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Event picks for the week when you finally have some free time

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Funny Stuff

Mike Polk at the Improv

Comedian and YouTube sensation Mike Polk wooed us with his Last Call Cleveland comedy troupe. He stole our hearts with his painfully hilarious Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video. Then he cemented our affections with last summer's ditty, "LeBron James Is a Bitch." Now the Kent State grad, who's been called "the funniest comedian to come out of Cleveland in a decade," returns to the Cleveland Improv Comedy Club for another round of laughs. Tonight's show will feature more than just joke telling — though there's nothing wrong with that! But it just wouldn't be a Polk show without music and funny videos. It all begins at 8 p.m., for those 21 and over. Tickets are $12; to order, call 216-696-IMPROV or go to The Cleveland Improv is at 2000 Sycamore St. in the Powerhouse on the west bank of the Flats. — Chrissy Niehaus

Bad Santas

Slasher Flicks at Bela Dubby

If the thought of sitting through one more Charlie Brown Christmas special makes you want to kill something, Bela Dubby coffeehouse and beer bar in Lakewood is ready to share your pain. Tonight at 8 you can sublimate your rage with a free showing of the holiday-themed slasher flick Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, a film noteworthy mainly for its hilariously bad acting and the memorable dialogue that made "Garbage day!" an internet buzzword. Also being shown is the equally horrendous Christmas Evil, a tale of mass murder carried out by a psychopath in Santa Claus attire. This event is not for children — or most adults, for that matter, unless they have the stomach for nearly four hours of tinsel, gore, and laughable performances. On the other hand, for the Cinema Wasteland and Mystery Science Theater crowds, attendance is a no-brainer. Bela Dubby is at 13321 Madison Ave. in Lakewood. For more information, call 216-221-4479. — Aaron Vilk


Chills & Thrills

It's All Downhill on the Chalet's Toboggans

Snow or no, the twin toboggan chutes are open at the Chalet in Stongsville's Mill Creek Reservation. Park officials claim the backless, sideless snow rockets reach speeds of 45 miles per hour as they hurtle some 1,000 feet down the refrigerated chutes. But if you ask us, it feels more like 100 mph! In any case, hang on to your hat, your glasses, and small children: It's one heckuva ride! All-day passes, good for unlimited thrills, are $8 for adults and $6 for kids; cowards can score a single trip for a mere three bucks. The chutes operate weekends through March 6, with an expanded daily schedule through January 2. Today's hours are noon to 4 p.m.; check out the entire schedule at The Chalet is on Valley Parkway between Routes 42 and 82 in Strongsville. Call 440-572-9990 for more info. — Cicora

Santa, Tigers & Bears!

December Days at the Zoo

It's Christmas Eve and the kids are wound up tighter than tops in a Victorian toy store. Chill them out — for real! — with a trip to the Metroparks Zoo. Before you balk at the notion of running around in the cold, remember that the primates, cats, wolves, and Rainforest critters can be viewed in climate-controlled comfort. Better still, the zoo is providing free heated shuttles to keep you cozy and warm between buildings. Of course, hardy types can brave the cold for a closeup look at the bears, tigers, camels, and reindeer in the Northern Trek area. While you're out there, take a gander at the ice sculpting demos in the Welcome Plaza, or stroll over to the Wolf Lodge for a final visit with Old Saint Nick. Discounted admission through December 30 is just $6 for adults, $4 for children 2 to 11, and free for tikes under two. The zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas Day and New Year's Day, with the special December Days activities taking place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit or call the events line at 216-635-3366. The zoo is at 3900 Wildlife Way in Cleveland. — Alyse Lamparyk


Family Fun

Shabbat Spectacular at the Maltz Museum

It's all family-friendly fun and games today at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, as the staff presents a Shabbat Spectacular. On the to-do list: gallery tours, scavenger hunts, and a theatrical interpretation of favorite stories from the Old Testament, along with snacks and a closing ceremony marking the end of the Sabbath. Opened in 2005, the museum aims to spread an understanding of Cleveland's Jewish heritage through film, art, artifacts, and oral histories. While you're there, you also can learn about the similarities between the fight for Jewish freedom and America's civil rights movement, and visit the current special exhibition, The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936. The celebration runs from 1 to 5 p.m. today. All activities are free with museum admission. For tickets and information, call 216-593-0575 or visit The Maltz Museum is at 2929 Richmond Rd. in Beachwood. — Erica Euse

