Randa McKenzie will hold nothing back when she goes onstage to talk about the guy who held her at gunpoint in her kitchen six years ago. "Here's this white woman staring him down, and I'm the one lecturing him on black pride," says McKenzie, who'll ad lib an account of her harrowing tale at That Takes Ovaries! "It brought him to tears."
The annual open-mic night began three years ago, after New York feminist Rivka Solomon published a book of short stories, titled That Takes Ovaries!: Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts, about gutsy women and their showdowns with men. "It's women talking about everything from surviving assault to confronting rude people," says organizer Dana Blocker. "There also have been some really hysterical things, like fighting a boy back in gym class in the sixth grade."
Blocker also recalls the Case Western Reserve prof who was made head of her department, to the dismay of her male colleagues. "The men kept saying, 'You're never going to make it. Go home and have kids,'" says Blocker. "She stayed 40 years, is now professor emeritus, and these guys are nowhere to be found." That Takes Ovaries! is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Western Reserve Historical Society, 10825 East Boulevard. Admission is free. Call 216-368-0985 for more information. -- Cris Glaser
Say Hi to the Creepy Guy
The scary furniture-store dude thanks his fans.
When you Meet Marc Brown this week, ask the Norton Furniture owner and spokesman to show you the new TV commercials that'll air on Halloween. They co-star Ron "the Ghoul" Swede springing up from behind a couch, wielding grass clippers. And in his quirky-creepy whisper, the ponytailed Brown mumbles the catch phrase he's been using for nearly three years: "If you can't get credit here . . ." "I pause after I say it, because I want people on their barstools screaming the next line, 'You can't get credit anywhere!'" he says. For more freaky fun, Brown will also hand out loaves of bread. It's been a hit with customers. "I make money because I have ideas," says Brown. "There's a method to my madness." You can meet him from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Wednesday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Norton Furniture, 2106 Payne Avenue. It's free; call 216-687-1660. -- Cris Glaser
Look Back in Laughter
John Henton returns to his stand-up roots.
After more than a decade on TV, Cleveland native John Henton's eager to get back onstage and tell jokes. A Tonight Show appearance -- complete with a career-launching call to the couch by Johnny Carson himself -- led to co-starring roles on the sitcoms Living Single and The Hughleys. "I was loving the fact that I could stay put," he says. But Henton isn't writing off future television gigs; he's just waiting for the reality craze to wane. "I want to get paid to be on TV," he laughs. Henton performs at the Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) Thursday through Sunday. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $18 and $21; call 216-861-4080. -- P.F. Wilson
It's All Greek to Us
Stigma plays contemporary Greek tunes on the Nautica Queen every Wednesday this month, while diners feast on carved lamb, roasted potatoes, and baklava. "I've seen these guys tear down the house in bars for years," says fan Elena Paradissis. "I can't even imagine what trouble they'll stir up on a boat." Stigma performs at 7 p.m. on the Nautica Queen, 1153 Main Avenue (on the west bank of the Flats). Tickets are $30; call 216-696-8888. -- Cris Glaser