- Tommy Davidson makes fun of Dionne Warwick at the Improv.
Tommy Davidson wants to make your life a little more complete. "My [act] has the racial insight that one would need to feel humanly whole again," the comedian offers. "I pretty much break down all the barriers of what we think about each other and lay it on the table for everyone. I'm a minister of comedy, actually. I ride into my shows on an ass."
Davidson won't rely on ass humor to work the Improv stage this week. Instead, he'll break out his impressions of Sammy Davis Jr. and Michael Jackson, which he honed on TV's In Living Color. He'll show off the thespian skills he displayed in such movies as Booty Call and Juwanna Mann. And he'll pull out classic blue riffs, like the ones he busted on several Comedy Central and Showtime specials.
"I'm probably the best comic to hit Cleveland since the last time I was there," Davidson says. "Although one time I talked about Dionne Warwick, and her son was in the audience, and he got mad. 'My mother ain't no bitch, man!' I was like, 'Ay-yi-yi! I didn't mean it that way.'" Davidson is at the Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) at 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are $21, available by calling 216-696-4677. -- Keith Gribbins
Welcome to the peculiar world of model railroading.
"Last year, I found a Maine Casket Company car with load at one of the tables," exclaims local toy train enthusiast Ron Petersen. It happened at Railfest, the annual model-railroad show that returns this weekend. "This year, I hope to see a new cemetery layout or a funeral parlor I can use." Less morbid settings will also be on display, along with dozens of vendors and guys who pay really close attention to the details of their little villages. "We of Division 5 are easy to spot; we wear yellow vests," says Petersen, somewhat cryptically. "You can ask any of us [for help], and if we can, we will answer. If not, we will look up someone from our club who can." Railfest rolls into Lakeland Community College (7700 Clocktower Drive in Kirtland) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5; call 440-918-1856. -- Lucy McKernan
When Dreams Die
A new exhibit laughs at everyday hopelessness.
Don't get stuck in the sap of It's a Wonderful Life, advises Julie Langsam. The holiday movie is really about despair and depression. It's a Wonderful Life: Psychodrama in Contemporary Painting, the exhibit Langsam co-curates at Spaces, explores this dark underbelly with works by two dozen artists. "It's the American dream gone wrong," she explains. "There's sex, death, perversion, abuse, and heavy subjects throughout. But there's also self-awareness and black humor." The show is at Spaces (2220 Superior Viaduct) through May 14. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; call 216-621-2314. (See capsule review in this issue.) -- Michael Gallucci
For Women at an Exhibition, composer Randall Woolf wrote a symphonic piece in response to the Akron Art Museum's latest display by the same name. There's a life-sized plaster sculpture of a girl propped against a wall, a watercolor of two women strolling down a New York City street. Woolf interprets the scenes with strings. The concert is at 7 p.m. Saturday at E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill Street in Akron. Tickets are $14 to $35; call 330-535-8131. -- Cris Glaser