- Mmm . . . tasty eats on display in Cleveland Food Memories (Thursday).
Hough Bakery. Higbee's Frostees. Popcorn balls at Euclid Beach. We're salivating all over our keyboard just thinking about them. Gail Ghetia Bellamy remembers 'em, too, and she pays tribute to these and other local delights in her mouthwatering new book, Cleveland Food Memories: A Nostalgic Look Back at the Food We Loved, the Places We Bought It, and the People Who Made It Special. "People are really interested in comfort food these days," she says. "And I like the idea of looking at the city through the way that we eat. I wanted this book to appeal to people on several levels, just as food does. Some of us are big restaurantgoers; other people approach food [from their home]." Lavishly illustrated and filled with stories about frozen custard, sweet candy, and tangy mustard, the book is as much a celebration of dedicated, hard-working craftsmen as it is a loving glance at the city's tasty past. "Food is a common denominator in everybody's life," Bellamy says. "There isn't anyone who doesn't have a food memory. I just followed a little bread-crumb trail . . . to our past. It just brings back happy times. People are a lot more sophisticated about food today. This puts a different perspective on it." Bellamy signs copies of Cleveland Food Memories from 7 to 8 tonight at Mac's Backs Paperbacks, 1820 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. Admission is free. Call 216-321-2665 for more information.
Friday, January 9
Tim Burton's fantasies have always intermingled with reality: Pee-wee Herman losing his bike to a thief, Beetlejuice shufflng off this mortal coil, Edward Scissorhands trimming suburban shrubbery. But in Big Fish, opening today, the two fuse completely and indivisibly into one. Estranged son Billy Crudup returns home to see dying dad Albert Finney, a guy who's spent his entire life telling fantastical stories about his past. Ewan McGregor plays the storyteller as a young man in a series of flashbacks that attempt to assemble and comprehend the truth. A giant, the circus, war heroism, and Steve Buscemi (as the world's most incompetent poet) all figure into this slight, beautifully photographed film. Ultimately, it's soft and sweet, with father-son issues at its center and lessons learned about tales that maybe aren't so tall after all. See Film for review.
Saturday, January 10
In 4 Minutes to Happy, Sarah Morton's one-woman play premiering this weekend at Cleveland Public Theatre, a seemingly happy and mega-confident overachiever flunks a doctor-sanctioned depression test. It sets off a string of actions that eventually lead the woman on a wobbly path -- dotted with hot showers and hip-hop -- to supposed happiness. Morton's comedy is part of the Big [BOX] series, designed to give independent artists a venue and forum. It's the second show in a month-long schedule at Cleveland Public Theatre's Upstairs Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) at 8 p.m. tonight and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10. Call 216-631-2727 for more information.
Sunday, January 11
Extending your hand to wild animals isn't the best of conventional wisdom, but the Cleveland Metroparks insist it's safe to hand-feed a chickadee. Birdseed and feeding tips will be dispensed by the park staff, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday at the Brecksville Nature Center (at Brecksville Reservation, off Chippewa Creek Drive, in Brecksville) through February 29. Admission is free. Call 440-526-1012 for more information.
Monday, January 12
The large metal sculptures of Greg Mueller's Silent Spaces are designed to "inspire contemplative interaction." That's kinda creepy. What's cool is that the structures are large enough for viewers to sit, walk, and stand inside. Steel, aluminum, metal roofing, cast iron, and bronze figure into Mueller's almost-architectural work. It's striking, steely stuff. Silent Spaces is on display through February 9 at the Sculpture Center (1834 East 123rd Street). Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-229-6527 for more info.
Tuesday, January 13
Kids dig Harry Potter and his wizardly ways. That's why they'll really enjoy the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Potions I program, in which they make things ooze, bubble, and fizz. "It's a hands-on chemistry class," explains Noelle Jordan, who conjures up the gurgling concoctions. "It not only introduces basic chemical reactions [to kids]; it shows them that magic is actually science." Relax, parents -- Jordan uses only common household items (like baking soda, vinegar, ammonia, and yeast) in her experiments. "Scientists can also do other 'magical' things, like make frogs levitate," she adds, although no amphibians are involved in today's event. "It's a nice forum to demonstrate that all children are scientists." Things mix from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Admission is free. Call 440-871-2900 for more info.
Wednesday, January 14
Four actors play 60 roles in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, a musical revue that looks at modern relationships. All stages of the game are covered -- from dating to marriage -- as are the usual suspects, including in-laws and ex-lovers. The show is breezy, witty, and oh-so-relatable. It's at the Hanna Theatre (2037 East 14th Street) through June 27. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $37 to $40, available by calling 216-241-6000.