Bello Nock says he's the "oddball" from an eight-generation dynasty of acrobats. In the Greatest Show on Earth, his eight-inch tuft of straight-in-the-air red hair backs up the claim. "I wear it with the help of a lot of hair spray," says the 37-year-old Nock. "I'm a daredevil that makes people laugh."
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus' 135th edition also stars ringmaster Ty McFarlan leading a cavalcade of acts: Brian and Tina Miser are simultaneously launched from a cannon at 65 miles an hour, Alberto and Mauricio Aguilar balance on a high wire 25 feet above the ground, and Luciano and Gladys Anastasini shepherd ponies and dogs through a series of tricks.
But Nock's 40-foot-high Whirling Vortex of Vertigo -- a huge hamster wheel in which he tumbles and somersaults -- steals the show. "I want to make crowds gasp and laugh," he says. "Life, to me, is one big circus." The circus comes to town Friday through October 30 at Quicken Loans Arena, 100 Gateway Plaza. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m., 3:30, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 to $70; call 216-241-5555. -- Cris Glaser
Up on the Roof
Club gets around those pesky tailgate laws.
You can thank Jane Campbell for the Velvet Dog's Rooftop Tailgate parties. "We got the idea when the mayor put the clamp-down on drinking," says marketing manager Tino Roncone. "Here we are, two or three blocks away from the stadium, and we have an outdoor patio. Why not host a tailgate party before the game?" Before every Browns home game this season (like Sunday's against the Detroit Lions), revelers can eat, drink, and bitch about the team, all while wearing copious amounts of orange and brown. "It's really casual compared to what we normally have coming into the club," says Roncone. And if you don't have tickets to the game, no worries. The club's outdoor video screens beam all the action. The party starts at 10 a.m. at the Velvet Dog, 1280 West Sixth Street. Admission is free. Call 216-664-1116 for more information. -- Katherine Fulton
Songs in the Key of Matt
Songwriters team up for tour.
Tourmates Matt Nathanson (pictured) and Matt Wertz share more than a first name. They also have a mutual affinity for smart, sharp songwriting, which can be as personal as it is universal. Both also mix reflective, acoustic ballads with plugged-in and punched-up rockers that cut through their pointed words with buzzing guitars. Nathanson's still on the road, supporting 2003's Beneath These Fireworks and prepping a live CD due next year. Wertz's recently released EP, Today & Tomorrow, should sate fans till his new album drops (also on tap for next year). They're at the Odeon (1295 Old River Road) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $15, available by calling 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
Comedian Bobby Slayton doesn't like you. "I hate people," he says. "People ask where I get my material. I just walk down the street and see people littering and not making a right turn on red." Masochists can be despised and laugh it up at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre (2035 East Fourth Street) at 8 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 to $23; call 216-736-4242. -- P.F. Wilson