Thursday | 17
Fun for Book Lovers
The Making of Cleveland Inside Outside
How does an iconic Cleveland photographer like Jennie Jones draw the interest of a bunch of book geeks? By publishing a compilation of her acclaimed architectural photography, of course. It didn't hurt that chief book lover Brian Meggitt had a hand in creating the tome. Meggitt, executive coordinator of the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society, was called upon three years ago to assist Jones in preparing to donate 30 years' worth of her urban images to Cleveland State University. "In getting to know Jennie, I also encouraged her to produce (the newly published) Cleveland Inside Outside, and ended up doing the background research as well," says Meggitt. Tonight at 7 p.m., Meggitt will welcome Jones to a NOBS forum in Shaker Heights, where the photographer will discuss the book's creation. It's free, open to the public, and happening at Loganberry Books. — Elaine T. Cicora
13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-795-9800, loganberrybooks.com.
Tri-C Presents Songbook Unbound
What does it mean to be an artist in this town? More than 30 local dancers, singers, poets, musicians, and photographers will try to answer that question at 7 p.m. tonight, when they come together for a one-of-a-kind performance at the Tri-C Metro Campus. Binding each artist's presentation into a cohesive whole is the Project Gilgamesh Songbook, a collection of original songs created by Tri-C artist-in-residence Daniel Bernard Roumain (a.k.a. DBR). Each act in tonight's 75-minute show is based on the Songbook in some fashion or another. Hosted by DBR, the free performance is part of Tri-C's year-long Project Gilgamesh, a campus-wide exploration of the arts inspired by an ancient Mesopotamian epic. (Hey, you've got to find it somewhere.) It's all happening at the Metro Campus' Black Box Theater. For more info about Project Gilgamesh, tonight's participating artists, and other related events, check out the website. — Cicora
2809 Woodland Ave., 216-987-4444, projectgilgamesh.com.
Friday | 18
The Battle We Didn't Choose
Art From the Heart
In 2008, Manhattan photographer Angelo Merendino's wife, Jennifer, was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. In the three years since, the disease has spread to her liver, hip, sacrum, and brain. When words failed, Merendino — an Akron native and former member of the Cleveland punk band the Vacancies — took up his camera to document the day-to-day fears and traumas that accompany the disease. His pictures now have become The Battle We Didn't Choose, a quietly mighty photo documentary debuting tonight at the 78th Street Studios, as part of the Third Friday art walk. Beyond its artistic punch, the powerful exhibition serves as a benefit to address Jennifer's growing medical bills. (She and Angelo first met, incidentally, at the former Fulton Bar & Grill in Ohio City, which is now Momocho.) The exhibit also gives the couple a chance to put a human face on the disease. "Pink ribbons serve a purpose," says Merendino, "but they do not tell the whole story of breast cancer." This moving exhibition helps fill in the gaps. Tonight's opening runs from 5 to 9 p.m. in Room 101. Food and drinks will be provided by Momocho and the Market Avenue Wine Bar. It's free, but donations will be accepted. The exhibit continues thorugh December 16. — Joseph Clark
1305 West 80th St., 78streetstudios.com.
Who Ordered the Dirty Martini?
Comic Jackie Martling Makes a Mess
For 18 years, Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling served as head writer for The Howard Stern Show. His 1997 book was called Jackie Martling's Disgustingly Dirty Joke Book, and his website is jokeland.com. He also appeared in Stern's film Private Parts and in The Aristocrats, Penn Jillette's 2005 homage to the dirtiest joke ever. These days, Martling has his own Sirius-XM radio show — Jackie's Joke Hunt — and a recently released CD called Snart, containing 78 minutes of dirty jokes. Turns out, he's on tour again, too, with a scheduled stop tonight in the House of Blues' Cambridge Room. We'll leave it up to you to guess what his show will be like. But we can tell you that tickets are $20 in advance, $25 DOS, and include a complimentary drink, warm-up laughs from Cleveland comedians Maria Borgia, Ramon Rivas II, and Andrew Pucella, and music by DJ Rocco Russo. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the funny stuff starts at 9. 21-and-over only. — Cicora
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583,
Moxie Hosts a Meritage Tasting
Just in time for your holiday entertaining, along comes tonight's laid-back wine tasting at Moxie, with a focus on Meritage blends and expert guidance from sommelier Cyrus Davarpanah. (Meritage, by the way, is just a made-up name for Bordeaux-style blends crafted in the States.) According to Davarpanah, the blends make a great accompaniment to hearty holiday fare — especially ones like Flora Springs' highly rated Trilogy. "It's a beautiful red, made with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot," he rhapsodizes. "On the nose, there's traces of black plum, black cherry, fennel, cassis ... and on the palate, it's complex and dry. Plus, it goes for $120 a bottle on our wine list, and tonight, you can try it — along with seven other wines — for only $25!" That doesn't even take into account the food: cheese boards, charcuterie, and other small noshes from chef Jonathan Bennett's kitchen. It all goes down from 6 to 8 p.m. Call Moxie for your reservation. — Cicora
