When we last heard from Carmella DeCesare, the Avon Lake native was a local title-firm employee with a mere Playmate of the Month title under her garter. Sound the trumpets and grease the poles! DeCesare has been crowned Playboy's 2004 Playmate of the Year! In addition to a pictorial in the June issue, DeCesare's also snagged $100,000, a new car, and a new motorcycle for all her trouble. DeCesare signs copies of her spread noon to 2 p.m. today at Magazines & More (26880 Brook Park Road in North Olmsted; 440-734-3370) and 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Liquid Café (1212 West 6th Street; 216-479-7717). Admission to both is free.
Friday, May 14
Today's Bio-Blitz 2004: Forest to Shore is a chance for people to get their hands, feet, and hair filthy while crawling around in Huntington Reservation's forests, fields, and beach. There is a purpose to all this dirty work: To observe, identify, and count area organisms. A bunch of brains from the Ohio Conservative Alliance, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and other environment-friendly places will help sort things out. It happens 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Huntington Reservation, 28795 Lake Road in Bay Village. Admission is free; call 216-231-4600.
Every year, Cabaret Dada throws a birthday party for itself by inviting past cast members to join in onstage. It's more of the same for the ninth anniversary. "There's probably 70-odd Dadas floating the world," says the troupe's Russel Stich. "It's cool that we can keep reinventing ourselves. It's like starting all over again." Pre-show receptions and post-performance parties (with food, drink, and live music) abound. "It's like the Mardi Gras of improv," Stich says. Shows take place at 10 tonight and tomorrow at Cabaret Dada Improvisational Theater, 1210 West 6th Street; pre-shows are at 8 p.m. at Dive Bar, 1214 West 6th Street. Tickets are $25 (Friday) and $30 (Saturday); call 216-696-4242.
Saturday, May 15
Tennyson opined that spring is the time when a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, but we're guessing that he'd never been to Chagrin Falls' annual Herb & Flower Festival. If he had, surely his thoughts would've been of basil, parsley, and rhododendrons. With hundreds of plants, antiques, arts, crafts, garden accessories, floral merchandise, and landscaping tips on hand, who has time for love? The fest takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riverside, Bell Street, and Triangle Parks in downtown Chagrin Falls. Admission is free. Call 440-247-1895 for more information.
Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp? Furthermore, who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong? Who? Tonight's Ultimate Doo-Wop Show may provide a few answers. Hopefully, Frankie Lymon's Teenagers, the Flamingos, Dale Hawkins, and others know. Find out at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $35 to $55, available by calling 216-241-6000.
Sunday, May 16
Stan Hywet's MayFair is an annual spring fling filled with antiques, flowers, food, and demonstrations. It also includes a Kids Corner, where children can get their faces painted, pet some zoo animals, and stick a plant in a shoe. Really. MayFair wraps up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 North Portage Path in Akron. Admission is $7, $2 for kids. For more information, call 330-836-5533.
Monday, May 17
Lord of the Rings fans are freaks. Kim Langley, who hosts tonight's "Warriors, Wizards & Hobbits: Spirituality in The Lord of the Rings," realizes this. But they are also impassioned critics, who are bound to make this two-week study of Tolkien's mythical universe a lively one. In the trilogy, "There are some ancient and interesting ways of understanding people and good and evil," Langley says. "Tolkien immersed himself in mythology and language. It's an enduring work." Moviegoers are welcome, Langley says, but it's helpful if participants are familiar with the book too. "We can tolerate a certain number of people who've only seen the film," she says. "But we want them to wrestle with and engage in the same spiritual questions Tolkien wrestled with when he wrote it." Tolkien talk is from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight and May 24 at the Poets' & Writers' League of Greater Cleveland's Literary Center (12200 Fairhill Road, #3A). Admission is $40 for both nights. Call 216-421-0403 for more information.
Tuesday, May 18
Elephants, hippos, and monkeys are cool and all. But it's the zoo's really big beasts that rule the grounds. Dinosaurs! The Monster Comeback heralds the return of 25 life-sized prehistoric favorites, like the triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex. In addition to the moving, roaring animatronic creatures on display, little ones can make like archaeologists in Dino Dig's giant sandbox and control one of the computerized critters with a joystick. The dinosaurs are at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (3900 Wildlife Way) through September 12. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It costs $2 to see them (on top of the zoo's usual $9, $4 for kids admission). For more information, call 216-661-6500.
Wednesday, May 19
A dozen years ago, boho singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins's slinky, sexy "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" was all over the radio. A couple years after that, she mellowed out with another hit, "As I Lay Me Down." She's released only two albums since then, including the new Wilderness, in which she pretty much does everything herself (including playing guitar, cello, drums, and keyboards, and producing). It's her most natural, organic-sounding disc, free of the corporate fiddling that compromised her previous efforts. Hawkins is at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) at 8 tonight. Tickets are $12 and $15, available by calling 216-383-1124.