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Bill Cosby, dancing, and more in this week's event picks

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4

COMEDY

Get to Know Guy Torry

Guy Torry is a man of many faces, and you've probably seen a lot of them in some fairly big-time movies. He played the prison friend of Edward Norton in American History X, and he's shared the screen with such luminaries as Michael Douglas and not-so-luminaries as Rob Schneider. Though he's done the major film thing, Torry's still best known for his stand-up, which has made him a staple on the TV circuit. (Even a personal highlight happened on the tube: He proposed to his wife, Monica Askew, on Jay Leno's Tonight Show.) Torry is one of the founding members of the Kings of Comedy, and after 17 years of running that show, he still has the passion, the drive, and the talent to keep the crowds in stitches. Torry brings it all to town tonight through Sunday at the Improv. Showtimes are 8 p.m. tonight, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $20 to $22. The Improv is at 2000 Sycamore St. in the Flats. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 216-696-4677 or go to clevelandimprov.com. — Reed Hazen

CLASSICAL MUSIC

Pintscher Leads the Cleveland Orchestra

Once an orchestral composer makes his mark on a score, his job is done — it's up to the conductor to interpret whatever is written on the page. Thirty-nine-year-old composer and conductor Matthias Pintscher has always seen the roles as complementary, and this week he plays both parts, conducting the Cleveland Orchestra in Reflections on Narcissus, his own concerto for cello and orchestra. German cello soloist Alban Gerhardt has the task of following Pintscher's directions. The program is a one-night stand before the orchestra leaves for a two-week tour of Japan and South Korea. A couple fun tunes for the kids — Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice (best known for making Mickey Mouse's mop dance) — round out the program. It's at 8 p.m. Thursday at Severance Hall (11001 Euclid Ave.) Tickets are $31-$110; call 216-231-1111 or visit clevelandorchestra.com for more information. — Michael Gill

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5

Dance

Salsa Lessons at View

Yes, it's getting cold out there, boys and girls. The hats are coming out, the sweaters and winter coats are heading into rotation. Which makes it a great time to think back fondly on our warm days of summer and those salsa lessons we always meant to take but didn't. Now you can turn the heat up high every Friday with salsa dancing lessons at the View Nightclub. The free lessons kick-off at 9 p.m., led by four expert instructors. The salsa sounds are delivered each night by the highly regarded Latin turntablist DJ Felix. So ladies, don't put those skimpy dresses away yet, and fellas, bring your Rico Suave moves, 'cause the weather's just right for steamy salsa. Get on down to the View (618 Prospect Ave.) before 9 p.m. For more information, call 216-664-1815 or go to viewnightclub.com. — Hazen

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6

ICE SKATING MEETS COUNTRY

Scott Hamilton and Vince Gill

Scott Hamilton has a knack for turning rotten luck into something spectacular. A congenital condition stunted his growth (he's only five foot two), so he took up figure skating, a sport where small stature can be an asset. After his mother's death, he vowed to become a champion in tribute to her and won the Olympic gold medal in 1984. When he turned pro, he found that established ice shows focused only on female stars, so he started his own successful touring gig. In 1997, he was diagnosed with cancer, which inspired him to organize the annual "An Evening With Scott Hamilton & Friends" benefits for cancer research and education at Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer, where the Bowling Green native was treated. At 5 p.m. today, he'll take to the ice at Quicken Loans Arena (One Center Court) with a host of talented friends, including 2010 Olympic men's gold medalist Evan Lysacek, 1992 women's champion Kristi Yamaguchi, 1976 women's champion Dorothy Hamill, and 2006 silver medalist Sasha Cohen. Special guest Vince Gill won't be on skates — he'll be serving up some live country music. Tickets are $24.50 to $59.50; call 216-420-2200 or go to theqarena.com. — Pantsios

