Writer Jesse Lee Kercheval grew up near Cape Kennedy, Florida, in the early '60s, during the height of the space program, in a suburban neighborhood more barren than the surface of the moon. But just as the moon--that blue dot on the television screen--was made magical by Neil Armstrong's silver suit, so was the stucco-surfaced tract housing in Kercheval's burg transformed by the technicolor of childhood. "Parents didn't really seem to live out in the neighborhood," recalls Kercheval. "It was just a place for kids and dogs." Kercheval reads from Space, her memoir of that time, at 8 tonight at Mac's Backs Paperbacks, 1820 Coventry Road. Admission is free; call 216-321-2665 for more information.
Sure, Saddam Hussein could clone a superhuman army--if he had twenty years to wait for the duplicated embryos to grow up to be mean, lean fighting machines. And even then there's the risk that those fawning minions might think for themselves. In his lecture "Why Not Clone a Human Being?" Dartmouth College ethics expert Ronald Green will argue that the benefits of human cloning--such as curbing the rise in some genetic diseases--outweigh the real dangers. Any stud with the bucks can already multiply to the nth degree without the help of a sheep named Dolly, Green contends. "If Ross Perot really wanted to produce 20,000 little Ross Perots, he could use his own sperm and pay 20,000 women to do that." But are there enough clown ears to go around? Green speaks today from noon to 1 p.m. at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine, at the corner of Cornell Road and Circle Drive off of Euclid Avenue, Room E401. Admission is free; for more information, call 216-368-6196.
Mick Jagger's sex life aside, "let's spend the night together" means serious commitment in Time Flies, David Ives's short play about two newborn mayflies who brush antennae at a cocktail party. Once they find out (through a TV nature show) that they only have a 24-hour lifespan, they seize the day with all twelve legs, discovering the moon, falling in love, mating, and saying goodbye before the sun rises. Time Flies is part of Mortals, Mayflies, and Monkeys: An Evening of David Ives at the Dobama Theatre through May 16. A New York playwright who's nabbed several critics' awards, Ives doesn't just turn a phrase--he guns it at high speed and wraps it around a tree. Tonight's performance is at 8 p.m. at the Dobama Theatre, 1846 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $16; call 216-932-6838.
A little 1-2-3 goes a long way at the Cleveland Polka Association's Spring Dance to Remember, featuring bands in the Polish-influenced Chicago or "honky" style that's heavy on hopping, light on the landing. Tonight's headliner is Eddie Biegaj and the Crusade from Toledo, who've wielded the accordion from Connecticut to Florida. If music doesn't bunch up your knee socks, there's also ethnic food and a cash bar (and if you're really cheap, you can even bring your own snacks, according to organizer Paul Namitka). Down-and-out civic groups might take a cue from the CPA, which boosted sluggish membership by hosting pizza nights and hiring polka bands to play at its monthly meetings. Namitka and his wife, Sylvia, have been polka fiends for about ten years: "You know, the kids go, the dog dies, and you have a lot of time to do stuff that you never had before." The barrel rolls out at 7:30 p.m. at the Alliance of Poles Auditorium, 6966 Broadway Avenue. Tickets are $8; call 216-228-1134.
Philadelphia's the 440s, christened in honor of a Chrysler engine, sing about cars, girls, and cars really fast and loud. On Scrubbing Satan's Cadillac, their debut full-length release, the repertoire includes "What's Under the Hood," an ode to the camshaft in everyone, and "(Take Me to the) Girlie Show," which packs the three-minute rock song into two minutes. "We're not a political band," says singer Wendy Gadzuk, who hails from the Joan Jett, Chuck Berry, and '80s cheese metal school of hard licks. Things start smoking at 10 p.m. at Pat's in the Flats, corner of West 3rd Street and Literary Road in Tremont. Opening are Detroit power trio the Numbers and Columbus's Pat Dull and the Media Whores. Admission is $5; call 216-621-8044.
Bring your favorite backseat driver to the One Lap of Akron rally, where even Cousin Pistol's 1984 Cordova qualifies as a sports car, as long as the muffler isn't dragging. The afternoon rally, hosted by the Akron Sports Car Club, is like a Sunday drive through the country--except you've gotta follow right-brain directions, like "turn left at the white church," and answer trivia questions that relate to signposts along the way. Participants, who can register at the event starting at 10 a.m., need a vehicle in decent working condition, a partner to hold the pencil, a tank of gas, and $15 for the entry fee. Winners get plaques, trophies, and the chance to find their way home without getting lost. The rally starts at 12:30 p.m. at Park Honda in Green, a few minutes south of Akron off the Arlington Road exit of Interstate 77 South. For more information, call the club at 330-644-5521.
A bottle of glue and the cardboard from a paper towel roll go a long way in the Circle of Masks, an arts-and-crafts celebration of Hispanic and pre-Hispanic cultures that's the kickoff for the Cleveland Museum of Art's Parade the Circle festival in June. To get ready for the costume parade, kids can make masks in workshops led by Cleveland artists Bruno Casiano of the Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center in Ohio City and Hector Castellanos, a native of Guatemala. Dancer and choreographer Ana Dumett of Lima, Peru, performs Ventana a Nuestras Tradiciones, a concert of Afro-Peruvian and Mexican dance at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., and nine-foot-tall puppets designed in Mexico work the crowd. The revelry runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at the art museum, 11150 East Boulevard. Admission is free; call 216-421-7340.
Ohio still has far more waterfalls than Wal-Marts, as the geology of the state's stream beds--a layer of sandstone overlying a layer of shale--is especially friendly to erosion. National parks ranger Scott Van Pelton will lead a hike to two of the Cuyahoga Valley's most picturesque sites in To Hidden Waterfalls, part of the fortnightly Early Evening Hiking Series. The free hikes, which lengthen as the daylight increases, are a chance to learn a little about the park and exercise at a leisurely pace. Tonight's hike is from 7-8:30 p.m.; meet at the Sagamore Grove Picnic Area on Sagamore Road, east of Canal Road, in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. For more information, call 216-524-1497.
Hip-hopper Defari, an Oakland, California, schoolteacher with an indie following, brings a rare maturity to the music on his first major release--the piano-driven Focused Daily--without sacrificing the street smarts. He speaks to a young audience from an adult perspective, but more like a respected older brother (who's seen some shit) than a parent. The musicianship and phrasing are spare, yet they sparkle like sunlight on asphalt. Defari performs at 9 p.m. with Phife and Xzibit at Peabody's DownUnder, 1059 Old River Road. Tickets are $17; call 216-241-5555.
John Philip Sousa marches probably won't be on the program at Cellobration, the Cleveland Institute of Music's annual finger-bleed. The bows of 24 conservatory cello students, however, will be a'quiver with works by Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos and Cleveland tunesmiths Ann Wilson, Margaret Griebling-Haigh, and Stephen Griebling. The concert starts at 8 p.m. in the Institute's Kulas Hall, 11021 East Boulevard. Admission is free; seating passes will be distributed starting 45 minutes before showtime. For more information, call 216-791-5000.