Phoenix Suns: Charles Barkley and company host the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday and the Utah Jazz on Tuesday at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson; both games tip off at 7 p.m. Call 379-7867.
Paul Winter Consort: Phoenix Boys Choir joins soprano saxophonist Winter--who was incorporating whalespeak into his music long before the term "New Age" was coined--and crew in a seasonal celebration on Saturday at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Showtimes are 5and 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 and $22, available at the center and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.
ASU Sun Devils Basketball: Bill Frieder's Arizona State University cagers open the regular season Saturday with a game against Texas Southern, then host Southern Utah on Tuesday. Both games tip off at 7 p.m. at ASU Activity Center in Tempe. Call 965-3434.
Natalie Merchant: The concert by the former 10,000 Maniacs vocalist, scheduled for November 21, has been rescheduled for 7p.m. Saturday at Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. Tickets are $21 in advance, $22 the day of the show, available at Dillard's; all tickets purchased for the original show will be honored. Call 644-2560 or 678-2222.
Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories: Dallas native Loeb moved back East to attend college, and she cut her alterna-folk teeth in Greenwich Village. Her friendship with Ethan Hawke resulted in the placement of her song "Stay (I Missed You)" over the closing credits of his film Reality Bites, and the sweetheart break sent the tune careening to the top of the charts, making Loeb the first unsigned artist ever to hit No.1 on the Billboard chart. Needless to say, she's signed now. Touring in support of their Geffen debut, Tails (see the review on page 98), Loeb and her band, named after the J.D. Salinger collection, perform Sunday at the Rockin' Horse, 7000 East Indian School in Scottsdale. Once Blue opens at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the scene and Ticketmaster. For details call 949-0992 or 784-4444.
Arizona Cardinals: Buddy Ryan's birds host the Falcons from Atlanta at 2 p.m. Sunday atSun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Tickets are $29, $39 and $54, available at Dillard's. For details call 379-0102 or 678-2222.
El Vez: The King, still dizzy from the exchange of vows between the Presley princess and theGloved One from Gary, Indiana, makes another revolution in his coffin whenever ElVez, the self-proclaimed "Bowie of Elvis impersonators," takes the stage. The purported love child of Elvis and Charo, "El Rey de Rock 'n' Roll" (real name: Robert Lopez) isbacked by the Memphis Mariachis and theEl Vettes: Priscillita, Gladysita, Lisa Maria and Que Linda Thompson. The repertoire includes sleazed-up covers of "How Great Thou Art," "Blue Suede Shoes" ("Huaraches Azules") and "In the Ghetto" ("En el Barrio") and stultifying stylistic tributes like "Maria's the Name (of His Latest Flame)," "Lordy Miss Lupe" and "Never Been to Spain" ("I've never been to Spain/So don't call me a Hispanic"). The guy can't sing a lick, but he's got the King down cold--pun intended. El Vez and company perform their special Christmas show on Sunday at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Elgin opens at 9 p.m. Cover is $6. For details call 265-4842.
Jim Rose Circus: Rose, Mr. Lifto, the Enigma, the Armenian Rubberman and the rest of this bizarro collective perform feats of daring and stupidity--chain-saw football, body piercing, something they call "bed of nailing"--that would make P.T.Barnum blanch; see the story on page 93. The band Hovercraft opens the all-ages show, which starts at 9 p.m. Monday at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $13, available at the scene and Ticketmaster. For details call 894-0707 or 784-4444.
Festival of Trees: Because of Phoenix Art Museum's ongoing expansion, PAM has moved its 27th annual show and sale of donated trees, wreaths, garlands, centerpieces, ornaments and other holiday staples to the pavilion at Arizona Biltmore, 24th Street and Missouri. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Admission is $3, $1 for children ages 6 to 12, free for kids age 5 and under; proceeds benefit Arizona Biltmore Children's Charities and the museum. For details call 257-1880.
Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys: A newspaper in this band's hometown of Houston labeled 22-year-old Wonderland the illegitimate offspring of Tinkerbell and Joe Cocker. She is kind of a spastic fairy, in the best way possible. The blues/surf quartet's Big Mo debut, Play With Matches, features a white-hot cover of Robert Ward's "Comfort Table" and a cameo by Mark Wenner of the Nighthawks. Showtime is 9p.m. Tuesday at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Admission is $2. Call 265-4842.
Jeffrey Siegel's "Virtuoso Variations": The pianist was supposed to kick off his 17th annual "Keyboard Conversations" series on November 7 with this program, but a death in the family forced him to reschedule it for 8 p.m. Tuesday at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Siegel performs and discusses Beethoven's Variations on the Turkish March (from "The Ruins of Athens"); Rachmaninoff's Variations on a Theme by Corelli, Opus 42; Chopin's Variations on "The Swiss Lad"; and Dutilleux's Chorale and Variations (1948). Tickets are $20, available at the center and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787.