Thursday, June 3
Brooklyn's Oxford Collapse picked an appropriate name for itself. The songs on the trio's art-rock debut, Some Wilderness, are brainy, studied, and collegiate, yet they still manage to fall apart before the end. Prompted by rhythm-heavy post-punk ancestors Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, and Wire, Oxford Collapse throws choppy guitar riffs, clipped vocals, and jittery backbeats into its mix. And like fellow dance-floor revisionists !!!, these Brooklyn boys aren't afraid to get down. There's well-played whiteboy funk in the grooves. They may be a little too clever for their own good at times, but their music is consistently sharp. They're at Pat's in the Flats (2233 West 3rd Street) at 10 tonight. Tickets are $5; call 216-621-8044.
Friday, June 4
Luis Buñuel's penultimate film, 1974's The Phantom of Liberty, is among his most challenging. There's no plot to speak of; it's basically a dreamlike unspooling of political and sexual set pieces held together by transient characters. Buñuel explores freedom through the ages -- the movie bridges a pair of countries over two centuries -- and the cultural mores tied into it. It doesn't make a whole lotta sense, but there are plenty of striking images to keep it moving. A new print screens at 7:30 tonight and 10:15 p.m. tomorrow at the Cleveland Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard. Tickets are $8; call 216-421-7450.
Saturday, June 5
Members of Cleveland's literary community are getting together this afternoon for a Daniel Thompson Tribute. Cuyahoga County's poet laureate passed away a few weeks ago. Today's gathering honors Thompson through words and pictures. "Daniel planted the seeds for the literary scene that we in town now take for granted," says Michael Salinger, who's hosting the event. "He was the least judgmental person I have ever met in my life." Attendees are invited to share stories, poems, and memories. "He was the constant pebble in the wingtips of the self-important," Salinger says. "I am going to miss him." It happens from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Barking Spider Tavern, 11310 Juniper Road. Admission is free; call 216-421-2863.
Do people still pop, lock, and break? Art House certainly hopes so. Tonight's Steppin' in the House . . . Art House! hip-hop workshop shows folks how to bust the very same moves Shabba-Doo did in Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo 20 years ago. Get ready to bang bang the boogie from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at Art House, 3119 Denison Avenue. Fee is $12. Call 216-398-8556 for more info.
Sunday, June 6
The fifth annual Puritas Park: The Art of It All festival happens today, and there's a lot going on: activity stations for kids, fresh eats from local restaurants, live music by Latin, gospel, rock, and polka bands, Irish dancers, and more arts-and-crafts exhibits than any one park should be allowed to contain. Check it out from noon to 6 p.m. on Puritas Avenue, between West 140th and West 143rd streets. Admission is free. Call 216-671-2710 for more information.
Monday, June 7
While researching Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point, writer David Lipsky spent a considerable amount of time within an institution he was reared to despise. "My family was very antimilitary," he explains. "When I was a kid, my dad sat me down and said, You can do any job you want to, but you can never join the army or get involved with the military. If you do, I'll hire two strong guys to break your legs.'" Not only did Lipsky learn to respect the elite military academy, he came out with a better understanding of what drives its cadets. "I didn't want to do this story at all, and I thought the kind of people who would spend four years there were the last people I'd want to spend four minutes with," he says. "But these were the happiest kids I'd ever seen. This is a place where everyone looked after each other and worked together, and no one cared about gender or racial background." Lipsky reads and signs last year's best-seller (just out in paperback) at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 24519 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst. Admission is free; call 216-691-7000.
Tuesday, June 8
Any group capable of cramming 17 members onstage, sounding like the ADD-afflicted love child of James Brown and Fela Kuti, and still finding room to deliver a potent political treatise on the state of the union must be doing something right. Antibalas -- a multiracial, Brooklyn-based afrobeat orchestra -- has a new album, Who Is This America?, that fuses funk, jazz, and world beats with a resolute agenda. It's simultaneously joyful and angry -- an indictment of the Bush administration that you can dance to. The collective's just launched a tour that will stay on the road till Election Day. Get ready to think and shake your ass when Antibalas comes to the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) at 9:30 tonight. Tickets are $12, available by calling 216-383-1124.
Wednesday, June 9
Mike Doughty's solo records are pricklier than the stuff he made with Soul Coughing. They're also more troublesome (his former bandmates knew how to rein him in; on his own, Doughty tends to let weighty words and his free-form explorations get the best of him). Still, it all makes for unpredictable performances onstage, where Doughty's most comfortable. Since Soul Coughing split four years ago, he's released three albums (available only online and at his concerts); he's just completed work on a fourth with his new group. Doughty's launching his first full-band tour at the Odeon (1295 Old River Road) at 8 tonight. Tickets are $15 and $16; call 216-241-5555.
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