One difference between Disney's take on Little Red Riding Hood and Poland's cartoon version is that Uncle Walt's hirsute villain didn't accost the heroine while sporting a boner. Other distinctions spotted in the Cleveland Cinematheque's A Short History of Polish Animation include death, despair, loneliness, and isolation at every turn. This ain't kid stuff, nor is it for adults who get depressed easily. Tonight's installment features "The Roll-Call," Ryszard Czekala's award-winning 1971 downer about a group herded into concentration camps, then systematically killed by Nazis. Nine other shorts follow, beginning at 7 tonight. A different program shows at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard. Admission is $8, $5 for members; call 216-421-7450.
Friday, March 12
Take away Van Morrison and U2, and you're left with Ireland's greatest musical export -- the Pogues. And, frankly, beers go down a lot smoother whenever Shane MacGowan and mates are playing in the background. Ever since the rowdy group combusted a decade or so ago, St. Patrick's Day blowouts everywhere have had to settle for cover bands. The area's finest, the Boys From County Hell, won't be around Wednesday to give St. Pat a proper party (they'll be in Thailand for a black-tie event. Really -- read more in Soundbites). So they're celebrating tonight with a Sayonara Ball. Expect plenty of booze, Pogues tunes, and vaguely violent dancing. We can't wait. Openers the Whiskeyhounds plug in at 9 at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road. Tickets are $10; call 216-383-1124.
Saturday, March 13
Larry Battson insists that he's never dangled a baby before an alligator's jaws. "That was pretty stupid," says the wrangler of scary animals, who's appearing at the I-X Center's Cleveland Sport, Travel, and Outdoor Show. He's referring to the recent publicity stunt of crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, a man who "can make even a night crawler seem dangerous." Battson's act involves getting down and dirty with big-ass rattlesnakes. "This isn't a job," he says. "It's a life." The show runs today through March 21 at the I-X Center, 6200 Riverside Drive. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, and 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (except Wednesday, when it opens at noon). Admission is $9.50, $4 for kids; call 800-600-0307.
Sunday, March 14
If teen pop really is dead, nobody told the crew behind the Radio Disney Spring Thing Tour. In fact, co-headliners Play -- a quartet of gals from Stockholm -- are getting mucho buzz. Their single, "Evergirl," was tapped by Nickelodeon to peddle its EverGirl clothing line, and Sony didn't release advance copies of their debut album for fear of online leaks. Plus, these young ladies got the tween-empowerment thing down pat. Also on board is Jump5, which had songs in the kid hit The Lizzie McGuire Movie and on the Disney Channel's Kim Possible. Show starts at 4 p.m. at the Odeon, 1295 Old River Road. Tickets are $18.50 and $20; call 216-241-5555.
Monday, March 15
Cleveland loves its buzzards. Years after the legendary radio station gave way to an organization run by corporate bigwigs, locals still equate WMMS with the predatory bird. And they still gather once a year at an ungodly hour to welcome the Return of the Buzzards. Join naturalist Bob Hinkle, strap on a pair of binoculars, and aim your eyes at the sky in anticipation of the turkey vulture's annual homecoming. Rise and shine at 6:30 a.m. at Hinckley Reservation's Buzzard Roost (at the corner of State Road and West Drive in Hinckley Township). Admission is free. Call 440-526-1012 for more information.
Seven years ago, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame moved its induction ceremony from New York to Cleveland. Then it promptly put it back in New York the following year, never to return. Tonight, Jackson Browne, the Dells, George Harrison, Prince, Bob Seger, Traffic, and ZZ Top earn their plaques within the coveted corridors. Of course, the ceremony's happening in New York City. But a broadcast of the self-congratulatory music party will be shown live on big screens set up throughout the museum tonight. And for only $10 -- as opposed to the $2,500 a New York ticket would have set you back -- you can marvel at Browne's timeless haircut, Prince's puny mustache, and ZZ Top's freakishly long beards. There will be appetizers and a cash bar, and you're free to roam the halls and gawk at exhibits. It all starts at 8 at the Rock Hall, 1 Key Plaza. For more information, call 216-241-5555.
Tuesday, March 16
In David Copperfield: An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion, the self-proclaimed King of Magic scrunches himself up in a shoebox, plays around with a lethal black African scorpion, and walks through solid steel. And yet, none of it is quite as thrilling without the pouffy hair and costumes he sported back in the day. Copperfield works his magic at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. at E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill Street in Akron. Tickets are $34.75 and $44.75, available by calling 330-972-7570.
Wednesday, March 17
What do you get when you combine 70 tons of colored sand, a 25-foot sunken-ship sand sculpture, and hidden booty? A big mess for Mom to clean up, for one thing. You also get Sand-Ahoy!, the Children's Museum's latest exhibit, which features scuba gear, treasure maps, and plastic fish to inspire little ones' aquatic adventures. It's up through May 2; the Children's Museum (10730 Euclid Avenue) is open 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 (kids under a year get in free); call 216-791-5437.