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There's plenty to do this week, says us

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

SEX TALK

The Punk Monk Visits Akron

Brad Warner's new book won't help him lose the nickname enemies have saddled him with: "The Porno Buddhist." The label came about when the Akron native began writing a column for the Suicide Girls website — never mind that his stories weren't raunchy. Neither is his new book, Sex, Sin, and Zen, which offers some clear thought on thorny issues like gender identity, celibacy, fidelity, masturbation, abortion, and pornography. "I don't think this is a book for zen nerds," says Warner. "It's for anyone who is interested in a way to view sexuality that is very different from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic view that pervades our culture." Warner's previous three books used episodes from his colorful life to illustrate his spiritual lessons, from monster-movie sets to backstage adventures at Ozzfest. For the sex talk, his guests include gay Buddhist monk Daigan Gaither and porn star Nina Hartley. Warner says zen can not only reduce the drama around sex, but improve it. "Zen practice makes you more present with all aspects of life. So of course, sex becomes more intense and better." He gives a free talk at the Cleveland Buddhist Temple (1573 East 214th St., Cleveland, 216-692-1509) at 7 p.m. tonight. — D.X. Ferris

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

COMEDY

Zing Along With Mitch

Miniskirts and Muffins and Super Retardo aren't just the names of Mitch Fatel's comedy discs — they're windows into the soul of the stand-up comic. Consider that Fatel, who is 41, recently dated a teenager. "We broke up, but there was nothing like going out with a 19-year-old," he says. "All she ate was chicken fingers. I could afford like 50 orders of chicken fingers a day. Compared to her 19-year-old friends, I was like Donald Trump. I let her order chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks one time, and she almost cried." Alas, Fatel broke up with her when she turned 20. "She put on some weight. All those chicken fingers caught up with her." Fatel appears tonight through Sunday at the Improv, at 2000 Sycamore Street in the Flats. Tickets are $17 Thursday and Sunday, $20 Friday and Saturday. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 216-696-4677 or go to clevelandimprov.com. — Ed Condran

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1

FIX YOUR HOUSE

The Fall Home Improvement Show

Spring is usually when we get bitten by the fix-up and clean-up bugs, which is why home-improvement shows tend to cluster around the first half of the year. The Fall Home Improvement Expo is aimed at those of us who use the shut-in months for more than hunkering down with soup. Exhibits, lectures, and demonstrations will help you fix up your home. One program guides you step by step through the process of creating the "ultimate game room," complete with a poker table and slot machines to tide you over until the downtown casino is built. Others build on today's trend toward sustainability and energy conservation, with tips on improved ventilation, waterproofing your basement, and installing energy-efficient windows. The show runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and tomorrow, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Great Lakes Expo Center (1200 Babbitt Rd., Euclid). Tickets are $5.50 in advance at Discount Drug Mart stores, $7.50 at the door. Call 800-600-0307 or go to greatlakesexpocenter.com for more information. — Anastasia Pantsios

COMEDY

Big Dog Theater Opens in Coventry

Back in its heyday, the old Centrum movie theater in Cleveland Heights' Coventry Village showed everything from blockbusters to art films to porn. Now it's getting a new lease on life as Big Dog Theater, a venue dedicated to live comedy in all its forms. This weekend's two-day grand-opening celebration features some of the best standup talent in town: Jeff Blanchard, Ryan Dalton, Quinn Patterson, and Mike Polk, collectively known as the Irregulars of WNCX-FM morning-show fame. From 7 to 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow, there's a pre-party across the hall at City and East, with Coventry restaurants Tommy's and Grum's providing eats. Curtain is at 8:30, and there's a meet-and-greet with the cast after the show. Big Dog is at 2781 Euclid Hts. Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10. Call 216-472-3636 for reservations. Local improv ensembles Something Dada and Last Call Cleveland and Canton's Scared Scriptless are booked for later in the month. Go to bigdogtheater.com for a full schedule. — Pantsios

