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Roverfest, Feast of the Assumption, and more event picks for the week

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11

COMEDY

The Clean and Memorable Dan Grueter!

You might know Dan Grueter's face from his appearances on The Late Late Show and Comedy Central. The Cleveland native once worked at Pickwick & Frolic, and the East Fourth venue is glad to have him back this week. "He is a clean comic and a very good headliner," says John Lorince, the club's marketing director. Grueter's website will tell you the same: He's "quick, clean, and by the end of the show you'll feel like you've known him your whole life." When's the last time a comic promised you that? The laughs begin at 8 p.m. at Hilarities 4th Street Theater (2035 E. 4th St., 216-736-4242, pickwickandfrolic.com/hilarities). Grueter returns to Hilarities August 15, 18, and 19. Admission is $15. — Rebecca McKinsey

THURSDAY, AUGUST 12

Festival

Little Italy's Feast of the Assumption

One of the most cherished, most artery-clogging traditions in Cleveland, the Feast of the Assumption at Murray Hill is one annual event you do not miss. The Catholic holy day has become sacred for other reasons to Clevelanders of all persuasions: You can feast on authentic Italian food served in the street by Little Italy's venerable eateries, enjoy traditional and contemporary music, imbibe nutritious alcohol beverages, take part in games of chance, and give the kids a thrill on the carnival rides. Each night ends with a fireworks display — and the sensation that you took part in one of ethnic Cleveland's truly defining events. The Feast begins tonight and runs through August 15. It happens in Little Italy on Mayfield Road, between Euclid Avenue and the border of Cleveland Heights. Admission is free, and it lasts all day. Call 216-421-2995 for more information. — Zirm

BOOK SIGNING

I Came Out for This?

Native Clevelander Lisa Gitlin — a longtime writer now living in Washington, D.C. — calls her former hometown a "true melting pot" and says her new home has "the creepy feel of apartheid," what with its socioeconomic schism between blacks and whites. "The only white people in D.C. are privileged people: students, the wealthy, the politically connected," she says. Besides having working-class people of all races living and working side by side, Cleveland is also "fascinating, edgy, colorful, artistic, and bustling with hip people and neighborhoods," she says. That kind of love lurks in the background for most of her first novel, the lesbian coming-of-age tale I Came Out for This?, which tells the story of a fortysomething Jewish girl from Cleveland who finds true love and chases it by moving to Washington, D.C. Only by leaving does she realize how great our city is. Gitlin discusses and signs her book at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth (24519 Cedar Rd., Lyndhurst, 216-691-7000, josephbeth.com). Admission is free. — Michael Gill

FRIDAY, AUGUST 13

COMEDY

Eddie "Undercover Brother" Griffin

There was a time when Eddie Griffin appeared poised to become the next Eddie Murphy. The star of the late, lamented sitcom Malcolm and Eddie was the featured brother in the 2002 film Undercover Brother. The charismatic comic-actor appeared to be on his way. But his ride to the top was slowed by a succession of roles in forgettable B-flicks including Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo and Scary Movie 3. "I had it going on," says Griffin. "Most definitely. I have to find the right Eddie Griffin vehicle. I have to be better about that. It's always been Eddie Griffin with Orlando Jones. 'Let's get Eddie Griffin to polish this turd'...That has to change. Martin [Lawrence] has great material. Give me great material and I'll knock it out of the park." Griffin certainly has the material when he rolls out his energetic stand-up act. "I have a blast when I get up there," he says. "It's all me. I love doing stand-up because I have total control. There's nothing that beats that." Griffin plays the Improv at 8 and 10:15 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. It's at 2000 Sycamore St. in the Flats. Tickets are $30. Learn more by calling 216-696-4677 or go to www.clevelandimprov.com. — Ed Condran

FESTIVAL

Midwest Reggaefest

If ever there was a time to grow yourself some dreadlocks, now is that time. The Midwest Reggaefest is here, and that means tie-dyed T-shirts, nappy hair, tons of reefer (so we hear), and some pretty chill reggae music. So come swing to the rhythm of Third World, Marty Drea, Michael Rose, and the über-creatively named Dread Zeppelin. Reggaefest is held at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, which also gives you a chance to camp out or take a dip in the lake that surrounds the Ledges. It's located at 12001 Nelson Ledges Road in Garrettsville. The festival happens from 1 p.m.-1:15 a.m. today, noon-1:15 a.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Sunday. $30 gets you a ticket on Sunday, $75 gets you in tomorrow and Sunday, and $95 let's you hang out all three days. Call 440-548-2716 or visit www.nlqp.com for more information. — Jordan Zirm

