Sunday, January 17, 2010

The week ahead: 1/17-1/23: Halfway through what is usually the worst month of winter edition

Can you believe how decent the weather has been so far this winter? I mean, there have been a few sorta cold days, though nothing in single digits, and some snow, but nothing debilitating. Knock on virtual wood, this stays the case, but here we are only 84 days till the official CB end of winter (i.e., the Indians home opener) and so far things have been stable.

To be honest, though, that isn't to stay that I haven't fallen victim to the Cleveland winter hermit curse. I've played lame plenty of times already and am starting to feel guilty about it. So, to turn the tide a bit, I'm gonna try to start getting out there a little more. Here's my guide to the next week, in case you are thinking the same thing.

Monday, 1/18 - Today's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Spend a moment thinking about the man I argue was the single best representation of American values in the 20th century. In honor of the day, many museums around town will be opening their doors for free, including places with ordinarily pricey entrance fees like the Rock Hall. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, 1/19 - tba

Wednesday, 1/20 - Two exciting events tonight, and both go down at my favorite place on Earth, the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern. In the Ballroom, prepare for one of the bawdiest artistic events to hit the city so far this year, the Dr. Sketchy's B-Movie Bash, the latest installment in the much-loved cabaret and live drawing spectacular, this time featuring model Lucy Dominga.

On the Tavern side, you'll be treated to the musical whimsy of New York's Shilpa Ray. Shilpa made her first visit to Cleveland in 2009 and left the folks at the Beachland impressed and hungry for more. I did a phone interview with her a few days ago, which I'll post soon, and I too was bowled over by her thoughtfulness and charm, not to mention her soulful music. This is a must-see event.

Thursday, 1/21 - Catch a great double feature tonight at the CIA Cinematheque. Start out at 6:30 PM with the documentary Act of God (from the same person who made the celebrated film Manufactured Landscapes, Jennifer Baichwal), which uses interviews with people who have survived lightning strikes as a springboard to a consideration of accidents, chance, fate, and our collective quest to make sense out of tragedy. Novelist Paul Auster and musician Fred Frith are among those interviewed.

Then, stick around for one of the films in this month's Terrence Malick series, 1998's The Thin Red Line. The brilliant director's third feature, made after a 20-year hiatus, is a great war movie based on James Jones’ novel about U.S. troops fighting on Guadalcanal during WWII. As serene and meditative as it is noisy and visceral, the film serves up a world cohabited by dualities—good and evil, beauty and horror, past and present, life and death—and populated by soldiers trying to understand and reconcile them. The result is a dreamy, philosophical drama—a prayer almost—that is at once sublimely beautiful and emotionally shattering. The large all-star cast includes Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, Jim Caviezel, Nick Nolte, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, George Clooney, and John Travolta. For more information about these films and other excellent selections playing this month, check out my January month in film post here.

Friday, 1/22 - This page on my social calendar has been over-stuffed for months. Not only do we have a CSU basketball game against UW-Green Bay and terrific openings featuring the work of Jonah Jacobs at William Rupnik Gallery, Jacob Wesley Lang at Low Life Gallery, and several different artists at Wall-Eye Gallery, there are also a trio of shows so good you'd be hard-pressed to choose between any of them. First, girl-group super icon Ronnie Spector is playing at the Beachland (with opening assistance from Afternoon Naps), Low-frontman Alan Sparhawk brings his side project, Retribution Gospel Choir, to the Grog Shop, and a killer heavy punk show (Fear of a Black Planet 2) featuring This Moment in Black History and a handful of other bands will occupy Now That's Class. You can't go wrong, so I leave it to you to decide how best to go right.
Saturday, 1/23 - Two really good options, both Cleveland-centric, and both within a stone's throw of one another. For the indie rocker in you, check out The Modern Electric & Simeon Soul Charger at the Grog Shop and feast your eyes and ears on two of the most promising, up-and-coming bands on the scene. For the classy types, check out the Western Reserve Historical Society's 1920s-themed speakeasy event. One of the less visible cultural gems of the community, WRHS is putting on one of those great fundraisers where you can do some good and also have a blast in a new and unique way with this event, which will feature an open bar, costume competition, and period-appropriate vintage cars from the museum's vaunted collection. Check out more information here.

Other stuff to keep your eye on the following week:
- I Rock Bill DJs the Beachland Brunch
- 1/24 - CSU basketball vs Milwaukee
- 1/24 - Triple Feature at CIA Cinematheque: In a Lonely Place; Afterschool; {Untitled}
- 1/26 - Indie Orthodox New Year Celebration @ Music Saves
- 1/30 - The Antlers @ Akron Musica
- 1/30 - Ali-Fest @ The Town Fryer
- 1/30 - CSU basketball vs Youngstown State

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