Auto Focus

Car show puts you in the driver's seat.

The Condom Queen's retirement party House of Blues, 308 Euclid Avenue From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23; $60; call 216-961-8804
Test drive 2006 models at this weekend's Auto Show - in Motion.
Test drive 2006 models at this weekend's Auto Show in Motion.

General Motors doesn't mind if you look at the competition. At Auto Show in Motion, the carmaker even hands out keys, the better to compare its 2006 models with those of its rivals.

On several courses (including one on gravel), prospective buyers can measure the latest Saabs, Saturns, and Buicks against competing models by Ford and BMW. Step on the gas to see how the V-8 engine performs in the Chevy Corvette and Cadillac CTS-V. "It's a course where you can go really fast through these hairpin turns," explains spokeswoman Jackie Tate. "So you'll have an opportunity to go at high speed to get the full thrill of driving a Corvette."

The objective is to compare prices and performances before the new models hit showrooms this fall. "If you go to a dealership, you test that car and only that car," says Tate. "Here, you can test the competitive car and actually feel which one is better for you." Test drives happen from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at the I-X Center, 1 I-X Center Drive. Admission is free; call 877-843-2746. -- Cris Glaser

Coating Check
Spaces looks at enamel.


We never gave much thought to enamel or how it can be applied to artwork. But after seeing Enamel: Beyond the Object, Spaces' new exhibit opening Thursday, we gotta admit, we're pretty impressed with the history and scope of the industry. Nearly a dozen artists from around the country contribute to the show, which features an installation that traces Cleveland's link to enameling, a mixed-media piece that includes the sound of sifting ground enamel onto metal, and even a work that makes a political statement with recycled enamel and steel. It's tough stuff that's as informative as it is pretty. Enamel is at Spaces (2220 Superior Viaduct) through August 5. It's open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is free. Call 216-621-2314 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci

Down to the Wire
Blues guitarist follows in his dad's footsteps.

FRI 6/25

Chris Beard is a New York bluesman who was -- as the first track on his new CD, Live Wire, declares -- "Born to Play the Blues." His dad is Joe Beard, who's gigged with Memphis Slim, Albert King, and others; Chris is just as scorching on the fretboard. On Live Wire, he tears through a set of originals as well as a faithful cover of Luther Allison's "A Change Must Come." The highlight, however, is the 15-minute, three-part "It's Over," which takes a couple minutes out of its regularly scheduled jam for a boss bass solo. Hopefully, Beard will play it on Friday at Fat Fish Blue, 21 Prospect Avenue. Show time is 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 216-875-6000. -- Michael Gallucci

Gaga for Gershwin

SAT 6/25

Michael Feinstein drags out his catalogue of Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin standards on Saturday, when he shares the stage with the North Coast Men's Chorus. Feinstein knows his Gershwin: After graduating from a Columbus high school, he moved to California and served an apprenticeship under the legendary lyricist. Feinstein performs at 8 p.m. at the Allen Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $30 to $100; call 216-241-6000. -- Cris Glaser

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