The Mid-American Conference Men's Basketball Tournament looks to be even tighter than in years past. Akron, Kent State, Ohio U, and Miami are among the seven or eight teams that have posted strong seasons, which should make for three days of fierce action at Gund Arena (100 Gateway Plaza). Tip-offs are at noon, 2, 7, and 9 p.m. today, 7 and 9 p.m. tomorrow, and 7 p.m. for Saturday's championship game, which will be broadcast on ESPN2. Tickets for Thursday and Friday are each good for two games; they're $15 to $40; call 216-241-2121.
Tonight's Catch 22, Spitalfield, and Lost City Angels all-ages show offers the kids a little bit of everything they crave: ska-based punk (heard on Catch 22's recent live album), densely packed alt-rock (Spitalfield's Stop Doing Bad Things), and New England hardcore (Lost City Angel's Broken World will be released next month). It makes for a night of frenetic modern rock that verges on pop, yet never loses its ability to get the audience worked into a sweaty mass. Showtime is 8 p.m. at the Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $14; call 216-241-5555.
Friday, March 11
It comes as little surprise that Chicago's Voodoo Kings would incorporate a little swamp boogie into their mix of horn-fueled R&B and roots grooves (just look at their name). On its latest album, American Lights, the quintet jumps between scorching rockers and super-slick bar bop without ever showing strain. It's effortless, Friday-night music that oughta go down smooth when the Kings play Wilbert's (812 Huron Road) at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 216-902-4663.
Saturday, March 12
At the Cleveland Sport, Travel & Outdoor Show (celebrating its 68th anniversary), more than 700 vendors and exhibitors tout everything from top-of-the-line fishing gear to state-of-the-art guns and crossbows. New this year are the Hank Peters Lumberjack Show (in which a bunch of burly guys roll logs and throw axes), Jungle Terry (who's bringing along tarantulas and big-ass snakes to touch), and Bear, a five-pound, leather-wearing Chihuahua that does tricks on a remote-controlled Harley. It runs through March 20 at the I-X Center, 6200 Riverside Drive. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow, 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and noon to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is $9.95, $4 for kids; call 800-600-0307.
Nicole Hunter doesn't want you to get the wrong idea about Waiting for the World to End, which is steeped in Big Questions. She says the issues aren't as clear cut as Red State vs. Blue. "Just let other people be who they are, and relate to them on a soul level," she advises. "That is something that can be very healing in any kind of political or religious arena." Hunter's debut novel is about a high school basketball coach who mentors a young boy while falling for the lad's mother. Along the way, the characters confront divisive themes such as abortion. "There are subjects in it that are bigger than anything I had intended," says Hunter. "It was important to me not to spin it as a political or religious story, but to just let it be a human story." Hunter signs Waiting for the World to End from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Blue Heron Bookstore, 1593 Main Street in Peninsula. Admission is free; call 330-657-2575.
Sunday, March 13
Lovers of Japanese animation will surely go gaga at tonight's Club Anime Mega Meeting. In addition to viewing some classic anime shorts on a huge screen, fanboys (and fangirls) will have a chance -- at the workshop that follows the films -- to draw some wickedly cool creatures with super-big eyes and even bigger breasts. It starts at 6 p.m. at Lakewood Public Library's Main Auditorium, 15425 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Admission is free; call 216- 226-8275.
Monday, March 14
The OMNIMAX Theater was made for films like Mystery of the Nile, in which a crew of real-life adventurers makes a 3,250-mile trip down the fabled river. Along the way, they confront crocodiles and dangerous waves. You'll feel the group's elation of being the first expedition to make the trip from source to sea, but it's the towering images of ancient Egyptian temples and the majesty of the river that will stick with you. lt's at the Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Avenue. Show times are 11 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon, 1, 2, and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $8.95, $6.95 for kids; call 216-694-2000.
Tuesday, March 15
Five artists gather old family photographs and rework them into new prints and paintings in Transcended Memories, the Massillon Museum's generations-spanning tribute to the creators' ancestors and heritage. And whether they're layering old photos atop one another until a new image appears or basically presenting the pics as family trees, the exhibit's pieces are funny, touching, and lively nods to the past. They're at the Massillon Museum (121 Lincoln Way East in Massillon) through April 3. It's open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; call 330-833-4061.
Wednesday, March 16
Is it too much to ask that Mother Nature make today's opening of the 2005 Cleveland Metroparks Golf Season a warm, sunny one? All six of the park's greens are clipped, trimmed, and ready for dawn-to-dusk action. Call the individual courses for fees and info: Manakiki (35501 Eddy Road in Willoughby Hills; 440-942-2500), Sleepy Hollow (9445 Brecksville Road in Brecksville; 440-526-4285), Shawnee Hills (18753 Egbert Road in Bedford; 440-232-7184), Big Met (4811 Valley Parkway in Fairview Park), Little Met (18599 Old Lorain Road; 216-941-9672), and Mastick Woods (19900 Puritas Road; 216-267-2626).
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