FACE OF YOUR FEAR
After Katie Lane gets done with you at one of her Face of Your Fear workshops this month, you'll look like an extra from Night of the Living Dead. But you don't need Lane to turn into a zombie on Halloween night; the Fairview Park native says the best costumes start in your closet. "I'm a big fan of thrift stores because they're the easiest and cheapest way to do costuming," she says. "I [have] a couple dresses that I've ripped up and dyed myself to make them look all creepy and rotted. I also have a couple zombie costumes that are shredded and dirty, so that it looks like you've crawled out of a grave."
She should know. For seven seasons, Lane has spooked spectators at the Bloodview Haunted House as a member of the Legion of Terror improv troupe. Last year, a librarian at the Cuyahoga County Public Library's Independence branch asked her to show some kids how to make their own costumes. Lane also brought along her "massive case of make-up." "People stayed for a half-hour afterward and asked me to put more make-up on them," she says. "They were saying, 'I wanna freak out my mom! I wanna scare my brother!'" I sent those kids home looking like they came out of an ER trauma room."
The workshop was so successful that the library system invited Lane to visit all 27 of its branches this month. She's at the Parma-Ridge Road branch tonight. "People go into this class wanting the make-up to be scary-looking, because they don't want to look the same as everyone else at Halloween," says Lane. "So anyone who's willing to get dirty and bloodied with me is more than welcome to come." Get wicked from 7 to 8 p.m. today at Cuyahoga County Public Library branches in Parma (5850 Ridge Rd., 440.885.5362); tomorrow in Bay Village (502 Cahoon Rd., 440.871.6392); Saturday in Chagrin Falls (100 E. Orange St., 440.247.3556); Monday in Parma (2121 Snow Rd., 216.661.4240); Tuesday in Olmsted Falls (7850 Main St., 440.235.1150) and Wednesday in Brook Park (6155 Engle Rd., 216.267.5250). Admission is free. Visit cuyahogalibrary.org for a complete schedule. - Cris Glaser Thursday 10.2
CON ON THE COB
Board, card and video gamers are bracing themselves for 96 straight hours of competition at today's start of Con on the Cob in Hudson. Dungeons & Dragons fan and fest organizer Andy Hopp will take his place among the 500-plus contestants expected to get their geek on at the oddly named convention. "I'm done being embarrassed about telling people I play, just because it has that geeky reputation," says the 35-year-old Hopp, who's a book and board-game illustrator by day. "But it's really far beyond that. We tend to embrace this aspect of our lives by taking back geeky and making it an in word."
The fourth-annual confab features more than games. Throughout the weekend, 15 bands, comedians and magicians from as far as New York and Florida will swap stage time at the Comedy-Music "Extravagasm" and Variety Show. Meanwhile, the Buttery Goodness Film Fest will screen 28 indie flicks -- like Tokyo Godfathers at 6 tonight, Ghost in the Shell at 10 p.m. tomorrow and Grave of the Fireflies at noon Sunday. And revelers take a break from gaming at 8 p.m. Saturday for a "Mask-a-Rage" costume party.
Most of the action centers on the 15 tables of players battling each other in rounds of games like Savage Worlds, Tunnels & Trolls and Nuclear War. "People get into these little subcultures revolving around these games," says Hopp. "We have a lot of role playing and live action where you pretend you are the characters in the game. If it's not the most fun you've ever had in your life, you get to punch me in the stomach." Let the games begin from 4 p.m. today to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Holiday Inn, 240 E. Hines Hill Rd. in Hudson. Four-day pass is $40 ($20 for kids). Call 330.285.1530 or visit cononthecob.com. - Glaser
RICH VOS & BONNIE McFARLANE
Despite what some Last Comic Standing fans claim to remember, Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane didn't get married after they met on the show. For starters, he was a contestant during the first season; she was on season two. She actually introduced herself months after her TV appearance, when the two comedians bumped into each other at a New York club. "He said, 'Oh! You're that comedy girl. I'd talk to you right now but I'm on a date'," recalls the Canadian-born McFarlane, who'll perform with Vos at Hilarities this weekend. "So it was love at first brush-off."
But Vos hadn't forgotten her most memorable moment on the show: She uttered the c-word in the punch line of one of her jokes. McFarlane figured the producers would edit the word out before it got on the air, but she blurted it out anyway, because funnywoman Brett Butler was one of the judges. "I knew it would really make [her] laugh," says McFarlane. "But I was as shocked as anyone when it showed up on the show."
She's been running her potty mouth ever since. "I'm still pretty edgy, and 90 percent of my jokes are about pedophiles," says McFarlane. "I'm definitely a punch line-driven comic." Showtimes are at 8 tonight, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Hilarities, 2035 E. Fourth St. Tickets are $20 and $25. Call 216.241.7425 or visit pickwickandfrolic.com - P.F. Wilson Friday 10.3
EBONY & IVORY
Opposites attract, right down to fashion and political parties, at tonight's Ebony & Ivory blowout at Anatomy. Co-hosts Marcus Sims and Tino Rancone will even sport Barack Obama and John McCain T-shirts for the occasion. "We started making fun of those people who have black parties and white parties," says Sims. "Well, we're going to have a black-and-white party. You may want to wear a white shirt and black pants, and your partner will wear a black shirt and white pants. It's whatever your interpretation of opposite chic is."
