- Free popcorn and the man with magic hands. Need we say more?
Steve Cintroni had no plans to coop himself up in his Lakewood apartment one balmy night last month. So he and his new boyfriend checked out Movie & Massage Night at the downtown gay club Grid/Orbit. "I know it sounds weird," he says, "but with the free popcorn they were advertising, I thought, 'What the hell. It won't cost me anything.'" Cintroni was delighted that the film was one of his all-time favorites -- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Even better was the free, five-minute shoulder-and-neck massage from barback Bryon. "I was like, 'Wow, I wish they would do this more often,'" he says. "They call [Bryon] the man with the magic hands. And man, they weren't kiddin'." This week's flick is Moulin Rouge. And yes, Bryon's magic hands will be in action. It all starts at 10 p.m. Wednesday; Grid/Orbit is at 1437 St. Clair Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-623-0113 for more information. -- Cris Glaser
Michelangelo didn't know what to think about his own gay proclivities. But Ross King sorts out the Italian painter's sexual quirks in Michelangelo & the Pope's Ceiling. While King waits 195 pages to bring up the artist's bedroom anxieties, he boils it down to misunderstood homosexual erotica of the Renaissance. The fiftysomething Michelangelo compensated by writing steamy love sonnets to the twentysomething Tommaso de' Cavalieri. After the men met, Michelangelo developed a crush on the Roman nobleman -- although no one knows if the two ever took a roll in the hay. "Whether or not [Michelangelo] ever consummated a love for anyone, male or female, is equally uncertain," King writes. "He seems to have been, throughout his life, almost utterly indifferent to women." King is at the Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Boulevard) at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $5 to $15; call 216-421-7350. -- Cris Glaser
Whip It Good
Break out the Spank-N-Spin machine! It's one of a dozen pieces of bondage equipment at the ready for all degrees of pain and pleasure at Friday's Fetish Night. Also being shined up are the smothering bench, the worship throne, and St. Andrew's Cross -- for those who prefer their masochism tied-up and spread-eagled. The gay club R/Evolution "appreciates" proper attire, but it's not required for admission; the rule of thumb is "dress to impress." Fetish Night starts at 9 p.m. at R/Evolution, 117 East Market Street in Akron. Admission is $5. Call 330-374-7830 for more information. -- Cris Glaser