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Event picks that won't disappoint, promise

Thursday | 28

Tri-C JazzFest Parade

Mardi Gras on Public Square

Now in its 32nd year, the Tri-C JazzFest kicks off today with a Mardi Gras-style parade, starting at Tower City Center and marching into Public Square. Featuring the award-winning Shaw High School Mighty Cardinals (whose assorted honors have included performing for the Prez at Cleveland State University), the free parade steps off at 5 p.m.; helping keep the vibe authentic, Nawlins' own Stooges Brass Band will be taking part as well. As for the popular JazzFest, the fun continues through May 8 with a dizzying array of jazz, blues, and R&B performers appearing at dozens of venues throughout the city. Among the multitude of draws: Trombone Shorty at House of Blues (tonight), blues singer Dee Dee Bridgewater with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall (Friday), and trumpet virtuoso Maurice Brown at Nighttown (Sunday). Some events are free and some are not. For a full schedule, including ticket prices and directions, go to — Elaine T. Cicora

Fit for Foodies

Big Night at Michaelangelo's

From the passed hors d'oeuvres to the suckling pig, it's a big menu for a big night tonight at Michaelangelo's. Based on the 1996 flick of the same name, tonight's Big Night celebration re-creates the movie's luscious fare, including timpano: pasta "pie" with meatballs, cheese, and a hardboiled egg. Also on the eight-course lineup from executive chef Michael Annandono's kitchen: minestrone, risotto, roasted Cornish game hen, baked Alaskan halibut, and tiramisu. The critically acclaimed film, which tells the 1950s tale of two brothers who try to save their failing restaurant with a final blow-out dinner (and a possible appearance by Louis Prima), will be showing throughout the evening. Odds are that Louis will not be attending; you, however, certainly can. Just make your reservations at 216-721-0300 or visit for more information. Dinner begins at 6 and costs $75; tax, tip, and alcohol are not included. The restaurant is at 2198 Murray Hill Rd. in Little Italy. And in the words of the movie, remember: To eat good food is to be close to God. — Cicora

Musical Mayhem

Scream Queens Come to Independence

"They sing, they dance, they die!" reads the tagline for Scream Queens, a campy spoof of horror films written by Scott Martin, a native Clevelander turned West Coast playwright. Set in the ballroom of the imaginary Parma Holiday Place Hotel, the musical turns the audience into attendees at a horror-film convention, where six voluptuous B-list "scream queens" tell their stories with assistance from filmed clips, live action, and zombies. Local actor and theater vet Eric Oswald first saw the musical in L.A. in 1998 and had been trying since then to get a Cleveland-area company to perform it. He finally hit pay dirt with the Independence Community Theatre, which will perform the musical on Friday and Saturday nights for the next four weekends; tickets are $10. Tonight's 8 p.m. preview performance, however, is a fund-raiser: Tickets are $25 with all proceeds going to the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. Get yours at 216-447-0443; visit for more information. The theater is at 6652 Brecksville Rd. in Independence. — Cicora

Friday | 29

Arbor Day

Hug a Tree at Holden Arboretum

In honor of Arbor Day, tree huggers, nature lovers, and earth boosters of all breeds can visit the 3,600-acre Holden Arboretum for free today through Sunday. Today's activities include a ceremonial tree-planting and a giveaway of Eastern Witch Hazel saplings for planting in your own little backyard sanctuary. Or visit on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and you'll find guided walks, kids' crafts, Native American flute music, food and beverage concessions, an exhibition and sale of reclaimed wood furniture, and plenty more. For a full rundown of the doings, go to The arboretum is at 9500 Sperry Rd. in Kirtland. Call 440-946-4400 for more information. — Cicora

The Beachland Tavern

Wammo & Hamell Bring the Ammo

Austin entertainers Ed Hamell and Wammo are two multi-talented types whose creativity pretty much defies classification. Wammo, for instance, is a singer, songwriter, actor, painter, and record producer, as well as a founding member of the Austin-based combo Asylum Street Spankers. And Hamell is known as a musician, comedian, storyteller, and preacher of common sense whose punk performances (in the guise of Hamell on Trial) echo the sensibilities of Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, and even Sam Kinison. Bring them together at the intimate Beachland Tavern, and who knows what madness may ensue? Fortunately, curious types can find out tonight at 8:30 when The Wammo & Hamell Show hits the stage with a weird and wonderful blend of storytelling, bullshitting, and punk rock. Snag your $12 tix at the door or online at The Beachland is at 15711 Waterloo Rd.; call 216-383-1124 for more information. — Cicora