3355 Richmond Rd., Beachwood, 216-831-5599, moxietherestaurant.com.
Saturday | 19
Drawing on Imagination
Local artist and author Suzanne McGinness comes to Hudson today for an 11 a.m. reading of her debut kids' book, My Bear Griz. McGinness, a Shaker Heights resident, received her B.F.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a major in illustration before heading off to England to study at the Cambridge School of Art. Her chops are put to good use in Griz, a painterly picture book designed for reading aloud to wee ones ages 2 to 6. Her full-page watercolor-and-pen illustrations add charm and humor to a sweet, succinct story of a little boy whose bestest bud may — or may not — be a grizzly bear. Besides the reading, McGinness will show her young fans how she drew Griz and encourage them to draw their own teddies or special friends; art supplies will be provided. The event is free, but registration is requested at the number below; plus, bring a donation of cat or dog treats for the local animal shelter. — Cicora
204 North Main St., Hudson, 330-653-2252, learnedowl.com.
Front Porch Fun
Beer & Wine Tasting in Lakewood
If the thought of kicking back on the porch with a cold brewski or a glass of grapey goodness sounds like fun, today's grand reopening of the Front Porch Cafe at Rozi's Wine House should be right up your alcohol alley. The family-owned and operated beverage store's recent renovation includes indoor/outdoor seating, an 8-handled draft system, and a big menu of small bites and noshs. Today's special celebration happens from noon to 5 p.m. and includes tastings of seasonal beers and newly released wines, along with a visit from guest chef Matt Auck, who will be cooking up all manner of tasty eats. Cost is $20, and forget about tickets, reservations, and throwing on your fancy duds. "All our events are very informal," says owner Corey Rossen. "We just like to have fun." — Cicora
14900 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-221-1119, rozis.com.
Ski-Fest at the Akron Civic
Ski enthusiasts, rejoice! The Akron Civic Theatre has the cure for your winter fever: Ski-Fest 2011. Beginning today at 6:30 p.m., the Civic's grand lobby will be overtaken by an avalanche of vendors touting ski gear and resorts. Check them out, then stick around for an exclusive 8 p.m. screening of Warren Miller's ski-action film Like There's No Tomorrow, shot on location on five continents and narrated by Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley. Created to capture the thrills, beauty, and athleticism of that perfect jump or run, the film has been a hit with casual skiers and competitors alike. "We welcome winter with everything we've got," says director-producer Max Bervy. "because, while there's always a tomorrow, there are only so many dawns with fresh snow." Tickets are $11 in advance by phone, online, or at the box office, or $15 at the door. For more information, see the Civic's website. — Logan Boggs
182 South Main St., 330-253-2488,
At Hale Farm & Village
Belly-Up to Dinner With Abe Lincoln
Sink your teeth into a heapin' helping of history at today's Dinner with Abraham Lincoln at Hale Farm & Village. The pre-Thanksgiving feast includes turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings, including several dishes made with Hale-grown ingredients. Besides a chance to break bread with the Prez and his missus, the family-friendly fun includes storytelling, holiday vignettes, and caroling. The event runs from 3 to 6 p.m. at the outdoor living-history museum in the Cuyahoga Valley, where you'll get a peek at life in the Western Reserve during the 1860s. Admission is $35 for adults and $15 for kids 3 to 12. Reservations can be made by phone or online. — Cicora
2686 Oak Hill Rd., Bath, 330-666-3711, email@example.com.
Sing! Sing! Sing!
Party — and Eat — Like a Slovenian
It's "eat, sing, and make merry" tonight at the Slovenian National Home, courtesy of the Glasbena Matica Slovenian Singing Society. The 81-year-old Cleveland chorale is known for delivering a rousing blend of Slovenian folk melodies, Broadway show tunes, and music from the Hit Parade. Tonight's concert — the descriptively designated Sing! Sing! Sing! — features selections ranging from Louis Prima to the Slovenian musical Melodija Srca. "Glasbena Matica has always had capable singers who enjoy the challenge of a more demanding repertoire," explains spokesman Joe Valencic. "That's what appeals to our audiences: It's something more than just 'easy listening,' performed by vocalists who can really deliver a song." Doors open at 4 at the circa-1924 Slovenian National Home. A hearty, family-style chow-down will be served at 5:30. The concert follows at 7, then stick around for dancing and a special polka performance by the Joey Tomsick Orchestra. The price tag for this evening full of ethnic entertainment? Just 25 bucks. For tickets, call the number below. For venue info, visit the website. — Boggs
6417 St. Clair Ave, 440-944-1243,
Sunday | 20
Tea and Canticles at Trinity Cathedral
English composer Benjamin Britten (1913 to 1976) was one of the 20th century's most brilliant musicians, capable of creating in a wide variety of forms while excelling as a pianist and a conductor. Under the guidance of music director Todd Wilson, downtown's Trinity Cathedral is celebrating the multifaceted composer throughout autumn with a four-concert Britten Fest. Today's 3 p.m. program features Britten's Five Canticles, written over a course of almost 30 years for various vocal and instrumental combinations. Following the concert, staffers will be serving high tea, complete with light hors d'oeuvres and dainty desserts. There's no charge, although a free-will offering will be collected. In case you aren't familiar with Trinity Cathedral, the gorgeous Gothic building at Euclid Avenue and East 22nd Street dates back to 1901. Older still, the congregation's roots stretch back to 1816 with a continual emphasis on music, art, and social justice. — Cicora
2230 Euclid Ave., 216-771-3630,
Music for Miles
Arts Collinwood Gets Classy
When it comes to music in North Collinwood, the Beachland Ballroom is getting some tony competition. Last month marked the launch of M4M (Music for Miles), a series of free chamber-music concerts held in honor of Miles Kennedy, who — along with his wife Nan and daughter Sarah Gyorki — founded Arts Collinwood eight years ago. Since Miles died in May, Nan has been working with Arts Collinwood director Cheryl Carter to fulfill Miles' wish for an expansion to the center's cultural programing. Today's 4 p.m. classical music concert features Cleveland's Trillium Trio: Linda White on flute, Emily Lada on clarinet, and Lydia Byndas on bassoon. Like all the M4M concerts, it's free and takes place at Arts Collinwood. — Cicora
