One of the area's best summertime outings, the East 185th Street Festival boasts a diverse music lineup that oughta please everyone: oldies for Mom, polka for Grandpa, and plenty of rock and pop for you and your pals. The Collinwood Food Showcase -- featuring eats from the neighborhood's restaurants -- tops a long list of vendors dishing out everything from egg rolls to Slovenian sausage to pasta dishes. Midway games, carnival rides, and a parade round out the action. And -- three beer gardens. Three! We are so there. The fest happens on East 185th Street, on the border of Cleveland and Euclid, from 4 to 10 p.m. today, 4 to 11 p.m. tomorrow, 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; call 216- 481-7660.
Friday, August 5
Today's free Rock the City concert at Tower City includes two of the area's most promising artists: teen singer-songwriter Kate Voegele and glam-rockers Cherry Monroe, whose major-label debut, The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful, comes out in a couple weeks. The pairing of the unassuming Voegele with the mascara-smeared Monroe boys seems a bit anomalous (we bet the quintet spends more time in front of a mirror before a show than Voegele does all month), but they typify Cleveland's varied tastes. Music starts at 5 p.m. at Tower City Center, 50 Public Square. Visit www.towercitycenter.com for more info.
Here's your chance to check out some of the zoo's nocturnal critters. At Twilight at the Zoo, folks can nosh on appetizers, down some brews, and dance to bands playing everything from swing to salsa -- all inside the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. While the elephants, hippos, and bears might not appreciate all the nighttime racket, the bats, foxes, and sloths will love it. So will the monkeys. They live for this annual party. It starts at 7 at the zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way. Tickets are $55; call 216-661-6500.
Saturday, August 6
More than 150 artists will display and sell their work at the free Lakewood Arts Festival, one of the area's best mixes of fine and folk art. Besides the many paintings, sculptures, and photos for sale, there's plenty of leather, glass, and ceramic pieces to jazz up your home. Hands-on activities keep the little ones busy from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Detroit Avenue (between Belle and Elmwood avenues) in downtown Lakewood; call 216-529-6651.
The Browns host a Family Fun Night at the stadium tonight, and who can blame them for wanting to party before the season starts? If last year's dismal showing is any indication, this season will probably be anything but fun. The shindig kicks off with a team practice session, followed by autograph signing, fireworks, music, and a "Jersey off the Back" raffle, where fans can snag many players' shirts. Plus extreme motocross fun with Kellen Winslow! (Kidding.) Action starts at 7 p.m. at Cleveland Browns Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way. Tickets are $5, available by calling 216-241-5555.
Sunday, August 7
Giant puppets scare the crap out of us, but they won't keep us away from the Discover the Lakefront program happening at North Coast Harbor this summer. Stiltwalkers, chalk artists, local bands, and kids' activities will line up near the Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the William G. Mather Museum. Cool stuff -- just watch out for those super-huge puppets, which will be strolling the area. It takes place at North Coast Harbor between 1 and 5 p.m. on weekends through September 18. Admission is free. Call 216-696-2122 for more info.
Monday, August 8
We had to Google micromounting to find out just what's going on at the natural history museum's Splendid Specks: The Art of Micromounting exhibit. Now that we know what it is (the practice of magnifying and photographing mineral crystals), we can't get enough of it. Folks from the Micromineral Society snapped these 10 poster-sized prints, which reveal a whole world inside the colorful, oddly shaped gems. Think of it as a natural psychedelic vision (Pink Floyd tunes and drugs optional). Splendid Specks is on view through August 21 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7, $5 for kids; call 216-231-4600.
Tuesday, August 9
Get ready to get your Bo Bice on! Fat Fish Blue's $1,000 Talent Search is looking for a few good men, women, and bands to play its stage every Tuesday night through September. The club's house band backs solo singers on a tune or two (we suggest sticking with something simple, like a Creed song, rather than trying an intricate piece like Radiohead's "Everything in Its Right Place"); bands can do what they want onstage (well, we're pretty sure setting fire to the amps is discouraged). Winners -- determined by managers, band members, and the audience -- return on November 22, when a cool thousand dollars (in cash!) will be handed out. It's gotta beat the past season of American Idol. Music starts at 8 p.m. at Fat Fish Blue, 21 Prospect Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-875-6000 for more information.
Wednesday, August 10
Playhouse Square's Cinema at the Square film series returns tonight. Nine movies -- including such classics as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, This Is Spinal Tap, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and An American in Paris -- show over the next three weeks on the ginormous Super Hurleyglo Screen. It launches with 1980's Airplane!, a rapid-fire spoof of 1970s disaster flicks and one of the funniest movies ever made. Surely, we can't be serious. We are. And don't call us Shirley. It starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $5, available by calling 216-241-6000.