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Event picks for the week, because we love you

Thursday | 22

Visible Voice Books

Bikes, Booze, and a Band

Trying to balance your yen for bicycling with a yearning for a good glass of wine? Well lucky you: Tonight's fun from Tremont's Visible Voice Books will help you do just that. Tote the two-wheeler to Happy Dog (5801 Detroit Ave.) at 6:30 p.m. for a group ride to the bookstore. Once there, unwind in the garden courtyard with a special wine tasting and yummy snacks from food truck Umami Moto. To go with, local band Irrelevant Elephant will massage your eardrums with their quirky tunes beginning at 8 p.m. If reading is more your speed, snap up some awesome bike-themed books at discount prices. Tickets for the wine tasting are ten bucks for those on bikes, and $15 for wusses. — Logan Boggs

1023 Kenilworth, 216-961-0084, visiblevoicebooks.com.

Akron Art Museum

Arts & Flowers

Nature has always inspired art. This weekend, art returns the favor in Art Blooms! Kaleidoscope 2011 opening today at the Akron Art Museum. Organized by the Garden Club of America, the show's top draw is 20 avant-garde floral arrangements displayed throughout the galleries, each inspired by works in the museum's collections. Meantime, the museum's grand lobby is filled with potted plants, topiaries, container gardens, and seasonal cut specimens. You'll find eight displays of jewelry and other embellished items, made entirely from dried botanicals, in the Bidwell Gallery. And some 36 landscape and horticultural fine-art photographs are on display in the Corbin Foundation Gallery. More than 20 accredited GCA judges will be awarding honors and ribbons to winners today during the show hours of 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.. The exhibition continues through September 25. Access is included in regular museum admission of $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and nada for kids 12 and younger. — Matt Stafford

One South High, Akron, 330-376-9185, akronartmuseum.org.

Friday | 23

Scene Presents

Very Vodka

Eat, drink, and get your dance on: This is shaping up to be a Very Vodka night. Drawing upon cool, clear lakes of Finlandia's finest 80-proof, Scene's annual showcase of speciality vodka cocktails kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. Besides samples of the top-shelf booze, you'll find complimentary noshes from Lakewood's Greek Village Grille, dancing with DJ Fredimak, and a 9 p.m. striptease performance by Le Femme Mystique Burlesque. The party atmosphere isn't just a great setting to practice your brand of imbibery either. This year's bash also marks the official launch of the Finnish juggernaut's sexy new bottle (pictured). Get an up close and personal peek tonight at Liquid/Suite Sixx/Ultra. Your basic Dine, Drink & Dance tix are $30 by phone or online; or get the VIP treatment, complete with early entrance and valet parking, for $50. — Elaine T. Cicora 1212 West Sixth St., 216-241-7550, clevescene.com.

Feed Your Senses

Ripe Fest at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens

You'll find a bounty of food, farmers, chefs, authors, speakers, and entertainers at this weekend's Ripe Fest at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. It's the second season for the harvest celebration, and according to executive director Natalie Ronayne, Clevelanders have been eating it up. "When local food and edible gardening comes together in such a beautiful setting, magic happens," she reports. Among the draws, local author and culinary instructor Marilou Suszko will be on hand today at noon to talk about garden pestos; we're guessing her newly published Locavore's Kitchen: A Cook's Guide to Seasonal Eating and Preserving could also come up in the conversation. (Veggie guru Farmer Lee Jones of Huron's Chef's Garden calls the book a "celebration and demystification of sustainably grown agriculture.") Also on today's menu: a 5 p.m. beer tasting, a 6 p.m. wine tasting, and plenty of live entertainment. The food fun continues through Sunday; hours are 11 a.m. to sundown daily. Tickets at the door are $12 for adults and $6 for kids; or get a discount by purchasing in advance online or at the Botanical Gardens' box office. — Cicora

11030 East Blvd., 216-721-1600, clevelandlocavores.com

One for the Ladies

Patrizio Buanne at the Ohio Theatre

We really don't much care if Patrizio Buanne can sing: The 33-year-old crooner had us at bongiorno. Still, his fans insist that the yummy looking Patrizio (yup, we're on a first-name basis) is more than just a hunk of Neapolitan-flavored love: He dances! He plays instruments! He sings in flawless English! He's also dropped two triple-platinum CDs (not counting the recently released Patrizio), performed for Pope John Paul II, anchored his own PBS special, and garnered a boatload of followers throughout northeast Ohio — all of which explains why he's making his second concert appearance tonight at the Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square. As if those eyes weren't enough, the dude has a great back story: He's making a name for himself in honor of his late father, who died when Patrizio was only 17. "Every time I sing it brings me nearer to him," he says. "I want more than ever to entertain people, to take them to another world. I love to be able to touch people." Sigh. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $35 to $45. Snag them by phone, online, or at the Playhouse Square box office. Take the cannoli, but leave the bf at home. — Cicora