COMEDY

Bill Cosby

Once upon a time, Bill Cosby was a standup comedian with a wry sense of humor focused mostly on tales about his childhood. He was on a path to at least modest success when he released his first album and made his first Tonight Show appearance back in 1963. But his co-starring role in the popular '60s sitcom I Spy made him the first black performer to star in a network TV show and launched him to another level. In the '70s, the former football star at Temple earned a doctorate in education, made films, guest hosted for Johnny Carson, and released a hilarious spoof of Barry White's heavy-handed romance hits of the era. But his popularity exploded as he approached the age of 50, when he starred for eight years in the 1980s sitcom juggernaut The Cosby Show. Between the superstardom and his academic credentials, Cos has gotten a lot of attention for his often controversial opinions about morality and personal responsibility in the black community. Saturday, he gets back to his roots — one man onstage telling funny stories — when he appears at the Akron Civic Theatre (182 South Main St.). Showtime is 7:30, and tickets are $39 and $59; call 330-253-2488 or go to akroncivictheatre.com. — Pantsios

JAZZ

Cleveland's Jazz Legends Unite

At just 26 years old, trumpet virtuoso Dominick Farinacci already fronts his own jazz band, he's recorded half a dozen CDs, and he tours internationally. When his name appears on a program, he's usually the main event. This week, though, he comes back home to share the stage with a slate of players who are all stars and frontmen in their own right: sax man Ernie Krivda, vocalist Ki Allen, guitarist Bob Fraser, and organist Eddie Baccus Sr. Cleveland's leading jazz icons have been brought together by Cleveland Jazz Orchestra music director Sean Jones for a program called "The Cleveland Scene." It's not so much a history as a snapshot of top talent associated with the annual Tri-C Jazz Fest and several local conservatories. They perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Hanna Theatre (2067 East 14th St.). Tickets are $20 to $43; call 216-241-6000. — Gill

FAMILY FUN

CPT's Day of the Dead Celebration

Sure, "Day of the Dead" has sort of an adults-only ring to it, but the whole point is to celebrate generations of family. So the organizers of the sixth annual Dia de los Muertos Ohio have put together an event that evokes the festive nature of the Mexican holiday. It's a two-day, all-day festival with costumes, food, dancers, musicians, artists, and hands-on activities like face painting and mask making for kids. It all happens from noon to 10 p.m. today and tomorrow, with a parade of animated skeletons and costumed revelers at 3:30 today and a community offering ceremony tomorrow at 8. One highlight is a display of eight traditional Mexican Dia de los Muertos altars, put together by local artists, which feature items honoring dead friends and family. It all takes place at the Cleveland Public Theatre East Campus (6205 Detroit Ave.). It's free; call 216-235-0811 or go to diadelosmuertosohio.com for more information. — Pantsios

TASTES OF AUTUMN

The Kent Cider Festival

What beverage says autumn more than apple cider? Hot cider from Kent's Beckwith Orchards and home-baked goodies to go with it will be for sale at the Home Savings Plaza (corner of Main and Water streets in downtown Kent) from noon to 3 p.m. today during the Kent Cider Festival. And entertainment? Oh yes they've got it, including Delta blues-style singer Mitch Reed, old-timey music performed by the Kent Shindig All Stars, flatfoot dancers Charlie Burton and Sally Freeman, a cider-press demonstration, and pumpkin painting. Various local food vendors will be on hand too. It's free. Call 330-673-4970 or go to standingrock.net for information. — Pantsios

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7

FEMALE EMPOWERMENT

How Not to Be Fat and Miserable

Would you like to live on bread, chocolate, and champagne — and not gain weight? Hell, who wouldn't? Author Mireille Giuliano, whom USA Today called "the high priestess of French lady wisdom," became a hero to millions of women with her best-selling book Frenchwomen Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, which purported to explain how to do just that. Naturally, it's spun off a couple of follow-up books, a website devoted to lifestyle tips, and a speaking career. But Giuliano isn't just some diet expert. A former executive with Veuve Clicquot champagne, she's styled herself into a guru of getting the most out of life. Her latest book, Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense and Sensibility, follows the pattern of Frenchwomen Don't Get Fat, offering women a blueprint for enjoying their careers without being consumed by them. Giuliano speaks at 6 p.m. today at the Ohio Theatre as part of the Town Hall of Cleveland speaker series. Tickets are $45. Go to townhallseries.org or call 216-241-1919. — Pantsios

