The Museum of Contemporary Art's two latest exhibitions feature everyday materials transformed into personal statements that reflect the artists' places in nature. Jim Hodges' self-titled show gathers 20 works from the past decade and incorporates glass, fabric, light bulbs, and colored pencils. They blend together to form complex, web-like pieces that serve as metaphors for both time and illusion. Pulse: Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson: Energy Forms uses silk weavings, embroideries, and drawings that twist and turn into abstract expressions of the glacial landscapes of her native Iceland. They're up through May 1 at MOCA, 8501 Carnegie Avenue. It's open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $4; call 216-421-8671.
Friday, March 4
Hopefully, you'll have more good fortune at tonight's Luck O' the Irish than the actual Irish have had the past several centuries, what with their potato famine, "Troubles," and Colin Farrell. Blackjack tables, Texas Hold'em games, Let It Ride, slot machines, and roulette wheels will all be there -- just like in Vegas! Unlike Sin City, however, all winnings must be traded in for raffle tickets . . . for a chance to score a trip to the real Las Vegas (where you can win some real money). It happens from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Admission is $37.50 (which includes $10 worth of gambling chips and hors d'oeuvres). Call 440-871-2900 for more information.
Saturday, March 5
Dozens of local and national photographers contribute pics to tonight's Power of Woman event and auction, which benefits Planned Parenthood. The initial outing two years ago featured some stunning black-and-white and color photos of females in action and leisure. This year's happening finds artists putting their spin on the theme "Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire." Expect plenty of natural settings. It begins at 8 p.m. at ArtMetro Gallery (530 Euclid Avenue, inside the Colonial Marketplace). Tickets start at $35; call 216-961-8804 for more information.
We're intrigued by From Tel Aviv to Ramallah: A Beatbox Journey, if only because it's being touted as "the first narrative drama in beatbox." In it, Yuri Lane (a "Jewish human beatbox") portrays various characters in a one-man show that tells the story of an Israeli DJ and a Palestinian internet café owner, whose separate lives converge one day. Music, dance, and of course, totally ill rhymes and beats fuel the hip-hopera. It's at Cleveland State's Drinko Hall (2001 Euclid Avenue) at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25; call 216-382-4000.
Sunday, March 6
Chicago trio Pit er Pat takes some twisted flights of fancy on its upcoming CD, Shakey. Jazzy rhythms, positively spacey vocals, and a sense of instrumental adventure float through the work, which is reminiscent of fellow Chicagoans and Thrill Jockey labelmates Tortoise. Their sophisticated, labyrinthine set rewards dedicated listeners with a soothing assortment of lo-fi indie rock and tricky fusion. Pit er Pat opens for Menomena at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Road) at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7, available by calling 216-383-1124.
Monday, March 7
Today's Hip-Hop Dance Class oughta get us moving like that girl in the Black Eyed Peas in no time. At the very least, the program should have us throwing down a piece of cardboard, spinning on our heads, and breakin' like a robot -- hopefully without much damage to our skulls or egos. Best of all, it's free. Get ready to bust moves just like Shabba-Doo did in Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo at 4:20 p.m. at Lake Erie College, 391 West Washington Street in Painesville. Call 440-352-3361 to register.
Tuesday, March 8
For her latest Magic Tree House adventure, Carnival at Candlelight, young-adult author Mary Pope Osborne went to Venice to do some "research." "I just needed a vacation," she laughs. "I don't always travel for research. I've been to some of these locations years ago. So I use those memories." In the 33rd book in the popular series -- which follows a pair of time-traveling kids -- Osborne sends her protagonists back 250 years. Along the way, they and readers learn a thing or two. "It's not just history they're learning," says Osborne. "It's also about science and values. It's about getting kids curious about the world in general. The books are launching pads to get them interested in knowledge. My ideal is, they read one of my books, and then they want to read more about the subject, or they begin to look at the world, filled with interesting information." Osborne will discuss and sign her books at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 24519 Cedar Road in Lyndhurst. Admission is free; call 216-291-2467.
Harry Manx has been called Canada's most versatile blues player. Dubious honor, we know, but on his latest album, West Eats Meet, the guitarist incorporates Indian mysticism and sounds into traditional Delta shuffles, and comes up with an award-nominated disc that manages to bring new style to a century-old genre. Who knew the 20-string mohan veena would work so well with the blues? Manx performs with Tracy Grammer at 8 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road. Tickets are $14, $12 in advance; call 216-383-1124.
Wednesday, March 9
There are only a couple days left to see Nami Yamamoto's mesmerizing Primordial Soup, part of Spaces' SpaceLab program. Philadelphian Yamamoto basically filled a room with small, colorful pieces of plastic and vinyl that creep, crawl, and drip from the walls, floor, and ceiling. It's kinda cool and kinda creepy, and it's at Spaces (2220 Superior Viaduct) through March 11. The gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; call 216-621-2314.