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Cleveland native Touré Carter credits a drug-free lifestyle with his success as a wide receiver for the Arena Football League’s San Jose Sabercats. This weekend, the 1999 Rhodes High School grad returns to his alma mater to show young boys how they too can become top-level athletes at the first-ever Touré Carter Pro Experience 2008 Camp. “When I grew up in Cleveland, I really didn’t have anyone to mold me,” says Carter. “All the camps I could have attended were very expensive, and I couldn’t afford that. I decided to do a free camp to teach kids what it really takes to become great young men, when it comes to playing pro sports.”

The sessions will focus on plays, weight training and healthy eating habits. Carter will also give stern lectures — just like the ones his grandparents gave him when he lived with them on E. 131st St. near the Cleveland-Garfield Heights border. “I knew I couldn’t get in trouble, because if I was seen by the neighbors, standing on the corner with certain people, they’d tell my grandma,” says Carter. “And I knew I was going to be in for it. So I stayed out of trouble and clung to sports as my outlet.”

It all paid off. In his senior year at Rhodes, the 5-foot-10, 183-pound Carter played in the statewide East-West All-Star game. He then became a defensive back at Ashland College, where he was named All-American in the NCAA’s Division II. After graduating in 2004, Carter signed with the Colorado Crush and then joined the Austin Wranglers. He’s just wrapped up his first season with the Sabercats. “When these kids see me, find out where I came from and hear what I’ve done with my life, they’ll say, ‘Wow! How did you do that?’” says Carter. “I’m a guy who went through it all, and it can be done with hard work and determination.” Camp runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today through Saturday at James Ford Rhodes High School, 5100 Biddulph Rd. It’s free. Call 216.374.5629 for details. — Cris Glaser

Bert Kreischer has been chanting his “have a good time, all the time” mantra ever since Rolling Stone named him “America’s No. 1 party animal” back in 1997, during his sixth year at Florida State University. But looking back at the honor, the 35-year-old Tampa native doesn’t think his frat-house bros had anything to do with his leap into comedy. “Everyone always said, ‘You should be a comedian,’ but I didn’t have the kind of friends that would inspire that kind of artistic growth,” says Kreischer, who’s in town this week for a series of stand-up shows at the Improv. “If I would have told my friends, ‘I think I want to be a comedian,’ they would have said, ‘You’re just an idiot’ and made fun of me for the rest of my life.”

Even though his first batch of jokes was all about his party-hardy lifestyle, Kreischer has since expanded his repertoire to include tales about Southern living. “I get compared a lot to redneck comedians like Jeff Foxworthy,” he says. “But I am to redneck comedy what Wilco is to country music. I tell stories, only without the Andy Griffith drawl.” Showtimes are at 8 tonight, 8 and 10:15 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Improv, 2000 Sycamore St. on the West Bank of the Flats. Tickets are $16. Call 216.696.4677 or visit — P.F. Wilson


On its inaugural national tour, the creators of Bathhouse: The Musical! handpicked Cleveland to stage the show for the first time in its natural habitat: a gay bathhouse. At tonight’s opening at Flex’s Cabaret Theatre, audiences will watch Billy, an out-of-the-closet teen, look for love in all the wrong places. “We’ve all done stupid things as we’ve looked for someone to complete us,” says co-writer Tim Evanicki. “We’ve all been shot down, and we’ve all had larger expectations than what actually happens. Everyone can relate to Billy because he figures out that he doesn’t need someone else to be a happy homosexual.”

The play also focuses on three other gay dudes: Teddy the twink, who digs hairy guys; Maurice the “daddy,” a bathhouse regular; and David the bodybuilder, whom everyone lusts after. It’s all accompanied by 15 country, rock and Broadway-style tunes, with a cancan number thrown into the mix.