DANCE PARTY

Get Up! at the B-Side Liquor Lounge

Exercise can be so monotonous if you don’t spice it up from time to time. Better yet: Don’t let it feel like exercise in the first place. The Get Up! Indie Dance Party tonight at the B-Side takes on an international flair that’s bound to deliver as advertised. This week’s party is a traveling circus of sorts, with a group of international DJs hitting the road with the Scion Radio Monthly music series. That means four internationally renowned DJs and no waiting: L-Vis 1990, Kingdom, Blu Jemz, and Rob Wonder. It’s free if you’re 18 or older, as long as you RSVP at www.scion.com/radio17monthly/. B-Side Liquor Lounge is at 2785 Euclid Hts. Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. For more information, call 216-932-1966 or visit their website at bsideliquorlounge.com. — Hazen

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Extreme Mammals and Other Dead Things

Fun, kinda creepy fact: There are 5,400 types of mammals living today — and more than 20 percent of them are bats. Countless others have become extinct over many millennia. So no, the just-opened exhibit, "Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time," at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History doesn't include them all — just the most unusual and distinctive ones. You won't find Macrauchenia — with its camel-like body, giraffe neck, and elephant-like trunk — in zoos today; it went extinct 10,000 years ago. But you'll see a life-sized model of one here. The nine-part exhibit features fossils, reconstructed skeletons, taxidermy specimens, live animals, videos, interactive computer animation, and hands-on activities that lay out the range of characteristics and behaviors mammals have exhibited in their 200 million years on Earth. You'll meet the extinct 15-foot-tall rhinoceros-like creature that was the largest mammal to walk on land and the "walking whale," a prehistoric predecessor of today's waterbound whales that could walk and swim. The exhibit is open during regular museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, until 10 p.m. Wednesdays. It's free with museum admission: $10 adults; $8 seniors, college students with I.D., and kids ages 7 to 18; $7 for kids ages 3 to 6. The museum is at 1 Wade Oval Dr. in University Circle; go to cmnh.org for more information. — Pantsios

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9

VEGETARIAN CLUB NIGHT

Now That's Class Courts the Vegan Crowd

Lessee, you're looking for a killer hardcore dive bar that sells Natty Ice and Schlitz by the can and that doesn't believe in the killing of harmless animals? Sounds like an oxymoron, to be sure. But Tuesdays at Now That's Class pulls together exactly that oddball formula. For Tuesday at this rough-and-tumble outpost is Vegan Slop Night, a delightful repast for the gentlest of souls that is anything, incidentally, but slop. On the menu are vegan cheesesteaks, vegan mac and cheese, and potato salad. And since there won't be any bands shaking the walls on this one day, the jukebox is free to all who enter. The meat-free delights start flying from the kitchen at 9 p.m. and last until they're gone. Now That's Class is at 11213 Detroit Ave. near the Lakewood border. For more information, call 216-221-8576 or go to nowthatsclass.net.— Hazen

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10

HOLIDAY TOURS IN AKRON

The Hower House Lights Up for Christmas

Tours of Akron's Hower House Mansion take visitors back in time to 1871, when industrialist John Henry Hower and his wife Susan had the 28-room Second Empire Italianate mansion designed by Akron architect Jacob Snyder and filled it with souvenirs of their travels. Almost a century later, the family deeded it to the University of Akron, which threw open the doors to you. Now through December 23, the house brims with holiday spirit, filled top to bottom with toys, wreaths, stockings, and other decorations in the spirit of the late Victorian era — the same era that produced that holiday evergreen The Nutcracker. Guided tours take place from noon to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and you can take a self-guided tour from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Tours include complimentary wassail and cookies in the parlor of the Cellar Door Store — where you'll want to check out the Victorian-style gifts, including one-of-a-kind antiques. Christmas tours run through December 23 at 60 Fir Hill in Akron. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for students of all ages — and one dollar less on Sundays. For more information, call 330-972-6909 or go to www3.uakron.edu/howerhse. — Pantsios

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