When Tommy Chong parted ways with Cheech Marin in the mid-'80s over the usual "creative differences," the veteran comedians' split devastated Chong. A quarter-century later, the duo is back together, and Chong is giddy over the reunion. "It was one of those the-timing-is-right things," he says. "Most groups get back together because of financial reasons. They go on their own artistic trip and then find out that they can make considerably more if they get back together."
While TV viewers have seen them separately over the years, Chong says he and Marin both felt that their small-screen careers were drying up. "Basically, Cheech ran out of Nash Bridges and I ran out of That '70s Show," he says. "It didn't look like we were going to get another [series] in the near future. So it was one of those things where we looked at each other and said, 'Why not?'"
Tonight's PlayhouseSquare show resurrects some of the pair's classic material from their extensive repertoire, which stretches back to 1974's Wedding Album. Chong's wife, Shelby, will open the show with a standup set. "We just do skits," he says. "Then we get into music, go back into skits, music, dancing and a sing-along. Kinda like stoner vaudeville." Showtime is 8 p.m. at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Ave.). Tickets: $39.50-$59.50. Call 216.241.6000 or visit playhousesquare.com. - P.F. Wilson
Even the most modest home will scream opulence if it boasts a pair of his-and-her bathrooms that rival the johns found in Beverly Hills mansions. Dan Hurst's contribution to the Suite Dreams exhibit - part of Remodel Ohio, which opens today - includes cognac-finished cherry cabinets, marble countertops and a vanity with two built-in Séura "television mirrors." "When turned off, this is a normal-looking vanity mirror," says Hurst, who owns Hurst Design-Build-Remodeling in Middleburg Heights. "When turned on, it has a crisp LCD image that enables you to catch the news or weather while getting ready for your day."
With an "Invest in Your Nest, Remodel With the Best" theme, the four-day show spotlights dozens of contractors, interior decorators and environmentally friendly architects who'll walk visitors through remodeling plans and tips that'll boost their homes' values. Good thing, because the tanking economy led the price of Northeast Ohio's home stock to plummet eight percent last year. "No matter how you look at it, your home is your castle," says Kathy Masterson, who runs the Professional Remodelers of Ohio networking agency. "It's your best investment in the long run. This year's show is all about growing that investment." The show runs from noon-9 p.m. today and tomorrow, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at the I-X Center (6200 Riverside Dr.). Admission: $12.50. Call 216.619.6274 or visit remodelohio.org. - Cris Glaser
CYCLE WORLD INTERNATIONAL MOTORCYCLE SHOW
While you're at the I-X Center for Remodel Ohio, slip over to the arena's west wing, where Harley enthusiasts are in hog heaven for today's start of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show. The extravaganza boasts the latest dirt bikes, cruisers, scooters and ATVs by Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and a dozen other manufacturers. There are even 500 new custom choppers that get at least 50 miles to the gallon. See the latest models from 3-9 p.m. today, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. tomorrow and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the I-X Center (6200 Riverside Dr.). Tickets: $13 ($6 for kids). Call 800.331.5706 or visit motorcycleshows.com. - Glaser
JUDY GARLAND LIVE AT THE PALACE
After seeing female illusionist Jim Bailey impersonate her onstage in the '60s, Judy Garland told him that she never knew she looked so pretty. So the Wizard of Oz star invited the Philadelphia native to her home and gave him lessons in how to pull off a spot-on imitation. "I absorbed everything like a sponge," says the 60-year-old Bailey, who'll perform Judy Garland Live at the Palace tonight in Canton. "Sometimes, she would say, 'You should do it more this way,' or get up and sing a song with me, almost as if she were giving me a tip. I found her presence so powerful that I still can't believe she's not here. I still have her phone number in my address book."
Headlining Las Vegas nightclubs since 1970, Bailey expanded his repertoire with impersonations of Phyllis Diller, Barbra Streisand, Mae West and Tallulah Bankhead. Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli has even joined Bailey to recreate a mother-daughter routine from time to time. "[Minnelli] gave me the greatest compliment once," says Bailey. "She said that if I stop performing Judy Garland, how would she ever see her mother again?" The illusion starts at 8:30 p.m. at the Canton Palace Theatre (605 Market Ave. in Canton). Tickets: $35-$75. Call 330.454.8172 or visit cantonpalacetheatre.org. - Glaser
Five Great Lakes rock bands turn into ecologists tonight at the second annual Woodchuck Festival. Babylon a Go-Go drummer James Pravda says that the bash couldn't come at a better time, with Barack Obama now in the Oval Office. "We have a new president who's looking at alternative energy and ways to conserve our resources," he says. "Corporations are starting to act now, with better packaging and products that last longer and are built better. And the auto industry has finally woken up to what the situation is."
