Thursday | 01
Mike Polk at the Improv
Cleveland comedian Mike Polk has been a busy guy this summer. Besides captaining his Lakewood kickball team deep into the second round of the playoffs, he developed an affinity for Boston Sidecars and bought a cat "in an effort to teach myself how to love." (To see how that's working out, check out his newest YouTube video, I'm a Stupid Cat.) Also, Polk released a CD — No One's Even Listening — and polished up his standup routine, which he'll be showcasing this weekend at the Improv in the Flats. Best known as the founder of the comedy troupe Last Call Cleveland, and as the wit behind the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video, Polk says his stage gigs are rare. "I don't write standup very often either, which means people who have seen me before will see some of the same stuff ... and that pisses some people off." This, he feels, sucks. "No one gets mad at the Eagles if they do old stuff. I think that double standard is totally unrighteous." Keeping it fresh will be an array of funny friends and drop-in guests. "It's a solid lineup," the KSU alum promises. "It should be a lot of fun." Five shows are set between now and Sunday. Tonight's performance is at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $12; get yours by phone or on the Improv website, where you'll find complete show information. (For more on Polk, or to buy his CD, visit mikepolkjr.com.) — Cicora
1148 Main Ave., 216-696-4677,
Geauga County Fair
Food, Fun & Farm Animals
Since 1823, Geauga County's farm families have been flocking to Burton each Labor Day weekend to celebrate the bounty of rural American life. That makes the Geauga County Fair the oldest in Ohio and one of the oldest in the Midwest. These days, the annual shindig includes demolition derbies, motocross races, and other modern amusements. There's also plenty on the five-day schedule to entice even the most ruggedly retro among us — including clog dancing, a donkey show, and the annual judging of the giant zucchinis. Just think of it as a little slice of homespun heaven, with french fries and funnel cakes on the side. The fair opens today at noon and continues through Monday, September 5. Daily hours are 9 a.m. to midnight, and gate admission is $7 for those over the age of 12. See the website for maps and a complete schedule of activities. — Cicora
14373 North Cheshire St., Burton,440-834-1846, geaugafair.com.
Friday | 02
Super Happy Funtime Burlesque:
Sexxx Marks the Spot
In Corey Ruffin's world, chastity is a punch line and vaginas are portals to another dimension. As founder, band leader, emcee, and writer for the Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, performing tonight at the Beachland Ballroom, Ruffin's outlook may be slightly skewed. But there's no doubt that he and his 18-member touring company are onto something. For one, tonight's show — "That's Sexxx Warriors, with three x's" — is not just the usual lineup of fan dancers and comics. "It's evolved beyond the traditional variety-show format into a full-out musical," Ruffin says, describing the bawdy two-and-a-half-hour "caper" as one part Brazil, one part Buck Rogers, and one part blow against sexual conservatism. "We don't set out to be subversive. We know we are joking about touchy subjects, but most audiences find that refreshing. We're just trying to be honest and provide some release" — which comes complete with a smokin' six-piece band, a bevy of beautiful dancing girls, and lap dances delivered by a 350-pound male stripper. For Ruffin, it's not just a job, it's an alternative to mayhem. "Honestly, if I wasn't doing this, I would be homeless or in jail." You can weigh in on his career choice tonight at 9 p.m. Tickets for the 18-and-over show are $10; snag 'em online, by phone, or at the door. — Elaine T. Cicora
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.
Cars by Twilight
The good news is that the Western Reserve Historical Society's History Center soon will be getting a $3 million facelift. The bad news is that the classic cars and planes in its Crawford Collection will be tucked away in storage for the duration. To soften the blow, museum staffers are hosting tonight's Cars by Twilight event from 5 to 10 p.m. It's a chance to get up close and personal with the rolling stock before it heads, at least temporarily, to that big garage in the sky. Also on tap: music, food, a cash bar, and even a chance to slide behind the wheel of a 1914 Peerless. "We'll toast [the cars] tonight and again when they return in the summer of 2012," says Gainor Davis, WRHS president and CEO. Admission is $5. — Cicora
