Get Out!

Event picks to keep you warm and toasty

Thursday | 13

Top Pick:

Altar Boyz at the Hanna Theatre

Winner of the 2005 Outer Critics Circle award for best off-Broadway musical — and one of the longest-running shows in off-Broadway history — Altar Boyz opens tonight at the Hanna Theatre. A pointed parody of the world of pop, it tells the story of five heavenly hotties — Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan (ahem), and Abraham — trying to save the world, one screaming fan a time. Expect all the usual singing, hoofing, and laughs as the small-town Ohio boys put their faith to the test during a stop in the Big Apple. Altar Boyz is produced by the Beck Center, where it made its Ohio premiere in 2008. Thanks to their partnership with Playhouse Square, staffers hope the new production on the Hanna stage can convert an even wider audience. Performances continue through January 30. Tickets are priced from $10 to $39.50 and can be ordered at 216-241-6000 or online at The Hanna Theatre is at 2067 East 14th St. — Elaine T. Cicora

Fancy Footwork

Contra Dancing in the Valley

"If you can walk, you can contra dance," says Carol Kopp, caller for Cuyahoga Valley Contra Dances. Sometimes called New England folk dancing, contra dancing pairs off partners across two facing lines, then sets them spinning to old-timey music. The result is an evening of fun, fellowship, and fast-paced moves that will leave you sweaty but exhilirated. The $6 admission fee includes an hour of pre-dance instruction. Plus, throughout the evening, Kopp demonstrates the steps before each jig, reel, or pipe from Hu$hmoney, the night's band. Single contra fans are as welcome as couples, since dancers are paired with numerous partners throughout the night. Instruction starts at 7 p.m. with dancing from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Dances take place on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at the Boston Township School House, 1775 Main St. in Peninsula. For more information, check out — Nathaniel Maund

Friday | 14


Words and Music in the Opera Circle

Expect smooth jazz and inspired original poetry tonight when Vince Robinson & the Jazz Poets take the stage at — of all places — the Polish-American Cultural Center. A composer, slam poetry champ, and accomplished pianist, Robinson launched his jazz ensemble in 1997 and has been playing venues around town — including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Museum of Art — ever since, with a repertoire that includes standards, originals, and his own spoken-word riffs. "Our bass player has the uncanny ability to match a speaker's key," explains Robinson. "So he lays down a bass line, I begin speaking, and the rest of the band improvises around it. It makes for an interesting blend of poetry and music — and it's very entertaining." Tonight's free concert is part of the Opera Circle's Home Concert Series; the Polish-American Cultural Center is at 6501 Lansing Ave. For more information, go to or call 216-441-2822. — Cicora

Fridays @7

Party Like a Hero @ Severance Hall

Head over to Severance Hall tonight after work for 2011's first installment of the popular [email protected] series. It's a full evening of food, drink, and exceptional entertainment, all designed with a modern audience in mind. Tonight's edition begins at 5 p.m., with food and drink for sale in the Severance Hall lobbies. At 6 p.m., the Afro-Latin ensemble Mango Blue delivers an acoustic preview of their 8:15 concert. At 7 p.m., Franz Welser-Möst leads the Cleveland Orchestra in an intermission-free performance of Wagner's Overture to Tannhäuser and Richard Strauss' A Hero's Life. When that wraps up, the night really gets its groove on, with N.Y.C.-based Mango Blue laying down a full-tilt musical extravaganza filled with jazz, funk, R&B, and Caribbean roots rhythms. Fun, fast-paced, and full of surprises, it's a chill start to a winter's weekend. Tix are $36 to $92; call 216-231-1111 or visit to order. Severance Hall is at 11001 Euclid Ave. in University Circle. — Cicora

Saturday | 15

Fresh Air

Learn to Ski

The key to enduring NEO winters is finding a way to enjoy them. That's a big reason to head over to Chardon's Big Creek Park today for cross-country skiing lessons. Geauga Park District naturalist Judy Bradt-Barnhart will explain it all: everything from what to wear to mastering the diagonal stride. (It's not as hard as it sounds.) "I love cross-country skiing and go out as often as I can," says Bradt-Barnhart. Among her reasons: It's great exercise, relatively inexpensive (at least compared to downhill skiing), and you might just spot some interesting wildlife. Today's lesson runs from 10:30 am. to 12:30 p.m. It's free, but preregistration is required at 440-286-9516 or Big Creek Park is at 9160 Robinson Rd. in Chardon. — Cicora

Fit for Foodies

An Evening of Reds

"In my world, every day is a party waiting to happen," says Ken Bogucki, owner, chef, and sommelier of the venerable Wooster Inn. Now that's a guy we want to hoist a glass with! We'll have our chance tonight at 7 p.m., as Bogucki plays host to a five-course wine dinner built entirely upon a foundation of certified Angus beef and Chilean and Argentinian reds. Among the menu highlights: a salad of cabernet-poached apples and flank steak skewers accompanied by a 2008 Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon; béarnaise-kissed sirloin matched with a 2008 Parque Carmenere; and for dessert, brandied black-cherry panna cotta paired with a 2007 Amayna Pinot Noir. Helping Bogucki guide guests through the pairings will be Mike Kaspar from Sawi South American Wine Importers. Reservations for the $65 dinner are required in advance and can be made at 330-263-2660. For more information and the complete menu, go to The Wooster Inn is at 801 E. Wayne Ave. in Wooster. — Cicora

