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Labor Day's over, but that doesn't mean the fun is



Pickwick & Frolic Turns 8

If you're not Chinese, you probably regard the Bronze Anniversary with something resembling apathy — eight seems so inconsequential, after all. But it's considered auspicious in Chinese culture because the word for "eight" sounds so similar to the word for "prosper" or "wealth." This information is far more valuable in its trivia context but should also delight the proprietors of Pickwick & Frolic, who've elected to label tonight's celebration an anniversary as opposed to a birthday, which would have made way more sense. Celebrate eight splendid years with tonight's show, hosted by Mike Farrell and featuring the no-nonsense comedy stylings of homeboys Mike Polk, Quinn Patterson, and Barry Weintraub. Anticipate a sufficiently busted gut. Hilarities is at 2035 East 4th Street downtown; call 216-241-7425 or go to — Sam Allard



Paul Mooney, Friend of Redd Foxx

Paul Mooney never holds his tongue, during interviews or when he hits the stage. "The people in the industry know what I can do," he says "I get respect. It's all right if I'm not a household name. Some very good comics respect what I do." Among Mooney's biggest fans were the late Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, with whom he wrote episodes of Sanford and Son. Foxx, the show's star, would call him just to get a laugh. But Mooney, who performs tonight through Sunday at the Improv, doesn't care that he has never amassed more than a cult following. "You have to tell it like it is — or at least I do," he says. "In television, there are gatekeepers. It's free to do what you want when you do stand-up. I take advantage of that freedom every time I take the stage." The Improv is at 2000 Sycamore in the Flats. Tickets are $20. Show time is 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 216-696-4677. — Ed Condran


Akron Art Museum Gets BaadAssss

Among the luminaries who appear in Isaac Julien's film about black independent filmmaking in the '70s, Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson are the owners of perhaps the baddest asses. But Julien's is pretty bad too. He is a man who wears many hats — hats that include but are by no means limited to movies, installation art, and academia. His latest effort examines the "blaxploitation" movement and complements his installation True North, on display at the Akron Art Museum through October 3. The screening begins at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the Lehner Auditorium. The museum is at 1 South High Street in Akron. Learn more by calling 330-376-9185 or visit — Allard



Local Dance Groups Share the Stage

Northeast Ohio may not have a major ballet company, but it's a surprisingly active place for small dance ensembles. Each year, Playhouse Square offers a sample of what they do at its Dance Showcase, taking place at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre (1615 Euclid Ave.). The companies range from established groups like Verb Ballets, Ohio Dance Theatre, and MorrisonDance, to lesser knowns like Travesty Dance Group. Each one performs for about eight minutes tonight. A sneak preview dance number from Billy Elliot the Musical rounds out the free program. Go to or call 216-241-6000 for more information. — Pantsios


AC/DC Tribute Invades

House of Blues

If you never got to see AC/DC in concert, you can invest $10 or $15 on a ticket to see what Sony Music and Live Nation have identified as the closest thing to a reincarnation performing today. Frontman Darren Caperna evidently has the uncanny ability to evoke the voices and personas of both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson, AC/DC's iconic screamers. All the band's literature guarantees an insanely high-octane show, and it starts at 7 p.m., so party on East 4th while you're trying to get "You Shook Me All Night Long" out of your head. House of Blues is at 308 Euclid Avenue downtown. Call 216-523-2583 or check out — Allard


Block Party at Playhouse Square

Maybe your block party has free pizza donated by a local joint, and maybe a furious cornhole tournament to cap the evening. Chances are it doesn't have a walking tour that stops at the birthplace of rock & roll (Alan Freed's studio) among other historic neighborhood attractions. And it almost certainly doesn't end with dance performances at the Palace Theatre. Those are two of the perks for the Playhouse Square Block Party at Star Plaza — where there will be bands, food, and a cash bar. The 11th annual event takes place from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at Star Plaza on Playhouse Square. Tickets are $25; available by calling 216-241-6000 or logging on to — Michael Gill



The Great Lake Erie Boat Float

One of the scarier pollution stories going around these days centers on the enormous amount of discarded plastics ending up in the ocean. The folks behind the second annual Great Lake Erie Boat Float hope to get you thinking about recycling those plastics rather than dumping them. Participants have assembled watercraft out of plastic bags, water bottles, and anything else they've found lying around, and they'll launch them at 9 a.m. today. After the boats have floated out 300 feet and back, prizes will be awarded for the fastest and most artistic of them, as well as for best use of recyclable materials. It's free to watch and get ideas for next year, but the organizers want to put you to work: They're inviting observers to bring trash bags and help pick up discarded plastics from the beach. The whole thing is sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; go to for more information. — Anastasia Pantsios


