- Eeewww! Junie B. Jones's Stupid Smelly Bus rolls into Borders Tuesday.
What's creepier than slithering, crawling bugs? How about slithering, crawling bugs magnified 250,000 times their normal size and projected on a super-huge screen? The Great Lakes Science Center's Omnimax Theater's latest movie, A Rainforest Adventure -- Bugs!, is about the insects found in Borneo. It features such sights as the births of hundreds of mantids and a praying mantis assaulting a fly. More than 40 bugs -- including leaf-cutter ants, rhino beetles, and jungle nymphs -- get screen time. Rated HJ, for Heebie Jeebies. It runs daily at the Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Avenue. It's open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; call 216-694-2000 for showtimes. Admission is $8.95, $6.95 for kids.
Friday, July 16
Scott Spence, Beck Center's artistic director, says the production of Miss Saigon that he's staging at the theater hasn't been super-sized. "The challenge is to second-guess what the public's perception of the piece is," he explains. "This is one of the genre's spectacle musicals." Miss Saigon -- which catapulted traditional theater into bombastic Hollywood territory when it premiered in 1989 -- is an updated version of Puccini's tragic romance Madame Butterfly, reset in Vietnam in 1975. "It's a chamber opera," Spence says. "It begins and ends with the story and music. Our attempt is to get back to the basics of what really makes the piece work from its heart. It doesn't need to have helicopters and 16-foot statues of Ho Chi Minh." Miss Saigon opens tonight and runs through August 15 at the Beck Center for the Arts, 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $15 to $24, available by calling 216-521-2540.
Saturday, July 17
The Great Lakes Medieval Faire & Marketplace has been re-creating the less dirty and smelly aspects of the Middle Ages for a dozen years now. More than 100 artists are setting up shoppe this year, shilling everything from clothing and candles to baskets and books. But the real draw of this annual favorite is its 13th-century vibe, with a bunch of outrageously dressed folks walking around and talking all Elizabethan-like. Plus, strolling jesters! The fest runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through August 8 on its grounds (seven miles south of I-90 on State Route 534 in Geneva). Admission is $14.95, $5.95 for kids. Call 440-474-4280 for more info.
Today's Summer Music Festival features performances by singer-songwriter Bill Gardner, acoustic folkie Charlie Mosbrook, and contemporary Christian popsters 441. Food, drinks, and community groups will also be there. Best of all, it's free. It happens 3 to 9 p.m. at Franklin Circle Christian Church, 1688 Fulton Road. Call 216-781-8232 for more information.
Sunday, July 18
There's just something about summer that naturally brings together people, food, and music. Even polka is tolerable in the seasonal setting. Don't believe us? Check out the Annual Summer Picnic, hosted by the Cleveland Polka Association, which includes performances by Honky Hoppers and Jason Uzl's Ethnic Jazz. Food and music are served from 3 to 9 p.m. at St. Sava's Grove, 2300 West Ridgewood Drive in Parma. Admission is $10; call 216-228-1134.
Monday, July 19
The monkeys, bears, and giraffes are looking particularly well-groomed lately. Either they've been watching Queer Eye, or the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Photo Safari contest is under way. And since most furry creatures loathe the hair-phobic Kyan and his follicle-shredding contraptions, it must be the return of the annual photography competition. Adults, youth, and "small fry" (kids 11 and younger) can aim their cameras at the zoo's wildlife and vegetation, and compete in six categories (birds, dinosaurs, mammals, plants, reptiles, and stuff found in the venue's Australian Adventure) through August 31. Prizes include gift certificates and zoo memberships. And today's a good day to snap some pics at the zoo (3900 Wildlife Way), because Cuyahoga County residents get in free. Everyone else pays $9, $4 for kids. It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; call 216-661-6500.
Tuesday, July 20
There are more than 20 books in the Junie B. Jones series for kids. The precocious first-grader is hitting the road this summer for the Junie B. Jones Stupid Smelly Bus Tour, which comes to town today. "She's a kid with a personality that's a little too big to control," says author Barbara Park (who's not part of the tour; a Junie look-alike is, however). "I identify with her. I was a little out of control in the first grade and had a hard time keeping my mouth shut. That's her affliction." The touring theatrical performance is based on various Junie stories. "She's not a perfect kid," Park admits. "I write her so she sounds like a regular kid to readers. She's almost real." The bus stops at 7 p.m. at Borders Books & Music, 2101 Richmond Road in Beachwood. Call 440-350-8170 for more information. Admission is free.
Wednesday, July 21
North Carolina's the Rosebuds quote such '80s icons as the Smiths and the B-52's on their debut album, Make Out. Like the New Pornographers, they want to make you dance; like Yo La Tengo, they're a little bit complicated. A whole lotta other bands can be found in the Rosebuds, and the trio is at its best when it soaks in that inspiration. Live, the 'Buds throw a hell of a party, working their Casios and lo-fi spirit into a sweaty mix of other people's designs and their own realizations. They're at the Lime Spider (207 South Main Street in Akron) at 9:30 tonight. Tickets are $5 (advance) and $10; call 866-468-3401.