Happy 31st birthday, Roe vs. Wade! The Freedom of Choice Cleveland Coalition is celebrating three decades of safe and legal abortions by hosting "Roe vs. Wade: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future," a look at the landmark case's history and what's in store. The battle's far from over, says the group's Molly Gena: "Abortion is legal in the books, but it's still not accessible to a lot of women." Doctors, professors, and lawyers discuss struggles, judicial issues, and April's march on Washington, DC. "[Opponents] are chipping away at our reproductive freedom," Gena says. "We have to let them know that they can't." The program starts at 5:30 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Avenue. Admission is $10. Call 216-961-8804 for reservations.
Friday, January 23
There are actually two movies swirling around in Demonlover: One is a tale of corporate backstabbing and greed, involving a French firm and its efforts to buy a porn-anime company; the other is a Cronenbergian fantasy revolving around Gladiator's Connie Nielsen as a chilly negotiator playing both sides. The first half of Olivier Assayas's thriller is an intense exploration of boardroom dealings. Midway through, however, Nielsen's cat-and-mouse maneuvers become perilous, and her world becomes a murky dreamscape, complete with a horrible fate. All this, plus a catfight featuring Gina Gershon and a score by Sonic Youth. Demonlover is at the Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 7:30 tonight and 9:30 p.m. tomorrow. Admission is $8 ($5 for Cinematheque members). Call 216-421-7450 for more info.
Alex P. Michaels's show, The M.A.N. a.k.a. The Magnificent Arrogant Nigger, or I Never Learned to Dance Like Fred Astaire (premiering tonight as part of Cleveland Public Theatre's Big [BOX] series), is all about making movies in Cleveland. "But it's not autobiographical," laughs the local filmmaker. "It's a dark comedy." The production is audience-interactive, so plan to be involved. You'll also get a chance to see some of Michaels's film work, which is included in the show. "I hope this gives more respect to people who make movies here," he says. "This is a more theatrical town." The M.A.N. is at Cleveland Public Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) at 8 tonight and tomorrow and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10, available by calling 216-631-2727.
Saturday, January 24
Hollywood producer Stephen Simon's credits include Smokey and the Bandit and What Dreams May Come. He's also associated with some good movies, like The Goodbye Girl and Army of Darkness. Simon's in town this weekend to talk about movies and his book, The Force Is With You: Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives, which finds spiritual significance in box-office hits like The Matrix, A Beautiful Mind, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Today, he discusses "Insights and Intrigue: A Producer's Perspective on Films Today"; tomorrow, it's "Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives." Both programs include film clips, discussions, and Q&A sessions. Simon is at Unity of Greater Cleveland (3350 Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights) from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and 1 to 4 p.m. tomorrow. Admission to today's program is $40; it's $30 for tomorrow's. Call 216-751-1198 for more info.
Sunday, January 25
The Mystery of Irma Vep is a dark-and-stormy-night story that starts with the murder of a castle owner. A rich Victorian bride, a tomb raider, a housekeeper, and a one-legged butler all figure into the comedy by Charles Ludlam. Two actors portray all the characters, so expect plenty of quick wig changes and tricky exits. The Mystery of Irma Vep is at Weathervane Playhouse (1301 Weathervane Lane in Akron) through February 1. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $16 and $18. They are available by calling 330-836-2626.
Monday, January 26
The 20 local artists who contribute to Art Rock Cleveland at B.K. Smith Gallery are just as handy with paintbrushes as they are with guitars. The show -- curated by Disengage's Jason Byers -- gathers the paintings, sculptures, and installations of multitasking performers and painters for an exhibit that's a little bit artsy, a little bit rock and roll. Works by Frank Cavanaugh, Dave Cintron, Mike McNamera, Nathaniel Parsons, and Scott Pickering are among the totally rockin' pieces on display. Art Rock Cleveland runs through March 19 at B.K. Smith Gallery at Lake Erie College, 391 West Washington Street in Painesville. It's open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. Call 440-639-7856 for more information.
Tuesday, January 27
Groundhog Day is next Monday. Today, the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center offers Groundhogs or Woodchucks, a helpful primer about the burrowing rodent. Learn stuff like why some folks call 'em woodchucks -- so you can be the know-it-all at next week's shadow-seeing ceremony. Groundhogs or Woodchucks is at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center (28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village) from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Admission is free; call 440-871-2900.
Wednesday, January 28
The six artists featured in Material Witness, MOCA's new installation-based exhibition, survey life, death, violence, and economic pressures in contemporary society. It's appropriate that the contributors hail from regions as diverse as Scotland and Vietnam, Spain and Colombia. It's a look at very human issues, expressed in media ranging from video to sculpture. It's at the Museum of Contemporary Art (8501 Carnegie Avenue) through April 25. It's open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $3 and $4; call 216-421-8671.