- Pleistocene Epoch alert! It's glacial madness at the West Woods Nature Center's Engage the Ice Age!
All you really need to know about Columbus's Ekoostik Hookah is right there in the title and on the cover of its latest album. A blurry TV test pattern emblazoned with pot-green letters spells it out: Ohio Grown. Yes, Ekoostik Hookah is best appreciated under the influence. A fondness for Grateful Dead-style noodling and the scent of patchouli also helps. Ekoostik Hookah is a jam band, but it's Ohio's premier jam band. Most of the songs on 2002's Ohio Grown clock in at more than seven minutes -- and you just know they're stretched out to at least three times that length in concert. Hear for yourself when Ekoostik Hookah plays House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) at 9 tonight. Tickets are $20, available by calling 216-241-5555.
Friday, December 31
Exercising before bashing on New Year's Eve is paramount. Nothing increases stamina and prepares internal organs for a night of excessive drinking like a brisk stroll in the chilly outdoors. The Metroparks' New Year's Eve Hike Around Hinckley Lake -- a 3.5-mile walk that takes participants through the woods and to the water and back again -- oughta get even the most liver-damaged couch potato ready for some puke-inducing bingeing tonight. The two-hour free hike starts at 6 p.m. at the Hinckley Lake Boathouse parking lot (off West Drive in Hinckley Reservation in Hinckley Township). Call 440-526-1012 for more information.
Most groups would have hung up their guitars long before reaching their 35th year of playing the same dozen or so area clubs. Not the Numbers Band. The popular Kent-based jazz-blues-artrock outfit -- originally known as 15/60/75 -- isn't as active as it was back in the day, but singer and guitarist Robert Kidney and saxophonist Terry Hynde (the sole survivors of the original quintet) still haul the band onstage from time to time for a set of original oldies-but-goodies. The group headlines tonight's New Year's Eve Party in Kent, which also includes opening performances by veteran ska-rockers the Twistoffs and electronic gearhead Evan Evolution. Show time is 9 p.m. at the Kent Stage, 175 East Main Street in Kent. Tickets are $20, $15 in advance, available by calling 330-677-5005.
Saturday, January 1
Thank goodness for TiVo. We wouldn't be able to take in all of today's bowl games without it: Outback (Georgia vs. Wisconsin) at 11 a.m. on ESPN, Cotton (Tennessee vs. Texas A&M) at 11 a.m. on Fox, Gator (Florida State vs. West Virginia) at 12:30 p.m. on NBC, Capital One (LSU vs. Iowa) at 1 p.m. on ABC, Rose (Texas vs. Michigan) at 4:30 p.m. on ABC, and Fiesta (Pittsburgh vs. Utah) at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. It's a lovely start to a new year.
Sunday, January 2
You know you made 'em, and now it's time to honor those New Year's Resolutions. Today's free YMCA Get Fit Cleveland Challenge includes demonstrations, performances by athletic and hip-hop dance groups, activity stations, health screenings, body-fat analyses, and most important, plenty of info on how to get -- and stay -- in shape. It happens from 1 to 4 p.m. at Tower City Center, 50 Public Square. For more information, call 216-771-0033.
Wanna get 2005 started with a total ass-shredding? Rise Against and the Explosion, two major-label punk bands that play like they're still in Indieville, are in town tonight for an intense assault of lacerating guitars, yowling vocals, and songs about how much things suck. Mix and match: The Explosion's Black Tape and Rise Against's Siren Song of the Counter-Culture offer plenty of angst to choose from. They're at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights) at 6 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 216-241-5555.
Monday, January 3
We're so into woolly mammoths. They're just so woolly . . . and mammoth! The Geauga Park District has one on display at its 4,000-square-foot Engage the Ice Age! exhibit, along with other life-size robotic creatures (like a saber-toothed cat and a giant ground sloth) that look like the ones in that animated movie that came out a couple years ago. Also on view are models of some Paleo Indians (Ohio's first people), a glacier you can walk through, and a cast of Newark's Burning Tree Mastodon, the third-largest mastodon ever found. Engage the Ice Age! is on display through February 27 at the West Woods Nature Center, 9465 Kinsman Road in Russell Township. It's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is free; call 440-286-9516.
Tuesday, January 4
The end of the world is here! Either that, or it's the Quadrantid meteor shower streaking across the sky -- that's the story the Metroparks is sticking to for its Really Cold Shower program tonight. Each hour, more than 40 bright-blue meteors can be seen whizzing somewhere near the Boötes constellation at 25.5 miles per second. A bit of trivia: The Quadrantid is the only annual meteor shower that scientists know very little about. Which is why we're pretty certain the end of the world is here. To get a good view of the apocalypse (as well as some hot cocoa), head to North Chagrin Reservation's Forest Picnic Area (off SOM Center Road/Route 91 in Mayfield Village) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free; call 440-473-3370.
Wednesday, January 5
There are only a few days left to check out Home on the Edge: Domestic Bliss in Disarray at Spaces. And now that the holidays are over, the household-horror exhibit can be better appreciated. From Johnna Kwon's photographs of dust-cluttered room corners to Alison Luoma's S&M-ready ironing boards, the nine regional artists who contribute to the project say fuck you to feng shui and -- literally, in a few cases -- turn the home into a madhouse. Home on the Edge is at Spaces (2220 Superior Viaduct) through Friday, January 7. It's open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; call 216-621-2314.