Terry Gross realizes that her on-air battle of wits with Gene Simmons (assuming one considers the blood-spewing member of Kiss to be armed for such a battle) will become her defining moment. "My tombstone [is going to read:] Asked About Codpiece," sighs the host of National Public Radio's Fresh Air. (Quoth Simmons during a 2002 visit: "I'm afraid you're . . . going to have to welcome me with open legs.")
Gross's first book, All I Did Was Ask: Conversations With Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists, includes the infamous Simmons interview. It also features transcribed talks with George Clinton, Jodie Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Mario Puzo, and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, among others. "A good guest is inherently interesting," says Gross. "That's the bottom line."
And, yes, Gross is well aware that people are cautious about shelling out $25 for a collection of radio transcripts. So, she penned an enlightening intro and picked subjects that would "be good reads," she says. "I didn't want it to be a scrapbook of souvenirs from the show." Gross will discuss her work at the Ohio Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $25 and $30; call 216-241-6000. -- Michael Gallucci
Whole Lotta Shakin'
Earthquake expert shares some quivering stories.
Geological survey geophysicist David Wald knows all about seismic activity. He also knows all about the stuff that goes on during an earthquake. And we're not just talking about those terrible trembles. "In a big city, somebody is doing just about anything you can imagine during an earthquake," says a coy Wald (who will share stories and facts at the history museum's "Citizen Science: Man vs. Machine in Providing Rapid Earthquake Info" on Saturday). Like? "A burglary suspect was atop a cinder-block wall when the Hector Mine quake struck [Los Angeles in 1999]." Wald will also discuss new mapping systems, which shake out more than mere epicenter-and-magnitude data. "We've logged over 500,000 individual entries from all 50 states," he beams. Wald talks at 7:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval, University Circle. Admission is $9; call 216-231-4600. -- Lucy McKernan
Art for Skin's Sake
The naked truth about drawing live models.
George Kozmon has drawn nude bodies for as long as he can remember. So it's no surprise that he's teaching Life-Drawing Classes at his gallery. Every Wednesday, students sketch an uninhibited model while Kozmon gives tips on how to capture the, um, anatomy on canvas. "We haven't had a problem with people being prurient," says Kozmon. "Once your pencil hits the paper, you could have a Playboy bunny up there, and you look at her as a form. It's not sexual, and that's kinda cool." The class is 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Thrive -- an Artspace, 1301 East 9th Street (in the Galleria). Fees are $15; $10 for students; call 216-479-0303. -- Cris Glaser
A Stander-Up Guy
Americans have Bonnie and Clyde. Medieval folks have Robin Hood. And South Africans have Andre Stander, a white Johannesburg police captain who switched sides of the law in the 1970s. His true story is told in Stander, a biopic that doubles as a nifty crime flick, starring Thomas Jane. It's at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 9:15 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is $8. Call 216-421-7450 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci