- John Tidyman opens the book on Cleveland Cops.
"I'm not saying there aren't bad cops out there," says John Tidyman, author of Cleveland Cops: The Real Stories They Tell Each Other, a collection of tales recounted by 70 local boys in blue. "I know there are. But every one of these cops has a heart."
The book -- a five-year project for the veteran Cleveland journalist -- aims to humanize the guys and gals who walk the beat. Subjects range from decades-long veterans to shiny-faced rookies; yarns span the harrowing (bodies pile up) to the hilarious (criminals sure are stupid!). "I started out by asking the same question of each one of them," says Tidyman. "Why did you become a cop? And they all had different reasons."
Tidyman says the project took root in local bars and coffee shops, where cops would tell each other tales. "No one else would believe some of these stories," he says. "It's a difficult job to go into day after day. Their stories are funny, sad, and scary as hell." Tidyman talks about and signs copies of his book at Barnes & Noble Bookstore (28801 Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere Village) at 1 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Call 216-765-7520 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
Touring film fest unspools a bunch of shorts.
The aquatic mob of Shark Tale has nothing on the perplexed turtle that goes to war with a pack of pesky rabbits in Turtle Hill, one of the dozen-plus shorts screening at Friday's Gadabout Traveling Film Festival. All of the movies are independently produced on a low budget, because "We want to show people that you don't need millions of dollars to make a good film," says organizer Eric Ayotte. Included in the program is a mix of dramas, comedies, documentaries, and animation flicks from around the globe, with subjects ranging from insomnia to fighting gay stereotypes. A few of the filmmakers are also part of the roving caravan and will field questions, discuss their work, and dispense tips to aspiring Scorseses in the audience. "We want people to be entertained," says Ayotte. "A film can be really artful and beautifully shot, but it should also be able to hold the viewer's attention." Screenings start at 7:30 p.m. at the Cat in the Cream, 180 West Lorain Street in Lorain. Admission is free. Visit www.gadaboutfilmfest.com for more info. -- Andrew McMillan
Room With a Tune
Veteran swing band keeps things jumping.
After Roomful of Blues started getting regular bookings on New England's swing-jump circuit in the late '60s, jazz legend Count Basie said that the Rhode Island-based octet was "the hottest blues band I've ever heard." It took the group a decade to get around to recording and releasing its self-titled debut album, which showcased Chicago-style, horn-driven R&B. A series of lineup changes -- more than 40 people have played in the band over the past 36 years -- hasn't prevented the group from making 17 albums and snagging four Grammys. Roomful of Blues is at the Kent Stage (175 East Main Street in Kent) at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20, available by calling 330-677-5005. -- Cris Glaser
Headbands and Leg Warmers Optional
Scalpers Bar and Grille conjures up Pac-Man, the Brat Pack, hair bands, and Alex P. Keaton with its '80s Flashback Weekend, which comes complete with old-school tunes by Decade and plenty of Reagan-era nostalgia. Says co-owner Frank Pines: "Where else can you tease your hair, tie on a boatload of bandannas, or wear neon without people questioning your fashion sense?" Um, Parma? The party starts at 9:30 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Saturday at Scalpers, 5718 Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst. Admission is $3. Call 440-442-357 for more information. -- Chad Felton