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This week's event picks go well with beer

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Concha Buika at the Art Museum

Concha Buika spent a few months back in 2001 as a Tina Turner impersonator in Las Vegas. These days, she's riding a career founded on her own voice. It's a sound mixed from the earthy sensuality of a blues singer and the raspy vocal and Spanish/Arabic rhythms of flamenco, with the sophistication of a jazz trio. That creole developed in her childhood when her parents — African political refugees — made their home in a gypsy neighborhood on the Spanish Island of Mallorca. Growing up there in the 1980s, Buika made the sound and sultry rhythms her own. But it took until 2005 for that voice to find a commercial outlet in her first solo album. Her third — a 2008 disc called Nina de Fuego — scored a Grammy nomination. She opens the Cleveland Museum of Art's Viva and Gala series with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Gartner Auditorium (11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, Tickets are $34 to $39. — Michael Gill



Brian Regan Owes It All to ... Himself

Comedian Brian Regan is often billed as one of the few headliners in America who has made the leap from comedy clubs to theaters without the exposure of his own TV show or film. "It's not that I didn't want my own TV show or film," he says from his home in Vegas. "I just didn't get the parts." Regan was raised in South Florida, but he has ties to Ohio: He spent time at Heidelberg College before dropping out to pursue stand-up full time. He's been on tour since 1984. "It's not like rock stars, right, who're like: 'Man, we're goin' on tour for three months to promote this new album. When you're a comedian, you're like: I'm goin' on tour and I'm never coming back!" Critics and peers agree that Regan's style represents an almost perfect balance of sophisticated writing and physicality. He says he just tries to be funny: "Sometimes when you're writing material, you can get really cute and clever. You'll say to yourself, man am I one clever son of a gun. Look at how clever all this is. And then you get onstage and no one's laughing. So the part of your brain that wants to survive while you're saying something clever will say, 'Why don't you say this funny thing instead?'" The funny stuff tumbles forth tonight at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium, at the corner of Franklin Blvd. and West 140th Street in Lakewood. Tickets are $37.50, available by calling 216-529-4081. — Sam Allard


Boo at the Zoo!

Get on the ball and make a reservation if you're planning to take the kids to one of the wildly popular Boo at the Zoo evenings at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (3900 Wildlife Way). October 23 is already sold out, but you can still snag tickets for tonight and tomorrow, as well as October 28 through 31. It's a rare chance to see how animals act when the light starts to fade, and enjoy attractions like the Creepy Crawly Critter Animal Show, the Monster Mash Dance Party, and the Jack-O-Lantern Express Train Ride. A hay maze, live music, magic shows, stiltwalkers, and treat-filled sacks add up to an evening that could make the real Halloween seem sort of anticlimactic. Kids and parents are invited to come in "non-scary" costumes. It's $8 per person. Call 877-772-5425 or go to for more information or to order tickets. — Pantsios


Punching the Clock at Mac's Backs

Given the thousands upon thousands of jobs that have been lost in Ohio, you might think that anyone with work these days would be so overcome with joy that they wouldn't ever think to complain. That's not exactly how it goes. Behind all the statistics are real people working for meager livings if they are lucky, and lots of others who aren't. Speaking on their behalf are poets and writers from Walt Whitman and Bob Dylan to Woody Guthrie, Eminem, and NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu. Those authors and many more get their say in Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams (Coffeehouse Press), a forthcoming anthology edited by Detroit poet and musician M.L. Liebler. Liebler and four Ohio writers whose work appears in the book — Maggie Anderson, Jeanne Bryner, Ray McNiece, and Larry Smith — will be at Mac's Backs Paperbacks to read from it and sign copies. It happens at 7 p.m. Thursday at 1820 Coventry Rd. in Cleveland Heights. Call 216-321-2665 or go to — Gill


