Billy Boy Arnold: The Chicago harp man, a master of the hard-driving, loose-limbed blues, was a Windy City staple in the golden '50s. Though he basically sat out the mid-'70s and the '80s, Billy Boy made a strong comeback with the 1992 Alligator release Back Where I Belong, following it up with the recent Eldorado Cadillac, also on Alligator. Showtime is 9 p.m. Thursday at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $8. For details call 265-4842.
State Basketball Championships: Arizona's top boys' and girls' high school teams from divisions 1A to 5A collide in the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) tournament, scheduled Thursday through Saturday and February 22 through 24 at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets are $5, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7800 or 678-2222.
Ben Folds Five: The backward-leaning, forward-thinking keyboards-bass-drums trio isbased in North Carolina and headed by pianist Folds, who's banned the electric guitar from his alternative mission--with groovy results. 3Lb. Thrill, and the Customers share the all-ages bill, which starts at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Mason Jar, 2303 East Indian School. The cover is $6. For details call 956-6271.
Fiesta Bowl Classic: Pat Murphy's Arizona State University baseball squad hosts Nebraska, Northwestern and Texas Tech in this annual tourney, scheduled Thursday through Sunday at Packard Stadium, First Street and Rural in Tempe. Tickets range from $2 to $5. The Sun Devils' next home game is at 2:30 p.m. February 22 against Wyoming. For details call 965-2381.
Phoenix Symphony: Guest conductor Hermann Michael leads the orchestra and 16year-old violinist Yoon-Kyung Kwon in performances of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Opus 64; and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 in E-flat minor ("Romantic"). Shows are planned at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets range from $12 to $36, available at the symphony box office and Dillard's. For details call 264-6363, 262-7272 or 678-2222.
Hall of Mirrors: An Evening of Strindberg and Genet: Planet Earth Multi-Cultural Theatre, 909 North Third Street, continues its season with this production, featuring the one-acts Ghost Sonata and Deathwatch. August Strindberg's Sonata is a waking nightmare of a work, brimming with complex symbolism and rampant paranoia. Deathwatch, the first play by onetime convict Jean Genet, is a drama about hierarchy and tyranny behind bars. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays, through March 16. Tickets are $9, $7 for students and seniors. For reservations and details, call 241-1828.
Scottsdale All-Arabian Horse Show: About 2,000 of the world's top show equines compete in categories like cutting, jumping and driving at this 41st annual event, the country's largest. It starts Friday and continues daily,through February 25, at WestWorld, 16601 North Pima Road. Outside the two big-top arenas, vendors hawk clothing, jewelry, art and other "horseware." General-admission tickets are $5, $3for seniors, $2.50 for kids under 12. Reserved-seating tickets are available at Dillard's. Proceeds benefit various Valley charities. For details call 951-1180 or 678-2222.
Richard II: Ethington Theatre at Grand Canyon University, 3300 West Camelback, continues its "Reconstructing Shakespeare"-themed season with the Bard's tragedy about the poisonous power struggle between the title figure and his cousin, the future Henry IV. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. February 23 and 24. Tickets are $8, $6.50 for seniors and kids. For reservations and details, call 589-2871.
Fiesta Bowl Classic: See Thursday.
Phoenix Symphony: See Thursday.
State Basketball Championships: SeeThursday.
Stomp: See Thursday.
Blues Blast '96: Phoenix Blues Society's Blast, now in its fifth year, kicks off Saturday with an indoor dance party starring Little Charlie and the Nightcats, Mike Morgan and the Crawl, and Lucius Parr and First Choice featuring George Bowman; showtime is 7 p.m. at Mesa Centennial Hall, 201North Center. The big outdoor show starts at 11 a.m. Sunday at Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. Lone Star greats Charles Brown and Angela Strehli, the latter backed by California's Soul Drivers, co-headline. Texas City native Brown, 73, is a world-class pianist/raconteur and one of the founders of California's blues scene. Lubbock-born Strehli is one of the globe's great white wailers, augmenting herdead-on readings of classics like "Bigtown Playboy" and "Mean Mistreater" with abone-dry west Texas twang. Also on the bill: W.C. Clark Blues Revue, Sam Taylor Band featuring Heather Hardy, Big Nick and the Gila Monsters, and Rob Rio and the Revolvers. Tickets to each show are $8.50 in advance, $10 at the door; a two-day pass costs $15. All are available at Dillard's. Kids under 12 are admitted free to Sunday's show. For details call 252-0599, 644-2560 or 678-2222.
Dream Game '96: Pete Rose, Vida Blue, Lou Brock, Whitey Ford and many other former pro baseball stars are scheduled to play inthis annual fund raiser for Phoenix Memorial Hospital's Young Company center. The first pitch is at noon Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, 5999 East Van Buren. Tickets are $8, $10 and $12, available at Dillard's; call 678-2222. The free, interactive Baseball Experience precedes at 11 a.m., continuing 'til 3 p.m. For details about the Dream Game '96 Card Show, see Events. For general information, call 238-3215.