Growing up, comedian Wendy Liebman swore that her mother was an amateur ventriloquist. "For 10 years, I thought the dog was telling me to kill my father," she says. "But I got my brother to do it."
That's Liebman's brand of Mother's Day humor, the kind she's become well versed in since marrying for the first time a year ago. At 42, she instantly became a stepmom to her new husband's two preteen sons. "My mother is an early-childhood educator, so she knew exactly what to do," Liebman says. "I just wing it."
Since she's on the road so much, Liebman leaves most meal preparation to her hubby. "When I cook, even my dog is like, 'I'm eating out tonight.' Besides, I think it's sexy when the man cooks," Liebman says. "Naked."
So for Mother's Day, Liebman is going to reward her mom with a monogrammed nightie ("That way, she can't return it"), and from her stepsons, she's praying for cold, hard cash. "But I'll take a check." Liebman is at Hilarities East 4th (2035 East 4th Street) at 8 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $9 to $25; call 216-736-4242. -- Cris Glaser
Smog and the City
Explore our smoky past.
Smog-haters who grumble about Cleveland's particle-peppered skies should thank their lucky smokestacks they didn't live here in the early 20th century, when skies were perpetually black. "Everything was dirty and grimy, and it wasn't very pretty," says Edward Pershey, whose lecture, "Up in Smoke: The Early History of Air Pollution in Cleveland," happens on Wednesday. "Clothes would get dirty hanging out to dry. Stonework of buildings would eat away from these acids." Before regulators like the EPA came along, coal debris filled urban skies. But smoke -- which was so thick, streetlights needed to be on during the day -- meant that people were working. As Pershey points out, "Smoke coming out of the smokestack was a symbol of vitality." Get the scoop at 7 p.m. at the Historical Society, 10825 East Boulevard. Admission is $7.50; call 216-721-5722. -- Allen Miller
Eats the World
Global gastronomy rules at A Tasteful Affair.
While Madison Crawl (pictured) brandishes its brand of barrelhouse boogie at A Tasteful Affair on Thursday, more than 30 restaurants will lay out a smorgasbord of global food. From Li Wah's Chinese cuisine and Gusto's Italian offerings to the all-American T-bone from Ruth's Chris Steak House, it's all washed down with vodka, beer, and wine from the open bar. And if the music gets you out of your chair, you can dance underneath the vintage automobiles and aircraft displays that date all the way back to the early 1900s. Romantic. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, 10825 East Boulevard. Tickets are $40. Call 216-721-5722 for more information. -- Cris Glaser
Black American Princess
The inner-city version of Cinderella has played at Karamu House before. The theater staged the first-ever integrated production of the fantasy about the girl with a pair of nasty stepsisters and a wand-wielding fairy godmother way back in 1917. It returns Saturday at Karamu's Arena Theatre (2355 East 89th Street) and runs through May 16. Show time is 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $5, available by calling 216-795-7070. -- Cris Glaser