DANCE

Verb Ballets Visits St. Ignatius

If you missed The Adjective Acting Festival or the Noun Opera Series — or, more realistically, if you missed Verb Ballets at Ingenuity Fest last week — be sure to check them out tonight at St. Ignatius High School's Breen Center. They're a chic and sleek and oh-so-American dance company with an eclectic repertoire that features blow-your-mind choreography and a pulsating soundtrack — which the Breen Center's state-of-the-art A/V accoutrements will surely enhance. Good contemporary ballet is a rarity these days, so support this acclaimed Northeast Ohio group with your $20 ticket. The Breen Center is at 1911 West 30th St. in Ohio City. The Verb box office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be reached by calling 216-397-3757. — Sam Allard

HAUNTED CLEVELAND

West Clinton Historic Haunts

Residents of the West Clinton block club in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood are the driving force behind the Fourth Annual Historic Haunts Walking Tour. They researched the area's history and wrote skits about the most colorful former residents. "Each tour has a guide, a good talker who gives them information about the neighborhood," says enthusiastic new participant Judith Allen, who rehabbed an old house and joined the block club even before she moved in earlier this year. Needless to say, there has been enough murder, mayhem, and scandalous activity over the years to fuel the nine playlets presented on the 45-minute tour. But it's not all bad behavior: One skit spotlights a local family's World War II Victory Garden, a forerunner of Detroit Shoreway's current leadership in the sustainability movement. Tours depart from Parish Hall (6205 Detroit Ave.) every 15 minutes between 6 and 8:45 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. They end up at the Gordon Square Arcade (6516 Detroit Ave.) for free refreshments and music. Admission is $5, with kids 15 and under free. Look for "West Clinton Historic Haunts" on Facebook for more information. — Pantsios

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2

FAMILY FUN

Pet Fest in Rocky River

The Animal Protective League seems like one of the nobler recipients of festival proceeds, right? After all, it's an organization that protects animals, then puts them up for adoption in jolly homes peopled with the types of families most of us can't visualize without the aid of Norman Rockwell. Find out if you're one of these families today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or bring the pets you already have and encourage them to mingle with the neighborhood mange. Fur will be literally everywhere, but the shops of Old River are pleased as punch to host the event for the fourth year in a row. Face-painting, music, dog-trainers, and breathtaking raffle prizes will pepper the festival landscape. The action takes place at the northwest corner of Detroit and Wooster roads in Rocky River (across from Heinen's); check out shopoldriver.com for more information. — Allard

CELEBRATE COIT MARKET

Taste of Autumn at the Beachland

Founded in 1932, the Coit Road Farmers Market far predates the market trend we've seen in recent years. Located in poor East Cleveland, it's an oasis of fresh, healthy, locally grown food in a neighborhood that offers no full-service grocery stores. The market incorporated as a nonprofit back in 2001, and it now operates three days a week in the summer (year-round on Saturday mornings in its enclosed permanent building), providing not only fresh fruits and vegetables, but also bedding plants, meats, dairy, baked goods, honey, jams, and beauty products. Last year, the overflow parking lot was transformed into an urban farm, where two growers raise greens, tomatoes, herbs, and eggplant to sell at the market. "But it's a hard market to grow," says market manager and spices vendor Kevin Scheuring. "A lot of people don't know what to do with the food; they don't cook." To support its work, the market is bringing together ten local chefs from top restaurants like Umami, the Greenhouse Tavern, the Grovewood, and Bistro 185, to create a full fall buffet for its Taste of Autumn benefit. It happens from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd, 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com). TV personality Fred Griffith will host the festivities, which also feature live music and the chance to mingle with other foodies. Tickets are $35. Go to coitmarket.org to make reservations. — Pantsios

PARTICIPATORY ART

Open House at Morgan Paper

Two years ago, the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory took over a former machine shop on the near West Side and moved in the hulking equipment required for making handcrafted art papers. Since then, it’s hosted an array of classes and workshops devoted to making specialty papers and using them to create prints, handmade artist books, and other objects. It’s brought in guest artists from Cleveland and other areas to teach and exhibit in its spacious galleries. From 6 to 10 p.m. tonight, Morgan hosts its annual open house to introduce aficionados as well as novices to the laborious but satisfying process of making beautiful paper by hand through demonstrations — but stand back! It’s messy. They’ll also display and sell the finished product in an auction of artwork made from Morgan paper. Live music, raffles, food, and a cash bar round out the free festivities. The conservatory is at 1754 East 47th St.; call 216-361-9255 or go to morganconservatory.org for more information. — Pantsios