Because the party is a month before the presidential elections, the duo invited members of Cuyahoga County's Young Republicans and Young Democrats clubs to grind to DJs GO and Impure in the club's upstairs party room and to Adio and Misterbradleyp in its downstairs disco. It's all about putting aside political differences for one night. "Everybody's so segregated, with black clubs, white clubs, Euro clubs. 'I'm a Democrat, and you're a Republican'," says Sims. "When it comes down to it, we all listen to the same music, and we all go to the same places. How can you set yourself apart from me Ð and me from you Ð when we all live in Cleveland?" Party from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. today at Anatomy, 1299 W. Ninth St. Admission is $5 to $15. Call 216. 363.1113 or visit cleveland.com/ebonyandivory. - Glaser Saturday 10.4
OHIO SOLAR TOUR
Learn how to simultaneously trim your energy bill and stop climate change at this weekend's Ohio Solar Tour, hosted by the eco-friendly Green Energy Ohio conservation group. Tours are scheduled throughout the state; Northeast Ohio has five of them, starting in Cleveland, Euclid, Oberlin, Akron and the Lake-Geauga county region.
Guides will take folks to energy-efficient homes, schools and businesses in the area, including the Kious family's solar house in Cleveland, where the cinder-block walls are insulated with soy-based foam insulation. At the Rapini home in Mentor, you'll see a wind turbine, a tankless water heater and an electric car. And at the Tribe's home , Progressive Field, the team will show off its new solar-electric system - which makes it the first ballpark in the country to go green. Tours start at 9 a.m. today at Lake Metroparks, 8800 Chardon Rd. in Kirtland and 10 a.m. at Edgewater Park, 6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway NW and Euclid Creek Reservation off Euclid Creek Parkway in Euclid. They continue at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Crown Point Ecology Center, 3220 Ira Rd. in Akron and noon at Oberlin College's Adam Joseph Lewis Center, 122 Elm St. in Oberlin. Admission is free. Call 866.473.3664 or visit greenenergyohio.org. - Glaser
SNOOZE AT THE ZOO: NOCTURNAL ADVENTURE
Kids between 5 and 12 years old can cuddle up with some animals at tonight's Snooze at the Zoo: Nocturnal Adventure in Akron. The sleepover promotes wildlife conservation. "This is a chance for people to see the nocturnal behavior of the animals when we are normally asleep," says David Barnhardt, the Akron Zoo's marketing director.
The admission fee includes an after-hours zoo tour and a bedtime snack before nighty-night time in the Komodo Kingdom. In the morning, a continental breakfast will be served. Then it's off to feed the penguins. "Our goal is to make the zoo more accessible to people of all ages," says Barnhardt. "It's very educational, but a very fun night as well." Sleep with the animals from 7 tonight to 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Akron Zoo, 500 Edgewood Ave. in Akron. Admission: $25-$35 ($18-$28 for kids). Call 330.375.2550 or visit akronzoo.org. - R.C. Out Sunday 10.5
ARADIA'S PSYCHIC FAIR
Eastlake medium Lady Lindora promises that her Aradia's Garden Psychic Fair is "like a Whitman's box of candy" that samples the talents of local psychics like Darlene Rose and Dawn Priolette. Mike Tanner will even read your runes during a 20-minute session. "It's a good opportunity to get to know the people during these mini-readings, especially for those who aren't acclimated to this type of field," says Lindora, who's run the fair on the first Sunday of every month since 2006. "It shows we're real human beings, and we don't have horns."
Lindora's specialty is "ear-candling," which involves inserting a hollowed tapered candle into a person's ear to clean it. "I can get deeper than with a Q-tip," she says. "And if you have sinus problems or you're prone to infections, it works for that. It's a holistic way of avoiding a doctor's visit." The fair runs from noon to 5 this afternoon at Aradia's Garden, 34510 Lakeshore Blvd. in Eastlake. Reading fees are $20. Call 440.975.1911 or visit aradias-garden.com. - Glaser Monday 10.6
RAGIN' CAJUN HAPPY HOUR
Fat Fish Blue recently rolled out a new Ragin' Cajun Happy Hour menu of apps and martinis. Bar supervisor Connie Ross is particularly happy with her contribution: Pumpkin Spice, October's martini-of-the-month. (It complements six other $5 signature drinks, $3.50 glasses of wine and $2 Miller Lite and Bud Light drafts the blues club offers during happy hour.) "I experimented with different flavorings and taste-tasted everything," says Ross of her seasonal concoction. "And when you put crumbled graham crackers on the rim of the glass, it tastes like pumpkin pie. It's so tasty."
In the kitchen, head chef J.R. Grady turns five specialty dishes into pieces of art, like the $4.50 crawfish-and-crab fritters, which are mixed with roasted red peppers, onions and herbs. His $3 black-bean "delta dip" - sour cream, cheddar cheese, olives and onions - comes with blue tortilla chips. And the $3 Catfish Lollipop is a deep-fried lump of catfish skewered on a stick. If you place a few of them on a bed of lettuce next to zingy Cajun tartar sauce, it "looks like a little teepee on the plate," says Ross.
The club revamped its menu two weeks ago, when its owners realized that customers had grown wary of guessing its weekly margarita, martini and SIN-night schedule. "We decided that, with busy schedules of people who work downtown, you can't tell what is on what day," says Ross. "Having to remember that today may be 'Tini Tuesday is hard. Now you don't have to say, 'Oh, man, it's Friday, and I wish it were Tuesday'." Happy hour heats up between 3 and 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Fat Fish Blue, 21 Prospect Ave. Admission is free. Call 216.875.6000 or visit fatfishblue.com. - Glaser