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The best of this week's events

Thursday | 29

Tommy Blaze at Hilarities

Like Dr. Phil, but Funny

Men and women should talk more, right? Not according to comedian Tommy Blaze. Communicating, he says, only leads to fighting. "Think about it. Most arguments start because someone said something stupid. And then she got mad!" The Florida funny guy has been plumbing the depths of relationships for some twenty years. But while his standup is far from G-rated, there's often a biblical thread running through his thoughts, as when he ponders Adam's actions while Eve was eating that apple. ("If Adam would have just manned up [and killed the snake], that would have been it. Do you understand? The Bible would have been a pamphlet!") Blaze will be bringing his relationship advice to Hilarities tonight at 8 and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Tix are $15 online, by phone, or at the box office. — Cicora

2035 East Fourth St., 216-241-7425,

Here's Looking at You

Braco the Healer at the Renaissance Hotel

Croatian alternative healer Braco makes his first-ever Ohio visit today with a stop at the downtown Renaissance Hotel. With his long, silver-streaked hair and big, brown puppy-dog eyes, Braco is said to transform his audience with his silent, soulful stare. He speaks rarely, claims no religious or political affiliation, and — other than a ban on kids and gals who are preggers — is happy to turn his healing peepers on anyone who shows up for his so-called "gazing sessions." There will be 10 of them today at the hotel's ballroom from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Each on-the-hour session lasts from 30 to 35 minutes; attend any or all of them at $8 each. Snag your ticket at the door beginning at 9 a.m., or order online at Braco's website. — Cicora

24 Public Square, 216-696-5600,

Kid Stuff

Disney on Ice Skates Into the Q

It's been nearly two decades since Mickey, Minnie, and their Disney pals set out on tour from St. Petersburg, Florida, and they haven't stopped since. That makes Disney on Ice the longest-running touring show in the country, not to mention one of Quicken Loans Arena's perpetual main attractions. The troupe returns this weekend for seven performances. This time around, the showcase is titled "Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey," and takes the well-dressed rodents on adventures in Neverland, Hawaii, Africa, and Under the Sea. It's all great fun for the under-10 set, while the 'rents can take comfort in the notion that it's from stuff like this that childhood memories are made. Depending on just how vivid you want those memories to be, tickets run from $15 to $70. Get 'em by phone, online, at Discount Drug Mart, or at the Q Arena box office. — Cicora

1 Center Court, 888-894-9424,

Friday | 30

Viva & Gala returns to the art museum

Divine Tragedy

Dancer Maureen Fleming knows about loss, anger, and forgiveness. When a devastating accident at age 3 threatened to rob her of mobility, she responded by developing an uncanny physicality that allows her to mold her body into stunning shapes and forms. Now in her 40s, the New York-based artist used that childhood trauma and the lessons learned to help make sense of 9/11. The result is a piece she calls Black Madonna, a meditation on the possibilities of loss in a world beyond rationality and nationality. Accompanied by video projections and live music from pianist Bruce Brubaker and Korean drummer Kim Young Dong, the evening-length performance kicks off the new season of Viva & Gala, the annual performing arts series presented by the Cleveland Museum of Art. Black Madonna makes a fitting jumping-off point, says Massoud Saidpour, the series' director. "It's an incredibly powerful performance, and one that audiences are not likely to forget." Black Madonna makes its Cleveland debut tonight at 7:30 in the museum's Gartner Auditorium. Tickets are $37 to $48 by phone or online; students may pay what they can at the door. — Elaine T. Cicora

