This Week's Day-By-Day Picks

Oh, baby! A doomed gangster climbs from the womb - in Takashi Miike's surreal Gozu (Thursday).
Oh, baby! A doomed gangster climbs from the womb in Takashi Miike's surreal Gozu (Thursday).
Thursday, October 28

Gozu starts out as a Tarantino-esque mob adventure, with a young Japanese gangster ordered to kill his mentally scarred mentor. But after the (seemingly dead) body is lost, the film steers into David Lynch territory, complete with nonsense-spewing locals, a lapping cow's head, and a bizarre birth scene. It doesn't make a whole lotta sense, but the surreal twists keep the movie going. In fact, director Takashi Miike sets it up as if it were a fevered dream -- and who's to say it's not? There's great style here, even if the story gets lost in translation. Gozu is at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 9:05 tonight and 9:20 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $8. Call 216-421-7450 for more information.

Friday, October 29

Being sucked dry and left for undead by a vampire doesn't seem all that humorous. But damned if Cassidy Theatre doesn't squeeze some yuks out of the situation in Dracula -- The Comedy, which opens tonight. Everyone's favorite prince of darkness returns as a new man, a refined, recovering plasmaholic. But it doesn't take long before he falls off the wagon. Sets and costumes are black and white, echoing Universal's classic horror films of the '30s. Dracula runs through November 14 at Cassidy Theatre, 6200 Pearl Road in Parma Heights. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $14, $13 for kids, available by calling 440-842-4600.

Is it just coincidence that Fetish Playland is hosting one of its freak-scene parties this weekend? Or is it a deliberate attempt to blend in with all the other Halloween festivities going on? With every other person strolling the streets decked out as gigantic genitals or whip-wielding kittens, it's gonna be really hard for the rubber- and goth-clad folks to draw attention to themselves. Promoters promise several dungeons of fun and plenty of fetish equipment for voluntary use. Trick or treat, smell our feet -- now, slave! Fetish Playland happens from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. tonight at Metropolis, 2325 Elm Street in the Flats. Admission is $15. Call 216-241-4007 for more info.

Saturday, October 30

Tonight's Scary Movie Night features all three flicks in the franchise (imaginatively titled Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2, and Scary Movie 3, for those keeping score) unspooling at a marathon six-hour session. The Wayans brothers' trilogy -- pop-culture overloads that riff on everything from Michael Jackson to Dawson's Creek to The Matrix films -- is more laughs than frights, but it's still a worthy prelude to Halloween. Movies start at 6 p.m. at the Canton Palace Theatre, 605 Market Avenue in Canton. Admission is $5; call 330-452-8172.

The Akron Civic Theatre has a more traditional holiday offering tonight: 1925's silent classic The Phantom of the Opera. There are no singing antiheroes or crooning damsels in distress here (gotta head to Playhouse Square for the other Phantom for that) -- just plenty of eerie atmosphere and genuine chills, courtesy of Lon Chaney's exemplary performance as Erik, the disfigured title character. Jim Riggs and his Mighty Wurlitzer Organ provide live accompaniment. Show time is 8 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theatre, 182 South Main Street in Akron. Tickets are $13, $11 in advance; call 330-253-2488.

Sunday, October 31

There's no better way to spend a Halloween afternoon than listening to Vladimir Swirynsky recite "The Raven". Best of all, the local poet will transform himself into Edgar Allan Poe for the moody occasion. Nevermore! It happens at 2 p.m. at the Lakewood Public Library Auditorium, 15425 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Admission is free; call 216-226-8275.

Monday, November 1

Think you like animals? Check out the 65 paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings of critters created by the NYC-based Society of Animal Artists Inc. at the history museum's Art and the Animal exhibit. Everything from elephants, alligators, and sharks to gorillas, lions, and leopards are represented. And they're caught in poses ranging from the ponderous to the threatening. Art and the Animal is at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (1 Wade Oval Drive) through January 23. It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the museum is $7, $4 for kids. Call 216-231-4600 for more info.

Tuesday, November 2

Like most Americans, we'll be glued to our TV tonight, following every second of Election Day coverage. We also plan to be drinking quite heavily, so when the final votes are tallied, we'll either be in celebration mode or looking into emigration options. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is turning the most heated election of our lifetime into a social outing with its Election Watch Party, complete with light appetizers and -- yep -- alcohol! It's billed as a "non-partisan event," but don't let that stop you from cheering loudly for the liberal candidate of your choice. It starts at 8 p.m. at the Max Wohl Civil Liberties Center, 4506 Chester Avenue. Admission is $10. Call 216-472-2220 for more info.

Wednesday, November 3

Cleveland Play House scored quite a coup with Enchanted April: Michael Wilson, who staged the Tony-nominated Broadway production last year, is in town directing the story of four women who retreat to an Italian villa for a little lovin' and liberation. The same design team behind the original is also on board, so expect a pretty spectacular display. Enchanted April is at the Cleveland Play House's Drury Theatre (8500 Euclid Avenue) through November 28. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $34 to $49.50, available by calling 216-795-7000.