Jingle bells will ring in University Circle tonight with a carillon and handbell concert in the English Gothic sanctuary of the Church of the Covenant, which has more sacred music directors (four) than it has Presbyterian ministers (three). The church's longtime director of bell choirs, George Leggiero, orchestrates the belltower harmonies, while on solid ground, the handbell choir, vocalists, and organists led by Todd Wilson--organ director at the Cleveland Institute of Music--perform prelude music. The concert, at 10:15 tonight, is followed at 11 p.m. by a Christmas Eve candlelight service alternating scripture readings with hymns and anthems. At 11205 Euclid Avenue, 216-421-0482.
Overgrown primate Mighty Joe Young, namesake of the 1949 film, doesn't scale Empire State Buildings or steal Fay Wrays. But the big lug deserves more than hairy-knuckled obscurity for his role in the party-crashing scene of the century: Angered by his confinement at the hands of a sleazy promoter, he breaks from his chains during a fancy dinner, frees oppressed lions and tigers from their glass cages, and sends bluebloods sailing into velvet curtains and bowls of caviar. The overwrought moral: You can't tame mother nature, or "The Eisenhower era's coming--run for your life!" Why is Disney, champion of the Eisenhower era, remaking Mighty Joe Young? Who knows? But the new gorilla suit, much like Cher, is made from a blend of yak and horse hair and takes three groomers to brush, plus one to apply "lubricant" so its rubbery lips don't chap. The updated Mighty Joe Young opens today. See Showtimes on pages 27-29.
Shake the pine needles out of your underwear tonight with a wallop of power pop. The Revelers, a Cleveland guitar-driven band with a Tom Petty rasp, perform along with musical hunchbacks Quazimodo and young punks the Chargers. The Revelers have paid their dues and then some, and after ten years of toil (including three self-released albums, a year in an ill-heated apartment, and about six months of sleeping on floors in New York), have been rewarded with a national release: Day In Day Out, set to hit the shelves in March. On Spinart Records, the label of Frank Black and the Poster Children, the CD was mixed by Gene Paul, the son of electric guitar pioneer Les Paul, and includes a guitar solo by Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices. The not-entirely-holy trinity takes the stage tonight starting at 10 p.m. Admission is $5. At 1765 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588.
A Ferris wheel that rises through the roof and into a glass atrium is the centerpiece of the Indoor Winter Carnival, which features amusement park rides and an appearance by Blue, the dog who helps three-year-olds solve mysteries on Nickelodeon's Blues Clues. A Dragon Wagon roller coaster, Christmas tree forest, and giant castle made of ice should also please the chewable aspirin crowd. There's open ice skating, as well as breakneck snowboarding and skiing demonstrations. The Indoor Winter Carnival is at the I-X Center, Route 237 (adjacent to Hopkins Airport in Brook Park), today through January 3 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $12, $7 seniors; call 800-897-3942 for more information.
Though critics fawned over Saving Private Ryan, John Ewing, director of film programming at the Cleveland Museum of Art, was underwhelmed: "They were writing about it as if there hadn't been great war movies before," he says, "that all we'd seen before was rah-rah stuff." The result of his reservations is Spawning Private Ryan, a free series of World War II films from great directors of the past, some of whom witnessed real front-line action. The series begins today at 1:30 p.m. with Daryl Zanuck's 1962 epic The Longest Day, which recreates the Allied invasion of Normandy. Other highlights: Let There Be Light, John Huston's 1946 government-produced documentary on psychologically damaged WWII veterans, which was banned from screens for 36 years, and The Fighting Sullivans, the story of five Iowa brothers who all died off Guadalcanal. The series runs through December 31. At 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7340.
Fresh from a tour of Switzerland, where he played a blend of Dixieland and blues to packed houses, hard-working Cleveland guitarist Travis "Moonchild" Haddix hits the bunny slopes of the Warehouse District tonight at Wilbert's. His B.B. King/Wilson Pickett-influenced musicianship is complemented by longtime sidemen Elie Thomas on saxophone and Frank "Silk" Smith on rhythm guitar. Expect a few songs from his new European CD Knee Deep in the Blues, which features a cover of the gospel standard "Precious Lord," a favorite from Haddix's boyhood. Showtime is 10 p.m. at 1360 W. 9th St., 216-771-BLUES. Tickets are $6.
Considering the place's rock and roll bathrooms (ever hear of toilet paper?), the Euclid Tavern's long-unused basement should be a filthy hole. But apparently, with red brick walls and an oak-trimmed bar, it will be a haven of both cleanliness and godliness when it re-opens tonight for the pagan-oriented Celtic Goth Christmas. Cover is ten bucks for three bands: the ambient Rhea's Obsession; Celtic electronica outfit the Dryads; and Morticia's Chair, which plays Celtic music the Addams Family way. Plus food, vendors hawking rubber pants and chain metal, and a hellebrity appearance by Satan Claus. Doors open at 9 p.m. at 11629 Euclid Ave., 216-229-7788; the show starts at 10 p.m.
The Harlem Globetrotters started out playing in barns in one-horse towns like Hinckley, Illinois, but soon graduated to less splintery courts when people saw them beat the stuffing out of whites-only teams, with time left over to clown around. Thousands of arena gigs--as well as one in an empty pool and another on an aircraft carrier--have marked the ensuing seven decades, according to James "Jumbo" Bacon, a size-16-shoe-wearing, 250-pound player on the current roster. Today's stars also include Michael "Wild Thing" Wilson, the Guinness Book of World Records holder for vertical slam dunk, and Paul "Showtime" Gaffney, a direct descendant of goofball genius Meadowlark Lemon, who's now an evangelist. The Globetrotters perform tonight on the unchlorinated floor of Gund Arena, 100 Gateway Plaza, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $13 to $75; call 216-241-2121.
Kids can make Kwanzaa wrapping paper, Bahamian party hats decorated with sequins and ribbon, and other items not manufactured by Nintendo at the Western Reserve Historical Society's Family Days this week. Besides multicultural crafts for all ages, the $6.50 adults/$4.50 kids admission gets you into the WRHS exhibits: Bundle Up--a re-creation of an early nineteenth century Christmas shopping scene, with old toys and vintage clothing--and Home for the Holidays, with trees in two mansions decorated in styles popular from 1860 to 1920. From noon-4 p.m. today through December 31 at 10825 East Blvd., 216-721-5722.
So much artistry, so little time: The Christmas Angel ice show, featuring music by Mannheim Steamroller creator Chip Davis and skating by 1976 Olympic gold medalist/haircut Dorothy Hamill, hitches its wagon in Cleveland tonight. Among the fifteen-member cast is Lakewood resident and Olympic understudy Tonia Kwiatkowski, appearing as the angel atop the village Christmas tree, until the evil Gargon steals her away to his frosty underworld. Tickets are $22.50, $32.50, and $42.50, available by calling 216-241-5555. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center, 2000 Prospect Avenue.