An Art Museum Tradition Turns 21

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Chalk Festival, now in its 21st year, is one of the institution’s signature events, grounded in an old Italian tradition where people copied art works on the plazas outside cathedrals using charcoal. CMA’s festival invites professional area artists and enthusiastic amateurs to make their own designs, inspired by the museum’s collection, on the walkways south of the museum by the lagoon (11150 East Blvd.). If you’re one of those amateurs and don’t want to go into the event next week unprepared, take heart: The museum is offering workshops in which you can make your own chalk and learn drawing techniques to get you off on the right foot. The workshops, at 2 p.m. today and 6 p.m. Wednesday, are $25 per person or $75 per family, but also includes workshop materials and chalk and registration for the festival — $8 for a small square and box of chalk, $16 for a large square and bigger box of chalk. The festival next week (which is free to observers) also features music by Dubflex (Saturday) and Cats on Holiday (Sunday), plus previews of community mural designs the museum is sponsoring. Call 216-707-2483 or e-mail [email protected] to register for the class or the festival. Go to for more information. — Pantsios


Little Italy's Wine Celebration

Italian buffet dinner at Holy Rosary Church in the heart of Cleveland's Little Italy: $15. An intimate discussion about grapes and winemaking with Doug Moorhead of Presque Isle Wine Cellars: Free. Entry fee if you'd like your home-crafted varietal judged in an American Wine Society certified regional competition: $20. The knowledge that all proceeds go to the Montessori School at Holy Rosary and financial aid packages for children who otherwise might not be able to attend: Priceless. The bonus knowledge that a ton of greater Clevelanders are making wine in their basements: Worthless, unless you can find out how to get your hands on some. The talk starts at 1 p.m.; dinner is at 4 at Holy Rosary Church (12021 Mayfield Road in Little Italy). — Allard


Shaker Square's First Garlic Fest

It's disappointing to see how much of the garlic in local stores is imported from China. Garlic is ideally suited to growing in Northeast Ohio's climate — if you can remember to plant it in the fall like you're supposed to. That'll be harder to forget this year, as the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square hosts its first Garlic Festival, a fundraiser for the market and a celebration of all things relating to the pungent bulb. Running from 1 to 10 p.m. today (starting an hour after the regular weekly market closes at noon) and noon to 8 p.m. tomorrow, the festival features the crowning of a Garlic King and Queen and a Miss Garlic, cooking demonstrations, grill-offs with some of the area's top chefs, a tent where kids can see garlic growing and pot their own, wine tastings, and a beer tent. "We have phenomenal farmers bringing in garlic," says North Union's Donita Anderson. "You can really tell the difference between garlic from China and local garlic. The local garlic is so rich, it bites back." Admission is $8, or $15 for both days; kids are $3 each day. Go to for more information. — Pantsios


Pandemonium on Detroit

"We don't ask them to perform and go home" Beth Wood says about the fact that some 250 dancers, actors, musicians, stilt walkers, and other artists will lend their skills to Cleveland Public Theatre's annual "Pandemonium" benefit. "They are part of the party." Add several hundred guests and mix with drinks, and you've got what has for years been one of the movingest, shakingest parties in town. Among the performers this year are Lost State of Franklin, several area dance companies, Wild Things monster puppets designed for Parade the Circle by the art museum's Robin VanLear, a fire show by Aaron Bonk, and Pandemonium perennial fave Lounge Kitty. The event also marks the public debut of a newly enclosed former alley between CPT's Gordon Square and James Levin theatres. Pandemonium reigns at 7 p.m. Saturday, September 11, at Cleveland Public Theatre (6415 Detroit Ave., Tickets are steep — $125 — but the memories will linger quite possibly forever. — Gill


The Annual Lantern Awards

Two of Scene's own — Arts Editor Michael Gill and cartoonist Derf — are in line to be honored at tonight's Lantern Awards, the annual celebration of Cleveland's literary luminaries. Sponsored by the LIT (formerly the Poets' and Writers' League of Greater Cleveland), tonight's soiree includes a tribute to the late Harvey Pekar — yet another artiste with ties to this humble rag. Tickets are $35, but upgrade to $50 for bonus admission to the Turn of the Page after-party at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. Note that hobnobbing with regional literary celebrities is more gratifying than hobnobbing with rock stars because of both vocab and approachability. (Also, oddly enough, native sex appeal.) It all happens downtown at the Palace Theatre, 1615 Euclid Ave. Call 216-241-6000 or go to for tickets. — Allard



