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This Week's Day-By-Day Picks 

Haulin' ass and blowin' fumes at Lorain Speedway - (Saturday).
  • Haulin' ass and blowin' fumes at Lorain Speedway (Saturday).

Thursday, May 27

As Neil Diamond impersonations go, it's hard to beat Will Ferrell's drunken, racist take on the mellow crooner. But Super Diamond -- which bills itself as the "alternative Neil Diamond experience" -- treats its subject with both reverence and just a little cheekiness. It's a fitting approach: For every "Sweet Caroline" and "Cracklin' Rosie" the guy's written, there have been at least two or three "Forever in Blue Jeans" and "America"s. Super Diamond, which has been around for more than 10 years and is led by a guy named Surreal Neil, has got it down pat, from the sequined shirts to the guttural growl. Get ready for some songs, sung blue, at 8 p.m. at Scene Pavilion, 2014 Sycamore Street. Tickets are $20; call 216-241-5555.

Friday, May 28

Annie Leibovitz's photographs are among pop culture's most intimate. Her portraits of Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, and Eminem reveal the men behind the myths. American Music, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, gathers more than 60 photos, many of which have never been seen before. "Her images really were the defining images for rock photography," says curatorial director Howard Kramer. "They're on [their own] scale." Leibovitz has snapped pics for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and others for more than a quarter of a century. Her work has matured along with the music, Kramer says. "Most rock photographers work in a live element. They take photographs of people onstage. Annie Leibovitz has a way of communicating with people that brings out their humanity and vulnerability. She has the ability to capture who they are in five hundredths of a second." American Music is at the Rock Hall (751 Erieside Avenue) through September 6. It's open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $20, $11 for kids (children eight and under get in free); call 216-515-1930.

Saturday, May 29

Once the engines are revved and running, there's nothing quite like the sights, sounds, and smells of souped-up cars going around in circles really fast at Lorain Speedway. In addition to the weekly NASCAR-endorsed contests, there's also a "Police Pursuit Race," in which local cops take to the track, happening today. Qualifying time is 4 p.m.; racing starts at 7 at Lorain Speedway, off Route 58 in Amherst. Admission is $12; kids 12 and under get in free; call 440-986-7223.

No one can be trusted in Herod's Law. Not the town priest. Not the blustery doctor. And certainly not the new mayor, a junkyard owner chosen by Mexico's crooked government to oversee a small desert village. In Luis Estrada's political satire, set in 1949, the naive, newly appointed official dives into his position with intense idealism. Soon, however, he's accepting payoffs from the local brothel, rewriting laws to fit his needs, and killing anybody who gets in his way. This dark comedy not only snagged 11 Mexican Oscars, it also helped topple the country's corrupt, 70-year-old Institutional Revolutionary Party. It shows at 7:50 tonight and 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Cleveland Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard. Admission is $8; call 216-421-7450.

Sunday, May 30

Dojoji is based on an 11th-century Japanese tale, but fits snugly with our modern world. "It deals with perennial problems humans have," says Jyana S. Gregory, director of the Cleveland Public Theatre production. Dojoji's essentially a love story: A monk takes refuge in a young woman's house one night. Passions are stirred. He leaves in the morning to complete his spiritual quest; she simmers and yearns for him. Then she turns into a serpent. "It's about this conflict between having this desire that one has in one's body," Gregory says, "and then trying to reconcile that with the world around us." It's at Cleveland Public Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) through June 5. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 to $15; call 216-631-2727. See Stage for review.

Monday, May 31

We're well aware that there's another slab-of-meat thingy going on this weekend (see "MMMRibs," right), but for a less-congested, equally tasty alternative, you can't beat the Berea National Rib Cook-Off, which wraps up today. A dozen BBQ teams from across the country will be competing for the coveted Best Ribs and Sauce titles. Alex Bevan will also be there, singing songs about growing up in Cleveland. Best of all, admission is free. It happens 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 164 Eastland Road in Berea. Call 440-234-5181 for more info.

Tuesday, June 1

The history museum has lots of cool things (including lectures and hands-on activities) tied into its Senenkunya exhibit of African artifacts. Among the best is the Wild Majesty: The Animals of Botswana photography show. Wildlife shutterbug Fran Bayless's colorful shots of cheetahs, elephants, lions, and other jungle creatures capture these striking animals in their vast natural environment. Wild Majesty at the Cleveland Museum of History (1 Wade Oval Drive) through July 31. It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Museum admission is $7, $4 for kids. For more information, call 216-231-4600.

Wednesday, June 2

Wednesday evenings suck. In fact, only Tuesday nights come close in sheer suckiness. The Cleveland Museum of Art just made the former a little better by bringing back its weekly Summer Evenings concert series, which kicks off tonight with some slammin' salsa music by Sammy Deleon. The free shows (which include performances by the Cleveland Trumbadors, Trisha O'Brien, and the George Foley Jazz Quintet in the upcoming weeks) take place in the museum's Outdoor Sculpture Courtyard, and tasty gourmet food and drinks are available for purchase. In your face, Tuesday! It happens 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the art museum, 11150 East Boulevard. Call 216-421-7340 for more information.

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