15+ Things to Do in Cleveland This Weekend (Dec. 8-11)

'Hamilton' returns to Playhouse Square and indie rockers Foals come to the Agora

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click to enlarge Smoke DZA headlines the annual Cruel Winter Fest that takes place on Friday at the Grog Shop. - Courtesy of the Grog Shop
Courtesy of the Grog Shop
Smoke DZA headlines the annual Cruel Winter Fest that takes place on Friday at the Grog Shop.
Our weekly picks of the best things to do in Cleveland this weekend. Also check out our full Cleveland event calendar.

THU 12/08
Sammy Adams

Sammy Adams started recording songs on his Macbook in 2008 from his college dorm room. Over the course of the next two years, he recorded a large amount of material that would be used on his later releases. Tragically, in 2018, Adam experienced a life threatening accident that left him with a broken neck and two brain hemorrhages, putting his music career on hold. Miraculously, he rehabbed with full range of motion and comes to House of Blues tonight at 7 in support of his latest effort, Good Problems.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583, houseofblues.com.

Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show
The terrific gospel group whose original members first sang together as kids at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s plays a special holiday show tonight at 7:30 at Music Box Supper Club.
1148 Main Ave., 216-242-1250, musicboxcle.com.

A Christmas Carol
The Great Lakes Theater production of Charles Dickens' classic never fails to engage and delight. This annual tribute to knee-jerk liberal sentiments, like compassion for the downtrodden, is always a must-see, whether you've seen it before or not. Tonight's performance takes place at 7:30 at the Ohio Theatre, where performances continue through Dec. 23.
1501 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Cleveland Orchestra Holiday Concerts
Holiday Concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus return to Mandel Concert Hall this month. Tonight's concert takes place at 7:30. It also features the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and members of the Blossom Music Festival Chorus. Performances continue through Sunday.
11001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.

Disney on Ice Presents Into the Magic
Disney characters from Coco and Tangled take to the ice as part of this special touring Disney iceskating program. The event begins tonight at 7 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown where performances continue through Sunday.
229 East Front St., Youngstown, 330-746-5600, covellicentre.com.

Drink and Draw with Dr. Sketchy Akron
Founded in 2005 in a dive bar in Brooklyn, Dr. Sketchy’s has now spread to more than 100 cities around the world. Dr. Sketchy Akron, a monthly drink and draw event that takes place on the second Thursday of each month at Jilly's Music Room in Akron, gives patrons the opportunity to "draw glamorous underground performers in an atmosphere of boozy conviviality." The fun begins at 7 p.m.; it costs $10 to draw.
111 N Main St., Akron, 330-576-3757, jillysmusicroom.com.

Hamilton
With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, the Broadway hit returns to the State Theatre. Tonight's performance takes place at 7:30, and the play runs through Jan. 15.
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Magic of LIghts
A drive-through holiday lights experience featuring holiday scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations, Magic of Lights returns to the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds this holiday season. Hours are 5:30 through 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 1. Check the website for ticket prices.
19201 East Bagley Rd., Middleburg Heights, 440- 243-0090, magicoflights.com/events/northeastohio/.

New Soft Shoe
Nine years ago, on what local singer-songwriter Brent Kirby calls a drunken dare, a group of Cleveland friends and musicians showed up at the Happy Dog to play a couple sets of tunes by the late, great Gram Parsons. Dubbed the New Soft Shoe, the group has been at it ever since, spreading the gospel of what it refers to as "Gram's Cosmic American Music." Anything that Parsons played, the New Soft Shoe covers. As a result, the group plays tunes from the International Submarine Band, the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers. It also plays songs from Parsons' solo album GP/Grievous Angel. Tonight at 8, the band performs in the Waldorf Hall at Forest City Brewery. Tickets cost $5.
2135 Columbus Rd., 216-228-9116, forestcitybrewery.com.

Andy Woodhull
Clean-cut comic Andy Woodhull jokes that after 10 years of marriage, he only has had one fight with his wife. The argument centered on his attempt to bring another woman's dishes into her home when he moved in. "I'd like to remind you that my wife has two daughters — I don't think I'm being unreasonable. My dishes don't kind of look like my ex-girlfriend or go to my ex-girlfriend's house every other weekend and talk about how much more fun it is to be in her cabinets." The clever comic performs at 7 tonight at Hilarities, where he has show scheduled through Saturday.
2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425, pickwickandfrolic.com.

FRI 12/09
2022 Holiday Market at 818 Studios

Vendors such as R.E.Y. Designs, K. Selvaggio, Urbal Guru, Gypsy Hermit Trading Company, Urban Rootz Artisan Soap, Denise and Judy, Barbara Merritt, Dott Von Schneider, Tessa, LaBaron, Jenny Glowe, Floyd Art will be on hand for this holiday market that takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. at 818 Studios. Hot chocolate, coffee and sweets will be served.
818 Jefferson Ave., merrittphoto.com/818studios.html.

