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They're ready for their close-up:  Calla comes to the Grog Shop on Monday.
  • They're ready for their close-up: Calla comes to the Grog Shop on Monday.
Thursday, October 27

During Halloween Spooktacular III at the Children's Museum, little ones can prepare for the Great Pumpkin's visit with loads of hands-on activities that culminate in trick-or-treating throughout the venue. Leading up to that chocolate-blessed moment, kids can make holiday cookies, spin a giant spider web, listen to ghost stories, have their faces painted, and take part in a parade. Plus, if you show up in a costume, you get in for half-price. It all happens from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Saturday at the Children's Museum of Cleveland, 10730 Euclid Avenue. Admission is $6; call 216-791-5437.

Friday, October 28

In the epic film The Beautiful Country, Binh leaves Vietnam in search of his father, an American who left after the war. But the journey to Texas becomes a rite of passage for the young man, who's never belonged -- to his mother, who also abandoned him, or to his country, which considers him an outsider. Along the way, he meets a younger brother he never knew he had, a hooker (with a heart of gold, natch), and Tim Roth as a particularly ruthless boat captain. The Beautiful Country screens at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 7:15 tonight and 3:45 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8; call 216-421-7450.

At tonight's Hero Tomorrow/Myley Fashion Show, a film-fashion combo happening at the Museum of Contemporary Art, local filmmakers Ted Sikora and Milo Miller drop by with a few scenes from their upcoming flick, which was set and shot in Cleveland. The comedy is about a guy who dreams of being a superhero, while his gal envisions -- here's where the fashion part comes in -- a life on the runway. Area designers Alexandra Underhill and Myley will also be there to show off some of their latest work. It all starts at 8 p.m. at MOCA, 8501 Carnegie Avenue. Admission is $10; call 216-421-8671.

Saturday, October 29

Mars will be so close to Earth tonight that you could almost poke a little green man in the eye (pick one; they have several). Actually, it'll be about 43 million miles away. Still, it's the nearest the angry red planet has been to ours in quite some time or will be for another 13 years. Folks who can't wait that long and curious stargazers should make their way to Schuele Planetarium's Mars Telescope Party, which features magnified viewings and a lecture by a NASA Mars expert -- who'll undoubtedly leave out the part about an imminent invasion. Why else do you think the planet's so darn close? Get your front-row seat to the apocalypse at 6:30 p.m. at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Admission is free; call 440-871-2900.

Sunday, October 30

Dios (Malos) hails from the California neighborhood where the Beach Boys lived when they were still talking to each other. In a way, the twisty melodies and semi-sunny tunes found on the indie rockers' self-titled debut recall the experiments in pop produced by Brian Wilson, right before he lost his mind and retreated to the sandbox. Oregon's Swords and Chicago trio Catfish Haven join Dios at the Grog Shop tonight. Swords' second CD, Metropolis, gets caught up in a texturally complicated wall of sound that mixes electronic instruments and orchestral swings, while Catfish keeps it relatively simple on Good Friends, its acoustic guitar-guided debut EP. It should make for an interesting and diverse bill. Show time is at 9 p.m. at the Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10; call 216-241-5555.

Monday, October 31

We can't think of a better way to celebrate Halloween than with a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The audience-participation fave (and pumpkin-night perennial) not only encourages viewers to hurl insults and debris at the screen; it also inspires grown men to bust out the garter belts and stockings. We haven't had that kind of fun since the last Tom Cruise movie! Prop kits -- including squirt guns, newspapers, and other Rocky Horror paraphernalia -- will be available for $7 (don't bring your own; it'll be confiscated). Transgendered merriment begins at 8:30 p.m. with a costume contest. The movie shows at 9 at the Canton Palace Theatre, 605 Market Avenue in Canton. Tickets are $5; call 330-454-8172.

Collisions, the fourth CD from New York noisemaker Calla, bristles with clicks and pops from the group plugging in and tuning up. The tracks amount to gorgeous declarations of sound that swell over a matter of minutes, before they turn back into themselves and lower to a simmer. While the band remains dark and druggy at times, Collisions certainly qualifies as its most joyous set of songs. Tourmate Celebration, on the other hand, makes merry on its self-titled debut, kicking organ-heavy party-punk to the dance floor. Even a song called "War" promotes a good time. They're at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 9 tonight. Tickets are $8; call 216-241-5555.

Tuesday, November 1

Years before Live Aid, George Harrison staged the first major benefit concert. The Concert for Bangladesh featured Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the former Beatle. The Rock Hall's latest exhibit includes Harrison's stage clothes and other things from the 1971 Madison Square Garden performances. They're on view at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1 Key Plaza) through March 26. It's open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (except Wednesday, when it's open till 9 p.m.). Admission is $20; call 216-515-1930.

Wednesday, November 2

Dreaming of a More Better Future compiles the work of nearly four dozen painters, illustrators, and designers who envision tomorrow today. Inspired by old-school peeks at the future (think The Jetsons and Blade Runner), these new pieces gaze forward, toward a world that has more in store for us than urban airbuses. They're on view at the Institute of Art's Reinberger Galleries (11141 East Boulevard) through December 22. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-421-7000.

Speaking of Highlights

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