Arizona State Fair: The annual corn-dog carnival continues daily, through Sunday, 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 "Dino Island," a hot new interactive ride at AT&T Reactor. Final Veterans' Memorial Coliseum performances are by Steve Miller Band at 7p.m. Thursday, Randy Travis at 7 p.m. Friday, Brandy at 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Gallagher at 1 p.m. Sunday, and Gin Blossoms at 7 Sunday night (for details about the Brandy and Blossoms concerts, see below). Final Midway Pay-One-Price days are Thursday and Sunday (see At the Fair listing in Thrills), and Arizona Super Bowl XXX Kids' "In" Zone event is planned Friday and Saturday (see "At the Fair" in Kid Pics). All of the above are free with regular admission: $6, $4 for seniors, $3 for kids ages 5 to 13, free for those younger. For general information, call 268-3247 or 252-6771.
Writers Harvest: The National Reading: On Thursday, approximately 1,000 writers share their works at venues across the country in this fourth annual fund raiser. Authors Schim Schimmel, Jewell Parker Rhodes and Gloria P. Marshall host separate readings at Bookstar, 8919 East Indian Bend in Scottsdale. A percentage of the store's Thursday sales benefits Valley antihunger groups; call 4434909 for times and details. The Writer's Voice of Scottsdale/Paradise Valley YMCA and Tempe's Changing Hands Bookstore sponsor a reading at 7 p.m. at the bookstore, 414 South Mill, Suite 109. Featured readers are Rand Carlson, co-host of KAET-TV's Books & Co.; poet Beckian Fritz Goldberg; and authors Laura Tohe (Making Friends With Water) and Melissa Pritchard (The Instinct for Bliss). Admission is a suggested donation of $5, with all proceeds benefiting Mesa's United Food Bank. For details call 922-5467.
Nexus, and Phoenix Symphony: In conjunction with the 1995 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), which continues daily, through Saturday, at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams, and Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 122 North Second Street (see Music listing for details), Canadian ensemble Nexus joins the symphony and conductor James Sedares for performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. The program includes Takemitsu's From me flows what you call time, Weber's Overture to Oberon and Strauss' Don Quixote. Tickets range from $12 to $36, available at symphony box office and Dillard's. More information: 264-6363 or 678-2222. (Note: Nexus and the symphony rejoin forces at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for the season's inaugural Mervyn's California Family Concert Series performance; see "At the Concert" in Kid Pics.)
"Digital Creations": Works by computer-art pioneer Lillian Schwartz, a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and the author of The Computer Artist's Handbook, are featured in this exhibit, which opens with a free reception for the artist from 4:30to 6:30 p.m. Thursday and continues through January 4, 1996, in Computing Commons Gallery, located on the first floor of Computing Services Building, Orange Mall and Palm Walk on ASU campus in Tempe. Schwartz gives a free, preopening lecture at 3 p.m. in Computing Commons Auditorium; for reservations call 965-3609. For general information, call 965-5968.
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Arizona Theatre Company has opened its season with Shakespeare's beguiling fantasy about the power of love. This week's performances are at 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8p.m. Saturday, 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Wednesday in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The production continues through November 18. Tickets range from $20 to $30, available at Herberger and Dillard's box offices. A Target Stores "Blue Jeans" performance is slated for 1 p.m. November 12, with tickets priced at $4 and $7. For reservations and details, call 252-8497 or 678-2222. See the review on page 69.
ASU Sun Devils' Homecoming: This year's free "Lantern Walk" to light the "A" on Tempe's "A" Mountain includes a performance by the Sun Devil Marching Band and a speech by football coach Bruce Snyder. It's slated for 7 p.m. Friday. The public is invited; meet at the foot of the mountain, on Fifth Street between Mill and Forest. The annual Homecoming parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2p.m. Saturday in Tempe; it starts on McAllister, travels west on University, north on Mill, east on Fifth Street and southeast on Stadium, ending in front of ASU Activity Center. This year's Homecoming football game, pitting Snyder's Sun Devils against the UCLA Bruins, follows at 4:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe; for ticket information, call Sun Devil Sports Box Office at 965-2381 or Dillard's at 678-2222.
Chuck Pyle: The Waterbug recording artist wrote the theme song to the PBS series Spirit of Colorado, as well as a solo theatre piece, The Road As Seen From Under a Zen Gallon Hat, which he expects to debut in spring 1996. As a craftsman of songs, Pyle has impeccable credits; he carries seals of approval from Chris LeDoux, Tish Hinojosa, David Wilcox and Christine Lavin. Touring in support of his latest album, Camel Rock, Pyle performs on Friday at Songsmith Coffeehouse at Congregational Church of the Valley, 120th Street and Shea in Scottsdale. Don Charles and Deb Gessner share the bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Admission is $8, $6 for students. Call 860-9687 or 451-4565.