John Caparulo on Life's Little Things

It's no surprise that the humor of John Caparulo first connected with guys. The diminutive comic From East Liverpool, Ohio, is a sports-obsessed, ball-cap-sporting couch potato who hunkers down with The Simpsons and SpongeBob. "I'm a man," Caparulo helpfully notes, on a call from his Los Angeles home. "I'm pretty typical. I do what guys do and watch what guys watch, and I talk about a lot of that onstage." To Caparulo, "guy talk" is another way of saying worthless BS. "I don't talk about politics or anything that's bigger than me," he says. "I'm the kind of guy who gets ticked off when they raise the prices at Taco Bell. I want to know why they would do that. I would love it if there was world peace, but I'm more concerned about the more trivial things in life. I've found that I'm not the only one who is like that. My audience proves that there are a lot of people who are driven nuts by seemingly trivial things. It's good to know that I'm not the only one out there who is like this." Caparulo opens a weekend stint at Hilarities tonight. Showtimes are 8 p.m. tonight, 7:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 tonight and Sunday, $23 on Friday, and $25 Saturday. Hilarities is at 2035 East Fourth St. downtown. For more information, call 216-736-4242. — Ed Condran



MOCA Honors Hip-Hop

Hate hip-hop? The Museum of Contemporary Art thinks you’ll still like tonight’s “The Art of Emceeing.” The interactive program explores preconceived notions about the genre with help from veteran Cleveland MC Jahi, who has been making his positive, jazz-and-soul-flavored music for more than a decade. His latest release is titled Motivation Music, and it’s designed to uplift and inspire. So it’s no surprise that MOCA describes the event as “family-friendly” and “socially conscious.” Yes, you can bring the kids and not worry about hearing a hailstorm of racial and sexist epithets. Planning to come? MOCA asks that you arrive armed with thoughts about two questions: “What was your first experience with hip-hop?” and “Do you consider emceeing an art form or entertainment?” There will be a quiz! It starts at 7:30 p.m. at MOCA (8501 Carnegie Ave.). It’s free. Call 216-461-8671 or go to for more information. — Pantsios



Brewzilla at the Galleria

That extra-contented look you've noticed on the faces of folks everywhere lately is the warm and fortifying glow of Cleveland Beer Week. It started last week and featured hundreds of suds-centric events at locales all over town. Now it culminates with tonight's ultimate beer party: BREWzilla, the self-styled "Monster of a Beer Tasting" at the Galleria. It features the nectar of more than 80 breweries, including six beers crafted specifically for the occasion, along with appropriate food pairings. Admission grants you unlimited access to the beverages, plus delights such as a hot dog bar — and all proceeds benefit the Jimmy Malone Scholarship Fund. It happens from 6-11 p.m. Saturday, October 23, at the Galleria at Erieview (1301 East Ninth St. downtown). Tickets are $50 or $75 for "Brewer's Circle" guests, and special pricing is available for designated drivers. For more information, go to — Reed Hazen


The Piston Power Show

Where can you find an army of drooling, google-eyed guys this weekend? Now that our area's beaches are closed, try the I-X Center — where Piston Power: A Celebration of Speed takes place today and tomorrow. Its slogan: "If a piston makes it go, it's in the show," so you know this one's stockpiled with vehicles of all kinds: cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and planes. There will be antiques and cutting-edge vehicles and dragsters, racers including Danica Patrick (again with the google eyes?!) and Hershel McGriff, motorcycle stunt shows by the Starboyz ("do not attempt to duplicate these feats," their website warns, as if you could anyway), and loads of memorabilia and vehicle-related items for sale. You can even take a rig home: More than 150 classic vehicles will be up for auction. The family Toyota will never look the same. Piston Power runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are $12; kids under 12 are free. The I-X Center is at 6200 Riverside Dr., by the airport. Go to for more information. — Pantsios


