In her latest thriller, Devil's Corner, Lisa Scottoline moves outside of the law firm that's been the setting of most of her bestsellers. This time, the protagonist is a feisty assistant U.S. attorney, hell-bent on bringing down the drug gangs that have taken over the Philly neighborhood in which she grew up. "It was [inspired by] one of the city's biggest trials," says Scottoline, a former lawyer. "They had all of these suspects and evidence there. I wandered into a courtroom, and on the evidence table there were semi-automatic weapons, plastic bags, and crack cocaine. And there was this [prosecutor] trying to save my city." While there's some theorizing and discoursing on the big business of drugs, Scottoline says that her bottom line is to entertain readers. "But you can't entertain smart people unless you're going to teach them something," she adds. "That's why legal thrillers are so popular. You're getting a little law, and you're talking about justice. You're talking about stuff that matters." Scottoline signs her book at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Bookselliers, 24519 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst. Admission is free. Call 216-691-7000 for more information.
Friday, June 10
Of all the grisly crimes, accidents, and deaths that have happened in Cleveland over the years, the Torso Murders are our absolute favorites. In the mid-1930s, 13 headless bodies showed up in a tucked-away downtown area, victims of the so-called "Mad Butcher." Haunted Cleveland's Torso Murder Tour makes some notable stops, like the coroner's office (which has pics of victims and crime scenes to share) and the Cleveland Police Museum (where you'll learn details about the famous case that eluded the even more famous Eliot Ness). The four-hour tour also traces the path of the Mad Butcher, just to put you in that serial-killer kinda mood. It starts at 6 tonight at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, One Wade Oval Drive. Tickets are $45. Call 216-251-0406 for reservations.
Saturday, June 11
The annual Parade the Circle blowout happens today, and this year's theme, Inside Out, probably won't make that much of a difference as far as the direction this popular community event will take. With masks, costumes, and other assorted artwork filling the fest, chances are pretty good it'll feature the same colorful, kinda-cool/kinda-creepy pieces that have populated the free shindig for the past 16 years. Street performers, live music, food, and hands-on activities (where big and little kids can make everything from a dinosaur fan to a seed necklace) round out the action. Fun runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at University Circle; visit www.universitycircle.org/events.
From First to Last is more cerebral and trickier with its rhythms than most of its new-punk contemporaries. The Los Angeles quintet's debut album, Dear Diary, has a misleading title -- it's not one of those super-confessional discs that emo kids eat up. Rather, the driving guitars and hurricane drums are closer to At the Drive-In's tsunami of sound. The band makes a stop at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 6 tonight. Tickets are $10; call 216-241-5555.
Sunday, June 12
We here at Night & Day are pop-culture junkies. If we could shoot a daily speedball of movies, TV, music, and books straight into our veins, we would. So imagine our joy when we found out about today's Pop Culture Fest. Vendors will be on hand, selling everything from comic books and toys to DVDs and CDs. Some D-list celebrities (like Dean Haglund, who was one of the Lone Gunmen on The X-Files, along with the Son of Ghoul and scream diva Robyn Griggs) will be there too. It all happens from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select -- City Centre Lakeshore, 1111 Lakeside Avenue. Admission is $5; visit www.popculturefest.com.
Look out! Fair and festival season is here, and we've put on the stretch pants! Holy Redeemer's Feast of St. Anthony has the usual kids' activities, raffles, and the always-popular "games of chance," but it's the gut-busting eats that are the real draw: pizza, sausage sandwiches, cavatelli and meatballs, and our personal fave, fried dough. Mmm . . . fried dough. The festival is from 1 to 7 p.m. at Holy Redeemer Church, 15712 Kippling Avenue. Admission is free; call 216-531-3313.
Monday, June 13
Phil Lesh spends the better part of his memoir, Searching for the Sound: My Life With the Grateful Dead, discussing what a long, strange trip he took as bassist for the granddaddy of all jam bands. And we don't think we're giving anything away by noting that lots and lots of drugs are involved. Lesh is at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (1 Key Plaza) for a pair of signings today: a free one at 4 p.m. and, at 7 p.m., a $10 deal that includes a lecture by Lesh; call 216-515-8427 for more information.
Tuesday, June 14
Even though it's been eight years since his last album, not much has changed with Buckwheat Zydeco. He's still rockin' the accordion and playing an accessible version of N'Awlins music on his new CD, Jackpot! And if there's little to differentiate the swinging "I'm Gonna Love You Anyway" from the swinging "Come and Get Yourself Some," no one's better at getting a party started. Buckwheat Zydeco is at Peabody's (2083 East 21st Street) at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $13; call 216-241-5555.
Wednesday, June 15
Maximo Park has a lot in common with many other fresh-faced U.K. rockers who owe a great big thank-you to Gang of Four and its ilk. Its dance-worthy debut, A Certain Trigger, is a fun, twisty listen that piles on stuttering guitar riffs, thick bass, and funk-fueled drums that aren't afraid to dabble in disco. It's getting hard to keep all these bands straight, but Maximo Park is the one most likely to get your groove thing shaking. The group plays the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 216-241-5555.