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Hot Picks

Northeast Ohio produces more events each week than it would be possible to attend, even if you had a full-time maid, chef, and/or babysitter. Hot Picks: This Week’s Smart Stuff sorts through the lists of concerts, festivals, exhibits, plays, readings and all sorts of other events and pulls out a few that seem out-of-the-ordinary. There will be new things each week, with the list updating each Monday.

Even though we like to think of ourselves as “in the know,” there will always be things that escape our notice. Please feel free to make suggestions to (be aware, we make no promises and the final decision rests with us). Enjoy!

Ani DiFranco with Anais Mitchell
Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.
House of Blues, Cleveland

Ani DiFranco is an American singer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, poet and songwriter. She has released more than 20 albums and is widely considered a feminist icon.

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'A Raisin in the Sun'
Jan. 29 - Feb. 15
Weathervane Playhouse, Akron

When the money from her deceased husband’s insurance policy comes through, Mama dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama.

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Fire on the Water (Part Four of the Elements Cycle)
Jan. 29 - Feb. 14
Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland

'Fire on the Water' is a fast-paced series of short plays inspired by a pivotal moment in Cleveland's history—the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River. Created by a diverse team of playwrights, directors and actors, the production features original work by CPT and co-producers Theater Ninjas, Talespinner Children's Theatre, Ohio City Theatre Project and Blank Canvas Theatre, woven into a powerful theatrical event that explores how the environment shapes identity, while celebrating the remarkable recovery of Cleveland’s waterways.

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Agatha Christie's 'Towards Zero'
Jan. 29 - Feb. 22
Coach House Theatre, Akron

In true Dame Agatha fashion, an elderly lady is murdered during a weekend house party at her cliff-side mansion, and every guest has a reason to want her dead.

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'Mid Life Vices' with the Four Bitchin' Babes
Friday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m.
Ohio Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland

Those indestructible divas with sorority-sister chemistry are back to tackle "Mid Life Vices." Offering up their musician-actress-comedienne talents on this guilt-free musical, The Four Bitchin' Babes warn that "this ain't your grandmother's glee club!" It's a night of good-natured wit and on-target harmonies even the Testosterone Set can enjoy.

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Reverend Horton Heat with Dale Watson and Rosie Flores
Friday, Jan. 30 at 8:30 p.m.
Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland

Seeing Reverend Horton Heat live is a transformative experience. Flames come off the guitars. Heat singes your skin. There's nothing like the primal tribal rock & roll transfiguration of a Reverend Horton Heat show. Jim becomes a slicked-back 1950's rock & roll shaman channeling Screamin' Jay Hawkins through Buddy Holly, while Jimbo incinerates the Stand-Up Bass like Jerry Lee Lewis on steroids. Before the show at 6 p.m., the Beachland Tavern hosts a Texas BBQ in honor of the concert.

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Jeff Daniels with the Ben Daniels Band
Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m.
Music Box Supper Club, Cleveland

In 1976, Jeff Daniels bought a Guild D-40 from Herb David's Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, threw it in the back of his old Buick and moved to New York City. That guitar led to a creative outlet, and became a solace, a road into the artist that he didn't know existed. Now, almost 40 years later, the musician/actor – you might know him from such movies as "Terms Of Endearment," "Pleasantville" and "The Squid and the Whale"—releases his seventh record, "Days Like These."

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DanceCleveland presents Pilobolus
Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m.
State Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland

Pilobolus is renowned worldwide for its witty and gravity-defying works. Using the human body as a medium of expression, the company focuses on how people, working together, can create form and movement to breathtaking effect. More than 40 years after its founding, it continues to wear its revolutionary stripes on its sleeves and to redefine the world’s understanding of dance through constant evolution, transformation and collaboration.

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John Mellencamp
Saturday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Palace Theatre, PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland

Grammy-winning Rock Hall Inductee, John Mellencamp, makes his long-awaited return to PlayhouseSquare as part of his 2015 North American 80-date "Plain Spoken Tour." Dubbed "The Voice of the Heartland," Mellencamp is one of the most successful live concert artists in the world and one of the founders of Farm Aid concerts, which has raised over $45 million to save family farms. As a part of this tour, there is a digital album download available to everyone who purchases tickets online.

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The Ragbirds with Take Off Charlie
Saturday, Jan. 31 at 9 p.m.
Musica, Akron

Hook-laden pop with a kaleidoscopic array of worldly influences, The Ragbirds exhibit a gleeful disregard for contemporary folk-rock convention. This up-and-coming Michigan band has been traveling the country with their "infectious global groove" gathering a passionate grassroots fan base of all ages captured by the positive vibes, high energy, infectious beats, sweat fueled dance floors, and moving introspective lyrics.

(more )


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