Mikey G's Picks o' the Week

John Legend
This week's top arts and entertainment picks around town, from the guy who's paid to pick them: Monday: For a soul singer, Springfield native John Legend isn't very soulful. But he does possess one of the most laid-back voices in pop music these days, and his latest album, Once Again, is perfect for candlelit canoodling. He plays the Akron Civic Theatre tonight. Be sure to get there early for Corrine Bailey Rae, whose "Put Your Records On" single (from her self-titled debut) netted tons of spins on our iPod last year. Tuesday: Yo La Tengo is the consummate rock-snob band. For more than two decades, the Hoboken trio has made dreamy, guitar-drenched indie rock that has kept music critics poring through their thesauruses. Their latest album is also their most excellently titled: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. They play the Beachland Ballroom. Wednesday: Charlotte Puckette and Olivia Kiang-Snaije found some of the world's best Asian food . . . in France? The Ethnic Paris Cookbook, which the pair co-wrote, shares stories and recipes from some of their favorite French eateries. They also share stories and recipes at Joseph-Beth tonight. Thursday: Columbus-raised producer RJD2 was part of the Definitive Jux label, spinning and crafting hip-hop tracks that were as ethereal and as space-filling as any of his labelmates'. His new CD, The Third Hand, is poppier than his previous records, but it's his best yet. He plays the Grog Shop. Friday: Opera Cleveland launches tonight with a performance of Richard Strauss' Salome. Two groups -- Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera Cleveland -- merged last year to form the brand-new company. The century-old Salome merges groundbreaking music and an Oscar Wilde play about the world's first dysfunctional family. See it at the State Theatre. -- Michael Gallucci
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