Buffalo's Tearwave headlines the eco-friendly concert, with Detroit's Sik Sik Nation, Kent's Lazy Susan, Cleveland's Dead Letter Room and Pravda's local trio as openers. Artist Unfunkylump will stand at an easel offstage and paint abstract works to the music. Between sets, the bands will give props to planet savers like Treehugger.com, Greenpeace International and the National Wildlife Federation. "We want to get the opinion leaders, thinkers and people who are really dedicated to the cause to learn even more about ecological activism on a friendly grassroots basis," says Pravda. "We need to strengthen our public transportation system. We need to make sure Cleveland is doing its own recycling program. The world is changing quickly, and we need to do something now." Go green at 8 p.m. at the Matinée (2527 W. 25th St.). Admission: $5. Call 216.574.2843 or visit myspace.com/woodchuckfestival. - Glaser
You don't need snowdrifts and sub-zero temperatures to tell you it's the dead of winter. According to High Priestess Soror Mystica, all you have to do is look at a female sheep. "Even before Zoroastrianism, people knew it was the middle of the winter because the ewes would start lactating to feed their newly born young," says Mystica a.k.a. Christine Ziehm Gesicki of Parma. "That is true of all the Wiccan sabbats. There are natural occurrences that signal this is the time of year to celebrate." At tonight's Witches' Ball at the Jigsaw, hardcore pagans will break out the booze, music and belly-dancing for the Imbolc Ritual, which is like a mortal's way of recognizing Groundhog's Day. They'll even serve up "kitchen witchery," like chocolate-chip cookies for good luck, chicken paprikash for prosperity and beef stroganoff for passion. "Do you know why people eat fish on New Year's Eve and pork on New Year's Day?" asks Mystica, who's practiced spells for 14 years. "Certain ingredients make food magical." So do pointy hats and black robes - which will make tonight's blowout even more Wiccan-friendly. "This will be a drop-dead, knock-down, glitzy-glamorous, get-out-your-witchiest-finery party," says Mystica. "How else can you honor the least celebrated sabbat of the year?" Find out at 8 p.m. at the Jigsaw Saloon & Stage (5324 State Rd. in Parma). Admission: $10. Call 216.351.3869 or visit jigsawsaloonandstage.com. - Glaser
CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY LAWFORD
In the follow-up to his 2005 memoir about his longtime heroin addiction, Christopher Kennedy Lawford introduces readers to more than 25 celebrities who've kicked their drug, alcohol and food abuse in Moments of Clarity: Voices From the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery. He'll share stories about Hollywood stars like Martin Sheen, Lou Gossett Jr. and Richard Dreyfuss at a Joseph-Beth book signing tonight. "It was a nightmare finding and asking people to do this," says 53-year-old Lawford. "But when I sat with them, I thanked God I had the privilege of listening to these stories. It offered me a continuing opportunity to talk about this illness and to keep addiction and mental-health issues at the forefront of the conversation about health reform, which will be a high priority for President Obama."
Lawford knows a thing or two about politics. As a third-generation member of the Kennedy clan, he admits his addiction was a byproduct of the family's high-rolling lifestyle. Both of his parents - actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy - battled drug and alcohol addictions before their deaths. "It was an addict's perfect storm," says Lawford. "In 1969, this country was in an entirely different place. We didn't have the dialogue that we're having today."
More than 20 years sober, he's pushing himself to reach the more than 26 million Americans with substance-abuse disorders. "I realize how people are desperate to open these musty rooms where this illness has festered for years," says Lawford. "The book is not about the debauchery. It's a great step in elevating the dialogue." The book signing is at 7 p.m. at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (24519 Cedar Rd. in Lyndhurst). Admission: free. Call 216.691.7000 or visit josephbeth.com. - Glaser
LEXUS STYLE SHOW
For the first time this year, local luxury-car fans can catch a glimpse of two 2010 models that have just rolled off the assembly line at tonight's Lexus Style Show at PlayhouseSquare. But don't break out your checkbook unless you can shell out at least $50,000 for the RX models. "The Lexus basically represents the PlayhouseSquare crowd," says Robyn McGuffin, the theater's sponsorship-services coordinator. "The goal of the RX is to be a female-friendly car, with a body style that's a little more feminine and sleek." The Lexusfest brings together potential buyers and the region's three dealerships. Free Bombay Sapphire martinis and desserts help grease the wheeling and dealing. There'll also be a raffle, where the winner will score a two-year lease on a 2010 RX. Along with the cars, Chagrin Falls' Sanity Style clothing salon and Ë la Mode fur and leather outlet will stage a fashion show of "trendy casual and business attire." But "the star of the show is the car," says McGuffin. "We just mix in great-looking models and beautiful clothing to show how this car can fit into your everyday lifestyle." Style meets fashion from 6-10 p.m. at the State Theatre (1501 Euclid Ave.). Admission: free. Call 216.241.6000 or visit playhousesquare.org/lexus. - Glaser