Classical composer Alfred Schnittke, who died last year, was like the guy in the back of the classroom who cackles to himself: obtuse, scary, and hard to forget. His Not a Midsummer Night's Dream features a solo for the twelfth second violin player, and a double negative: The work has no direct connection to Shakespeare, a fact that has nothing to do with the title, according to Schnittke. The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Christoph von Dohnanyi for the first time in three months (he's been traveling Europe) will perform Midsummer in a program that also includes Bela Bartok's suite from The Miraculous Mandarin ballet and Franz Schubert's Symphony #9 in C Major. Tonight's concert starts at 8 and repeats Saturday night at 8:30. Tickets are $24 to $58. At Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Avenue, 216-231-1111.
A bullet-firing bra and a top-secret egg salad sandwich recipe are ingredients for international intrigue in the Sixties Spy-chedelia film series, which opens tonight at 7 p.m. with What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Woody Allen's zany overdub of a Japanese spy flick. The series was inspired by the popularity of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, which made reference to earlier spy thrillers and spoofs. James Bond gets married Saturday at 9 p.m. in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, possibly the best and most obscure 007 film, with the fleeting George Lazenby as Bond. The last known print of The President's Analyst, a prophetic but little-known comedy in which The Phone Company tries to take over the world, was saved from a trash bin in Cincinnati for this series; it screens at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 24. Also on the bill that night will be The Tenth Victim, a futuristic fantasy in which Ursula Andress wears--and wields--the aforementioned undergarment. Admission to each film is $6. At the Cleveland Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard, 216-421-7450.
"Putting your feet up" gets complicated with Cincinnati artist Kim Humphries's "Ottoman Project," a site-specific installation in SPACES gallery's latest group show, This Side Up. Humphries's goal: to create a pointillist "painting" from an assortment of thrift-store footstools mounted on the gallery wall. If tripping on the futility of modern technology is more your style, the show also includes a sculpture by Noah Loesberg filled with ball-bearings--which gradually spill from the piece onto the floor (the gallery staff gets to sweep them up each night). Deborah Brackenbury challenges both spatial and domestic preconceptions by superimposing images of mutated creatures on fine china and sewing phrases like "blowing smoke up your ass" on little girls' dresses. The smoke starts blowing up your ass tonight with a free reception from 5 to 9; the show runs through February 19. SPACES is at 2220 Superior Viaduct, 216-621-2314.
It beats getting your teeth cleaned under a leaky ceiling: the Psych-Out '99, featuring two bands, an ambient DJ, and outerspace strobes. Lighting designer Jim Lasko engineers the virtual solar system, projecting film stills and interplanetary images on the walls, while DJ Flux, a self-described "subtonal scientist," grafts the accompanying grooves. The live, improvised music comes courtesy of Drumplay, an experimental percussion ensemble, and the raucous Speaker/Cranker, led by Pere Ubu guitarist Jim Jones. Showtime is 9:30 p.m. at Pat's in the Flats, 216-621-8044. Admission is $5.
Country music influenced Elvis Presley, to be sure, but Presley influenced country music even more, says Entertainment Weekly writer Alanna Nash. "Hardcore country artists had a very difficult time surviving" in the King's blue suede shadow, she remarks, noting that many of those performers moved away from roots styles, embracing pop attitudes and instrumentation. Nash, who's written one of the more entertaining Elvis biographies--Elvis and the Memphis Mafia, told from the perspectives of his cousin, his best man, and his right-hand roadie--will be one of the speakers today at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Elvis Symposium. Pop culture critic Billy Altman and music scholar Charles Wolfe, who's working on a book about Elvis as a gospel singer, will be there, too, discussing Presley's sacred music, pop, and rockabilly influences. It all happens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rock Hall, 1 Key Plaza, 888-764-ROCK. The cost is $15, which includes Rock Hall admission.
That gold-plated Winnebago with the crushed-velvet seats has your name on it--too bad you blew your Christmas bonus on that appendectomy. Maybe they'll let you honk the horn at the RV Supershow, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the I-X Center, 6200 Riverside Drive (216-676-6000; admission is $8). Or, if it's all too painful (after all, the stitches haven't come out yet), point your Chevy Cordova toward Mentor for a performance by the Ohio Ballet. They'll be performing the light and airy "Concert Dances," choreographed by Heinz Poll to the music of Franz Schubert, and cutting the nonexistent rug with "In Full Swing," which has a Benny Goodman score. It starts at 7 p.m. at the Mentor Schools Fine Arts Center, 6477 Center Street, 440-205-3333. Tickets are $15.
Olivia Newton Bundy, a.k.a. Brian Tutunick, wasn't long for Marilyn Manson. The drummer left the group around 1991, way before Brian Warner was wearing plastic pants on national TV. Tutunick hasn't forgotten how to pour salt on his abscessed soul, however. His current band, Nation of Fear, has a fingernails-on-chalkboard feel and a CD title that sounds like a Neil Young translation from the Turkish: Everything Beautiful Rusts. Tonight they play the Grog Shop, 1765 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. Opening are death metal rockers Stepsister. Tickets are $7 at the door, $6 in advance by calling 216-241-5555.
You don't have to wear a bearskin rug or beat yourself silly with raw steaks to be a guy poet. In fact, Ron Antonucci, the organizer of the free Guy's Night Out poetry reading, would prefer that you didn't. This evening's four readers will explore "what it means to be masculine, but without the macho posturing," says Antonucci. Nationally ranked slam poet Ray MacNiece will perform his hillbilly Beat writings--including a male-bonding reminiscence about "what it was like to be educated by women in long, black dresses, and how that kind of altered our view on women." Michael Salinger, who hosts the Classic Slam readings at the Mardi Gras nightclub, should bring an apocalyptic perspective, and John Stickney, some button-down whimsy. TV newsman Leon Bibb will also read, without the aid of a TelePrompter. At 7 p.m. at the Hudson Library, 22 Aurora Street, 330-653-6658.
Three men get trapped in a meat locker while their wives discuss marital problems--and decide whether to deep-freeze their spouses--in Michele Lowe's The Smell of the Kill. A full production of the chilling comedy, which was last seen as a rehearsed reading in the Cleveland Play House's Next Stage Festival, begins this week with preview performances at 8 p.m. today and Wednesday, January 13, and runs through February 7. At the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Avenue, 216-795-7000. Preview tickets are $25.
Enduro-schleppers Schleigho have been receiving critical raves over the past few years for their live improvisations. Their sound has been touched by the Dead, but rather than remain in that rut, they take off from there, hopping genres with wild abandon. The result is an exuberant blend of jazz, rock, funk, and audacity, hermetically sealed with Zappa-esque titles like "Star Wars Trash Compactor Phobia." Schleigho kicks out the jams tonight at 9 at Wilbert's Bar and Grille, 1360 West 9th Street, 216-771-2583. Tickets are $5.