- The rules of Boatgating: Drink lots of beer, get pumped for the game, and float down the river.
Behind the wheel of Holiday, his 60-foot cabin cruiser, Wayne Bratton has shuttled Boatgating customers to every Browns home game since 1982. From Trident Marine in the Flats and then up the Cuyahoga River, the veteran sailor pulls up to the docks northwest of Browns Stadium a half-hour before kickoff.
It's business as usual Sunday, when the Browns tangle with Miami at 1:05 p.m. "We get you there in plenty of time to get through security and find your seat with comfort and ease," says Bratton. "You're also not fighting the local traffic. And by the time you get back, it's cleared up, and you can relax."
Along the way, a bartender sells domestic beer and liquor -- like Jack Daniel's, Absolut, and Tanqueray. And passengers are invited to bring along munchies for the ride. "Beforehand, we have people that tailgate in our parking lot," says Bratton. "Then they jump on the boat. The Browns flag is flying, and everybody's in Browns colors. When the Browns had winning teams, we had to run three boats. But that was back in the good ol' days." Boatgating departs at 11:45 a.m. from Trident Marine, 2065 Scranton Road. Tickets are $12.50. Call 216-771-2628 for more information. -- Cris Glaser
Christmas With the Crank
David Sedaris' new holiday classic comes to town.
David Sedaris never names himself in The Santaland Diaries, but the role of Young Slacker is unquestionably based on the humorist's stint in the 1980s as one of Santa's elves at Macy's department store in New York City. "This piece is perfect for us," says Randy Rollison, artistic director at Cleveland Public Theatre, which stages a production starting Wednesday. "It's irreverent, sardonic, and cheeky." For example, the miserable elf tells one little kid waiting in line to see Santa that the big guy is going to "come to his house, take all his appliances, leave him in the dark, and all his food will spoil," laughs Rollison. "Now that's the holiday spirit!" The Santaland Diaries is at CPT's Levin Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) through December 18. Opening-night show is at 7:30 p.m. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 to $19; call 216-631-2727. -- Cris Glaser
Singer discovers gold in desolation and misfortune.
You won't find a more heartbreaking album this season than Gary Allan's Tough All Over, which debuted at No. 1 on the country chart. The singer's wife killed herself a year ago, and Allan's pain, confusion, and slow recovery saturate nearly every song on the CD. While some of the depressing tunes come close to totally bumming out listeners ("Putting My Misery on Display" pretty much says it all), other cuts -- particularly the moving "I Just Got Back From Hell" and "Puttin' My Memories Away" -- burrow deep into Allan's tear-stained voice and candid revelations. He's at House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $35 and $40, available by calling 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
Piece of Her Heart
Based on letters Janis Joplin wrote to her family, Love, Janis (opening Thursday) features lots of music, but little of the sex, drugs, and booze that made the late singer such a complex character. The production plays the Hanna Theatre (1422 Euclid Avenue) through January 15. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 4:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $39.50 and $49.50; call 216-241-6000. -- Michael Gallucci