Love, prison, and who's prettier--Sarah Vaughan or Lena Horne?--are all heatedly discussed in Jitney, August Wilson's 1979 play centered around the conversations of six cab drivers. But these guys have bigger worries than their next hot date. "Urban renewal," a.k.a. "Negro removal," is coming to their neighborhood--and the old warehouse that houses the cab station is one of the first buildings scheduled for the wrecking ball. Progress looks more like a threat than a promise. Should they stand up for themselves, or just pour another cup of bad coffee? They hash it out in an 8 p.m. performance of Jitney at Karamu Theatre, 2355 East 89th Street. Tickets are $15 and $17.50; call 216-795-7070. The show runs through February 21.
Punk bands who stay together more than a couple of years run the risk of actually learning how to play their instruments. One such outfit is Anti-Flag, which started out in 1988 as "the only punk rockers in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania." Later, they branched out to Pittsburgh, where they have a loyal following, and slogged through a couple of U.S. tours (including one that lasted only a week and a half). They don't deliver their anarchy too militantly, their aesthetic tending more toward "Let's play these three chords really fast and loud" than "Let's all chew on a bar of soap." The Flag men will perform at the Phantasy Nite Club, 11802 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 ($8 for punks under 21) and are available at 216-241-5555.
They've recorded with Tiny Tim and toured with Mojo Nixon. But the cheesiest gig for New Duncan Imperials, a cowpunk band whose singles include "Motel 666" and "Schizophrenic (No I'm Not)," was probably opening for Jerry Lee Lewis a few years back. "He was like a corpse with a motor," recalls guitarist Pigtail Dick. "You know, that dude is old, and he's had a hard life." (The Killer was apparently helped on stage by none other than Dr. Nick, Elvis's prescription writer.) Such glamour has thus far eluded the New Duncans, who first enjoyed wide popularity among homeless people in Memphis, and then made a name for themselves in Chicago, where they threw pigs' ears and Lucky Charms into the crowd. Drummer Goodtime started out by playing a cardboard box. "Actually, he was a pretty good box player," says Dick. The party starts at 8 p.m. at Wilbert's, 1360 West Ninth Street, 216-771-2583. Tickets are $8.
They stole Edgar Allan Poe's brain! Or thought about it, anyway, in Nightfall With Edgar Allan Poe, a new play by local writer Eric Coble that's part of the staged readings at the Next Stage Festival of New Plays. While Poe hovers at death's door, his doctor entertains the thought of cutting through his patient's skull and dissecting his brain. Meanwhile, Eddie drifts in and out of various dream states that include a kind of greatest hits compilation of his stories and poems, classically retold with the help of the sundry voices in his head. The bells start ringing at 4 p.m. at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $5; call 216-795-7000.
Bands from as far away as Nigeria and Detroit (if you're smoking a big fat spliff, that's far, too) come to town tonight for the Winter Reggae Festival, a tribute to Bob Marley. The Mandators from Lagos, Nigeria--where they play in soccer stadiums, but never during a match--blend politically conscious lyrics with African and Jamaican rhythms. They be jammin' with the Motor City's Black Market Reggae Band, which concentrates on cover tunes. Things get rolling at 9 p.m. at the Odeon, 1295 Old River Road. Tickets are $10 in advance by calling 216-241-5555, $15 at the door.
Black holes are the astronomical version of office cubicles--matter compressed into extremely small spaces. "Even light can't escape," says Schuele Planetarium Director Bill Gerling, let alone Post-it Notes and ring binders. Gerling will talk about black holes--collapsed stars which actually have the mass of about twenty suns--in a family slide lecture called "I Fell Into a Black Hole (But It's Shrinking)." Gerling says that he, not Screaming Jay Hawkins, came up with the title. He'll show images of black holes in various stages of implosion and talk about how they got there and what they suck in. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. today at Schuele Planetarium in the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Evening visitors will also have a chance to view the night sky (now showing: Jupiter and Saturn). Admission is $5 adults, $3 kids; call 440-871-4792 for more information.
There's plenty of perfectly decent folk on the Internet, but how to tell the lumberjacks from the axe murderers? Mentor resident Elizabeth Blackstone, author of Virtual Strangers: Love and Sex on the Internet, says she's spent about 1,000 hours in chat rooms investigating the pitfalls of the sport. Some of her advice--like don't give out your address until you've corresponded with someone for six months--seems like common sense. Other tidbits are more inventive: Show off your intellect by using big words (presumably in the correct context). With factoids that state the obvious ("you can find a chat room for every conceivable topic . . . there are chats by age, by topic, by sex, by sexual preference"), it's not always enlightening reading. But the book signing and discussion, scheduled for 3 p.m. at Borders Westlake, 30121 Detroit Road, might prompt some lively conversation. For more information, call 440-892-7668.
At last month's pre-season scrimmage, the Cleveland Cavaliers played to empty stands (5,897 fans in 20,562 seats), even though the tickets were free. Attendance wasn't so hot out of town, either, as they beat the Detroit Pistons (86-82) on January 27 to a half-capacity crowd. So fans might be able to really stretch out tonight for the Cavs' home opener against the Indiana Pacers, the favorites to win the Central Division title. The NBA lockout hasn't been kind to forward Shawn Kemp, who's put twenty more pounds on his already expanding frame. He hasn't been scoring any less--he's just had a harder time doing it. But Cavs star point guard Brevin Knight is back for his second year--and looking good. Tickets to today's 7:30 p.m. game range from $18 to $58; they're available by calling 216-241-2121. At Gund Arena, 100 Gateway Plaza.
Advancing armies of tulips and crocuses converge in Brook Park this week for the Home and Garden Show, which promises twenty well-lit acres of gardens in bloom, a re-creation of an Italian villa, and a butterfly habitat. For the pint-sized contingent, there's a garden shaped like a pizza (with orange geraniums for the crust), a railway garden with a toy train kids can operate, educational exhibits featuring owls and possum from the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, and an indoor playground. The show runs through next Sunday; today's hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. At the I-X Center, 6200 Riverside Drive, 216-529-1300.
Fine art meets Fisher-Price in In Between, a series of black-and-white photographs taken with a toy camera by R. Clarke-Davis. Now a professor at the Art Institute of Chicago,Clarke-Davis took these shots of Chicago streets during leaner times, when he held down two jobs and did a lot of walking between them. Most of the subjects are mundane--a tabletop with beer glasses, a gloved hand holding a coffee cup--but are made interesting by the fuzzy and transformative qualities of the light. The free exhibit runs through March 19 at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Boulevard, 216-421-7340.