1511 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Love for Sale

APL's Adoptathon is Super

The Super Adoptathon is the Animal Protective League's largest adoption event of the year. "It's the best way for us to try and get as many adopters in our shelter as possible during a short period of time," says APL event coordinator Jacky Jones. This year, it's all in the service of finding homes for 300 furry orphans. As incentive, adoption fees have been slashed to $5 for cats, $20 for kittens, $50 for dogs, and just $100 for those cute, cuddly puppies. Every one of the critters has been spayed or neutered, tested for heart worms, treated for fleas, received age-appropriate vaccinations, and comes complete with 30 days worth of complimentary pet insurance. Pooches and pussycats also will head to their new home with food, care instructions, and a travel box or a leash. Find your new best friend today from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. — Boggs

1729 Willey Ave., 216-771-4616, clevelandapl.org.

Arty Party

Days of Future Past

Got any trinkets or messages for the people of 2050? A bottle of Purell for wiping down zombie-gore splattered crowbars? A letter apologizing for the hoards of rampaging wooly mammoths unfrozen by global warming? A lock of cloning-quality hair? Loren Naji can help. The Cleveland painter and sculptor is holding a gala party tonight to celebrate "They Have Landed" — his giant, spherical sculpture recently installed in front of the West 25th Street RTA station, across from the West Side Market. At eight feet in diameter and weighing in at 3,000 pounds, the beautiful plywood orb looks like a space craft, and doubles as a time capsule to be opened in 39 years. You are invited to stop by Naji's studio this evening and make your contribution — safely enclosed in a zip-locked bag, of course. While you're there, enjoy beer, wine, snacks, live music, and the artist's newest body of work: an exhibit of mammoth paintings entitled Phi and the Eye of God. It's all free and happening from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. — Joseph Clark

2138 West 25th St., 216-621-6644, lorennaji.com.

Saturday | 24

Kids' Stuff

Zoo Time for Teddy

Time to get teddy out of the closet and into the fresh air. In fact, stuffed pets of every species are welcome to Teddy Bear Day at the Metroparks Zoo, where they and their 11-and-younger owners will find free admission and lots of fun. Among the attractions: a parade, face painting, and appearances by Radio Disney. Be sure to stop by the Center for Zoological Medicine, where teddy can get a free check-up from a board-certified teddy bear doc, along with a certificate of "Beary Good Health" — and probably a hug, too. And if teddy is feeling brave, he might enjoy some face time with his real, live cousins. (The zoo boasts six of the world's eight bear species, including some adorable grizzly bear cubs.) And don't forget to stop at the Safety Zone, where you and teddy can learn how to stay safe from poison, germs, and accidents. Teddy Bear Day activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $11 and kids who don't have teddies not only have to pay $8 but probably will be damaged for life. — Boggs

3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500, clemetzoo.com.

Only the Lonely

The Akron Civic Theatre Salutes Roy Orbison

Tonight's Roy Orbison tribute concert won't be the first for musician Ryan Humbert. Back in 2006, Akron's own Americana pop star was personally praised by Orbison's wife after surprising Rock Hall crowds with zesty renditions of "Pretty Woman" and "You Got It." Tonight, though, he'll be on home turf. "The Akron Civic Theatre is a top-notch venue," says Humbert, "and it feels  amazing to honor one of rock and roll's greats. I think we've run through the set list eight times already, and we're prepared to put on a great show." Humbert plans to coat 24 of Roy's timeless classics with a bit of his signature country rock. Orbison would be proud. Strumming begins at 8 p.m. Tix cost 20 bucks a pop. — Phil Barnes

182 South Main St., 330-253-2488, akroncivic.com.

Word Stage

Chamber Music Theater

Word Stage, Cleveland's newest performing-arts ensemble, debuts tonight at Rocky River's West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church. According to founder and artistic director Tim Tavcar — a veteran actor, singer, director, and Cleveland native — Word Stage is "chamber music theater:" an artful blend of words from compelling historic figures and the music of their times. Tonight's performance, for instance, focuses on the American portrait painter John Singer Sargent. The text is derived from letters and conversations between Sargent and his eccentric Boston patron, Isabella Stewart Gardner. The music comes from Sargent's artistic intimates: Ravel, Debussy, and Brahms among them. Tavcar and actress Deborah Magid will be doing the reading; the Cleveland Institute of Music-based Mauthé String Quartet will be laying down the tunes. Tavcar's format has earned him grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment of the Arts. Tickets are $10 to $20 and can be snagged at the door an hour before curtain, or by calling the box office between noon and 6 p.m. Tonight's performance is at 8 p.m., with an encore presentation tomorrow at 3 p.m. — Cicora

20401 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, 216-712-6926, wordstagevt.com.