Evanicki and fellow playwright Esther Daack originally wrote a 35-minute version of the show for the 2006 Orlando Fringe Festival. The pair then scrambled to beef up the script with another hour of material after theaters and gay resorts in Florida and Georgia started to book Bathhouse. There’s currently a Canadian branch of the tour, with plans to take the production to London. “I thought that it was going to be a 35-minute show that we did at a festival,” says Evanicki. “It was going to die there, and we could all laugh about it. Today, I’m proud and surprised. And one day, I hope not to be stressed out about it and I can finally be happy.” The musical starts at 8 p.m. Thursdays, 8 and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. Sundays, through August 10 at Flex Hotel & Spa, 2600 Hamilton Ave. Tickets are $20 and $25. Call 216.812.3304 or visit — Glaser


Local skateboarders get a chance to show off their best tricks at the King of the Road competition, sponsored by Kent’s Evolution Skate Shop. The store’s co-owner, Laura Torchia, made a list of 200 stunts for boarders to complete. Prizes include skateboards, clothes and one-year passes to an indoor skate park in Youngstown. “It’s a lot to do in a small amount of time,” says Torchia. “It makes the playing level even for all ages and skill levels. It’s everybody duking it out to do the most that they can.”

Each five-member team gets a guidebook that includes a checklist of various tricks that must be completed and submitted on tape over the next two weeks. And you’re gonna have to do better than a mere ollie if you want to rack up points. Challenges range from nailing tricks in the nude to riding rails with a boombox on your shoulder. Contestants are also asked to do some things without their boards, like streak in front of an audience and cram double cheeseburgers down their throats. Boarders who get Evolution tattooed on their bodies score the most points. “This is what kids do: They skate around, they hang out, they eat stuff off the dollar menu,” says Torchia. “This challenge is all about doing what they do, just more of it.” Pick up your challenge book between noon and 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays, through Friday, August 15, at the Evolution Skate Shop, 106 E. Day St. in Kent. Participation is free. Call 330.677.6776 or visit — Glaser

When Midnight Special plays the Rockin’ on the River stage tonight, the concert series’ organizer, Bob Earley, expects an audience of 12,000 to pack into Falls River Square to hear the Kentucky band’s classic-rock covers of Queen, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin songs. Since he took over the outdoor music fest six years ago, Earley says he’s yet to have any trouble. “In all the time we’ve had this, we’ve never had a fight or underage drinking,” he says. “And we sell tons of beer. You can’t imagine thousands of people standing side by side and not having an argument.”

The concerts have taken place every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day since 1985, when a former Cuyahoga Falls mayor wanted to attract tourists to the town’s square. Every week, a dozen food vendors sell barbecue ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches, while $3 cups of beer are poured from 18 taps. “Before me, it was a loud and crazy beerfest,” says Earley, who’s also a fill-in talk-show host on Akron’s 100.1-FM WNIR. “Sometimes they paid their bills. Sometimes they didn’t. When I took it over, I wanted to do it right.” Rock out from 5 to 11 tonight at Falls River Square at the corner of Front Ave. and Broad St. in Cuyahoga Falls. Admission is free. Call 330.730.7591 or visit — Glaser

Today’s Game Night in the Arts District helps kick off Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend. Members of the city’s pro indoor-football team, the Legends, will pass around the pigskin with fans in the lot of the old Kresge department store. Partyers can also track down clues in a “haiku puzzle hunt” at downtown landmarks and check out a photo display about Canton history. It all culminates with tomorrow’s induction of the six-man Class of 2008, which includes the New England Patriots’ Andre Tippett and the San Francisco 49ers’ Fred Dean. “We are here to highlight Canton’s art district while the players get their [commemorative] yellow jackets,” says Sarah Shumaker of organizers “We want people to see that this is a place where shops and art galleries are just as accessible as the Hall of Fame.” Action happens from 6 to 10 tonight on Court Avenue N.W. between 2nd and 6th streets in Canton. Admission is free. Call 330.453.1075 or visit — Glaser