Saturday | 30

Civil War History

Rare Flags Fly Today

Prepare to be bombarded by Civil War history and commemorations for the next five years, as the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the war between the states. Leading the local charge is the Western Reserve Historical Society, which will be utilizing its vast arsenal of artifacts to illustrate the many ways in which Northeast Ohioans played a key role in the bloody war. One of the centerpieces of WRHS' programming opens today: Rally 'Round the Flag, an exhibit of 25 historic Civil War-era flags and banners. While the exhibit documents the entire spectrum of the war — the anti-slavery movement, captured Confederate flags, and the rise of post-war patriotic organizations like the Grand Army of the Republic — the most spectacular display is two massive 18-footers: the Union Jack and the Confederate Stars and Bars. The exhibit continues through the end of the year at WRHS' History Center, 10825 East Blvd. Today's hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; adult admission, which includes entry to the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, is $8.50. For more information, go to or call 216-721-5722. — Cicora

Roller Derby

Law & Order at the Wolstein Center

The Wolstein Center may be the safest place in town tonight, as the Burning River Roller Girls — Cleveland's premier roller derby organization — present Law & Order Night, with discounted admission for all card-carrying cops, firefighters, EMTs, rescue workers, judges, lawyers, and members of the F.B.I. Of course, what happens on the track is not likely to be very safe at all, as the hard-hitting teams duke it out in a fast-paced double-header on wheels. Even the team names are scary: The evening's first bout features the Hellbombers versus the Hard Knockers; the second bout pits the Rolling Pin-Ups against the Cleveland Steamers. Both bouts lead up to the June 11 semifinals. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the elbows start flying at 6. Law-enforcement types get in for $10; everyone else pays $12 in advance and $17 at the door. Get your tickets by phone at 877-468-4946, online at, or at the Wolstein Center box office, 2000 Prospect Ave. in downtown. — Cicora


Remembering Daniel Thompson

Cleveland poet laureate Daniel Thompson, who succumbed to cancer seven years ago at age 69, was widely known for his dynamic personality, his compassionate writing, and for putting his social-justice beliefs into action. Now Thompson's work has been compiled in The Big Book of Daniel: Collected Poems of Daniel Thompson, which has just come out on Huron-based Bottom Dog press. It was edited by Maj Ragain, a Kent poet and close friend of Thompson's. "Daniel was such a vivid and public personality, and he filled up whatever room he was in," says Ragain. "Now all we have is the page, not the poet. I think the time is ripe for him to be rediscovered as the fine poet he was. He was a street poet, but he cut his teeth on William Butler Yeats and Dylan Thomas. A lot of those deep, lyrical resonances you hear in Daniel's work — those come from real deep sources and traditions." You can help celebrate Thompson tonight at 7 p.m. at the Lakewood Public Library. The free event will include readings, anecdotes from those who knew him best, and a five-minute clip from Thompson's last library performance just weeks before his death. The Lakewood Public Library is at 15425 Detroit Ave. For more information, call 216-226-8275 or visit — Anastasia Pantsios

Experimental Music

Mathemusician Plays at Spaces

Spaces opens its laboratory tonight to the mad experiments of "mathemusician" Tristan Perich. The graduate of Columbia University's math, music, and computer science programs first made waves in 2006 with his 1-Bit Music project: an album created by a mini-processor running composing software for music you'd swear came from a human brain. It's heavy to think about but sublime to hear, full of what The Wall Street Journal called "intense, hypnotic force and a surprising emotional depth." Tonight at 6 p.m., Perich will perform his music for keyboards, percussion, and electronics in a free concert. On view, too, will be his artwork, which also employs 1-bit technology to generate images. Additional human accompaniment for tonight's performance will be provided by Oberlin Conservatory students Daniel Walden and Ryan Packard. It's all happening at Spaces, 2220 Superior Viaduct. To learn more, call 216-621-2314 or go to — Joseph Clark

Fun & Games

Let's Play at Anatomy

Who says you can't spend a Saturday night playing board games and still have a bitchin' time — especially if you throw in a few drinks and a DJ? That's what you'll find tonight at Anatomy Night Club, as the Warehouse District hotspot hosts Let's Play Cleveland, a $5 game night that runs from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Naturally, this is more fun than checkers with Grandpa. There's Cranium, Family Feud, and even poker if you are so inclined, along with plenty of other options. Just drop in, grab a game, sidle up to a table, and get busy — with old friends or new. And if you aren't the competitive type, don't worry. You can always get your drink on, dance it out on the floor, and leave Hungry, Hungry Hippos to someone with lesser moves. For more info on the 21-and-older event, check out Let's Play Cleveland's page on Facebook. Anatomy Night Club Ultra Lounge is at 1299 West Ninth St. — Niehaus

Sunday | 01

Classical Collaboration

Music Meets Art at Gartner Auditorium

How better to appreciate breathtaking paintings by Italian masters than while listening to superlative music from Italian composers? That's the thinking behind Italian Masterworks, a first-of-its-kind partnership between two jewels of Cleveland's cultural scene: the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Orchestra. The collaboration kicks off today at 1 p.m. in the museum's Gartner Auditorium with a talk on Tuscan masters by Deputy Director and Chief Curator C. Griffith Mann. At 2 p.m., the Cleveland Orchestra takes the stage, under the direction of assistant conductor James Feddeck, for a program of Boccherini, Gabrieli, and Respighi. Other programs in the Italian Masterworks series are set for May 4 and May 6. General admission is $20 for today's performance or $50 for all three; students can take advantage of several discounts, including a "pay what you can" option at the door. To order tix or for more information, call 216-421-7350 or visit The Cleveland Museum of Art is at 11150 East Blvd. in University Circle. — Cicora