Sunday | 25

Thanks for the Memories

Euclid Beach Park Bash

If it had survived, Euclid Beach Park — that grande dame of lakeside amusement parks — would be celebrating her 116th birthday this year. Instead, the park and all its attractions fell to developers in 1969. Whether you're old enough to remember, or young enough to be curious, today's shindig at the former park site has something for you. The seventh annual Remembering the Sights & Sounds of Euclid Beach Park is a trip back in time, complete with parts of beloved old rides, a vintage car show, and Euclid Beach-style custard from Weber's Premium Ice Cream. Nostalgia buffs can review the park's history as walking-tour guides point out locations and remnants of former attractions. And food fans can explore the delights of the famous Humphrey's popcorn balls and candy kisses. Also on hand: books, videos, CDs, souvenirs, rides on the Rocket Ship Car, and a chance to commune with that deliciously creepy park icon, Laughing Sal. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m., parking and admission are free, and it all happens rain or shine. Check out the website for details. — Cicora

16301 Lake Shore Blvd., 440-946-6539, euclidbeach.org.

Family Fun

Kirtland's Harvest Fest

Real farmers probably don't find harvest time nearly as romantic as us city slickers do. That won't stop us from enjoying this weekend's Fall Harvest Festival and antique tractor show at Lake Farmpark. With hay rides, pony rides, and a three-acre corn maze, the two-day fest is like a fairytale version of farm life — and that's fine by us. Also on the lineup: a craft show, live music, and a grain-threshing demonstration. Plus, all the regular farmpark exhibits will be open, including the dairy parlor, the Plant Science Center, and the barnyard complete with llamas, chickens, goats, and bulls. Today's hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $6, less for children and seniors. For maps and information, check out the website. — Cicora

8800 Euclid Chardon Rd., Kirtland, 440-256-2122, lakemetroparks.com.

Monday | 26

Fresh Air

Fall Hiking Spree Returns

It's ba-ack: the 48th annual Fall Hiking Spree, sponsored by Metroparks Serving Summit County. With 18 parks, a Hike & Bike Trail, and parts of the Towpath Trail, there is no shortage of places for you to amble, stroll, or sally. But they only ask you to hike eight of their designated pathways between now and November 30 in order to earn kudos, awards, and bragging rights. Hiking forms and a list of designated trails are available on the parks' website (where you will also find a featured "trail of the week") and at the F. A. Seiberling Nature Realm, at 1828 Smith Rd. in Akron. Awards are free for Summit County dwellers; others pay $10 (first-year hikers) or $5 (veterans). — Cicora

330-865-8065, summitmetroparks.org.

Tuesday | 27

Hidden Treasures

What's That Book Worth?

In 2000, Christie's auction house sold an early edition of John James Audubon's Birds of America for a cool 8.8 mil. Do you have a similar treasure on your bookshelf? Book authority Michael Zubal doubts it, but is happy to look at your dusty tomes tonight at the Independence branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Zubal is part of Cleveland's venerable Zubal Books, buyers and sellers of used and antique texts since 1961. After a short presentation on what makes a book rare and valuable, he will offer a free evaluation of three of your personal volumes. (The appraisal is for information purposes only, and Zubal will not be purchasing any of the books he appraises.) "I've done 18 or 20 of these programs so far, and have only seen one exceptional book: a 1796 London atlas, one of the first to refer to this country as the United States. That one was probably worth $60,000." But if your book isn't worth the paper it's printed on, Zubal doesn't mind. "It's still a lot of fun, and I get to meet a lot of great people" he says. You can be one of them tonight at 7 p.m. — Cicora

6361 Selig Dr., Independence, 216-447-0160, cuyahogalibrary.org.

Wednesday | 28

Stow-Munroe Falls Library

Save the World! Buy a Book!

Does the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library have a lot of books for sale this week? You betcha, says the library's Mary McDonald. "I think if there were any more, the sheer density of that many volumes all in one place might create some kind of Book Black Hole and suck us in forever." Nobody wants that. So it's practically your civic duty to check out the bargain prices at the library's annual book sale. Besides books, you'll find DVDs, CDs, software, puzzles, books on tape, and video games. The sale ends on Saturday with "Bag Day:" From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., bargain hunters with their own totes can fill them for just three bucks. After 2, teachers and non-profits get an even better deal: their picks are free. Today's hours are 1 to 8 p.m.; Thursday 10 to 8; Friday from 10 to 5; and Saturday is 10 to 2. — Stafford

3512 Darrow Rd; Stow, 330-688-3295, smfpl.org.

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