Tonight's Slam It! program at the Museum of Contemporary Art pits junior Wordsworths against each other onstage, using techniques, rhymes, and styles they honed at a series of workshops over the past six weeks. They've already busted rhymes on a CD and contributed hip-hop-like poetry to a chapbook, but the slam itself is the real test of the kids' new skills. Come hear 'em spit, starting at 6 p.m. at MOCA, 8501 Carnegie Avenue. Admission is free; call 216-421-8671.
It takes nearly 90 minutes for South Korean director Park Chan-wook to bring his trademark gore to Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. But when he does, his deaf-mute antihero unleashes bloody hell with a baseball bat. It's the first part of Park's revenge trilogy, which also includes this year's cult hit Oldboy. In Sympathy, a twentysomething factory worker kidnaps his boss' young daughter in hopes of getting ransom money to pay for a kidney transplant for his sister. By the time it's all over, bodies pile high (let's just say you won't want to get attached to any of the main characters). It's a twisty, sometimes-meditative look at brutality and human nature -- similar to A History of Violence. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 7 tonight and 9:15 p.m. tomorrow. Admission is $8; call 216-421-7450.
Friday, November 11
There's nothing like a good eye-gouging to make our Friday night. Tonight's Three Stooges Film Fest in Canton features all the classic moves: the hair-ripping, the gut-punching, and the nose-bopping. Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp all represent (though there's no word on which actual Stooges shorts will be screened). The fest also includes a raffle (booty includes Stooges memorabilia), door prizes, contests, and other Stooge-centered activities. Nyuk nyuk nyukking starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Canton Palace Theatre, 605 Market Avenue in Canton. Tickets are $5; call 330-454-8172.
On his debut solo album, Knockdown South, Squirrel Nut Zippers co-founder Jimbo Mathus cops a sleazy, greasy, southern-boogie blues beat. It's a long way from the Zippers' skewed take on post-WWII jazz, but Mathus pulls it off. Then again, the Mississippi-based guitarist has played on records by Buddy Guy and the North Mississippi Allstars, and recorded a tribute album to blues pioneer Charley Patton in 1997. His affinity for the music comes through in songs like "Crazy Bout You" and "Hypmotized," which swing around Delta blues riffs and smokin' solos. Mathus and his band play Wilbert's (812 Huron Road) at 9:30 tonight. Tickets are $8; call 216-902-4663.
Saturday, November 12
You'd expect the volumes at this weekend's Western Reserve Historical Society Book Sale to be a bit more lofty than those found at library sales across the county. After all, it is a historical society. Up for grabs are used copies of history books (natch), how-to manuals, travel tomes, biographies, and travelogues. But don't fret if all that makes your head hurt -- plenty of kid lit, mysteries, and thrillers will be for sale too. You can also score a glossy print or two from the museum's photo archives, which feature pics dating back to the Civil War. The sale happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and noon to 3 p.m. tomorrow (when books go for half-price) at the Western Reserve Historical Society, 10825 East Boulevard. Admission is free; call 216-721-5722.
Sunday, November 13
San Diego quintet Tristeza went to Mexico to write its new album. Then it went to Michigan to record it. The result, A Colores, reflects those disparate surroundings. The band's instrumental rock brims with worldly flavor, yet there's something decidedly American about the workmanlike rhythms and serrated textures. And while the slow, sneaking songs -- accented with surging guitars and purring electronica -- never reach a full boil, the group's disquieting rattle and hum still manages to simmer. Tristeza plays the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 9 tonight. Tickets are $8; call 216-241-5555.
Monday, November 14
It's about time someone brought back the toga party -- even if it is a weekly event held within the relatively corporate confines of Pickwick & Frolic. Still, Toga! features enough excitement to make us want to party till we puke. In addition to a band performing frat classics, keg beer goes for a mere buck! Toga! Toga! Toga! at 8 p.m. at Pickwick & Frolic, 2035 East Fourth Street. Tickets are $10 and $13 (only $5 if you wear a toga!); call 216-736-4242.
Tuesday, November 15
We went back and watched Jurassic Park to look for a Sandasaurus. Couldn't find one. We even pored through our copy of Dinosaur Roar! in search of the elusive prehistoric creature. Turns out that it only exists at the Children's Museum, which has gathered more than 60 tons of sand for its latest exhibit. Hands-on activities include a Dig Site (where junior paleontologists can uncover buried fossils) and a Dino Playground. At the center of it all is the enormous, eponymous sand sculpture. The exhibit, at the Children's Museum of Cleveland (10730 Euclid Avenue) through March 5, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6; call 216-791-5437.
Wednesday, November 16
Flo'Ology, the third CD by London female hip-hop duo Floetry, mixes urbane beats, sharp rhymes, and a sense of confidence that most male stateside rappers lack. Little surprise that Common makes an appearance on Flo'Ology, since he, more than any other U.S. hip-hopper who comes to mind, shares the gals' aesthetic. The pair -- one sings, the other's a spoken-word artist -- has penned tunes for Michael Jackson and Jill Scott. Its own music falls somewhere between old-school soul and underground hip-hop. Floetry's at House of Blues' Cambridge Room (308 Euclid Avenue) at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, available by calling 216-241-5555.