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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!

Writers Center Stage: Elizabeth Gilbert
Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Tinkham Veale University Center, Case Western Reserve University

Best known for her memoir "Eat, Pray, Love," Elizabeth Gilbert is coming to Cleveland to share her experiences, with a Q&A session and book signing following the presentation. Her book "The Signature of All Things" was named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times and NPR. Proceeds from the event help support Cuyahoga County Public Library.

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Cleveland Comedy Festival
Nov. 17 - Nov. 23
Kennedy's Theatre, PlayhouseSquare

Stay warm inside Kennedy's Theatre inside PlayhouseSquare as you enjoy five days of free comedy. Each day will feature five to seven different comedians who will have you rolling with laughter. The daily lineups can be found at

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The Illusionists - Witness the Impossible!
Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
EJ Thomas Hall , The University of Akron

These seven illusionists will have you on the edge of your seat with their jaw-dropping acts. Featuring some of the most incredible illusionists in the world, the acts will range from grand illusion, levitation and mind-reading to a full view water torture escape. This is one show you don't want to miss.

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Sierra Hull and Justin Moses
Nov. 20 at 8 p.m.
Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland

Sierra Hull recorded her debut album at the age of 15 and has been making bluegrass music ever since. Similarly, Justin Moses also got an early start in music, beginning at age 6. Joined by the Bill Lestock Trio from Chardon, Ohio, this is sure to be a great night of music that transcends generations.

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Hot Rize Featuring Red Kuckles & The Trailblazers
Nov. 21 at 8 p.m.
The Kent Stage, Kent

The members of Hot Rize have been making bluegrass music for more than 30 years, sharing their unique sound with fans new and old. The group released its first album in more than a decade in 2002 and has performed each year since. Joined by Rebecca Frazier and Hit & Run, you are sure to hear some old favorites and make some new ones.

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Tony Bennett
Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Connor Palace, PlayhouseSquare

Legendary jazz artist Tony Bennett is coming to the Cleveland area. Although it has been more than 50 years since he first sang "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," Tony Bennett continues to charm and amaze audiences. Don't miss this artist who Frank Sinatra once called "simply the best singer in the business."

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Mozart and Ravel
Nov. 22 at 8 p.m.
EJ Thomas Hall , The University of Akron

Sit back and enjoy as The Akron Symphony Orchestra presents a symphony with an abundance of emotional depth that Mozart wrote in his early 20s as well as a Mass often performed for royalty and at services of Thanksgiving. Levi Hammer, of the Akron Symphony, will perform Ravel's piano concerto, which is a neo-classical jewel, inflicted with American Jazz.

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Mike Epps
Nov. 22 at 8 p.m.
State Theatre, PlayhouseSquare

Drawing inspiration from comics such as Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, Mike Epps has created a unique comedic style that has allowed him to become one of the funniest comedians to emerge in recent years. Sharing stories from his youth and combining with modern-day observations and social commentary, Epps is sure to leave you wanting more.

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Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel Opens
Nov. 23 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
History Center, 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland

The Western Reserve Historical Society is reopening the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel. Riding the original 1910 carousel, this is fun the entire family can enjoy.

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Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, Canton, Ohio

Join the Canton Symphony Orchestra as it commemorates the 100th Anniversary of World War I and the 75th Anniversary of World War II. Westwater Arts Photochoreography returns for the event to reflect and pay tribute through historic photographs from both time periods, with music accompaniment by the orchestra.

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