Ordinarily, 7 Floors of Hell would be something we'd stay very, very far away from (attics and basements are enough to give us the willies). But Halloween's coming up, and haunted houses are as much a part of the season ritual as dressing up as a giant testicle and begging for candy door to door. 7 Floors bills itself as the state's largest and scariest dwelling, and with stories named Insanity, Black Out, and Torture Chamber, it rivals our moldy, stinky basement in the sheer terror department at least. The scary septet is at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 164 Eastland Road in Berea. It's open from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday through October 31. Admission is $20. Call 440-243-3327 for more info.
Friday, October 22
Isn't the Boo at the Zoo concept a bit misguided? Is it really a good idea to get large, flesh-eating animals all riled up at night by having little ones walk around the grounds in Spider-Man and Dora the Explorer costumes? Still, the concept's a hit: Both the Cleveland Metroparks and Akron zoos are giving kids a chance to stroll their parks in search of tasty treats. They also have live critter shows, costumed characters, and train rides happening through October 31. The Metroparks boo (3900 Wildlife Way) happens from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday; admission is $5 (call 216-661-6500). The Akron boo (500 Edgewood Avenue in Akron) is 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; admission is $6 (call 330-375-2550).
The apocalyptic future of Time of the Wolf is a pretty bleak one. There are no neon-lit noodle bars to visit, no sleek buildings towering over crumbling landscapes to ponder, and no robots that look like Daryl Hannah to combat. In fact, there's not much of anything in Michael Haneke's stylish film -- just barren fields speckled with dead animals, ominous mists, and a group of people holed up in an abandoned train station waiting for . . . what exactly? Salvation? A cure? Safety? Time of the Wolf never really makes it clear why all this has happened, and it certainly doesn't offer a tidy conclusion. And it's all the more chilling and gloomy because of it. The end of the world has never looked so dismal. The movie plays at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 7:15 tonight, 9:35 p.m. tomorrow, and 9:15 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8; call 216-421-7450.
Saturday, October 23
Despite being French, the yellow-hatted Madeline is pretty likable. For one thing, she manages to piss off the domineering Miss Clavel in nearly every book adventure. For another, she has a scar on her tummy that she never stops talking about. And she's somewhat of a control freak. We like that. The Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet presents Madeline at the Circus today, and it's one of the gal's best tales, set under the big top, where Madeline and a pal get stranded. It's at the Ohio Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $14.50; call 216-214-6000.
Straylight Run was formed by two guys who used to be in Taking Back Sunday, and -- surprise! -- they sound an awful lot like emo's reigning chart-toppers. Straylight's self-titled debut is awash in sensitive words delivered by an ultra-earnest singer, melodies that start slow and build to soaring heights, and a sound guaranteed to make the girls swoon. Standard emo stuff, but it's played with pleasure. They're at the Agora Ballroom (5000 Euclid Avenue) at 8 p.m. with Say Anything and Hot Rod Circuit. Tickets are $12; call 216-241-5555.
Sunday, October 24
Chicago singer-songwriter Ike Reilly loads his songs with repulsive characters -- whores, racists, cheaters, and manipulators -- but he buries them beneath singsongy tunes and playful lyrics that sorta make their loathsomeness tolerable. On their second album, Sparkle in the Finish, the Ike Reilly Assassination riff and rock and roll all over the map, jumping from a "Holiday in New York" to the "Ballad of the Choir Boy Bank Robber." Live, they're even more nimble. They're at the Hi-Fi Club (11729 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood) at 10 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 216-521-8878.
Monday, October 25
There are only a few days left to check out -- and participate in -- Kirk Coffey's intriguing U.S.B.S. 2004 Cleveland Connection at the Sculpture Center. Using a phony ecological group (the U.S. Biological Survey) as a launching point, Coffey is filling hundreds of test tubes with plant and animal specimens. Cotton swabs and tubes are on hand, so visitors can contribute their own samples. (Let's keep it clean, OK, folks?) The exhibition is up through October 29 at the Sculpture Center, 1834 East 123rd Street. It's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-229-6527.
Tuesday, October 26
The objects that make up Dukes and Angels: Art From the Court of Burgundy (1364-1419) reflect the tastes of a pair of 14th- and 15th-century European noblemen. Basically, they liked ornately decorated religious sculptures, paintings, and jewelry. It's historically fascinating stuff that's also nice to look at. It's at the Cleveland Museum of Art through January 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed Mondays), 11150 East Boulevard. Admission is $8, $4 for kids; call 888-262-0033.
Wednesday, October 27
Guy Blakeslee is another young white guy from a decidedly unbluesy region (in this case, Baltimore) who makes gritty blues records for Fat Possum. On his debut, Wandering Stranger, the 23-year-old (who goes by the stage name Entrance) blends Delta blues, ragged folk, and lo-fi punk and ends up sounding like he's lived at least six decades in a dilapidated shack somewhere in Mississippi. He's at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 9 tonight. Tickets are $7; call 216-241-5555.