullivan Show. The second half is a run-through of the historic Shea Stadium gig -- without, presumably, the cavernous sound and the stage being a football field away from the audience. Hard Day's Night members work like dogs at the Akron Civic Theatre, 182 South Main Street in Akron. Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $16, available by calling 330-253-2488.
Meanwhile, the sum is greater than the parts at VH1 Classics '70s Soul Jam. On board are the Chi-Lites, the Delfonics, the Stylistics, and Harold Melvin's Blue Notes (with neither Melvin, who's dead, nor Teddy Pendergrass, who sang the hell out of nearly every song he recorded with the group). Boiled down to their greatest hits, they represent some of the decade's finest slow jams: "Oh, Girl," "Have You Seen Her" (Chi-Lites), "La La Means I Love You" (Delfonics), "Betcha by Golly, Wow," "You Make Me Feel Brand New" (Stylistics), "If You Don't Know Me by Now," and "Wake Up Everybody" (Blue Notes). Jimmie Walker, Good Times' JJ, is the emcee. Dy-no-mite! The VH1 Classics '70s Soul Jam is at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $24.50 to $39.50, available by calling 215-241-6000.
Sunday, February 8
Instead of sticking to the linear narrative for Cleveland Public Theatre's production of the slave-era classic Uncle Tom's Cabin, director Randolph Curtis Rand reconfigured the work. Now, Woodrow Wilson, e.e. cummings, and even Thomas Edison make appearances, and author Harriet Beecher Stowe's diaries and tales of contemporary slavery are woven into the story. "It's not just a novel or a play," Rand says. "It's a social concern. Our version is about all the conflicting interest that the book has generated. We want to set up camp in the middle of all the controversy." Uncle Tom's Cabin is at Cleveland Public Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) through February 28. Show times are 3 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Tickets are $13 to $18; call 216-631-2727.
Monday, February 9
You know those Land Before Time collector cups you've been hoarding in the basement for the past 15 years? Somebody wants them. And the Jesus Christ bobblehead you got for Christmas? Someone wants that, too. Believe it or not, there's a place out there that pays good money for all your useless junk. It's called eBay, and crafty entrepreneurs are moving metric tons of unwanted stuff on a daily basis. Today's eBay Workshop fills you in on everything you need to know to turn that ChiPS Colorforms playset into cash. It happens from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Rocky River Public Library, 1600 Hampton Road in Rocky River. Admission is free, but advanced registration is required; call 440-333-7610.
Tuesday, February 10
The 58th outing of the Cleveland Institute of Art's Annual Student Independent Exhibition features paintings, drawings, glass work, metal sculptures, and digital art. It's managed and curated entirely by students, who transform their displays into showcases for their burgeoning skills. The show runs through March 14 at the Cleveland Institute of Art's Reinberger Galleries, 11141 East Boulevard. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Call 216-421-7407 for more info.
Wednesday, February 11
Mindy Smith got her big break when she sang "Jolene" on a Dolly Parton tribute album last year. Parton said it was her favorite song on the CD, and the two even performed it together on The Tonight Show. That buzz propels Smith's debut album, One Moment More, a set of traditional twang and rootsy rock that's right in step with the 31-year-old's hard-knock life. Smith wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on the album, which unravels her life story as a Long Island minister's daughter who moved to Nashville to pursue music. But it's her voice -- at turns heartbreakingly angelic, withered, and weathered -- that inspires this Moment. Smith is at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Road) at 8 tonight. Tickets are $8 and $10, available by calling 216-383-1124.