10825 East Blvd., 216-721-5722, wrhs.org.
It's Oktoberfest in Berea
Bier gartens, celebrity keg tapping, microbrew competitions, and the 5K bier run all contribute to the sense-altering bliss of everyone's favorite German tradition: Oktoberfest! (Don't let the name fool you: After all that alcohol, you'd get your months and spelling messed up too; and don't even get us started on glockenspiel.) In any case, words hardly do justice to this traditional Bavarian folk rave happening this weekend at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea — complete with polka, puppets, and a performance by the Cleveland Pops. For more sober souls, there are wiener dog races and a display of sand-castle sculptures, neither of which have anything to do with bier. You can also enter the massive cornhole competition for the chance to square off against a mystery pair of radio personalities from WKNR. Suitable suds sops to be served include wienerschnitzel, bratwurst, hot dogs, and pizza. The festival kicks off tonight at 5. Hours on Saturday and Sunday are noon to midnight, and Monday's hours are noon to 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 online and $10 at the gate. Visit the website for a complete lineup of activities. — Phil Barnes
164 Eastland Rd., 440-364-4991,
Saturday | 03
The Cleveland Air Show
The Sky's the Limit!
With more "bangs" and "booms" than the Fourth of July, the Cleveland Air Show at Burke Lakefront Airport is undeniably our loudest Labor Day tradition. And now a flame-emblazoned, jet-powered school bus is bumping up the volume. Reaching speeds of 367 miles per hour (move over, Bugatti), the School Time Jet Bus will be roaring along the runways beneath a sextet of Air Force Thunderbirds, a World War II P-51 Mustang, and a Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom. There's also a "Jelly Belly" stunt plane that lands on either the bed of a pick-up truck or the top of an RV — totally awesome either way. On the ground, get a lesson on green-powered airplane engines from NASA or see if you can conquer the Army's rock wall. Then take the kids over to one of the 50 static planes on display and snap a pic of them in the cockpit. "The air show is half the price of Cedar Point for a whole day of remarkable aviation," says spokeswoman Ann Gynn. Besides, those stunts put roller coasters to shame. Advance sale tix are $19 for adults and $12 for kids at area Discount Drug Marts; at the gate they'll cost an additional two bucks. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 today through Monday. — Barnes
1501 North Marginal Rd., 216-781-0747,
Great Lakes Science Center
All Fans on Deck
So you want to see the Air Show but you don't want to cope with the crowds? Then snag a spot aboard the Steamship William G. Mather, the floating museum docked just a few whitecaps west of Burke Lakefront Airport. Bring the sunscreen, the visors, and your comfiest lawn chairs, then sit back and enjoy the show as the Thunderbirds and other airborne attractions zoom right over your head. (Bring a few bucks, too, to buy some on-board food and drink.) Reserve your $15 space by calling 216-621-2400. The deck is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Monday. — Cicora
601 Erieside Ave., 216-621-2400,
Family Day in Rockefeller Park
The pond is stocked, the bait is waiting, and the hot dogs are sizzling on the grill: If that's not a recipe for relaxing summer fun, we'll down a tub of night crawlers. Luckily, you don't need to do any such thing. Just show up today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the pond at Rockefeller Park and have a good time. On the agenda: open family fishing for catfish and bluegill, casting lessons from North Coast Black Bass Angler's Association, face painting and chalk drawing for the kids, a program on water quality, an appearance by Radio Disney, and a hot dog lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Everything is free — bait, tackle, hot dogs, and parking in the Rockefeller Park lot. Today's merriment comes to you by way of the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership; let them know you're coming at 216-321-5935. — Cicora
MLK Boulevard near East 105th,
Local Author Pours It On
There's really no reason to keep importing your fine wines from Napa Valley. You can find all the crisp Rieslings and earthy Pinot Noirs you crave right here on the North Coast. Just ask Cleveland freelancer Claudia Taller, author of Ohio's Lake Erie Wineries, a new guide that serves up an in-depth look at the people and the land behind the region's coastal wineries. According to Taller, Ohio was one of the nation's top wine producers before the temperance movement took hold; today, thanks to improved viticulture, we're making a comeback. "Not a lot of people think about Lake Erie when it comes to wine, but they should," she says, both for quality and for value. Taller's fave, for instance, is the Cabernet Sauvignon from Conneaut's Markko Vineyards; and Lake Erie ice wine is some of the best in the U.S., she tells us. So before you splurge on that bottle of Silver Oak, take a look at the book. It just might change your mind. Taller will be at Hudson's Learned Owl bookstore today from 4 to 5 p.m. for a book talk and signing. — Barnes
204 N Main St., Hudson, 330-653-2252, learnedowl.com.
Sunday | 04
What's Up, Doc?
