Arizona State Fair: The annual corn-dog carnival continues daily, 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"; 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. Other highlights this week are Mortal Kombat--The Live Tour (see "At the Fair" in Kid Pics), professional boxing (see Sports listing) and a performance by Stars of the Grand Ole Opry (see Wednesday). 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, November 2 and November 5; Kids' Pay-One-Price day is Thursday (see "At the Fair" in Kid Pics). For a complete listing of info not covered here, see At the Fair listing in Thrills. For general information, call 268-3247 or 252-6771.
"Dracula" and "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue": Frances Smith Cohen and Center Dance Ensemble present this semiseasonal, semistrange double bill--a little Vlad the Impaler, a little Rodgers and Hart--in performances at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Donning period costumes, the troupe presents an abstract version of Bram Stoker's tale, set to music by David Byrne, and Dead Can Dance. Cliff Keuter choreographed the company's avant take on George Balanchine's "Slaughter" sequence from the 1939 film On Your Toes. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors, $7 for students and children, available at Herberger and Dillard's. Call 252-8497 or 678-2222.
The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black: Conceptually, this New York-based, co-ed mutant crew is Gwar meets Billion Dollar Babies-era Alice Cooper; musically, according to Peter Gilstrap, it's "Thin Lizzy meets Mtley Cre meets the New York Dolls." Whatever the hell it is, it's the perfect pre-Halloween treat. TVHOKB performs on Thursday at Nile Theater, 105 West Main in Mesa. Stiffs Inc., Jonathan Fire-eater, and Meanface share the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Call 649-2766.
NASCAR Winston Cup Phoenix 500: Phoenix International Raceway, a.k.a. the superfast "Phoenix Mile," hosts this multirace package, which starts Thursday at the racetrack, 115th Avenue and Baseline in Tolleson. A.J. Foyt is a surprise entry in Sunday's title competition, and Palmdale, California's Ron Hornaday Jr. will attempt the first-ever PIR 1,000-kilometer run, competing in Friday's NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour 300, Saturday's GM Goodwrench/Delco Battery SuperTruck Series 200 and Sunday's Phoenix 500. Also on the agenda: Mayflower NASCAR Truck Drivers' Challenge on Sunday, and live music by Rich Lloyd Band on Friday and Saturday and Boy Howdy on Sunday. Tickets are available at PIR and Dillard's. Call 252-3833 or 678-2222.
Big Audio Dynamite: Mick Jones' B.A.D. has always run hot and cold, and there's no telling what temperature the former Clash guitarist and his big-beat band will register at Thursday's show at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. B.A.D.'s 1985 debut, This Is Big Audio Dynamite, remains a classic, but that was a decade and many lineup changes ago. Frosted, featuring former Go-Go Jane Wiedlin, shares the bill. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at the door and Ticketmaster. Call 968-8664 or 784-4444.
Valley Art Theatre: Spike & Mike's Original Festival of Animation 1995 (unrated) concludes Thursday at the theatre, 509 South Mill in Tempe. Art for Teachers of Children (unrated), Jennifer Montgomery's dramatic rendering of her affair with a married instructor when she was 14, opens Friday. Valley Art's Friday midnight-movie series continues this week with Night of the Living Dead (1968, unrated). (Dead will be screened again on Halloween, along with The Rocky Horror Picture Show; see Tuesday.) The silent version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925, unrated) plays at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday; an organist will perform the accompanying score. Call 829-6668.
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Arizona Theatre Company has opened its season with Shakespeare's beguiling fantasy about the power of love. Performances begin with a preview at 8 p.m. Friday in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The press opening is at 8 p.m. Saturday; the remainder of this week's shows are at 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Wednesday. A discussion follows Sunday's matinee. Regularly priced tickets range from $20 to $30, available at Herberger and Dillard's. A Target Stores "Blue Jeans" performance is slated for 1 p.m. November 12, with tickets priced at $4 and $7. The production continues through November 18. For reservations and details, call 252-8497 or 678-2222.
Vanya on 42nd Street: Mesa Arts Center, 155 North Center, hosts the Arizona premire of director Louis Malle's 1994 variation on Chekhov's play Uncle Vanya at 7 p.m. Friday, continuing the monthly MAC Movies 2 series; a group discussion follows. The film is unrated; see the review on page 79. Admission is a suggested donation of $2. Call 644-2242.
Phoenix Suns: Charles Barkley and company play the Denver Nuggets in a preseason match at 7 p.m. Friday at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets are available at arena and Dillard's. For details call 379-7867, 379-7800 or 678-2222.