15 Things Going on in Cleveland Over the Fourth of July Weekend 

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Loras John Schissel directs the Blossom Festival Band as it plays a selection of American classics and patriotic tunes at tonight’s A Salute to America concert. Expect to hear some Gershwin and Sousa as well as the 1812 Overture. And yes, the concert will be capped off with a terrific fireworks display. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $30 to $45. The program repeats tomorrow night. (Niesel)
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Ever since she discovered her sister “accidentally planned” a baby with her boyfriend, comic Beth Stelling has developed a fear of having children. At her birth control appointment, she learned that even her uterus doesn’t want kids, since it’s tipped backward as if to say “no way.” Other topics include scoffing at the “bikini ready” magazine articles in the grocery store line by sliding a Little Debbie across the counter, and making fun of the women on The Bachelor. This chick is funny and her humor is perfect for either a date night or a girls’ night out. The show starts at 8 tonight at Hilarities, where Stelling performs through Sunday. Tickets are $18 to 23. (Liz Trenholme)
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In the mood for some arthouse porn from the director who brought you the Netflix Instant vom-fest Antichrist? You’re in luck: Tonight at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, Nymphomaniac, Lars Von Trier’s latest and most sexually explicit epic to date, screens at 5:30 p.m. Shia LeBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Uma Thurman and Stellan Skarsgaard do some really freaky stuff. If the first installment whets your whistle, Saturday you can re-watch it at 6:45 p.m. and stay for Part II at 9 p.m.; Jamie Bell and Willem Dafoe join the fun for that installment. Tickets are $9; no one under 18 is permitted. (Sam Allard)
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Welp, the world order has been restored to the AL Central, with the Tigers in the lead and everyone else mostly just trying to string a few wins together. Starting this evening, the Indians take on division rivals the Kansas City Royals, who surged to the top of the Central in June, but then promptly skidded back down to earth. Their bullpen is arguably the best in baseball, and some young hitters (Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas) are finally starting to live up to the potential they had as prospects. The Indians will continue to try to field a healthy starting rotation and rely on the positively smoking bats of Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall. As a side note, Michael Bourn is second in the American League in triples. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and tickets start at $14. There will be an extended fireworks show after the game. (Allard)
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Come celebrate your right to drink beer today at the Platform Beer Company’s grand opening. This highly anticipated Ohio City brewery opens its doors today at 1 p.m. to serve suds to all you Cleveland beer geeks. The brewery is owned and operated by the folks who run the Cleveland Brew Shop, and they’ve carried the home-brew mentality to their new spot, promising to concoct some unusual beverages. They’ve also implemented the Platform Brewers Group Incubator, picking one lucky home-brewer to work in the brewery and produce his or her own beer on a commercial level. Come learn about some truly unique beers — and then drink them. (Eric Gonzalez)
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Spaced out across two weekends, the Boston Mills Artfest is a nationally recognized showcase of Northeast Ohio's art. Check out the local craft scene, whether it be clay, watercolors or "wearable fibers," which we assume means clothes. This is the second and final weekend for the Boston Mills Artfest, a nationally recognized showcase of fine arts and crafts including clay, wood, jewelry, watercolors and “wearable fibers” — which we would assume means clothes. Enjoy picturesque Cuyahoga Valley National Park while you’re there, as well as various food and drink options. Regular admission is $8 for adults, and $6 for kids and seniors. Artfest continues through Sunday; check the website for hours. (Cortni Dietz)
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If you haven’t seen Lakewood’s fireworks display, you’re missing out. Set over the lake at Lakewood Park, the show always includes pyrotechnics of various colors, shapes and designs, and the finale is a show in and of itself. Get there early to stake out your spot because the park fills up fast. The Lakewood Project kicks things off with a 7 p.m. concert; the fireworks start around 9:45 p.m. (Trenholme)
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Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band headline this weekend’s tribute to all things Dead, channeling the spirit of the legendary jam band’s frontman himself. Rusted Root snags the top billing for night two, so there’s clearly a nice heft to this weekend’s festivities. Plus, of course, it’s the Fourth of July, so you’ll have an awesome fireworks show peppering the musical offerings, which include: Ted Riser & Friends, Into the Blue, David Gans, Willie Mac, The Jimiller Band, Aliver Hall and Cornmeal. All of that adds up to an excellent holiday weekend getaway anchored by the spirit of the Grateful Dead. This may not be the only Dead-related tribute event in Northeast Ohio all year (seriously, there are a whole bunch), but it’s surely the most comprehensive. The music starts at 3 p.m. today and the fest continues through Sunday. Wear flowers in your hair. (Sandy)