11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350,

Arts & Crafts

Ohio Mart at Stan Hywet Hall

One of the season's last, great outdoor arts & crafts show returns this weekend to Akron's Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens: The 45th annual Ohio Mart, complete with more than 140 artisans and crafters offering everything from one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, and ceramics to furniture, wreaths, and wooden toys for kids. Speaking of the small fry, you can elicit their enthusiasm with promises of pumpkin painting, face painting, and playing around with life-size chess and checkers pieces. Between shopping and noshing, you're free to roam the Hall's 70 or so acres of gardens and greenery, including Birch Allee, the Japanese Garden, and the Lagoon. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Saturday; Sunday's hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $2 for youth, and free for kids 5 and younger. Tickets can be had by phone, online, or at the door. — Cicora

714 North Portage Path, Akron, 330-315-3287,

Piston Power

Cars, Trucks, and Planes at the I-X Center

If a piston makes it go, you'll find it at the Piston Show this weekend at the I-X Center. The perfect getaway for gearheads, the show claims to be the largest indoor showcase of cars, bikes, trucks, and planes around. "It's a celebration of speed and anything powered with a piston," says I-X Center's Eric German. "We had a huge response from car, bike, and aircraft clubs and enthusiasts after last year's show, and that's really impacted how we designed the 2011 show." That includes the addition of interactive driving and flight simulators, a series of indoor All-American Soap Box Derby races, and tomorrow's appearance by award-winning auto designer Chip Foose, the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame. Tickets are $12 at Excalibur Auto Body and Discount Drug Mart, and $15 at the door; discounts are available to kids and members of the military. Today's hours are 3 to 9 p.m.; the show continues tomorrow and Sunday. — Cicora

One I-X Center Dr., 216-265-RACE,

Saturday | 01

Arty Party

Cleveland's Sports Icons Get the Artist Treatment

Though fascinated by drawing since childhood, Michael "The Carp" Carpenter's artistic efforts were put on hold by seven years in the military, a second career as an analyst with Key Bank, and the demands of raising two daughters. But when a co-worker spotted a sketch of LeBron James on Carpenter's desk, it created an office-wide demand for copies. One thing led to another until a call came from the Cleveland Public Library. The facility had recently opened a Sport Research Center and wanted to incorporate works from local sports artists. "At first, I thought they were calling about an overdue book. But they wanted me to do an exhibit," says Carpenter. After confirming he wasn't being pranked, Carpenter started on the ten works that would become Cleveland Sport Stars Past and Present. He was given free rein on his choice of subjects, with one condition: no LeBron. Instead, Carp gives us such untarnished idols as Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, Bob Feller, and Peyton Hillis. The exhibit debuts today in the Main Library from noon to 2 p.m. with a free reception featuring food, drink, and jazzy beats from DJ Cherokee. — Joseph Clark

325 Superior Ave., 216-623-2860,

Dance Delight

Momix Comes to E.J. Thomas Hall

Time for modern-dance fans to get their freak on: Momix — the internationally renowned troupe of dancer-illusionists operating under the direction of founder-choreographer Moses Pendleton — comes to Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall tonight for one 8 p.m. performance. On the bill: Botanica, a visually stunning mix of puppetry, strobe lights, and fantastic costumes set to an eclectic score that borrows from Vivaldi and bird songs alike. Known for its athleticism and physicality, the 30-year-old troupe grew out of Pendleton's early involvement with Pilobolus Dance Theater; Momix has since gone on to performances on stages worldwide, along with appearances on television, in movies, and an IMAX film. Tonight's performance is presented by Dance Cleveland, one of the nation's few organizations dedicated solely to presenting modern dance. Tickets range from $10 to $50, and can be had online or by phone. — Cicora

198 Hill St., Akron, 330-972-7570,

Sunday | 02

Family Fun

Fall Fest in Hudson

Every festival announcement that comes through our inbox promises "something for everyone." Today's Case-Barlow Fall Festival may actually deliver. On the lineup: everything from antique cars to alpacas, and pony rides to wreath-making demonstrations. Bob for apples, paint a pumpkin, or wander gardens filled with heirloom plants. Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Enter the Duck Derby Race. Pet a farm animal. Take a hayride. When the horseshoes, sack races, and quilting demos make you hungry, cough up a few bucks for hotdogs and snacks. And last but not least: You're invited to bring grapes and a jug, and press your own grape juice. Whew, we're exhausted just writing about it. It's all happening today from 1 to 5 p.m. at the historic farmstead in Hudson, a 4.2-acre property that includes a farmhouse, bank barn, carriage house, and outbuildings. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for kids, and toddlers under 2 are free. — Cicora