Cavaliers vs. Sacramento Kings

The Cavaliers potentially get a bit of a break this weekend as they take on the Sacramento Kings tonight at 7:30 and the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow night at 7:30 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Though the Kings are much improved, the teams are rebuilding, and the Cavs, who are coming off a big win against LeBron James and the Lakers, are clearly the superior to each of them.
1 Center Court, 216-420-2000, rocketmortgagefieldhouse.com.

Chest Fever
San Diego-based Chest Fever is honoring the 50th anniversary of the Band album Rock of Ages with this national tour that stops at the Winchester.The group will perform songs from Rock of Ages such as “Caledonia Mission,” “The Unfaithful Servant,” “Get Up Jake” and “Chest Fever.” They will additionally play a number of deeper cuts from the Band’s catalog, including “Rockin’ Chair" and “Time To Kill” as well as classics like “Up on Cripple Creek” and “I Shall Be Released.” The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Winchester. Tickets cost $25.
12112 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-600-5338, facebook.com/TheWinchesterMusicTavern.

Cruel Winter Fest 2022
Founded in 2014 by local booking agent and rap artist Dirty Jones (Wallace Settles), the hip-hop mini-festival Cruel Winter Fest has become a vehicle for acts such as Shuicide Holla, DJ Corey Grand and the Jewish hip-hop artist Kosha Dillz. The latest installment featuring Smoke DZA as the headliner will take place at 7 tonight at the Grog Shop. Mellowman Funk, the owner and operator of Shway Papers, will also perform at the event along with Jmo Let Em Know, E.Side4, Only Native Sounds and Crib Collective.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588, grogshop.gs.

Elf the Musical
Elf the Musical centers on Buddy, a guy who grew up in the magical North Pole after stowing away in Santa’s bag as an orphaned infant and whose excitable and naive character is in for the culture-shock of a lifetime as he searches for his biological father in New York City. Buddy’s ecstatic nature, and elf suit, leaves him sticking out like a sore thumb in the big city but Buddy must find a way for his family to embrace the spirit of Christmas. Performances take place tonight at 7:30 and 9:30 at the Beck Center for the Arts. The play runs through Dec. 30.
17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 440-933-6210, beckcenter.org.

Friday Night Lights!
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History stays open until 8 tonight to feature special programming, including current science presentations, gallery talks, up-close looks at the museum’s animals, in-depth conversations with curators and special guests, and access to the Ralph Mueller Observatory, weather permitting. The events are free for members. For nonmembers, normal admission rates apply, and guests who purchase a ticket at any time on Friday are welcome to stay past 5 p.m. at no additional cost.
1 Wade Oval Dr., 216-231-4600, cmnh.org.

Holiday Lantern Tours
From 5 to 10 p.m. today at Hale Farm & Village, you can learn about the history and folklore of gingerbread while on a candle-lit tour through our historic grounds. You'll also see village residents as they prepare for the holiday season in the 1840s. Reservations are required.
2686 Oak Hill Rd., Newton Falls, 330-666-3711, halefarm.org.

Sam Hooper Group
Local singer-guitarist Sam Hooper originally formed this group when he lived in Boston. Backed by a current band that features "a mix of talented musicians who are old and new friends with experience in jazz, rock, funk and blues," as it's put in a press release, the Sam Hooper Group performs tonight at 8 at the Bop Stop. Tickets cost $20.
2920 Detroit Ave., 216-771-6551, themusicsettlement.org.

DL Hughley
Not many people can fire off the quick, witty jokes like DL Hughley. He can take serious matters like race relations and spin them into sidesplitting satire, tiptoeing along the edge of offensive and hilarious, yet still remaining totally lovable. Nothing is off limits for this guy. Past topics of jest have included Paula Deen, high blood pressure, Superbowl commercials and Cuban Olympic swimmers. He performs tonight at 7:30 and 10:30 at the Improv, where he has shows scheduled through Sunday. Consult the club's website for ticket prices.
1148 Main Ave., 216-696-IMPROV, clevelandimprov.com.

Rock the Halls
Eight bands fronted by women will perform at this benefit concert at House of Blues for Pro-Choice Ohio and Pre-Term Cleveland, two non-profits for women’s reproductive rights. Detention, Hello Luna, Lilieae, TRUSS and Envoi will perform on the club's main stage, and Solon, Mr. Princess and Grumpy Plum will perform on the Cambridge Room stage. Tickets are $15, and all proceeds will be split between the nonprofit Pro-Choice Ohio and the reproductive health clinic Preterm Cleveland. Doors open at 5 p.m.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583, houseofblues.com.

