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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!

Eric Burdon & The Animals with Edgar Winter
Monday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m.
Lorain Palace Theatre, Lorain

Formed in Newcastle upon Tyne during 1962 and 1963 when Eric Burdon joined the Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo, the band members were dubbed "animals" because of their wild stage act and the name stuck. The Animals are known for the mega international hit "House of the Rising Sun" and working-class anthems "We Gotta Get out of This Place" and "It's My Life."

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Saucy Jack & the Space Vixens
Monday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Weathervane Playhouse, Akron

Welcome to Saucy Jack’s cosmic cabaret — a nightclub at the edge of the galaxy, in a world where vinyl, plastic, and other exotic fabrics have been outlawed. When Dr. Willhelm von Whackoff isn’t working on his psychiatric studies, he hangs out at the bar, chatting with musician Sammy Sax and waitress Booby Shevalle. Sammy dreams of success on the stage, while Booby has an even grander dream: she wants to escape her life of drudgery and become a Space Vixen, one of the super-fashionable, super-heroic crime fighters who patrol the galaxy. But something is amiss at Saucy Jack’s, when one after another, the club’s performers turn up dead — murdered with a slingback stiletto-heeled pump. Who will be next?

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ZZ Top with Blackberry Smoke
Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Hard Rock Rocksino, Northfield Park

Rock Hall inductees ZZ Top are known for bluesy rock and their trademark beards. The trio from Texas has been performing for nearly five decades and is one of the few major label recording groups to have held the same lineup for more than forty years, ZZ Top has been praised by critics and fellow musicians alike for their technical mastery.

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'The Book of Mormon'
Aug. 25 - 30
PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland

The New York Times calls it "the best musical of this century." The Washington Post says, "It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals." And Entertainment Weekly says, "Grade A: the funniest musical of all time." Jon Stewart of The Daily Show calls it "a crowning achievement. So good it makes me angry." It's THE BOOK OF MORMON, the nine-time Tony Award® winning Best Musical from the creators of South Park. Contains explicit language.

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Portage County Randolph Fair
Aug. 25 - 30
Portage County Fairgrounds, Randolph

Tractor pulls, demolition derby, Equipment Row, horse royalty, Jr. Fair, entertainment (including 7 Bridges - a tribute to The Eagles), draft horse driving, Dress-a-Cow, cheese auction - and more!

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Peter Hatch on Thomas Jefferson and the history of gardening
Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m.
Hudson Library & Historical Society

Peter J. Hatch, professional gardener and former Director of Gardens at Monticello, will speak about Thomas Jefferson and the history of gardening. Hatch is a nationally-known speaker and has written four books on the gardens of Monticello including his latest, A Rich Spot of Earth: Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello. Sponsored by The Hudson Garden Club.

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Rascal Flatts and the Riot Tour with Scotty McCreery and RaeLynn
Friday, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls

Since their musical debut in 2000, Rascal Flatts has over 22.5 million albums sold and over 28 million digital downloads and delivered 15 #1 singles to the top of the charts. Rascal Flatts is the most awarded Country group of the past decade, earning over 40 trophies from the ACAs, ACMs, AMAs, CMAs, People’s Choice Awards and more. As one of the hottest-selling acts on tour in any genre, they’ve sold over 7 million concert tickets, and counting.

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The Wendy Williams "Sit Down Tour... Too Real for Stand Up"
Friday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m.
PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland

Wendy Williams, modern media legend and host of her popular Emmy nominated The Wendy Williams Show, brings her singular brand of talk, "tea", and unbridled comedic stylings to America's stages for an unforgettable night with Wendy. This is not your daytime talk show host Wendy. This is Wendy live and uncensored, saying all the things that are in her head... raw. Audiences should be prepared for an evening that showcases yet another aspect of the talents of the multi-faceted performer that is Wendy Williams. This is that rare opportunity that so many have waited for: to see Wendy "'let her hair down".

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Burning River Fest
Aug. 28 & 29
Historic Coast Guard Station, Cleveland

Since 2001, folks from all over the Great Lakes region have come together to remember the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River and celebrate the renewed sense of eco-consciousness the infamous fire sparked. In 2015, Burning River Fest invites guests to discover and celebrate Cleveland’s historic Coast Guard Station with live music, fresh food from local farms and eateries, chef demos, and plenty of GLBC beer.

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Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis
Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m.
Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls

Virtuosos of jazz meet the virtuosos of The Cleveland Orchestra. For the first time ever, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis join with The Cleveland Orchestra for Swing Symphony, a homage to jazz and pop styles of ragtime, mambo, bebop, and church music. A giant in the music world, the immensely talented trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has been lauded for his work in both jazz and classical music.

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