- Chi Chi LaRue and her gay porn pals.
Chi Chi LaRue, one of the country's most prolific gay-porn filmmakers, is zigzagging the country seeking models and dancers to appear in safe-sex videos that will play in gay clubs around the world. "I have always been a safe-sex advocate," says LaRue, whose Live & Raw model search stops at Akron's Interbelt Nite Club this Friday. "All of the stars in my videos have always used condoms. Because of the new powerful AIDS drugs, gay men seem to think this epidemic is over. We need to get the message out there that it's not over."
So LaRue and Caesar, one of her hunky film stars, are asking budding dancers to strip down to their G-strings and strike seductive poses. The winners get to appear alongside LaRue's Rascal Video actors in the upcoming club spots, which are not graphically sexual. LaRue says the videos incorporate scrolling lists and footage of club events, interviews with internationally known DJs and celebrities, and new music to get down and dirty to. "We hope that airing these PSAs on Club Channel 1, directly in the bars and clubs across the world, will help get that message to young people who are just coming out and starting to have sex," LaRue says. Live & Raw starts at 9 p.m. Friday at the Interbelt, 70 North Howard Street in Akron. Admission is $5; call 330-253-5700. -- Cris Glaser
Art in the Park
Thousands of art lovers will converge this weekend for the Cain Park Arts Festival, the annual event that sends a creative ripple across Cleveland Heights. "There's this cool vibe that happens when 160 creative people from all over the country come together in one place and set up their stuff and start talking with each other," says George Kozmon, director of the fest. The arts-and-music fest -- live jazz and world music will be performed throughout the weekend -- intertwine from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at Cain Park (Superior Avenue and Lee Road in Cleveland Heights). Admission is free. Call 216-371-3000 for more information. -- Keith Gribbins
Learning to Crawl
The Cleveland Oasis Club upholds a rigorous monthly schedule that consists of an hour-long stay at each of five neighborhood watering holes. Saturday's Euclid Pub Crawl includes stops at Meraglio's, Quinn's Live, the Horseshoe, the Crawl Inn, and BG's Old World Tavern. "People don't have to meet at the first bar, and they don't have to visit all of the bars on the schedule," offers co-organizer Terrence Wei. Past crawls have taken place in Lakewood, Parma, and Slavic Village, and as many as 250 bar-hoppers have shown up. The Euclid Pub Crawl begins at 8 p.m. at Meraglio's, 791 East 185th Street. Admission is free. For more information, e-mail Wei at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Cris Glaser
Widespread Panic came to a crossroads last fall. The jam band's guitarist, Michael Houser, passed away in August, and the remaining members weren't sure which direction they were heading. So they went into the studio, recorded Ball without road-testing any of the material, and came up with their most concise album. Of course, the band's reputation was built onstage (it was recently voted one of the top 20 live acts by Rolling Stone readers), where the interplay among the guys rivals any in the genre. See for yourself, when Widespread Panic plays Tower City Amphitheater (351 Canal Road) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $27.50, available by calling 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci