Arizona State Fair: The annual corn-dog carnival opens Thursday and continues through November 5 at the fairgrounds, bounded by McDowell Road and Encanto Boulevard between 17th and 19th avenues. Along with the usual attractions--midway rides and games, livestock and agricultural exhibits, etc.--this year's fair features Thunder Lagoon, a manmade "rain forest in the desert"; the tenth annual All-Indian Rodeo, slated for Thursday through Saturday in Grandstand Arena (see Sports listing); Budweiser Party Gras, a New Orleans-style restaurant/bar located in the Mineral Museum building; and the Imperial Palace Antique and Classic Auto Collection, which includes Marilyn Monroe's 1955 coral-pink Lincoln Capri convertible and vehicles formerly owned by Elvis, Liberace, Howard Hughes and Sammy Davis Jr. The usual schizophrenic mix of cutting-edge acts, twangers, has-beens and comedians takes the stage at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum, beginning with one of the former, Soul Asylum, at 7 p.m. Thursday. All of the above are free with regular admission: $6, $4 for seniors, $3 for kids ages 5 to 13, free for those younger. Midway Pay-One-Price days are Tuesday, October 31, November 2 and November 5; Kiddieland Pay-One-Price day is October 26. For a complete listing of musical performances and other fair info not covered here, see At the Fair listing in Thrills; also see "At the Fair" in Kid Pics. For general information, call 268-3247 or 252-6771.
Il Trovatore: Arizona Opera has opened its silver-anniversary season with Verdi's great tragedy about the price of vengeance. Final performances, in Italian with English surtitles, are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Eduardo Villa and Pamela Kucenic-Motisi sing the roles of Manrico and Leonora in Thursday's and Saturday's performances; Robin Reed and Maria Williams assume the parts on Friday and Sunday. Preshow lectures are planned an hour before each show. Tickets range from $14 to $56, available at symphony and Dillard's box offices. Call 262-7272 or 678-2222.
Valley Art Theatre: Spike & Mike's Original Festival of Animation 1995 (unrated), an all-ages collection of animated short films, includes the two most recent Academy Award winners (Alison Snowden and David Fine's Bob's Birthday and Nick Park's ab-fab The Wrong Trousers) and three Oscar nominees: Triangle, The Janitor and The Big Story. It continues with daily screenings, through October 26, at the theatre, 509 South Mill in Tempe. Also continuing: Kids (NC-17) and Jeffrey (R). Valley Art's Friday midnight-movie series continues this week with Hellbound: Hellraiser II (R). The Rocky Horror Picture Show (R) is screened at midnight every Saturday. Ticket prices vary; call 829-6668 for details.
As You Like It: Ethington Theatre at Grand Canyon University, 3300 West Camelback, presents the Bard's evergreen comedy about cross-dressing lovers romping about in a primeval forest. The play is the second installment in Ethington's seasonlong "Reconstructing Shakespeare" series. It's performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. October 27 and 28. Tickets are $8, $6.50 for seniors and kids. Call 589-2871.
Heather Nova: Born in Bermuda, raised on a sailboat, educated at the Rhode Island School of Design and now based in London, this dreamy minx falls somewhere between ethereal Enya and nails-down-the-back rocker Alanis Morissette. Ben Folds Five shares the all-ages bill; showtime is 9 p.m. Friday at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $5, available at the door and Ticketmaster. Call 968-8664 or 784-4444.
Fall Plant Sales: Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum's annual sale and landscaping blowout starts Friday and continues daily, through October 29, during regular hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission, which includes access to the preserve's grounds, is $4, $2 for kids ages 5 to 12, free for those younger. The arboretum is located on U.S. Highway 60 near Superior; call 1-520-689-2811. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park, hosts its annual arid-landscape plant sale, the largest in the state, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the sales area is free; there's a charge for garden admission. Call 941-1217.
Penn & Teller: The black-comedy illusionists, who prefer to be called "swindlers" and/or "shameless charlatans," return to Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, for shows at 8 p.m. Friday and 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $22.50 and $25, available at the center and all Ticketmaster locations. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.
And the Tide Shall Cover the Earth: Arizona State University's theatre department presents Norma Cole's coming-of-age tale, set in Kentucky's Cumberland River Gorge in the spring of 1948, about a young girl who's on the threshold of womanhood and her relationship with her family, whose ancestral home is in the path of rising waters caused by a government dam. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. October 26 through 28 at Paul V. Galvin Playhouse in ASU's Nelson Fine Arts Center, Tenth Street and Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $11, $6 for students, available at ASU Fine Arts and Dillard's box offices. For details call 965-6447 or 678-2222.
Empty Bowl Project: This fifth annual fund raiser is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday on the lawn at Mesa Arts Center, 155 North Center. Those who pay $9 for lunch, $7 with the donation of a canned good, keep the ceramic bowl it's served in and raise funds for various Mesa social-service agencies and nonprofit arts organizations. There will also be a silent auction of bowls designed or autographed by celebrities, including former Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler;
Arizona Cardinals Dave Krieg, Garrison Hearst, Eric Swann, Aeneas Williams and Rob Moore; Mesa Mayor Willie Wong; and others. The auction begins at 11 a.m.; final bids are due by 9 p.m. For details call 644-2242.
John Hammond: One of the best white bluesmen in the world, the 52-year-old son of the legendary producer of the same name continues to churn out his raw, self-taught take on the Delta blues. Touring in support of the J.J. Cale-produced Trouble No More, Hammond performs an early show on Friday at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Steve James opens at 6 p.m. An evening performance by William Clarke Blues Band follows at 9. Cover is $10, and includes admission to both shows; admission to Clarke's show only is $4. (Note: Clarke and band are also scheduled at 9 p.m. Saturday.) For details call 265-4842.
Hard Rock Cafe Grand Opening With Seal, and Rembrandts: Peter Morton's latest Hard Rock, located at 26th Street and Camelback, debuts Saturday with a free outdoor festival featuring Seal ("Kiss From a Rose," from the Batman Forever soundtrack) and the Rembrandts ("I'll Be There for You," the theme song to TV's Friends). The festivities start at 11 a.m. and continue 'til 5 p.m. Also on the bill: artist Denny Dent, who paints large-scale portraits of rock deities while their music plays in the background. Festival proceeds benefit Phoenix Art Museum and
Metropolitan Phoenix Boys & Girls Club. Space is limited. Tours of the Hard Rock are available Saturday; serious pigging out and partying amid the rock memorabilia begins Sunday. For details call 817-1070.
Cowboy Artists of America Exhibit: CAA's 30th-anniversary show, featuring paintings, sculpture and other works of Western realism by 26 of the organization's active and emeritus members, including co-founders Joe Beeler and Johnny Hampton and newcomers Don Crowley and John Moyers (son of Bill Moyers), opens to the public at noon Saturday and continues through November 19 in the new Special Exhibitions Gallery at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central. PAM admission is free to all through June 1, 1996. Call 257-1222. (Note: A Western Art Walk, featuring a number of CAA members, is slated for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday in Scottsdale's Old Town and art districts; admission is free.)
The Battleship Potemkin: The 1926 film by Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, featuring the famed "Odessa Steps" sequence (filched by Brian DePalma for The Untouchables), is a brilliant denunciation of tyranny and repression, and remains one of the world's truly great movies; see the story on page 69. It's screened at 8 p.m. Saturday at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Phoenix Symphony, conducted by Clotilde Otranto, performs the accompanying score, comprised of various symphonic works by Shostakovich. Tickets are $10, $15 and $20, available at Gammage and Dillard's. Call 965-3434 or 678-2222.
Al Stewart: The Scottish singer-songwriter, now 50, might seem like a two-hit wonder (1976's "Year of the Cat" and 1978's "Time Passages"), but he's actually had a quietly intriguing career, highlights of which include the first recorded use of the word "fucking" on vinyl (in the epic 1969 song "Love Chronicles") and little-noted collaborations with Jimmy Page, Rick Wakeman and Queen's Roger Taylor. Laurence Juber opens at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday at Anderson's Fifth Estate, 6820 East Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale. Tickets are $16 in advance at Dillard's, $15.50 at the door. Call 994-4168 or 678-2222.
AIDS Walk for Life: Eddie Basha is honorary chair of this eighth annual fund raiser, scheduled for Sunday at Patriots Square, Central and Washington. Activities begin at 6 a.m. with a sunrise service. Registration follows at 7, and opening ceremonies are planned at 8. The 4.5-mile walk through the downtown area steps off at 9. Proceeds benefit 18 local agencies involved in the battle against HIV and AIDS. Call 596-6786.
Supergrass: This young trio has been all the rage in London since the release of its debut, I Should Coco (the title is a cockney expression meaning "I should think so"). Will the rage last beyond the rage stage? Neither history nor the fickleness of the London scene is on Supergrass' side, but the songs by 19-year-old Gaz Coombes are catchy enough, and 21-year-old drummer Danny Goffey has been hailed in some corners as the reincarnation of Keith Moon. Figgs, and Daisies share the bill. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m. Monday at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $5, available at the door and Ticketmaster. For details call 968-8664 or 784-4444.
Tim O'Brien: The National Book Award-winning author of Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried reads from and signs his latest work, the acclaimed In the Lake of the Woods, at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Admission is free. For details call 965-5377.
Matthew Sweet: Last year, the producers of Austin's South by Southwest conference devoted an entire seminar to Sweet--or, more specifically, to the singer-songwriter's alterna-pop masterwork Girlfriend. Sweet puts on a clinic of another kind on Tuesday at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Dog's Eye View, and Blue Mountain share the all-ages bill. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $14 in advance at Ticketmaster, $16 the day of the show. Call 894-0707.
NFL 101: Arizona Cardinals and KEZ-FM 99.9 co-sponsor this pro-football class for women from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the gym at Brophy College Preparatory, 4701 North Central. Cardinals' middle linebacker Garth Jax and KEZ's Beth McDonald emcee. Offensive instruction will be handled by center Ed Cunningham and wide receiver Frank Sanders. Safety Terry Hoage and defensive lineman Michael Bankston teach the "D" (presumably including crib notes on the Fat Guy's not-so-vaunted "46"). Long snapper/linebacker Randy Kirk and assistant coach Al Roberts lecture on special teams. Safety Lorenzo Lynch models an official NFL uniform, and ref Ed Hochuli provides a rules overview. Registration is open to females age 12 and older; it costs $20, which includes a playbook, a pregame meal, a diploma, a tee shirt and other stuff. Preregistration is accepted through Friday. Call 379-0102.
My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, and Traci Lords: The "twisted disco" act and the porn star turned dance-floor diva co-headline the RAY GUN magazine tour. Power-pop act Eve's Plum, and Big Stick share the bill. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $15 in advance at Ticketmaster, $16 the day of the show. Call 894-0707.