Based on Barbara Ehrenreich's best-seller, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Cleveland Public Theatre's stage version serves as both social commentary and personal drama. "It reminds us about these invisible workers," says artistic director Randy Rollison. Nickel and Dimed (a collaboration with Great Lakes Theater Festival) chronicles Ehrenreich's two-year stint as a minimum-wage-earning waitress, hotel maid, and retail salesperson. "This issue looms large in Cleveland," Rollison says. "There's a whole class of people here, working in these jobs, that we take for granted." It's at CPT's Gordon Square Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) through May 29. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $9 to $20; call 216-631-2727.
Friday, April 30
Here's a novel way to get people to buy your art: Invite them to the opening of your new show, sit down and break bread with them, and hope that they drop some big bucks on some of your pieces. Tonight's Dine With the Artist Series is with glassblower Eva Milinkovic. After showing off her latest work, Milinkovic will join guests for dinner and talk about her new nature-inspired exhibit. It starts at 5 p.m. at Four Corners Gallery & Studio at the ARTcade, 530 Euclid Avenue. Admission is $25, and reservations are required; call 216-861-9088.
Several years back, Austin trio Fastball scored a hit with "The Way," a frothy cup of alt-pop that resists the band's usual working-class grooves. The guys have laid low since 2000's underwhelming The Harsh Light of Day, but recently wrapped a new album, Keep Your Wig On. Singer-songwriters Miles Zuniga and Tony Scalzo are on the road, doing some acoustic shows prior to the CD's June release. They stop at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 9 tonight. Tickets are $10; call 216-241-5555.
Saturday, May 1
In local author Harriet Tramer's Sara's Place, her small-town protagonist upgrades to a penthouse apartment and a "life of leisure." All the while, a mysterious benefactor floats in and out of the action, enabling Sara to maintain a level of financial and personal comfort. Tramer insists the book isn't based on anyone she knows. However, it does correspond with her beliefs. "Some people seem to think that things happen because they work hard or they can make things happen," she says. "Maybe there's another way to look at it. Maybe things just happen. Sometime it's fate." Tramer will read from her spiritually inclined book from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bookstore on West 25th Street, 1921 West 25th Street. Admission is free, call 216-566-8897.
Nothing really happens during the first two-thirds of Japanese Story. Then something happens. Then nothing happens again. The beauty of Sue Brooks's film is in the tranquil telling. An Australian geologist (The Sixth Sense's Toni Collette) escorts a Japanese man when he comes to town on business. They don't hit it off at first (trips to a karaoke bar and the outback are disasters), but soon they warm to each other. It's a tale of accidental love and tragic fate, buoyed by Collette's marvelous and subtle performance. Japanese Story is at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 7 tonight and 4 p.m. tomorrow. Admission is $8; call 216-421-7450.
Sunday, May 2
On his new album, Ashes, singer-songwriter Michael McDermott wrestles with issues of love and hate, sin and redemption. After years of reaching for the unattainable (he was tagged as an heir to both Dylan's and Springsteen's crowns after his 1990 debut), McDermott's settled into a comfortable corner that allows the details of his songs to step forward and shine. He plays a free show at Wilbert's (812 Huron Road) after today's 1:05 p.m. Tribe game. Call 216-902-4663 for more info.
Monday, May 3
Boy, those Jazz-Era gals sure wore some wild outfits. Woolen shirts, riding pants, beach pajamas, silk evening dresses -- racy stuff. All are on display in The Daring Decade: Women in the 1920s, the Western Reserve Historical Society's survey of flapper fashion. More than 40 costumes document the growth of sartorial feminism back in the day. It runs through October 24 at the Historical Society, 10825 East Boulevard. It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7.50. For more information, call 216-721-5722.
Tuesday, May 4
Don't expect Fame -- The Musical to modernize its story of struggling performing-arts high school students by including contemporary touches like hip-hop. "It's not updated at all," explains Mekia Cox, who plays Carmen Diaz ("a fiery triple threat") in the stage production of the hit movie and TV show that's in town the next two nights. "But it does take place around the time that breaking was starting to get funky and in the mix of things." Despite being stuck in the '80s, the play's message is timeless, Cox says. "It's inspiring: Go for what you want, and reach for your goals," she says. "But get training, and understand the right way of doing things." Fame is at the Allen Theatre (1407 Euclid Avenue) at 7:30 tonight and tomorrow. Tickets range from $27.50 to $48, available by calling 216-241-6000.
Wednesday, May 5
Chicago noisemakers Califone layer their songs with sounds expected (wall-rattling feedback) and unexpected (pretty acoustic guitars). Its new CD, Heron King Blues, comes pretty close to new-millennium blues, with trash-can percussion and sleepy riffs leading the way. It's like Serious Beck, but without all the baggage. Califone is at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 216-241-5555.