This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Xe La Arabica (Lee Road, Cleveland Heights) Friday, December 3
On the bloody battlefield with Tae Guk Gi's - fighting brothers. It's at the Cinematheque Friday.
On the bloody battlefield with Tae Guk Gi's fighting brothers. It's at the Cinematheque Friday.
Thursday, December 9

"Everything in creation has rhythm," says Matthew Kelly. We're not really sure what he's talking about (our cats, for example, can't dance at all), but we like the thought behind his self-help tome, The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day With Passion and Purpose. "It's about knowing the way things energize us and the things that drain our [physical] energy," clarifies Kelly, an Australian whose own chronic-fatigue syndrome prompted him to help others manage their weariness. "One of the great myths of the 20th century was that time is our most valuable resource. It isn't. Energy is." Kelly talks about energy and stuff at 7:15 tonight at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 7575 Bellflower Road in Mentor. Admission is free. Call 440-255-0600 for more info.

Friday, December 10

The Largely Literary Theater Company's version of A Christmas Carol is the most literary and stately production of the oft-staged classic you're gonna see this season. The best thing about the play, now in its third season, is Plain Dealer TV columnist Mark Dawidziak's role as Charles Dickens. Not only does Dawidziak take the stage in period garb, he also proceeds to read from the book he's lugged onstage, line after line after line . . . Eventually, another actor shows up as Scrooge to pick up the action. Finally, Dawidziak's wife, Sara Showman, appears and plays everyone else -- men, women, ghosts. The thinking man's Christmas Carol is at Greystone Hall & Theatre (103 South High Street in Akron) at 8 tonight and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 and $15, available by calling 330-761-1950.

Like Saving Private Ryan, Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War stylizes its carnage. Battlefields are caked in muddy red blood, whirring bullets pierce skin, and the hum of death sounds like a symphony in Kang Je-gyu's beautifully shot film about a pair of South Korean brothers drafted into the Korean War. Unsurprisingly, things turn from bad to worse for the siblings, who quickly realize that war is indeed hell. This film's just as harrowing -- and moving -- as Ryan. It's at the Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 9:25 tonight, 7:10 p.m. tomorrow, and 3:10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8; call 216-421-7450. For a full review, go to

Saturday, December 11

Eating breakfast with Santa is always cool. Eating breakfast with Santa while surrounded by a bunch of wild beasts is even cooler. And while there's something a little perverse about snacking on eggs, sausage, and bacon mere feet from living, breathing animals at the zoo's Brunch With Santa, there are still plenty of guilt-free eats available (including fruit, muffins, and bagels). Programs featuring critters and hands-on activities follow the feeding. It all culminates with a tour of the reindeer exhibit, guided by the big man himself. Brunch is served at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way. Tickets are $22, $14 for kids. For reservations, call 216-661-6500.

Singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin once shared space in a band with Jesse Harris, who wrote "Don't Know Why" and other songs on Norah Jones's Grammy-hogging debut. Little surprise then that Martin's People Behave Like Ballads has a similar coffeehouse vibe, jazz-flecked and with a languid pace that oughta go well with an iced caramel macchiato. Martin's at Borders Books & Music (Severance Center, 3466 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights) at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; call 216-291-8605.

Sunday, December 12

More than 120 works spanning 300 years make up the art museum's Visions of Japan: Prints and Paintings From Cleveland Collections, opening today. Woodcuts and paintings compose the bulk of the exhibit, which is heavy on 18th- and 19th-century landscapes and portraits. It's on view through February 20 at the Museum of Art, 11150 East Boulevard, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free; call 216-421-7350.

Monday, December 13

Every year, more than a thousand polar bears migrate to the shores of Hudson Bay. A Study in White: The Polar Bears of Churchill, Manitoba -- a display featuring 19 black-and-white photos by Steven Sorin -- documents the journey and also captures the huge, cuddly-looking animals playing, fighting, and just hanging out. It's at the Museum of Natural History (1 Wade Oval Drive) through March 6. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7, $5 for kids; call 216-231-1600.

Tuesday, December 14

Smooth jazz is all over Christmas. There's no other time of year that it's even tolerable, in fact. But all is forgiven during the holidays, when mellow saxophones and dispassionate singing go down easy with eggnog and sugar cookies. Dave Koz is an expert at the game, having staged eight Smooth Jazz Christmas Tours. This year, guitarist Norman Brown, keyboardist Brian Culbertson, and vocalist Brenda Russell join the saxophonist onstage. They're at the Palace Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 7:30 tonight. Tickets are $40 and $45; call 216-241-6000.

Wednesday, December 15

We don't need Jamie Foxx to show us how great Ray Charles is. Everything we need to know about Brother Ray can be found in the Genius and Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection boxed set. However, The Genius of Ray Charles, an artifact-packed exhibit at the Rock Hall, helps put it all in perspective. Awards, clothes, instruments, eyeglasses, and his chessboard (yes, the blind Charles was an expert player) are all included. With a top-10 CD, a hit biopic, and now this, Charles (who died at 73 in June) is turning out to be 2004's MVP. The Genius of Ray Charles is at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1 Key Plaza) through September 1. It's open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. tonight and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. the rest of the week. Admission is $20, $11 for kids (children under eight get in free); call 216-515-1930.

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