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Flashback Fest 

Hessler Street Fair gets its hippie freak on.

Party like its 1969 at the Hessler Street Fair.
  • Party like its 1969 at the Hessler Street Fair.

When Sunflower Shea was born in 1984, her parents were still clinging to Woodstock's idealism. "I was conceived under an LSD moon," says Shea. Now an off-and-on student at Case Western Reserve University, Shea can relate to the hippies who organized the first Hessler Street Fair 35 years ago. "They were free spirits," she says. "My parents would have fit in just fine."

Since 1969, the fair has become an annual tradition on Cleveland's only woodblock cul-de-sac. "It's the last of the cool homegrown street festivals," says Irene Gaspar, a member of the festival committee. "Yeah, there's still a lot of people who wear Birkenstocks, have long hair and dreadlocks, but there are incredibly talented people on this street."

Last year's two stages of bands and poets even inspired reggae man Carlos Jones to write a song: "Come on now, sister, don't be shy/Join in the party, give it a try/You never know who you're bound to meet/When you're jammin', jammin' on Hessler Street." Far out! The fair starts at noon Saturday and Sunday on Hessler Road and Hessler Court between Ford and Bellflower roads. Admission is free; call 216-556-3716. -- Cris Glaser

Desperately seeking nirvana at CSU.


Think Buddha is a fat, jolly Asian dude? "That idea comes from China," sniffs Jeanne Grossetti, co-curator of The Buddha Project: Visual Manifestations of Buddhist Thought in the Western World, which opens Friday at the Cleveland State University Art Gallery. "In India, he was never chubby." In fact, Buddha has had many faces throughout history. "Artists creating them are influenced by their times and their culture," Grossetti explains. The Buddha Project includes paintings, photographs, sculpture, and more by approximately 30 local artists. The works explore images of Buddha and reflections on Buddhist teachings and community. But it's not about a particular faith, Grossetti says; it's a matter of Zen consciousness, "whatever your religious background." It opens Friday and runs through June 26 at CSU's gallery, 2307 Chester Avenue. It's open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-687-2103. -- Nadia Michel

Bob Help Us All
Beachland hosts some faux-faith-based fun.

SAT 5/22

The Church of the SubGenius -- that faux-religion that worships the pipe-smokin' J.R. "Bob" Dobbs -- returns Saturday. And by now, the proceedings are as predictable as a Catholic Mass. "We've been doing these devivals for 20 years," says Ivan Stang, a Church co-founder. "We put the professionals up front, and at the end, we let it turn chaotic." Which means a night filled with music, performance art, artwork, and movies will culminate in an amateur preach-a-thon. "Sometimes, it's just so horrible that it kind of sums up everything that's wrong with projects like this," he says. Get ready to bow your head at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road. Tickets are $10; call 216-383-1124. -- Diane Sofranec

Independents' Day

SAT 5/22

On Saturday, filmmaker Robert C. Banks will give fans a movie-making primer at the Micro Film Fest, which features 12 hours of indie screenings. Banks will explain how his own bizarre films ("sequential paintings," he calls them) are manipulated through bleaching film stock and tinting black-and-white negatives. Screenings start at noon at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 4730 Broadview Road. Admission is free. Call 216-749-2028 for more information. -- Cris Glaser

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