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This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Twyla Tharp Dance shows off some fancy moves at - the State Theatre (Sunday).
  • Twyla Tharp Dance shows off some fancy moves at the State Theatre (Sunday).

Thursday, March 27

In a galaxy not so far, far away, a franchise is still thriving. The latest Star Wars novel, Troy Denning's Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost, is set just after the events of Return of the Jedi. Which means Han Solo, wife Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and gay robot C-3PO are all aboard for an adventure revolving around the New Republic and the desert planet Luke Skywalker once called home. "This story occurs in a much happier time for the Solos, before Chewbacca's death forces them to come to terms with their own mortality," Denning says. "They still have that youthful feeling of invincibility." May the Force be with them. Denning signs Tatooine Ghost at seven tonight at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 13217 Shaker Square. Admission is free; call 216-751-3300.

Friday, March 28

Commander Oliver Hazard Perry lost 80 percent of his crew to death or injury and was still the first commander in history to defeat an entire British squadron and return to his base with every enemy ship under his control. Tales of Perry and other aspects of The Battle of Lake Erie will be presented by Gerry Altoff, the chief ranger at Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial on Put-in-Bay Island, in a talk about the battle -- identified by historians as a major turning point in the War of 1812. The program takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Happy Days Visitor Center (on State Route 303, one mile west of State Route 8, in Boston Heights). Admission to the Lyceum Distinguished Speaker Series lecture is $3 and $6. Call 216-524-1497 for more info.

Saturday, March 29

She still calls herself the Love Goddess, but Judy Tenuta also considers herself a "fashion plate, saint, earth mother, hostess, geisha girl, buffer of foreheads, buster of bunions, empress of Elvis impersonators, squid mistress to the stars, and crown queen of criminology." The once ubiquitous comedian is still sorta ubiquitous -- you just have to know where to look for her (she recently wrapped a stint on General Hospital, is appearing on a Nickelodeon program, and is featured in a new Dodge commercial). "People know me," she says. "I don't need a business card. I think they're so sleazy. Even homeless guys at Starbucks who live in shopping carts hand you one. 'Be sure to call me.' Meanwhile, the guy's sitting in his own juices, if you know what I mean." We think we do. Tenuta is at the Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) this weekend. Shows are 9:30 and 11:30 tonight and 8 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are $18 and $21; call 216-696-4677.

Sunday, March 30

Even people who don't know anything about dance know about Twyla Tharp. Popular, funny, and critically adored, she's to modern dance what Andy Warhol was to modern art. The choreographer's signature troupe, Twyla Tharp Dance, has been MIA for the past 12 years. It's back in town tonight for a performance consisting of three works: "Westerly Round," "Surfer at the River Styx," and "Even the King" (the company's newest piece, which premiered earlier this year). Tharp's wondrous mix of ballet, jazz, and modern dance never fails to thrill, and her new group is filled with young, fresh dancers. Twyla Tharp Dance is at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 8. Tickets are $22 to $40; call 216-241-6000.

Monday, March 31

It's a union of corporate rockers: Old-schoolers Bon Jovi and relatively recent converts the Goo Goo Dolls have teamed up for a night of America-approved, commercially sanctioned rock and roll. Bon Jovi has been grinding out anthemic slices of heartland rock for big- and small-hairs alike for years. The Goos, once a semi-punk band that put aggression over melody, are about as rowdy as the Clear Channel world of radio gets these days. Both groups are prodigious showmen who give the people what they want -- with no risks, no curveballs, and no self-righteous blathering. Show time is 7:30 p.m. at Gund Arena, 100 Gateway Plaza. Tickets range from $42.50 to $65, available by calling 216-241-5555.

Tuesday, April 1

An unlikely collaboration between trash and art, Garbology -- Fiber, Fluff, and Fuzz, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, transforms discarded plastic grocery bags, orange peels, and umbrellas into sculpture and fashion. Angela White's debut solo show features a suit fashioned from yellow caution tape and a house made of 1,000 telephone books. It's all part of her plan to make us contemplate the distinction "between what is refuse and what is art." It's on display through May 4 at MOCA, 8501 Carnegie Avenue. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; admission is $3 and $4. Call 216-421-8671 for more information.

Wednesday, April 2

Chris Bohjalian's The Buffalo Soldier is a heartbreaking tale of a Vermont couple that loses its nine-year-old twin daughters to a flooded river. Unable to have more children, they adopt a troubled 10-year-old African American boy, whose hope for a family gets tangled with issues of race, infidelity, and the social system. "While I want [it] to be viewed primarily as a novel about parents and children and marriage -- family, in essence -- I know also that some people will be drawn to the issues it raises about foster care," Bohjalian says. "I do tend to explore the way the cultural margins press against the mainstream." The Buffalo Soldier, one of last year's best books, is now available in paperback. Bohjalian is in town tonight, signing copies at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (13217 Shaker Square) at 7. Admission is free. Call 216-751-3300 for more information.

The theremin has graced some of our favorite albums -- the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, the Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin. On film, its eerie, siren-like squeals have added tons of atmosphere to otherwise forgettable sci-fi flicks. Tonight, Red {an Orchestra} pays tribute to everyone's favorite bizarre musical instrument with Mr. Theremin, if You Please! The theremin (an electronic gadget that's played without even being touched) is at the center of the program, which features work spanning Bohuslav Martinu's "Fantasy for Theremin, Oboe, Piano, and Strings" to Frank Zappa's "G-Spot Tornado." Mr. Theremin, if You Please!, part of the Tri-C JazzFest, rocks the Tri-C Metro Campus Auditorium (2900 Community College Avenue) at 7:30. Tickets range from $15 to $50; call 216-241-6000.

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