Dinner Theater

Cruise Ship Killer at Frolic Cabaret

What's dinner theater without a murderer on the loose? While Pickwick & Frolic may be best known as a hot spot for stand-up comedy, the Frolic Cabaret plays host tonight to the venue's own murder mystery, Cruise Ship Killer. Manned by an accomplished crew of local actors, Cruise Ship Killer is an interactive show in which guests hop aboard the fictional SS Frolic for dinner with the captain. But keep your eyes peeled: Weird stuff is happening on deck. Staffers are keeping the dramatic details to a minimum: It is a mystery, after all. But guests can look forward to karaoke, bingo, and other voluntary interaction with the cast as the mystery unfolds. Tickets for the 21-and-up show are $43.95, which includes dinner with a choice of five entrées. Seating begins at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, menu details or more information, call 216-241-7425 or visit — Bill Delaney


Bull Riders Tour at the Wolstein Center

It's not often that Clevelanders have a chance to dust off that cowboy hat and put it to good use. Today is finally that day, as the Professional Championship Bull Riders Tour bucks its way into the Wolstein Center. Its name notwithstanding, PCB is one of a few semi-professional bull-riding organizations in the United States and Canada in which participants work their way up a rankings ladder. The top riders are then eligible to compete in professional leagues. That means these cowboys are fighting for bull-riding glory, not to mention cold, hard cash prizes. The event is family-friendly, with free pony rides and free cowboy hats for the first 300 children. Be sure to stick around after all the bulls for a performance by country music artist Jake Owen. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.; tickets range from $8.50 in the nosebleeds to $65 VIP spots. For more information, call 216-687-9292 or visit — Delaney

Sunday | 16

Family Fun Lincoln Speaks!

Pull up a chair with Honest Abe today from 2 to 3 p.m., as the Shaker Historical Society presents "A Campfire Chat with President Lincoln." Joining our 16th prez in a lively discussion of Civil War concerns will be a genuine fake Union soldier. Afterward, reenactors will discuss the details of a soldier's life, including everything from his weaponry to his relationship with his wife. The program is part of the Historical Society's ongoing exhibit, The Civil War and the Shakers: The First Conscientious Objectors, which continues through February 27. Showcasing a collection of Civil War flags, military gear, and letters, the exhibit commemorates the 150th anniversary of the war's start and its impact on Ohio. It all goes down from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Shaker Historical Society Museum at 16740 South Park Blvd. in Shaker Heights. Cost is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 to 18. For more information, call 216-921-1201 or visit — Cicora

Monday | 17


Free Festival at the Rock Hall

It's been 43 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and 10 years since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame first honored his legacy with a waterfront festival. For today's "celebration of community spirit and civic pride," admission to the Rock Hall is free, including all museum exhibits plus performances on the main stage. Chief among the musical guests is R&B singer Chrisette Michele. If you don't know Michele's name, you'll recognize her collaborators: The list includes Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nas, and the Roots. Among her honors, Michele has won a Grammy and a BET Award, and has been nominated for NAACP Image and Soul Train awards. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Rock Hall is at 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd. For more information, call 216-781-ROCK or visit — Maund

Family Fun

Fun-Day Monday at Penitentiary Glen

Don't waste a perfectly good day off catching up on laundry. Corral the kids and head to the Penitentiary Glen Nature Center, where instructor Trevor Wearstler has cooked up a host of fun activities for the whole family. There will be an easy craft, a challenging scavenger hunt, and plenty of other activities, as new games and pastimes are announced throughout the day. Drop by any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and stay as long as you like: It's all free and registration is not required. The park is at 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland. For more information, call 440-358-7275. — Chrissy Niehaus

Tuesday | 18

True Crime

Badal, Bodies, and Beverly Potts

Cleveland has no lack of sensational unsolved crimes, nor authors who have tried to untangle them. Among them, count James Jessen Badal, an assistant professor of English and journalism at Cuyahoga Community College, who tackled the infamous "torso murders" in 2001's In the Wake of the Butcher, then tried to bring clarity to Beverly Potts' tragic disappearance in 2005's Twilight of Innocence. Devotees of local history, fans of true crimes, and those just plain curious about the gory details won't want to miss Badal's 7 p.m. talk tonight at the Lakewood Public Library. It's free. And even if you don't walk away with any answers, you certainly can score signed copies of Badal's books. No registration is required. The library is at 15425 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. For more info, call 216-226-8275 ext. 127 or visit — Cicora

Wednesday | 19

On Screen

Wild About Harry

Besides his 17 gold records and two Grammys (for "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Without You"), Harry Nilsson may be best known for his early '70s albums Nilsson Schmilsson and Son of Schmilsson. Nilsson was an evocative singer, a brilliant songwriter, and a notorious party animal, and his music was one of the best things about living in that pre-Facebook era. Filmmaker John Scheinfeld apparently agrees: Critics have called his recently released documentary, Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? "wildly entertaining," "incredibly emotional," and "deeply felt." Scheinfeld's 116-minute flick tells Harry's story through his words, music, and the recollections of friends like Ringo Starr, Terry Gilliam, and Randy Newman. You can catch the Cleveland premiere tonight at 6:45 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Art's lecture hall. Admission at the door is $9 for adults and $7 for students. For details, call 216-421-7350 or visit The museum is at 11150 East Blvd. — Cicora