Bugs Bunny Hops Into Blossom
Everyone's favorite wascally wabbit weturns to Blossom Music Center this weekend for Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, a family-friendly concert featuring original Looney Tunes cartoon scores performed live by the Blossom Festival Orchestra. Conducted by George Daugherty, who has been bringing the bunny to Blossom since 1991, the concert includes big-screen showings of faves like The Rabbit of Seville, Home Tweet Home, and the Al Jolson tribute I Love to Singa. To eat, pack a picnic or grab some all-American cookout grub from the Blossom concessionaires. And be sure to stick around afterward for fireworks. Grounds open tonight at 6 p.m., and the concert begins at 8:30. Tickets range from $21 to $88; two kids under 18 are free on the lawn with each adult ticket purchased. — Cicora
1145 Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 216-231-1111, clevelandorchestra.com.
Kent State Museum
Last Date With Kate
You've had nearly a year to visit the Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen exhibit at the Kent State University Museum. If you haven't made it yet, heads up: Today is your last chance to ooh and ahh over Kate's personal and professional wardrobes, displayed along with a collection of movie frames, stage stills, and publicity shots honoring the career of the award-winning actress and style icon. Even before it opened last October, the exhibition was getting ink in publications like Women's Wear Daily and Playbill. Your final chance to see it comes today from noon to 4:45 p.m. General admission is $5, less for seniors, students, and children. — Cicora
515 Hilltop Dr., Kent, 330-672-3450, kent.edu/museum.
Monday | 05
Eat, Drink & Buy Antiques
Another Labor Day, another chance to score some quality antiques on the Western Reserve Academy campus in Hudson. Back for its 30th year, the one-day show is big, beautiful, and jam-packed with quality pieces: period furniture, hand-crafted folk art, and 18th-century toys, tools, and tableware among them. The rain-or-shine fest goes on from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and free for kids under 18. (Serious buyers can score preview tix for $28 and get in beginning at 8:30; a gourmet breakfast is included.) Speaking of food: Taste of Hudson is also in full swing today, with 21 area restaurants and caterers selling special menu items in portions large and small. Joining them in downtown Hudson will be more than 80 artists and exhibitors, a luxury auto show, eight entertainment stages, and — yes! — a Wine & Beer Garden. Admission is free, but food samples range from $2 to $5. — Cicora
115 College St., Hudson, 330-650-4400,
Tuesday | 06
It's Zumba Timeat Shaker Square
God knows we direct you to enough beer fests and food frenzies. For once, here's a healthful activity the whole family can get behind. Tonight and every Tuesday through September 27, make your way to Shaker Square's South Lawn for a free, family-friendly Zumba class led by volunteer instructor Yolanda Albergottie. (Zumba, by the way, is a high-energy dance workout done to a soundtrack of lively Latin music.) The sessions are an initial volley from the recently formed Healthy Eating and Active Living Initiative, a grassroots effort to help Clevelanders (particularly those in the Buckeye, Larchmere, and Woodland Hills neighborhoods) combat our sloth-like ways; you can read all about the initiative and its programs on Facebook. Other than the legitimate question of whether anyone really wants to see you shaking your booty in public, reservations aren't required. Just throw on your comfy clothes and show up at 6 p.m. — Cicora
Shaker Square, 216-778-1379,facebook.com/healthylivingblwh
Wednesday | 07
Luxe on the Lake
Catch a Car Show at the Club
A car show with free access to a heated pool and Jacuzzi? Wait, there's also a full bar and restaurant? We're sold. Classic Corvettes, Hummers, and Lambos roll into the Olde River Yacht Club on Whiskey Island this evening, and you're invited to come check out some of Cleveland's hottest rides. Not a gear head? No worries: Take a dip in the pool or grab a basket of wings — they're only 35 cents each. The show goes from 6 to 8 p.m., and the first 100 guests can snag a free car shammy. No charge for the lakeside sunset either. — Barnes
4900 Whiskey Island Dr.,