That silver lame zoot suit is just dying for an occasion. "I'll wear it next year," you say, but next year never comes. Here's an idea: Dust it off before it decomposes, then head on down to the Grog Shop for a straight-ahead swing show by San Diego's Hot Rod Lincoln. If you don't have a good time, you can always run it through the leaf shredder and use it for Christmas tree tinsel. The Lincolns deliver upbeat material about car fenders and pretty girls that won't break the jukebox. It should, however, make for an entertaining evening. The show starts at 10 p.m. at the Grog Shop, 1765 Coventry Rd., 216-321-5588. Lords of the Highway and the Hay Devils open. Tickets are $6.
Lock the doors and block the hallways. Ceramic dogs are on the loose, and Granny's curio cabinet will never be the same. It was raided by Cleveland artist Eric Rippert, whose formal portraits of toys--dolls, train sets, and porcelain puppies posed against Life-Saver-colored backgrounds--brought out the menacing gleam in Barbie's unblinking eyes. For his latest series, he takes the tchochkes outdoors, arranging them on the shores of the Great Lakes. The waterfront photographs can be seen at the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art in Midwest Tableaux, the second in its new regional artist series. The show opens today at the Center with a public reception from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Also on exhibit is a retrospective of the work of Sarah Charlesworth, who remakes photographs--cutting or reassembling their elements or removing text--to question their motives. Free; at 8501 Carnegie Ave., 216-421-8671. The exhibits run through Jan. 24.
Mississippi-born bluesman Magic Slim has nine fingers--he lost the tenth in a cotton gin accident--and made his first guitar from bailing wire nailed to the kitchen wall. Apparently, when you got the blues you got it bad--no time to call the cliche police. Known for his no-frills brand of Chicago blues, Slim (who has rounded out in recent years) makes a return visit to Wilbert's tonight, along with his trusty band, the Teardrops. A favorite of Eddie Vedder, the gravel- voiced Slim opened for Pearl Jam in Chicago on its last tour. Before that, he played bass in the band of his mentor, the late Magic Sam, and in 1990, the two won a W.C. Handy award for best foreign traditional blues record. (According to record company bios, Sam was also born in Mississippi and also made his first guitar from bailing wire, but he had all his digits and probably used a different wall.) The show, at 1360 W. 9th St., starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door; $10 in advance by calling 216-241-5555.
Ursa Minor? Isn't that Uma Thurman's second cousin? Looks like it's high time for a little constellation appreciation. Riding in on a cloud of comet dust, the Leonids and Geminids meteor showers are the distinguished luminaries of the autumnal skies this year. They're on simulated view, along with this season's brightest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History planetarium's Stars of the Fall Skies show. The dust--the remains of a comet that broke apart 33 years ago--enhances the celestial twinkling. After the twenty-minute show, museum astronomers will answer general questions about the heavens, from UFOs to "Why is the sky blue?" (Because it's sponsored by Gap jeans?) At 1 Wade Oval, 216-231-4600. Today at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.; $1.50 plus $6.50 museum admission.
Violin behavior will be encouraged today at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, which hosts an interactive Family Concert by its Suzuki piano and strings faculty. Games, including one in which children hold up colored blocks when they hear a familiar strain (don't cancel that Ritalin prescription just yet), are designed to get kids involved in the concert, which will include works by Mozart, Haydn, Handel, and Beethoven. At 3 p.m. at 11125 Magnolia Drive, 216-421-5806.
Dobama Theatre adjusts its halo this week for Angels in America, its second production of Tony Kushner's Broadway play that takes place in Washington, New York, heaven, and hell. The characters--including a married Mormon man on the brink of a nervous breakdown and a gay couple about to break up--struggle with AIDS and homosexuality in a hostile society, and how to keep their faith and themselves together as the world falls apart. An archangel visits earth to try to sort things out. McCarthy-era lawyer Roy Cohn is the play's villian, and executed communist Ethel Rosenberg is the ghost who bickers with him. Dobama stages part one of Angels, Millennium Approaches today at 7 p.m. (It's playing from Friday, Nov. 20 through Dec. 13; see stage listings for specifics.) Perestroika, the second half, starts Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 20. Tickets are $13 for tonight's show; $16 on Fridays and Saturdays. At 1846 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-6838.
"We'll take eighty tons of shrimp, please, hold the cocktail sauce." Just think of the catering bill for Whales, the Omnimax film opening this week at the Great Lakes Science Center. Luckily, it was all shot underwater, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, so mother nature furnished the grub, at least for the stars. Filmed by a National Geographic production team, Whales delivers a Jonah's-eye view of the migration of humpbacks, orcas (or "killer whales"), and dolphins. Following their journey from warm winter breeding grounds near Hawaii and Patagonia to cold summer feeding grounds in Canada and Newfoundland, the film documents the mammals' hunting, feeding, mating, and child-rearing activities. It screens weekdays at 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.; Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m.; tickets are $7.75 for the film only, $10.95 including Science Center admission. At 601 Lakeside Ave., 216-694-2000.
The Browns are back. (Yay!) The new Stadium is $60 million over budget. (Boo!) Exclamation points will be liberally distributed at today's speech and question-and-answer forum by new Browns owner Al Lerner and President Carmen Policy. Policy is expected to give the speech, then the floor will be given over to questions from the audience. Tickets are $40 and must be reserved in advance at 216-621-0082. Never fear--if you've spent all your spare change on a Personal Seat License or a soft drink at Gateway during baseball season, you can still hear a live broadcast of the program on WCLV FM-95.5, or at 10 p.m. that evening on WTAM AM-1100. At noon at the Sheraton City Centre, West 7th St. and St. Clair Ave.
Take the distinctly American sound of bebop and stir it up with Latin rhythms. Like many bright ideas, especially those that may involve maracas, that one reads like a recipe for disaster. But done by jazz piano virtuoso Danilo Perez, it works. Perez doesn't borrow, but rather builds on, the elbow-banging rhythms of piano renegade Thelonius Monk. "Spicy" would be a denigrating word to describe the flamenco and conga (and Cuban danzona and Peruvian festejo) influences in Perez's work, as they are not a dash of this and a pinch of that, but rather integral to a sound that defies multicultural classification. The Panamanian-born Perez, who played in Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations All-Star Band and toured Europe with Wynton Marsalis, has just released his fourth album, Central Avenue, on the Impulse label. He's well-known abroad, but just catching fire with audiences in the States. This is his fourth visit to Cleveland--during his last visit, in 1994, he played at the short-lived Rhythms jazz club on Playhouse Square. Tonight he'll be at the Diamondback Brewery, 724 Prospect Ave. (216-771-1988), at 9 p.m. Tickets are $17.50.