Onoe Umenosuke becomes a lady tonight at Onnagata: The Making of a Woman. The Tokyo-based actor will both discuss and demonstrate kabuki, the centuries-old Japanese theater style in which males portray females. Umenosuke goes the full route, with makeup, wig, and kimono. He wraps things up with a performance that includes speech and movement inspired by women and a dance based on traditional kabuki. Umenosuke offers a backstage glance at the theater as well as a glimpse into another culture's heritage (roles are passed down from generation to generation of actors). It's free, beginning at 7 p.m. at John Carroll University's Kulas Auditorium (20700 North Park Boulevard in University Heights). Call 216-397-1685 for more information.
Friday, October 10
Shaker AutumnFest, which starts today and runs through Monday, is a community-wide celebration that coincides with Shaker Heights High School's homecoming weekend. The lineup includes a harvest festival, dances, hikes, a hayride, a scavenger hunt, a parade, and Shaker's football game against Mentor. The highlight is Sunday's 1960s-themed regatta at Thornton Park. Shaker AutumnFest runs from 5 to 9 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. tomorrow, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. Admission is free. Call 216-491-1340 for more information and locations.
The Great Lakes Theater Festival opens its 42nd season tonight with rotating repertory productions of Hamlet and Tartuffe. "They're totally different plays from completely different periods with different sensibilities," explains Charles Fee, director of Hamlet. Over the next month, the same cast will juggle weekend performances of Shakespeare's and Molière's classics. For all their differences, Fee says, they're a perfect match. "Both plays are deeply concerned with issues of hypocrisy. They fit like a glove." Hamlet runs tonight through November 9 at the Ohio Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue). Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. (Tartuffe opens October 17 and runs through November 6.) Tickets range from $11 to $45, available by calling 216-241-6000.
Today is Wolf Awareness Day at the zoo, and you know what that means: origami! In addition to the face-painting, craft-making, educational exhibits, treasure hunt, and interactive games taking place, the ancient art of folding paper into flowers and birds will be plied. Most important, experts will share info on repopulating wolf communities in the Great Lakes region and what you can do to help. Ah-woo! Wolf Awareness Day takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (3900 Wildlife Way). Zoo admission is $9, $4 for kids. Call 216-661-6500 for more information.
Sunday, October 12
Today's 55th annual Apple Butter Festival in Burton promises "the aroma of apple butter simmering in copper kettles over a wood fire," according to those who simmer the butter. And as fall celebrations go, that scent sure beats anything at the fish fest. With arts and crafts, pony rides, games, storytelling, live entertainment, artisans, and other eats (like barbecue -- covered in apple butter -- and fresh bread), the fest promises to be one of the sweetest seasonal gatherings around. And the living scarecrow garden is sure to scare the bejesus out of the little ones. The Apple Butter Festival happens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Century Village Museum (State Routes 87 and 168 in Burton). Admission is $5, $3 for children (kids under 6 are free). Call 440-834-1492 for more info.
Monday, October 13
The Bitch in the House's subtitle says it all: "26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage." "It's not an angry book," says Cathi Hanauer, who edited the collection. "But it started with anger." Hanauer conceived the bestseller (now out in paperback) after taking a look at her own life. "It came from my own domestic anger," she says. "I had everything I ever really wanted, and yet I was overwhelmed by the juggling act my life had become." Still, she admits, it's good timing: The book wouldn't have been published 30 or even 20 years ago. "Not with this title," she says. "The argument was much more political then. Now it's more personal. The '70s movement opened the doors for women to come through. We came through, and we arrived. And now we're allowed to finally talk about what it's like to be here and what's still not working." Hanauer reads and discusses The Bitch in the House at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (13217 Shaker Square). Admission is free. Call 216-751-3300 for more info.
Tuesday, October 14
Cracker's Countrysides is a new covers album featuring some of the Virginia-based alt-rock band's favorite country songs. Before you snicker and sneer at takes on Hank Williams Jr.'s rowdy "Family Tradition" and Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers," revel in how relaxed the crew sounds. David Lowery's never-suppressed twang has rarely fit as well as it does on Merle Haggard's excellent "The Bottle Let Me Down." And if honky-tonk ain't your thing, plenty of Cracker's own tunes (including fan faves "Teen Angst" and "Low") will be dragged onstage when the band plays Peabody's Down Under (2083 East 21st Street) at 7 p.m. Tickets are $16 and $18; call 216-241-5555.
Wednesday, October 15
The Eagles are leaving their options open. First it was the Hell Freezes Over Tour in 1994; now it's the Farewell I Tour. The quartet (Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmidt) is supposedly still working on a new studio album, its first in 24 years. In the meantime, The Very Best of the Eagles -- a two-CD, 33-track compilation -- is due next week. (The band's Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 collection remains the best-selling album ever, with more than 28 million copies sold.) All the hits -- "Take It Easy," "Hotel California," "The Long Run" -- are on the new set, as is the new "Hole in the World." Expect to hear them and more tonight, when the group plays Gund Arena (100 Gateway Plaza) at 8. Tickets are $47 to $152; call 216-241-5555.