SPOOKY STUFF

Friday the 13th Ghost Tour

As much as you've laughed at those dudes on Ghost Hunters, you've been wanting to get in on the ghost-chasing racket since you first laid eyes on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And with Friday the 13th on the horizon, what better day to launch your new career as a freelance poltergeist pursuer? Lake Eerie Walking Ghost Tours will take you through historic downtown Fairport Harbor, just 23 miles east of Cleveland, to uncover haunted residences, a graveyard, and a haunted pub. Photos and video are encouraged, and who wouldn't want to show off the speck in the corner of the frame that is most definitely paranormal activity? The Friday the 13th Ghost Tour happens in downtown Fairport Harbor from 8-10 p.m. Tours are $8. Call 440-269-0449 or visit meetthespirits.com. — Nick Baker

NIGHTTIME AT THE ZOO

Summer Safari

Whatever their reasons, animal lovers get a special thrill out of exploring zoos after-hours, so it's a carrot zoos love to dangle when fundraising time comes around. The 5th Annual Summer Safari at the Akron Zoo gives guests an evening to enjoy food from area restaurants, music by local bands, and a behind-the-scenes look at the animals. Live and silent auctions offer not only the usual array of donated prizes, but also art made by the zoo's critters. Put that on your fridge next to Junior's drawings and see if anyone can tell the difference. (A word of warning: LeBron has left the zoo and moved to Florida — LeBron the jaguar, that is. But his parents still live here.) Akron Zoo's Summer Safari runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at 500 Edgewood Avenue. Tickets are $90; proceeds benefit the zoo's education and conservation programs. Call 330-375-2550 ext. 7249 or go to akronzoo.org for tickets and information. — Anastasia Pantsios

SATURDAY, AUGUST 14

TRADITIONAL SOUNDS

Raccoon County Music Festival

Those who know what the word "Geauga" means will understand why the town of Burton in Geauga County hosts the Raccoon County Music Festival every year. Starting at noon at the Geauga Historical Society's Century Village Museum (14653 E. Park St.), local and regional performers will regale visitors with traditional styles of folk music: Bob Frank brings the blues, the Silver String Band offers bluegrass, the Akron Ceili Band specializes in Irish music, Mo'Mojo takes listeners to Louisiana for zydeco and Cajun sounds, the Hiram Rapids Stumblers play old-time music, and Joya de Mexico winds up the mainstage festivities at 5 p.m. with their upbeat mariachi. But the festival is also a participatory event: There are workshops, a fiddling contest, kite-flying, jam sessions, and an anyone-can-join-in square dance from 6:30-8:30 to conclude the day. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for kids ages 6-12. The geaugas will be up in the trees, listening in for free. Go to raccooncountymusicfestival.com for more information. — Pantsios

JOSHUA SMITH RETURNS

Jazz Tribute to Harvey Pekar

Avant-garde saxman Joshua Smith says his favorite times with the late Harvey Pekar were sitting on his couch, "listening endlessly to extremely obscure avant-jazz artists that he was excited about." They met when Pekar called Smith after a mutual friend turned the anti-hero comic book author on to a CD by Smith's former band, Birth. Since then, their collaborations included a comic book guide to struggling avant-garde jazz players and an opera on the same subject — in addition to listening to a lot of music together. Smith returns from San Francisco — where he's been making a living off his sax — to perform a tribute concert in Pekar's honor. It's also a CD release party for the Joshua Smith and Keigo Hirkawa Quartet's new disc, Hessler-Cabrillo Run Down — for which Harvey had been slated to write liner notes before his passing last month. The evening opens with a performance by the Revolution Jazz Band, featuring trumpeters John Kuegeler and Scene Music Award-winner Jacob Wynne. It's at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Root Café (15118 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood, 216-226-4401 theroot-cafe.com. The free event features a procession to the United Latvian Church next door, for memories of Pekar. — Gill

SALUTE TO DEBAUCHERY

Roverfest

Rover’s Morning Glory, the outrageously funny morning show on 100.7 FM, has put together a festival that is exactly what you would expect: Midgets, beautiful women, and of course, awesome music. This year’s guests include 2 Live Crew, the hip-hop group known for “Me So Horny” and other way-more-extreme songs that make their lone hit sound like a Christian hymn by comparison. There’s also Mini Kiss, the midget version of the rock group Kiss. Comedian Jim Florentine will join the fray, and Rover will be out searching for candidates to take part in the Miss Morning Glory calendar shoot, giving ladies an excuse to come dressed in bikinis. The fun takes place from 3-9 p.m. at Voinovich Bicentennial Park, at 800 E. Ninth St. Tickets are $9. Visit www.roveradio.com for more information. — Zirm

WILDLIFE

Animal Stimulation!

