- Is it hot in herre, or is it just the Band-Aid on his face? Nelly's at Music Hall on Monday.
Thursday, July 24
Steven Wilson was born too late -- right after the Summer of Love, in November 1967, at the beginning of the psychedelic era. This is important, since Wilson's own musical timeline -- first with No-Man and now with London's Porcupine Tree -- is a crawling evolution of something started 35 years ago. The songs on Porcupine Tree's latest album, In Absentia, trip, dip, and drink from the well of the past. Bloated in concept, the record is new-millennium prog-rock, shrewdly conjuring the metal sludge of Tool while wiping nostalgic sweat from its brow. Porcupine Tree is at the Agora Theatre (5000 Euclid Avenue) with Opeth (Wilson produced and performs on its new album) at 9 tonight. Tickets are $20 and $22; call 216-241-5555.
Friday, July 25
When Dave Eggers's parents died of cancer within five weeks of each other, young Dave was left to care for his eight-year-old brother. So it's not surprising that Eggers's 2000 memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, pretty much lives up to its title. Last year, Eggers released his debut novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity!, about two guys trying to give away money. It's a collision of ideas, words, and theses that thrills as often as it challenges. The new paperback version, which follows a limited run of hardbacks created on Eggers's own press, includes 50 pages of new material. It's not quite a work of staggering genius, but it is smart, sharp, and funny. Eggers is at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (13217 Shaker Square) to talk about and sign copies of his books at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Call 216-751-3300 for more information.
Saturday, July 26
Bell, Book & Bangle may sound like a stuffy academic event -- it is a fund-raiser for the Poets' & Writers' League of Greater Cleveland, after all -- but the fact that a hundred signed books are up for auction makes it all worthwhile. "It's great if you're a book lover," says Darlene Montonaro, the League's executive director. "Most of the books are from living and recent authors." Folks will also have the opportunity to mingle with local authors (such as erstwhile Ohio poet laureate Bonnie Jacobson and slam-master Michael Salinger), as well as nosh on appetizers and drink beer and wine. Among the tomes up for grabs are recent works by Pulitzer-winning poet John Ashbery and National Book Award winner Maxine Hong Kingston. Bell, Book & Bangle takes place from 7 to 10:30 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art (8501 Carnegie Avenue). Tickets are $25 and $30. Call 216-421-0403 for more information.
Sunday, July 27
They Might Be Giants may not have invented geek rock, but they've been the patron saints of the movement for more than 15 years. John Flansburgh and John Linnell have written songs about everything from particle men and brightly colored toupees to palindromes and President Polk. Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns tells their story through celeb interviews (Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Janeane Garofalo top the list), videos, and live performances. Gigantic is at its best, however, when the Johns speak for themselves. It's a historic trip down alt-rock's memory lane. Gigantic is at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 7 tonight. Admission is $7, $4 for members. Call 216-421-7450 for more info. See Film for review.
Monday, July 28
Nelly knows that beats are hip-hop's most marketable aspect, and that's why pop, rap, and club kids all find something redeemable in his music. "Country Grammar," "Ride Wit Me," and last year's inescapable "Hot in Herre" are monster radio jams for good reason: No rapper has bridged hip-hop's chasm between suburban and street as sharply and tunefully as Nelly. He may not possess the power to last a lifetime -- he has yet to make an entire album of good music -- but he's at the top of the game for now. Nelly is at Music Hall (500 Lakeside Avenue) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32.50 and $42.50, available by calling 216-241-5555.
Tuesday, July 29
Like their former tourmates the Hives, the dedicated garage rockers of Mooney Suzuki arm themselves with three chords, a limited vocabulary, and attitude to spare. Last year's Electric Sweat was re-released in March by Columbia Records, which promptly signed the New York City quartet, based on the relentless buzz that followed its constant touring over the past year. They're on the road again, wielding MC5ish guitar riffs, howling vocals, and a stage show that barely contains their united cacophony. See for yourself at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights). Show time is 9 p.m., and the Go, Kill Hannah, and Hurricanes open up. Tickets are $8. Call 216-321-5588 for more info.
Wednesday, July 30
Audience-participation films are nothing new. But The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Sound of Music don't have flying monkeys. Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz does. It also has Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the other beloved characters from the 1939 film skipping down the yellow brick road and onto the big screen at Playhouse Square. "This is a movie that's a part of everyone's childhood. It has such a wide audience," says Lou Raizin, president of Broadway in Chicago and the guy who came up with the concept. An emcee leads the audience through songs, dialogue, and well-placed hissing at the Wicked Witch, and everyone gets a "fun pack" with bubbles, kazoo, and magic wand. There's also a costume contest, for those inclined to come dressed as their favorite Oz resident. Sing-A-Long Wizard of Oz opens tonight and runs through August 3 at the Palace Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue). Show times are 7:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 1 and 2, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, August 3. Tickets are $19.50. Call 216-241-6000 for more information.