Dirty Dolls and Tricky Dick's Dog

Welcome to the wonderful world of independent films.

Cleveland Hts. Community Center, Mayfield Rd. and Monticello Blvd., 216-691-7373.
20,000 Leagues Under the Industry Film Festival - surfaces this weekend.
20,000 Leagues Under the Industry Film Festival surfaces this weekend.

For those of you who've been pining for movies offering political commentary from Richard Nixon's dog, we have some good news: This weekend's 20,000 Leagues Under the Industry Film Festival features a flick (7 Days) with that very premise! "We saw it in Chicago," says filmmaker Matthew T., who programs the two-day fest with collaborator Marcel DeJure. "And it just blew us away."

The fifth annual event includes such diverse offerings as Dirty Baby Does Fire Island, a stop-motion short about a doll that gets caught in a downward spiral of huffing and voyeurism, and Man on a Hydrological Dam, about a guy who's more than a little displeased with his life in an alternate dimension. Best, however, are Tales of Mere Existence (a collection of animated tales about sex) and Argent Liquide, a cross between THX 1138 and Brazil.

"We created [the indie showcase] out of spite," says Matthew T. "We were frustrated by the lack of access to this type of work in Cleveland." The films screen at 9 p.m. Friday and 1, 3, 6, and 9 p.m. Saturday at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road. Tickets are $5, available by calling 216-383-1124. -- James Renner

Lost Cause
Movie digs obscure singer.


Jandek is a reclusive and mysterious Houston-based singer-songwriter who's self-recorded and -released 35 albums over the past 25 years. His fan base is made up of obsessive music types, like college-radio DJs and music critics. He releases his work under an enigmatic imprint, Corwood Industries. And his music -- damaged folk-blues, usually played on out-of-tune guitars -- is, to put it mildly, difficult. Yet the documentary Jandek on Corwood, which explores the man's mythos, is enthralling . . . even if it never really grounds its subject (who doesn't do interviews or make appearances; in fact, nobody even knows who he is). "We were just looking for a good story," says Paul Fehler, who produced the film. "He wasn't part of the punk movement, but you get the feeling he wanted to do this for a long time and just did it. Just like the punk kids." Jandek on Corwood plays at 7 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Boulevard. Admission is $7; call 216-707-2465. -- Michael Gallucci

The Greatest Interaction of Matter and Energy on Earth
Science Center takes all the fun out of the circus.


Don't try this at home: Circus! Science Under the Big Top is for physics geeks who want to know how daredevils defy the odds without killing themselves. The hands-on exhibit teaches kids in harnesses how physics, biology, and psychology help them cross a tightrope nine feet in the air. And a sword swallower shares secrets on how to plunge a long, steel blade down your throat. Get the lawyers on the phone . . . Circus! opens Saturday and runs through January 2 at the Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Avenue. It's open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $12.95, $4.95 for kids; call 216-694-2000. -- Cris Glaser

Labor Day


Heather Drago will turn photographs of children into life-sized images in charcoal and pastels at City Artists at Work. "There's a balance I try to portray between the natural naïveté inherent in all children and a strong sense of individuality," she explains. More than 40 artists will ply their trade from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at nine locations around town. Admission is free. For a complete schedule, visit www.cityartistsatwork.com. -- Cris Glaser

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