Soul, Blues, & Potato Pancakes

Latke Party and Matzoh Ball

It's time again for Blue Lunch's annual Latke Party and Matzoh Ball at the Beachland Ballroom, a seasonal smorgasbord of blues, soul, and potato pancakes. Beyond the latkes, you can savor an old-time soul and blues revue from special guests Mississippi Reese and Blues Boy Lonnie; between them, the two veteran bluesmen have racked up more than 60 years of juke-joint performances. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the music and dancing begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door or $10 in advance at Meantime, in the Beachland's tavern, Matthew Forcefed and the Jesus Freaks take the stage at 9, along with Sound People, Winters Warm, and Keith Jackson; tix for this concert are an additional $8. The Beachland Ballroom & Tavern is at 15711 Waterloo Road. For more info, call 216-383-1124 or go to — Maund

Fit for Foodies

Christmas Dinner at Muse

Whether you're itching to get out of the house or just itching to get out of that ugly reindeer sweater, Christmas dinner at Muse, in downtown's Ritz-Carlton Hotel, could be the swanky holiday escape you're craving. Helmed by executive chef Richard Sören Arnoldi, Muse boasts a menu of contemporary American cuisine, showcased in all its glory on today's Christmas prix fixe lineup. The four-course feast will feature a choice of apps, salads, and entrées — including options like she-crab bisque, sweet potato ravioli, thyme-roasted lamb chops, and seared Alaskan halibut — as well as a slew of delectable desserts. The only thing you might recognize from Grandma's Christmas spread will be the traditional holiday cookies. Christmas dinner is served from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cost is $65 per person, with a wine pairing available for an additional $24. Children's meals are $29. Muse is at 1515 West Third Street inside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. For reservations and information, call 216-902-5255. — Delaney


Funny Stuff

Dave Landau Lands at the Improv

Detroit comic Dave Landau takes the stage at the Cleveland Improv Comedy Club tonight at 7, with a standup routine that has been known to explore family dynamics, failed relationships, and the risks of trying to pay prostitutes in cheeseburgers. Must be why you have to be 21 or over to attend. If you qualify, you can count on a good time with this Second City grad, whose keen eye for comedy has made him a hot property on the circuit. Tickets for tonight's show are $12. To order, visit or call 216-696-IMPROV. Cleveland Improv Comedy Club is at 2000 Sycamore St. in the Powerhouse on the west bank of the Flats. — Lamparyk

Dance Trance

Darude at Dream Nightclub

There are plenty of fun things to do on Boxing Day, like fighting your way through the returns line at Best Buy, for instance. Or, you can check out Finnish techno sensation Darude at Dream Nightclub. Best known for the international dance smash “Sandstorm” (Google it — you’ll know it, we promise), Darude will be taking the main stage along with up-and-coming Detroit producer Anthony Attalla. The back room will be heavy on dubstep throughout the night, featuring the local talents of DFDJ, Jeff Tritt, and others. Dream, with its lasers, lights, and lavish VIP lounge, touts itself as one of the largest nightclubs in the Midwest. Darude’s appearance will kick off a series of techno and dance music shows that will take place at the club on Sundays throughout the new year. General admission tickets are $15, while VIP admission is $20. And for big spenders, VIP eight-tops are available for $300. Doors open at 9 p.m. Dream Nightclub is located at 2325 Elm St. in the Flats. For more information, call 216-322-5926 or visit — Bill Delaney

Fresh Air

Night Hike in Rocky River

Strap on those hiking boots and burn off the fruitcake with a bracing night hike at the Rocky River Nature Center. The guided walk along unplowed trails will cover 1.2 miles. As you go, a park naturalist will provide the lowdown on some of the region's wildest night life, including nocturnal denizens like coyotes, owls, and deer. The free hike begins at 7 p.m. and will last approximately one hour. Registration is not required, but sensible winter outerwear is. The Nature Center is at 4101 Fulton Parkway in Rocky River. — Euse


Family Fun

Santa vs. the Snowman at the Science Center

If Santa fought a snowman, who do you think would win? It's weighty questions like these that make the holidays worthwhile. Still, with the kids off school and the new year in sight, why not take a break and catch a showing of Santa vs. the Snowman, as the two cold-weather icons duke it out over control of Santa's workshop. It all goes down at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. today through December 30 on the six-story Omnimax screen at the Great Lakes Science Center. Just be ready to duck as the assault nutcrackers, hot-cocoa squirters, and mistletoe missiles zoom past your head. Steve Oedekerk is the mind behind this 30-minute film, and he's no newbie to the computer-animated genre: Ever heard of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius? Movie admission is $9.95 for adults and $7.95 for kids; for an extra $5, score a combo pass with admission to the museum included. The Great Lakes Science Center is at 601 Erieside Ave. Call 216-694-2000 or visit for tickets and more information. — Lamparyk


