Author Paul McComas doesn't read books at his signings -- he sings them. The Illinois performer is on a cross-country junket for his second novel, Unplugged. It's the story of Dayna Clay, a bisexual rocker who retreats to South Dakota to fight the blues.
The book was motivated by Rock Against Depression, a project McComas formed in 1995 in response to Kurt Cobain's suicide. For five years, the onetime manic-depressive traveled the country with his band, playing Nirvana songs and dispensing info about the warning signs and treatment options for depression. On his current book tour, he plays the pop-punk songs from the book's companion CD, with the help of Cleveland drummer Renée Goldstein and Chicago singer Erin Walsh.
Unplugged deals with the depths of depression, but McComas says it's more of a tale of self-reinvention. "I could not, in good conscience, have [Dayna] relapse at the end," he says. McComas performs and signs his book at 7 p.m. Friday at Mac's Backs, 1820 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights (call 216-321-2665) and 3 p.m. Saturday at Learned Owl Books, 204 North Main Street in Hudson (call 800-968-2685). Admission to both events is free. -- Cris Glaser
Orville & Wilbur get the modern-dance treatment.
Debbie Blunden-Diggs says producing The Flight Project was a no-brainer for her Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. After all, it's a hometown tribute to Dayton's own Wright brothers. "This is our celebration of 100 years of flight, using the [central] theme of flight," says the associate artistic director. Two of the five works commissioned for the piece -- Bill T. Jones's " . . . and Before" and Bebe Miller's "Aerodigm" -- will be performed Saturday at Cain Park's Evans Amphitheater. "All of the choreographers tackled the subject differently," says Blunden-Diggs. Find out if any of 'em involve running around the stage with outstretched arms when The Flight Project touches down at 8 p.m. Cain Park is at the corner of Lee and Superior roads in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $11 to $18; call 216-371-3000. -- Michael Gallucci
A Sort of Homecoming
Tim Easton heads up an Akron music fest.
Singer-songwriter Tim Easton comes home to Akron Friday, and the restless troubadour -- he's lived in Columbus, Los Angeles, and now Athens, Georgia -- is bringing with him a gaggle of songs from his most recent album, the superfine Break Your Mother's Heart. It's his most dynamic record, blending back-porch Americana with wall-of-sound pop. He's always a treat live, too, moving effortlessly from pensive folk to gritty rock. Easton headlines a local music festival -- featuring the Brian Lisik Band and Easton's occasional backing group Rosavelt -- at 6 p.m. at Lock 3 Park (200 South Main Street in Akron). Tickets are $5; call 330-253-2488 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
Taste of Portugal
Mariza's world-music blend of pop, folk, and jazz is a new-generation take on the traditional torch songs of her native Portugal. It's also tremendously intimate, so expect a night of distinctive, sensual music when she makes her Ohio debut at the Cleveland Museum of Art's Gartner Auditorium (11150 East Boulevard). Show time is 7:30. Tickets range from $17 to $22; call 216-421-7350. -- Michael Gallucci