At last summer's International Children's Games, the Brothel Brothers were sure their repertoire of reggae, ska, and calypso would awe Cleveland's adolescent visitors. So they found a spot on the sidewalk and started to jam. "We thought this would endear us to the young athletes," says accordion player David Badagnani. "When we saw a group of South Korean athletes approach and launched into a rendition of a Korean folk song, they actually ran away from us."
Maybe the alter egos had something to do with it. In its act, the group interweaves a repertoire of world and ethnic music with a tale of three brothers from Louisiana's Cajun country. The (phony) story goes that the trio took native songs from around the world and arranged them for trumpet, bass, and accordion.
And if it doesn't quite appeal to Asian athletes, it might go over better at this weekend's street performance (as part of the Street Beats series). "People in America tend to have prejudices about the accordion," says bassist Mark Allender. "When they walk by hearing reggae, of all things, on the accordion, it causes kind of a mindfuck." The Brothel Brothers perform from 7 to 9 p.m. in front of Johnny's Downtown, 1406 West 6th Street. It's free; visit www.cleveland.com/sparx. -- Cris Glaser
Intergalactic play probes America's junk culture.
In Convergence-Continuum's Tales of the Lost Formicans, which opens on Friday, little green men come down from the sky to check out what humans are up to on earth. But there's no anal-probing, just plenty of head-scratching. "Alien anthropologists are studying this species -- us -- and they put together their ideas about our civilization," says artistic director Clyde Simon. Formicans is a commentary on Middle America -- our infatuation with bland TV shows, our ability to turn a perfectly good piece of land into a sprawling shopping mall, and our totally screwed-up families. "It's very funny, but it also gets very serious by the end," says Simon, who's directing the show. "Taking a look at ourselves is always a good idea. We always make fun of other cultures, but we forget how weird we are." Tales of the Lost Formicans is at the Liminis (2438 Scranton Road) through August 6. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Tickets are $9 and $12, available by calling 216-687-0074. -- Michael Gallucci
Exhibit picks up the art museum's leftovers.
If the Cleveland Museum of Art can't find space at its NEO exhibition for Terry Durst and 22 other artists, then Ellen Rudolph will make room for them at NEO+ONE, which opens Saturday at Murray Hill Galleries. The rejected pieces include Durst's "Suitcase" (pictured), a sculpture made out of jars filled with Froot Loops cascading out of a Samsonite bag. "If the public goes [only] to the museum, they'll miss out," says Rudolph. "There's all this other great art in our backyard." NEO+ONE is at Murray Hill Galleries (2026 Murray Hill Road) through September 3. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Friday. Admission is free. Call 216-721-1722 for more info. -- Cris Glaser
It may seem as if comedian Tony Rock is following in sibling Chris' footsteps, but birthright had everything to do with it, says Tony. "He's big brother, so he got into everything before I did." Besides, "I wanted to be Eddie Murphy," says Rock, who performs at the Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) Wednesday through Sunday, July 17. Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, and 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $16; call 216-696-4677. -- P.F. Wilson