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Beauty pageants are a dime a dozen, but there’s something unique about the show that the folks at Ohio Burlesque are staging tonight at the Beachland Ballroom. As organizer Bella Sin puts it, “We are accepting anyone that identifies as a woman.” That means drag queens and “women of any size, shape, color and sexual identity” will be competing at tonight’s Pin Up Queen Pageant. The show begins at 8, and tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. (Niesel)
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Come get destroyed at BuckBuck tonight. Mutually Assured Destruction, a collection of new paintings by Dima Drjuchin and Homeless Cop, promises to leave you “reduced to a shadow on the sidewalk.” We don’t know what that means exactly, but the show, which opens tonight with a festive party, should be a good one. Drjuchin provided the colorful cover art for Father John Misty’s 2012 album, Fear Fun. To celebrate the opening, comedian Greg Barris will perform along with indie rockers Classy Janitor and the Wigmaker’s Son. You can loosen up a little with a home-brewed beer from Isaac Miller, creator of Lorain Avenue Pisswater. The “destruction” begins at 6 p.m. and is free. (Gonzalez)
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Poised to break out in a big way as the year rolls onward, Sammy Slims is Cleveland’s answer to all those people needing a show to get them dancing somewhere in this brutish north shore city. The band’s nine-track Black Songs, available at their bandcamp site, bears a real sense of confidence and excitement. Save for the too-short “Give It Up,” each song is appropriately meaty, looping enough hooks to keep any floor alive all night. Check out “The Jungle” for probably the most representative tune on the album, with a chorus that ranks among the catchiest moments in the collection. Freeze-Tag and The Sleeps round out the Cellar Door bill tonight, and we’re finding it difficult to dream up a more blissed-out Saturday night in this Cleveland summer. (Sandy) $8
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John Hughes is sort of the quintessential cult filmmaker, what with his eighties teen classics and deep resonation with angsty youth culture who just wanted to be their authentic selves! Tonight at the Cedar Lee (at both 9:30 p.m. and midnight) as part of the Melt Bar & Grilled Late Shift series, enjoy Sixteen Candles, the Hughes classic starring Molly Ringwald as “average teen” Samantha Baker, who just wants to have a killer 16th birthday. She’s also deeply in love with heartthrob Jake Ryan — JAKE RYAN! — and suffers the daily grind of her parents’ eccentiricties and the eternal dorkiness of her high school classmates. Relive the '80s with scrunchies and shit for only $5. (Allard)
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Texas engineer Tim Jenison spent more than five years teaching himself the necessary skills to recreate the mysterious painting techniques of 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Around 2008, he visited longtime pal Penn Jillette, of the comedy-magic duo Penn & Teller, and Jillette quickly became entranced by Jenison’s mission as well — so much so he pitched it as a documentary the very next day. The two iconoclasts enlisted Jillette’s performance partner, Teller, as director, with Jillette producing. The result, Tim’s Vermeer, which screens today at 1:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Art, gives you an appreciation for Vermeer while raising fascinating questions about art and obsession. Tickets are $9. (Callie Enlow)
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Rob O’Reilly is an awkward nerd with bad vision. Because of this, sex is very weird for him, and he fears getting beat up after his shows. This self-deprecating guy is a Cleveland native, and his defeatist-yet-tough attitude is what makes him so funny. He takes the stage at Hilarities tonight at 7 and has appearances scheduled for Wednesday and Sunday as well. Tickets are $18. (Trenholme)
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The Nightmares on Wax story is one that spans decades and genres. For 25 years now, George Evelyn, a former B-boy turned DJ and producer, has toured and recorded under the moniker Nightmares on Wax. The guy swas producing trip-hop beats before it was cool to produce trip-hop beats. To celebrate the quarter century mark, he’s just issued N.O.W. Is The Time, a 2-disc best of release featuring the greatest hits. He’s also put out the special edition box set Deep Down: Remixes & Rarities which features unreleased material, new and classic remixes, and a book of memorabilia and interviews. "It’s been emotional; it’s been enlightening," says Evelyn. "In most of your career, you usually just go forward and think about what you’re doing to do next. Now, I realize you don’t spend a lot of time looking back. When you do it, you realize that the music reflects where you’re at as a person at different times of your life. You have things going on in your life, like being a father or experiencing success outside. It all affects your music. It’s an interesting process. You realize after that you do feel something because of what they feel and say. It might be the emotional part is clouded because you’re not in touch with that anymore. But you can hear the music for what it is." Evelyn is a big fan of the Grog Shop, where he performed last year, so expect tonight's show to be exceptional. (Niesel) $15
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Photo via Cleveland Scene Archives
Loras John Schissel directs the Blossom Festival Band as it plays a selection of American classics and patriotic tunes at tonight’s A Salute to America concert. Expect to hear some Gershwin and Sousa as well as the 1812 Overture. And yes, the concert will be capped off with a terrific fireworks display. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $30 to $45. The program repeats tomorrow night. (Niesel)