Four Bitchin' Babes

Bow to Diva Nation

Oh, for a world where chocolate is a vegetable, shoe shopping is medicinal, and wine is the foundation of the food pyramid. Maybe you can't live there. But you sure can visit, as the Four Bitchin' Babes — a quartet of multi-talented singers, musicians, and actresses — bring Diva Nation, their comedic musical revue, to Playhouse Square. With odes to elastic waistbands, chocolate, and new accessories, the show promises to pack more estrogen than a tube of Premarin. It all starts tonight at 8 p.m. in the intimate Ohio Theatre. Tickets are $10 to $37.75; snag 'em by calling 216-241-6000 or at The Ohio Theatre is at 1511 Euclid Ave. — Cicora

Monday | 02

Family Fun:

Children's Fest Returns to Playhouse Square

Back for the second year, Playhouse Square's week-long International Children's Festival is all about families. Focused on live, interactive fun — and leveraging kids' natural inclination to explore the world through plays, puppets, and performance art — the six-day event is jam-packed with things to do, see, and investigate. Among the options on the something-for-everyone lineup: acrobats, live music, family-friendly plays, an artwalk, and free performances on Saturday, May 7, at the 14th Street World Stage. Today's highlights include a celebration of Tito Puente's Latin jazz in the State Theatre (co-sponsored by the Tri-C Jazz Festival) and a chance to view OM, Melissa Daubert's interactive art installation in the Allen Theatre lobby. Some festival activities are free; others require a ticket: For the complete rundown, including daily schedules and prices, visit or call 216-664-6044. The fun continues through May 7. Playhouse Square is at 1501 Euclid Ave. — Chrissy Niehaus

Love Among the Ruins

Local Poet Sings Cleveland's Praise

Mentor native Dave Lucas grew up with two schoolteachers for parents and a father who loved to tutor him in the natural sciences. Only later, when he began writing poetry at John Carroll University, did Lucas realize what a profound effect those lessons had had on him, infusing his poems with mundane yet iconic images that vibrate with a midwestern sensibility. Lucas' first book, Weather, was published recently and, not surprisingly, its poems are filled with local subjects ranging from the Hulett ore unloaders to our ubiquitous red-tail hawks. "I'm proud of where I am from," says the poet, who splits his time between Cleveland and Ann Arbor, where he's pursuing his doctorate. "There's a ruined majesty here, a mythos that I want to capture. I love Cleveland, and I think the city could benefit from that kind of attention." Tonight at 7:30, the award-winning writer will turn his attention to a free poetry reading and book-signing party in the Dolan Science Center Auditorium at John Carroll. Learn more at or call 216-397-1674. The school is at 20700 North Park Blvd. in University Heights. — Cicora

Tuesday | 03

Big Screen Benefit

Bicycle Flick Spins Tale of Hope

For most of us, riding a bicycle is a choice, a form of exercise, or an eco-conscious statement. But for many Third World residents, it's serious transportation. Whether we're talking about a health-care worker in Zambia or a farmer in Guatemala, access to a bicycle can change lives. That's one of the take-aways from With My Own Two Wheels, a documentary making its Cleveland debut tonight at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Lee Theatre. Berkeley filmmaker and intrepid cyclist Jacob Seigel-Boettner will be on hand to introduce the flick and lead a post-film discussion. Also look for raffles and auctions of bike-related merch and assorted goodies. The happening is a benefit for World Bicycle Relief, which does pretty much what its name implies. Tickets at the door cost $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors. Call 440-796-1605 for more info. The Cedar Lee is at 2163 Lee Rd. in Cleveland Heights. For more about the film, go to — Cicora

Wednesday | 04

Blanket Statements

Textile Talk at Galeria Quetzal

You can expand your art appreciation today at 1:30 p.m. as Paloma Pilar Grasso — retired Spanish teacher, former Peace Corp volunteer, gallery owner, and well-seasoned collector of Hispanic folk and fine art — gives a free talk on Latin American textiles. Sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Art's Textile Art Alliance, Grasso's talk is part of a larger exhibition currently on display at Galeria Quetzal, her treasure-filled gallery in Little Italy. Today's focus will be on fabrics from Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru, including plenty of colorful examples drawn from Grasso's collections. Among the highlights: exquisite Mayan embroidery from Peru, religious flags from Haiti, and yarn "paintings" from the Huichol people of northern Mexico. If you like what you see, come back for the receptions on May 6 or 7; those run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., with live music, tapas, and wine. The exhibition continues through May 14, "or maybe longer, depending on interest." For more info, check out or call 216-421-8223. Galeria Quetzal is at 12400 Mayfield Rd. in Little Italy. — Cicora

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