Thursday, November 18
Voodoo Glow Skulls and Go Betty Go have little in common. The former is a 16-year-old, testosterone-heavy ska-punk outfit that incorporates Mexican roots music into its work. The latter is an all-grrrl band that released its first EP of pop-punk earlier this year. But both hail from California, the land of hyphenated punk, so their tour doesn't seem all that incongruous after all. The skittering guitars on the Skulls' Adicción, Tradición, Revolución are merely an ADD variation on Betty's anthemic riffing on Worst Enemy. Show time is 6:30 p.m. at the Agora Ballroom, 5000 Euclid Avenue. Big D & the Kids Table, the F-Ups, and Too Late for Lenny are also on the bill. Tickets are $12; call 216-241-5555.
Friday, November 19
We love poker. We love it so much, we don't even mind watching Ben Affleck and that kid from Malcolm in the Middle play it on TV. We get the chance to make like our man the Devilfish at tonight's Texas Hold 'Em Tournament and Casino Night, where a winner-takes-all game takes place. Caveat: It's a fund-raiser (for the Littlest Heroes), so you won't be walking away with oodles of cash. Last man standing, however, does snag a nifty 27-inch LCD TV. Action starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Club at Key Center, 127 Public Square. Tickets are $70; call 216-241-1272.
Spike Lee's latest joint, She Hate Me, is a lot of things: It's a corporate drama, with an Enron-like scandal at its center. It's a conspiracy-theory-driven film, with a wronged black man as its protagonist. But mostly it's a cockeyed male fantasy that pits its whistleblowing, government-shadowed hero as a reluctant but well-paid sperm donor to child-craving lesbians. It sounds preposterous, and it is. But some of Lee's spiky style manages to squeeze through. It's at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 9:30 tonight, 7:20 p.m. tomorrow, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8; call 216-421-7450. See Short Takes.
Saturday, November 20
Cleveland Metroparks wants you to get to know the bird you'll be eating Thursday. So it's offering three free programs this weekend stuffed with turkey trivia, crafts, and facts. Today's Drop-in Discovery: Turkeys at Brecksville Nature Center (off Chippewa Creek Drive in Brecksville; call 440-526-1012) includes hands-on activities and displays, as well as an opportunity to try out some turkey calls, from noon to 5 p.m. At Brecksville Reservation (off Riverview Road in Brecksville; call 440-526-1012), folks will hike three miles of Turkey Trails to an area where the birds are known to hang out (good time to try out those turkey calls you just learned). It happens from 1:30 to 4 p.m. And at tomorrow's Turkey Talk -- from 2 to 3:15 p.m. at the Rocky River Nature Center (24000 Valley Parkway in Rocky River; call 440-734-6660) -- a naturalist will talk turkey (you had to know that was coming) and help you make a fowl craft.
Scanning the song titles on Midtown's third album, Forget What You Know, you'd figure they were moody dudes. "Armageddon," "Tragedy of the Human Condition," and "Hey Baby, Don't You Know That We're All Whores" are just some of the cheery ditties. But the New Jersey rockers are actually no more morose than any other punk band that bleeds its music and words into emo territory these days -- just a little more cynical. They're at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 216-241-5555.
Sunday, November 21
Nearly a quarter century ago, Hampshire College student Aaron Lansky took an interest in Yiddish. When he went to the library to dig deeper, he realized that thousands of Yiddish books were being destroyed and lost. Today, the founder of the National Yiddish Book Center can claim that he single-handedly saved countless tomes from the dustbins of history. "They represent a side of Jewish life that's largely been eclipsed in America," he explains. Lansky's book, Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books, details his quest. "I never intended to start anything this big that lasted this long," he says. "I took what I thought would be a two-year leave of absence from graduate school, and here I am, 25 years later. I guess I'm still on leave." Lansky is at the Mandel Jewish Community Center (26001 South Woodland Road in Beachwood) at 3 today. Admission is $8; call 216-831-0700.
Monday, November 22
On his latest CD, Dangerous Vision, jazz pianist Michael Wolff darkens his tones. Working with his band Impure Thoughts, he's created music -- a mix of brooding originals and covers of classics like John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" -- that's forceful, contemporary, and sorta menacing. Wolff is at Nighttown (12387 Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights) at 7 and 8:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. Tickets are $20; call 216-795-0550.
Tuesday, November 23
Swedish singer-songwriter Nicolai Dunger swings like Van Morrison and has lots of cool friends, including Mercury Rev, Will Oldham, and Soundtrack of Our Lives -- all of whom have backed him on record. Dunger's 1999 album, This Cloud Is Learning, is finally getting released in the states early next year. In the meantime, he's opening for Sufjan Stevens at 8:30 tonight at the Cat in the Cream, 180 West Lorain Street in Lorain. Admission is free; call 440-775-8279.
Wednesday, November 24
Little ones can get an idea of what goes on at big construction sites at the Children's Museum's Sandstruction, which opens today and lets junior builders connect pipes, lay flooring, and peer at blueprints. Best of all is a super-huge sand sculpture, sure to make your sandbox creations look pretty damn lame. Sandstruction is at the Children's Museum (10730 Euclid Avenue) through April 3. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $5, $4.50 for kids; call 216-791-5437.
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