It's Rib Cook-Off time again, a chance for swingin' scenesters to break out of the meatloaf mold and hear hot new acts like Rick Springfield (today) and K.C. and the Sunshine Band (Saturday). Friday night's bill actually has a pulse, with the Goo Goo Dolls and Fastball taking the stage. For a real wild time, be there on Sunday when they hand out the prizes to BBQ restaurants: Let's have a hearty round of applause for this year's winner of the "Energizer People's Choice Award" (batteries not included)! The excitement runs today from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday and Sunday from noon to midnight, and Monday from noon to 8 p.m. Admission is $4.50, free for kids twelve and under. At Burke Lakefront Airport, 1501 Marginal Road; call 216-241-5555.
They're rolling out phyllo dough to feed the 5,000 for the Greek Heritage Festival at St. George's Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, where the 75 trays of pastitsio (a baked macaroni dish) are no act of God. Since January, women from the church have been baking their way from one end of the building to the other, filling a walk-in freezer with baklava, moussaka, and loukoumathes (fried honey puffs) for the annual neighborhood shindig. For those who can still move after dinner, there's traditional Greek dancing all four nights, with music by Orion Express, along with tours of the 1912 Byzantine-style church. Plates will be piled high from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Monday. Admission is free; the church is at West 14th Street and Fairfield Avenue in Tremont. Call 216-861-0016 for more information.
Sleepwear isn't mandatory at the Reggae Pajama Party, but if ya can't go out in your button-flap long johns, why go out at all? The Champion Bubblers (an "I wouldn't call us a reggae band" reggae band, according to frontman Billy Wa) will rasta along with Cleveland skate punkers BCRC and the Great Twinkie Recall, young fresh fellows who play ska. Pizza and best-costume prizes will be provided: "We thought of everything--except pillows, because we didn't want to harm the audience," says Wa. Bring your blankie to Peabody's Down-Under, 1059 Old River Road, for a 9 p.m. show. Cover is $5; call 216-241-0792.
There's nothing like a little bluegrass music to make our mean little lives seem all the more pathetic. So it's fitting that Kentucky dirt farmer and cave explorer Floyd Collins, who fell in a mine shaft and died there seventeen days later, gets a whole soundtrack of knee-slappin' ditties like "Git Comfortable" and "Heart 'n' Hand" in his namesake musical. The bucktooth-and-chaw angle is played to the hilt in Floyd Collins, as a character named Miller ("no bigger than a 'squito") slides through the cracks to interview the hapless hayseed. Hitchhike on down to the Beck Center, 17801 Detroit Avenue, for an 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $15; call 216-521-2540.
Michelle Willson's just another lusty rhythm-and-blues singer--and that's a good thing, because she can belt out a tune with panache, pizzazz, and all those other cocktail-lounge adjectives. She'll drape her thick 'n' rich voice through the smoke-filled aisles at Wilbert's, 1360 West Ninth Street, singing pop, jazz, and Latin standards off her latest CD, Trying to Make a Little Love. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 216-241-5555.
Scandal rocks the sleepy town of Chagrin Falls today at the Blossom Time Parade, where firefighters and council members throw wrapped candies pell-mell to the kids in the crowd. "It's one of the biggest controversies," says organizer Troy Young of the wayward butterscotch morsels and Dum Dum suckers. "A lot of people worry about the kids running into the street or taking home more candy than they do on Halloween." Add your own greedy little hands to the fray today at the 2 p.m. parade, which lasts about three hours and includes six bagpipe bands. Also on the program are a carnival at nearby Riverside Park, hot-air balloon races, and a pie-eating contest. The day's festivities run through 10:30 p.m.; the parade begins at the Chagrin Falls High School athletic field, off East Washington Street near the town center. Admission is free; call 440-773-0680.
Midgets known as children can juggle feathers and beanbags, perform death-defying knee-high acts, and dress up as clowns at the World Circus. In this interactive exhibit, tomorrow's tightrope artists can walk a wire several inches above a padded mat or hang upside down and no-handed four feet off the ground. Face painting, an exotic stuffed animal parade, and written anecdotes from circus performers the world over fill the rest of the three rings. (The exhibit text is presented in both English and French, which has no practical application in Cleveland, but was apparently really useful in Canada, where the exhibit originated.) World Circus will be under the big top all summer at the Rainbow Children's Museum, 10730 Euclid Avenue. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $4 for children, $5 for ages sixteen and older. For more information, call 216-791-7114.
The tragic story of Ray Chapman, the Cleveland Indians shortstop who was killed by a beanball in the 1920s, is but one of the yarns former Plain Dealer sportswriter Bill Nichols will spin in The History of Baseball. The five-night class zeroes in the game from the dead ball to the spitball, and all the balls in between. Baseball's early history gets special attention on the first night, with a talk by John Husman of the Society for American Baseball Re-search (he specializes in the 1840-1871 years). Nichols, who sold scorecards at the Stadium in the 1940s when he was but a teen, will share some of his own baseball memories and take students to a Canton Crocodiles minor-league game. The class starts tonight at seven in the Mackin Room of John Carroll University's Grasselli Library. Cost is $100; call 216-397-3008 to register.
Boy-girl meets girl-boy at Be All, an annual regional convention for cross-dressers and transsexuals. Besides the fun stuff--makeovers, a costume ball, and mirrored platform heels for sale--the five-day program addresses more serious matters, like hormonal treatments, gender reassignment surgery, and whether to wear the blue pumps with a blouse and slacks or that kicky little sundress with can-can ruffles. "Most people are very closeted," says organizer Susie Davis. "This is a good chance for them to get out and express themselves." The switch flips tonight at a downtown hotel with a poolside party and a buffet dinner. Cost for all five days is $280; for location information and to register, call the Cleveland Lesbian and Gay Community Service Center at 216-522-1995.