Thursday 9.18 MITCH FATEL
New York-born comedian Mitch Fatel lifts a quote from Somerset Maugham to sum up his feelings about coming up with new material. The British novelist used to say, "I hate writing, but I love having written." Fatel couldn't agree more. "I despise sitting down and writing," he says. "But I love looking down after I've written something and seeing how it looks. It takes a lot, though, to get that awesome joke. Usually, 90 percent of what I write is crap and 10 percent is usable. And of that 10 percent, 1 percent is usually killer."
While he steers clear of political jokes, Fatel has plenty of dating sass. He's particularly happy with the one about women who hoard every present that beaus have ever given them. "What we consider gifts, they consider potential evidence that can be used against you at a later date," he says. "That's why they have so many shoes. They need the boxes to save all their crap." Fatel performs at the Improv (2000 Sycamore St. on the West Bank of the Flats) at 8 tonight, 10:15 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $16 and $18. Call 216.696.4677 or visit clevelandimprov.com. - P.F. Wilson
Life in the sleepy Huron County town of New London usually resembles Andy Griffith's Mayberry: knitting circles at the public library, ice-cream socials at the Baptist church, even a Main Street barbershop with its very own Floyd. But the city teems with hundreds of gay guys this weekend at Camp Carnivale's benefit for the Metro Youth Outreach program of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. "We wanted to create an event that made a difference in the community," says organizer Shane Cook of the Detroit-based party planners Pride Shows. "We figured we'd just have a fun, fair-like circus kinda day filled with fun stuff."
The men-only carnival kicks off at 7 p.m. today with a meet-and-greet party of "bears, chasers, chubs and cubs," who are expected to pitch tents all weekend at the recently opened gay resort, Freedom Valley Campground. A 2 p.m. "Feast on the Beast" barbeque of burgers, hot dogs and chicken highlights tomorrow's calendar, which is capped by a 9 p.m. concert by gay Akron blues-rocker Elijah Black, who's receiving heavy airplay on the Logo TV network. "I'm absolutely ecstatic that he's signed on board," says Cook. "First of all, he's great to hang out with. And in concert, he has this crowd appeal I've never seen an artist have with an audience."
The fest wraps on Sunday with a 1 p.m. volunteer party that promotes a program for homeless gay kids who have been living on the streets because they've been ostracized at home. "It has nothing to do with John, Tom, Liza, Shanelle or Bobby sleeping under a cardboard box and doing sexual favors so they can get a meal the next morning," says Cook. "Why are we going to let them suffer because of it?" The carnival is from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. today, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Freedom Valley Campground, 1875 U.S. 250 in New London. Admission is $10 to $30 (an additional $10 for the Black concert). Call 866.536.8349 or visit prideshows.com. - Cris Glaser
ONE FABULOUS FIESTA
To mark its fifth anniversary, the Ten Thousand Villages arts-and-crafts chain store goes south of the border for tonight's One Fabulous Fiesta. The party pays tribute to the artists and craftspeople in third-world countries who make pottery, jewelry and handbags for the shops - including Cleveland's - to sell. "People are taken advantage of in countries like Mexico, Peru and Guatemala, where villagers living in remote areas have a hard time getting their items to market," says Julie Verdon, the store's director. "And when they do, they aren't paid fairly. We pay them whatever fair wage they've set for their items."
The fiesta features a banquet of international cuisine, as well as performances by Carlos Jones & the P.L.U.S. Band, dancers from the Passport Project and the Spartans bhangra dance troupe from Case Western Reserve University. Revelers will also toast the end of construction on the Euclid Corridor, which the boutique has endured for the past couple of years. "It's gorgeous, and there's a lot of foot traffic now," says Verdon. "We've had to deal with the work all this time, and we made it. There's not a whole lot of businesses on Euclid that can say that." Get your fiesta on from 6 to 10 tonight at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. Call 216.575.1058 or visit ttvcleveland.com. - Glaser
SIXTH MONTHS UNTIL ST. PATRICK'S DAY
Don't let Cindy Lindberg's name fool you. While she's not a Flanagan, Finnegan or O'Reilly, the Grand River Sellers spokeswoman will be as Irish as a Kilkenny colleen at tonight's Six Months Until St. Patrick's Day blowout at the Madison winery. "The concept isn't difficult to surmise," she says. "Why should everyone celebrate St. Patrick's Day only once a year? Sounds like a reason to host a party to me."
To count down the days until the traditional St. Paddy's Day drunkfest on March 17, the second annual celebration will feature Celtic music by the Forsythe Special. Meanwhile, folks can nosh on cabbage-and-potato dinners and overstuffed corned-beef sandwiches, and wash them down with Grand River's red and white wines. There will also be green beer on tap. "The hoopla isn't too crazy like it can get in downtown Cleveland, but last year's event was wall to wall," says Lindberg. "We want people to have a green, fun, good time." The party runs from 6:30 to 11 tonight at Grand River Cellars, 5750 Madison Rd. (St. Rt. 528) in Madison. Admission is free. Call 440.298.9838 or visit grandrivercellars.com. - Chad Felton
DEFACE THE NATION
Chicago's famed Second City Touring Company has found a brand-new target to skewer in its politically charged sketch-comedy show, Deface the Nation, which comes to Oberlin College tonight. The six-member troupe can thank John McCain for plucking Alaska governor Sarah Palin out of obscurity as his running mate ... and for supplying them with material for the next couple of months. "As soon as it happened, we all looked at each other and said, 'This is awesome!'" laughs troupe member Sayjal Joshi. "Things just wrote themselves. There was a lot of stuff about the way she looks in her glasses - being a beauty queen, family issues. Sarah Palin humor is just too easy."