SAT 12/10
15-60-75 The Numbers Band

For more than 50 years now, the avant blues act 15-60-75 The Numbers Band has been a singular entity on the local music scene. Band leader Bob Kidney is a compelling frontman who has a poet’s sensibility and plays a mean guitar too. Songs such as the woozy "Narrow Road" are simply mesmerizing. The show begins at 8 p.m. at the Treelawn Social Club. Tickets cost $15.
15335 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

Black Wolf & the Thief
This regional act celebrates the release of its new album, The Darkness Around Us Is Deep, with tonight's show at Modern Methods Brewing in Warren with special guest Candice Campana. This is a free show, and the music starts at 7.
125 Dave Growl Alley, 330-333-1594, modernmethodsbrew.com.

The Buffalo Ryders
After a steady year of regional touring, Cleveland’s Buffalo Ryders — singer-guitarist Joe Risdon, drummer Mike Lupica and bassist Kevin McManus — recorded Going Nowhere, the follow-up to their 2021 debut, Where the Liars Go, at Amish Electric Chair Studios in Athens, OH with producer-engineer Neil Tuuri in February 2022. The band celebrates its release with tonight's show at Musica in Akron.
51 East Market St., Akron, 330-374-1114, akronmusica.com.

Jingle Bell Holiday Shop
Some 50 vendors will be on hand for this annual holiday sip 'n' shop event that takes place today at 11 a.m. at the Grog Shop.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588, grogshop.gs.

Lea Marra & the Dreamcatchers Release Party
This local indie pop act celebrates the release of its new holiday EP with tonight's show at the Grog Shop. The local Americana group the Morning Bird and the not-so-traditional bluegrass act the Sugar Mules open the show. It all starts at 8.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588, grogshop.gs.

Whitey Morgan & the 78s/Texas Plant

Midwest honky-tonk country done right. Flint, MI-based Whitey Morgan helms a tight band that throws listeners back to whiskey-slammin’ outlaw days — another era when country music had a beating, rambunctious heart. Tonight's show begins at 8 at House of Blues. Tickets cost $25.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583, houseofblues.com.

Q & A with Archived Artist Rebecca Kaler
From 1 to 2:30 p.m. today at the the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve Gallery, Mansfield, OH-born Rebecca Kaler, who's known for her vivid abstraction, will discuss her currently exhibited work, her history as an artist, and her career as a gallery curator in an intimate, conversational setting.
1834 East 123rd St., 216-721-9020, artistsarchives.org.

SUN 12/11
Breakfast with Santa

This holiday tradition takes place from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. There will be a limited, seating breakfast inside the magically decorated gardens. Following breakfast, meet Santa for a, photo and to share your wish list. There will be an array of crafts, including creating a custom, cookie plate for Santa when he visits. Advance ticket purchase is required.
11030 East Blvd., 216-721-1600, cbgarden.org.

Dave Koz and Friends 25th Anniversary Christmas Tour
Special guests Rick Braun, Peter White, Keiko Matsui and Rebecca Jade join sax man Dave Koz for the 25th anniversary of his Christmas tour. The concert begins tonight at 7:30 at Connor Palace. Tickets start at $45.
1615 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Foals
"2001," a track from Foals' latest album, Life Is Yours, features a disco/funk-informed beat that makes the tune one of the most danceable tracks from the group's catalog. Expect to hear it along with songs from the band's previous efforts tonight at the Agora. The show starts at 6:30. Check the club's website for more info.
5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221, agoracleveland.com.

In Conversation: Chef Douglas Katz
Chef Douglas Katz, owner of Zhug, Amb, and Chimi, will speak at 3 p.m. today at the Fairmount Center for the Arts. He'll discuss food, restaurants and travels.
8400 Fairmount Rd., Novelty, 440-338-3171, fairmountcenter.org.

Preacher Lawson
Best known for his appearance on season 12 of NBC’s hit series, America's Got Talent, this comedian has competed in other talent shows as well. Along with George Lopez and Lisa Vanderpump, he hosts the Facebook Watch series World's Most Amazing Dogs. He performs today at 5 and 7:30 at Hilarities. Check the venue's website for more info.
2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425, pickwickandfrolic.com.

The Magical Polar Experience
A conductor will punch your tickets when you arrive at this special holiday event that takes place today at the Kent Stage. The event, which begins at 4 p.m., will include a screening of The Polar Express, live music, dancers and photo opportunities with Santa.
175 E. Main St., Kent, 330-677-5005, kentstage.org.

Dan Weiss
While drummer Dan Weiss has long been known as an original voice stretching the boundaries of modern jazz into realms of contemporary classical, metal, Indian music and prog rock, the roots of his music remain firmly in the jazz tradition. He brings his trio to the Bop Stop tonight at 7. Tickets cost $20.
2920 Detroit Ave., 216-771-6551, themusicsettlement.org.

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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