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3

KOSHER DEAL

The Jewish Food and Culture Fest

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage was christened in October 2005. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the museum is opening its galleries for free and inviting visitors to join in its third-annual Jewish Food and Culture Festival. It's an afternoon of entertainment with performances by Dance Israeli, the Friends With Benefits improv group, and Lori Cahan-Simon leading the singing of beloved Yiddish and Jewish tunes. The Marx Brothers classic Duck Soup will screen, you'll have a chance to play a game of — wait for it — Jewpardy!, plus fifty-cent tickets get you samples of delicious deli-style food from area eateries like Jack's, Corky and Lenny's, and Mister Brisket. Eat a lot — it'll make your Jewish (or Italian or Slovenian) grandmother happy. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Museum is at 3939 Richmond Rd. in Beachwood. Call 216-593-0575 or go to maltzmuseum.org for more information. — Pantsios

ART TALK AT MOCA

Remembering Seth Rosenberg

Seth Rosenberg was a local artist who died of a heart attack in September 2009 at age 57. If you haven't seen his stuff, Google him or something. Golly, it's something else. In a 2009 personal statement, he described his paintings as "densely packed, abstract pastiches." (Let's disregard the fact that we've always assumed "pastiche" was a culinary term.) It might mean that most of his work features inventive layering, elements of disjointed text — sort of sci-fi-inspired imagery and a truly psychedelic palette. This afternoon, artist and art critic Dan Tranberg and author Ferdinand Protzman will engage in what the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art is calling a "thoughtful exchange" about the paintings, prints, career, and life of Rosenberg, part of MOCA's "Contemporary Conversations" series. The casual event takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m.; MOCA is at 8501 Carnegie Ave. Call 216-421-8671 or visit mocacleveland.org for more info. — Allard

MONDAY, OCTOBER 4

FREE CLASSICAL MUSIC

The Cleveland Chamber Symphony

Jeffrey Mumford is a composer with strong Ohio connections, having taught in the music composition departments at Bowling Green and Oberlin. But his music for chamber orchestra, A Garden of Flourishing Paths, has never been performed in Cleveland. The music shimmers and twinkles like a soundtrack of discovery. It's not a piece that will send you away humming a tune, but it's not dischordant or in any way difficult to listen to either. It's on tonight's Cleveland Chamber Symphony program, along with Fang Man's Maroon and Steven Stucky's Boston Fancies. Steven Smith conducts. The free performance begins at 7:30 at the Cleveland Music School Settlement (11125 Magnolia Drive in University Circle). Call 216-421-1062 or go to clevelandchambersymphony.org. — Michael Gill

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5

APOLLO'S FIRE

Music for Churches, Played in Churches

Music director Jeannette Sorrell compares the 16th-century Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi with Beethoven — a revolutionary living at the end of one era forging the style of the next. "He used the tools of the Renaissance, but created a new and intensely emotional form of expression we call Baroque," Sorrell says. She leads her orchestra and an international cast of voice soloists in Monteverdi's Vespers during a series of concerts and related events around Cleveland, before taking it on a national tour. The ensemble recently rereleased a newly edited recording of the piece. It's 90 minutes of music built for the acoustics of a big church — which happens to be Sorrell's choice of venues. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday October 5, at St. John Vianney Catholic Church (7575 Bellflower Rd. in Mentor); 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 7, at Westminster Presbyterian Church (1250 West Exchange St. in Akron); 8 p.m. Friday, October 8, and 8 p.m. Saturday, October 9, at First Baptist Church (3630 Fairmount Blvd. in Shaker Heights); and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, October 10, at St. Christopher Catholic Church (20141 Detroit Rd. in Rocky River). Tickets are $10 to $65 and are available by calling 216-320-0012, or at apollosfire.org. — Gill

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