Melora Creager first picked up the cello when she was nine years old, because "the bigness appealed to me." These days, the frontwoman for cello-rock ensemble Rasputina has other motives for playing the massive string instrument. "I've never been limited for sound or ideas," she says. "I keep learning more."
Rasputina has a new live album, A Radical Recital, to promote. "But I don't want to focus on it," says Creager. "We did it; it's done." The CD is available only at the band's shows and on its website. It features a decade's worth of original tunes, as well as covers of Heart's "Barracuda" (which fits remarkably well within the context) and Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" (which doesn't). "Even though I learned the cello in classical realms, I've gotten further and further away from that," says Creager. "I'm more into rock music and how it's put together. I like investigating that."
Fans appreciate the genre-jumping, even if it leaves traditional-minded listeners baffled. "It's hard to expose people to different worlds," notes Creager. "Classical doesn't really cross into rock. It's like segregation." Rasputina is at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $19; call 216-383-1124. -- Michael Gallucci
A former music bad boy returns to the Cleveland Orchestra.
Once regarded as the enfant terrible of classical music, a man who frequently lashed out at the performers he's worked with, French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez has always been a welcome guest of the Cleveland Orchestra. So says Joela Jones, the ensemble's principal keyboardist, who met Boulez shortly after his Cleveland debut in 1965 and has since made numerous recordings with him. "We've all heard these dreadful stories about him," she says. "With us, though, he's never shown anything but unbelievable control, patience, and kindness." Boulez leads the orchestra this weekend in a program of works by Igor Stravinsky. "I don't think there's anyone who conducts Stravinsky the way Boulez does," says Jones. "He's so committed to the music and so logical and meticulous." Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $27 to $75, available by calling 216-231-1111. -- Zachary Lewis
Boys Will Be Girls
Female impersonators strut their stuff at a new weekly show.
In a black-satin gown accessorized with a jewel-studded choker and glittery eye shadow, Mahogany Reason (pictured) became one of the Ladies of Illusion a couple of weeks ago, when trendy eatery Four Seasons ushered in Cleveland's newest Saturday-night drag show. Hosted by fast-talking Paco Martinez, the weekly cabaret stars a rotating cast of female impersonators (and an occasional male stripper) from Northeast Ohio and surrounding states -- from Akron's Samantha Styles and Danyel Vasquez to Fort Wayne's Ginger Manchester. And the kitchen serves up its own bit of magic: plates of all-you-can-eat spaghetti for $6.99. Show time is 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Four Seasons, 5800 Detroit Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-281-3962 for more information. -- Cris Glaser
Men of Constant Touring
Just because the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack doesn't have a prime spot in the CD changer these days doesn't mean that bluegrass music's disappeared. It's merely retreated to the fringes it occupied prior to Brother's buzz. One of the genre's finest groups, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, has a new album (You Gotta Dig a Little Deeper) and a new tour, which comes to OJ Work Auditorium (151 Broad Street in Wadsworth) at 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15; call 330-645-1542. -- Michael Gallucci