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Rock What You Know 

Famous writers take up guitars -- but keep their day jobs.

Dave Barry trades his pen for an axe at the Rock - Bottom Remainders show Friday.
  • Dave Barry trades his pen for an axe at the Rock Bottom Remainders show Friday.

FRI 10/29

Full-time writer and part-time guitarist Dave Barry admits to drawing groupies when he's on the road with his band, the Rock Bottom Remainders. Most of them, however, are "librarians between 45 and 70 years old," sighs the Miami Herald columnist, who's on his first hiatus in 30 years. "If they throw underwear onstage, they would be kind of bigger underwear."

Barry and the Remainders -- which includes fellow scribes Mitch Albom (keyboards), Frank McCourt (guitar), Ridley Pearson (bass), and Amy Tan (vocals) -- are in the middle of their WannaPalooza tour and have a stop at the Rock Hall on Friday. (The ad hoc group's best-known member, Stephen King, will not be there.) The only real musician onstage will be ex-Byrd Roger McGuinn. "He often plays the entire song correctly, which we have never done before," explains Barry. "That makes us a little nervous."

So no one's considering a career change. "We just have a good time," says Barry. "This is one of the few times [writers] can be in a group of people and know that no one's going to say, 'Where do you get your ideas?'" Show time is 8:30 p.m. at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1 Key Plaza. Tickets are $35; call 216-241-5555. -- James Renner

Heller of a Good Time
Catch Twenty Two guards ska-punk's legacy.

SUN 10/31

How does a bunch of pasty boys from New Jersey thrive in the decidedly SoCal genre of ska-punk? "There was actually an amazing scene when we were coming up," says Pat Kays, bassist for Catch Twenty Two. "Our band grew out of the ashes of a lot of those bands." And don't sound the death knell just yet, cautions Kays. Despite a lull in the merrymaking music over the past, oh, five years, Kays thinks there's still relevance in horn-heavy, bass-poppin' ska. "We give a place for a lot of kids to come and cut loose and dance and hang out with no negative energy," he says. Catch Twenty Two has a live album coming out next month, then it's back to the studio. "We're looking to build something from the ground up," says Kays. "We're gonna add some depth to it." Catch Twenty Two is at the Rhythm Room (2140 South Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights) at 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5, available by calling 216-321-4073. -- Michael Gallucci

Say Cheese
Pearl Necklace strings together camp and drag.

10/28-11/6

Varla Jean Merman's sworn off Cheez Whiz and is in search of a man in Girl With a Pearl Necklace. "She's decided she has to give up cheese, because it's been a substitute for love," explains Jeffery Roberson, who plays Varla in the one-man musical. "Cheese has been filling a hole a man should be filling." Comedic camp is a Roberson trademark honed at his college commencement, where he appeared in drag. "I knew my mother wasn't going to be there." he says. Necklace is at Cleveland Public Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) Thursday through November 6. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, and 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 to $24; call 216-631-2727. -- Cris Glaser

Kids See the Darnedest Things

MON 11/1 The Wiggles are sorta like the Teletubbies: They're identified by color, they dance, they sing, they run around a lot, and they're obsessed with food. But they're not nearly as freaky, mainly because they're human (despite the Australian accents). They do hang out with somebody called Captain Feathersword, though, which is kinda freaky. The Wiggles in Concert is at the CSU Convocation Center (2000 Prospect Avenue) at 3 and 6:30 p.m. Monday. Tickets are $15 to $30; call 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci

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