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Like No Party on Earth
Since 2001, an international community of scientists, researchers, and geeks has been celebrating manned space flight with Yuri's Night, a festive commemoration of where we've been and where we yet may go. Cleveland joined that federation in 2009. Tonight at the Great Lakes Science Center, flighty types will have another chance to tip their helmets both to namesake U.S.S.R. cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and to the brave crew of the first U.S. space shuttle mission. The cosmic cocktail party launches at 8 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres, dancing, space-related exhibits from NASA Glenn, a trivia contest with a real live astronaut, and a midnight showing of the Omnimax movie Hubble. You also can get a load of the Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion — we told you geekiness was involved — as they parade around in their Star Wars finery. Your $60 entry fee gets you unlimited beer and wine; the Jell-O shots and specialty cocktails cost more. For tix and more info, check out the website. — Cicora
601 Erieside Ave., 216-621-2400, greatscience.com/yurisnight.
Sunday | 08
Fit for Foodies
When Chocolate Bunnies Aren't Enough
For many of us on the North Coast, today is that sacred time of year when we curl up in our bathrobes and stuff our faces full of marshmallow peeps and chocolate bunnies. But if your gustatory ambitions exceed that venerable tradition, you'll be thrilled to know there are a number of restaurants where you and the family can chow down on actual food. For instance, Hudson's Restaurant is dishing out à la carte Easter fare like eggs Benedict, blueberry-lemon ricotta pancakes, Bananas Foster French toast, and sliced ham in a Maker's Mark glaze. Brunch is served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For a more urbane experience, check out the gourmet brunch buffet at Table 45, where highlights of the $38 spread (less for kids) include shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, soba noodle salad, glazed ham, prime rib, eggs Benedict, and chocolate brownies. Brunch hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are other options today too: A good place to start tracking them down is on the Cleveland Independents website. — Cicora
80 North Main St., Hudson, 330-650-1955, hudsonsrestaurant.com.
Monday | 09
Happy Dyngus Day!
Polish Pride in Gordon Square
Sure, Dyngus Day is fun for you: What's not to love about a post-Lent celebration of Polish pride complete with polkas, accordions, and a festive parade? But for Justin Gorski (aka DJ Kishka), it hasn't been all pierogies and beer. "Really, I never realized all it would take to do something like this," laughs the event's affable organizer. Gorski introduced Cleveland to Dyngus Day in 2011, with support from Norm Plonski at the Parkview, Sean Kilbane and Sean Watterson from Happy Dog, "and a bunch of my goofball friends." At first, the notion of an Easter Monday celebration was a hard sell, he recalls. "But through a combination of luck and ethnic pride, we managed to put it together and draw in 1,500 people!" The upshot? This year's Dyngus Day has gotten enthusiastic buy-in from Gordon Square spots including Reddstone, Stone Mad, XYZ the Tavern, YOLO Wine Bar, and Spice Kitchen + Bar. That's turned the fest into a neighborhood-wide celebration, complete with free trolley service between venues and an expected turnout of 5,000. The highlight of today's festivities will be the 5 p.m. Accordion March from the Parkview to Happy Dog. "If you own an accordion, a guitar, a tuba, or even pots and pans, please come out and join us! We'll all be playing "Roll Out the Barrel" about 45 times — and it'll be great!" Festivities are set for noon to 2 a.m. throughout the Gordon Square Arts District. For a full schedule — and an application for the Ms. Dyngus Day Contest — check out the website. — Cicora
Tuesday | 10
Homegrown Pain in Lakewood
Mystic, poet, and patron saint of the American alternative press, d.a. levy remains one of the most intriguing figures to emerge from the Cleveland underground in the 1960s. That levy committed suicide at the age of 26 — after publishing works like the North American Book of the Dead, Cleveland Undercovers, and Suburban Monastery Death Poem as well as getting busted for distributing obscenity to minors — just adds to his cred as a cultural lighting rod. Happily for levy fans, tonight's 7 p.m. program at the Lakewood Public Library will try to apply some scholarship to the poet and his times. On the panel: New York poet-publisher Tod Thilleman, former library director Kenneth Warren, and poet-professor Richard Blevins, who has recently completed a major new work inspired by levy entitled Medieval Ohio: a Poem for d.a. levy. The free program is part of the library's ongoing celebration of National Poetry Month. No registration is required. — Cicora
15425 Detroit Ave., 216-226-8275 x 127, lkwdpl.org.
Wednesday | 11
An Imaginary Empire
Artist Arabella Proffer at Loganberry Books
Cleveland painter Arabella Proffer never imagined that her surrealistic portraits of punks, goths, and rockers garbed in the raiment of royalty would spawn an empire. "But people kept asking me who they were," says the 33-year-old artist. "So eventually I started giving them backstories." Over the years, those backstories evolved into a complete mythology that Proffer finally pulled together in a book. Featuring 40 portraits painted between 2000 and 2011, along with imaginary maps, life stories, and family trees, the 104-page project — The National Portrait Gallery of Kessa: The Art of Arabella Proffer — sometimes seemed all-consuming. "Those family trees had me cross-eyed," she laughs. "I kept asking myself, 'Why did I have to make it so complicated?'" But fans of fantasy and art will be delighted that she did: What the artist calls the "marriage of the highbrow and the lowbrow" is crammed full of charming visual surprises. Proffer is celebrating the end of the project tonight with a 7 p.m. book-release party at Loganberry Books. Expect an informal talk, a short reading, and some time for Q&A. A few of Proffer's smaller portraits will be on display, and a free mini-print will be given away with the purchase of every $31.50 book. Just don't ask her to paint your portrait: "I only work from my imagination," she says. "I get stressed out if it has to look like someone real." — Cicora
13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-795-9800, loganberrybooks.com.