Saturday is girls' night out at Grays Armory, where the 29th Womyn's Variety Show will feature more than 15 bands, singers, poets, dancers, and comedians. "It's a chance for women to get together and feel like they're in a safe environment," says organizer Marsha Sindelar. "They can perform whatever they want to perform, feel comfortable, and not feel like they're intruded on." After lesbo-faves Burning Sage, Alexis Antes, and other estrogen-friendly acts leave the stage, the chairs are folded up to make room for a dance floor. The idea for a women-only show was cooked up in 1975 by the founders of Oven Productions, a lesbian-based promotions team that stages events having to do with women's music and dance culture.
Three years ago, Mary Ellen Chrysler of Cleveland Heights met her partner Lynn at the show, just as a punk-rock combo took the stage. "No one's there to judge us for who we are," she says. "We're there for the music, the camaraderie, and the fact that we are all sisters in this together." The Womyn's Variety Show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Grays Armory, 1234 Bolivar Road. Tickets are $20. They're available by calling 216-798-0456. -- Cris Glaser
The L Word
Nimbis cribs from Pat Benatar for its latest show.
Love is in the air. And at 409: Love Is a Battlefield, at Nimbis Gallery, it's also on canvas, on the walls, and behind glass. "[It's] about our own experiences with love," says Daniel Merk, founder of the 409 art collective. "Not everyone feels love in the same way." And Merk, in particular, feels it with large black-and-white photographs -- such as the 80-inch, two-panel image of a woman's upper body that he contributes. The exhibit includes paintings, printmaking, digital and print design, and multimedia by members of the 60-member group, which finds collective inspiration in the internet. "[We've] been breaking down boundaries and fusing form with function, idea with object, signal with noise," Merk says. Love Is a Battlefield is at Nimbis Gallery (1826 West 25th, Suite 1B) through March 12. It's open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-522-1836. -- Nadia Michel
Get a bead on Mardi Gras at Fat Fish Blue this week.
Fat Fish Blue's daylong Mardi Gras Celebration makes downtown Cleveland look like North N'Awlins. The Bayou atmosphere comes courtesy of performances by Catwalk Blue, Crazy Marvin's Blues Express, and Zydeco Ziggy & the Bayou Blasters. There's also a Cajun buffet as well as jugglers, stilt-walkers, mimes, and magic-man Kevin "Scotty" Marshall. And, of course, plenty of beads. "There are many layers happening at once," says the club's Deb Townsend. "You might as well schedule that sick day now." The party starts at 11:30 a.m. at Fat Fish Blue, 21 Prospect Avenue. Admission is $12 and $15. Call 216-875-6000 for more information. -- Matt Leavitt
Peter Lawson Jones is among the local celebs ready to get Red, Hot & Groovy on the karaoke machine Tuesday. The Cuyahoga County commissioner joins other politicians and TV personalities lending their pipes to the Motown-themed party. Once the lip-synching is over, DJ Verse One will spin more Detroit sounds. It starts at 7 p.m. at Bo Loong Restaurant, 3922 St. Clair Avenue. Tickets are $35. Call 216-426-8156 for more info. -- Cris Glaser