15605 Waterloo Rd., 216-696-9500, artscollinwood.org.
Monday | 21
Death Row Revue
Nellie McKay at Nighttown
A puzzle wrapped in an enigma, tucked inside a perky blond package: That’s about as accurate a description of the multifaceted Nellie McKay as any we’ve heard. The New York singer-songwriter brings I Want to Live! — her “musical death-row revue” based on the 1950s saga of convicted murderer Barbara Graham — to Nighttown for 7 p.m. performances tonight and tomorrow. But in a recent phone interview, McKay mainly wanted to share her hope that Clevelanders will forgo their Thanksgiving turkeys. (“I’m sure the turkey would appreciate it.”) As for her new show — glowingly reviewed in The New York Times as “brilliant” and “zany” — its inspiration seems to arise from a similar impulse. “I felt an urgency to tell Barbara’s story,” she says. “I mean, what a roller-coaster ride! And it hasn’t gotten any better today, has it? We’re still putting people to death, be they innocent or guilty, and regardless of any reasonable doubt.” Despite the heavy underpinnings, McKay’s one-woman, cabaret-style performance is packed with satirical humor. Much of that comes from her selection of music: four original tunes augmented by songs from Tom Waits, Jimi Hendrix, and John Lennon, among others. In fact, a YouTube video of a ukulele-strumming McKay delivering a delicately deranged version of Lennon’s “I’m So Tired” is downright chilling. That knack for channeling Doris Day and Amy Winehouse may be why a 2004 review of McKay’s debut CD accused her of playing “the crazy card.” “Unfortunately, I’m not playing anything!” she responds cheerfully. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t know who the hell I am!” Tickets are $25 by phone. — Cicora 12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-795-0550, nighttowncleveland.com.
Tuesday | 22
A Gift Show at Holden Arboretum
Despite what you might think, your favorite gardener, tree hugger, or bird watcher does not want another Big Mouth Billy Bass for Christmas this year. Instead, get them something from Gifts of the Heart of Nature, Holden Arboretum's annual craft show and sale. Happening now through December 30, the event features handmade creations from more than two dozen regional artists, including Jackie Adamany (handbags), Colletta Somrak (alpaca hats, gloves, and scarves), and Tracy Shea (pottery). "What makes the show special is that all the items are inspired by nature and made from either natural products or 100 percent recycled materials," says Dave Desimone, Holden's director of guest relations. "All proceeds go to help support our conservation efforts, so not only can you give a unique gift, but your purchase helps make Cleveland a more sustainable place." It all happens inside the Corning Visitor Center; admission is included in the regular adult ticket of $6. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Find directions and details on the website — and don't even think about electronic fish plaques. — Cicora
9500 Sperry Rd., Kirtland,
Wednesday | 23
Prelude to a Feast
It's BLKOUT Time @ Touch Supper Club
"Let's just say that it's on like Donkey Kong," says DJ Justin Nyilas. "It" is BLKOUT's festive Thanksgiving Eve bash, filling two floors of Touch Supper Club with music and dancing. Besides being a great opportunity to work up an appetite for turkey, the party is perfect for connecting with home-from-college friends and holiday houseguests. Upstairs you'll find DJs Terry Urban and Misterbradleyp spinning dirty south and punk rock beats. And downstairs? "I'll be feeding everyone the music buffet they always come for," says Nyilas. "We don't just play music: We create an atmosphere for individuals to really feel music, to walk away with new friends and an appreciation of the fact that Cleveland has its own creativity and sound." The fun begins at 10 p.m. and goes until 2:30 a.m. There's no cover charge, but bring some bucks for food and drink. Head over to BLKOUT's Facebook page for details. — Boggs
2710 Lorain Ave., 216-631-5200,