1931 Barlow Rd., Hudson, 330-650-0591,

Monday | 03

Fit for Foodies

It's Meatless Monday at Palookaville Chili

"Believe it or not, you can get through a day without eating meat," says local culinarian Liz Vondrak. Not only that, but your meatless meal can be "really, really good!" She should know: As co-founder and partner in FoodGazi, a vegan and vegetarian catering operation, Vondrak has been slinging the meatless hash on Mondays all summer long. The weekly meat-free meals happen at Palookaville Chili — not a name necessarily synonymous with grainy goodness. Still, Vondrak says, owner Ian P.E. "is really digging what we're doing, serving a complete vegan meal at his restaurant for $7 to $10." (The regular menu is also available for those still craving tasty flesh.) Vondrak isn't quite sure what will be on today's lineup, but past offerings have included things like chipotle black-bean burgers, southwestern quinoa salad, and white bean falafel pitas. The meatless magic happens from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Cicora

3900 Lorain Ave., 216-961-4810,,

Tuesday | 04

Fresh Air

Lace Up for a Mystery Run

Runners are a peculiar breed. For proof, look no further than the Fall Running Series, which returns tonight to the Cuyahoga Valley by popular demand. This is no ordinary walk in the (national) park. Not only do this month's five scheduled runs take place at night, but the details of exactly where and how far you're going are kept secret until the runners show up! If this is your idea of a good time, pretty much all we can tell you is that tonight's action starts at 6 p.m. at the Ledges Shelter and will cover between three and six miles. Single event registration is $15 at the starting gate, or sign up in advance for the entire series ($75) at and get a one-year membership in the park's Conservancy along with a Nike pullover. Runners and walkers of all abilities are welcome. Points will be awarded, and top series finishers by age group and sex can expect to score some National Park swag. More information about the series can be found at the Conservancy website. — Cicora

701 Truxell Rd., Peninsula, 330-657-2909,

Wednesday | 05

Author, Author

Tricia Springstubb at the Lee Road Library

Young fans of Cleveland Heights author Tricia Springstubb are in for a treat. The author of What Happened on Fox Street and its sequel, Mo Wren, Lost and Found is appearing tonight at the Lee Road branch of the Heights Libraries for a book reading and conversation. Aimed at readers 8 to 12, Springstubb's stories are filled with spunky characters, tantalizing mysteries, and supportive story lines, making them fun for youngsters and parents alike. "Growing up is like every journey — the wonderful moments along with the potholes and bumps," the former Headstart teacher believes. "I hope my books are companions on the trip, and when I'm very lucky, they might serve as guides too." The 7 p.m. event is free, but registration is required at the phone number below. — Cicora

2345 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights,216-932-3600,


Maronzio Vance Grows Up

When Maronzio Vance launched his standup career at age 15, he encountered just a smidge of resistance. "They booed me so bad, I said, 'You know what? I'm just going to college,'" he remembers today. Older and wittier these days, Vance has racked up a ton of funny-boy experience, from a stint on Last Comic Standing to a visit with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. He's also enjoyed dalliances with The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Wanda Sykes: Wanda Does It, and Showtime at the Apollo, among other stops. Now it's your turn: Vance drops in tonight for a show at Reddstone in the once-dilapidated, now über-hip Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. Tim Cornett will join Vance on the bill. Tickets are $15 at the door — and yes, kids over 16 ... and dogs of all ages ... are welcome. — Boggs

1261 West 76 St., 440-522-7035,

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