House Envy

There's nothing quite like a "vernacular Victorian with arts & crafts elements" or a "southern-inspired cottage situated in a high-garden paradise" to reinforce just exactly how much your own home resembles a trash can. Today's Tour de Lakewood makes for a nice change of pace from this summer's woeful dinner-and-a-movie fare. Just be forewarned: Residential walking tours have the effect of exacerbating certain emotional tides in any relationship. This likely stems from the fact that everything with estrogen really does love flowers and everything with testosterone (as the result of some peculiar primordial mishap) secretly or unconsciously honors gardening above all things. Weird dynamics emerge. But it just might be the balm your turbulent romance is needing. Fifteen buckaroos for a charming afternoon (1-6 p.m.) with six of Lakewood's finest. Tickets can be purchased at the Beck Center, Rozi's Wine House, Local Girl Gallery, Geiger's Clothing & Sports, and the Lakewood Historical Society. — Allard


Food Party at the Art Institute

Ever since the whole "let's give veggies to Cookie Monster" debacle, puppets and food have been subject to intense scrutiny. Now Thu Tran, a 2005 Cleveland Institute of Art grad, has redefined the relationship. Her show, Food Party, features puppets that help her create culinary art in a cardboard kitchen — and they get the job done in less than 15 minutes. Food Party simmered to a start in Cleveland and boiled over to New York — it now can be seen Tuesday nights on the Independent Film Channel. It was named a favorite by L.A. Times' Robert Lloyd, and tonight, Tran will show clips from the show and answer questions about her process at "A Food Party Party with Thu Tran," hosted by the Cinematheque. Bring your food questions and your long-buried love of puppets to the Cleveland Institute of Art's Aitken Auditorium at 11141 East Blvd. in University Circle tonight at 7. Tickets are $10 ($7 for Cinematheque members) and can be purchased at the door from 2:45-3:45 p.m. or after 6 p.m. There's free parking in the CIA lot. — Rebecca McKinsey


Tremont Ravaged by Civil War

If there's one truly family-friendly organization in Northeast Ohio, it's Hale Farm. Dearie me, are those people the companionable sort. And they'll be in Tremont's Lincoln Park this weekend, transporting the grounds to the early 1860s. Sunday's activities include an old-time string band called the Black River Boys (the grammatical and subsequent political correctness of whose title we won't fully dissect here), a firing demonstration at 12:45 p.m., many and sundry drills, and an Abe Lincoln reenactor. Camp breaks at 1500 hours, so get your fill before then. — Allard



Flaunt Your Curl Advantage

Tonight, for once, your bad hair day gets a happy ending: Lakewood Public Library hosts "The Curl Advantage," a program for curly-haired lasses who abhor humidity, straight-haired women who bust out the curling iron each morning — even men and kids who boast an unnatural interest in such matters. Bonnie Fencl, owner of Carabel Beauty Salon in Lakewood and editorial advisor to Beauty Store Business magazine, provides a forum for you to vent about your hair dramas and solutions for fixing them. There will be advice, stories, demonstrations, and — best of all — free samples. Stop by the library anytime from 7-8:30 p.m. for some quality hair talk. The library is at 15425 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Call 216-226-8275 for more information. — McKinsey


Meet the Miracle Fruit

The new-agey B-Side Liquor Lounge brings back eco-friendly culinary apparel gurus Stove Monkeys tonight to host an evening of wacky flavors. Upon entry, you'll get a West African berry — christened the "Miracle Fruit" by ultra-exclusive foodie types — which will temporarily reorient your taste buds. And then: Guinness, indeed, tastes like chocolate milk. Goat cheese tastes like cheesecake. Lemons taste like candy! Bottles of vinegar can and should be dauntlessly chugged. Drinks are half-off on Mondays at B-Side, so sidle up to guest mixologist Mike Dulley for exotic and truly one-of-a-kind concoctions. B-Side is at 2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard (beneath the Grog Shop); call 216-932-1966 or visit — Allard



Babes in Nature at Shaker Lakes

You're never too young to start learning about nature, insist the fine folks at Shaker Lakes Park in Cleveland Heights. (The jury is still out re: when you're too old. It might be when you start assuming "Babes in Nature" is a new title for your Netflix queue.) But bring your little ones, won't you, to the Nature Center for what promises to be more than high-production baby talk. Any tot between two months and two years is welcome with a caretaker. It's $7 per stroller, and they'd kill for exact change. The Nature Center is at 2600 South Park Boulevard; call 216-321-5935 or visit — Allard

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