Frank Soltysiak figured out a way to get hammered for free at this weekend’s Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg. He rounds up three buddies and tells folks that they’re related. “We say, ‘Hi! We’re quadruplets. We just don’t look alike.’ And everybody goes, ‘Great! Here, have a beer!’” laughs Soltysiak, who heads the fireworks crew that’ll make a big bang tonight. “I had twin girls buying us shots. I’m like, ‘We’re sextuplets. My other brothers are coming in a little while. Can we get any more booze out of this?’”
Jokes aside, the 33rd annual fest will attract thousands of twins and triplets — a feat that’s earned the daylong event a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the largest annual gathering of twins in the world.” This weekend’s roster includes a “Double-Take Parade” at 9 a.m. today, followed by a pancake breakfast, group photo shoots and look-alike contests. At dusk, Soltysiak and his team of pyromaniacs from Hudson’s American Fireworks Company will light up the skies in a 25-minute show. “We come in, set it up, blow it off and clean it up,” he says. “There’s no dead time. There’s always something in the air.” The fest runs from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow at various locations throughout Twinsburg. Admission is $3. Call 330.425.3652 or visit for a complete schedule. — Glaser

Wednesday 8.6

Today’s Cleveland stop on the nationwide Rock ’N’ Roll Fantasy Camp tour is a homecoming of sorts for ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. And his role as “camp counselor” for a band of aspiring rockers is his thank-you for the music and art classes he took in the Euclid, Mentor and Painesville school systems back in the day. “When I was a kid, music and art were my saviors,” says the 45-year-old Clarke, who moved to Southern California with his mom and two siblings in 1978. “I was a terrible student, but those were the classes I looked for

ward to. They are what kept what little interest I had in school alive.”
Clarke and eight other rockin’ counselors — including the Cars’ Elliot Easton, Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson and AC/DC’s Chris Slade — will whip amateur bands into shape to open tonight’s Extreme concert at House of Blues. The groups’ performances will then be recorded and posted on the tour’s website for viewers’ votes. The highest-scoring band will travel to London, perform in Liverpool and win a home recording studio. For Clarke, it’s all about the music. “Art and music are being cut out of our school systems,” he says. “Over the years, people have forgotten how music is art. I like how this camp keeps people’s attention toward the music in a really great atmosphere.” Hear for yourself at 6 tonight at House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $30 to $49.50. Call 216.523.2583 or visit — Glaser

John Ewing suspects movie fans will have high expectations for tonight’s premiere of the four-film series, A Tramp’s Progress: Chaplin x 4, which runs through the end of this month. Still, the associate film director at the Cleveland Museum of Art wants viewers to appreciate silver-screen star Charlie Chaplin as a “prescient social critic” and not just a guy with Hitler’s mustache who had a funny walk. “He remains one of the greatest comedians in screen history,” says Ewing. “But beyond starring in his own movies, he also wrote, directed and scored them. His political attitudes were years ahead of their time.”

The series includes a new 35-millimeter print of Chaplin’s last silent film, 1931’s City Lights, as well as his first talkie, 1940’s The Great Dictator. It’s capped with the 1947 black comedy Monsieur Verdoux and the 1967 farce A Countess From Hong Kong. “He was an icon whom people impersonate and caricature in old cartoons,” says Ewing. “These impressions don’t do justice to the range of his talents and accomplishments.” The films screen at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, through Friday, August 29, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd. Tickets are $4 to $8. Call 888.262.0033 or visit — Marge Perko


Lion in Winter: The Bodwin Theatre Company stages James Goldman’s classic about the world’s first power couple, England’s Henry II and his estranged wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. See one of the first dysfunctional families at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Notre Dame College, 4545 College Rd. in S. Euclid. Call 216.556.4996 or visit

“Our Olympians”: Historical interpreter Sherrie Tolliver shares stories about Northeast Ohio natives Stella Walsh, Jesse Owens and other athletes who put a local stamp on Olympic history. 2 p.m. Sunday at the Garfield Park Nature Center, 11350 Broadway Ave. in Garfield Heights. Call 216.341.3152 or visit

The Brother From Another Planet: When a runaway slave from outer space crash-lands on Earth, will the good people of Harlem help him stay one step ahead of the bounty hunters? Social commentary and science fiction collide in this 1984 flick. 6 p.m. Saturday at Lakewood Public Library, 15425 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. Call 216.226.8275 or visit

Waterloo Arts Festival: Part of the Glenville neighborhood morphs into a quaint village of art exhibits — plus there’s a car show and the NASA touring bus, which is packed with all things intergalactic. 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday on Waterloo Rd. between E. 156th and E. 161st streets. Call 216.692.9500 or visit

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