In another month or so, the Mill Stream Run Reservation's Chalet Recreation Area will be ground zero for wintertime tobogganing fun. But for now it's all crisp autumn weather and panoramic beauty as the Metroparks host their family hayrides this weekend and next. Sunday night's action is particularly festive: From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. they'll be offering up old-fashioned horsedrawn rides. Twelve bucks gets you the horsey ride, cider, hot chocolate, and snacks — plus goodie bags for kids under 12. (There'll also be pumpkin carving and painting, ranger demonstrations, and live animals. Reservations are a must; call 440-572-9990 to secure your spot.) Not the horse type? There's also tractor-driven hayrides today and next weekend, featuring square dancing, a hay maze, scavenger hunts, and face painting. The rides run from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 23 and 30, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 31, every half-hour on a first-come, first-served basis. Tractor rides are $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for kids 3 to 11; everything else is free. It all happens at 16200 Valley Parkway in Strongsville. Go to for more information. — Pantsios


BreastFEST 2010

Sisters Unite at Brothers Lounge

Now in its 10th year, Breastfest is an annual fund- and awareness-raiser cobbled together by Cleveland musician Tracy Marie in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It always involves an assemblage of Cleveland's top female talent, and this year is no exception: Along with Tracy Marie herself, there's blues belter Becky Boyd and her band Natural Facts, folk-leaning singer-songwriter Alexis Antes, and jazz/soul/pop performer Robin Stone. A trio of equally talented men — Xela, Zach, and J. Scott Franklin — are also on board. Breastfest takes place from 3 to 8 p.m. today at the Brothers Lounge (11609 Detroit Ave. on the Cleveland-Lakewood border). Tickets are $9. Go to or call 216-856-0880 for more information. — Pantsios


A Celebration of Noise at the Grog

Pinning down the Legendary Pink Dots is like pinning a paper tail on a real donkey in a zero-gravity zoo while tripping on several tabs of acid. Edward Ka-Spel has been fronting some version of the band for the past 30 years, averaging a personnel change every 12 months. In that time, they've released 27 studio albums and almost as many compilations, nine live albums, and a bunch of side projects. On them, the band has bridged an experimentally erratic range of genres: industrial goth, avant-prog, noise-pop, and psych-folk, as well as more conventional synth-pop, space-rock, and electronica. Whale calls and other sounds have also bubbled up over the years, putting Ka-Spel's kaleidoscopic music into perspective. The Legendary Pink Dots' most recent album, Seconds Late for the Brighton Line, features a mix of all that plus more, as the Dots celebrate their 30th anniversary by revisiting the swirling, swelling styles they've championed since forming in London in 1980. The Legendary Pink Dots' universe has no creation theory — it's all mutation and evolution, all the time. The Legendary Pink Dots 30th Anniversary Tour, with DJ Neal Darewaves and DJ Textbeak, starts at 8 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Hts. Blvd. in Cleveland Heights). Tickets are $18, $16 in advance; call 216-321-5588 or go to — Brian Baker



Pedal Up and Eat Cheap

Mondays at the Buckeye Beer Engine are Bike Night, but you won't hear the roar of the engines or the peeling out of tires. This is granola-style, minimal-carbon-footprint Bike Night: Pedal up to the Beer Engine in Lakewood and receive discounts on their terrific burgers and sandwiches — and a chance to enter your name in a raffle to win a new ride. Last day for the raffle is Monday, November 1, so take advantage while you can. Bike Night at Buckeye happens from 5 p.m. to midnight this Monday and next. The Beer Engine is at 15315 Madison Ave. For more information call 216-226-2337 or check out their site at — Hazen



Grape Expectations! at Akron Art Museum

Forget the formalwear. You can come as you are to Grape Expectations!, the casual wine and food tasting in the grand lobby of the Akron Art Museum (at 1 South High St.). Wine, beer, and other spirits will be served along with bites from Akron-area restaurants like VegiTerranean, Sushi on the Roll, and Café Bricco. If you'd like to take some wine home with you, there'll be a silent auction of wines and other items donated by area businesses. Proceeds benefit the museum's education program, providing tours for schoolkids. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 for museum members, $75 for non-members — but that includes a one-year membership. Call 330-376-9186 ext. 222 or go to for more information. — Pantsios

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