Pic Hits for the week

Awadagin Pratt: The dreadlocked, informal, highly unorthodox classical pianist, the first African American to win the Naumburg International Piano Competition, continues the "Summer Classical Series" at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, with a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 27. Tickets are $20 and $24, available at the center and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.

Arizona Cowpuncher's Reunion Rodeo in Flagstaff: See Friday.
"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
"La Phoeniquera XVI": See Thursday.
National Independent Bookstore Week: See Thursday.
Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.
Paul Rodriguez: See Friday.
Unlikely Trio: See Thursday.

sunday
july 28
Jackopierce: The Dallas-based crypto-pop duet, comprising vocalists/guitarists and former drama students Jack O'Neill and Cary Pierce, has mutated into a real group with the recent additions of drummer Earl Darling and bassist Clay Pendergrass. Touring behind its second A&M disc, Finest Hour, the follow-up to 1994's T-Bone Burnett-produced Bringing On the Weather, the four-piece 'pierce performs on Sunday, July 28, in the Fender Showcase Room at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Stir shares the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. The cover is $5. Call 894-0707.

Matinee at the Bijou: The mission of this yearlong series is to re-create the ambiance of the silver-screen family matinees of the '30s and '40s. This week's show, which starts at noon Sunday, July 28, on KAET-TV, Channel 8, includes a Betty Boop cartoon; the short Hollywood on Parade, starring Jean Harlow and Gary Cooper; part four of the serial Zorro Rides Again; and the feature Ladies Crave Excitement. For details call 965-2308.

Uncle Luke: Rapper Luke, a.k.a. Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew, brings his badass self and the No Good but So Good male dancers to Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, for a show at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 28. Luther, who bills himself as the "black Hefner," is lewd, crude, tasteless and artless--the latter being his only true crime--but his once-controversial act seems pretty toothless compared to Nineties gangsta rap. Tickets range from $18.50 to $50, available at the scene and Dillard's. Call 267-9373 or 678-2222.

Arizona Cowpuncher's Reunion Rodeo in Flagstaff: See Friday.
Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.
Unlikely Trio: See Thursday.

monday
july 29
Slam Off!: The three-round performance-poetry rumble pits the slam teams from Phoenix and Mesa. The lingual jabs and roundhouse rhymes start flying at 6 p.m. Monday, July 29, at Beeloe's Cafe and Underground Bar, 501 South Mill in Tempe. Admission is by donation; all proceeds help to defer the cost of sending the teams to the National Poetry Slam, scheduled in August in Portland, Oregon. Call 863-0284 or 894-1230.

Tracy Byrd: The tall Texan with the long drawl and the truckload of contemporary-country hits--"Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous," "Walking to Jerusalem," "Heaven in My Woman's Eyes," et al.--performs all-ages shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday, July 29, at Toolies Country, 4231 West Thomas. Tickets range from $15 to $25, available at Toolies and Dillard's. Call 272-3100 or 678-2222.

Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.

tuesday
july 30
Gloria Estefan: The Havana-born Cuban American has gone from the humid "Conga" days with Miami Sound Machine to the watered-down princess of power-ballad pop, but Estefan's long ride on the charts hasn't completely doused her flames. When Gloria lets down that curly mane and locks into a Latina groove, the joint still jumps. The crooner of "Reach," the official power ballad of the '96 Summer Olympics, performs on Tuesday, July 30, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $22.50 to $53.55, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7800 or 678-2222.

Everclear: Art Alexakis and his Portland, Oregon-based crew return to the Valley as the headliner of a big gig on Tuesday, July 30, at Mesa Centennial Hall, 201 North Center. Spacehog, Tracy Bonham, and 7 Year Bitch share the bill. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $22.35, available at Mesa Community Center and Dillard's box offices. For details call 644-2178 or 678-2222.

Los Straitjackets: Nashville's 'jackets may seem a little silly--they wear Mexican wrestling masks onstage and brag that they were influenced by Link Wray and Ray Coniff--but they have one of the tastiest sounds around. Their new Upstart album, the all-instrumental, Ben Vaughn-produced AViva! Los Straitjackets, is flat-out fabulous, from the Middle Eastern-tinged "The Casbah" to the happy-surfer strains of "Tsunami!" to the "Theme From The High Chaparral"-style "Lonely Apache." Flathead shares the bill on Tuesday, July 30, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Showtime is 9 p.m. The cover is $6. Call 265-4842.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
"La Phoeniquera XVI": See Thursday.
Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.

wednesday
july 31
Desert Twilight Tour: The docent-guided, one-hour walk through Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park, offers wildlife encounters and a relatively temperate way to experience the well-baked summertime garden. The tour steps off at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 31. Participation is free with regular admission: $6, $5 for seniors, $1 for kids ages 5 to 12, free for those younger. For details call 941-1225.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
"La Phoeniquera XVI": See Thursday.

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