Born in Akron and raised in North Carolina, Joshi, 30, says that she and her castmates are behind Barack Obama. After all, he has represented Second City's home state in the U.S. Senate since 2005. But "there's one sketch that's kind of our handout to conservatives," she says. "'Here ya go! Sorry, but that's all you get!'"
The production's 20-plus sketches almost didn't make it to the drawing board, says Joshi. That's because Second City members were worried that political jokes wouldn't work so soon after both parties' conventions. "The election is in everyone's faces right now," she says. "People are being bombarded with images of it. But they want more. We were wrong." The show starts at 8 tonight at Finney Chapel, 39 W. College St. in Oberlin. Tickets are $10. Call 440.775.8169 or visit oberlin.edu. - Glaser
LOVELLEE'S GRAND OPENING
After 10 months of dishing out pasta and pizza, Brenda Lovell is finally getting around to throwing a party for her restaurant at tonight's Lovellee's Grand Opening. And to her surprise, the place will be packed with the Femme Fatales, a statewide lesbian singles' group that has adopted the pizzeria as its twice-a-month hangout. "They wanted a place to meet so they're not harassed," says Lovell, who ran Vanessa's Restaurant in Tremont for 20 years, until it closed last fall. "They're pretty girls, and guys would try to hit on them anywhere else. But they're not into that." Tonight's reception starts at happy hour, when Lovell's sister, DJ Freeze, will spin techno tracks; she's followed at 9 p.m. by the lesbi-fave Swamp Boogie Band. And guys are just as welcome to celebrate. "We don't have a lot of belligerent drunks saying to the girls, 'Ooo, baby, you don't know what you're missing,'" says Lovell. "Everybody's cool. They sing and dance together and stay until the party stops." Meet Lovell and her crew from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. today at Lovellee's Pizzeria, 4462 Denison Ave. Admission is free. Call 216.661.6444 or visit lovelleespizzeria.com. - Glaser
Lakewood's "DJane" Debi has seen a lot of weird stuff in the 30 years that she's been working turntables. But nothing beats the 1998 UFO sighting during a smoke break outside the now-shuttered U4ia nightspot. "I looked up to the northwest and saw what looked like a comet or fuzzy star," recalls Debi, who spins every Saturday night at the recently opened Score sports club. "It got bigger and bigger [until] you could have probably fit 10 full moons into it. And it suddenly disappeared. I wish the government would come clean about people seeing UFOs and treat us more seriously when we report them."
ETs aside, Debi's path to Cleveland started in her native Erie in the early '80s, when she spun Top 40 tracks at an after-hours Italian joint before the cops busted it.
She then followed her then-husband to Florida and Virginia, where she played records in military-base clubs. Like a flying saucer, Debi then "landed" in Cleveland after her 1988 divorce and quickly found a gig at the gay club A Man's World. "The guys were not too thrilled there was a chick in the bar after 8 at night," laughs Debi. "It took a couple of bartenders to tell them, 'Shut up! She shows up, plays the fucking music and she's not expensive. So leave her alone!' They eventually got over it." These days, Debi captains Score's DJ booth with a 2,000-CD catalog of 20,000 tunes of '80s pop by the Police, Yes and the Thompson Twins. "The kids who are '80s babies have an affinity for it now," says Debi. "They like it because it's fun and poppy. And it's a natural backlash against all the metal and hip-hop." Debi spins from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. today at Score, 11636 Clifton Blvd. Admission is free. Call 216.631.9000 for details. - Glaser
TASTE OF THE NFL
You can break bread with Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas and more than 30 former players at tonight's Taste of the NFL. Twenty local restaurants will dish out appetizer-sized samplings of seafood, beef, veal and duck specialties for the bash, which benefits the Cleveland Foodbank. "It's really a grazing event," says Karen Pozna, the agency's mouthpiece. "I know it's not the best word to use, but you get the idea."
The foodfest also includes a silent auction of Browns-autographed sports memorabilia and an 8 p.m. bidding war for a diamond necklace. Ex-defensive lineman Al "Bubba" Baker - who now owns Bubba Q's BBQ in Avon - has also agreed to grill up a 30-person tailgater package for the highest bidder. "This is one of those opportunities to hang out with team members, past and present," says Pozna. "Clevelanders really love their Browns, good times or bad." Dig in from 6 to 9 tonight at Cleveland Browns Stadium's Lake View Club Lounge, 100 Alfred Lerner Way. Tickets are $150. Call 216.738.2126 or visit clevelandfoodbank.org. - Glaser