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American Earle 

A memorable film emerges from an alt-country hero's tumult.

Hardcore troubadore Steve Earle, subject of Just an American Boy.
  • Hardcore troubadore Steve Earle, subject of Just an American Boy.

SUN 1/11

Filmmaker Amos Poe got lucky when he made Just an American Boy, a big-screen look at hardcore troubadour Steve Earle. When the singer-songwriter released "John Walker's Blues," a sympathetic song about American Taliban John Walker Lindh, the shit hit the fan, and Poe was there with his camera. "That was definitely the impetus," Poe says. "It threw the whole [film] into a nice spin." The movie is a portrait of the guitar-strummin' ex-con and a souvenir of his last tour. "It was [supposed to be about] his private life and his personality," Poe says. "But the music started taking over more and more of the film. It started as one thing and ended up as another. Steve can be prickly, he can be paranoid, but we had access to everything. He's genuine. He's a real humanist and very sincere." Just an American Boy screens at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Boulevard. Admission is $3 to $7. Call 216-421-7340 for more info. -- Michael Gallucci

Land Lover

1/9-2/20

Megan Lightell is selling more than just pretty pictures in Safe Places; she's selling a message. "The work goes beyond just being an object to own and becomes something to experience," she says. Lightell finds inspiration in the country and the peace associated with the land of horses and hay. "As we grow more dependent on our technology and urban lifestyles, we become more isolated from one another," she explains. So Lightell paints lush landscapes of fertile fields, rolling acres, and sprawling farmland. "My contribution to this strange world is a reminder of what we don't have or are quickly losing -- spiritual solitude, undeveloped land, places of sanctuary," she says. Safe Places opens Friday and runs through February 20 at Bockrath Gallery, 2026 Murray Hill Road. It's open from noon to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-721-5990. -- Nadia Michel

Sunday Afternoon Fever

SUN 1/11

Peggy Lee, one of the post-WWII era's greatest female vocalists, gets a tribute Sunday that honors both her interpretative skills and her songwriting prowess. The Song Is You -- Peggy Lee: The Art of the Singer features DJ Bill Rudman hosting a program that spans Lee's extensive songbook (in addition to the still-sultry "Fever," you can hear Lee in Disney's Lady and the Tramp) and includes pianist Joe Hunter with singers Susan Hesse, Barbara Knight, Erin Kufel, and Evelyn Wright. It starts at 3 p.m. at Tri-C's Metro Campus, 2900 Community College Avenue. Tickets are $10; call 216-987-4400. -- Michael Gallucci

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