Zoos these days have become a lot more attuned to animals' natural habits and behaviors, and what makes them thrive in captivity — which unfortunately is the only place many survive, due to habitat destruction. Today the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500, clemetzoo.com) showcases how zookeepers enrich their charges' environment, keeping them alert, amused, and challenged. From 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can observe chimps using tools, an octopus tackling a puzzle, and polar bears diving for goodies as zookeepers interact with the animals. Professor Wylde's Animal Enrichment Show in the amphitheater at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. demonstrates additional activities that keep animals on their toes — or claws, or talons, or whatever Mother Nature gave them. The zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. All activities are free with regular zoo admission: $10 adults, $7 ages 2-11. — Pantsios

AKRON ACTION

Grace Park Fair & Music Fest

The outdoor art-fair season is winding down, but you've still got one more shot: The 5th Annual Art Fair and Music Fest in Akron's Grace Park focuses on regional artists rather than those all-over-the-country rosters so many other summer fests advertise. The artists scheduled to take part work in everything from wood to glass ceramics, painting, photography, fiber, and jewelry. The festival also offers make-and-take projects for kids and a community art project for all, a picnic pavilion featuring low-cost food, a free bike valet, and music by area artists the Chardon Polka Band, the Speedbumps, Ashley Brooke Toussant, and Lo-Watt Radio. It's free, and it happens at the corner of Perkins and Prospect in Akron. Go to universityparkartfair.org for more information. — Pantsios

CLASSICAL MUSIC

Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble

Documented by Marco Polo in the 13th century but active for a thousand years before that, the trans-Asian trade route known as the Silk Road makes for a brilliant way to organize a world-music project. It wasn't just money and fine fabric, but culture that flowed along the road. Taking its name from that route, Yo-Yo Ma's fusion of musical styles known as the Silk Road ensemble has been charming audiences for a dozen years with its easy blend of folk and classical styles. The famed cellist returns to Blossom Music Center for the first time in 20 years to lead the group in performances of Osvaldo Golijov's Air to Air, Sandeep Das' Shristi, and Ascending Bird (based on a traditional Persian folk melody), among other works. It's at 8 p.m. Saturday; Blossom is at 1145 West Steels Corners Road in Cuyahoga Falls. Call 216-241-6000 or go to clevelandorchestra.com. Tickets are $21 to $88. — Gill

V8's in the Vineyard

Classic Car Show ... Plus Wine

The rolling hills of Debonne Vineyards Winery and Chalet make for quite a scenic view for a weekend cruise along the north shore. But today the cars are the real focus — classic cars, that is. Muscle cars, street rods, old-timey classics, and more will be on display for one of the area's largest classic car shows. Trophies will be awarded for oldest car, longest distance driven, best restored car, best original car, and many other categories. All participants drive away with dashboard plaques. There will also be live music. The event has open registration, so whether you happen to be lucky enough to have a classic whip or if you just want to gaze at some, head over to Debonne Vineyards (7743 Doty Road in Madison) for the Classic Car Show. It happens from 1-5 p.m. The winery opens at noon. Car registration is $3. — Baker

SUNDAY, AUGUST 15

Fun in the Country

Valley City Frog Jump Festival

Liverpool Township is just a hop, skip, and jump from Cleveland. And today the area known as Valley City plays host to the 49th annual Valley City Frog Jump Festival, an attraction held in celebration of amphibious aerobics. It features more than 600 frogs competing for the gold in long jump. But that's just part of the fun. There's also plenty of food, beer, ice cream, local melons, and much more. The kiddies can head to the Bumble Bee Tent to get their faces painted and play games. There will also be a dunk tank, a bounce house, a frog school, and a bunch of other attractions. Plus, this year Liverpool Township celebrates its bicentennial, so the whole event gets a special birthday theme — right down to the commemorative beer mugs. Registration for the actual frog jump begins at 10 a.m., and the festival begins at 11 when Mayor Ribbit ceremoniously opens the games, which stretch till 5:30 p.m. It all takes place in Mill Steam Park in downtown Valley City. Visit valleycity.org for more. — Baker

MONDAY, AUGUST 16

MINGLING

Happy Hour With the Play House

What better way to catch up with an old friend than with a few happy-hour cocktails on a Monday? In this case, the old friend is the Cleveland Play House. Their thespians are celebrating the opening of the new season by holding a happy hour at the South Side to get up to speed with thirsty patrons. It will be a relaxed evening of good conversation and happy-hour prices, hosted by Play House Artistic Director Michael Bloom. Ask him about the 2010-11 season and the big plans to move downtown. A pair of tickets to the first show of the season, The 39 Steps, will be given away, but you've gotta be there to win. It's at 2207 W. 11th St. in Tremont from 5-7 p.m. Call 216-937-2288 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com to learn more. — Baker

TUESDAY, AUGUST 17

The Lake County Fair

Elephant Ear Alert!

How does that song go? "It's the most wonderful time of the year." And it certainly is. Not sure what you're thinking of, but we're talking about fair time — that magical season just before the harvest, when elephant ears and other fried delights are slung from rows of food vendors, when obscenely huge produce is rewarded, and the demolition derby is the sport of kings. From a world music stage to a bike night, a Dukes of Hazzard-style stunt show to a parade — and of course carnival rides — there is something for everyone at the Lake County Fair. It starts today at the fairgrounds in Painesville (1301 Mentor Ave.) and lasts through August 22. For a complete schedule, visit lakecountyfair.org or call 440-354-3339. Gates open every day at 8 a.m. General admission is $6; children 12 and under — and parking — are free. — Baker

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