The Globetrotters Return to Town

Among America's most sacred institutions, we count football, McDonald's, and the Harlem Globetrotters. Longtime fans of the Globetrotters' legendary dunks and trick shots will be happy to know that they're still performing for families around the country — and, yes, still beating the Generals. They bring their game to Quicken Loans Arena on Monday, with an added dimension: the four-point shot. Players can hit the shot from two areas at half court. "It's a game breaker," say eight-year vet Hot Shot Branch, who played three seasons with current Cleveland Cavalier Jamario Moon. "You can be down 10 and hit two of them, and you're right back in the game. We can't wait for the fans to see what all the hype is about." Branch and the rest of the team will be available for autographs after the game. For tickets and information, call 216-420-2354 or visit — Nathaniel Maund



Acoustic Mic Night at the Winchester

Settled on the hardscrabble eastern edge of Lakewood, the Winchester Music Hall is a small but well-regarded stop for acts from around the corner and across the country. (Of course, being designated a "cool venue" by former David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels hasn't hurt, either.) Now you can try out your act within the same walls that sheltered the Strawbs, Leon Russell, and Karla Bonoff during tonight's Acoustic Mic Night. Sign up when you show up, any time after 8 p.m., then prepare to perform three reasonable-length songs on the tavern stage. For accompaniment, acoustic guitars are expected, keyboards are okay, and drum sets are forbidden (although a hand drum is allowed). Afterward, you can snag a CD of your performance for just $5. Even if you are more "consumer" than "creator," it's a good time. Audience members get in free; Long Island Iced Teas are only two bucks. And who knows — you just might catch the next Joshua Rodin. The Winchester Music Hall is at 12112 Madison Ave. in Lakewood. Call 216-226-5681 or go to for more information. — Niehaus

Spoken Word

Lyrical Rhythm at B-Side Liquor Lounge

Unlike more bookish poetry readings, Lyrical Rhythm night at the B-Side Liquor Lounge is one groovy scene. That's because it's anchored by a house band, the Playscape Allstars. As emcee Q Nice explains from the mic, the band can back up your rhymes in any key and keep the rhythm steady whether you want to speak on the beat or around it. Q Nice, himself a veteran slammer, keeps it moving like a late-night talk-show host, laying down the rules: no bad words, show respect, and if you sing, sing from the diaphragm. And when the poets take a halftime break, DJ Tom Noy spins dance music. Admission is $5 and is limited to the 21-and-over crowd. It all goes down from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the B-Side Liquor Lounge, at 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. For more info, call 216-932-1966 or go to — Michael Gill


Art for Youth

Drawing Workshop at the Botanical Garden

Come in for the warmth and stay for the pencils at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, as art instructor Susan Morse hosts a colored pencil workshop today at 1 p.m. Aimed at youngsters 9 through 17, the class makes a fine alternative to the usual post-Christmas moping, while introducing budding artists to botanical subjects galore. Thanks to the Garden's festive Winter Show, which continues through January 2, there's no shortage of interesting things to sketch: everything from gingerbread houses and holiday trees to exotic plants and flowers. Cost is $15 for members and $18 for nonmembers, and includes all necessary materials. Register at or by calling 216-721-1600 ext. 100. The Cleveland Botanical Garden is at 11030 East Blvd. in UniversityCircle. — Niehaus

Pro Wrestling

WWE SmackDown Hits the Wolstein Center

Blood, sweat, and men in tights: WWE's SmackDown World Tour is taking over the Wolstein Center tonight, with more screaming, fighting, and smeared eye makeup than a daytime soap opera. Since its 1999 debut on UPN, SmackDown has been a guilty pleasure for pro-wrestling fans worldwide. Now it's Cleveland's turn to partake in a live and in-your-face performance of pro-style pummeling. On tonight's card — which is subject to change — you may see big names like Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, and more, in a triple-threat, steel-cage match for the world's heavyweight championship. The show starts at 7 p.m., and ticket prices range from $15 to $60. Charge your tix by phone at 877-468-4946 or order online at The Wolstein Center is at 2000 Prospect Ave. — Euse

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