There are so many brilliant things about Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb that we don't know where to begin. There's its screwy premise: A deranged U.S. Army general believes Communists are contaminating his "precious bodily fluids" and thus launches a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Then there's the fact that the great Peter Sellers plays three roles, including the titular Teutonic doc. It all adds up to the darkest satire on film. To paraphrase another comedy classic, This Is Spinal Tap: How much more black could this be? The answer is none. None more black. A new 40th-anniversary print screens at the Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 7 tonight and 9:45 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $8; call 216-421-7450.
Conductor, the latest album by the Comas, was touted by both Rolling Stone and Spin as one of the best records you didn't hear in 2004. "It's kinda bittersweet, isn't it?" laughs leader Andy Herod. "Any recognition like that is great. But I hope next year at this time it isn't so much a record no one's heard." The CD's moody indie-pop documents the frontman's split with Dawson Creek's Michelle Williams. "It was important to me at the time," says Herod. "And it is what happened. But the record ended up being more personal [than I planned]. People are identifying with it." The Comas are at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 216-241-5555.
Friday, February 18
There's nothing better than a gal who knows how to handle a rod and reel. At this weekend's Spring Women's Steelhead Trout Angling Seminar, ladies can learn everything they need to know -- with help from the Federation of Fly Fishers Flygirls of Michigan and the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders -- to land some fish. Tonight's meeting is all talk (intended, we suppose, so that women don't cast hooks into one another's faces once they're near water); tomorrow comes the payoff: a day at the river, testing newfound skills. It happens 7 to 9:30 p.m. tonight and 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Registration is $10; call 440-808-5627.
The gap between competitive poetry slams and contemporary hip-hop becomes smaller and smaller each year; the words, rhymes, and cadences, in fact, are basically indistinguishable at this point. At tonight's Ultimate Youth Poetry Slam, aspiring Eminems, in grades 6 through 12, will write and perform three poems -- one of which must address the Supreme Court's ruling that funding for public schools is unconstitutional. Poems can't be longer than three minutes. Oh, and no props are allowed (sorry, Carrot Top-influenced slammers). It starts at 7:30 p.m. at Lucky's Café, 777 Starkweather Avenue. Admission is free; call 216-623-6322.
Saturday, February 19
More than 50 dealers are expected at this weekend's Antiques Show & Sale in Bay Village, the 36th annual gathering of furniture, art, glass, book, and jewelry vendors. Free appraisals are offered tomorrow, so get that 40-pound bronze monkey-shaped doorstop out of the attic and haul it to Bay High School (29230 Wolf Road in Bay Village) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow. Admission is $5; call 440-871-5091.
Sunday, February 20
Think of the art museum's Masterworks From the Phillips Collection, opening today, as a greatest-hits exhibit. Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party" -- guys and gals enjoy an afternoon snack outdoors -- leads the pack. "It's hard to find a cocktail napkin or a mouse pad without that image," says curator Tom Hinson. The traveling exhibition (culled from steel magnate Duncan Phillips' assemblage) includes more than 50 pieces by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and more than 25 other 19th- and 20th-century masters. "There's an emphasis on artistic evolution, not revolution," says Hinson. "There's a continuity between past and present achievements." The exhibit is at the Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Boulevard) through May 29. It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission ranges from $7 (for kids) to $12 (for adults on weekends); call 888-262-0033.
Monday, February 21
It's about freakin' time! You always hear about pandas-this or koalas-that. You never hear anything about the lovable otter. The zoo is making things right today by presenting Ottermania, a day devoted to the finest of all aquatic, carnivorous mammals. On tap are otter hand-puppet-making workshops, otter feedings, otter stories, and a meet-and-greet with some ferrets (a low-rent version of the otter). It starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's RainForest, 3900 Wildlife Way. Admission is $6; kids get in free with a paying adult. Call 216-661-6500 for more info.
Tuesday, February 22
Just because The Snake The Cross The Crown originally hail from Alabama doesn't mean they fly Dixie and salute Skynyrd. On the contrary: The guys relocated to Santa Barbara, where their wispy, atmospheric art-rock would be more accepted. On their debut album, Mander Salis, they borrow style and sounds from Radiohead, Sigur Rós, and a half-dozen other bands spawned overseas. It's epochal rock, laced with just a trace of power chords. They're at the House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 216-241-5555.
Wednesday, February 23
Nashville-based jam band Blue Merle (which cribbed its name from a Zeppelin lyric) is a pretty organic combo. Acoustic guitar, mandolins, and violins are all over their debut, Burning in the Sun, which falls somewhere between Dave Matthews' freewheelin' granola stomp and Coldplay's introspective mope-rock (plus, singer Luke Reynolds sounds a lot like 'Play's Chris Martin). They're at the Odeon (1295 Old River Road) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 216-241-5555.