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Sparx of Life 

Weekend festivals return to downtown.

All the cool people will be at Sparx in the City this - weekend.
  • All the cool people will be at Sparx in the City this weekend.

Susie Frazier Mueller's jaw dropped the first time she saw Ground Effects Crew. "These guys do things with their bodies that you and I could only dream of doing," she says about the break-dancing troupe, one of 15 acts chosen to perform at Sparx in the City, which kicks off Friday.

For 16 straight weekends, performers will do their thing at six downtown spots, including the Warehouse District and Playhouse Square. They range from caricature artist Adam Pate ("He can whip up a sketch that is so true to life, it makes you pee your pants," Mueller gushes) to the performance-art duo Groop, which will work on an abstract-art piece that involves rolling a globe through paint and spreading even more paint on a pair of canvases.

There's also dance and spoken-word ensemble the Fantastics, playing Stomp!-like numbers on cans, buckets, and cooking pots. "They have this rap that's all Cleveland-centric," Mueller explains. "It's a comment on why Cleveland's cool." Sparx in the City happens 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday through September 18 throughout downtown Cleveland. Admission is free. For a complete list of events, visit -- Cris Glaser

Open Up and Say Art
It's a feast for eyes as well as belly in Little Italy.


Italian food may not meet the Atkins standards, but walking it off might help. The annual Murray Hill Art Walk is a pretty good way to burn calories while simultaneously getting an eyeful of homegrown paintings, sculptures, and prints. Many Little Italy eateries are supplying boxed lunches this year, and dozens of local shops and galleries are hosting appearances by artists, launching new shows, and fielding all the traffic. "The streets get crowded," admits Tom Turkaly, director of Turkaly Art Gallery and a member of the organizing committee. Which means art ignoramuses can shamelessly blend right in with the regulars. Gawkers can take a break from all the action by chilling at specially installed sidewalk tables and chairs. "We're going to have strolling entertainment," Turkaly says. "Musicians and stuff." The Murray Hill Art Walk runs Friday through Sunday on Mayfield and Murray Hill roads in Little Italy. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; call 216-721-1233. -- Nadia Michel

Costumed Creatures
Dressing for success at fetish fete.

SAT 6/5

In the Uniform Underground, fetishists navigate a labyrinth of brick tunnels to play on the spanking machines, bondage horses, and spinning torture racks. Only one requirement: Everyone must wear a uniform -- and not just the military kind. "I get a boatload of clergy," says Gemma Viets of TV Productions, which hosts the event. There are also nuns in vinyl hot pants, warriors in medieval armor -- even a regular wearing nothing but a bathrobe with cans of whipped cream in the pockets. "I leave the imagination up to them," says Viets. "Have an open mind, and go with the flow." It starts at 10 p.m. Saturday at Karma, 2000 Sycamore Street. Tickets are $15. Call 216-781-2500 for more information. -- Cris Glaser

Season of the Niche

6/9-8/18 The Rock Hall's Summer in the City concert series returns Wednesday with performances by the A-10's, the Sign Offs, and Cobra Verde (pictured). The free weekly shows take place outside the museum and feature a mix of punk, metal, and alt-rock bands (upcoming headliners include the Greenhornes, Electric Six, and Disengage). Music's onstage 6 to 9 p.m. every Wednesday through August 18 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, 751 Erieside Avenue. Call 216-515-1930 for more info. -- Michael Gallucci

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